I Love America

I am not sure that I have made it clear that as much as I disagree with the way our Government has been running things,  I Love America.   Where else in the world could we have a Government system that gets away with ignoring the reality of life and still allow the freedom for us to criticize it?  We have a system of taxes that allow our economy to called free enterprise and yet have a taxation system that continues to take a greater share of what we make.   It is not fair, but who the heck said life was fair?

One of the biggest errors we have continued to make for 50 years is our treatment of Cuba.  You remember Cuba don't you?  That was the Island paradise 90 miles off our shores that because we didn't like their form of Government we fenced them off from our riches.  Perhaps it did aid in the fall of Russia, but not overnight and no without costs to us.  Do you wonder why we allow people to travel to Russia, Vietnam and China and not Cuba?  Moving on...

Because of the excellent camera's we have, we love to travel to the National Parks here in America.  If you haven't put Yellowstone on your places to go, I highly recommend it.  It is like no other place in America for the divergence there.  The Geyser Basin is a trip all by itself and worth the time and energy to see it.  Old Faithful get a lot of press but there are other geysers there that are as spectacular.  It is reported that there are Bears there but we didn't see any.  Just as well.

As much as I loved the Blueberry pie in Maine, I wasn't impressed with the lobster.  I liked Desert Island but Bar harbor not so much.  I think I liked the west coast as much or more.  Watching the sunrise there was worth the trip to me.  Get a big cuppa coffee and sit there in the sand.  I prefer sunrise to sunset.  Jes' say'n. 

For the record, I want you to know that as much as I love my Country, I fear my Government.




I won't do anything as mundane as to try to write what my New Year Resolutions will be in about a week.   I will try to share a few things that are important to me and see if it sparks anything in your life:

- I hope you all are in good health and see your Doctor on at least an annual basis.  My Medical plan now also gives me a "Medical Review" with a professional to talk about my health issues.  This last year it was with a Nurse Practitioner (PA?) and she discussed my lab test scores and looked at all my Meds for any possible interaction.  It was a nice visit with a pretty, intelligent, young Lady.  Not the worse way to spend an hour of my time.   I also will see my regular Doctor and at least once go to the VA to see the Green team there. 

- For all the old guys out there, a good friend of mine just posted that he is undergoing Chemo because he had not been watching his PSA score and has developed Prostate Cancer.   According to my family doctor, most men will die with Prostate Cancer but it is such a slow growing cancer that it won't be the cause of death in most cases.  I did just have a good friend die of it last year so it is a cause of death.   When you have your annual physical and your PSA is above 4 talk to your Doctor.

I am scared to death that things financially won't be as good in the out years.  It is hard to make any money on my investments without a lot of risk.  I have people giving me a lot of good advice but so far I haven't changed the old straw that "The return of my money is more important than the return on my money."  Most years I can turn a profit on my rental houses but the new roof on the big house has cut that this year.  The falling oil prices has cut the revenue on that too. 

Where did my name get out so everyone can tell where we live?  This week even the Jehovah's Witnesses found us and paid a visit.   I guess I need to get in the Witness Protection Program.  (Or the Witless Protection program that keeps you all from laughing at my tired jokes.)  I did get a new Cell Phone and that added a few new call for a while.  My Internet Address hasn't changed and it seems that a lot of businesses have added me to their regular mailing.  Every time I get a new message I look for the unsubscribe link and am doing my best to kill them.  I wonder if the Politicians sold my name when I showed up on their DNP (Did not Pay) list to their 2014 campaigns. 

Every year I start out with a lot of ideas to make our life better here at Rabbit Run.  Seems like I am a plethora of ideas but not so much on the "Get'r-Done" side.  It seems a lot like there is more to maintain each year and less energy to do it.  I do have a Brother-in-Law that thinks I need to ditch my rentals and that would help.  But, what would it do to my income for a year to report all that gain?  Where would I invest the money to make it all worth while?  

One thing I think will need to be done this year is to look at the transportation here at Rabbit Run.  Both our cars have a lot of miles on them and I am less and less sure that I would strike out in either one for a trip more than a couple of hundred miles.  I will admit that there are fewer and fewer things I need to go see each year as mu bucket list gets more and more complete.  I loved Zion National Park but just how many times do you need to see it? 

The more crazy the rest of the world gets, the less likely that I will go to other countries.  The Religion of peace has killed more people this year than was necessary.  I would think that converting people in the world rather than killing them would be a better idea.  That approach seems to work for the Mormons.  

I guess I will just keep singing and doing my best to make Barbershop sounds to as many people that want to hear us.




I was busy last week and didn't post much.  The readership is down and I hope it is because you are all busy too.   I think I just figured out why so many people are stopping by my site.   People like to visit but they don't like to write.  Many bloggers have stopped writing and people continue to read.  They come here for a lack of something better to do.  OK, I can live with that until people start commenting bad things to me.  If the readership falls off to less than 100 a day I might stop writing.   Nah, I write this for me not them.  Their loss if they stop.   I may not be crazy, but abnormality runs in my family.


Between Holidays

After Christmas and right into New Year's eve, there is s short period of time to kill.  I have a few things to do but can truthfully claim I am resting up.   Kind of like the time after you have spent all your budget allotment and there is no more to spend in the Government. 

Today I got an interesting letter in the Mail.  It is from the VA and tells me that I can get services from the VA if they can't give me an appointment within 30 days and/or I am more than 40 miles from a VA facility.  With a VA right down the street, I don't foresee many times that it will do me any good.  The person that it will help is my Father-in-Law out in Idaho.  It takes them forever to get him into the facility in Boise and it is a way to drive.  Sure hope it is good for him. 

Speaking of Medical care and insurance, I have a Military retirement because of my 30+ years serving in the Military (Active, Reserve and Guard)  and at age 65 it turned into Tri-Care for Life.  That is a program that pays like a Medi gap insurance and it covers most of what Medicare doesn't.  That's another part of the retirement that a lot of Guardsmen and Reservists don't hear much about.  While active, the benefits after you retire are a long way off and you hear the annual briefing but you listen with only one ear. 

It is nearing the time that I will soon have a few good books to read and I'll do just that.  The kids will move home next week and the work load here at Rabbit Run will slow down.   I will probably miss the Grand-Kitties but they will be home alone and will probably miss me too.  There is generally one or two nearby wanting petted or just to be where people are.  I resisted saying where the action is because there are a lot of times there is little action.  I have been known to stretch out on the couch and take a well deserved nap. 

This morning I took some of the left over mashed potatoes out of the fridge and made potato pancakes.  About 2 cups of mashed pots, about a half cup of flour, an egg and some baking powder with a little milk to make them liquid enough and they make some great pancakes.  I don't like them with syrup on them, just straight up like fried hoe cakes.  Last night I made a gumbo with some left over turkey and sausage.  I think I ate three bowls but I had skipped breakfast.  I hit lunch light but not supper. 

Today there are s few Tom Selleck cop movies on Sony Movie Channel.  I forgot that he had a great career making cop movies as well as his TV career as Magnum PI.  I guess if you throw in his role as a sharpshooter in Australia (Quigley Down Under - Had to look that one up) he has had a lot of good things in his career.  Now he is the Police Commissioner in NY and another cop.  In a way, he is a lot like John Wayne and he just plays himself in different roles.  Not that it is bad, just making the comparison.  I do like his portrayal of Jesse Stone the small town cop in Maine also.

We just had a visitor.  Evidently the Jehovah's Witnesses have found us and wanted to drop off a copy of the Watchtower.  I politely thanked them for stopping by and told them I was not interested.  My mother would have invited them in and tried to convert them to Baptist.  Not this time Mom.  She almost always had a pot of coffee and a slice of fruit cake to share.

Oh well, have managed to waste a whole morning and am much better for it.  Have a great weekend and rest up.  I saw some of the Christmas pictures and know I need some beauty sleep.  (Or sleep for the ugly with delusions of adequacy)



What Are We Doing?

