How Do You Spell Stupid?

Many years ago, I took a dog house from my rental property and a series of big dogs have live in it.  Over that time I have patched holes in the wall, put a new roof on it and kept it full of straw.  When Taco was dispatched a while back, I decided that having the dog house out there in view of the dinning room was just no longer necessary.  This is where the events turn stupid.

Last year, I finally talked Barb into letting me get a tractor to do work on the place.  I still have an 8 HP Case yard tractor that is great for towing the mower and hauling the small trailer.   The trees by the dog pen made the big tractor just not right so I tried to hook up the small tractor and haul the dog house out.  That was really a bad decision on my part.  I hooked the tractor up to some islets on the side of the dog house and using the hydraulics lifted the front side of the house and tried to pull it forward.  Somehow the house hooked on a tree root and the tractor literally flipped over with me between it and the dog house. To make it all worse, Barbara was watching out of the window and she saw the accident.

As the forward momentum of the tractor stopped, the front end reared up like the scene of Silver from the Lone Ranger.  I tried my best to shut off the hydraulics but not quick enough.  It just kept moving up and it squished me between the tractor and the house. Somehow I managed to only get slightly squished and as Barbara rushed out  I crawled out of the small space between the dog house and the tractor doing its best to rear up.  

Sometime this week I will use the big tractor and move that darned dog house.  Thank god for Naproxin Sodium.



The Party's Over

I will allow myself one day to feel a little sad that my beloved Jayhawks lost to Michigan.  I will root for the WSU Shockers until the tournament is over or they lose.  Then I will turn my attention to the spring and summer jobs and do my best to return to the best shape I can get this 65 year old body can get into.

This is a Barbara Petty Photoshop work.
On our trip to Tulsa, we went to the Tulsa zoo.  It is a great place and I saw a lot of neat things.  I have always loved Meercats and Barb took a great picture of them.  Yesterday she put them in T-Shirts and I love this picture. It is going to be my new desktop picture.

Moving on for the day.



Hacked or Spammed?

It seems that because I have had so many hits, that the Hackers or I guess the better term Spammers are sending me comments that just promote their products.  I do my best to eliminate them but I don't go here much more than once a day so it is possible that they last a day or two.  Just a warning - Don't click on the links as many of this type have ways of bringing a virus into your machine that bypass your security software.

This morning, there was a news article that Ashley Judd has withdrawn from the race to unseat a Senator in an adjoining State.  I guess the face that she didn't live there wasn't enough.  People that elect their politicians as a popularity stunt deserve what they get.  The polls all said that the congress of the United States had a single digit approval rating before the last election.  Then, over 90% of them get re-elected (Of those running last year)  

This morning on Facebook there was a picture of a farmer on a tractor and the story included quite a few of my favorite thoughts on life.  One of the best was - If you find yourself in a hole, quit diggin'.   Seems like such a simple thing but it never ceases to amaze me how few people understand.  At what level of national debt will someone wake up and shout, "Oh Shit!" and the congress of the United States Stop digging that grave for our economy?   I saw in the news today that since 2008, the Government Food Stamp program has doubled.  So much for spending our way to a recovery.  

Today it is going to get to about 60 here in the Heartland.  I have high hopes of getting out and jes doing something.  Not sure of the details but I will do something.  



Odds and Ends

This is probably what most of you think my Posts are about anyway.  My ADD gets in the way of completing and editing what I write so I might have a tendency to have more bounces than a ping-pong ball. 

Strap yourself in and "Here Goes:"     Other than the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) I see little reason for the Supreme Court to even look at this subject.  It is a States issue and should be settled at that level.  The laws of our land should not be like an amusement park ride and change on a dime.  By that same token, if a marriage is legal in one state, it should be recognized by another state like is is for all marriages.  I have said all along that if everyone would just agree that it should be a Civil Union and leave the word marriage out of it it would pass overnight.  Once it is done, you can call it peanut butter if you wish. 

I wrote on Facebook that Michigan, Kansas and Florida all had two teams in the Sweet 16.  I failed to look at the fine print on the bottom right of my bracket and see that Miami is also in there.  I think I am so used to seeing Miami (OH) I just didn't read the fine print.  For the record, Florida, Miami and Florida Gulf Coast are all still playing.  This round will pit Florida and FGCU so the number will be at least down to two by Sunday.  I am also watching the Miami heat play at a level way higher than their competition. 

Is anyone else tired of having our laws change like they were a popularity contest?  I don't give a rats hind end what the people are thinking right now, we are in a Government that elects people to make our laws.  What my State does is what it does and what your State does is your problem.  I think a Government that doesn't change on a dime is what the founders of our country wanted.   I think all of us have seen the poster that said, "Oh no, they did exactly what I wanted."  A lot of times changes that are rushed wind up being victim of the Rule of Unintended Consequences.  Just because one person on death row is exonerated doesn't make them all innocent.  By the same token, just because you are Paranoid doesn't mean no one is out to get you.  Making equal opportunity marriage the law of the land won't eliminate the fact that they will probably have as many divorces as everyone else.  The winners in those matters are the Lawyers.

