Do TV Commercials Go Too Far?

Seems like every commercial in Prime Time tells us that we have to look better, eat better  and/or have a better sex life.  This morning on the Today Show they had a discussion on "Manopause." I guess as the Baby boomers come of age, there is some expectation that because of the Modern Meds, we can remain fully healthy and active.   (What ever than means to you)   I will fully admit that through Modern Medicine I do not have to worry about High Blood Pressure or high Cholesterol readings when I make my annual trip to the Doctor for a Physical.  What is very interesting is that my brother and I are on the same medicine for the same reasons. 

Like I said, do TV Commercials go too far?   Depends... (Bump, Bump, Bump or the drum roll of your choice)    I can understand the desire of advertisers to sell their product during daytime soap operas, but do we really need to see a woman on an obstacle course telling us that she is wearing Tampax Pearls?   A lot of women find that part of the month not conducive to heavy physical exercise, I Think?   Probably will get a lot of negative feedback on that one.

This morning, Barb and I had a strategic meeting to discuss the battle plan for today.  I think there will be at least 12 people here for dinner and making it all come together is worthy of a Plan of Attack.  The only unknown at this time is the exact time of the dinner.   I think everything is better if the food and the people arrive near the same time.  This is one of the few times that I would love to have a chef here to do the finish plating.  Oh well, it will work as it almost always does.  I will aim to have several items in crock pots or just coming out of the oven.  The one thing that won't is the steaks that will come off the grill.  That is something I can fairly control by the time I start.  I can also move the steaks on and off the flame to control the cooking time.  Mostly I sear the steaks and then finish them with a smoky heat.  Perfection is a combination of Sam's Club Steaks and Dale's steak seasoning.  Marinate the meat a while and then cook it.  Dave and I have stopped using steak sauce.

Well the Birthday Card inflow has started.  I generally get a card from my broker pretty much a day or so early and tomorrow is the big day.  I'm sure something will be said tonight at dinner but if not, tomorrow is the day.  One of my best gifts is to have the Reimers here to visit.  We generally only see them once a year and like the punch line of that old joke, "Tonight's the night."

Speaking of old jokes, Al Roker today on the Today Show said the punch line about "putting the potato in the front."  The thing that started the whole discussion was the fact that one of the other hosts was sent a Bobble Head Doll from the Depends Company.  On the shirt, it said Drop your Trousers for  "underwearness."  For the sake of my readers, I won't tell the joke that leads up to the punch line except to tell you that it involves the strategic placement of a potato in men's swim suits. 

Yesterday I looked up my camera on the Nikon Web site.  I bought it in June of last year and it is just out of the warranty period.  It has an estimate of $125.00 to fix the problem and it is enroute to the shop in California.  I sure have had pretty good luck with Nikon Products and hope this is a quick fix. It is either a mechanical or software problem with downloading pictures through the USB cable.  The battery charging light seems to flash when it is hooked up but I am pretty sure the battery dies even when it says it is charging.  At least the light quits blinking.  Oh well, it is now their problem to fix.

Better finish up the last minute things here and get ready for the treck to the Airport.  Our Music Director says that my speech pattern sometimes come out in my singing.  I don't understand, Doesn't everyone "Warsh their clothes in the crick?"



More Guests

We just had our Texas Guests leave and are expecting the Reimers tomorrow.  It gives me a chance to cook for the masses.  I think my calling was as a cook in the Army and in their typical fashion they assigned me to be an Artilleryman.  I also think that because I was a typical growing boy I love to eat.  I am more a consumer than a gourmet, but I also have had a lot of positive reinforcement from Barb.  Dave thinks my assessment is spot on.  "Anyone that goes home hungry from the Petty's does so at their own free will." 

One of the things I enjoy is an evening out that starts with dinner.  We generally go from there to a grocery store.   Mom would say, "If I can eat it or wear it, I don't need it."  I now understand that much better.  We have stuff coming out of our ears and storage places.  In fact I noticed that the freezer needs to be defrosted but it is full.  I think this is one assignment that I need to focus on before we go on vacation.   We came home a few years back and the GFI circuit breaker had tripped.   It is hard to describe what a freezer full of frozen food can turn into in a couple of weeks in a garage in August in Kansas.  My father would say, "It would gag a maggot."  Dad wasn't a flowery in his sayings but generally pretty much spot on.

Speaking of sayings, (Notice the transition that is symptomatic of ADD)  When we would have dinner it was generally the source of things that both Mom and Dad would say.  When Mom would cook up one of her surprise hashes, Dad would look in the pot and say, "Looks like the dog got sick." Mom would answer with, "I cooked it, I don't have to name it."  Me, I would just get a fork and dig in (Most of the time)  I am sorry that my Mom would cook liver and onions now and then and I would just try to not be there for that meal.  She also had a mystery meat spread that we ate in large quantities on Wonder Bread.  One day I was home sick from school and Mom cooked the ingredients for her mystery meat.  I could handle the beef heart but the cow tongue was more than I could stomach.  When I spilled the beans on the contents, the mystery meat was taken off the future menu.

One of my favorite meals was the Arkansas Hash that mom made one vacation trip we went on with my Cousins that moved to Colorado.  We went to the Cabin my Grandparents had near Pruitt, Arkansas.  After a week of roaming the hills and swimming in the river, we had a powerful appetite, At least I did.  The women in their wisdom took an electric skillet and cooked everything on the pantry shelf for that last meal.  Having been a victim of the mystery meals by Mom,  I just dug in. My Aunt, Mattie Jean, hadn't been given Mom's rule about naming it if she cooked it and she pronounced it as Arkansas Hash.  For years, Mom would laugh when someone would ask for that Arkansas hash. She could throw stuff in a skillet as well as the next woman but replicating that meal was just not possible. 

For years, when we would go to Pruitt, South of Harrison, AR on AR - 7 Highway, we would almost always go through Carthage, Missouri.   It wasn't until much later that I really looked at our route on a Map.  It was a little out of the way but then I remembered my Dad loved Hamburgers and there along the highway was two Hamburger stands.  One on each side of the road and we would almost always be there at a meal time.  Both of them had a sign that told us the hamburgers were 6 for a dollar and we would always get a sack full.  I don't remember French fries, just burgers.  Most of the time we had a cooler full of Pepsi and that was probably the cheapest meal we could get on the road.  The funny thing was that a few miles South of there Dad would almost always take a cut off through Roaring River Trout area.  About the second turn, there was a turn off and my sister Carol would almost always have dad stop so she could throw up.  It was a regular thing and it didn't seem to bother anyone else but her. 

Oh well, better get on with the final touches down here in the basement.  I will have to do what we called mucking out of the area around my computer.  Things seem to accumulate here as it is an area I spend a lot of time at.  Have a great day.  Did I mention that here in July we are having September weather?  It may get down in to the 50's tonight.




Seems like our phone has been ringing off the wall with "Robo calls" supporting all sides of every argument.  One sponsored by one of the Political Parties asked me to complete a survey.  It was a blatant attempt to get me to support them financially with a donation.   Not me!

The move to give equal time to every candidate they are looking for every little thing they can.  A local candidate for the State House  has raised $20,000 and they consider this news.  The fact that the Lt Governor has loaned the Governor's campaign $500,000 twice is news but the small amount a candidate raises isn't.  It almost makes me feel like I shouldn't even write it here.  Your cost of reading this blog is that I have to write about something.