For those people in charge with our Government,  I ask, "What are You Doing?"  If we try to please everyone today and we can't afford it, are we just, "Borrowing trouble in the future?"   

My Challenge to people in the USA that think they have it tough here, have you taken a good look at the rest of the world?   A lot of the police forces in places I have traveled have armed carry of automatic weapons and I am sure they know how to use them.  Most people in Mexico make a week about what they make in a day here.  WHY ARE THEY HERE?  duh!

I had my first full body scan in an airport in Germany at least 20 years ago.  They put me up on a box and sad me spread my arms and legs.  I know that they know what size I am and I don't mean shoe size.  The person watching the German equivalent of a TSA Agent was armed with a sub machine gun.  I am glad that all I have to take off is my shoes here.

In Oklahoma, the oil in the ground is valued at nothing until it is pumped out of the ground.  Here in Kansas they estimate the amount and you have to pay property taxes on it.  When Clark County valued the oil this year it was $100 per barrel or thereabouts.  It has fallen to about $50. per and they charged the full price on the property taxes. That was almost twice what it was three years ago.  Up a couple of Thousand from last year.   What are we doing?

It seems that a lot of people want to have solar and wind energy but not in their back yard.   They don't want the Government to help pay for it but if it doesn't the consumer's do.  Yep you and me.

We are blessed with free speech for now but there are people that are willing to give parts and pieces of it up to silence the critics they don' like.  Free speech isn't all that important until you have something to say and you can't. 

Why does it take an act of congress for people to be able to do what they desire in their life.  If you don't want a gay marriage, don't have one.  If you don't like abortion, don't get one.  If you don't like someone's religion, go get your own.  Just leave me alone about it.

Jes' Say'n



Yesterday Barb was baking the pies right before the turkey was ready to go in the oven.  After she completed her baking, I put the turkey in the hot oven.  What I didn't notice was that she turned off the oven and two hours later when I had less than two hours to put the turkey on the table, it was raw.  When Plan A doesn't work, we put Plan B in motions.  I put my best butcher act on and cut the turkey into pieces for a quick frying in a pan.  When we had enough to eat, I put some mushroom gravy on it and put it in the oven.   Our Son Dave said it was the best turkey he had ever had.  Shows you what most of us know.   He didn't say anything about the smoked Turkey enchiladas though.

After a nice lunch, we opened presents with Dave's In-Laws.  We all got to open one present in order and many god things were given to everyone.  My list started with Underwear and socks.  Right at the top of my list.  The only thing else I had asked for was a headlamp that gives you light right where you are looking.  Barb bought one and promptly sent it to her Dad.  Saved by the Bell, Larry gave me a box with two in it.  Barb then surprised me with a coffee table book about Kansas.  It has the top 8 things in several categories all about my State.  Now the task is to make short trips to as many of them as we can.  I have been to a lot of them.  One of our trips we rented a car with a backup camera and Barb bought me one.  I bought her a heated seat.  I guess we need these if we are going to travel this winter.

We have Dave' three cats here with us for another week when they get to go home.   I was watching a You tube video about cats and the youngest kitten came downstairs yowling because he was upstairs all alone.  It is a hoot that he plays hard to pet but doesn't want to be alone.  "Dogs have owners and Cats have Staff."  If you don't believe it, just ask them.

Better get this finished as you never know when the girls might want to get out for some post Christmas shopping.  I am sure there is some wrapping paper out there that needs bought.  Barb likes to have a short supply of things to give to the kids on our lists and after Christmas they are on sale. 
One of these days she might sort through the closet and make a good donation to the Salvation Army or the Marine's Toys for Tot's.  

Have a great week out there.



Calm Before the Storm

The first, and longest pole in the tent this morning was getting the turkey ready.  I had it ready at least an hour before it needed to go into the oven.  We are going to eat at 1 PM and it takes about three hours for the turkey to roast.  Done.

Now the list goes on...  The potatoes will be the next longest.  I have everything but the potatoes ready.  I will also do some green bean casserole next, Barb will do rolls and set up.  It really is not a big deal when everyone pitches in.  The sink is empty and I will probably run the dishwasher so we can put the post dinner dishes straight in the dishwasher. I will do my best to not fall immediately into a nap but no promises. 

Yesterday Barb made me take the day off.  I was going to put brakes on her car but she knew just how tired I was and that it would have just wore me down to the nubbins.  My job list is getting shorter as they get done and the weather is getting colder.  I have a couple of things to do at Dave's and the brake job left.  Then it will be time to read a few books and catch up on rest.  It is amazing how the things can slow down with a little cold and snow.  Sometime about April things will pick up. I will do some trimming out on the rental house and some painting.  Might even patch a few cracks here at Rabbit Run.

I am amazed that since 1928, the difference between the richest and the poorest is at the  largest amount.    With the Gates' giving millions to the poorest people, that should be closing.  That does nothing to help with our hate and divisions in the USA.   I thought that electing Barack was going to help us here at home and abroad.  Seems like all it did was expose us to all the problems and there is no message that we are doing well or getting better.   Pretty much it has done is put Jesse Jackson and AL Sharpton on the front page of the news paper every day and everything is the fault of the white guys.  Seems like some of the old messages are not being visited.  Teach a man to fish and he can feed himself.  Give him a fish and he will want another tomorrow.  The only black man that had a message to the poor that they need to work at things has been now accused as a rapist.  Is it a "Vast Left Wing Conspiracy" to quote Hillary with a twist.   

I am going to put on a bright face for the rest of the day and share with our family.  I hope you can find it in your heart to find things to smile about and stay positive. 



Merry Christmas

What are your memories of Christmas.  I have had good ones and at least one that is not so.  Probably the least favorite of them all was the Christmas in Vietnam (1968)   Don't let those pictures of units eating in mess halls and dining on turkey fool you into thinking that all uniformed members of the Military are fed that well on Christmas.   I was on a Mountain top in the middle of no where and we ate C-Rations for all three meals that day.  Being away from home on the first Christmas of my marriage added to the blahs.  The one thing that stood out as a winner was the bottle of 409 cleaner my sister sent me that was really a flask of scotch with a 409 cleaner label.  During the Christmas cease fire I had a nice evening playing cards and drinking Scotch.

One of my favorites involved my family and all the trimmings.  We met at my parent's house in Wichita and had a merry Christmas.  Our family Christmas's were generally held the Saturday just prior to the actual day of Christmas so the family could go to the other families for Christmas.  Barb and I were often known to jump in the car and drive to Barstow California and spend a day with her parents.  Being home was a tradition we started after having our own son. 

On our fast trip to Oklahoma, we stopped at a Wal*Mart and I found the Pentatonix, "Sounds Like Christmas to Me"  CD.  Great sounds and it really sounded like they had fun making the CD.   I highly recommend it. 

Yesterday our Daughter-in-law said that after next weekend they are going to be back in their home.  They will have their goods returned to them on New Year's Eve and have the long weekend to get things back in the right place. 

I hope you will have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.   



Short Stories

In my Military career, several long BS sessions have gone under the bridge and some may have even been true.  Take these or leave them, some may have happened like I am going to tell them but they have been filtered through a faulty memory and time passing.

One Guy from Paola, KS had a wife and a girl friend.  He would supposedly go out drinking with his buddies but his wife never saw him at the local taverns.  One night she followed him as he went out and saw that he went to a single lady's house that was well known in the community.   Several hours later, the guy came home drunk and smelling of the woman he had been visiting.  The wife took a tube of super glue and glues the offending member to his leg.   When he woke up to go to the bathroom, he was very surprised.  He got dressed and went in his car to a hospital in  Olathe where he was sure that no one knew him.  Low and behold the ER Nurse was one of his wife's best friends.  Evidently the solvent that removes super glue is also so strong that it will really do a number on skin in sensitive places.   Needless to say, he was met at the door of his home with a restraining order and the filed divorce papers as he limped up to the door. 

