They are All Guilty

I am amazed that politicians all over the place are taking credit (and avoiding blame) for things they were not responsible for.   A prime example is that when the Legislature cut funding to schools here in Kansas, the Courts stepped in and told them that they needed to establish a floor for funding and do it "Right Damn Quick."  Now our pointy haired Governor is trying to advertise that it was his plan all along to give more money to schools.  The Republicans are saying that in Kansas we don't want to be like Washington.  In fact, the Republicans can pass anything they damn well please and cut taxes to businesses and are in danger of going broke in a year or so because they cut the income stream so much.  The only thing that will save them is a major turn around in the economy.  late this year or early next.  Lets see, it is the end of October so this year is pretty much done unless everyone goes overboard for Christmas. 

I am really getting tired of people throwing the issue of Abortion in my face.  I personally think that abortion is the wrong thing to do and not personally approve.  By the same token, I thought that politicians took an oath when they take office that they will support and defend the constitution and the laws as they stand.   Right now, without some major action, Roe vs. Wade is the law and unless they can figure out how to overturn the Supreme Court, they need to quit riding that dead horse and get on with the important issues like how to make do with the funding they now have.  That has to be one of the major issues facing us right now and abortion and Marijuana are down the list at 24 or 25. 

What I really hate is that the Republicans are saying that Pat Roberts is the thing that will save their bacon in the Senate.   If it were in my power, I would throw all the rascals out and start over.  Do they think that I want to hear two (or more) years of the bickering coming out of Washington because they can't put on their big girl panties and deal.  

Am I suffering from Baseball fatigue?  Just as I got worked up over the first game 7 in 12 years, the Royals lost a close game and San Francisco won 3-2.    There are people that want a parade this weekend for the losers.   I say they should be allowed to go home and be with their families.  Haven't they given an extra month of baseball this year?   Who was it that said?  "Winning isn't everything, it is the only thing!"   Oh well, well played Royals. 

I have been doing some reconstruction at Dave's and I hurt.  I have to crawl up and down in the hole where his bathroom was and my knees and hips hurt.  As much as I want to blame it on the work, I know it is old age and wonder just how much more it would hurt the next time if I don't do something now.   I will admit that Naproxen Sodium (Aleve) helps but I do have to sit here and blog until it kicks in.   I hope you feel that it is a good thing that I have time to write. 

Speaking of writing, I have looked over my past blogs and don't have a clue what you want or expect to see here.  I have varied from story telling to ranting about injustices and the readership just continues to climb.  I am nearing 600,000 hits and will be there sometime next week.  At this rate I will be over 700,000 by Christmas.  Oh well, why worry about what I cannot control.

The only thing I hate right now is that yesterday I cut the end of a finger on some sharp tile and now I am truly down to using only one finger on my right hand to type.  About the end of each line I have to go back and correct all the extra letters I have inadvertently inserted.  Instead of hunt and peck, I am doing hunt and correct.  Dang I hate it when that happens.  What I really hate is when I type a word that is completely wrong and the spell checker doesn't thgink so.  ( I left that one in just to show you what I mean.)

MUD, aka the wounded typist



The owner of the house Dave is living in was a terrazzo floor layer.  He also did a lot of stucco work and what isn't terrazzo in Dave's house is coated with a cement stucco.  That means there is no matching a wall if it had to be cut open to dry   That means a lot of the bathroom will be gutted in the next week or so.   There were some details added by the old owner that were just decorative and not needed or desired in a simple arrangement.  I spent most of the morning removing a microwave enclosure that was through the wall and into a closet.  It completely made the closet unusable and it will return the closet to a much needed storage place.  This afternoon I took down a couple of six inch walls that made the washer and dryer area stick out in the flow of traffic in the bathroom.  I think it will all look much better when it is done.   Tomorrow it will be the small wall between the sink and where the stool is.   It made the stool look way off center and the four inch wall will not be missed.  That is pretty much the extent of my part of the renewal of the bathroom.  Dave and his wife Barbara have picked out some pretty tile, cabinets and paint for the bathroom.  I hope it meets their ideal as it sure looks nice from here.  The rebuilders said they would have to come in and completely strip the sheetrock from the walls and the ceiling.  Part of that is due to damage and part to eliminate the smell.  I really want to see how they close up the insulation in the floor. 

One tool I could not find in my tool bucket today was the box of band aids I normally have in there.  I cut a finger on a piece of broken tile and had to resort to my paper towel and masking tape trick to keep from bleeding all over the palace.  It looks rough but it works so I get an A for function and an F for pretty.     Have I mentioned that Barb and I have a pretty good deal in that area?   I do function and she does pretty.  I get to engineer things and specify general details.  She has the final say on pretty.  I will be the first to admit that I tend to do things in OD Green and black - a lot.

Today at noon, I saw that the Powerball jackpot for tonight is 328 Million.  I t5old Barb that I needed to buy a ticket.  Then I asked her what she would do if she won.  I told her that I would probably run away.   She told me that I was welcome to do that now.  I wonder just how she meant that?   Did she want to go away for a weekend or just want me to go away?   Oh well, if I miss a couple of days in the near future it is because I have run away. 

MUD aka Mean Uncle Denny


Because we live so far off the road and back in the dark spooky woods, we don't get many Trick or Treaters.   When our friends the Reimers were in Town, we would go over to their house and visit.  They lived in a neighborhood where there were lots of kids and Gerald and I would go out with the girls and let the mother's stay home to visit and pass out candy.  What did you do as a child?

For the Baby Boomers, Halloween was mostly a time to go door to door in our neighborhood.  We would take a grocery sack and visit as many houses as we could.   For the most part, there was no violence and candy was given without any tricks play by or on us.  There was one guy that got up on his roof and he would pour water on the kids but we got even with him by soaping his windows and the air was let out of a couple of tires. 

One Halloween, several of us (mostly teenagers) were out on a stroll.  As we walked down one street, the sister of a friend of ours came driving down the street in her 56 Chevy.  I stood out in the road and flagged her down and the other kids took hands full of shaving cream and coated her windows.  Just as the deed was done, a big Mexican gentleman got out of the car and said, " What are you doing to my car."  I guess it wasn't our friends car after all.   Oops, Run home amigos. 

After hitting the houses on our block, several of us would go over to Forest Hills a richer neighborhood nearby and go from house to house.  In our neighborhood, you were lucky to get penny candy.  In that neighborhood, they would pass out real candy bars.  Baby Ruth's, Snickers, Mars Bars and one time Popcorn Balls.  I can remember one really cold night, there was one lady that gave out hot chocolate with marshmallows floating on top.  She was a hit.

For a few days after Halloween, we would sit at home and sort our loot and eat the favorite things first.  Lots of chocolate and nuts were consumed.  I can't remember the last things we ate but I am sure that it all got eaten.  We were poor greedy little urchins and nothing sweet went to waste. 

What were some of the things you liked as a child?   I remember one time that my mother hid a package of marshmallows in the top of the cupboard.  By the time I found them, they were hard, dry and crunchy.   For some reason they were right at the top of my list.  My wife said that with 5 brothers and sisters, there was no chance that a package of marshmallows would ever reach that age or consistency.  That I understand...

Oh well, just a few random thoughts as Halloween approaches.  


Oh No, It Did what I told it to do.

Yesterday I saw a quote by FDR and saw that for the most part He and I agreed.  When I posted it, I changed the color of the text and it printed black on a black page.   I changed it this AM and I apologize for the delay.   I hope it was just on my computer but in a was it was a blank page that contained a silent statement that there is little in today's world that I and the Democrats agree upon. 

