800,000 hits

800,000 people have visited this blog in the years I have been writing this blog.  What impact if any have I made on life?  Quite frankly I don't know. 



I have tried three times to write a post today and every time I have tried, I deleted the post I had written.   I worry that I am becoming a negative writer and I have simple forgot how to celebrate what I have.   The last thing I want to become is exactly what I wrote in those three failed posts.

Sadly, the realization that what I say is what I think, I am at a loss to change that.  I have hundreds of fancy little sayings but no way to escape the fact that in a lot of cases they are wishful thinking and not reality. 

I have traveled the world over and think the things here in the heartland are the best places I have ever been.  Is it just rose colored glasses or a desire to not change that keeps me here?   Can I realistically look at the things I love here without the thought that my perception is my reality - What happens if I am wrong?  Do crazy people even begin  to realize that they are out of whack and that alone makes their reality off center?  I read once that it is when people begin to notice they are wrong a lot and that is what drives them crazy.

Oh well, I will just try to get on today and pretend that everything is OK.  

I'm OK, but I'm not sure about you.




Well, the short ride for the BIG XII teams in the NCAA Men's basketball tourney is over.  I almost laughed out loud when one of the announcers said that West Virginia might be able to disrupt Kentucky.  All Kentucky had to do was throw the basketball high and use their reach/height advantage.  Throw in referees with happy whistles an it was clear that the game was over in about the first 10 minutes.   Oklahoma did a fair job but they didn't seem to run many plays and when the outside shooting didn't work,. they lost.   Wait for it,  The K-State Chant - "Wait for next Year."  

A couple of years back, I saw an experiment ran with some test subjects in a cave.  They were forced to give up their watches and any reference to time.  Soon, they just let their bodies tell them what time it was and they were soon out of whack.  Days turned into nights, nights where whenever and they had no frame of reference to how long it took to do anything.  I can relate to that now that I am retired.  I can take a nap and wake up completely disoriented as to what time it is.  I know that Barb can spend hours reading after I have fallen asleep and I can wake up at 5 AM and feel rested.  Have I mentioned how much I hate getting old lately? 

I attended the ceremony of one of my friend's sister last week.   Yesterday I saw that a former brother-in-law of mine commented that he had lost a dear friend this week.  I told him that this is the one aspect that no one prepares you for.  As kids, we were bulletproof and would live forever.  Now I can start listing friends that have passed on and it takes both hands.   I guess I expected to lose my grandparents and my parents, but losing those people my age and younger were not in my expectations.  Stupid me.

Yesterday I went out to hook up the mower to the tractor and found that the universal joint on the attachment part had failed.  Somehow the piece had been bent and the clips that held the cap on the joint came off.  Lose the clips and the little caps become hand grenades.  The new universal was $35.00 and the new part was almost $60.00.  Maintenance on this tractor is expensive.  This past week I put a new starter button on the tractor after spending over $100.00 on a new solenoid.  This tractor works fine right now but I am holding my breath to see how soon something else breaks. 

I read a Facebook site about 55-56-57 Chevys.  It blows me away how critical the readers are about the tires and wheels some guys put on their cars.  When I was doing my 57 Chevy, I tried to collect up a set of 57 Belair fancy hubcaps.  Most of the one's I found at swap meets were pretty rusty and the clips that held them on the wheel were broken or missing.  In the interest of my time and money, I bought a set of Crager Mags.  It looks like something I would have done in my earlier years.  The big difference is that  I would have bought them second hand and perhaps they might have even been hot back then. 

That takes me back to a funny story.  One of the guys in my neighborhood was Danny Rex.  He was a pretty normal guy but somewhat lacking in the intelligence area.   He saw an ad in the paper for a transmission on a 46 Ford.   He took the directions and off we went to take it out of the old car on a farm out east of Wichita.  When we completed the job, we moved on and almost forgot about it.  The next week, a Sheriff's Officer showed up at Danny's house to arrest him for theft.  It seems that my friend had the right address but the wrong street.  He had it written down there by the phone and still had the newspaper ad.  When it was explained to the farmer, he decided to not press charges.  Danny and I had to go out and put the transmission back where we got it and then go get the new one.  I am just glad that I hadn't driven my car on that first trip. 

Oh well, on to bigger and better things. 



Only Time Will Tell

Ask about anyone, and they will tell you that the current crop of elected people has to be about the most self centered bunch of idiots ever.  I won't wax political for either side.   Seems like we just get one new bunch after throwing out the old guys and the new guys seem to get worse that we had.

Before you swell up and say Hell No!  I would invite you to consider that they have and will promise us the cure only to find a new disease worse than the last one.   The only thing that makes me laugh about this is the fact that so few of you voted in the last round of elections, that I can say that few voted for these Morons. 

Who is the worst President of all times?  Based on the latest polls and discussions on TV, the current guys is always the worst.   Only time will tell as this guy fills out the last two years of his term in office.  His record will be finalized and then and only then will we put him in the right place. 

What makes me really sad is that as I look out there I can't seem to find a candidate that will begin to really do the job well.  This is my problem, I know that.  

One person that I would love to see elected is a guy that a lot of people hate.  Senator John McCain is one person that deserves only the best from us.  He is an Ex-POW and one of the few guys that has been involved in things that have crossed the aisle and had bi-partisan support.   The rest of the guys in Congress seem to hate anything that is not their party's idea.  That kind of thinking got us the Affordable Health Care Act.   I heard this week that if costs so much that the Congressional staffers were told they didn't have to use it.  Another loop home created by the loop home Master. 

How can we fix this whole mess?   I am not sure we can but one thing we should do is to have congress really sit down and look at the laws we have and start cutting down on them.  I would go so far as to say there needs to be sunset dates (expiration Dates) on all laws. 

We should have all the government we can afford to pay for.  Not one cent should be proposed above the current tax level.  Income should be greater than or equal to outgo.  A few people said the last person to have a balanced budget was Bill Clinton.    What they don't say is that he just didn't increase the deficit they have. He just didn't spend more than we had coming in.   I would like to have a little of the budget deficit paid off each year.  Even a balanced budget with a 1 or 2 percent pay back would be something I would love to see.  

A few years back, my portion of the National Debt was something that I could have helped pay for.  It is growing so fast and high that I am no longer sure that even if we all emptied our savings we can make a dent.  I hear that a large number of people out there don't have any savings to dip in to.

Speaking of dents, the Kansas projected shortfall next year is about 600 million.  If there are about 2 million people living in Kansas, why don't each of us pay a head tax of a few dollars and balance that puppy.  I think most of us would also throw in a few dollars for education.   I would also stop the use of the Fuel Tax dollars to plug holes and start fixing our roads and bridges.  When the Willard Bridge here in Shawnee County falls down, I just pray no one is on it.

Jes' Say'n.


Strange Thing!

After a two year long battle with a lawyer involved, and because this is tax time, I wondered if the Lawyer fees are deductible.   Can you believe that even with the number of lawyers in Congress they are not?  Seems to me that that is one thing that a good lawyer would get passed quickly.    I haven't finished my research but at least not right out there in the open they are not for an individual.  Perhaps they can be included in a business as a write off but not openly for individuals.