One of my best friends in the Military was such a wise guy.  We lived in a very small town and he decided to drive himself to the doctor the day he was going to have a vasectomy.   When he got home, he came walking up the drive very slow and his wife came out and asked him if he was alright.  In his highest Falsetto voice, he said "Oh, I'm fine." 

One of my friends once also decided to have a vasectomy and did not heed his doctor's advice.  Most Doctor's will tell you to go home, get a nice ice pack and watch a movie or two.  My friend decided to go play golf with his friends.  I am not sure what hole it was on, but when the swelling got very bad he finally went home and tried to get the swelling to go down.  It took a trip to the local Emergency Room  to drain off the bleeding that started on a backswing.  Bummer.

The other day I was in a specialty store in Lawrence and saw the entire shelf of canned sea food.  Smoked oysters and capers, sardines, clams and tons of other things I have never tried.   I was immediately transported back to a day in Vietnam.  We were out in the middle of nowhere and the unit commander wanted to send out a dismounted patrol and the recon Sergeant I had wanted to go with the Mortar FO and there was no need for me to go.  As we sat there in the sun relaxing, one of the guys asked the guys if they would like to share some of his goodies he just got from home.  It was an assortment of canned sea food and when we opened the cans, they were very salty so someone offered us a couple of cans of hot beer.  Never was I ever so sick.   I am sure it was the hot beer.

Once we were in the field at Fort Riley and on an overnight field problem.  About the time most people would have had a pretty good start on a night's sleep, One of the guys rummaged through his pack and found a couple cans of sardines.  They were nasty and stunk up the place.   He ate and then just left the cans there by his bunk.  I am not sure who, but someone during the short night woke up and put the cans of oily sardines in his boots.  I am sure that he wondered who they bad guy was all the next day when every time he met one of us we would say, "Do you smell sardines?"

Speaking of silly things that happened when we were in uniform, we had a Field Grade Officer in our unit that could not stand the sight of needles.  We would always take him into a class room and sit him down if shots were involved.  One day we were getting updates on our shots and he was due the TB test.   That's where they take little metal stick with a very small point and tap it on your arm to help the TB germs get in and if you had been exposed to TB, it would swell up.  No swelling, no problem.  No one even gave it a thought about the Major's aversion to needles.  As soon as he saw one of the guys in the line get that slight poke, he fell down like a polled OX.  The good news was that we were only a couple of blocks from the ER at the local Hospital. 

One year we were at Fort Carson, Colorado and were given a base camp in a fairly desolate area.  The Major in the pervious story had brought a small carpet to put by his bunk so he could put his boots on without getting his socks dirty.  Back in those days, we had blousing rubbers which were just little green bands with a hook on each end that would hold our pants legs up on top of our boots. As he picked up one of the rubbers, the hook on the end got hooked up on a loop in the rug and when he pulled it, it came loose and he was just sure that he had been snake bitten.  He was standing up on his cot afraid when someone noticed the blousing rubber there on the rug where he dropped it.  Much laughter over that one...

At the end of one of our summer camps, we had a party at the Officer's Club.   We had a tradition of mixing a helmet of Artillery punch and passing it around the room and the junior officer had the task of finishing it.   That same camp, one of my friends, who was the cheapest guy I had ever met bought a fifth of whatever rotgut was the cheapest at the Class VI Store.  He was supposed to send it to one of the guys on post who had done him a favor.  When  the guy opened the sack and saw that it was old rot gut, he instantly sent it back with a Thanks, but no Thanks card attached.  Being the good guy I was, I helped my friend drink that whiskey as it was passed around.  In about 15 minutes, I had to go get sick.   I almost immediately went back to our BOQ where I promptly went to bed.  The next morning, I woke up pretty sober and feeling like I could survive the long convoy home.  The rest of the officers in the battalion were still in pretty bad shape and I had to sit at the convoy Start Point and dispatch the units out as most of the convoy officers were still so drunk and hung over they couldn't function. 

Well, that's the long and the short of it.  Have a great day.

MUD, teller of short tales. 


My First Hockey Game

Last Night, the Capitol City Barbershop Chorus sang the National Anthem for the Local Hockey Team.  I stayed and watched the first period and we were all told of the saying, "I went to a fight and a Hockey Game broke out."   For the most part, it was a lot of fast skating and not much fighting.  Not being aware of the rules, it didn't make a lot of sense.  Four or five times up and down the rink and they teams would switch skaters.  That went on until a lucky bounce sent the puck into the net.  That was followed by some of the sappiest time out skits I ever saw.  It was neat to watch the Zamboni work out and then I went home.  I'll stick to basketball as my favorite sport.

Given a free choice, I think watching old western's or War Movies could be a close second to the Basketball games.  I am pretty sure that Barb loves basketball but not the old movies I watch.  She loves to watch people try to buy houses in places where they are grossly inflated and the kind of show where they restore old homes.  This spring it will be time to put some new touches on Rabbit Run.  25 years of good living here is beginning to show on the finish of our house. 

Have I mentioned that Barb and I have a deal?  I get to do the infrastructure and mechanical things and she does pretty.  I tend to be way too influenced by natural colors  (Brown, khaki and other muted colors) and she can do pretty, pretty well. 

Well, time to go out and about...



The Weather

I'd rather the weather was nicer but I'm glad it warms up enough to melt the ice off the sidewalk.  I am looking forward to Friday and perhaps a day of sunshine.  I want to take a couple of shots of the Capitol building and they just don't come out on foggy cloudy days.

Have you made your Christmas wish(s) yet?   Barb told me that my present was just the right size to send in a package to her Dad.  I think, (Hope) she will replace it but am not sure.  I need to get out and buy her present.   It is difficult to buy for people that really don't need much.  The truth is that several pairs of my underwear are getting so old that the elastic band in the waste bands are getting so old they need replaced.  Throw in a few pair of socks and I'll be set. 

I'm trying to find a roofer that will replace the roof on the rental house.  It is a combination of sloped and flat roof so not everyone can or will do it.  The estimates are coming in at about $8,000 so far.  The good news is that I will have enough money to pay the taxes and the roof.  Next year I'll re roof the little house and the garages.   It takes money to make money.    I also have some plans on remodel for the bigger house if my tenant follows through with her threat to move to Silver Lake come the end of the school year. 

Last night, I watched the KU Vs. Georgetown Men's Basketball game/wrestling match.   The have a 350 lb. center that just fills the lane.  He is the unstoppable force and it took a great shooting effort for Brannen Greene  of KU to keep ahead.  It was clear from the start of the game that the announcers thought Georgetown was going to win and KU might as well stayed home.  After leading for most of the game, Georgetown finally got a one point lead and the announcers went nuts.  KU soon tied it up and when Greene went on his three point shooting demonstration hardly talked about KU and their fine defense.  All in all, Announcers don't win or lose the game.  Georgetown fans stayed loud and proud but after playing in Allen Field House it was nothing the Hawks hadn't heard.  I was amazed that the referees could maintain any semblance of law and order with all the wrestling under the basket.  The Georgetown Center camped out in the lane and it was more like a 5 to 10 second rule for him.  Oh well, great game Hawks.   Now they have to play Utah and that will be a big challenge. 

For some reason, we sang at several "Older adult Facilities" last month and we are not going to do any Christmas singing.  Friday night we'll do the National Anthem at a Hockey Game here in Topeka. I told the wife that I may stay and watch a while as I have never really seen a Hockey Game.  Barb said she doesn't understand hockey beyond the puck in the net scoring.  The finer points of icing and penalty minutes are just not in her lexicon. 

Oh well, I hope you all have a great weekend and get to enjoy friends and family.