I think the USA is wealthy enough to reach out and help our poor do better.   I am a little more on the side of helping them reach their goals tomorrow by hard work rather than feeding them a lot today.  I lived in an 8X38 ' trailer as I went to school.  I also lived in a one bedroom apartment for a while.  We lived not quite a Spartan existence but it wasn't lavish either.  We paid for our own education and are proud of our accomplishments.  I wonder what it would have been like if we had just borrowed our way there. 

Never mind, that wasn't the subject I wanted to write about today.  As I have said, Dave is staying here with his three cats.  While I have wanted to hear the pitter-patter of little feet, I never expected it to be the thumping of kitten feet at 7 AM.  Pixel wakes up full of kitten energy and goes on a wild chase with the female cat for at least an hour.  How much noise can a kitten make?  Not to the level of wild elephants, but enough...   I was just paid a visit by the female cat and now notice all the hair on my keyboard.  I am sure that there is a series of new ventilation holes on the chair where she jumped up to get attention. 

A lot of us in the Heartland  were thrilled to see the Royals do their magic last night and defeat San Francisco 10-0.  I for one would rather see them score only 5 runs then and another 5 tonight in game 7.  We'll see.  I was channel surfing early in the game and watching NCIS and missed the big 2nd inning.  At least I know a couple of my friends were at the game and I hope they enjoyed the game.  One of them was a secretary that I worked closely with.  Right after she retired, she went to the Doctor and had some major surgery done.  It was pretty much touch and go for a while and I am thrilled to see that she is now doing well.  Go Royals.   After all, there was a sign that said BBQ is greater than Rice-a-roni.   

 It got pretty close to freezing for the first this fall last night.  I saw that there are plants on the deck with a blanket on them.  Barb was sure that it wouldn't freeze but a frost was possible.  I did notice that a lot of the remaining tomatoes and a pepper or two got picked yesterday.    There are a few Asian Pears on the trees and There is at least a couple of bushels in the garage.  I will start feeding them to the deer in a week or two.  That and a little chopped corn never hurt any deer that I know. 

Better get running and see if there isn't a few disasters to mitigate. 

MUD,   aka, ORAG  Old Retired Army Guy


Oh No, I agree with a Democrat

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression -- everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way -- everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want -- which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants -- everywhere in the world.  *

The fourth is freedom from fear -- which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor-- anywhere in the world.  **


* If there is a point where I mildly disagree it is here.  I think the desire for more is fuel for people to do better and the thing that drives us all to do better.  I do think there needs to be a floor but not from want. 

** Countries should have enough to defend themselves but not so much they want to rush out and attack others.

Well, you didn't think I would agree with everything Did You?


Slow Start, Long Day

Seems like I couldn't get started yesterday but then once the work bug bit me, I over did.  By the time we got to our chorus practice, my knees were so worn out that I could hardly stand on the risers for a couple of hours.   I am in recovery this AM but will probably do too much later today.  We'll see.

Who do you look like?   My mother said I look a lot like my great grandpa Boggs but I never met the guy.  In fact, I never met either of my grandfathers as they both died during WWII and I was not born until 1947.   My maternal grandmother remarried and my step grandfather Curly (Richard Milton) Fruits was all I ever knew.  The one thing I am the most proud of is the musical talents I inherited from my family.  Now that I am singing with the Barbershop chorus again, I get to express that side of my talent.  I would love to sing baritone again but my best range is bass.  Right now there is a quartet that need a good baritone but I just am not ready to strain my voice and sing up there.

Dave got the approval from the Insurance Company for the repair of the damage to his house from the dryer fire.  It appears that the person doing the estimate really understands the cost of replacing the entire contents of a bathroom.  They are going to strip it down to the studs and start all over again.  The kids have picked out the cabinets and the tile and a paint color but the complete demolition has not yet started.  There are a few things I want to do but mostly it is Dave's call.

I have been watching the program called Overhaulin' on TV and am getting the bug to star work on the 57 again.  I want to put a new motor in it and upgrade the steering and brakes.  That, along with an A/C to make it a driver.  I don't care what it costs to insure, I will try to put it on the road again sometime in the next couple of years.  That, or I need to sell it so someone will benefit from having it. 

Is anyone else getting tired of having their phone ring with those pesky Robo calls?   Yesterday, we got a call and the caller ID said that we were calling ourselves.  This time it was a credit card company trying to get us to sign up for a cheaper Credit Card.  We have ours through a Credit Union and I don't see how anyone can beat their APR of 12%.   The other day I sat down and read one of the advertisements for a credit card we got in the mail and their cars was 18% unless we missed a payment.  I thought that was usury.  I am so fed up with all the political ads and calls that I will not vote for an incumbent this year.   NRA - Never Re-elect Anyone.  I will continue to do that until they have replaced that bunch of Tax and Spend people with people that understand the value of money out here in the real world.  I would never approve any money to study the sex lives of Frogs.  If they can't pay for it, they should do without...

Oh well, better get rolling again.  I have about recovered and the Naproxen has kicked in to cover the rest.

MUD    aka, the ROBO Call blocker.


What to Do?

There are several projects that need done and no "get 'er done." Unlike the kitten visiting, I just don't have the get up and chase attitude today.  Not sure what that means, but I can pretty surely tell you it isn't Ebola.  Mostly just lack of a degree of "giveashit."  

This weekend I removed a bunch of wet leaves from the driveway and deck.  Yesterday I blew them off with the leaf blower and this morning they are back with a vengeance.  At least they are nice and dry this time and they can be removed in short order.  If they get removed at all.

Barbara has a Grand Niece that is attending Law School at UCLA.   They announced her engagement over the weekend and we are thrilled for her.  She is as smart as she is pretty and I am sure they will have beautiful children. 

Speaking of Children, a cousin of mine has her first grandchild and her daddy takes such cute pictures.   They call her June Bug and she is a lot more cuter than any June bug I have ever seen.  The pictures always catch her with a big smile on her cute little face and makes you want to kiss those chubby cheeks.  I think she looks like her mommy, my cousin and that side of the family.  I can see a little of the paternal grandmother in the eyes but the color is all right down the family line.

Tonight we are going to have a coach come in to help us get our two competition songs ready if we decide to go to the District Conference this next year.  Both are really good old songs that we can ring the chords of.  I don't think our chorus has gone to a conference and performed since I was with them 7 or 8 years back.  Our new director is really good and I hope we can be driven to participate. 

Oh well, better get to doing something, even if it is wrong.

MUD, aka the great pretender with delusions of adequacy.


Is It Really October?

Today it is Dave's Birthday and it is supposed to be 80 degrees+.   I can't remember it ever being this warm this late in the year.  There is a light breeze and it looks like a blizzard of leaves falling every time the wind stirs the branches.  Dave's cats are fascinated by the activity.  This especially applies to the 7 month old kitten.  In addition to the Attention deficit, he has the hyperactivity of a kitten.  he is prone to attack anything that moves and then rush off to something else.  The female cat has just started bopping him on the head when he attacks.  I am pretty sure that he is keeping his claws unused or there would be hell to pay. 