Did I really expect that West Virginia would beat Kentucky?   Not really.  I wasn't sure about the Shockers but at least they didn't beat themselves, a great Notre Dame team played their asses off and won the game.  Now to see if Oklahoma will show up and win tonight.  Roy Who?

Yesterday I went out to the garage to set the tractor up to mow some in the field.  Seems the universal joint on the drive shaft had shelled its self the last time I used it to mow.  A new universal was $35.00.  When I tried to replace the old one, I realized why it failed.  Somehow the old fastener was bent and it needs to be replaced.  There wasn't one at either Tractor Supply store here in town.  They want $55.00 for that.   Crap Oh Dear.   Oh well, I will probably make a dump run with the trailer and stop by the north store on the way home.  Perhaps.

I am torn about getting a mower at the rental houses.  The lots there is three acres and I couldn't mow it in a week if I had a push mower.  We'll see.  It used to be pretty easy to hire a kid to mow but with the price of gas, I am not sure I could afford to do that. 

I can't imagine how fast this year is going.  It will soon be April and there is a lot of outside work to get done.  I thought by June we could at least hit the road some but we are in a holding pattern right now.  On the 18th, our Barbershop Chorus will hold their annual show.  We are getting ready but there is a lot of work to get done between now and then.

I had better get closed up here and get on with the day.  Miles to go and money to spend.



Is Edamame Edible?

For those of you that have never tried Edamame (Soy beans) it is a funny vegetable.  It comes still in the husk and the husk is so tough that it is like eating shrimp.  The biggest difference is that the shells on shrimp are very light and small and with Edamame, you wind up with a pile of green scraps almost as big as you started with.  Most of the husks are tough as leather and there are only one or two beans in the husk.  The beans are tender and have the look of lima beans.  They have little taste and to make the entire process edible, you have to sprinkle the husks with Greek Seasoning (Cavender's is the best I have found for this)  I think this is a social thing more than a good process for dinning.

Now that I have that thought out of the way, I will move on to the state of the State of Kansas.   The legislature is in the process of making abortion harder to get, authorize concealed carry w/out a license and passing a budget that is at least 600 million dollars short.  Instead of adding a few dollars to everyone's state income taxes, they want to raise the sin tax.  Smokers and drinkers will soon have to stop smoking and drinking because of the cost.  We can go to Casino's but lord forbid if we try to smoke or drink there.  For the record, that's three things I really don't do but you never know when I might want to go to a casino, have a drink and a smoke.  Unless I somehow outlive my wife (Not likely) I probably won't get to do that.

I am really proud of the K-State Coach.   Bruce Webber stepped up to the responsibility and sent a couple of his key players on down the road because they have failed to live up to their responsibility as student athletes,  He is also allowing a third player to transfer to another school.   It must be tough for a coach to cause the dismissal of two of his best players.  I wish that Bill Self would do the same with Cliff Alexander and stop any question of KU being involved with having a player tainted by an NCAA Investigation.  There is a publication called the Jayhawk weekly and this week they have a special page about what fans and players must not do or the NCAA will step in and slap the programs.  In my personal opinion, Cliff should be allowed to stay at least another year to develop to his full potential as a player but his family crapped on KU's lawn and he needs to pay the price.   KU, being a team with only one senior, there needs to be some room for new recruits in the scholarship ranks.  Unlike Kentucky and KU last year, the NBA is not going to be beating down the doors for the current players. 

I am having problems taking taped conversations from a small recorder and making a copy.  It seems to use an MP4a format and store the recording somewhere in the bowels of the computer when I try to download using the system software.  I have to do a search each time I find them and the one copy I have made seems to clip it off about 14 or 15 minutes.   I guess it is time to bribe our son to come over and help his computer illiterate dad out.  I have a couple of conversations I want to share with my father-in-law.   He is in his 90's and just see's and hears a little worse than I do.  Now a winning combination.  Yes, there is probably a software program out there that will do the job. 

The weather here in the heartland is on a roller coaster ride.  It got down to freezing last night and will be in the 70's over the weekend.  Oh well, IO have said that I do like to live where there are 4 true seasons.  Go south of here and the summers start to be like living in a steam closet.  Go north and the snow gets deep and frequent.  To really grow plants in the garden, we have to water in the last of June and into July until the harvest is complete.  Just for the record, the grass is on it's own.  If it lives, yea.  If it dies, it wasn't worth the effort I have spent on it.

I guess it is time to get off here and do some research on tax matters and software solutions.




Another Story

When we were kids, anything that looked like an adventure was a magnet for our attention.  In most cases, we weren't destructive but we did like to do new things that were different with or without a degree of risk.  Let me start this story by saying that one of our friends had a Dad that was the head custodian at the school we attended.  Ron had access to the keys to almost any part of the school, but what would be the fun of that.   This adventure began when one of us noticed that there was a ventilator grate broken and we decided that we could probably fit through the hole.

Most of us had no idea where that hole was and no understanding that it might just go no where.  We crawled, wiggled and forced our selves through that hole and low and behold found ourselves into a maize of tunnels that seemed to go on and on.  It was probably the pipe chase that was under mast of the halls and branched off into places like the kitchen, the bathrooms and the locker rooms. I think the school had steam heat and at least one of the pipes was wrapped by some kind of paper over asbestos.  No one knew anything about any danger there so we just kept moving through that dark confined place.  Every once in a while there would be a grate over an outside vent but a lot of it was just dark tunnels that were about 5 feet wide by about 4 feet tall.  Today my claustrophobia would have kept me out but back then, I was young, dumb and fearless.  

Our adventure began one Sunday afternoon when no one was at school. We, by dead reckoning, worked our way through that set of tunnels into the main boiler room. The first leg of that adventure took us about 2 hours.   We climbed down into the new boiler room where the Janitors had an area they stored pipes, wrenches and there was a big wooden work bench to help them repair things.   On one end of the boiler room was what passed for a tornado shelter and it was a much bigger hall.  You could have probably put the entire school there and had room left over. 

Would we take advantage of the door to the outside?  Nope, we saw that the tunnels continued into the older portion of the school and returned to the grand adventure.  We entered to the new area and our adventure continued.  We got to the far end of that tunnel and it went into the hallway clear down by the kindergarten room.  We had passed the boiler room for the old area of the school and we doubled back there to see if it too had a door to the outside.  Yep, it did and after about 4 hours of doing our imitation of spelunking, we exited that door.  We had managed to completely travel under the halls of the school from one end to the other.  Our hands and knees were sore from the rough concrete but I don't remember anyone having back problems. from bending over most of the afternoon. In retrospect, we should have known that the first and original part of the school would have a boiler room but none of us had ever seen any part of it.  In fact it was tucked into a lower area by the Home Education room and we really had no reason to go there.  The door to the outside was just a metal door with frosted glass that we passed a lot but had no reason to stand out.   

I am pretty sure that no one knew of our adventure and we were never discovered.  We didn't damage anything or steal anything so in our perspective. no harm no foul.

Junior Spelunker

Waxing Philosophical

Every once in a while I get this urge to share some of the things that has got me to where I am.  I think I am in a good place but that is up to you to decide.  Here are a few things I notice and care about:

It is my contention that while there is a lot of luck involved in choosing your life partner, that is one of the most important decisions you can make.  I found my wife on a blind date and from the first she talked about the plans she had for the future.   It was easy to see me in those plans and clearly she set the course for our life.  Listen to your dates.  If they have no plans or idea what the future holds, run! Better yet, if she has money in the bank for good reasons, she's got a lot of good knowledge.