The Vice President takes a trip out of the United States and promises 200 million to a country that hates us and the President does the same.  I think there was a Beatles song that went, "Can't Buy Me Love."  I find it especially tough when I remember that we had to go in debt 80 million to give that 400 million away.  Just call me a naysayer on the Buy now and pay later Foreign Policy plan.  

Just who is in charge in Washington?   We are cutting the defense Budget and yet we allow the Department of Home Land Defense  spend millions to are themselves.  I'll bet there are a lot of used Hummers out there and a big surplus of M-16's.   I would just transfer volunteer soldiers into the Homeland Security force and guard our borders.  There is enough paranoia about what the UN has in store for us.

Going back to my first thought today, (See, I told you I would bounce around)  The problem in solving problems  of a local nature at the National level is that very seldom are the problems the same.  I fully agree that Chicago has way too many murders and the same goes for Detroit.  Hell, I think that Topeka has too many deaths by gunfire but don't apply the solutions from your city to my city.   I don't live there for a reason and what I do to defend my home is what I do and not any business of yours.  




It seems like that now that we have retired, we are putting a lot of miles on the cars going places we didn't go when we both worked.  There were three years that we lived in Topeka and I was in a unit in Ottawa that was an anomaly but again we are thinking about what replacements we will need for the cars we drive. 

I have to admit that traveling in a full sized car is a lot more comfortable than some of the shoe boxes I have owned in the past.  Our 69 Chevelle was a nice car to drive on a sunny day but a beast in the snow and without bucket seats I could not sit in the front seat on the passenger side comfortably.  It also got about 13 MPG and I could have not afforded to drive it to Lawrence from Leavenworth for two years.  We bought a Vega for that purpose and that car died an utter failure three times.  Twice GM put a new motor in it and the third time I just had its rusty ass hauled to the junk yard. 

I was going to put a Vega picture here but they all are gone.

A couple of years ago Barb was reading the paper and found a 2004 Ford Crown Victoria fo about half of what a new car would cost.  It had only 14,000 miles and it is a great road car.  That car gets at least 25 MPG on the road and is a dream to drive.  What had Ford done to make my life better? Yep, they stopped making the Crown Vic.  Throw in the Mercury Marquis and both cars are gone.  I hate it when that happens.

Counting the parts cars in the yard, I have two drivers and five vehicles.  This spring I am finally going to use the tractor (a sixth vehicle I didn't include in the other count) to drag the parts cars out by the side of the road for the car breakers to haul off.  Wait, I didn't include the frame and cab off a truck down by the well.  Make that count 5 2/3rds vehicles for two drivers.   

In the back of my mind, there is one Foreign car brand that draws me back.  Volvo has always been a car that I liked.  The problem here near Topeka is that I would have to drive to Kansas City to have it worked on by a Volvo dealer.  That one fact alone just deters me from that choice.  I have put many good miles on cars wearing the Volvo brand and I probably won't do so again.  After one bad family experience, Barbara won't even entertain the discussion of Volkswagens.   

What I want is a front wheel drive car that gets at least 25 MPG on the road and will let me drive 8-12 hours and not beat me up so bad that I need help to get the bags out of the car.  I won't even address the need for a personal toilet because Barbara thinks a camper type vehicle is just not in her choices.  She would rather pay for a Motel now and then than have a camper in the yard.  I am not sure that I don't agree. (or at least comply)

Oh well, what do you think?


Death Penalty

This issue is one that has been in the news a lot lately.   It hits home in our family because the rapist that killed my niece is sitting on death row in Arkansas longer than the niece he killed, lived.  He clearly did the crime and through many errors, and administrative moves and appeals by the ACLU is still alive to get to participate as a part of this discussion.   

That leads me to the first part of the discussion.  Does the Death Penalty deter murder?  In the case of sociopaths, it clearly does but not every one that kills is a sociopath.  Eliminate the person who committed murder and that person will not do it again.  In the case on the top of my list, I can tell you that the fact the crime gets brought to mind in a personal way every time some major step is taken in the review of the sentence is hard on the family.  It has turned a group of wonderful women into a pretty hard over group. Several of the men in the family would have just shot the skunk and got it over early.  There is a lot of the "Eye for an eye" kind of sentiment out there  and I understand it well.  Screw mercy we want Justice with a side of vengeance thrown in.