The more we hear about the problems going on in Gaza, the more it seems that the world doesn't understand that the Muslims hate the Jewish State and want them dead.  Not moved, but dead.  I would think that the first time I shoot a rocket at them and they blow up the street it was fired from, I would understand.  I think the disparity between the number of  people the Jewish guns kill and the number the rockets kill would cause most people to think about it.  The tunnels into Israel will soon be covered by the News Media and it will be plain that there was a major incursion planned.  When that all comes to light, perhaps the Jews will get some positive press.

Have I mentioned that I hate John Kerry.  When I came home for Vietnam after doing my duty for a year in a place where the enemy tried to kill me on a regular basis, I was dammed by John Kerry for being a Baby Killer.  I think he might have been right to say that the Vietnam War was one that we could not win politically, but my conduct and that of the men that served with me isn't just fare game. We were dammed for the conduct of a few by an over educated boob.  As far as I am concerned his being out of touch was so obvious in his run for the Presidency.  All you had to do was to listen to him lecture us and you got the idea of his feelings of superiority.  I would call it delusions of adequacy.   His silver spoon was so apparent that I could hardly stand him then and even more now.  I can't imagine what the world thinks of us with him representing us.

Our practice last night was a roll out of the Christmas songs that are being considered for this season.  I honestly hadn't heard two of the songs.  I thought I had listened and or sung about any song ever written for the Christmas season.  Not so Bucko.  I have found that there is a pretty good representation of all the Barbershop Music on YouTube, but there are a few holes in that repertoire. I did find a pretty large selection of CD's in our own Chorus files and I made a copy of all that I could find.   The quality of the CD's vary but it does let me hear the songs while I practice.

How do you learn?   I am the kind of person that learns by doing something over and over.  I do like to see the music a few time at first but I would rather just sing along with something.  In the Military I liked to read the directions (Mostly a Field Manual) on how to do something and then do it. The more I could put things in the right order the easier it was for me to do it.  Then my secret is Practice, Practice and more practice. 

Oh well, the dogs are gone so I need to get busy removing the nose prints on the doors and windows.  I love them but they are a pain to maintain and clean up after.   It is a lot like having children.  I guess they give and at the same time have a cost in time and money. 




Our " 'Nother Daughter" from Texas is here for a stop enroute to a visit to Colorado.   She is traveling with three dogs and it helps me get over wanting to have a dog.   They are like little kids as they steal your attention away from what you are doing to take care of them.   One of the dogs is a two year old and is deaf.  That adds to the burden of watching them.  The deaf dog can't hear your commands and is cognizant of you only if she happens to look your way.  She also barks at full volume when she barks and about anything moving outside elicits that response.   She went out with me to fetch the paper this morning and I basically ignored her most of the time.  She was waiting on the porch for me to let her back in when I got there.  I think that Barb and I both understand the desire for pets, we just don't want the hassle.  

One of the three dogs here right now is ill and old.   I know that our guests won't let her suffer but the cost of medications is fairly high and they are willing to spend the money rather than face the inevitable a little early.   I guess it is their decision and I need to stay out of the fray on that one.

I am looking at the schedule for tonight and see that the second half of the night is the summer sing out songs.  I think I will slip out early because I wont be here in August when we have our next Church Sing out.  Just for kicks I will listen to the songs today.  There is one song that I don't have a recording of but the Little Apple Chorus from Manhattan, KS has a version of "I believe" on YouTube that is spot on the music we use.  I really like to listen to the music and look at the music at the same time.  The bad news is that every once in a while the Director will have a minor change and I get too locked into the old way.

Barbara has announced that she is going to have a garage sale on the 9th.   I am not sure what we will sell, but there is no shortage of things that need to go away.  I could probably rent a dumpster and fill it if I tried.  A good deal of that could come from my part of the garage and the storage building.  Oh well, 

Better get back upstairs and visit with our guests. 



Sunday Sing Out

Today was the July date that our Barbershop Chorus sang for three churches.  It puts our name out there  so the public will know who we are.   It is a lot of fun to sing three of our six songs and it is very nice to have an audience clap when we end.  The one thing I can really say is that most of our songs have a great Tag at the end.  It is seldom that we don't have a ringing effect on the chapels at the end. 

When we finished our last performance we were on the way out of the church when our oldest member missed a step and fell pretty hard.  He hit his head and it looks like he might need stitches.  Wilmer is a WWII Veteran and other than a bum knee is a great member of the Chorus.  I think he has been with us about as long as the Chorus has been together.  I sure hope he gets well soon.

In August, I will probably be on vacation when they have that sing out.  Looks like a road trip to Idaho is on my agenda.  The good news is that we will probably won't really start working on next year's music until sometime in September.  I think on Monday we will  sing a couple of new Christmas songs.  I am going to try to find a way to record anything new and get it on a CD. 

I think I mentioned the car wash yesterday.  It is amazing how clean the car got with just a little soap and a wash mitt.  I think the dirt was just so imbedded that a good scrub was needed and I shouldn't rely on just a soap spray.   I think it needed a good Kansas rain to help work it loose but parking it in the garage just didn't let it get wet.

I really hate getting old.  I stopped by the store on my way home and I needed some marinade for the chicken.  Like a big goof, I picked up some chicken that I didn't need and some marinade.  It really is just some robust Italian dressing that I add some soy sauce to.  I have a Garlic and herb sprinkle that I add and it turns out yummy. 

Oh well, better get cooking.  The company will be here in a an hour or so.   Going to try grilling some peaches and perhaps some green beans.   I think I will fire up both grills to do that.



350,000 Hits

I just checked and found that I have had 350,000 visitors hit my site since I started writing.  I don't know if I should be pleased, surprised or just confused.  What could I possibly know that attracts that kind of readership.  I am like the great Salt Lake.  You will have to walk way off the shoreline to get into the deep water.  I have been described as a mile wide and an inch deep.  It kind of makes me proud when Barb tells me that if we were to be washed up on a deserted island, I would be the person she would like to be stranded with.   Give me a roll of wire and a pair of pliers and they is not much I can't put back together.  Throw in a roll of duct tape and I'm sure that there would be a boat in there somewhere.

With that said, I hope you have a great weekend.


Dirty Car

The other day I took the Crown Vic to the car wash and the end result was that after $3 worth of quarters the car looked as bad as when I started.  I found some car wash in the garage at the rental house and decided to do a hand wash on the car this morning.  I realized that the car wash soap I found had to be in the garage prior to 1990 and needless to say it was a gel not a liquid.  It did re-hydrate back into a fine wash and when the car is dry I will check out the results.  It did dawn on me that I hadn't washed the car since I started putting it in the garage.  Some of the gunk on the finish was just petrified dust and droppings.  I really had to scrub in places. 