Smart, Loving and good looking, What more could I want?

I think there a lot of people out there that want a lot of what I do.   The problem is that they let their desires cloud their visions.  We could do things different but at what cost.  Did our own desire to make things equal in the 60's cause us to take the desire to provide for ourselves?  Did our desire for everyone have the same thing cause us to lose the black communities?  Did our development of communal housing kill the desire/ability to own their own homes?  Are we victims of ourselves?

In my humble opinion, there is a need for a strong Military.  But, in the words of one of the best Generals, Dwight David Eisenhower, we need to fear the Military Defense Establishment.  In my perfect world, we would have a Military for several good reasons.  First it is one heck of a good program to teach our kids about service.  It is where the Government needs to spend money to help out the economy. In my memory other countries don't attack stronger Countries.  It is designed to protect us not attack others.   The Military guys I know are the ones that hate wars the most.

I think there is room in our economy for a hand up, not a hand out to our poor.  Programs that lead to gaining skills and Education and supporting people while doing/educating something is the answer.  Just feeding a man or woman does nothing to build their feelings of being worthwhile. While Maslow's rules aren't always the best way to run the train, it does have some basic things worth listening to. Food and shelter are basic needs and do not motivate. I can think back in my life the great feeling when I got a new job or completed a training requirement.  I think our young people feel the same regardless of their color, race or ethnicity.  Pride in who you are goes a long way to making you want to belong to something better.  It is hopelessness that is our enemy.

Did you read that spending on Education is a heck of a lot better than the alternative?  Read it here and believe that I feel strong about it.

One thing I learned early and often was that Barb was a better Dave Ramsey than he was back early days in my life.  She had goals and used investing as a means to that end.  Income had to be bigger than outgo!  We had a 30 year Mortgage and she paid it off in 15.  That new car was not as important as having basic transportation.  She didn't see well without her glasses so swimming was just not her thing.  Getting a boat was a way to go swimming so same thing to her. 

Not everything the Government wants you to do is a good thing.  We saved early in the 401(k) type programs.   Now they want us to take that money out and pay taxes on it.  Just when it is clear that we should leave it invested, we are forced to take a part of it out. The really sad thing is that once we take it out, there is just no place to invest it with a good return.  Yes, we will probably just use it to pay taxes  Stupid me...

I know that as a landlord, this will sound kind of counter productive.  Renting might seem like a better way but you have no benefit from the growth of the value of the house.  That is the way we moved up in where we lived.   I won't even talk about the advantage tax wise to be able to deduct the interest from your taxes.  If you want to send me a dollar, I will be glad to send 30 cents back for you to pay your taxes.  Don't even think for a minute that owning a rental doesn't have a lot of responsibilities.  Tell it to the roofer that put a new roof on one of my houses in December. It was over $8,000 that I can not deduct.

Support whomever you choose for any political position.   Just don't try to tell me that your choice is better than mine.  How do your tell when a Politician is telling less than the truth?   When his lips are moving.  They have as their primary motivation to get elected and stay that way.   Why would they support what you want when there are people out there willing to pay big dollars to get their vote?  Take the money out of politics and see how soon we would have to draft people to represent us.   Being in a government position should be a responsibility not a right.  Heck, a lot of you don't even bother to get out and vote let alone serve your friends and neighbors.   The most thankless job is the school board.  Do you even know who they are?

When I was in the Military, I had a Top Secret clearance.  It was my job to make sure that every classified document was properly handled and stored.  Every time my boss wanted to put a document in his desk drawer overnight I was the one person that would go get it and put it in the safe.  I can not imagine that the Secretary of State didn't have a staff that felt the same way.  Setting up a home computer that handled extremely sensitive material was more than stupid, it was criminal.  Hillary was in violation of some pretty serious laws.  No excuse.  The Law is the Law.

I am involved in a law suit in another state.  Clearly the parties didn't consult a lawyer and follow his advice.  In fact they continue to do things that aren't what the law intended.  If you find yourself in a mess, consult a Lawyer.  Failure to learn or know the law is no excuse.  Failure to follow that advice is criminal. 

Along those same lines, I have made mistakes in my life.  I have had to go into my bosses office and admit my failure.  Commission or omission are the same in my book and I have done both.  When I did, I told the truth and never tried to sugar coat or lie my way out of it.  Telling a lie to cover a mistake is what gets you fired.  I hope your boss understand that you like him are busy and the more things you do the more things can happen that are not the way you would do them if you had more time or less things to do.  Mine did.  (well there was one guy that didn't fully understand that if it was illegal, it would not have my name on it)

Sports is entertainment not the reason for life. Win or lose, celebrate the young men and women for their victories.  For every person that is sad for KU, there are people that are happy for WSU. I don't understand why if Kentucky has such great bourbon they would care about basketball, but they do.

On a final note, sitting at your computer can waste a lot of time and isn't the way to get your taxes done.   Me neither.



Was I Skeardt?

Fear is what ever reality you have.  Most of the kids I grew up with played all sorts of competitive games as kids and I think that effected our reality.  At least for me it did.  One time, I mentioned to the wife that I thought playing computer games changed the driving habits of our son.  Push reset and get a new game (car).  I was soon reminded that I too crashed my share of vehicles and was the one that had to hire a lawyer to keep my license.  Go back to your corner Dennis and shut up.

Back to the theme of Was I afraid?  When I went to Vietnam, I was subjected to a lot of periods of boredom interspersed with moments of sheer terror.  If I had tried to maintain a constant vigilance the entire time I was there, I would have been a shell of myself in about 30 days.  You cannot maintain that level of adrenalin for more than a few moments.  So, afraid or Skeardt is just not a description I would use.  I tried to be as prepared to do my job as well as I could and reacted to my training when called upon. 

Near the beginning of my time in Vietnam, we stood a mortar attack that killed 13 and seriously wounded about 47 out of a battalion of about 500.  I was near the main body of the battalion and luckily did not get hit by any of the mortars or shrapnel.   During the mortar attack I tried my best to hide under my helmet and flack jacket. As soon as I could, I got up and ran out to the battery and tried to help keep everything together.  My training kicked in and I was awake for the next 48 hours.  I can't say I was afraid we would get hit by a ground attack, just concerned that it might happen and I did everything I could to make sure that didn't happen.  There was more the matter of taking care of the wounded and dead.

Near the end of my tour, I was on a mountain top LZ and we started getting RPG file from another hill near by.  I rushed out of my bunker and started directing the fire of one howitzer to shut that sucker up.  I had no concern for my safety, I wanted it stopped and shooting him before he got us was my goal.  When the firing stopped, the firebase was shot up pretty bad but there were no fatalities on our side and only a few wounded.  During the time when a rocket he fired at us was coming in, I can remember getting down behind a tree stump.  When it was all over, I looked for that stump and the only thing I could find was a 3 inch stump of a bush.  My perception was it was bigger but it was not.

I think that has been the story of my life that while I might have an increased adrenalin level, I am more prone to action rather than frozen with fear when something happens.   I hope to die in my sleep at least 15 years down the road, but I am not afraid of dying.