Over the years, there has been a big increase in the way crimes have been solved.  In the past, motive, opportunity and reasonable doubt solved many cases.  Nowadays, there is also the forensic factor thrown in and there have been some convictions found to not be correct.  There is also the disparity of the sentence that clearly tells us that the Death Penalty is falling out of favor.  Yesterday I heard on a News program that there were 31,00 deaths and only about 13,000 people on Death Row.  That number is down one this week when the Kansas Killer of his wife died in Prison of a Heart Attack.   The statistics say kill a white person and you are a lot more likely to get the death sentence.  Kill a minority and not so much.  I think that this topic was a Law and Order program a couple of years ago.  A young white man killed a person and everyone wanted mercy and the show made the decision harder than it really was.  As I recall, justice won and the State where the crime was done is still working on their Death Penalty Statute

Justice, mercy or economics?  It has top be cheaper to put to death a person than incarcerate them for the rest of their life.   I am not sure that we have reached the point where all of our decisions in life should be made on the side of money, but we need to start somewhere.  For the sake of argument, in this case I vote that at least one rapist/murderer in Arkansas gets put out of my suffering.  His own words send him to hell in my book. He said, "I just couldn't let her go home after raping her."  He knew the crime was bad but he was willing to make it worse to try to save his sorry ass.  

I think earlier I said that I tend to side on the Scales of Justice towards Justice not mercy.  I guess where you stand is dependent on what life has handed you. 



Snow and Roundball

Many years in the past, I didn't have to plow the driveways to get in and out.  This year, now that I have a tractor, I have had to fire up the tractor and plow the drives three times.  Granted, this last time with only 9 inches I might have made it out with out the plow but why take the chance.   It takes me more time to drive to Dave's and then the rental house than it takes me to actually plow the drives.   I can attest to the fact that idiots that drive big old pickups think they can go much faster than the speed limits on those snowy days than they should.  I know they can not stop as quick as I can on the tractor or in my front wheel car.  I know I drive much more safely than they do. There was a guy killed on the turnpike about three miles from my house, with two new tires on the front of his truck and almost bald tires on the back, he slid into a concrete ditch.  Thank god his daughter wasn't hurt.

I just love how the basketball has bounced this year and love that so many brackets have been been broken.  Florida Gulf Coast has been only eligible for NCAA post season tournaments for two years.  Now they are in the sweet 16.   How about Michigan, Florida and Kansas all having two teams in the sweet 16.  Texas had none in the tournament.  I wonder if it is kind of a karma thing that Roy has been beaten three times by KU since leaving Kansas?   

Typical march weather we are having here in the Heartland.  While we were in California a couple of weeks ago, it was warmer here than there.  This weekend we had 30 degree weather and 9 inches of snow.  By Friday it will be in the mid 60's.  Oh well, life, round ball and taxes go on.

I am really trying to figure out the US Government.  They seem to be doing their best to confuse us and not really be solving problems.  I read that the department of Homeland Security has bought armored vehicles, lots of weapons and ammunition and I see we are cutting the Defense budget.  Doesn't it make sense to bring our Military home and to use them to defend our borders?  I know there is a lot of problems using the Active Military to police our citizens but I don't see how drug smugglers count in that fight.  

One of my biggest concerns is that people in Washington seem to go out of their way to find controversial things to stand against rather than roll up their sleeves and figure out the best way to do their job.  For example, how can banning guns here in the Heartland do anything to stop the crime in Chicago or Detroit?  If Chicago needs to close some schools there because of people leaving the cold windy city, how can that be the problem for the rest of the USA?  Unless they have good health reasons for wanting the Army Engineers to come in and blow the place down when the last person leaves, I say leave Detroit to their own problems.

Does anyone know where the FEMA trailers are right now?  I vote that we send them to North Dakota to house workers during their Oil boom.  I listened to a program that said that apartments are renting for $2,000 a month up there because they have so many new jobs.  Isn't our Government getting taxes from all those new oil jobs?  I'll bet we could pay for those trailers in one season.  I did pass the empty Government trailer park on the north side of Joplin the other day.  Seems like they are about recovered and I wish them well.

Better go see if I can get out and do what my Daddy always said, "Get outside and blow the stink off."



Oh No, Mo' Sno'

When the temperatures stay near the same reading from night to day, and they tell us that Denver is getting a lot of snow, it is clear that one of those March snow storms is headed our way.  It could bring anything from an inch of rain to a foot of snow and the weather men are using their best methods to get us prepared.  I use the term SWAG, Scientific Wild Assed Guess, to describe their methods.  Predictions and computer models just cloud the issue of preparedness.  

I am going to go out here in a little while to prepare the tractor for use to drag snow off the long driveways.  I hope it gets to sit in the driveway and get a good washing but I will at least be ready either way.