When we were teenagers, this weather would bring out the football games in most of us.  In spite of the lack of protective equipment, we played tackle football.  The funny thing is that I don't think we really kept score and our teams rotated players from side to side.  I kept the big lot next to the church mowed and we felt that it was fair for us to play football there.  It was a fairly wide and deep lot so it was pretty much like a football field.  We tried to keep away from the church on one side and a row of trees on the other.  Rather than using the rules of football, our rules were closer to the Marquis of Queensbury.  No fists or eye gouging, no kicking the other player unless he falls down, and piling on was a given.  I remember that when Kennedy was assonated, we had about three days off and we spend most of the time playing football.  I remember it was cooler and wet most of the days.  One day it was like water polo and the sweatshirts became extra weight with the water they soaked up and held. 

What was it you liked about your first car?   I drove a couple of cars my father owned and didn't really like either one all that much.  The first was a Hillman Californian.  It is the car that the detective Colombo drove in the TV series.  His was a convertible and ours was a sedan but basically it was a small underpowered car that served the transportation needs.   One time one of my friends had a lot of that clear red plastic plug wire that we all thought looked cool.  I replaced the old black rubber wires and the next week my sister drove the car to Arkansas.  On the way home, it overheated about 15 miles east of our house.  When she pulled up in the yard, you could hear the engine about to give up the ghost.  It had stopped steaming because there was no more water in the radiator.  I raised the hood and the engine was bright red.  My sister was sure that the plug wires had caused all the problem.  Dad asked her when she had checked the water or oil on the trip.  She hadn't.  Once the engine cooled down, dad went out and tried to see if it would turn over.  Nada, zilch, zip nothing.   He simply took the battery out of the car and sold it to the foreign car salvage in  Andover for scrap.  There were no motors for that year car in Kansas.  That was in the days before the Internet and what the local guys had was about it. 

The next car dad bought was a mini minor.   It had been in an accident and the passenger in that accident had died.  Dad bought it and brought it home.  He could take a couple bolts out and lift the body off the front drive wheels.  He made sure it was all straight and then started banging out the dents in the body.  Once he hit the fenders with a torch, lead spilled off the car.  It was probably 5 lbs. of lead where it had been fixed one time before.  Dad had no intention of ever really fixing the body back to look nice.  Had I not bought a can of spray paint, he probably would have just left the fenders with great chips of bare metal showing.  I didn't know anything about body filler then so it looked OK at a distance of 15 feet but pretty bad up close.  That car was a hoot to drive as it was more like a go cart than a real car.  It would go around the corners almost as fast as it would go in a straight line.  I came about as close to killing myself in that car as in any of the other cars I drove later on in life.  I was out east of Wichita and blasting down a dirt road and came to a rail road crossing.  The car leapt into the air and as I watched, I looked straight down at the ground.  All the weight was in the front end and it fell nose first, fast.  Just as the front bumper hit the ground, it just settled back down on the wheels.  I just knew I was going to turn into a 60 MPH Rolly Polly bug and go head over heels out into the field next to the road.  It didn't and I was saved from another adventure in the life of MUD.

For some reason, I have been thinking as lot about the elementary school I attended as a kid.   From Kindergarten to the 9th Grade, we attended Minneha Elementary on the east side of Wichita.  One of my "Girl" friends lost her husband this year and just went in to surgery for Breast cancer.  I put the word girl in quotes to make sure that everyone knew she was a girl and a friend but not a kissy-hold hands girl friend.   Later on when I went into the service she told me that she worked for my Dad at Beech Aircraft.  I didn't know any of that until years later.  I don't know why I am having flash backs in my idle time except that I guess old people start to remember things from their childhood better than where they left their keys.  Oh well.

Yesterday I got the leaf blower out and cleaned the deck on the east side of the house because it had about 6 inches of leaves on it.  This morning when I went out to fetch the paper, it has 3 inches of new leaves on it.   I guess it is fortuitous that I left he leaf blower out there by the deck. 

Better go blow some leaves around.

MUD, aka the leaf blower and Bwana the mouse killer.  8 of those little rodents have been dispatched this year.  My defense in depth is working. 


What a Day

Yesterday I had a furnace company come in to Dave's house to replace the furnace.  It was a mess to find the floor almost rotted out and we had to build a floor under the furnace.  About the time we finished that, the repairman said I probably would want to replace the sheetrock wall and I did.   The guys left and will be back Friday.  It was a good thing that this is being done as the duct work was rusted out and was leaking air under and not into the home.  It is all good now and I'm sure that things will be for the better. 

I am a fair weather baseball fan and the sun shined last night.  I skipped back and forth between other programs and the game for the first 4 innings.  Then I finally turned the game on and saw the Royals go on a tear.  It was great to see the Angels use up their bullpen trying to stop the scoring.  Then it was time for the royals bullpen to step in and shut them down.  It was a great time to watch a great game. 

We are having a heat wave for October.  It has been about 10 degrees warmer than normal so far this month.  It finally did rain last night and it will be a beautiful end to the Fall season.  The leaves are turning and it inspired Barb to get out her watercolors and do her best to replicate the beauty of  a few leaves.  She is almost as good with the watercolors as she is with the camera.  Anyone that has seen her pictures knows that she has a great eye for photos.  Did I tell you she is sneaky?  She used a long lens at family gatherings and takes a lot of candid shots.  Fun stuff.

Twice this week, I have slightly injured one of my hands and bled lit no tomorrow.  I guess it is time to cut back on the aspiring for a while.  I have had a sore back and the extra aspirin has seemed to help.  A little goes a long ways I guess.  Did I tell you that I hate to get old?  I guess when you consider the alternative, old isn't all that bad. 

I am not sure what it means, but this year I have seen several snakes when one or two is a normal year.  I won't go into detail, only to say that with my eyesight not getting any better, it takes me longer to recognize good from bad snakes.  I also found a snakeskin in Dave's shed that was at least five feet long.  That had to be a black snake and they are good to keep the mice at bay.  We have one we call Jake that lives under our front porch and he is one that my motto of live and let live applies.

Today one of the friends I have on Facebook posted her Meyers Briggs profile.  I am an Extrovert that is thinking, sensing, and Judgmental.  I think that I can discern the facts about people and have a lot of good experiences to figure things out and believe in do the crime, do the time - not mercy.   Give me a juicy problem and I will generally work with a group of people to find the answer.  I hope that people like to be in this process but I am sure that some don't. 

I am not sure what I will do today but it won't be as hard as yesterday.  Whatever it turns out to be, better get rolling.

MUD, Closet Baseball fan.  I only come out when the Royals win.


Taking a Day Off

With a lot of things going on right now, I decided to take a down day and just see if some of those naps I missed can be made up.   I guess that is really beyond the scope of naps but not an impossibility.  I really am just fooling myself, as there are always things on the too do list it is a matter of when to get them done. 

It might not be pretty but it works for me.
Yesterday was a singing day.  We started at the Topeka Library and sang for at least 1/2 hour in the front rotunda.  It is just one of those places where there is not a sharp edge and the sound just rings.  It is a little different as it is kind of hard to hear the tenors from the far side of the formation.  The people that listened to us really seemed to appreciate our efforts.   I know that we all performed a lot better because of the feedback.

One of the songs the chorus sang years back is called Friends.  Most of the guys just know that song down pat and I have never seen the music or listened to a learning CD.  A couple of weeks back, I went in to our small music storage room and I found a lot of the CD's from the past 5 or 6 years.  I also now know where the old sheet music is stored.  I now have what I need.  Now to figure out how to get it all loaded in Roxio so I can put it on and find it on one CD. 