In fact, I tell people that I am so glad to have such a great life and I am not sure I would have changed a thing were I to get the chance to do it all over again.  Well, I might have bought more 57 Chevys back in the day. 


Notice to Basketball Fans

Many years ago, the wife and I decided that Basketball is just a sport played by kids.  At every level, they should see it as a means to an end not the sum of everything.  If colleges were awarded bonus points for their graduation rates not Championships, the whole idea of sports would evolve.  With that as a starting frame of reference, we are really big sports fans.

Today will be a game with Kansas University (KU) playing Wichita State University (WSU).   I attended WSU for 2 years and graduated from KU.  Barbara completed her degree in Education from WSU and got her Masters in Special Education from KU.  As you might be able to tell we both celebrated the success of both schools and really have mixed emotions about today's game.  For us, we will cheer the game and no matter who wins we will have their color T-Shirts to wear.  For us it is more of a great chance to see both teams than to watch one get beat. 

During the season, one of my friends, (surprise I do have friends) who has a daughter at K-State really made a big deal out of the Win at K-State over KU and Iowa State.  I didn't hear a word out of him about the fact that they were one of three teams in the BIG XII not selected to play in the post season.  I won't laugh at him when on Monday night I will wear the colors of the team that wins today.  I will be happy that KU and WSU played and salute the winner. 

I think that between both teams there are only 2 or 3 players from Kansas.   The rest of the players were recruited to attend their school and the rivalry is more that one team will end their season today rather than it is Wichita Vs. Lawrence.  Heck, Bill Self is an Oklahoma State guy and I'll bet if they cut his pay back to the level of the rest of the Educators on that campus he would be gone as fast as the season ends.  I read one commentator called KU the White Collar school and WSU the Blue Collar school.  How silly is that?   The kids are just basketball players and it doesn't matter what their parents did.  The other night there was an ESPN program about Christian Laettner who attended Duke.  Duke was the Rich Guys school and everyone thought he was from a rich family.  He was the most blue collar guy that ever played at Duke.  Perception became their reality and no amount of information could change that.

Having worked with a lot of teams while in the Military, I can pretty much think that the members of the teams will show up and play.  There may be some that will hang their head and perhaps shed some tears when the game is over.  If they really stopped and considered that the winner will soon get to play Kentucky, they would be less sad.  That will soon end the season for whoever wins today.  The team that is 36-0 is not likely to be eliminated.   Oh well, good luck to the players and have a great show to all the people watching.  I will be in front of my TV with bells on. 

Rock Chalk, Woo Shock &  pick a pail of posies for the loser.


My Stupid chant on a Bus

At Fort Sill. OK in 1966, I was an Officer Candidate doing my best to learn the Profession of Artillery so I didn't get killed or kill any of my fellow soldiers in Vietnam.  One thing we did was ride to far flung classes on busses driven by a bunch of old retired Sergeants that retired there in Lawton and drove the busses to supplement their retirement pay.  They always wanted to hear or see something new from the Candidates on the bus.  One Morning someone said lets give him the Fort Sill Cheer.   "We Love it here, We love it Here - Bull Shit."  Someone said lets tell him what we think of it.  "We hate this F#$%*ING Place."   Someone said no, lets give him the positive cheer - "We Positively hate this f#$%^&ing Place." 

Had that old Sergeant wanted to get us all in boiling hot water, all he would have had to do was turn us all in.  I am sure that there would have been a bunch of us sent packing - mostly to Vietnam. 

So when you hear that a bunch of drunk fraternity kids got their chapter kicked off the campus, just remember the times you too were young and stupid.  I guess the biggest difference today is there is the ability to record everything on your cell phone and back then it would have been his word against ours.  


Another Story

I bet that in the annuals of Story Telling there has to be a special place for those people that can spontaneous create a story that starts and ends with a clear path in between.  What worries me is that I hope I am not starting in the beginning of Dementia.  I had old family and friends that could not tell you where they left their keys but could recite tale after tale of their childhood.   Here's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The outer story was that this morning at Breakfast in Oklahoma City I met a couple of young girls that were in OK City showing animals in some show. They won the right to be there by winning their district.  The girl with the big belt buckle was showing her horse.  The other girl was showing a sheep.  I told a guy with them that I fully support the idea of sheep.  They are best with mint jelly.   He said that was a ba-ba-ba-ba-bad joke.  Then I remembered the story of the first basemen's mitt.

My uncle joined the Navy around the time of the Korean War.  When he was in High School, he was one heck of an athlete and played basketball and first base.  He left Kansas with nothing more than the clothes he was wearing.  He left his first baseman's mitt in the back window package tray on his old Chevy.  He was gone four years and when he returned home, he stayed with us for a while.  He took that old mitt out of his car and threw it away.  Being young and in need of a glove, I saved it from the trash. 

After four years of sitting in the sun in that car, that glove was stiff as a board.  I brought it to my dad and asked him if he had any ideas on how to make it supple.  I was thinking that he might use saddle soap or neat's-foot oil but no, he went into the shelves next to our bathroom.  He brought out a jar of his magic Mutton Grease he called Tallow.  That stuff turned the glove into one of the softest gloves in the game.  The problem came when the smell just did not wear off.  When I joined a little league that summer, the other players would not let me bring that glove in the dug out.  I had to leave it outside on the grass.  I don't think that it ever stopped smelling really bad.  I think the coach made me the catcher so I would use the team's equipment and leave that stinky glove at home.

The girls in the first paragraph had just sat down to eat so I waited until they were about done to tell the rest of the story.

I went to Vietnam on the USNS Geiger and they served a lot of different things.  On the third day out of Long Beach, they served stewed mutton over rice.  I took my first fork full and put it in my mouth.  All I could taste was that damned first baseman's mitt and the more I chewed, the larger the chunk of meat got until I finally had to take a napkin and hide the remains.  First, we had only been at sea for three days so I wasn't completely over the motion sickness, but that damned mutton was so rank it wasn't funny.  

The girls thought that story was kind of funny and they left to go to the livestock show.  I wished them well and I left to come home.   On the way through Wichita, I wondered to myself if there is still somewhere on the east side of town a smell that no one can place.  I'm sure that if the glove wasn't burned, it still smells like that dead sheep left out in the rain. 


Stupid is as Stupid Does.

In an effort to help us understand that working together is the best way to live, Starbucks is having their people write on the coffee cups.  Many people are up in arms about it.  I don't buy their coffee because I find it too strong and expensive.  I don't boycott, I vote with my feet.  I would encourage you to do the same. 

This last week, a black friend of mine and I were discussing how tough it is to grow up as a kid in a blended family.  Heck, he and I both found it tough to grow up in a regular 2 parent family.  He currently has a young son that is his fiance's child by another person.   He and I agree that anyone that doesn't love a child exclusive of the parentage is just missing out on what makes life fun.  He is kind of afraid to encourage the kid to call him Daddy but he thinks it is great to come home from work and have the kid cry out, "Daddy's Home."  The real father of that child has weekend visits but often is too busy to come over and pick up the kid.   His loss.

This is the 50th anniversary of my High School graduating class.  I have mixed emotions about going to the reunion.  Mostly the people that wil be there are kids that I went to school with from Kindergarten through High School.  Gotta Run.