If you were going to feed a large group of people next weekend, what would you cook?   One item on the menu will be a beef brisket that I will grill about half way done with a good smoky fire.  I will bring it in and put it is a pan.  After a night in the fridge, I will slice it and apply a liberal dose of KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce.  Put it in the oven low and slow for a couple of hours (Or the crock pot) and I have never had much left over.    I also bought some good Rib Eye steaks and a couple of packages of chicken breasts.  I will freeze the steaks until Wednesday and probably cook most of the chicken tomorrow.   I will pick up some fresh chicken for the cook out on Thursday.   Sam's club had some good looking green beans and the last bunch I cooked on the grill were just the best.  I will make a boat out of aluminum foil and cook them with a little bacon and butter.   Smoky goodness.   I haven't decided what starch to cook but I'm leaning towards a good hot German Potato salad in the crock pot. I am making myself hungry just writing about this meal.  Perhaps we will throw in a good salad. We have enough tomatoes to send some home with everybody  I'm sure that Barbara had some great dissert ideas that include chocolate dipped strawberries and perhaps some watermelon.

Tomorrow, the Barbershop Chorus will sing at three churches in the area.  It is designed to give their choirs the day off.   We sing three song out of the list of five.  They are Amazing Grace, I Believe, I'm Feeling fine, Lost in the Stars and Spiritual medley.    We generally show up with about 20-25 singers and because the songs are just the greatest we blow the doors off the churches.  Mom would be proud that something gets me inside of a church.

The weather here is so changeable that it is not funny.  When the wind blows from the north, it gets down in to the 60's at night.   80'S in the daytime and low humidity.  When that wind turns to the south, the humidity goes up at least 20 percent and the temps match that and then some.  Yesterday the Heat Index was almost 110 in the late afternoon.  We went across town and the parking lots there were brutal as the air gets superheated by sun and I'll bet it was closer to 130.  Oh well, we didn't dawdle outside.

I am sorry to say that one of my class mates just got dropped from Facebook for inappropriate language.  I tried to tell her that it was inappropriate but she told me that it was her favorite word.  Oh well, she can use it anywhere she so desires, just not on my Facebook Page.  I try to not be a prude about such things, but I do have a couple of young teen age friends that just don't need to read inappropriate stuff like swear words.  Had they been used really funny, I might have let them slide.  In this case it was an attitude described by Fecal Matter.  Bye, Bye, my old friend.

This morning it dawned on me that this Friday I'll be 67. (2014-1947 = 67, I think)   My real birthday present is our visitors on Thursday.   I hope to have a good time with them.  They always seem to come to Kansas right when the weather is at its worst.  Oh well, it is a moist heat.  Is that a good thing?  



Rule of Three

Once upon a time I was told there is a rule of three and things don't happen just one at a time but three at a time.  This has been the week for door problems.  The first was the renter asked her husband to make like a tree and leave. (leaf?)  I went over to the rental house and it took me an hour an a half to change two dead bolts and door knobs.  It was a new lockset that is designed to let me change the keys without changing the entire system.  My biggest problem was getting everything to align in a dark room.  I guess I am now at the age where a good light is better than the right tools.

The second lock to need replaced was the knob between the garage and the kitchen.  The Schlagle  latch failed and I did not have one in the vast collection of parts I own.  I have a dish pan full of knobs, dead bolts and screws.   I went by the Rental property and when I opened the garage door, the dead bolt broke off and I had to break in.   When I went to the hardware store, I bought a new knob and latch for our house and a dead bolt wrap around reinforce for the garage.  

The garage door took almost an hour to reinforce and make it work.   I also had to reinforce the door and the frame because of the age of the wood.  That done, I returned to Rabbit Run   The good news is that the new knob and latch went on fine and it all worked great.  Easy Peasy.

Because of the advanced Heat Index today, we went for a bike ride early.   I ride about 8 miles each time and Barb rides until she see's something worth taking pictures of.   At least it is mostly flora and fauna at the lake and not me. 

Yesterday, I took the crown Vic to the car wash and there must be something wrong with the machine there.  Instead of rinsing off the car with water, it looks like it waxed the car.  It left a serious coat of something that is attracting dust big time.  It looks almost worse today than it did yesterday.  At least I did get the vacuum to work so most of the rocks are gone.   

At noon, the Heat Index is 98 and not going to get any cooler until much later today.  What ever else I do, it won't be outside. 

We are right in the middle of the tomato harvest here and I'm pretty sure that we can't eat all that are on hand with a new basket full each day.  I made salsa but that didn't dent the supply much.




This morning Barba and I decided to work on making things out of all the tomatoes we have.  Barbara made pasta sauce and I made salsa.  I have to be careful to not touch my face after cutting up the Jalapenos.  I will let the salsa sit in the fridge overnight and then decide what to do with it. (if THERE IS ANY LEFT AFTER AN ATTACK OF SCOOPS)  

I have been assigned a new project to see if Roxio will add music to a slide show.  I may have to set up a stand for videos of the pictures and overlay the songs.  Oh well, I'll try anything once.  I am far from an expert in Roxio but I have been able to make copies of music on CD's for the Chorus Music. 

Won't be but a few more days and our friends the Reimer's will arrive from their travels around the world.   Their daughters are growing into such fine young ladies.  The sad part is they just get over being shy with us and it is time to leave.  Oh well, it is like an ice cream cone, enjoy it for as long as it lasts. 

Yesterday the wind was out of the north and there was almost no humidity in the air.  This morning the good old south breeze was back and the grass was wet with a heavy dew.  I guess I can't have perfect weather all the time.   The good news in Kansas is that nothing lasts very long except for dry spells.  Nothing like out west this year but there have been years like that.  The gardens, the corn and the soy beans are all liking the rain this year.

My brother has a Prius and it has almost 200,000 miles on it.  It is running strong and doing well.  Makes me wonder if that is just the car to buy.  They aren't cheap, but dollar per mile sounds like they are a bargain.  Speaking of cars, the Ford started making a strange sound out of the rear passenger side brake this week.  I guess I'd better get it up on jacks and see if I can repair it.  Most of the time if I catch it early enough I can do it fairly cheap.  Might check on the brake pads on the front wheels while I am out working on it.  Pads are cheap and if done in time, I can sometime not have to replace the rotors. 

Have a great day out there.



What a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

Another of those strange July "Cold" fronts passed through yesterday and today it is a lot cooler and the air is dry (for Kansas).   Barb convinced me to get the bikes loaded on the car and we went to the lake for a ride.  I swear it couldn't have been much nicer.  We try to not ride on the weekends because of all the foot traffic.  Today the numbers of people was way down and even the dog walkers seemed to be at a minimum.  The only thing I would change is that we need a little rain to help out the tomato and soybean growers.  We don't have any beans but the tomatoes are taking over.

While I was loading the bikes on the car, Barb went to the garden.  I told her to not pick any more tomatoes and she came back to the car with one in her hand.  She said it fell off the vine and she just had to bring it.  In her defense she did give it to one of the ladies working on the gardens at the lake.  A little while ago, Barb asked me what I wanted for lunch.  I told her that as long as there was bread, lettuce, bacon and tomatoes that was the answer.   Silly girl.

I am going to take the Ford over to the car wash and give it a good bath.  I'm not sure where, but some birds thought it looked like a lavatory.  It won't hurt top give the inside a good vacuum.   It is always the small things that keep me busy.

Oh well, better get moving.