I am on the E-Mail list from the Adjutant General's notification list.  I get a notice when any of the Guys I served with pass on.  I say Guys because most of the women I served with are much younger than the guys and they haven't started to pass on as often.  I think the women also took better care of themselves.  Smoking and drinking were habits that a lot of the guys had that have led to shorter lives.  It does make me wonder what I really want in my obituary.  Have you ever sat down and written one for yourself.  I have and am not sure where it resides on my computers.  I have the desk top size and a lap top size and the documents are stored in there.  Yes, this seems morbid to some of you, but that's how I roll.    I hope to complete over 3000 blogs with a million visitors before I stop writing this silliness. 

Today is the first game of the World Series and last night someone said to not be surprised to see the Royal's lose their first home game.  After 8 straight wins in post season it just might be a shock to the KC Fans.  What will be the really big shocker is how much of the team doesn't get traded off for the big bucks after the season ends.   I think they know how hard it is to build a winning team but the lure of making money off the players is hard for management to not take advantage of.  Our Center Fielder Cain is just one of those spectacular player that I can see in Pin Stripes with a NY logo on his hat.  The pitching staff is just spectacular.  If you don't take a lead into the 6th inning, you just can't beat the Royals short reliever staff. 

The weather here in the Heartland is just spectacular right now.  They are talking about the warm trend going into November.  The leaves are turning right now and it is great to see the vibrant reds and yellows everywhere.  I do see them as potential work as I have to do the raking but it is not really that big a job.  I have a big compost pile and will have it pretty full by the end of the season.  Good compost by next spring.  That will put a smile on the Master gardener's face.  (Like where else would you expect one to be?)

A couple weeks ago, we had some friends over and their oldest child used my computer to play a game or two.  He put his password on a sticky note and it is still here on the front of my computer.  I have mine all on sticky notes and in a notebook here on my desk.  There are so many codes, passwords account numbers I use that there is just no way I can remember them without an aid or two.   One job I had had a training system that required passwords and I rotated between the kind of cars I owned.  At that time we had the 57 Chevy, the 53 Pickup and a 50 Ford.  I didn't realize that the students were watching me as I entered them and one day I was locked out a program and one of them said did you try 57chevy?   I DID AND IT WORKED....

Well, I had better get on with the day.  You have a great one.

MUD, aka Bwana Petty the mouse killer.  it is cats 3 Bwana 7. 



Most of the Baby Boomers remember the Mamas and the Papas song "Monday,  Monday."  I find myself humming that song a lot on Mondays.  Part of the singing is the love of the song and the other part is that I practice for the rehearsal of the Barbershop Chorus tonight.  We are going to the library and sing for about 30 minutes and them move over to our normal location.  It is always fun to sing somewhere different.

Today I went out to Dave shed and looked at Dave's accumulation of stuff there.  Part of the stuff is leftovers from the person we bought the place from and some of it is junk that doesn't have a better home.  There is a stack of old HI Fi records that is really just a pile that we didn't throw away for whatever reason.  I did find there is a sheet of plywood that will help me repair the roof on the other shed without a trip to the lumber yard.   Right on top was a really long snake skin from the big black snake I have found near the shed a lot.  I'm sure he helps keep the mice down. 

The day started cool here but it is sunny and looking better by the hour.  Probably will be near 75 this afternoon.   I have an appointment with a plumber at 12:45 so I hope I can shut the water off and it will be a nice day. 

Barb just asked me to go have a look at her mower.  I bought her a self start mower a couple of years back and she uses it a lot of clean up the garden and to make mulch.   Better go see what the heck...

 MUD, aka the answer man,  What was the question?


Money Fears

Like a lot of people, I have saved hard to get to a point where I feel comfortable but I am always afraid of the effect on our economy of the best  (and only) investment place fails.  I am talking about the Stock Market. It has been on a wild and wooly ride for the past couple of weeks and I know that a lot of the baby boomers are watching just to really see where it is going.  I will promise you that you should never listen to me for advice in that area.  The only way I have ever made any money there was to give that money to  fund manager and just stand back and watch. 

The local paper has started running a couple of pages on Sunday out of the Wall Street Journal.   It is very interesting to see several of the indicators are up but there is still a several Billion Dollar Deficit.   It does concern me that there is about 16% of the population with wages below the poverty line.  Actually that is down to just under 16% but even a little is a problem.  The same pages indicate that inflation is not a problem in the next couple of years but falling farm prices is.  Oh well, Rabbit Run is only an 18 acre farm and the crop here is apples and Asian pears.   We did have an abundant tomato crop this year but it does not turn into money.   Just for the record, the deer get most of the excess apples and Asian pears. 

A lot of my family lives in Kansas City and they are really big into the Lenexa Chili Cook Off.   I have been there a couple of times and it is fun to taste a lot of different styles.  Lately they have also entered into the homemade Salsa contest and have done fairly well.  I hope they can send some over to the Thanksgiving in KC.  I would even buy a bag of those corn chip, "Scoops." to try it out.   

The weather here in the Heartland is very fall like and we are having fall weather.  It warms up during the day and you need a jacket at night.  Not being one to get out at night a lot, that is just a small problem. 

Yesterday I went to a 90th Birthday celebration for a member of the Barbershop Chorus.  They held a reception in the basement of the church and it was wall to wall people.  We sang Happy Birthday and Friends for him and the group. I can see that I need to find the music for Friends and study it.  We ended the song at the end of the first verse and it had a second.  Oh well, the audience didn't know.
Wilmer is just a great guy and I hope that when I am 80 I am half a sharp as he is. 

Better go see if I can get everyone to the breakfast table.  I thought that cooking potatoes would
bring the troops to the table.  All it did was make me hungry as all get out. 

MUD  aka Trouble (My mother's description. She would say here comes trouble)


What are Your Day Dreams?

As baseball is overtaking the thoughts of a lot of us, do you wonder what would have happened had you tried to play in the minors and then the Majors?   I was a good hitter and played a good first base and would have been a good catcher until my knees wore out.  But at the age of 67, that pipedream is long over and kind of like thoughts of girlfriends past.   The reality is that now that my life is nearing the place where there are fewer new avenues to experience, I am just pretty happy with where I have landed.  That doesn't rule out flights of fantasy now and then.

Have you ever heard of the rules of Unintended Consequence (UC)?  That is what sometimes happens when you get what you want.  It also applies to Government when they pass a law and find out that it just hits the people right between the eyes with a heavy burden when it hurts more than it helps.  A lot of the UC things become a lot more visible after the fact and we just don't have the mechanism to cause our laws to have an expiration date or a review process.   In fact, what happens is that a lot of laws remain on the books and the money to enforce that law just doesn't get funded. 

Here in October the Football season for High School is nearing the end with the playoffs being held.  It is a lot of fun to see the teams win and how excited the kids are.  Our local high school, Shawnee Heights (aka, Scrawny Whites)  is doing well.   I wanted to play football in high school but in a school with 5,000 students I was just not big enough to survive.  I think I have said that I compensated by having a car, a girl friend and nearly a full time job to pay for all the fun.  Looking back, I am well off to be where I am.

Thanks to the people that stop in to see what I write.  Today the count hit 555,000.  That is a daily count of over 2,500. 

Have a great weekend and get your gear ready for the World Series that starts on Tuesday.   Go Royals.

MUD,  aka ORAG -Old Retired Army Guy

Is it Just Me?

The idea that we need some reform in the area of Health Care, is evident but I think the Government doesn't fully understand that we just couldn't afford the ACA the way it is written.  It caused most people to pay more for their health insurance when it was a program that let us buy what we could  afford.  Perhaps there was a need to help the poor pay for insurance but we threw the bathwater out with the baby.  