I loved the quote last night from one of the announcers concerning the NCAA playoff's.  Anyone who has a bracket that isn't limping in right now is either a liar of had several made with upsets in mind.  I watched a lot of exciting Basketball games yesterday and was completely blown away by several.  KU was predicted to just murder their opponent and just won a hard game and K-State lost the game in the first half, came back to lead by one and then lose in the final seconds.  I'm sure that Georgetown is just as surprised as the rest of us. Florida Gulf Coast came to play and beat the Hoyas like a kettle drum.  Now, the Women are going to start play and even more strange ball bounces will be on hand.  My teams are KU for the men and Baylor for the women.  

Better get started on the outside work.


Life is a Contest. You can't Win if You Don't Play

I am no trained Sociologist, but I do from time to time look at the question of Nature vs Nurture as I think about the differences between men and women and the differences between men and their fellow contestants.  The reason I use the term contestants is that most of my life I have been playing games.  From Tag to War, I have played in all sorts of competition.   The good news is that most of the games I played as a kid didn't get one or two of us killed as we engaged in all sorts of dangerous activities. All you have to do is pay any attention to the news to see in full dying color the lethality of the modern battlefield.  Mostly as children, we learned to play together and had both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.  Sometimes may of both in one day.  

I think society was a lot more involved in competition for boys when I was younger.  I know that today there are a lot more sports for young women and I applaud Title IX for changing the rules to pay for women athletes to go to school.  I think as a kid, we boys more often than not played against each other and the girls played with each other.  By that, I mean no mixed gender teams not anything sexual. 

I can remember as a kid that my sisters played tennis.  It was more important that they had pretty white shoes and looked good.  I played in a pair of ratty worn out sneakers that were so dirty that grass stains would have not shown on them.  I worked hard to defeat my opponent and they sure as hell tried to beat me.  There was no tea and watercress sand witches after our games.  I played a heck of a lot more baseball and basketball than tennis anyway.  Other than in school, I didn't ever play soccer.  When we did then, it was a lot more like rugby unless the coaches were watching.

Having two older sisters, I did see an enormous amount of disputes between girls.  There seemed to be an unwritten rule that girls worked hard to make other girls cry.  With boys, we not only wanted them to cry, we wanted them to bleed.  If we were unhappy with someone there wasn't a lot of just telling lies about the other person, we would place a full on frontal attack to their face.  By the same token, I did lose a few of those fights and knew the agony of "Da face" (seldom did my "De Feet" hurt) after punches.  

MUD and Brother Rick
Yes, we are all different.  Thank god for that or it would be really boring out there.  But as a well schooled people observer, I am always perplexed when people want to blame the difference on just Nature or Nurture.  There has to be a lot of both in all of us.  That doesn't mean I can't love my brother or my son, it means that I want them both to be who they are and learn from the lessons like I did.  I'm pretty sure our school rooms have been different.  

My Niece Jenn and Son Dave
In the picture above, my Niece Jennifer is shown for the prime reason that she was a world class athlete and currently a Captain on the Kansas City Fire department.  I love her hugs and kisses and do everything I can do to avoid anything that might lead to punches.  


Fair, or Fare, Life isn't free.

Yesterday I listened to a discussion on the attempt to not hold recognition ceremonies because they aren't fair to those that don't compete or win.  If our children don't have goals and win from time to time, how can they understand what it feels like to be a winner? You don't have to win all the time, but in all fairness, if you don't buy a Lottery Ticket you sure as hell will never win.   

I am probably one of those strange ducks that can see you win and be glad for you.    I can internalize your victory, your promotion or awards and know what it feels like because in my world I got to lose and win.  One year I played on the Meadowlarks in the Beech Aircraft little league.  We didn't win a game all year.  By Tournament time we were a bunch of losers and most of us felt like it.  Our Coach told us at the first game of the tournament that we weren't having any fun at all and we needed to go out there and just play and have fun.  We won our first game and it sure as heck felt good.  We beat the first place team in the League the second game and were solidly in the winners bracket. By the final, we were sitting in the winners bracket as undefeated.  That first place team came out of the loser's bracket and beat us by one run.  had our team not won any games in the tournament, it is quite possible that none of us would have played for the Meadowlarks the next year.  As it was, we mostly came back and did well the next couple of years.  We did give that name to another team and were the Eagles the rest of the time.  It was interesting that the team called the Meadowlarks didn't win a game their first year also.  

Now on to the subject of Fare.  Nothing in life is free.  Me must all pay the fare to ride on any system from our form of Government to a form of Transportation.   It is just how much of the fare paid by any one or group of people is Fair.  

Almost every day, I spend a few moments watching the birds eat the seeds and suet I provide.  I don't do that to feel powerful or to control the birds.  I do it because I love to watch the different kinds of birds come in and see how colorful they are.  I have a trail camera to watch the turkeys, deer and critters eat what I provide.  There is no motivation to hunt them down, only to see them as they come in to the feeding station down the hill.  I do put a limit on how much I feed each day as I don't want them to forget how and where they can also find other food.   I guess there is a limit on how much I can spend on critter food, but I am far from that limit.  I sure as hell wouldn't ask anyone to raise my debt limit so I could feed more deer. 