Screw Globally, I'm going to act Locally

At least for today I will try to do my best to not even think about the world and the big problems, I am going to focus on local issues right here at Rabbit Run.  I started out fixing breakfast and then cleaned the driveway off.   I am about to get cleaned up and go to the rental house to change the locks.  Our renter threw her husband out and wanted to feel a lot more secure so she asked me to change the locks.  I will throw in the labor but she did pay me for the locks.

Yesterday we had a visitor that has been here before but not for month or so.  There is a silver grey kitty that shows up once in a while.  He was a pretty regular visitor for about a week and then not for a month.  Barb  and I assumed that he had been found by some varmint and fell victim of the food chain rule of order.  I would put up a cat house and feed it if it would stay but Barb thinks all I do is attract other critters.  Between the squirrels, raccoons and possums we don't really need any more visitors.  If I could encourage something to eat the squirrels, I would attract them as much as possible. 

For one of the few times this year, I played hooky and didn't go sing with the Barbershop guys.  Just wasn't able to get my degree of give a darn high enough to get cleaned up and go.  Not sure why, just didn't practice the songs so I thought it would be a waste of my time.   I will try to go to the Sunday sing out this next Sunday.  We do four or five songs and rotate what church we sing at.   I won't be here for the August Sunday sing and two out of three isn't bad.

Better get up off my duff and get a few things done here at home.  Have a great day out there.



I'm Skeardt

When I was a child, I grew up in a neighborhood where there were an abundance of kids from the Ozarks that had all sorts of funny ways to say things.  When they were afraid the would be "skeardt" and if it was really scary they would add "to death."   Well boys and girls, here we are at a pivotal point in the history of the world and people are mad that the President broke into the Price is Right to tell us about what is biggest problem with the Russians since the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 60's.  Good old  Vlad Putin has us in an almost untenable place and I am afraid that could easily lead us to war. 

A part of me wants to see the President stand tall and rattle our sabers and a part of me wants to say that part of the world can just go missing and not change the way I live.   I have listened to so many people say that President Obama is so self serving that I no longer have the full faith and allegiance I once had.  Throw in that double talking bastard John Kerry, and my world is really shaky.  There are many of you out there that don't remember John Kerry's reports of actions in Vietnam that painted many of us a "Baby Killers and Rapists."  So many of us worked so hard to conduct that war within the limited rules that to say that about us was just as damming as seeing Jane Fonda sitting in an anti aircraft gun position without a care in the world.  That "Giving aid and comfort" to our enemy would have cost her any hope of Citizenship in my book.  By the time John Kerry said what he did, we had mostly given up on that war.

As you go about your activities today I would ask you to be mindful that there are things happening in the world that have far reaching consequences.  Be afraid that we are at the point where the Israeli's and the Russians are making sounds that could have a disastrous end for us all. 



Life is not Fair!

This is a collections of things that I have noticed are in the category of life is for working and living the best you can with what you earn in life.  Simple rules from a simple man at the end of his working days.

1.  The Government does not owe you anything but the simple rights that are spelled out in the Constitution.  It is designed to give you the opportunity to get an education, get a job, work hard, pay taxed and die.  What you do with your opportunity should not be something the government is responsible for.  I darned sure don't want to be taxed to make up for your lack of effort.

2.  A notable exception was that a large number of people thought through the 60's that equal meant separate.    It took a lot of effort and legislation to change the balance that gives everyone a level starting point.  There is no way the Government can "Make it up" to the people that were not given equal access but to make sure the field is level from now on.  Reparations is a joke that is lost on those that started poor and finally made it.

3.  If you do what you did, you will generally get what you got.  With that said, changes can be achieved by hard work in your life and this is not a color or starting point issue.  Getting an education is free through High School.  How many people goofed off through the free part and now complain about the cost of college?     (Me, pick Me)

4.   I think that being poor was motivation to get better for me.  A government making you feel poor and giving you things they take away from the middle class won't make you feel special.  It might just make the middle class poorer.  I refuse to worry about the rich, they will take care of themselves.

5.  Why do people repost cartoons on Face book over and over?  Have they slipped into such a boring place that they think I need to be entertained also?  One or two a week but multiple things every day is a reflection of your life not mine.

6.  If you don't know who the problem child was in your family, it was probably you.

7.  If you told my mother that you were bored, she would tell you that you are boring.  I wonder if being poor made me rely more on me to be happy than things.    Besides, I loved summers so I had time to goof off and enjoy my own rat race. 

8.  I love to read.  I always start my day with the newspaper and try to read a book now and then.  My eyes aren't as good as they once were and I would read more if they weren't so tired of looking at this darned computer screen. 

9.  Do you have a hobby that lets you express yourself in a way that other people clap at your success?   I sing with a Barbershop Chorus and good bad or ugly, it does keep me feeling like I am trapped with nothing to do.

10.  A part of me wants to travel to far and away places.  The other side of me only wants to be gone about a week.  A part of me wants to fly but the cheap part of me would rather go by car.  We drove to Maine a couple of years ago and it took three days to get there and three days to get back.  The middle part had rain about two out of three days.   Not a trip I want to replicate.

11.  I have a Garmin to tell me how to get there.  Now if I could have a Garmin application that would tell me is the fun places to go. 

12.  We love to ride our bicycles and want to include a bike trip on our vacation some year. It is really a hassle to get them where we want to go and we darned sure aren't up to riding our bikes to far away places    

13 I would love to go to the lowest point in the USA.  If it weren't called Death Valley, I might want to put it in our next trip plans. 

14.  When I was a kid, we would go to my grandparents house because we were so poor that we could not afford to stay on the road.  Now that we can afford it, we want to go to visit our parents to see how they are doing.  Dang I hate it when that happens.  Is life circular?

15.  Life doesn't make a lot of sense to me.  When I was young, I didn't want a leg up from my parents.  The more independent we could be the better.  Now from the other side I keep wanting to help out our son and his wife.  Doesn't make sense to me either. 

16.  Once upon a time I dreamed that someday I would be rich enough to be able to drink a beer and smoke a good cigar now and then.   Now that I can afford to do that, the Doctor told me to stop drinking for the life of my liver and we all know the pressure of no smoking.  Dang.

16.  One part of being able to afford better food is that now I have to take statins for my cholesterol and blood pressure meds for the blood pressure.  The really good part is that they work for me.


Income Inequality Part 2

Is this how it starts?  Today's paper has an article about the problems of the poor and income inequality here in Kansas.  In Command and General Staff College for the Army they had one lesson that talked about the third world.  It seems that there if a person only got a bowl of rice they could be happy.  If they were getting two bowls and one was taken away it would stir up revolutions.   Is all this talk of what the government owes us kind of like taking away that second bowl.  Barb seems to think that all the giving to businesses and not the poor is the cause of the unrest.  I contend that it is the Government's involvement in our economy that caused our recession and that's why it is tough at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale.  Too much dependency on the Government is not the solution.

I can't remember the study, but there was a replication of George Orwell's story Animal Farm that showed if people were given all they needed to live, they would lose some of their desire to produce and will let Government take it away from the rich to keep the middle class fed. Pretty soon the middle class disappeared and people had to stand in line for bread. I think that Russia ran an experiment like that and their ratio of rich to poor just kept getting more and more out of whack.  Now that they have abandoned the communist system, they are having trouble with the lawlessness and there is a new class of the rich growing and it is now the gangsters not the Politicians getting rich.  There is no perfect system but ours works better than the others.  Find one that works better and I will work for a change.