OK, You got me Skippy.  I am a closet conservative that feels that less Government intrusion is better.  I don't think that we need an overreaching help from the Federal Government to live our lives.   I think the Congress needs to take a few "Selfies" and study them.   When will we stop spending a lot more money than we are taking in?  I for one don't want to hit bankruptcy to find out it doesn't work.

The city of Topeka has taken this Spend it all attitude lately.  For the second time in a few years they are tearing up the improvements on our Downtown Kansas Avenue.  Right in the middle of this, the paper published that most of the businesses in that area are behind many thousand dollars in property taxes.  Many of us think it is just adding a pretty bow to what is basically a pig.  The people have voted with their feet that unless you work downtown, we just don't want to go there. 

Add to this expense without income, the city has started a move to purchase the Heartland Park racetrack south of town.  From the beginning that place has not paid property tax to the School District  or to the County.  Now the City wants to buy that property with money we taxpayers have allotted them to control.  We started a petition to block the buy without a vote but they are doing their best to find ways to block that vote.  Another governing body that has forgotten that we send them there and can not send them again. 

Today one of our Barbershop Chorus members is having his 90th Birthday party.  Many of us will be there to sing him happy birthday and to sing Friends to him.  Wilmer is a great addition to our activities and we need to celebrate his birthday in style.  It is also a chance to get out and do something that is just play and not work.  I may see if I can get Barb to take me and shop while we play.  She needs to get out also.  Then perhaps we can have a lunch or a nice visit while we are out.

Oh well, better run.

MUD,  aka Mean Uncle Denny


Trash Day

On Friday's, the trash goes out here at Rabbit Run.  It never ceases to amaze me how the amount can vary.  One week, the trash can is full and the recycle bin is almost empty.  The next week we will have three cans of trash.  I guess it doesn't require a rocket scientist to figure out what is going on.  I am going to take a load of trash to the dump this morning.  It has a lot of residue from Dave's house and a couple of toilets I have removed from houses.  I will put the bill in the pile for reimbursement but am not sure if they will pay it or apply it to the deductible. 

This morning I went to Dave house and checked the mouse traps and emptied the water bucket.  I have a small leak in a PEX pipe and the plumber won't be here until next Monday.  The mice are there because Dave lives in a field and the mice always try to find a winter home.  I have the same problem here at Rabbit Run and I guess I will just have to start my Defense in Depth there and here.  I set multiple traps in a row out in the garage.  I have four traps set at Dave's and have managed to catch two of those furry critters. 

Dave's furnace is about 25 years old and it has been the subject of discussion and replacement.  The outside condenser has had to have some pretty heavy duty rebuild over the years so it is time to just replace the entire system.  I am pretty sure that the insurance company does not consider the replacement a part of the fire damage but it needs done.   It costs more than a breadbox and less than a car. 

I got the trailer ready for a trip to the dump.  A while back I needed some connectors and was at Harbor Freight and bought one of those boxes of 500 connectors.   While I was working on the trailer connection, I had the box open and sure enough I stepped on the box and had to sort 500 pieces from the rocks in the driveway.  One of these days I'll bring it in the house and pretend it is a puzzle and put the pieces all back in the box all sorted.

It is sunny today and a pretty nice day.  With the temperature in the low 60's, it makes me want to wear a long sleeve shirt but shorts.  Yes, I know that is kind of silly but that's the way I roll.



Schedule Getting full

Barb makes a Calendar for her parents each year and tries to use pictures of the family members with birthday's in that month.   It also serves as the scheduling place for posting items we are involved in.  I noticed that as I finished posting the rest of the year that it is starting to get full.  Old retired farts are not supposed to be that busy, I think...  I guess it is just a list of the things that could be done and not an absolute must do list. 

This last week I went to the Barbershop Chorus Board Of Director's meeting.  There was a discussion of variances from the budget for the year and it made me think of how that should be handled. Clearly there is nothing in our Bylaws or Chapter Policies.  I think I need to rectify that when I rewrite them.  To me, the budget of an organization is just a guide of what we think what we will have as income and a general guide on how that income should be spent.  Variances should be expected and it is the reporting part that needs fine tuned.  My experience with budgets comes from years of working with one in the Federal System and then watching the hoops jumped through at year's end.  At least with the Chorus Budget there is no need to spend it all and carry over is a good thing. 

O well,  enough of that business crap...   The weather here in the Heartland is a little cool overnight but the days are pretty nice.  The sunshine yesterday made it very nice outside.  The good news is there is not much to do outside right now.  As soon as the trees get the annual leaf drop  finished there will be great piles of leaves covering the landscape.  I will do my best to mulch them into a pile and let them compost. 

In the past, I have commented on the good things done by the sports teams I follow.  In some cases I have felt that my positive comments have jinxed their success.  I am not sure that there is any of that going to happen to the Royals.  I am sure that there are a lot of people holding their breath as they watch the Royals go undefeated in the Post Season.  For some reason the camera men on last night's game kept showing a couple of Fans in the stands as their team was losing.  The lady was kind of cute but they weren't doing anything special.  Those 2 to 1 games are not as much fun if your team has the one.  Watching the bull pen relievers come in after the 6th inning and shutting down the other teams is fun. 

Better get running.  Have a great day out there.




Just how much sleep do you need?   For me it varies but over a 24 hour period I find that I function best if my sleep and naps are about 8 hours.   If the night is a little short, I generally fall asleep early the  next night or find myself watching the inside of my eyelids instead of whatever is on TV. 

Last night's Royal's game was postponed for a day.  Here at Rabbit Run we had a little over an inch of rain in the last 48 hours.  Throw in a 30 MPH wind it wasn't the best Ball playing weather.  The wind will be strong today but it will be sunny and at least 10 degrees warmer.  I guess the fall should have days that are a lot like spring with the addition of leaves every where. 

We have not had a cat during our marriage and while Dave and his wife, Barbara are here, their young cat Pixel is here.  I have never been around a cat that was a vocal as this cat is.  I am not sure if it is because he is needy or just vocal.  When Dave left this morning, Pixel went to the door and yowled that he wanted to go.  He will throw in different sounds in  like he is swearing.  He is about to get used to me and will let me pet him but is not fond of being picked up. 

Well, I guess I'd better get ready to roll and go see what the Cleaning Crew is up to.



Fire Damage

Dave had a smoky fire in his dryer and the bathroom will probably have to be gutted.  They are probably going to remove the terrazzo floor and redo the pipes and insulation.  That is the good news.  The bad news is that they may have to be out of their house for a month or so.  That will entail the cats being here for the majority of that time.  They have three cats.  The first cat is on great big Maine Coon cat that had to weigh in at least 30 lbs.  The good news is that he is a lover and because of his age he isn't very active.  The middle cat is a couple of years old and a scaredy cat.  She will hide most of the time here.  The last is a 7 month old male that just talks all the time.  If he is in a room by himself, he will mew until someone says his name and he will run to where you are.  He doesn't want to be picked up, he just wants to be where there are people.  Oh well...

I will probably be at Dave's house most of tomorrow to assist the cleaning crew.  I will take my trailer over and use it to haul away some junk that has been there since Dave moved in.  I left a bunch of paint cans in his closet and they are still there.  There was a Microwave that died ugly and it needs to go.  I am sure there are a few other things to take care of and I'm sure that a trailer will be needed to haul the junk away.  I worked on the shower in the master bedroom they have not really used and need to get it working.  Just cleaning out the junk today was a major step.  I may have to replace the shower head but we'll see how it works tomorrow.  I have a new shower curtain and a mat.  Nothing in the old bathroom will be salvaged. 