A couple of weeks ago, our dog, Taco, started limping around the pen.  I checked him over and noticed that his toenails were too long.  He let me clip them but that didn't fix the problem.  I took some time and noticed that he had a tumor under his right front leg and it was really getting big.  When I saw him lying in the snow it was pretty apparent that he was in pain and I hate to see any animal suffer.   I can't tell you how many times a day I look out the window to check on Taco but alas, he is no longer out there.  I'll skip the details, but he went quick and as painless as I could make it.  He joins many dogs and a Bob Cat buried here on Rabbit Run.  Like all of my pets, he has a place in my heart.

If you don't think this is me, look at the chubby cheeks in the bottom picture

I call this my too fat for wrinkles picture
From the beginning to the near the end, life has been wonderful to me.  I have always paid my fare and life wasn't fair but through hard work, a good education and a hearty smile it has been a blast.  I hope you all can say one day you like me, have everything you need, most of what you want, money in the bank and a Wal*Mart nearby.



My Son

I just spent a week with my son and I enjoyed noticing the differences in us as well as our "Same ness."  One of the nicest quotes was given to me by one of our traveling companions that Dave treats his wife with a gentle kindness, a lot like me.  I guess it is pretty easy when you find someone you love and admire.  I think it is great that Dave is loved by his wife and his mother and they really like each other.  I had the same blessing in my life.  I wish him and his Barbara  the same long married life Barbara and I have shared. 


Freedom and Government

Somewhere, there needs to be a big discussion of what it is the Government gives us and what it takes away from us.  I would rather live in a society that has Government rather than one without rules laws and order.  It is just how big do we need our Government to be to protect our rights before it is in fact the limit to our freedom?  Just how big can we afford to grow the Government before it starts to eat the fruit of our tree of Freedom.

Today in the store I saw a young Hispanic lady with four kids in and around her basket.  She bought a small amount of tortillas, some beans and a small package of hamburger.  When I got to the checkout counter, they were ahead of me in the line.  She paid for the food with a "Vision" card.  On one side I wanted to be mad that those darned non English speaking people for getting Support from the Government.  The other side of me wanted to slip her some money to make sure that those cute kids had a full belly.  Just how much of my excess does the Government need to make sure of that for me.  Let me make sure that I have everything I need, most of what I want and Wal*Mart nearby.   

Does anyone worry that the more we borrow and Tax the less there is to spend on investment?  I would hope that all the aspiring students out there look at the History of the world and see that extreme reform is more costly than any benefit. Don't look past the USSR to see that a Government where everyone works for and is the Government doesn't work in the long run. I am proud that we haven't been a part of two World Wars to capture one new inch of land or oil for ourselves.  We have tried to plant the seeds of Democracy and help the defeated Governments grow into a stable Government.  For me, I still kind of cringe when I see the label "Made in Vietnam" on shoes but my Dad would have never driven a "Jap Car." I guess that apple hasn't fallen too far from the tree.

I will be a little busy for the next week or so because of the NCAA Tournament.  For me, it really starts at 12:30 today (Central Time) when Wichita State plays their first game.  It will all end in a couple of weeks when hopefully KU will cut down the nets after the final.  If they fall short, I will proudly still claim to be a Jay Hawk.  

MUD - Rock Chalk, Jay Hawk



That is how many visitors have looked in on my blog.  I want to give them all a big thanks for the company.


Justice or Mercy?

The new Pope talked about Mercy to the faithful in his speech yesterday.  I think that is an interesting topic to look at and one that I ponder from time to time.  I think it depends on which side of the discussion you reside on.  Lets start with Mercy:

[mur-see] Show IPA
noun, plural mer·cies for 4, 5.
compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence: Have mercy on the poor sinner.
the disposition to be compassionate or forbearing: an adversary wholly without mercy.
the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty.
an act of kindness, compassion, or favor: She has performed countless small mercies for her friends and neighbors.
something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing: It was just a mercy we had our seat belts on when it happened.
I would think that from the above definition, if you are an offender you would hope for mercy.  It is like the half full glass and you would look for the goodness of the person if you are the judge.  I would think the new Pope in his way is asking for the people judging the Catholic Church would show mercy and be willing to overlook any past transgressions.  
On the other side of the coin, I think there is a lot of  me that looks for Justice first.