700,000 Visits

Top the many readers that drop by from time to time, I want to thank you for the hits here on Riding With Mud.  I think I need to include a few more stories about our bike rides.  That probably will entail us going to places warmer to ride.   Thanks for all your reading

MUD     (Mean Uncle Denny)

Social Needs

As what I think is a fairly normal person, I too have social needs that from time to time need filled.  I get a lot of that done when I sing with the Barbershop Chorus but there is also a few times when I just feel the need to get out and meet with people.   Today we went to mail some packages at the Post Office and met a nice young lady with two small children.  Doing my best imitation of Grandpa, I talked to the kids and on the way out of the Post Office the mother stopped to talk with Barb and I.  She had been a substitute teacher at Tecumseh North Elementary and she and Barb had a lot of friends in common.  It was nice to stop and talk to her for a few moments.  Made me wish we had offered to take them to lunch.

If I was to try to aim this Post to a topic, I guess it would be how people feed their social needs?  With the kids here while their bathroom gets remodeled,  there is a lot of social interaction with them.  With the Christmas season here, there will be family gatherings to go to.   What do you do to fill that need?   I am sure there are many of you that feel Church is a good place to go and meet people. 

Moving on to the next topic,  I am always amazed at the news does its best to dramatize topics way above their real importance.  Turn that around and I ask why some events don't get more attention.  There are more young people killed on the streets of Chicago and Detroit on a weekend than most of the rest of the US combined.  Let one young white girl in rural Oklahoma die and it gets 15 minutes of airtime. 

This morning Barb and I talked about how many people in the USA don't feel empowered to participate in the climb of the ladder in a career that pays a living wage.  I read that a lot of employers have taken to hiring older workers who have lost their jobs to replace the kids that would have taken these starter jobs.   I can relate to that when I went back to school in the fall of 1970 and my job at Safeway bagging groceries was filled by an laid off Engineer at Boeing.  Being the kind of guy I was, I worked at a Salvage a couple of days a week to make do.  Our needs were not that great and I did know how to work.    I didn't ever go back to Safeway so I don't know how that guy fared.  Most of the Boeing jobs were transferred to Seattle so I guess that guy either moved or stayed at a fairly minimal job. 

I hope you all can join in the discussion od how we can get our country back on track.  For those young people, there were a lot of worse times in the 60's and it is possible to put it all together.  It takes a lot of smart people willing to work on our problems and not run around playing gotcha.




I hear from a lot of people they can't find work.  I think what they mean is a job.  The difference is that if you are willing to work, you will smile, roll up your sleeves, do what you are told and then ask for more.  People that want a job want to have it fit their schedule, have little hard things to do and no one to ask them to do more.   Here is just a small collection of the things I had to do as I worked my way up in the job chain.

I think that mowing grass with a push mower was some of the hardest sweaty work I ever did.  No, not a gas powered model, a rotary push mower at Grandma's.  I had to oil it up and then really get it moving to keep it mowing.  I remember the first time my dad brought the gasoline mower over to Grandma's and I finished the yard in less than a half an hour.  It took most of the afternoon with the old mower.   I probably mowed more grass as a young man than most of anything else.  That was a job that was always good for a couple of dollars and I could find a lot of people that wanted it done. 

Our Boy Scout troop was led by a fellow that worked for Mr. Koch who was the father of the guys everyone demonizes today.  Our Scoutmaster would find small jobs at the Koch estate about the time it was time to go to camp.  I'll bet I weeded and cleaned up a mile or two of flower gardens each year. There was also a million bales of hay that needed to be stacked in the barn twice a year.  Sweat was the job and I did it well.

The next job I had was working in a gas station.  It was grunt labor and I was never finished.  I would also clean the station and the bathrooms on a regular basis.  I did learn a lot about cars and probably know the gas cap location of any car made between 1940 and 1965.  I learned how to replace fan belts and wiper blades.  I learned the common courtesy things that no one does today.  We would not only clean the windows, we would vacuum the floor mats.   I had one customer that would send his daughters into the station when they were going to Kansas City and I would really have to clean his Cadillac interior so the girls could stand to be in the car.  He smoked cigars and aimed the ashes at the ash tray but was not good at hitting the mark.  I would have to use the chemical window cleaner on the inside of the windows to remove the cigar smoke haze.  Water alone would not cut that gray haze.

Just before I went into the Military, I was lucky enough to get a construction job.  I was a basic laborer but I almost made myself valuable to the boss and was paid as a semi skilled laborer most of the time.  I could talk to the carpenters and find out what they needed to do whatever job they were doing that day.  Things like ladders, extension cords, nails and lumber were always as ready as I could make them when they went to work.  I also swept up the job sites and picked up everything at the end of the day.  I think I did my best to smile, do whatever needed done and be there if the boss needed anything. 

In the Military, I learned a lot about sharing the work and how to build teams to get things done.  I watched how the boss's set up jobs and the processes of whatever assigned duty we had.  I think the idea that the mission came first was a hard lesson to learn and one I learned well.  Most people will respond well if the job is explained to them and they have a chance to provide input on how they do the job.  It is sometimes hard to watch a new person do things the hard way but they learn just like I did.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that our young people today just don't have the experience in learning how to work well because they haven't done the grunt jobs.  I wish there was a way to give them the experience.


Just a Thought or Two

I am a fan of good movies and there are several that entertain me a lot.   The Green Mile was a story told in a novel format as the book was printed a chapter at a time.  It was made into a movie that had a lot of impact on me and I'm sure a lot of people loved the dramatics and the Sci Fi tied together in one tale.  Turn around the drama of that with the final escape in the Shawshank Redemption and again Steven King's story was made into a great movie.  Both were stories well told.

Today I was channel surfing and ran into the Judgment  at Nuremburg.   I had forgotten the impact of a movie that tied one hell of a story into the reality of the events of the 1930'd and 40's.  I think it has a relationship to what happens with the times of every decade.  Where does the responsibility of the actions of the people belong to the people and just how much belongs to the Government?   When will the Governments of the world stand the ISIS soldiers up and make sure they know that it is their personal responsibility to adhere to how to treat prisoners and not their Wart Leaders.  When will the Muslim leaders stand up and make sure that what they are doing is not in Allah's name but their own twisted way, and that way is wrong.   Just as we stand our Policemen up in front of the Grand Juries and make sure what they do is done right, where is the moral outrage that killing someone over a petty crime is not right.   You know it, I know it and I'll bet every cop with a mother would shake her head and say I didn't raise you that way. 

Even with my mother no longer here, I can hear her say Dennis, that's not the right way.  WWMMD?  What would my Mother Do?  (or Say) is not a bad way to live for me and I'll bet your mother would have the same feelings.

I have made it my goal to say hello to as many different people as I can as I go through my daily activities.  Black, white, brown, male or female are all greeted with the same howdy and I think it has changes me more than the people I meet.  Try it, you too might find that we are a hell of a lot more alike than different. 

MUD - Howdy Neighbor



I try to focus on the things I understand and try to not hold you to a standard that we don't both understand.  I think that if we look at the hard truth, we are a hell of a lot more alike than different.  There might have been a time that I wanted to be the richest SOB in town but I am pretty content to have what I have and would rather share than accumulate more.  I would rather call a close crew of people my friends than hate any one person. 

Last night, I went to the KU Vs. Florida Men's Basketball game.  The Florida team came out in the first half and it looked like Kentucky had come to Allen Field House all over again.  The young KU team overplayed the passing zones and Florida made them look foolish.  The second half started and the 15 point deficit became 18.  Then things changed,  slowly, KU started making shots and getting rebounds.  They chewed their way back in the game and the noise level in the Fieldhouse went through the roof.  When the score got tied, the place went crazy.  If I had to watch a regular game, I would have smiled and gone home.  Watching great people do great things it just couldn't have gotten any better.  Win or lose, this season will be a wonderful ride no matter the outcome. 