The Barbershop Chorus has selected Happy Together as one of the songs for next year.  Most of the song is Doot over and over for the base line.   I am working on the cadence and for the most part have it fairly learned.  There are a couple of places that I get a little tripped up on.  Oh well....

The weather here in the Heartland is cold with rain and the Royal's game is in question.  I guess a day's delay wouldn't hurt much.  They have been fun to watch and they are just killers in late innings.  The are setting new high's for batting average and defense in the post season.  The part that makes it so tough on their opponents is they are all doing well and slump is just not a word they are using. 

After spending a couple hours at Dave's I come home smelling like smoke.  We found his T-Shirt collection that had been stored on the back of the bathroom door really took a hit.  There were almost 20 shirts on plastic coated wire hangers that were fused to hanger by the melted plastic.  Most were not ion the best shape but he really loves old t-shirts with weird sayings.  There were several that Barb and I picked up on our trips.  Eskimo Joe's in Stillwater and a Yellowstone shirt were just not in good enough shape they could be cleaned. 

Better get on and practice the music for tonight. 

Yours, Singingly



Cool Days, Hot baseball

Today it is a fairly cool day with an overcast sky.  I got the mower finished and needed to test it out.  The yard was right on the verge of being too tall so I tried to get it mowed and the mower tested.  One of the rear tires needed to have some of that green slime put in the tire for a slow leak.  It also said to be the best, it was best to drive it for a while to let the "slime" coat the inside of the tire.  Mission accomplished.

What are you doing with your investments right now.   The volatility of the stock market scares me but there is just no return on money in the bank.  I am afraid that the interest is so low that they might soon start charging me to keep it.  I would say keep it safe but with all the hacking going on I am not sure that is true.   I have a considerable amount in rental property and it is the only thing in my portfolio that is paying anything. 

Now that I have the small things out of the way, I can't believe the Royals have pulled off seven wins in a row.  It is a fun ride and I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.  Now if we could get the Chiefs back on track.  As a typical fan, I am just waiting for Basketball season to get KU back on the hunt for number 11.  It was a shock that Late Night at the Fog was not a full house.  There were about 2,00 empty seats because of the Royal's game. 

Dave and his wife had a small fire in their clothes dryer.  Not so much damage but lots of smoke.  It will be interesting to see if it will take a repaint or if the cleaning service can remove the smoke stains on the walls in the bathroom and kitchen.  I think it will take a complete gutting in the bathroom where the dryer was.  We'll see. 

Oh well, better see if there is anything I can do to help set up supper. 



What Does It Cost

Every once in a while, I stop and ask myself just what does the entire process cost when I am fixing something for the second or third time in a year.  This year has been the year when the Troy Built Mower has come up on the list of needed repairs more than normal.  It started early this year with the drive belt needing replaced.  I hate to think what that job would have cost if I had taken it to the shop.  The belts alone were the better part of $100.00.  There are several small keepers that hold the belt in place when it is slack and it took me the better part of a day to replace the drive belt alone.  A good part of that is the learning process but counting the cost of the band aids to keep blood out of the way while I put belts in places was more than I wanted.  Turn around and there was a $38.00 tire that needed replaced.  Finally this year was the new blades and a blade tower at $150.00.  They are still in the trunk of the car and that will be today's task to finish.  Not counting gas, the mower has cost about $300 this year alone.  It mostly cuts the 3 acres at Dave's house and I am still using the old clunker here at Rabbit Run.  Don't get me started on what I have spent keeping it running.  Do you have any projects that you keep track of in your mind. 

I think I have mentioned that I am a fan of Dave Ramsey from time to time.  Even though I am not currently heavily involved in  the financial plans and the conduct thereof.  I am pretty much in the mode of let the Master Gardener handle it.  I am trying to be a cash and carry kind of guy right now and am only charging the things I deduct as the cost of maintaining the rental houses.    With our debts all paid off, there isn't much decision making in the conduct of our financial matters right now.  It is pretty much get a bill, pay it.  Barb is really watching the debit and credit card statements right now after getting hacked.  Home Depot got my business card and we really don't know who got the credit card other than twice some outfit tried to apply a $49.95 charge for some kind of Pomegranate power aid powder.   Had they actually sent the powder, it might not have been such a scam but we only got the bill.   The fall is the time of the year when both of the rental houses insurance comes due.  Throw in the property taxes, and it is a good time to have a little reserve in the account.  I do need to call one of the renters and get her on the stick about this month's rent.  She mentioned that she is looking for a house in Silver Lake to be closer to her family.  I hope she does get out soon so I can have some good weather to do some renovations on the place before the snow flies.  I really don't want to have to heat that house on my dime all winter. 

I went up stairs yesterday and Barbara was watching the same program I watched early yesterday.  It was called Hacking my Brain.  A young man was doing as much as he could to increase his creativity.  We agreed that we are at the opposite end of the scale in that area.  Barb keeps things smooth and on track and I am the idea man.  I do have the ability to fix things if I have the right tools, a roll of duct tape and  roll of bailing wire.  Barb has said many times that I am the guy she would want to be stranded with because I have a lot of survival ideas and abilities.  I tend to be kind of expensive as I am an impulse buyer but I like to get things done and not to have to shop for hours to get the things to fix problems. 

The weather here in the Heartland is cool with rain yesterday and today.  I have to use the overhead lights here in the computer room where I normally can open the curtain and use the desk lamp.  We haven't kicked back over to non Day Light Saving time yet but all that will do is keep me in the dark later in the day.  Oh well, I'm not in charge of anything but me right now so I'll keep my complaints in check.

One of the Robo Call places that is looking for support for a Politician in his running for office had a new tactic.  They somehow hit my answering machine that I use to screen the calls and can hang up while leaving my phone on line.  The Telephone company then sends their tone down the line and the answering machine acts like a speaker and makes that loud noise until I hit the delete button.  So far that has not happened while we were gone but now days if I get a call from an unknown number I just pick up the handset and then hang it up.  It is my phone and I refuse to get involved in the process of paying for a politician to run a campaign.  I am sure there are a lot of people that send money but I am not one of them. 

A lot of people here in Kansas are hoping that the Royals and the St Louis team will play an I-70 world series.  I keep telling them that both teams have an opponent to play through prior to that happening.  Me, I really don't care except that it would make a lot of people here in the Heartland happy.  Right prior to the election we need a lot of that.

Do what you can to have a great weekend.



Different Approach

When the rolling thunder woke me up this morning about 6 AM, I watched the Science Channel.  Their subject was wakening up parts of your mind you don't use.  There was one mild electric shock that kind of blocked the left side of your brain and let you use the less restrictive side right side to help you think more outside of the box.   I think there has been something going on inside my head for years that has helped (Forced) me to use that side more often.   In fact, I am sure that if there was a main difference between the Master Gardener and me it would be that she tends to be a lot more sequential in her thinking and I tend to be less restricted.  In the school days I grew up in, there wasn't anything like ADD and Ritalin, but I would probably have been put on it.

At least 25 years ago, I attended a planning meeting in North Little Rock, AR.  It was a really nice meeting that helped me find a lot of new ways to look at problems.  It also was a Meeting Facilitator class that showed us ways to run meetings.  It just opened up to me the ways to put a group of people together and to solve problems.  Being an extrovert, that's my favorite way to roll. 