I have a friend that lives in the area around Australia.  He talks about what a joke our system in the USA is.  Last time I looked, if you want to go to live there, you have to have a critical skill and about $75,000 dollars on hand or the best you can do is a tourist visa.  He grew up fairly rich and had a lot of things given to him and it was the exact opposite of what I had.  I grew up poor and only through hard work and savings am I anywhere near what I call rich.  I'll be damned if I will let some silver spooned rascal make me feel guilty for working my way to the top. 

The one problem that I do have with our system is that we here in the good old USA have the highest proportion of our citizen in prison.  The highest proportion of that group is Black and Hispanic. Got to be something wrong as this is at a cost way more than we need to pay.

Oh well, back to the salt mines.



I really don't mind fixing plumbing except that it is generally in places where I can't get at it.  When we bought the house that Dave lives in, I had no idea how much trouble PEX lines could be.  There is a complex of lines under the bathroom floor that seem to leak at will and it takes hours to crawl under there and fix them.  No matter how hard I try, the PEX connections always seem to have a drip or two after the repair.  I laid in the mud for about 6 hours over two days to get this mess fixed.  Other than digging a basement so I can stand up while doing the repairs, there doesn't seem to be a good fix.  I even invested almost $50 dollars in a crimper that puts the PEX clamps on securely.  It works with varying degrees of success,  One clamp will hold tight and another will drip.  Dang it is frustrating.

Once I learned the secret of soldering copper pipes. I would never do an installation of PEX.  All I will do is fix old places as they start to leak.  One of these days I will have to replace Dave's Air Conditioning system and at that time I will need to find a better way to gain access.  Not sure how but it does need done.  One thing I need to do is to improve the ventilation under there as minor leaks and the AC condensation keep it way too wet. 

The other day I heard an old joke that really happened to me in the 4th grade.  The teacher at the end of the year told us that one person in our room wasn't going on to the 5th grade.  Dang, I knew that after getting a grade card full of D's I had flunked fourth grade. (D's were for Denny) She then laughed and told us that she was the one that would be in the 4th grade next year.  Scared the crap out of me.  I should have known that teachers were notorious for giving me D's so they wouldn't get me next year.  I could get good grades on the tests but I hated homework.   Oh well...

I guess it is time to send my camera back in to Nikon for service.  It doesn't seem to be working.  I can get the camera to link up to transfer pictures through the cord.  It will save pictures on an SD Card but it doesn't seem to want to charge properly. 

Oh well, on with the day.



Income Inequality

This term is getting a lot of press lately and it makes me worry that somehow my success is being looked at in a different light than it was a few years back.  When I was poor, it wasn't because of some rich guy's efforts to cheat me, it was because I hadn't reached that point in my life where my hard work, education and saving had reached it's potential.   Income inequality was just words that didn't exist.   If you were poor, it was where you were in your life.  You can't retire at the start, you have to work a while.  You can't start out rich (at least in my family) you had to work at it.

During our lifetime, Barbara and I always paid in to a couple of retirement plans and managed to save a few dollars on the side.  Some of our success was because of my extra part time job in the Guard but mostly because we saved.   Once upon a time my Grandfather, Curly Fruits, shared with us that he saved an extra 7% of his income through a savings plan Shell Oil let him participate in.  Barb and I never set out to save exactly 7% but we did save extra when and where we could. 

There was a trick back in the 70's and 80's that I didn't think about.  We put money in 401Ks, IRA, 503Bs and other tax deferred savings programs.  We did gain a little as the money we invested was a write off on our taxes.  The annual savings was not reported and in the end it was supposed to be that we could take it out when we were in a lower income tax bracket.  Guess who is the winner in that scheme.   Now that we are approaching the magic age, we will be forced to make mandatory withdrawals and pay taxes on the money as income.  Dang, who saw that coming?  Not me.  I was sure that when we were in the lap of luxury, our savings would allow us to have more choices, not more taxes.  I was also sure that some Democrat would propose legislation endorsed by AARP that would forgive us our debts in that category.   WRONG!

The other day, I had a discussion with a younger member of our extended family and she was sure that my paradigm was no longer valid.  She said that the cost of an education was so high that a college education hardly pays for itself.   She said that students come out of college with such high burdens that they can't reach the lofty goal of being even middle class.  I don't see it that way.  I guess if you can just go to school and don't have to work to go there, you should be able to come out of school with high honors.  If you worked like I did (GI Bill didn't hurt) and lived on the cheap (8'X38' mobile home) you might escape the crushing debt.  Barb will tell you that her first two years of school only cost her books in California but the last two years were in Kansas and we both had jobs. 

So, I guess the point I would like to make here is that income inequality is not a sentence to forever being poor.  It might be a description of where you are on the income scale, but I sure as heck don't feel responsible enough to give you my money to bring you up.  The only exception in this the person we brought into this world and his wife.  They are working as hard as they can to be better off and a little help from us is the right thing to do.  Besides, if they are going to be the recipient of my estate someday, why not share it with them now when it is needed.  Our parents didn't do that for us but they didn't have it to give.  

Have a great day out there.



Spring in the Middle of Summer

Every once in a while something happens that is completely out of the usual.  We are having spring like weather here in the heartland and it was down in the 50's last night.  I have been wearing jeans the last couple of days after moving to shorts to stay cool.  We waited until the afternoon to go for a bike ride because it was too cool.  The north breeze in the shade was just a little more cool than I liked.  In years past, the Fiesta Mexicana here in Topeka has been a lot hotter.  I have stood in the food line when it was 100 degrees on many occasions.  Today it will only be in the 70's.  I can get used to this.

It has finally started.  The tomato ripening is well underway here at Rabbit Run an the kitchen counter is overflowing with pink to red tomatoes.  Barb is working hard to keep them up off the ground and has to pick some of them because they weigh the plants down.  The thing that really makes me smile is that they are pretty darned nice looking and taste to match their looks.   Barb has been making daily trips out to squash, squash bug eggs and keep them in check.  She has found that if she looks at them daily there is hope that the stuff that grows on vines just might make it to maturity. 

Just the start of Tomato 2014 season

The other day I went to the car wash to throw a clean on the Ford.  I went to every coin machine there and could not find any that would/could make change.  It was a bummer because I hate to drag out a hose in the driveway and the couple of dollars there makes it easy and quick.  I really needed to vacuum out the driver's side and didn't even have two quarters to do that.  Bummer.  The double bummer is that I deliberately got several dollar bills that were in good shape. Oh well.

The travel urge is working overtime in me.  I have to go to town from time to time to keep the sameness of home getting to me.  I am playing with my music trying to make CD's that keep me singing correctly.  One of these days I will figure out how to be able to name the songs and make cd face labels.  I have the blank labels and just need to figure out the secret to making it all align.  If I use the format they give me, it adds a lot of stuff I don't want. 