I am not sure where this post is really going.  I want you to know that we all share this little world and I will not hate you because of your color, race, religion or National Origin.  I hope you all wake up tomorrow and find a way to see how much the same we are, not the difference. 



Yes, I'm Curious

John Dillinger was once asked why he robbed Banks.  He replied "Because that's where the money is."    Why do the Police patrol the minority neighborhoods, "Because that's where the Crime is."  Why is this so difficult to understand?  If the unemployment is so high in the minority areas of the cities, why so many young men out on the street?  Because they don't have jobs, That's why.  Duh. We need to find ways to help them find jobs and they will go to work.  Hanging around a bunch of unemployed people is enough to make anyone feel there is little hope.

How can we increase the communication in our society so that people in poor areas understand that the Police are out there well armed because people there are?  If no one shoots or attacks the Police, they won't shoot and attack people there.   Having been a parole officer, I understand the problem of dealing with thugs.   Once you deal with a couple hundred of them, you begin to think they are all capable of Thuggery.   It only took me less than a year to get that callused and hard. 

My real question is how can we turn this around so the people and the police join forces to make it all work?    I smile and talk to Police officers and have only been stopped when I was breaking the Law speeding.  I was polite and gave the officer what he wanted when he asked for it and said yes sir, no sir when he asked questions.  He warned me to slow down faster and didn't even write a warning ticket.  I had and still have many friends on the Topeka Police force and like most of them.  I don't like them all because like the rest of the world, there are a few people I just can't abide. 

There are a couple of things I don't like in this world.  I really have a tough time dealing with stupid people.  I also have problems with people that try to use power instead of courtesy when dealing with people.  I will say yes sir and no sir and expect you to do the same.  I fully expect you to use my name properly and hate it when you use my first name unless we have been doing business for a while. 

All in all, I live where I do because I could go to school, make money and save some.  I am sorry that you don't live like I do but I didn't cause you to spend your money the way you did. 

MUD, aka Mr. Wondering Why


Happiness vs. Contentment

Are you a half full or half empty glass kind of person?   Are the voters that didn't bother content with the fact they didn't change the Government or unhappy because they don't think they can change things with their vote?  Are you chasing money in your job because of the things you think you want or happy in the idea that the money you make you able to have the things you love?   Do you love your job?  If so, you won't have to work a day in your life.  I won't tell you that I loved every job I had in my life, but I attacked them with as much vigor as I could stand to help me advance.

I was able to seek and reach advancement in my profession up to a point where I was making a darned good living.  I always felt there was a way I could make things better and sought positions of increasing responsibility up to the number two position in the agency.  I wanted to be the Chief of Staff and through two successive selections, I was not the person selected.  I was able to accept the choice they made secure in the knowledge that I could continue to have a darned good job in the end of my career. 

Once upon a time I had a talk with my dad and about the length of time he remained married to my mother.  He was sure that it was a lot of work to find a new person and have them love you.  For a little less work you could keep and love the wife you have.  After 46 years, I can attest to the goodness in his advice.

My wish for you this Holiday Season is to do your best to find happiness in what you have and not in what you get.  Sharing and caring for others is probably a lot better than trying to make things better for yourself.  Works for Me!

Even with a shiner, you can always find a way to wink

MUD, aka glass is half full kind of guy.



In my 67 years, I have had many memorable Thanksgivings.  A lot of them center around the Holiday meals we had in the Military.   I always tried to wear my red apron and my Santa Hat and serve pie to everyone that came through the line.   My favorite was to get to ask the small one's if they wanted "Pumpkin?"   Add a dollop of whipped cream and everyone went away with a smile on their face.

One Thanksgiving that I won't forget was the one in 1968.  I was sent out with a Montagnard unit for a three week operation  in the Plei Trap Valley.  When the mission first came down, it was a three day operation and in translation it turned into a three week operation.  I showed up with 9 C-ration meals and though I would be all good.  When we were told that it would be a three week operation, I had to go to the Special Forces camp and get the remainder of the meals in Freeze dried rice.   Basically it was a 2 oz. portion of some meat and a bag of rice for each day.  I saved the C-Ration meals to fill out the rest of the days.   Cheese and crackers became a meal rather than a snack.  One of the meals was boned turkey and I knew that Thanksgiving was right in the middle of the operation.  I saved that lone can of boned turkey out as special for that day.   When the day broke, we were ordered to make about a 5 mile move and it took almost all day.   That evening, I sat down to my bag of rice and can of turkey.  I smiled and gave thanks for living another day and that I had anything at all to eat.  From then forward, I always was glad to have anything served.  I am an easy guy to please.  In fact I love to pitch in and help get the meal ready.  I don't know if my smashed potatoes are really that good or if the wife has just convinced me that so I would fix them. 

One of the best ways for the meat is to smoke or grill the turkey. On Wednesday, it was cold and a 30 MPH wind was blowing.  I knew I didn't have to sit out there and be with the bird so I got everything ready and smoked it.  It sat in the Fridge overnight and I deboned it and put it in a pan to re-heat for lunch.   I also will make the dressing and the potatoes in a little while.   Barb will do the pies and rolls and the veggies.  Barb Jr. is going to make baked Brussel sprouts and help set it all up. 

I am glad to have the life I have and the friends and family to share it all with.  I hope you all have a great day and get to share it with them.  I will.



Do Something Different

My Challenge to everyone and especially those people that are doing their best to burn and loot Ferguson, MO and the surrounding towns is.   Do What you Did, and you will get what you Got.  Raise your children with the idea that because they are black they don't get a fair chance in life and guess what, they will burn your town down when things don't go their way.  Instead of empowering them to go figure out how they can be a part of change and how our Government gives them power like few other countries, do tell them they are inferior. 

The other day I listened to a commentator talk about how the problems in Ferguson are just stacked against the Government in charge.  If they react to the lawlessness, they are racist and adding to the burden of the black people.  If they don't, they are leaving the law abiding business owners to the mercy of a mob.  It is a no win situation.   Someone said that the police are spending too much time in the poor communities and it is unfair.  Hell Yes, it is unfair that the majority of the crime occurs where the poor people live.  When we change the culture of our society and help everyone know what a great place this is to live can we ever hope to have people do their best to achieve their best.

The other day I watched a program about crime in the fair city of Colorado Springs, CO.   There was a moving truck getting ready to make a pickup in a housing development the next day.  There were four ex-felons that decided to break into the truck and steal what they could.   The first problem was that four ex-felons were living in this one housing complex.  The second problem was there was nothing but a sleeping guy in the truck so instead of not taking anything, they took his life by beating him with a tire jack.  If they had opened the door and when they saw nothing inside just left, probably no one would have called the police.  But these thugs thought they might get caught so they killed a man.  Say What?  Are we so blind as a society that our children grow up thinking that any life, including theirs is disposable?   Three of the four guys got four years in prison and one guy with the jack got life in prison.  Where did we go wrong?

If you live in Detroit, and your city is falling down around you, don't re-elect the Government of the same party that got you to where you are.  I don't know for sure but from what I have read, the Democrats have been in charge there so long that there probably aren't any Republicans left in the city.  Notice that I haven't said anything about race?  I don't care if a person is pink, white, black or indifferent, they have a mind and can vote to make changes.  If the elections don't make the needed changes, vote with your feet and get the hell out of Dodge or Detroit as the case may be.

This is our country and we need to stand up and tell people what we think and what need to be done to make it change.  If you think that rioting and burning your town down, you don't understand.  Why did the black owned businesses leave Watts in California?   The citizens burned down their businesses down.  No Bank would loan them money to rebuild and even if they did have financing, the insurance rates there would have been way too high to make a profit.  Now everyone is standing around and yelling there are no black laundries, barbershops or small business owners in the black communities.   Gee, wonder why?