One of the first things we did as an ice breaker was to build our Indian shield.  This was a graphic (Hand Drawn) picture of who we were using the method the Indians used.   Where you sat was the way you had to present your input to the others.   Those on the North side of the campfire had to look at things in a way that represented the future.  The "what if" side.  Those on the south side had to look at the problem in terms of what worked in the past.  If you sat on the east side of the fire you had to use logic and sequence your input.  Those on the west side used the heart.  It opened a lot of the members to the fact that you can look at problems from more than one side. 

The Science Channel program this morning used this method of problem solving by breaking problem solving into six "Hats" you wore to look at problems different.  They assigned colors to the hats and attributes to each color.    I think they used the four primary colors and the last two were black and white.  What colors you use and what attribute you assign to each isn't as important as to use a process to force you to answer the same question differently as you think about possible solutions to a problem and the possible outcomes.    

One of the things I hate most of all is to attend a meeting that has no set agenda or process and it just meanders until it dies.  If the group agrees that there is a formal way to do the meeting it just seems to be more precise and get to the end faster.  Most groups use Robert's rules of Order and that seems to get the job done well.  Start with the minutes of the last meeting as the start point and that should review what was done and what was left on the table.  Then in order, the group presents individual reports from each person and then the leader recaps and moves on to new business.  When that is done, the meeting is closed and minutes are made of the meeting. 

This past week I asked several people if they knew what the Chapter Bylaws for our Chorus were.  I was told that whatever is on the Web Site for the Overall Corporation was what we used.  Then someone said there are some Chapter Policies (Standard Operating Procedures) that we have adopted but no one could produce a copy of those.   I kind of rummaged through the music storage room until Jason just pitched in and found a copy of both for me.  It is my intent to see that every member of the chorus gets a copy and that the 12 year old SOP is updated.  I know that this makes me look like the rules Nazi but what I really want is to have everyone feel they know what we are to do and not to be subjected to one person's personal opinion or agenda. 

I am not sure if this is what you expected when you came to this blog today, but I felt it was needed for me to get my juices flowing as I attack a problem.

Oh by the way, the Troy Built mower did have a bad blade tower and one blade was slipping after it had hit something.  When the RPM's got down, that blade would just slip and not turn as fast as the other.  You can imagine how that would cause the shakes.  The really good news is that the nut that holds the blade on is a lot bigger than the small bolt/nut on the typical mower and the blade would not just break the bolt and throw the blade.   The bad news is that with shipping and handling the tower will cost almost $100.00.  Oh well, it is on order and I will have it up and running by Saturday.



It Shakes a Lot

The last time I sharpened the blades on my Troy Built Mower, I noticed that one blade had been spinning on the shaft and the keepers were worn down. The keepers keep the blade centered and stable.  This week I used it to mow at Dave's and it would slow down and shake if the grass was a little high.  I remembered that I should probably replace the shaft that holds the blade so I have the mower out in my shed to do just that.  No, I have never fixed a troy Built Mower deck but many times I have worked on other mowers.  Just where does the confidence to do this come from? 

I am not sure if it is confidence or just an attitude that I can get it fixed if I can't do it myself.  Part of this comes from having really good tools and part of it comes from having the money to replace the whole darned thing if necessary.   I will start by going on line and looking at the Troy Built web site and seeing if the housing that holds the blade is a single component or can be repaired.  I have had both on different mowers and prefer it if the housing is held on with a couple of bolts and I don't have to mess with pressing a bearing on a shaft.  That's one tool I don't have and hate to pay a machine shop $ 20-25 to do a five minute job.  I have a bearing puller but not a machine that presses the new one on.  Oh well.

Barb pulled down the schedule for the KU games and for the most part the Monday night games are no big deal.  Now that I am the program guy for the chorus, it really will make it hard to miss many of the practice sessions.  I will try to get it on a spread sheet and make it pretty automated no mater what.  The Director can make changes at the practice as he feels it is needed.  I will publish a guide and go from there.  I am darned sure that I will have no problem finding people to go to the games with Barb or just buy the tickets outright.

I spent the day at Dave's yesterday and it looks like a park.   I could have trimmed one part of the flower bed a little better but was just too pooped to pop.  I did get in a nice nap when I finished.  Because the little mower was having problems, I brought my tractor up and finished the mowing.  I have what they call a finish mower and I think it did as good a job as the little mower could.  A Finish Mower is just a bush hog with front wheels to keep it from scalping the grass if the ground is uneven. 

The weather here in the heartland has been glorious for the last couple of days.  They are saying that we are due for some rain tonight and a little cooler weather.  I can still see tomatoes in the garden when I go out to get the paper.   Barb has been drying them in the oven ad I am hoping to try some of them in a stew tonight.  Might even get Dave to stop by and have a bowl or two. 

OH well, better run and get my day started.



They Had the Giggles

On Monday nights, I go to the practice of the Topeka Barbershop Chorus, aka the Capitol City Chorus.  For some reason, I did my best to shake the hand of everyone at the practice as they arrived.  Once we got out practice going, it seemed that almost everything we did was worth a few laughs.  A lot of the idle chatter was about the Royals winning but it seemed that the mood was just one that led to laughs.  Our chorus director tried some new teaching methods on the chorus and it just set the tone for a less than serious tone.  It is kind of hard to imagine a group of senior singers having the giggles but that's the way it was.  He told us to get loose and I told the guys that I had Chili for lunch and was afraid to get too loose after eating beans.  Yep, it was one of those nights.  Kind of like the third grade.  The kind of humor shown in the photo below.

Blond Pole Dancer
The chorus is working on a new song "Happy Together."   The base part is Doot followed by doot.... There is one place where we break out is words but the bass line of doot is the majority of the words we have in the song.  It is a fun song and I am excited it I have that much doot in me.  For some reason songs that are fun are just easier to sing than some more simpler songs with words.  One real exception to this is our Director's version of Home on the Range.  Our version is just one sweet song with the bass section having a few measures of the lead. One of these days I will figure out how to make this all work and post a version on here. 

As soon as the grass dries out today I am going to Dave house and trim up his garden in the front of his house.  The Master gardener has planted a lot of pretty things but they like most plants need trimmed back for the winter.  I put a new tire on his mower and will do a little mowing also.  Then it will be back to rabbit run for more of the same.  I wasn't sure that retirement would make me the groundskeeper but that's the way it is.

Yesterday I went to the Doctor for a consultation about my tendency to fall down.   He gave me this litany of why I am prone to have problems and was glad to hear that I have perfected the Parachute Landing Fall (PLF) and have learned to keep my hands and fingers protected when I fall.  He says that most of the older patients don't learn that.  He says he shares a lot of his patients with the Orthopedic Doctors.  My problem stems from the fact I injured my back years ago and I have a lack of feedback from my feet. (Neuropathy?) I can feel them but not really well.  Throw in my inner ear problems from many years of the Field Artillery and it is two of the three things most people rely on for balance.  When you put me in a low light situation it just gets worse because vision if the third link for balance most people use.  Dang I hate getting older but will take it when I consider the alternative.   The really good news is that I have a good attitude and can smile through.  He said I can come back if I start falling more than once a month.  

In the Dr's office I went to, there was a picture of LTC Doolittle who led the raid on Japan in WWII.  It had the Captain of the ship and many of the pilots and crews of the B24's in a collage.  There is also some signed cards from the crew in the display.  he said that many people have asked him if he was in the picture. The guys there if alive would be in their 90's.  Seeing as how he is about 20 years younger than I am, that is just not possible.  We discussed how that when Jay Leno would take his show out on the street and ask people questions, it was amazing how little people really knew.  I guess that because I was in the Military, I learned history by the dates of Wars.  That is a fixed timeline I use and hang other events on that framework.  Knowing that my father would be 90 and Barb's dad is just 90.  We are lucky to have any of the WWII Vets still with us.  That group is getting smaller each day.  Kind of like the Vietnam Vets are in a lot of cases the sons and daughters of the WWII Vets, we too are a group on the decline.  But I'm going to be here for a while.  I went to war with a bunch of kids and now all I see wearing those Vietnam Vet hats are old guys. 