Monday Morning Again

Got an Facebook notification that Marilyn, the older sister of my life long friend Harvey, passed away this morning.  I guess when you are in your 60's that sort of thing is to be expected.  As a member of the Baby Boomer age group, I should be expecting that sort of news.  I look myself up the other day and with the normal stuff, I should expect to live to about 83.   One survey I read indicated that with my family history of Heart trouble and the fact that I have had a cancer removed the 83 age is optimistic.  For the record, If I were to die tomorrow, I want everyone to know that I have been dealt a pretty darned good set of cards in life and no matter when I die, I want no one to be sad when I do pass.  I don't want it to be tomorrow but when it happens I only hope it isn't a long and painful process. 

Well, the final Championship brackets for the NCAA Men's Basketball came out over the weekend.  I love to hear all the speculation about the potential and then watch the outcomes.   KU and Wichita State have avoided playing each other and they (with wins in the first game) will play each other on March 22nd.  Can't wait for the matchup.  I sure hope the NCAA gets on the stick and either clears Cliff Alexander of sends him on down the road.   I would love to have him for the Tourney but I will keep my eyes on Kentucky as the number 1 of the number 1 seeds that will emerge from the Midwest bracket. I will fill out the brackets in pencil some time today.  I don't pay a lot of attention to the teams in the eastern part of the US so a lot of guessing will be involved. 

I got a call from an inspector from the insurance company and they want to re-assess one of my rental properties.  I did put a new roof and I'm sure that is part of the reason.  The other part is they want to raise the rates or drop their coverage of the older homes.  Heck, Rabbit Run is getting to the ripe old age of 25 soon.  Time to invest in some new windows and floor coverings here.  I expect the bigger of the two rental houses to be vacant no later than the end of the school year.  The tenant in the smaller house has told me that she is getting married this year and would love to have the bigger house.  We'll see.  I have never had either one sit vacant long. 

The weather here in the heartland is almost perfect.  After several cold snaps, it is great to be able to get outside and putter in the yard.  I have an itch to get the 57 out more this year.   I also will have the driveway apron redone.  Barb has more plants started in the solarium than there is garden space but I'll probably have to work on the garden some.  I didn't rake the leaves last fall and I will have that to do too.  With the months of February and now into March being passed with this monster illness, not much has been done to the yard.

This next month or so we will have several house guests and it should be a lively time here at Rabbit Run.  Always good to see friends and family.  I grilled outside yesterday and as usual, Dave took home the leftovers.  I know he puts them to good use.  He claims that everything he makes that start out with some of my grilled meat always tastes better.  At least a notch or two better in his words.  I will always start cooking the chicken at least an hour and a half earlier and when I bring it in, I cover it with foil and put it on the grill side of the stove.  Set on low, it is always done when the meal is served.  For the record I tried grilling shrimp and they were OK but not the best I have ever had.  I love to boil shrimp in the Bay Seasoning  and just peel and eat them.  Perhaps I will find a way to impart the smoky taste and some lemon and garlic next time. 

Oh well, now I've gone and made myself hungry.   See you later alligator.  Like they say in Wichita, "It's a Beautiful day in KAKE land."




Sometimes you Gotta Win

The Braketologists have KU in the Big Dance as a number two seed.   I will bet you a dollar to a doughnut that Bill Self doesn't really care where they appear so long as they appear. KU has the toughest schedule of any team and won the conference in the toughest Conference and are playing for the Conference tournament championship today.  BUT,  anyone that has been watching basketball this year  knows that unless a bunch of the team turns up ineligible, KY will win the whole thing and remain undefeated doing it.   Unless, the whole KU team has one of those days where they all score 20 points.  This year it has been erratic and they have spread that honor out.   If their bench could come in and score 10-20 points, they could beat a lot of NBA teams but not so much this year. 

Barbara and I said that Baylor's Rico Gathers could probably play football better than he plays basketball.  Other than he fills a spot on the floor he doesn't have a lot of finesse on the court.  Once he got frustrated he just fouled out when they needed him.  That last foul should have had him suspended for a couple of games but it won't.   I am sure that the BIG XII thinks they need Baylor to go to the dance and do well.  No more than those words were exchanged one of the TV announcers said the same thing.   Thugs be thugs.

I reworked the starter on the tractor yesterday and it starts one time out of three when I turn the switch.   I am going to try to rewire the starter so a different source for power is found.  When I bench tested the starter, it works every time.  I also have a compressor to either fix or replace.  That's my job today.

I have been feeling pretty crappy all week.  I even went to the Doctor.  I am taking the prescribed medicine but it really hasn't helped - much.   I am still running a low grade fever and have a headache.  Barb read that the Blue Bell Ice cream has had some listeria contamination and that has the same symptoms.  Guess who has a gallon container of Blue Bell ice cream in the freezer.   It will be pitched today.  If I take aspirin, I can stop the head aches for now.  In a week I will go back to the Doctor if I'm not significantly better. 

Oh well, I can do a few things between naps.  Wait, that describes my life before I got sick.  Dang, I hate it when that happens.    PS, is Roy Williams becoming more Bubba in his speech.  I listened to him on one of the sports programs and he sounds like he should have a pickup and a tractor... Wait, thet describes me -Never mind.



March Madness

Iowa State never lead in their basketball game except for the final shot in the final second and won their game.  KU was undermanned and could not hit the inside of the 3 point barn and won their game.  Kansas State is out of the playoff's after being picked to finish 4th in the conference.  If this is not what you expected, you have missed the name March Madness.  The basketball is round and yet does not bounce evenly.   I hope that Perry Ellis from KU doesn't come back too soon and re-hurt that knee.  We will need him later on, more than one game now.

Yesterday that 1 hour job on my tractor turned into a three hour problem solving problem session and ended with the darned thing in pieces.  The person that last put the solenoid on the starter over tightened the screws and stripped out any chance of just taking them out.  I think I have the solution and in a little while will put it all together.  Things seem clear when I sit down and just let ideas bounce around in my mind.  The real problems will come when I am trying to put it all together in the driveway. 

I don't eat at Taco Bell on normal occasions after having many of my students get sick from eating there when we worked right near a Taco Bell.  In fact the nickname applied to the local store was Taco Hell.  I do want to thank them for the idea of Sirancha sauce that is a mayonnaise mix for sandwiches.  I saw it on TV and tried it on a sandwich.  Mayonnaise is just the thing to take the kick out of the hot sauce and turn it into a good flavor.  Oh well.

I am going to experiment with my coffee brand again.  I read that obtaining whole coffee beans from a local roaster (yes we have one) is the best way to encourage freshness.  I will also look for a coffee grinder and a good airtight storage container.  When I am all set, I will do some analysis on what was the best coffee amount.  Right now, our water has a funny taste so I might even try using spring water from one of those gallon jugs.  More to follow on this important topic. 

After two more trips to Oklahoma, I hope to never go there again.  I will give you a full report but not yet.   I am not crazy about Arkansas but I will tell you that if you haven't been to Crystal Bridges the American Art Museum near Bentonville, AR you need to go there.

Oh well, better get rolling.



Exciting Day

Today is the first day of the BIG XII tournament for KU.  It will be fun to watch them and the rest of the teams play as they  aim for an end to the Conference season.  I love to watch as the teams that play in a rough conference try to win their way into the big dance for the NCAA Championship.  For me, watching Texas all year has been a wonderment as to why they don't win more games.  They have size, talent and if they ever play up to their ability could give even Kentucky.  KU has managed to play greater than the sum of their parts all year. 