[juhs-tis] Show IPA
the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: to uphold the justice of a cause.
rightfulness or lawfulness, as of a claim or title; justness of ground or reason: to complain with justice.
the moral principle determining just conduct.
conformity to this principle, as manifested in conduct; just conduct, dealing, or treatment.
the administering of deserved punishment or reward. 
This is what the person that has had a crime done against them wants.  The prosecutor in a trial wants justice done to the guilty.  In a perfect world, there would be no need for sentencing guidelines as it would be self evident.  If it was only justice, there would be only the trial phase for guilt and innocence and the guilty would go to jail.  
This morning there was talk on the radio of two teenagers that raped a drunk 15 year old girl. To add insult to that injury, they put pictures of the girl on the net.  In my perfect world, the sentence for the two boys was way too merciful and not enough Justice.  One of the boys was sentenced to one year in a juvenile facility and the other two years.   They will have the Sex offender follow them around for the rest of their life but they would both do at least 10 years in my book.  

In the Military, I served on both sides of a Courts Martial.  I was on the jury on one case and the defense on the second case.  The person in the first case didn't want to go to Vietnam and broke a saucer in the hospital on purpose while talking to a counselor.  He was sentenced to 30 days in the local stockade.  The value of the saucer was less than a dollar and I had serious concerns that the trial showed no mercy.  The reviewing headquarters reduced the sentence to reduction of one grade for the conduct and made the soldier pay for the saucer. 

The second trial I was involved in was for a young soldier that was caught with a bag of marijuana by the CID.  I think it was a set up, but the soldier did in fact purchase and possess the grass.  We went to trial and  our plea was guilty with extenuation and mitigating circumstances.  All the case by the prosecution was not read or testimony was not given.  I took statements from the soldier's chain of command that they thought he was a fine young soldier and they needed him. The court sentenced him to reduction of one rank and fined him $75.00.  The reviewing Headquarters reduced the fine to $25.00.   As the defender, I thought he was given an extreme amount of mercy.  I am sure that many on the jury also thought so but it was the same as a plea bargain.  I think that the CID did in fact conduct a sting and their little net caught a brand new soldier.
So, it is pretty clear that where you sit is a lot of the decision if you want to see Mercy of Justice.  
Oh, by the way, there is a Rapist that also killed my niece in Arkansas that most of the family wants to see Justice done to him.  Had he let her have a little mercy and lived after he raped her, I might feel different.  But in the world I live in Justice is what he needs a big old dose of.


Off Net

As you have noticed, I have been on vacation for a week.  We celebrated our 45 Wedding Anniversary by taking a trip to California.  We took our Son, Dave, his wife, Barbara, and her best friend, Melissa, with us to celebrate and have a good time.  

The kids made a side trip to Vegas to see Barbara's dad, Larry, and her bonus Mom Sandy.  Barbara and I stayed with her sister, Shirley while the kids were on the road.  It was great to catch up on life in California and discuss some legal matters.  Perhaps some day I will discuss the matter in full but not today.

We made a day trip to the Channel Islands off Ventura Beach and  it was really nice to see a part of the world there that is not overrun with people.  The National Park Service has worked hard to take the island of Santa Rosa back to its original state.  You have to pack everything with you if you want too eat and they highly encourage you to take your trash out.  There are overnight campgrounds but no rooms to stay in.  They don't even have a shower set up.  The toilets are outhouses.  They claim to have water but I didn't see one of the faucets.

The crowning part of our trip was Disneyland.  Had I to do it over again I would have tried to get there a little earlier on Thursday and see both the California Adventure as well as a trip to the park on Friday.  Did I mention that the National Cheerleader Competition was in the Convention Center just down the street from our Motel?  There was also some kind of Band Camp nearby and it was spring break in California.  By 1 PM, Disneyland was awash with giggles and gaggles of girls.  Next time We will try to go on a Wednesday during the school year.

There are Mickey Mouse ears of every kind.  As you can see above, Dave found a set that is the top or R2D2 from Star Wars.  I think Barbara settled for a pair that was sparkly and golden.  I am pretty sure that the kids want to go back to Disneyland.   I am not sure how soon I would want to go back but "Someday."  

While in California, we rented a car from Thrifty.  It was one of the best parts of the trip including check out and in. at the John Wayne Airport.  We had a clean, problem free car for the trip at a reasonable price. 

I am sure that I am going to have to return to my diet before my Appointment with the VA for an annual physical.  The good news is that they delayed me until April from next Tuesday.

One nice thing for me was that Frontier Airlines carried the KU game on the TV for the flight home.  It was only the second half but to me that is the important part of the game.   It was great to see KU manhandle their way through the tournament.  We are the most pleased with the improved play of Perry Ellis.  He and Kevin Young  are a duo that we love to watch.  Today will be the bracket announcements and we are excited to see who plays where and who they play.

Oh well, better get a few things done her.