The TV today said there is a new gene linked to the craving for caffeine.  I will admit that no matter if it is nature or nurture, I really love a good cuppa coffee.  I don't drink the stuff after noon each day as it interferes with my naps, but there is nothing that get me rolling in the morning.  I have been trying several different brands and types but keep going back to the old stand by Folgers.  They have markings on the cans that tell me the roasting level and I can pretty much get the same taste out of their regular roast. 

I feed the deer cracked corn and for years have used the house brand from Tractor Supply.  I must have got some from a pallet that was in the back of a warehouse this last time. It has a musty smell and a grey color.  The deer won't touch that stuff.  I have complained but I remember seeing the sales slip blowing across the pavement as I loaded the corn so I don't have much hope of getting a replacement or my money back.  Bummer.




My Rights, Your Rights

I believe that our Constitution was amended by the Bill of Rights to redress the wrongs done to our citizens by an oppressive British Government.  For the most part they embody the things that were wrong back then and in most part the things that are wrong, if done, today.  There is a process to redress the things the Bill of Rights  didn't cover.   We have made sure that everyone has the right to vote and that repealed our attempt at Prohibition as it was just overcome by the Laws of Unintended Consequences. 

Today on Facebook, one of my "Friends" posted that someone passed out fliers at her workplace that warned everyone to get ready that Judgment Day is coming soon.  I told her that I feel that it is wrong to bring this kind of debate into the workplace.  The Freedom of Religion to me means just that.  If I want to celebrate trees and dance naked in the moon light that is my right but not theirs to tell me in any way about theirs at work.  This wasn't just a casual conversation that she could get up and walk away from in the break room.  There were several of the fliers in several places.  Lets supposed that she had been gay and the Fred Phelps Clan put a flier on her desk that said, "God Hates Fags." They may have the right to carry such signs on the streets of Topeka as a part of their free speech amendment but they don't have the right to bash people with those signs.  And, they don't have the right to bring that debate or ridicule into my or her workplace. 

The Master Gardener and I discuss from time to time the role of government and the Laws they pass.  I do agree with her that in a lot of cases, the laws get passed to protect a minority part of our population from wrongs the Constitution should give the right to do.  (By Minority part, I do not mean race color or religion, but less than the majority)  By the same token I feel that some of the Laws are unnecessary because the current laws, if enforced, should provide the very rights the new Laws allow or prohibit.  I think I have said before that if an old  Law cannot be enforced, a new Law is likely to suffer the same weakness.   The other side of that is that a lot of us fear a Government big enough to enforce all the laws that are out there today.  Many others really support the need for new laws to make sure things are equally fair.  That is their freedom of speech and I won't take that away even if I don't agree 100% with the message.

Somewhere we have lost the ability to talk to each other without being Preachy or confrontational.  My Mother, who played the piano at the Baptist Church for a lot of her life, would just tell us kids to knock it off if we were insulting to our family or friends.  I just wish that there was some "Mother" button we could push and ensure that we listened more than we talked. (Said by the guy who writes from the bully pulpit called a blog) Our rights should end where our nose ends but in a lot of cases we want to stick it where the rights of others start.   

What ever you feel about your rights, I hope that you don't ever want to lose even a small part to silence someone or something you don't like.  In our society, we have the right to assemble and peacefully demonstrate.  That is what is missing in a lot of the world.  Lets not let that start, or stop, here for any reason.


Dress Code

The "Dear Abby or Ann Lander's wannabe" in today's paper had an article about a guy forced to enforce the dress code at his place of business.  That part of my life is one of those life lessons I tell stories about.  Here is my side of the story.

I was an instructor at a call center.  It is obvious that there was never any customer direct contact and in my opinion, there was little need for a dress code.  They specified Business casual and jeans were only on Friday and in the summer, shorts on Casual Friday.  There were several small parts of the code and that's always what got me in trouble.

The first area that was a problem was sandals.  You could wear them unless it left the toes open.  Not sure what that was all about but I did send a guy and a girl to HR when they wore them into my class.  Both were returned to the class and said they chose to not enforce that rule on casual dress days.  OK, from then on, I would not send people out of the room for even flip flops.

One female student came into the class one day and was wearing a blouse that was unbuttoned way beyond my tolerance.  She was spectacular in my opinion but rules are rules.  I sent her to HR and they told her to button up until no bra showed and sent her back.  That was the final straw.

I went down to HR and marched into the Director's office.  I told her that I was no longer going to be the clothes Nazi and so long as my students showed up with anything covering their privates I would teach them all. 

In High School, there was a bunch of the guys that thought that dressing like the hippies was OK.  They would take a sweat shirt and cut the sleeves off and cut it down the front.  These were worn inside out and over shirts and looked a lot like vests.  Some of the guys didn't ever wash those vests and they could look bad.  One teacher we had said that no longer would she tolerate them in her class room.  I bought a new white sweatshirt and made it into a vest.  The next day when I went to class she handed me a note and told me to go visit MR. Moore the vice Principle.  When I got there, I showed him the note and he looked me in the eye and said, "Take the God Dammed thing off Dennis, you know the rules."  Oh by the way, Mr. Moore was the husband of my Third Grade teacher and we were on a first name basis over that and a few other reasons.  He was right.  I took off the vest and threw it away.  There were a lot of other reasons I could get thrown out of school for and clothes was not that important.  He like my mother just looked at things plainly and if it wasn't right, it wasn't right.

I guess that most of my displeasure with the rules came from my time in the Military.  There was a dress code specified and in most cases a uniform of the day.  As an officer, I made sure the NCO's were aware of their responsibility to supervise their men and it was really up to them to make sure the soldiers could do their jobs.  If a soldier was digging a sump for the kitchen, why did it matter to me if they took off their fatigue jacket.  My concern was that they didn't get sunburned and then not able to do their duty the next day.

Now moving on to my next topic.  One of my Facebook friends found a flyer on her desk that said the world is coming to an end she needed to get prepared.  I told her that she needed to make sure that her boss and the HR where she works brings this to an end.  It can be a form of harassment and not an appropriate thing in the workplace.  Lets say that only the gay people in a business got the fliers.  Is that appropriate.  Not in my book.  Moving on...

Just when I am so tired of hearing the bickering about who did what in the races for political offices, there is a scheduled symposium that is going back to look at the campaign between Dr Bill Roy and Former Senator Bob Dole.  One's dead and the other doesn't look too good.  Why on God's green earth would anyone want to go back and look at mudslinging 101 in a past election.   I think it is appropriate to look back at the problems in the Lincoln Presidential election to point out the fact that the politics and mudslinging of today isn't new.  To look at a Senatorial election is just ludicrous. 

I for one will be glad to have my phone stop ringing for thinly veiled surveys that really want money not my opinion.  I will vote but it will be my vote and nothing they can do at this time will change my vote.  If almost 82% of the people don't approve of the current office holders, why do they get re-elected in droves?   Probably because there is some stupid idea that it isn't my Representative or Senator that is at fault.  Not me, I want to turn them out until we get a group in Washington that will start fixing the problems not being just a part of what's wrong.  I VOTE!