Yesterday I went to the downtown Camera Store and bought a new battery for my NIKON Cool Pix P520.   This morning I tried to download the picture I put up above.  It seems the download cable has shot craps.  Makes me wonder if all the problems I have been having lately is nothing more that a bad cable.  It does double duty as it charges the camera as well as downloads pictures.  I had to take the SD card out and do the old manual trick with an adaptor.  Oh well, time is on my side and I do want it to be in good shape when I go on Vacation.  What worries me is that if the charger cable is bad, did I throw a good battery away?  That darned battery cost $43.00 to replace.  I do not have an external battery charger for this camera.  The other NIKON's all shared a battery but this one is different. 

Better get on with the day.  Things to do and chores stacking up.




Something I Hate/Love

On an semi annual basis, I go to the Dentist to have my teeth cleaned and to have the Dentist check for problems.  I have a lot of money spent on the teeth I have and I hope to keep them right where they are.  I hate that I have to do this but I love the results.

After having that done, Monday's is the Barbershop Chorus Practice and I love that.

I love to watch the programs that sell automobiles in an auction.   The only thing I don't understand is how someone can spend well over 6 figures on restoring a car and it is made to look original,  what can you do with it?  Obviously you can't drive it so it must sit looking pretty.  That's the part I hate.

There is a 69 Camaro that is up to $90,000 and it hasn't hit the minimum.  There is a side conversation that someone will buy it for $125,000 in the end.  This is one that sold for about $6,000 new.  I'm not sure that I could have obtained insurance back in the day.  The Malibu we had was bad enough.

Barb and I have a bike ride on our list of things to do today.  It is going to warm up a little before we will want to ride around the lake.  I'm sure it will get a little warmer later on.  Can you believe it got down to 55 last night?  Many days we have stood in the line to buy food at the fiesta and it was over 100.  Today it will be closer to 75.  The humidity is low and there is a breeze of about 15 MPH out of the North. 

Have I mentioned that one of the things I say would make me rich?  If I could live somewhere I could pick a fresh tomato year round, that would be the high life.  Right now, the plants that Barb has been nursing since February are starting to produce in mass.  We have a bunch of tomatoes on the counter and they vary from red to pink.  The even better news is that I also have well over a pound of bacon cooked and ready to make BLT's   There is nothing to hate about that.

We have been told that Dave has an interview with the Affordable Health Care people for a job that starts in September.  He is able to type fast and well and should be a shoe in.  It is only a 6 month job to start but with his ability he should go over to Blue Cross full time when that part ends. 

Must be time to go make some BLT's for lunch.  I love that.



Great Sunday

Yesterday we went to Kansas City to see the Kirkland's as they made their annual trip from Alabama and to see all the people in the Heartland.  The Kirkland's brought their two boys Austin and Ryan and they were a hoot.  As usual, Dan and Carrie Craig were the hosts and put on a great meal.  To add pleasure to this group, the Johnson's also brought their two girls Elizabeth and Emily to help with the giggles.   

After my serenade on the piano, Elizabeth came over to visit me as I finished my meal.  I told her that I thought it was a good idea to exchange little brother Ryan for her little sister Emily.  She looked sternly in my face and with her hand on her hip said, "I already have brothers and I don't need more."  I about fell out of the chair laughing.  Such a sweetheart.  I think Barbara tried to take a picture of the girls but little sister was almost too fast to capture even with digital photography and flash.

During the meal preparation, we had a good discussion about grilling.  The last time I cooked hamburgers, I bought the 90% lean 10 % fat hamburger and was not happy with how dry they were.  I like a juicy hamburger and thanks to my cholesterol medicine can seem to eat one or two without my count being too high.   We all agreed that the lean meat cooked over a hot fire isn't our ideal.  I also wished that I had brought Dan some of the hickory I brag about.  He has a Webber smoker and just loves the low and slow smoke flavored meats.  He also recommended putting some cauliflower in a grill basket and letting that smoke for a while.  He said that he won't go back to steamed. 

A few years back, I saw someone make a picnic dessert that looked yummy.  I made one and for the first time there was leftovers.  I think everyone ate so much of the Quinoa salad and potato salad that they just were full.  Had it been a lunch meal perhaps there might have been more people eat a snack after the dinner settled. 

The dessert is so simple that I wonder why more people don't make it.  Go to the store and buy a package of Twinkies (10 count not the 2 count)  Buy frozen strawberries and a tub of the whipped topping.   I like chocolate pudding so I use the combination of a six pack of chocolate and a six pack of vanilla.  Start with a layer of Twinkies in the bottom of a large serving Bowl.  Put a spoon full of the strawberries on each Twinkie.  I put a spoon full of the chocolate pudding between each Twinkie and a spoon full of the vanilla around the places where I don't put chocolate.  I spread a layer of the whipped topping and then add a second layer just like the first.   Yesterday I added some sliced fresh strawberries on the top but I do good, not pretty.  I'm sure that Barb could have made it look much better but she couldn't improve on the taste.  If you have time, you can make your own pudding and not buy the stuff in the little cups.  The recipe I gave you is designed so you can go from the store to the park and make it on the fly at the park.  I am sure that once you try this for a group dinner you will love it.  WARNING -  This just makes am enormous dessert so don't try this at home unless you make it a bowl full at a time, as a snack.  It isn't as pretty but one Twinkie, one spoon of pudding, one spoon full of strawberry and a little topping does make a killer snack.

I hope this didn't make you too hungry.  I am working  on my second cuppa joe and haven't eaten yet so I am one hungry guy sitting here regaling you with a vision of goodness.  Dang I hate it when that Happens.

Yesterday some anonymous person left two comments on my blog.  They were so poorly written that I couldn't make sense of what they were trying to say.  The second comment also contained some swear word but most 5 year olds would have used that profanity in a better manner.  Oh well, I hope this doesn't become a problem.



Things That Trouble Me

I sometimes wonder if I am getting too personal when I write these things but no one seems to comment in the negative so I will keep being and writing who I am.  (Popeye - I Yam what I Yam date unk.)

How come it is OK for other parts of the world to house refugees and people think the USA should be immune?  We say the UN should take care of more problems but when they tell us we are wrong, we don't pay them one ounce of attention.  I am personally torn between shipping those excess children home on the first plane out of Dodge and taking a couple of them home with me for the fun of it.  Dang, I hate it when that happens.

There is a part of me that wants to go out and get in the car and run away, often.   There is another part of me that won't let me be gone more that about a week before I want to be home and napping on my couch.  That same part of me wants to get an airplane and fly places but then the cheap part of me says, Nah it's too expensive.  Dang again.

There is a part of me that wants to solve every problem I see and then a part of me that doesn't see all the things I need to do right here at home.  Triple dang.

The other day I was at the store to buy some of those self stick CD labels.  I saw that the covers are about as expensive as the CD's  Perhaps there needs to be a manufacturer that puts one of those blank labels between each CD.   Nah, that makes sense and nothing that works makes sense to us old guys.

Every chance I get, I tell one of the stock clerks working in a store that if he wants to get rich, start making a stick with a crook on the end so they can pull "They call this fronting" things forward on the shelf.  I think they could get rich quick with this idea and I share it for free.  So far, I have not seen such an item and I sure would have loved to have had one when I worked for Safeway.  (Dang x 5)   Yes, I left out four it sounded kind of square.