Don't tell me that you can't get a leg up on life if you don't first stand up and say here is my plan and I'm going to make it work.  We will pay for your education through High School and if you are willing to work for it, you can go to college.   I did and so can you.  But, do what you did and you will get what you got.

MUD, and Mad as hell


Are You a Geek?

Many years back, I thought I was a Geek and headed for faster and better things in my electronic life.   I sat in a Staff meeting for my boss when he was out of town and the Chief of Staff cam into the meeting.  He asked us who owned a computer and I was the only person that raised my hand.  I had purchased an Apple 2C for our son and I was basically a user.  That meant that I could do word processing, had a rough idea of spreadsheets and I was many levels into a game called Load Runner.

The chief knew that I was about to get promoted to GS11 and he told me that I was now the new GS-11 Director of Information Management for the Kansas Army National Guard.   What did that entail?  He had no clue but he told me that I needed to pack my bags and be ready to attend a meeting that week in Washington, D.C.   I loved to travel on the Government's dime so I did what I was told and showed up at the meeting.  

From the first minute of the meeting, it was clear that most of the people there had been working in the Computer Processing Center in each state.  I was so far behind them that I had to sit and study a thesaurus to understand most of what they said.  The new DOIM from Arkansas, Carol Johnson took pity on me and spent a lot of time helping me just keep up.  I was really good at taking notes but that didn't help if I didn't understand the enormity of the job.   Basically, what we learned was that in a month, we would attend a class that showed us how to write the Automation Architecture for each State.  I was to go back home and have the Chief of Staff pick 4 or 5 other people to assist in the process.  That was done.

We went to Camp Ripley Minnesota for a week long class and our team learned what we needed to do.  Somewhere in the bowels of the documents stored for prosperity is the original copy of the automation Architecture we wrote.  It was a current diagram of the locations of our units, the State Staff and how we needed to link it all together.  Somehow we acquired a part of another State's plan and it helped us quantify the amount of computer processing files we needed to automate.  It was a colossal amount of work and I don't have a clue if it ever really did anything for Kansas.  I think the plans were somehow averaged and that helped some contractor in Washington write a giant plan and build a budget. 

From there, I stumbled on for about a year in the computer business until a job in Operations and Plans opened up and I moved back into my comfort zone.  I could write plans until the cows came home and loved solving problems in a language I knew.  "Geek Dom" was not for me and I just simply have remained a power user.   Now enter today's modern mysteries and I am reduced to the kind of guy that relies on others to solve the computer problems.

Do you remember that I said that the Apple 2C was for our son?  The good news is that once that seed was planted, he stayed in touch with the business and even worked on the Geek Squad at Best Buy for a while.  He keeps me up and running.

I guess where I am heading with this is that I am going to raise the flag of "Help" soon and see if I can get Dave to sow me how this monster I have to type on works.  I want to know what the hell I have all this terra bites of information for and why things are going out to the cloud?  What the hell is a cloud and will it one day bite me on the butt and make me pay for the storage?  

MUD aka working faster than my brain can process.



My family was always musical and I had no idea that it wasn't just a God Given talent that came natural to everyone.  My grandmother Erma and my mother both played the piano loud and well.  The rest of us just joined in and made music.  We were fairly poor so we didn't have a chance to travel for vacations, we would mostly go to grandma's.  They tended to live in fairly remote places and we would gather around and sing in the evenings.   My sister Carol went on to be a music major and taught music throughout her teaching career.

My first organized singing came at Minneha Elementary in Wichita, KS.  Mrs. Holloway just like my family made it so much fun to sing that we did so every chance we could.  Those guys and gals that weren't as musically talented were given percussion instruments to make noise with.   I was a part of the choir through most of my elementary years.  Our Christmas songs were always great.   Oh Holy Night was the knock out because we had Margaret Mulligan singing the first stanza and she had the voice of an angel.  When the entire choir joined her, it was just pure beautiful music.  I am pretty sure having that choir was a like the basketball team winning the National Championship.  We never sang when we didn't get a standing ovation.  I have always wondered where Margaret went to as we lost touch with her as we went to High School.

For some reason, I started in the band in Junior high and one music elective was all I could fit in and graduate.  I played the Sousaphone and we were fortunate enough to have two so I could leave one at home and have one at school.  It was way too hard to carry back and forth and when I learned that the band director had passed my name on to the High school band director, as fodder for the marching band, I dropped out of band.  There was just no way I wanted to carry that cold hunk of brass around on the football field. 

In my first year of High School, I started in Spanish 101 and found the language fun but the teacher made it such a piece of work that I soon left that behind.  To this day, I love the Spanish speaking people and love their food. Their language was just more than I wanted to accomplish.   When I dropped out of Spanish class, there was only one class that I could join mid semester and that was Chorus.  Back singing with a group for me. 

 I started as a baritone with the chorus and loved it.  The highlight of that first year was the mass singing of the Messiah at the Forum Downtown.  I think each school sent a group there and we put on what to me was the best performance I had ever been in. They brought in professional singers for the solo parts and we filled that arena with music.

 The vocal music Director asked me to join his choir the next year and from a student body of 7,000, I went to the Chorus of 200 to the choir of about 75.  I also sang with the "Choraleers" a very select group of 20.  The day they had the quartet tryouts, I had a cold and was not selected.  I sang with them as the replacement if one of them was sick and could not go to a sing out.   It didn't hurt that I had my own car and could drive them when they needed to go. 

During my Senior year, the choir had an abundance of Bass and baritones.  One day as we did our warm ups, the Director watched as I went from Bass to Tenor in singing the scales.  I became a tenor midway through my senior year and stuck with that for a long time.  If you remember there were a lot of songs back in the 60's that had tenor voices singing high and loud.  I could do that.

After High school came the Army,  followed by college and then a career with the National Guard.  I sang all the time but mostly for my own pleasure.   In 1998, I had a case of bronchitis and I thought I was going to cough up my lungs. I was given that pack of meds that started with five pills, then four, then three and down to one. I was so cold for a week that even my wife's feet were warmer. 

I found that after that, I was better off at Baritone or Bass.   I found the Barbershop Chorus through Wayne Cline and I was off to the running.  I sang baritone for about three years and loved the music but hated the director.  I stopped singing for a couple of years and rejoined them and now am a part of the bass section.  We have four or five of the best guys I have ever sung with.  The rest of the chorus isn't bad.  Our new Director is one of the best I have ever sung with.  He manages to make the Monday night practices just fly by. His musical talent is just great.

I hope that you all find a way to make music a part of your life and draw much fun from that experience.   I do and hope to sing till I can't sing no more. 



Out of Body Experience

If you are as old or older than I am, you realize that while you are able to motivate yourself to do things, there just isn't the ability any more.  There was a time I could run a six minute mile in combat boots but now I am lucky if I can find my keys fast enough to drive that far that fast. 

I had the eyes of an eagle and could read line 15 at 20 feet and if it moved, I could see it no matter how far off in the distance.  Now even with reading glasses I struggle to read the morning paper.  I have almost given up reading books and like my mother, watch old movies on TV.

I hurt my back years ago and the arthritis has me taking Naproxen Sodium twice a day.  I can tell if I miss my dose because of the lack of mobility.  If I forget my evening dose, sleep comes very hard. 

I swear that having that kitten here is like having a heard of Buffalo.  I didn't realize how much noise a kitten can make running on the floor upstairsIf he see's a squirrel   go over the edge of the deck, he will run full steam downstairs to catch him on the ground.  No, he will not probably be an outside cat - ever.  We have coyotes, owls and varmints that would love to make short work of that tasty tender kitten.

We have friends in Morocco and she wrote about a mist or fog that contained so much dust that it left a layer on everything.   Here in the heartland if the north wind kicks up, it will pick up parts of Nebraska and leave it deposited on the cars.  Many times I have to run the windshield washer as I drive out of the driveway to see clearly where I am going.  For those of us that studied Meteorology at the Cannon Cocker College at Fort Sill, we know that it is caused by the fact the wind sucks in Oklahoma. 