Good Intentions

At least once a week on Facebook, someone posts a horrific warning to keep us safe.  If I had it in my power, I would book mark Snopes.com on their machine automatically if anyone posts a false warning.  Come on people, life is way too short for us all to have to check something.  About 90% of what you read on Facebook is made up stuff so I guess it should carry a warning "Buyer Beware."  What you get is worth what you pay for it.  Here is the latest wrong message posted today"

" Heads-Up my Peeps.!...Hey Ya'll Please beware!.....A friend of ours daughter was coming out of Wal-Mart recently and while she was walking to her car she noticed that a couple of guys were "watching"her, she got into her car and locked her doors. As she was leaving she saw what appeared to be a $100.00 bill on her windshield, she was smart enough not to get out of her car at the time because she remember a email sent to her not that long ago about people putting something on your windshield and when the person gets out to retrieve it they are car jacked.............Here's a pic of the fake money.... please be careful and "SHARE" to protect the ones you love!"

By the same token, have you ever stopped to read what I have as my warning in the comments of this blog?  I freely admit that the distance from actual events and the times a story has been embellished can and often does  result in slightly wrong stories.   I don't set out to tell lies, but by time, distance and poor memory facts have been known to be slightly askew.  Yes, fairy tales start out "Once Upon a Time" and War stories start out "Hey, this is no shit...."

Tonight many of us will say good bye to the Seniors on the Jay Hawk men's basketball team.  It is their final home game.  I listened to a lot of talk over the weekend about this team.  The prediction is that Ben Mclemore (A redshirt Freshman) will go as high as 5 or 6 in the NBA Draft and due to how poor his family is he will go Pro. These same guys said that KU should have his family there for Senior night.  Barb and I disagree and feel that if Bill Self wants to thank Ben after the season is over, fine.  Senior night is for the 4 seniors that stayed and played. The team should get a hardy welcome home from the NCAA tournament no matter where they finish. My fantasy is that they face Wichita State in a final four game and K-State in the finals. Yes, a win would be good. Ben is a fine young man that will be rewarded in cold hard cash.  

TV today had John Kerry in Saudi Arabia.  He needs to get a basketball and haul his ass to North Korea.  Why we can't try everything to keep the peace escapes me.  If you think we are having money problems today, let a War between North and South Korea start and we will be up to our butts in more debt.  But then again, I don't understand the willingness of our current administration to spend our way out of debt or the avoidance of peace.  I am pretty sure that you all have read what I said about Afghanistan. If we had carpet bombed that poor sand covered country with dollars instead of bombs, the world would be a better place.  Throw in what the USSR spent and all the way back to the British wars and everyone in Afghanistan could have a really fine house .  Now that I have my blood stirred, On to bigger and better things...



Old Friends - Gone but not Forgotten

Being a Baby Boomer and right in the middle of the Vietnam War's age group, you would think that my group would have been thinned down by deaths due to enemy fire.  In fact, I had to look up the Fort Sill wall to find any of my friends or acquaintances that were killed in that war.  My Battery Commander went to Vietnam, got promoted to Major and died in a helicopter crash.  One of the TAC officers in my sister Battery was killed by enemy fire. As for my childhood friends, attrition was a lot more natural.

It started with Whitney.  He was one fun guy and we all laughed at his antics.  Sometime in High School he came to me one day and said that his Step-mother was making his life unbearable. H could not stand it and said he had been made to feel bad for the last time.  His real mother had custody of his two sisters and could not take him in.  He was not sure what he could do.  His solution was to have his mother sign the paper so he could join the marines.  He went off and only came back to Wichita a couple of times.  I worried that as a Marine Rifleman he was in a line of work that had lethality written all over it.  The day he turned 19, he was deployed for his first tour as a rifleman.  He came home all decorated up and we were  proud of him.  He went back to California and through his brother I found out that he married a really nice young lady.  Somewhere during my time in OCS. I found out that Whitney went back to Vietnam as a Sergeant in charge of a rifle squad.  Second tour, more decorations and he came home safe and well.

Whitney was stationed at 29 Palms in the middle of the Desert there in California and his wife lived near her family near the LA Area.  They became the proud parents of a set of twins and life was good.  Whitney would spend his week at 29 Palms and come home on the weekends.  I think it is so ironic that it was a traffic accident on one of his early morning runs back to 29 Palms that took his life.  
The next fatality  in our small group of friends was Wayne.  He had worked his way up in an Air Conditioning firm and was living near Denver.   Wayne had been having trouble with a bowel problem but had decided against exploratory surgery to see what was wrong.  After a pretty bad weekend, Wayne decided to stay home on a Monday and his wife went to work.  By the time his wife came home that night, Wayne had died.  Seems like the perforated bowel had gone septic.  That was a shock to us all as he was doing well in life and we all expected him to keep climbing the corporate ladder and do well, not die.