There are times that I want to tell some teams to just release a player and let him go somewhere he won't do damage to the rest of the team.  I'm sure the team I'm talking about knows who they are and what player I'm talking about.  There is an old saying that close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and Illumination.  A team that can beat the number one and two team in their league and plays that bad in the Conference Championship needs to evaluate their program from top to bottom.

I also got the new starter solenoid yesterday.  I think it should not take long to get the old one off and put the new one on.  With that said, I thought replacing the fender on the Cavalier would only take an hour or so.  One thing I will do is try to coax the tractor to start and get it our on the driveway so I can see what the heck I'm doing.  At least if I break the solenoid by tapping it with a hammer, I have a replacement.  How something that looks that easy can be difficult is only a matter of time to prove. 

I wish I could tell you that the medicine I was given yesterday has some remarkable effect on how I feel.  It just has me felling "not worse."  We'll see how it goes.  One good thing is that they administered a nasal swab test and confirmed that what I had was not the flu, just that viral head cold that settled into almost bronchitis.  The infection I now have is probably a bacterial infection from the aftermath of that.

One thing I hate right now is the fact that I just need a nap in the afternoon and then can't sleep all night.  I find myself waking up sometime after midnight and being awake for an hour or so.  Keeps me in touch with Facebook but how important is that?

The other day, I said nice job to a relative on Facebook.  I got a reply that thanked me for the faint praise.  I wonder just what I should have said that I recognize her efforts to do things but if she is waiting for me to throw a celebration for everything she does she will be waiting for a while.  She was elected by her constituents and she should seek her approval locally.  I guess I should just throw in the towel and unfriend her.  The only problem with that is the other members of the family repost her activities and I would get them anyway.  I guess the only real way to handle it is to stop reading  Facebook like it made a difference.

Oh well, it will be a beautiful day our there in the real world and I'm going to try to spend it productively.  Have a great day.



Finally Went to the Doctor

After about 6 weeks, I finally broke down and went to the Doctor.  On Tuesday, I felt pretty poorly and started running a fever.   The Doctor put me on a 10 day course of antibiotics.  Hopefully this will knock the crud out and I will finally start getting better.   The weather is so nice outside and now I am just not up to getting out in the great weather.  Perhaps later today.

The Hero Channel on DIRECTV  is running a program about the Irish and their role in the US Civil War.   I am proud to say that there is Irish blood in my family.   You know them, Patio as in Patio furniture.  I know that there was always a story that a Great-Great Grandfather that was Irish and he married a Scottish woman and they fought battles all the time. 

I finally broke down and bought a solenoid for my tractor.  When cold, the only way I could get the starter to engage was to take a hammer and tap the solenoid.  I hope this new solenoid will take care of that.  I probably will take the starter off and do the solenoid reploacement on the bench.  We'll see.

I will also take the tractor out of the garage so I can get the 57 out and test drive it again.  I have a minor adjustment on the accelerator pump to try.  It has a small hesitation when I accelerate and it may be getting a little too much gas.  I'll give that a try and see if it doesn't drive better.  If not, I have about exhausted my integrative and cognitive capacity and will try something else.

Have a great day - going to be 70-75 today here in the Heartland. 



How do they do it?

Yesterday was one of those days that I hope don't re-peat for a while.   It started with falling down in the garage as I carried five heavy glass shelves.  I didn't want to wind up with a lap full of broken glass pieces so I toughed it out and fell on my knuckles rather than drop any of them.  I was lucky but it hurt like hell for a while.  The good news is that there is nothing broken including the glass. 

Dave came over in the afternoon and we put a new fender on his Chevy Cavalier.  He hit a deer a month or so back and that beer can thick fender just rumpled to make the car look like a car ready for a stock car race.  I found a fender in a local salvage and we put it on.   Because the parts on the inside of the fender were broken, it was kind of hard to figure out how to put it back together.  What looked like about a 1 hour job turned into a four hour one.  It was not the work but the getting up and down that really took it's toll.  In the past, I could have done that quicker and it would not have taken its toll on my body.  But, it is done and looks pretty darned good.

Then, I went to sing with the Barbershop chorus at their Monday night practice.   Because the fender took about three hours longer than I planned, I didn't look over the music for that practice and quite frankly I sucked because I didn't know all the words.   Starting today I am going to put the show music in a binder and look at it once a day until our April show.   The good news is that the Chorus is progressing nicely. 

The only real good things is that Barb knows how hard I worked and I have the day off.  We will probably go mail the paid bills, go to the bank and catch a meal out and about.   Might even see if the kids are available for dinner.   They like the Mad Greek in Lawrence and because he works in Lawrence, we can easily meet there.  Now to see if the kids are up to it. 

The start of this blog is the question, "How do they Do It?"  In my younger years I could have days like yesterday back to back and moved on smartly.  Now today I have to take a day off after only working about what a normal day would have been like for those non retired people.  The good news is that I have time to do it.

OK, enough of this Petty Pity Party.  Moving on to bigger and better things.  Probably will go upstairs and yell at the TV as the Price is Right is on. 



Musings on Monday

To tell the truth, spell checker may not be enough.  I would also like to be able to go to a dictionary without closing this post.  I am unsure if I should say Amusing Things on Monday or just leave it Musing on Monday.   To tell the truth I really can find that many things to be amused about today.  I write posts on a 55-56 & 57 Chevy Facebook page and they tend to have themes each day.  Today's name was More Door Monday.  People are encouraged to post pictures of their 4 door (or 5 door if it is a sedan delivery type car)  So Monday Musings it is.

Do you know why I think Hillary should not run for the Presidency?  If she won she would probably let the most low morale ex President live there.  She would undoubtedly do better if she would just admit that Bill lied to her and the rest of us and divorce his ass.  Surely at that time in her life she has enough money to retire gracefully.   If I had as many skeletons in my closet as she does, I would just go on the speaker circuit and tell her version of the truth until she does have enough money to live where and how she desires.  I am sure that a tell all book about Bill would be a winner.  If she does start the run for the Presidency, the first place to start on her record is White Water.  How she made that much money off what was clearly a scam should damage her reputation beyond repair.  It is clear that she uses Lawyer Speak and surrounds the facts in ways that complicate the matters. 

I wish we had someone, or anyone in the conservative part of either party that can stand up in front of people and help them understand in clear language what they stand for.  One thing I hate is when people want to know where the candidate stands on issues that he or she won't have any say over.  Look at their record and see if they have been arrested and ask a few general questions but the Presidential Candidate's stance on Abortion is just not a part of that job. 

If asked to run, here is my platform on my record.  I have been married to the same wife for 47 years and love her a lot.  I have managed to serve my country for 33+ years and started as a Private and ended as a Colonel.  I have a lot of medals, ribbons and certificates for doing a good job.  I hope the people that served for and with me think I did a good job anyway.  I have managed to sit down with the wife to plan for and save our retirement.  At the end of each month we end with money left at the end of the days each month.  I am proud to be a Kansan, and a graduate of KU with a degree in Business.  I love to sit in the stands of Phog Allen Field House and sing "Rock Chalk at the end of games. I am a human being and have no intentions to tell you that I am perfect.  I am like Popeye and "I Yam what I Yam."