Better get moving for the day.



Out of My Mind

This is a short blog about what happens to my mind as I age.  Tomorrow I will do one about my body if I can remember because of what's happening to my mind. 

To tell the truth, I have always had trouble with attention deficit disorder.  What I really missed was the Hyper Activity that seems to go along with it.  I did have a tendency to go all out and then fall asleep where I stopped but it is the attention deficit that always caused me the most trouble.

I am not sure if I filter the events in my life into piles and a lot of the things I deem unimportant seem to never get done.   I had to carry a day runner when I worked to keep me on track.  I would spend an extra 15 minutes at the end of the day building my tomorrow's "To Do" list and then I would refer to it to stay on track. There were things that stayed undone but that was because of the priority I put on them.  I always wanted to be in charge and for the most part that entails getting things done on time and to have them done well.  I was the opposite of my friend that said he would do things just well enough to not get fired but not so well that he would be assigned that task again. 

 If I did something, it was pretty well done.  Let me see, I was the security guy for several Inaugural dinners for the Governor.  I was the "Big Bunny" at the Easter egg roll,  I was always the guy that made sure the cannons were in place when they were needed and the right hand man for my boss for many events.   One thing I did was to write the script for the Annual Convention of the National Guard Association's meeting for two presidents and then mine.  I held the record of having the fastest Business meeting when I was in charge.  I would have the Sergeant of Arms get the presenters ready and have them up on stage when it was their turn.   In the past, they would come to the back door of the hall and be announced and take many minutes to get to the podium.  I knocked all that out and finished by 2:30 what was seldom over until almost 4.  By that time, the crowd would have thinned as people would escape.

As I age, I find that I can't always remember to get the things I am going to the store for. At one time I could brainstorm ideas and seldom left things off the list.  In the past I could make a mental list and then think of extra things I needed as I shopped.  Heck, I even went to Wall*Mart hungry the other day.  That is almost a fatal mistake and thank god not a budget buster.

I have always had a flaw that caused me to not always consider the feelings of others.  I am not sure if it would be called unfeeling or just too busy with other things so I don't notice.  I have many people tell me that I tend to be too direct when I write.   Direct hell, I can't even spell obtuse.  (Spell checker keeps me straight) 

Everything I have written above is slowly fading away and I am even having enough trouble with my eyes that I am not reading nearly as much as I once did.  I could pick up a book and by reading the first page remember if I had read it or not.  Now I have to get into the book a chapter to even remember the plots.  I really wonder how long it will be before I can hide my own Easter eggs and wrap my own presents.  Such is the revenges of old age.   Now if I can remember to remain happy in spite of it all.

MUD, aka drifting away in my own mind

Friday, Already?

Yesterday I loaded my pill case and by last night, I couldn't remember if it was Wednesday or Thursday.  You would think that after starting the tractor and taking the recycle container out to the court I might be fairly sure, but doubt lingered.  I think the football games on Thursday evening confused this old man some.  Both KC and K-State played and it was clear that they both had to play hard to make it a game.  It was unfortunate that KC couldn't pull it out and K-State hung on for the win.

It is kind of a funny year here at Rabbit Run.  We have the Grand Kitties here to liven up the place and it is clear that dogs can be trained and cats train their caregivers.  Throw in the antics of a young male kitten and things just are funny in the morning.  He likes to be where Barb is and she is not a cat person.  He has been known to attack her toes as she sits in the chair and reads.  I think the most interesting thing is when they watch the birds and squirrels out on the lower steps.  They watch intently but don't react to the birds nearly as much as when one of those bushy tailed rats show up.  Pixel just let out a loud mew and ran up stairs.  No telling what was on his mind. 

I think it is time for Barb and I to take a short road trip.  I really don't mind her commenting on stupid political actions highlighted in the paper, but when she turned it on me, we both need to get away.  Perhaps even to the same place.

We are on a slight warming trend and perhaps by Thanksgiving day it will be fairly normal outside.  We will be here and feed the group (troop) a Turkey Feast.  I am not sure if I want to smoke the bird if it does warm up enough.   I will watch the weather and see if Wednesday will be nice enough to be outside from time to time.  If not, we will just do one in the oven like the rest of the world.   I am just redneck enough to like mine brined and smoked.  I am still working on how to make smoke and keep the temperature low enough.  I have an extension for the lid that lifts it up so it is not right on the bird.   It is the support system for the rotisserie but it does work fine for lifting the lid away from the bird. 

What will you serve on Thanksgiving?  We will have the bird, some ham, smashed potatoes, green bean casserole and pies.  Oops, I left out the wonderful rolls the wife always makes.  I will also make dressing and gravy.   Dang, I can't even remember what I will be making.  I sure hope the day of the event I can keep it all straight.  I will try to claim the duty of chief cook so I can avoid the KP duty at the end.  Thank god for dishwashers.  If I had to do them by hand, I would go get a part time job to buy one.  The good news is that one of these days we will have to replace the one we have and have enough to pay for it.   With my collection of tools and a truck, I would probably fetch one and put it in myself. 

Oh well, I'd better get on the road and see what needs done before I get nailed for shirking my duties.

MUD, aka chief cook but not the bottle washer.


Watch Out, The Law of Unintended Consequences is about to get us.

In past posts, I have tried to point out that in many cases, there are Unintended Consequences that follow from actions that Politicians don't fully understand.  For example, raising the standards for Medical Insurance without measuring the impact of the higher rates will raise the rates for all.  We were promised lower rates and that we could keep the Doctor we had.  The longer this goes on, the less likely the trust in our Government will survive. 

Now we face having another 12 Million undocumented people from Central and Middle America be given a path to citizenship without regard to their ability to provide to the common benefit.  In fact, they are likely to cost us way more than we will benefit in a lot of areas.

The first area is that the Government has no plan or intention to force the new people to pay taxes on their income.  Many will continue to work as day laborers and "Off the grid earners."  There will be many added to the Social Security rolls that have not paid into the system like the majority of us.  There is a projected timeline that the system will run out of money and add 10 or 12 million more won't help.

The new undocumented workers will rely on the Hospital emergency rooms for their medical needs.  Have you been to the Emergency room lately?  They are crowded, slow and full of sick children that should see a primary care physician not the emergency room.  

I   am not entirely convinced that addition of 12 million people will be the death knell to our system but I do want the Government to be truthful when they do things that have massive implications on our systems. 

One final note is that today our local people said that only 42% of the people voted in our last election.  It is a shame that our friends and neighbors care so little about the direction our Government is headed.  When it really gets smelly and things get crispy, don't blame it all on the people that voted. 

They Did What?


It could be Worse.

This morning I walked out to get the paper and it is a typical 20 degree day with a light breeze from the north.  I came inside and saw the news from Buffalo, NY.   5 feet of snow on the ground and 4 inches and hour falling down and here I was concerned that my tootsies might be cool.  It Could Be worse. 

When I think about ways to get a good return on my investments, I realize that I have to have money to be concerned about return on my investments.  It could be worse. 

My son and his wife are here for a couple more weeks while their house is getting a new bathroom after a small fire.  I listened to a program on the Today show and they were talking about the one in thirty children that have no home.  It could be worse. 

When I think about al the small jobs I have to do, I realize that there are many people my age that have to still be working to live.  It could be worse.

There are times when I think about how unexciting my day has been and then I hear about the rifleman that shot up a University in Florida.  It could be a hell of a lot worse. 

I guess the recurring theme I want to share with you is that we all have it pretty darned good and "It Could Be Worse."  Aren't we glad it isn't.

MUD,  aka the man with a smile on his face


Can Kentucky Play Basketball?