The third friend to die was Whitney's older brother.  John was always the serious one and one of the best mechanics I knew.  There was never a problem he could not solve for me and I really enjoyed our time together.  As near as I knew, John never drank a thing until he was well into his late 30's.  His father built an ice skating rink and when it failed to make a profit, it was turned into a dance club.  I guess John was exposed to drinking and he started drinking.  I lost track of him for a few year and one day I stopped by his parents house and was told that John had died.  He was a truck drive and came in off the road and was ill.  With no one to check on him, he died alone.  There is not a lot of details other than his death was considered natural causes.  

I do not mean to make this a morbid tale but one that I am writing to see if there is a message in there some where.  Not sure, but I do intend to see my old friends more often.  


Round Ball and It's Bounces

Yesterday was a day filled with Basketball action and I watched a lot of good games.  As much as I loved to see the hawks do well, I think my favorite game was the K-State and Baylor game.   I think a game that between two evenly matched teams that is decided in the last moment is fun to watch.  Anyone that saw that winning basket had to have their pulse rate up some.  I think that K-State has a good claim to share the BIG XII title this year.  

A couple of days ago I went out to put fresh water in the bird water bowl. For some reason my back just locked up and it has been a pain since then. The bowl is one of those heated dog bowls and the birds seem to flock to it when there is little other water out there.  The Robins love the unheated water bowl when it gets to about 40 degrees and is way more cold than I would want.  I am waiting for it to get up to about 45 and the ice to melt off the connections on the DirecTv cables.  I can see a big glob of ice and as the temps fall, I lose my connection.  The good news is that the TV upstairs isn't the least bit a problem.  It must have to do with the dual connections for the DVR.  This paragraph brought to you via my ADD.  The only reason the dyslexia didn't show is the spell checker.

A while back, a niece of mine was struggling with the fact that her dog was getting old and wasn't doing well.  I am facing that dilemma with Taco our black lab.  He is obviously growing a tumor under his right front leg and soon won't be able to get around.  It is something I need to take care of but like Jenn, I don't want to.  Oh well, it is something I need to do this week.

Our Grand Niece, Amy, was in town a week or so back and it sure was fun to get to see everyone.  I do wish she had been able to bring her boys with her, but I do understand.  She was here for work and they would have just made things way too complicated.  I can't wait until June when they get to meet Bob & Julia's girls.  I may not be able to stand all the smiles I will have.  

Thought for the day.  If Congress developed the Sequestration bill, why does the President blame it on the Republicans?  How in God's Green Earth does anyone think that we can fix what's wrong with our economy with more taxes?  The spending is out of control and we need to spend a lot less.  The slippery slope is paved with spending that hasn't fixed our problems.  It must be time for everyone to step up and do with less.  Didn't you notice that on 1 Jan, we all got hit with a 2% rate increase in the Social Security withholding?  Isn't it fair that the Government does a 2% spending cut and we all move on?  Lead, Follow or get the hell out of the Way!




I really do appreciate any comments I get but the Pay day loan sites and the one from the Dumpsters from Boston need not apply.


In Like a Lion?

The old saying is that "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb."  Who ever said that did not live in Kansas.  February and March are the months where the warm fronts and the cold fronts collide over the plains and cover us up deep with snow.  After that, the collision of those fronts are often the harbinger of tornadoes.  We still have six to eight inches of that lion droppings lyin' all over the place. 

In the paper today, there was an article that said the Government (Specifically the democratic party) is saying that the cuts from the Sequester will just cripple us.  In fact, the cuts are only 2% and that is about what the Government took away from us when they returned the Social Security withholding back to the 7%.  If we can adjust to that cut, why can't they?  Instead of a Leader that is really working on our behalf, we have a President and a party that want to campaign against the very thing they asked for.  All through my time in the service the cry was sent, "Lead Follow or get the hell out of the way!"  I am pretty comfortable that Mitt would have just rolled up his sleeves and found a way to make it all work not gone out on a quasi campaign trail and told us stories of how bad it will be.  I think that Jimmy Carter's grandson worked hard to get Obama elected to make sure that Jimmy is bypassed as the worst President we have ever had.  There were som pretty miserable one's out there.

Has anyone noticed that a simple basketball player is in North Korea and talking with Kim Jong-un. I think that Dennis Rodman is one of the best basketball players I have ever watched and it should shame the State Department that they don't have a way to reach out and hold a simple discussion.  Hell, if Dennis and three Harlem Globetrotters can go there and share a drink, imagine what it would be like if we loaded up a whole NBA game and went there to play.  I'll bet that Obama could sit right next to Kim and have a great discussion.  After the game that picnic table discussion over a beer would be fun to hear.  For those that think it could not work, I offer the words, "Do what you did and you will get what you Got!"  If that is just too scary, how about a game in Hawaii and both leaders come half way.  make it a benefit game and give the proceeds to North Korea.  Couldn't hurt.

There is a light snow falling outside and while it probably won't add much depth, but we can sure use the moisture.  Even if it does make me want to run away and go to Disney Land.  Oh well.