Rock Chalk Jay Hawk in the stands with the students

From the above, I hope you can tell that I am a Pink, Purple, Black or indifferent person (Pick One) it matters not to me which category you pick.  I am on the conservative side of the Ledger with strong feelings about Fiscal (Money) matters.  If I was to tell you about my heroes, I would probably start with Dave Ramsey and end with my family.  I believe that Congress does not have an idea how much they are spending or taking in.  Until the balance the budget and fill the depleted coffers of the programs that people really depend on we will not move forward.  I am the most proud of my Military that has given more minorities the chance to show what they have and earn promotion with regard to their performance not race.   I grew up poor and now I'm NOT.  That should say it all to you as it does to me.  OK, I'm not running and moving on, here is the rest of today's story. 

For some reason I do not understand, last year's Turbo Tax electronic records are AWOL.  I have looked in everything to include the cloud and am having no luck.  I even reloaded the 2013 Program back onto the new computer and searched.  Zip, zilch, nada...I do have the hard copies but not the electronic file copies.  I am now reloading the information into the Turbo Tax categories into the Computer and having a little trouble telling exactly where everything goes.  It is not that I am lying, I just don't remember last years stuff that well.  My sister has asked me help her with some questions and I just flat can't tell her over the telephone what I did, let alone how to do what she needs to do.  I have advised her to do what I am doing and look at last years stuff and see what she did then. 

Did I mention that I would just have the Government take what they need and leave us the hell enough alone?   Get the IRS Auditors out of their work bothering us and have them look for ways for the system just to take a flat percentage of what they need.  Right off the top and get it over with.  If they want to have me collect the sources of my income, I don't have a problem with that.  It is trying to put it together in such a way that makes sense that I find hard.  One thing I do like is when Turbo Tax lies to me and tells me that the probability of being audited is low.  Those words are honey and butter on my biscuits. 

Oh well, moving on for the day.  I have promised myself that cold crud or not, I am going to get outside and doing something worthwhile while the 60 degree days are here.



Lightning Strike

I am not sure that I know what the odds are of being struck by lightning but I hear it is pretty high.  I have often wondered what is more likely?

a.  Having people understand that the people we elect can't possibly represent everything we want.  They are elected by votes and that is the way we get people in office that best represent what we want.  Or Having politicians really ask themselves what would the people that elected me really want instead of just passing the Party Line.

b.  Finding ways to inspire our students to learn more than the curriculum asks  OR Just letting the status Quo set in and accepting that is good enough. 

c.   Teaching our children about the value of money and how to manage it OR Allowing them to go out in the world and be subject to the whims of advertising.  A Dave Ramsey type program should be the norm somewhere in school. 

d.  Finding ways to help people and the Police come to understandings  OR Just go on shooting people when the Police run rough shod over the rights of people.  There has to be a better way.

e.  Helping people understand the bill of rights, what they stand for and cost  OR  Letting our rights slip slide away.  Just for the record, every day in school, we said the pledge of allegiance, he Lord's Prayer and at lunch we sang the Doxology.  I never saw anyone picked on because they didn't, or remained silent. 

f.  Insert your own pet peeves here and move on smugly in the fact that I won't denigrate what you think or do.


Political Correctness

 This what our pledge of Allegiance says:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,
and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God,
 indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
This is what the political correctness people want it to say:
I think I want to say why I stand up and salute our flag.
Hopefully it doesn't offend anyone else, but I want to.
That flag stands for a type of government and economy freedom of religion that no one really understands.
What I want it to represent is that I have the freedom to say my pledge.
And again, only if it doesn't offend anyone. no matter what it cost for us to be able to say this.
That's all


I read that it is Daylight Saving Time not "savings time."  Another myth shot in the butt.  To the majority of the retirees, a change in when noon arrives probably will only cause us to slightly change our nap time.    My daily schedule will go on mostly unimpeded by what time your alarm clock goes off. 

Truth in Advertising is that this is the way most cats spend a lot of their time. Not doing some cute thing or wearing a hat.  They Sleep

Yesterday was a sad  day for Kansas Basketball.  All three teams I follow lost.  Kansas played a great game in Norman, Oklahoma and were edged out by a point at the buzzer.  Both WSU and K-State lost their bids.  WSU was playing in Arch Madness in St Louis and will undoubtedly be in the big dance.  K-Sate will have to win in KC a game or two or they may be in the NIT.  Not the worst fate.
Our Hawk fans have their biggest wish that Cliff Alexander will either be allowed to play of have his eligibility removed period.  It is the indecision that makes it bad.  We also hope that the injury fairy helps heal up our injured player.  I'll bet a lot of teams feel that way.

What is your favorite color on old cars.   There is the Bye Bye Blue,  Arrest me red and my favorite High Ho Silver.   A lot of these look good as combinations also.  I have seen a lot of the White color over a more solid dark color on a lot of cars and really like that.  There is a metal flake red that looks great with old fat fender trucks with the fenders painted black.  I am also a sucker for the flat black hot rods.  If I get ready to paint my 53 pickup, I am going to need to do some rust hole patching with a welder to make it strong enough to hold together for a couple more years.  I have a few places on the 57 that ate needing touched up but it is fine for a daily driver, that I hope it will become, next year.

The last time I needed to update my computer, I had several places that memory could be stored.  I have a copy of Turbo Tax for every year except last year I guess the obvious thin g I need to do is to open that program and see if it can fine the correct memory location for the 2013 files.  I have a hard copy but having last year's files makes it a lot easier to navigate the new 2014 copy.  I will test that when I close here.

I think the Post Office in Skiatook , OK is screwing with me.  I put the wrong street address on the K-1 I sent my brother and they wrote the right address on the envelope and sent it back.  Both copies. Just how many Richard Petty's live there on W. Country Road?    Oh well, back to the real world. 

I have high hopes that my son will bring his car over some time today so I can switch the damaged fender with the new on I bought.  I am going to see just how fast I can make the change.  I thin less than two and no more than three hours will do the trick.   It mostly depends on if there is any hidden damage due to misaligned body panels that the new fender will rest on or attach to.

See you all later, alligator



I Didn't Know I Didn't Know That!

For the record, I am one of those people that either cower in the corner (not!) or charge on through life like I knew almost enough.  Every once in a while I am hit head long with the fact that Mr. Know-It-All really doesn't have all the answers.   It sometimes comes alive that my perception is my reality and it may be wrong from time to time. 

Is this picture turned 90 degrees to the left or is it me?

In my life I have had a long run of good things happen to me and it reinforces the idea that I can at least bluff my way through to success.   Where is that fine line that what I don't know can bite me in the butt?  Where do all the smiling people come up with the courage to get people to believe that we are all OK? 

In my family, at least one or two of the older generation began to have failures or lapses in judgment or memory about the same age I am.   That only worries me because I am in much better health than they were and hope to live much longer than they did.  I know that financially, we are better off and I do regularly see my Doctor to head off small things before they get serious.  At least a couple of small cancer's were nipped in the bud and I think I am fairly "Free" at this time.  But like a cancer, most people don't know what they don't know.