There was a time when I could afford to save money and the interest rate on my investments was high.  Thank god I had enough left over money to save.  Today when I manage to have excess funds, I can't find a place that has a high enough return to even pay for the effort.  I guess I have reached the investment enigma.  This is the point where the return of my money is more important than the return on my money.  (Dang X 6)

Back when I was young and stupid, I listened to the Government and put my money in IRA's, CD's and 401Ks.  Good move Exlax, hide that money from the Government and they will forget about it.  Or surely they will change the laws to make AARP happy.  Now that I am nearing the deadline to start taking out mandatory withdrawals, it is looking like the government used me for it's own savings plan.  Stupid with zero's at the end....  (Dang X 7)  For those of you that are too young, the ROTH IRA was not an option in the earlier days.    Heck, this was such an stupid deal, the Government even allowed me to put extra money in a 401k to help pad my retirement...  Does this make it X 8?

Someone made my parents a retirement 3X5 card box.  It was designed to help them stay organized in their retirement.    I laughed hard at the card in the box that said, "Try to Have Sex."  Then I kinda cried... It did have a neat collection of pictures of my dad from his childhood.    Dang X 9

Grandpa and Charlie in the 1930's
I hate it that there will be people that will say this is racist.  In the 1930's, there were few, if any, blacks anywhere near where my Grandfather lived.  If this offends you, write your own blog and see how long you can stay politically correct.  (Dang X 10)

Oh well, better get running and finish some of my chores.  had a nice rain today so most of the activities will occur inside.  We have a date with some really neat kids this afternoon.  Can't wait.



Short Story

Many years ago, and a State somewhere west of here, I was in a Military Sedan with a couple of other guys traveling to a summer Camp in southern Colorado.  The Camp was called Pinion Canyon, but that is just details not an important fact.  I had been reading the  series Hank the Cow Dog with my son and sure enough, the details of those books made the territory more and more familiar as we got away from the cities.  I looked at the map and saw that the next city we were to pass through was one of the last so I looked for a grocery store to pick up a few last minute survival items.

As we pulled up in front of the store, there in all of its glory was a pickup truck outfitted with the dog boxes that the coyote hunters have to hold the dogs while they drive looking for fun.  I would normally tell you what kind of truck and its model year but this big old ford had so many different mud covered parts that it was difficult. Yep, gun rack in the window, check.  CB Radio, check and no rear fenders on the truck, check.  Sticking out of the slits on the box sides was the nose of a dog, check. Other than the infrequent rain there in the desert of  Colorado, I doubt that it had ever been washed.  I noticed that when the lady driver got out, you couldn't see the floor for the dirt and litter.  I swear that a pile of dirt fell out as she opened the door and the squeak of the hinge made it clear that it had never been oiled.

I am sure that my reaction to the driver would have made a priceless movie.  I am sure that I had to stop and stare and would have been speechless if anyone had tried to talk to me.  Out of that truck came what had to be the strangest apparition I had ever seen.  The woman was so dirty that at first I had trouble deciding if she was white, Mexican or American Indian.  Yep, white, dirty white.  I was at a loss to begin to tell you her age.  She had no teeth and had that Popeye look where the gums touch and the cheeks bulge that shortened her face by at least an inch.  Her hair was in such disarray that it looked like she had been hanging out of the window on the way to the store. 

Did I mention the clothes?  A tank top, cut off sweat pants and flip flops.  Sticking out of those cut offs were a pair of the skinniest legs I had ever seen.  if it were possible, they were skinnier than the arms that protruded from the tank top.  I have seen pictures of those little African babies that are sick and have a protruding belly.  Yep, this vision of loveliness was either starving or, lord forbid pregnant.  As this was few years back, women going braless was kind of a new thing.  There on that protruding belly was perched one breast, not two but one, in all of its glory.  It was as strange as if it had been an alligator on a sand bar sunning itself there in that southern Colorado parking lot.  

I just had to stop and shake my head to clear all the conflicting information I had just seen.  It was like all my preconceptions of poor white trash had appeared in one place.  The guys skidded to a stop and had to poke fun at me.  Falling in Love Petty?  On a scale of 1-10 what did you give her?  Like I said, I was speechless and had to endure the razzing. 

If this seems made up, I will tell you that it was at least 20 years ago and some of the details are just a little fuzzy but some of those images are forever burned into my memory like a brand on a cow. 


Just for the Heck of It!

What would you do if you were given a "Free Pass" for a day and could do anything you wanted? 

Have you ever heard a person say that they are worried that they won't have enough to do when they retire?  

Put those two together and see if they apply to you.  I am at a loss as to how someone with a free pass could ever feel bored when they retire.   All I have to do is look in a corner and see the dust bunnies and know that I have enough goofing off power to kill time. 

Years ago. I started buying tools to do specialty jobs rather than hire someone and now I have almost enough tools that I could spend a day or so just organizing them.  When I moved into the new metal building, I had everything in those big plastic containers and on shelves.  The other day I noticed that I had most of the containers sitting on the floor right where I put them searching for things.   Yes, after the fact I know that if I would just put them back on the shelves it would save time in the long run.  Good plans, poor execution.  There are probably things in those totes that I haven't found yet.

I cleared out the garage by moving the 57 out to the building.  Do you remember the story about the couch that I moved out of the living room?  It is now a hanger queen and in the space the Chevy came out of.  Lot of good that did.  I guess another trip to the dump prior to our vacation will be in order. 

It is funny that the harder I try to organize things out in the yard, the more it just looks like I have piles of stuff not junk piles.  Even organization doesn't somehow transform junk into neat stuff.  I started to move all the equipment behind the metal building but as I used things, they managed to work their way back around to the yard and in full view. 

Moving gravel into the new drive

I know who to blame and it isn't Barb.    Dang I hate it when that happens.   



New Ideas

I will admit to being a conservative and not one to rush into change for the sake of change, but there are a few ideas out there that I would like to see float.  For example:

  - We have prisons full of men and women based on strict drug laws.  Not only does this not generate any tax revenue, it costs us an estimated 250 Billion dollars a year to incarcerate the non violent felons.  When they get out of prison, there is little hope they can get a good job with their record so they fall back into the life of crime and drug abuse/use.  We seriously need to evaluate the laws and the results.  I would commute the sentences for a lot of the people that are incarcerated for non violent felonies.  If you want to make this pay, sell the drugs and tax the crap out of it.  Did you know that Colorado has a net tax increase of 70 million dollars since they started selling Marijuana.  

-  If the congress is unwilling to work together to solve problems, we need to elect new people.  With an approval rating of 12-14%, how anyone gets re-elected with these numbers is one of those shame on me things not shame on them.  I VOTE, DO YOU?

-   I propose paying our teachers to get a paid month or so in the summer working on ways to make their presentations better.  I would also give them grants to pay for hours towards their Masters degrees. I would let them hold workshops for each grade level to conspire/coordinate or make what they teach better match the expected outcomes.   At least one of the weeks in these workshops would be on automation and skills that teachers can use. 

-  I for one can't understand how we can support a undocumented alien population and have a high unemployment rate.   If our Government could fight battles in all sorts of environments, why can we train people to fill the needs of our society?  Instead of having a President that is the butt of many jokes, how about one that can make sense of what the people need and inspire us to better things.  I don't want a President that ebbs and flows like the wind, but a strong message to lead us to better things.