Last night, the KU Men's basketball team met Kentucky on a neutral court and got killed.  They were out rebounded, out shot and out coached.  Bad day in bedrock for the Rock Chalk.  They missed 45 shots that while were a little contested, they were hurried and their shots were not finessed at all.  Perhaps losing a shooter from the outside may prove to be a loss they can't get over. (Conner Frankcamp)  After 10 seasons of owning the Big XII perhaps this is their year to just grow as a team.  Kentucky will feed the Professional Basketball draft and we'll see them again.  

OK, enough of the pity party from Petty.  I hope my slightly negative outlook is due to the headache I have.  I want to blame it on dust from the renovation but I think it is probably the first slight head cold of the season.    I had stopped taking my allergy pill a week back but I went out and renewed them yesterday.  The dust in the air is on full move and having the cat dander hasn't helped. 

The manager in me wants to start a spreadsheet on the renovation at Dave's.  At one time I had a program that did that but it was a long time back and several system changes.  Probably not even alive today.   I will just use the spreadsheet program and color code the timelines.

I have an appointment with the designer from the cabinet company today and amazed that she doesn't understand that the bathroom is completely gutted and she can put them anywhere she wants.  Even the stub out for the toilet was removed and capped.  It can be put about any place needed.  That was a problem earlier but not now.  I know the company does a great job as they did both our kitchen cabinets and the bookshelf/desk downstairs. 

I finally found a copy of Pentatonix's new album PTX III.  The store I went to didn't have any of their new Christmas albums on hand.  They sold out quickly.  Their mellow blending and unique music just makes the Christmas sound rock.   I first found them through their singing "Little Drummer Boy" last year.  

This weekend our Chorus is going to sing at 4 Older Adult facilities and I was kind of blown away that we are not going to focus on Christmas.  I guess the experience of fitting our winter sing outs so near Christmas just didn't set well with some people.  We are still working on some good Christmas songs.  The best to me is our version of "Do You Hear What I hear."  "May There Be Peace On Earth" isn't bad.  I think some simple songs well sung are worth their weight in gold. 

The kitten Pixel sleeps all night and wakes up in the morning with a full schedule of kitty play.  He also likes to sit by the window downstairs and stare at the birds that come into the feeder.  He also loves to attack Barb's feet as she sits on her chair reading.  I think it is sheer boredom that brings out that in him.  Yes, I will probably miss the little bugger when he moves back home.

Oh well, better move on.   Have a great day.




Twice this week, a Facebook friend has sent out a warning that the energy drink Monster is anti Christian and in one case did severe harm to the child of a friend.  A few years back there was a push to do the same to Procter and Gamble and it was all made up stuff about the symbols  on the package.  I personally don't drink the stuff, but I think people have better things to do than to go around making stuff up about a Company.   Get a life. If it happens again, I will lose a Facebook friend if my notifying her of my objection to the post didn't solve that for me.

Last night our Barbershop chorus had one of the best practices we have had in a long time.  We took pictures of the chorus and worked on the four or five songs we will sing this weekend.  We are going to four "Older Adult Facilities" and do performances there.  I was blown away by the quality of the singing we did to get ready.  Can't wait to see if this carries over to the performances. 

It is cold and sunny here in the Heartland and it is going to get a little better by Thursday.  I think our daytime high will reach all the way up into the 40's.  Will seem like a heat wave.   I still won't be wearing shorts but at least I will have to wear a couple less layers. 

I am sure that in the world of Geek Dom, the designers of the new software and systems think they are doing everyone a favor when they release a new system/software update.   What it really does is make the old guys like me unfamiliar on making things work.   There are things I knew how to do that elude me on the newer systems.  Don't even get me started about the fact that I purchased enough memory storage to keep me into the next 20 years and I find my stuff out on the cloud.  What the heck is the cloud.  If I can't touch it, access it and make it user friendly, what value is it to me.  Will I wake up one of these days and find that I will have to pay to download my "stuff" or pay to keep it where I didn't want it to go in the first place.  What happens when I am off net somewhere and I want to see my pictures?    Yep, I'll bet they will be unavailable.  Oh well, ain't progress great? 

This morning the local paper was just full of all kinds of gloom and doom.   Our first Gay couple was married here in Kansas and that wasn't a negative thing.  There was the happy note that Charles Manson is getting Married.   He is probably not going to be paroled ever and doesn't have conjugal rights so at least there won't be any little chuck's running around. 

Tonight Kentucky and KU will play and it will be the number 1team vs. the number 5 team.  I am sure that there will be enough McDonald's All Americans to earn both teams a Big Mac or two.  Throw in the trans fat from the fries and in a couple of weeks from now no one will remember what's the big deal.  Oh well.

Better run.



KU Seniors

The KU Football team sure played a great game against TCU yesterday.   They led a lot of the game and if the ref's hadn't overturned an interception they might even have won.  Yes, I do know that TCU could probably have scored there again at the end of the game and didn't.  Either way, the seniors should go away with a god feeling.  Those Texans are just pussies about cold weather.

When I was a kid, we would go to Arkansas a lot.  My grandparents had a place over where the little Buffalo and Buffalo rivers met.   It was pretty much uninhabited most of the year.  There were enough lizards to keep kids busy chasing them.   When I was a kid, there were Horny Toads that are now called horned frogs.  Wonder why?

It is hard to generate a lot of interesting things to write about when it is in the middle of the first cold snap.  Between westerns and football, I had one of those days when it was easy to take a nap and no one notices.  I even listened to our 2015 Barbershop CD from one end to the other. 

Our local paper has started carrying two pages out of the Wall Street Journal in their Sunday Business section.  Some times I agree with what is said but it varies.  I am in agreement that it is difficult for seniors to find a good investment right now.  I think the stock market is in for at least a 25% price correction in the coming year.  I am tempted to get a big jar and bury some money n the back yard.  Perhaps a bigger mattress would do the trick. 

One interesting thing in the paper was the advice they gave on how you should distribute your assets when you die.  Lots of good advice there about taking the first step of talking about it with your heirs. I for one never had a problem in talking about her assets with my mother.  She set up a few items that she designated a specific person as the recipient.  My sister Carol got the Roosevelt election poster (Thank God), Myrna got a drop leaf table that had belonged to Grandma.  Rick got the arrow head collection and I got a lamp that Dad made in High School.  In fact it illuminates my computer desk as I am writing this.  The rest of the estate we did our best to liquidate so it was money in Mom's account.  I think it gave each of us about $5,000.  The rest was stuff and we had a get together where we got to choose from the left overs.  We went from the oldest to youngest and chose what we wanted.  The rest got donated to Good Will.  I for one will not have that problem as Dave will inherit anything left when Barb dies.  I will be cold and gone and Barb's long lived genes will last a lot longer than I will.  In Kansas, the life expectancy is about right in the middle of the pack.  I think 78.4 years is not a bad goal.  Based on the past 15 years,  I should last that long but one never knows.

One thing I thought interesting is the recommendation that you outline what you want in your Obituary.  There are a few details that are needed like when and where you died, were born, and your parents names.  The name of your spouse and children is generally here and to aid in the research listing your brothers and sisters is a good thing.  Beyond that is just a lot of information that is not needed.  The researchers say to list and Military Service and major Awards and Decorations and you major employment.  For me, that's the same thing.   I hope you don't find this too morbid. 

Do you love to laugh and listen to good music?  Those are two of my favorite things.  Throw in a good meal and you have it nailed on how to keep an old dog happy.  If I could find a way to watch Western's, get a hair cut and shine my shoes at the same time, I would be satisfied.  I know a combination Comedy club and pizza parlor with an area you can watch western, get a hair cut and have Pentatonix music playing.  At one time I wanted to live between a library and a liquor store.  Now that I have stopped drinking and my eyesight is not as good as it was, I will settle on being here at Rabbit Run. 

Have a great day.