-  In Kansas, we are fighting Federal Laws that have been found legal by the Courts.  If Montana gets their nose bumped for passing a Law that is contrary to Federal Law, isn't that good enough for us?  If the politicians that pass stupid legislation had to pay for the defense of laws that fail in other States out of their own pocket, this kind of stupidity would soon cease. 

One of the problems I have is that I am old and set in my ways.  I don't know how to change as rapidly as I should.  It is a lot easier to accept the things I have put in order in my mind and not have to stop re-order it all.  The good news is that now that I am retired and have more time to learn and understand.  I feel the need to get out and stay home at the same time.  If you can figure out how to make that happen, let me know. 

Life in my Fast lane



Some things...

There are several rules of life that we often forget here is my view on some of them.

It is easy to have preconceptions, what is hard is to overcome them.  There was a time that I didn't understand bi racial relationships and didn't think I liked them.  Once I got to meet both of the people and got to know them, I realized it was my problem not theirs.  I could add to this same list same sex couples and now it is so much easier to get to know them for who they are not who I thought they were.   I read that it often takes a SEE (Significant Emotional Event) to change behavior that we have learned in our younger years.

If you don't know who the Black Sheep in your family is, it is probably you.  The really tough problem is trying to figure out what to do when that vision appears. 

Can you laugh at yourself?  This is probably one of the things I don't understand the most.  Not being able to admit you make mistakes is a great big problem.  Once you loosen up and see just how vulnerable your being stubborn makes you there is hope.  Humor is one of the things I love the most about my wife.  We get to laugh and discuss the lighter part of life.  I think we agree a lot more about the goals of life.  It how to make those things happen that we disagree on.  Sometimes it is better to just not talk about those things we can't agree on.

Just loving life on my bike

I didn't realize how much better my life could be once I began to plan when things would happen.  Even a poor plan worked a little is better than a great plan not worked at all.  Repetition of the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the height of stupid. Been there, done that.

For a lot of my life, I had Attention Deficit Disorder and just didn't know how hard I had to work at doing things in a repetitive order.  Once I attended a class that showed us how to use the Day Runner program my life just kept getting better.  Now that I am retired it is far from important but there are times that I do need a list of "Honey Do's." 

I had a friend ask on Facebook what he should do on his birthday.  If he had a good list of what to do and where he plans on going, that question would not need to be asked.    Perhaps on his birthday he should get in a private place and review his plan.  Surely something will jump out and tell him what to do. 

Why does time just seem better when we see little kids smiling?  I would much rather go to a playground where the kids are laughing than go fishing.  Perhaps it just my attempt to keep from being boring. 



Rembering the Past

I hear people talk about the Good Old Days and wonder where they lived that I didn't?  As a baby boomer, we grew up with no television, no AC, a rug was a small thing by the door that we wiped our feet on and we actually got under our desks in case of nuclear attack.  Just as the 50's were ending, we were about to be Nuked by Russia from Cuba, had a President assassinated, and saw a war start that tore the fabric of our country in half.  For me, it was a war for the year 1968 that we won on the battlefield but lost in public opinion.  My salvation was that I found Barbara, the love of my life and she accepted when I proposed.

What can I say about the 70's.  There were a few things that stood out such as Leisure suits and Disco.  Enough said.

For me, being a kid growing up in those eras meant that our vacations were mostly spent at my Grandmother's house.  When she lived in the middle of no where Kansas, (Susank north of Hoisington) it was like watching paint dry in the middle of no where.  When they bought the property in Arkansas, I fell in love of being in a place where you could explore, swim in the creek and just have a ball.  Most evenings we would get together and sing the old songs.  My sister carol played the guitar and both Mom and Grandmother Erma played the piano.  It is funny that I really don't remember my older sister Sue singing with us but I know she was along on a lot of the trips. 

We all had to go to school but come the summertime, it was one crazy adventure after another.  Ronny, Harvey, Denny, Wayne and Eugene could always cook up something to do.  Our neighborhood had tons of kids and we would throw ourselves into large game that would change all the time and many lasted well into the night.  Our backyard was the Beech Aircraft Plant parking lot and the lights would be on until well after midnight.  There was always enough to do any game except read.  I was 8 before we had a TV and  sitting by a radio and listening quietly just wasn't in my nature. 

The other day, someone quoted, "Doing the same thing and expecting different results is insanity."  They didn't have ADHD.  On the rare occasions I ever did the same thing on consecutive days, I generally treated the outcome as something new and different.  The problem with being crazy is you have to feel guilty to get there and I was so spontaneous that you had to catch me to put blame on my shoulders.   The Petty Corollary to that is you don't have to be paranoid to have someone out to get you. 

Oh well, guests coming for dinner tonight.  I guess I'd better see what I can do to feed the masses.



The Cost of Readiness

Having been in the loop of what it cost to run the Guard of the State of Kansas, I feel that I am a source of what it costs to be ready for the Military.  Here's another Boat Load.

Year after year, our Guard units would go to Annual training and have the Regular Army come to watch us.  You could write their  observation on a 3X5 card and just pass it on to the next set of evaluators.  The Unit is so unprepared that they are dangerous.  They will never achieve any competent level of readiness.  Next day.  Lots of Improvement and they are starting to look like a real unit.   Next day, many of the standards are now being hit and the leaders are taking charge.  You can fill in the days in between until the last evaluation - This unit is remarkable in how well they can achieve the standards.  I would be proud to take this unit to war with us anytime.

A good friend of mine had a saying, "Speed Costs Money - How Fast do you want to go?"  Butch knew that with time and money, the reserve component soldier can get ready and do the job that they are required to do.  It doesn't take a genius IQ to realize that with most units being allocated 39 days pay in a year, they are a pretty good bargain compared with the 365 days the Active Army is paid.  Don't get me wrong, there is a need for an active force ready to go today but just how ready the rest of the force need to be is a matter of money and time.

A few years back, the discussion of Force Structure was discussed in the Halls of Congress and the Guard said we stand ready to go do a lot of the Active Army's missions and they were passed the ball. Many of the Active units had been deployed three and were ready for their fourth rotation.  The guard stepped up and deployed many units.   It was unusual to see many Guardsmen that had served overseas in the early 70's and now almost all leaders have at least one deployment.  The Active Leaders are now again shouting that we need to cut the Guard and Reserves to maintain a high level of readiness in the Active Army.   Either they don't know what we all know or they have an overstated expectation of the need.

One thing that the Active Army leaders don't understand about the Guard is that almost all of the Guardsmen have another job that they maintain proficiency in.   In the active service they are contracting the day to day activities to the civilian contractors and most of the soldiers have one and only one job to do.   They have all weekends off when at home.  The Guard and Reserves give up one weekend a month and most are getting higher military qualifications on their own time. 

I worked full time for the Guard and completed the Field Artillery Advance Course as an additional duty, mostly by correspondence courses.  The Prefix 5 course was another correspondence course and three years of weekly night meetings in Kansas City and two weeks in the summer got me qualified through the Command and General Staff College.  All that was in addition to the weekends and nights I had to do  with my units.   There were many summers that the wife took a vacation with our son that didn't include me except for perhaps a weekend off, if I had one.

The point I want to make here is that the Guard is pretty darned good deal for our country and when we need to cut costs start where the highest costs are and pay it where the return is the greatest.