In all this automation out there , someone needs to find or invent a machine that provides some certainty to us.  What I want is something like a spell checker that can tell us when we are wrong with one of those squiggly red underlines like the one that popped up under the word squiggleh when I first wrote it.   Perhaps a new indicator like orange that tell me that I might be just a little off baseWould you be interested in such a thing?  

Speaking of inventions, every once in a while I will share with a clerk in the grocery store an idea that hit me when I stocked shelves at Safeway in College.   I want a stick that has a turned end on it. It would be about a foot and a half long with a six inch perpendicular piece on the that I can insert behind things on the shelf and "Front" the items so it looks like the shelf is full.   This is a free idea for any inventor that looks at he shelves at Costco and see's money like I do.

OK enough of this crap, Moving on in life to go find new adventures where I at least think I know what I know.


I Didn't Know That!

This morning one of the TV programs gave us the name of the first American Woman to win a Nobel Prize.  It made me wonder how much of this stuff we should really know?   As a child, I used a set of reference books that were purchased prior to WWII.  At least one of the papers I turned in in school was rejected as having a hand drawn map of a country that no longer existed after to the Soviet take over of Europe.  Silly me.   I spent hours reading those books and now I wonder where does wrong data and facts diverge?

When I first started to use the computer, things were hard to find on the net because you had to type WWW.info.somewhere to locate it.  Now you have to sort through the ads on Google or Dog Pile to get to the get to the facts.  Is it any wonder why our children don't know the answer to a lot of the questions?  They can now spend the rest of the day reading about some small trivial item that they probably didn't need to know.  Probably the worst thing out there is Wikipedia where people can make up and present stuff as if it were facts.  It is a worse site than the myriad of fan based news.  It is like E News wrapped in a cloak of respectability. 

In the good old days, I depended on the Newspapers to give me a lot of the information I used to make decisions and form ideals.   Now days the shortened articles provide less and less facts and never in any organized order.  According to the "rules" I learned in school, the first sentence, or at least the first paragraph in an article would tell you who, what, when, where and if possible why.  It is not doubt that the newspapers are going Online for a reason and one day the delivery of a paper won't be available.  At that time the news will be so centralized that local items won't be available. 

Has Facebook replaced the old hometown news in many ways?   I can remember when my grandmother would peruse the Eldorado times about what was happening with her friends.   She would never resort to listening on the party lines (or at least when we were there)  All the guests, tea parties and church socials were covered in detail.  Now people self promote and throw in selfies to show off where they are or were they have been.

This Christmas Cactus Thinks it is still December
When Barbara arranged where the flowers were this fall, she put a Christmas Cactus in the window in our dinning room.  The thing bloomed about Christmas and was beautiful.  This week it started to bloom all over again and it is nice to have a touch of spring in the house. 

The other day, the 55-56-57 Chevy Facebook pages had a project Friday run of articles.  People on the bulletin board were encouraged to post pictures of what they had in their shop besides a Tri-5 Chevy.   There were all sorts of things and finally I had to post my picture.  I told all those silly city folks that those of us that lived in the country have real things in their sheds like tractors and mowers.

Mowers, tractors and an old Chevy under the car cover
One of the trees in the orchard had some kind of Fire Blight and I was asked to get out the chain saw and cut it down.  A nearby tree also had it so I really cut down two trees.  I took the tractor out and hauled the pieces to the burn pile.  I need to get a new solenoid for the starter.  It will work if I take a hammer and tap it but otherwise the starter will just click.  Yes, I know that if you live in the country you too have maintenance to do to keep your equipment running.

About a month and a half ago, I went through a horrible crud that stuffed my head with snot and then tried to fill my lungs with fluid. M y immune system fought a valiant fight and I finally kicked it.  Now I am running a fever and stuffed up again.  I don't know if it is more of the same or a new round of sickliness.  If it is still here come Monday, I will give up and go see my Doctor.

OK, I have managed to mangle another hour here in the basement.   We will lose another hour to daylight savings tonight.  After a trip to Oklahoma this week, I am reminded of the wise old Chief's observation, "Only the white man would cut one inch off the bottom of a blanket and sew it to the top to make the blanket longer." 



Where Do I Start?

The news today is very interesting.  I grew up in Wichita right next to the Beech Aircraft Runway and just down the road from Rodin's Airport where a WWII Trainer was built.  I spent hundreds of hours siting in the cockpit of a Corsair behind one of the main buildings sitting in the cockpit and flying that sucker. There was just something that appealed to a kid and seeing the flaps moving with the stick was just a good feeling causer.  With that said, I got right down to the part where I had to sign my name to go to flight school and chickened out.  The application said Rotary Wing and I just didn't know or trust how helicopters could fly.  I guess I should have been one of those guys that just trusted that Bumble Bee's can fly even though the design is wrong.

My imaginary flights growing up
Harrison Ford crashed a vintage airplane near LA yesterday and lived through the experience.  It seems that after take off his motor died and the old adage applied.  "Take offs are optional and landings are mandatory."  Being a driver of vintage cars, I can understand the thrill of owning and operating old vehicles but, old planes should be looked at and carefully flown.  If I had his money I would have a new Beechcraft and fly it on clear sunny days.   Kind of like those of us that own vintage cars.  They stay in the storage building when other people are slip sliding around. 

1968, Near Kontum in Vietnam

The other day on Jeopardy, the final question of the day was, "Under who's administration was Barack Obama born."   The contestants got it wrong.  He was born in 1961 during the Presidency of JFK.  When you think about it, it makes perfect sense.  His frame of reference for the United States does not include the fact that twice in the 1900's we had to go to Europe and save the Bacon for the French and the British.  A lot of our pride comes from the fact that we have worn the Sheriff's badge a lot and protected the world.  Think about the effect of all the news agencies telling him what a mistake Vietnam was and how we lost that war.  His frame of reference doesn't include the fact that our intentions were honorable it was the political will of the people that stopped out involvement there. (notice that I don't think the Military lost that war, the politicians drew it to a halt after we couldn't win it by calling it a police state and staying in South Vietnam where they demanded we stay.)  That just so you know is a non paid political announcement from an old Vietnam Vet.

I have heard over the years that the old guys are all war mongers.  I think you need to understand that most of us are the guys that hate war the most.  It becomes painfully aware to anyone that has been there that War is a damn fine way to get killed.  The lethality of the modern battlefield is high and the saying is if you can be seen, you can be killed was never more true.  It is the part that we have benefitted so much from the freedoms we have and feel they need protected today as much as they ever did.  It is not our thought that we can't serve today that makes us brave, it is the rules that won't allow slow soldiers to be there.  Besides most of us were higher ranking when we left and we need Privates and young men to carry all that heavy stuff.  It is not the sitting and shooting, it is the moving, running and heavy lifting that keeps us from doing a good job in wartime.  I just warn any nation  that if they attack here, there is a bunch of us that will live in the forest and shoot squirrels to live.  We are armed in most cases and the don't want a bunch of crazy old fools in their backfield. 

Have I told you that I am one of the most proud people in the world that I get to live in America.  My barber came to the USA from Korea in 1963 and he says here is the best place in the world.  He has the freedom to live as Korean or American as he desires.   He thinks that if you want to think a tree is your god, so be it.   He does feel that people that chose strange gods need to be more understanding of what other choose.  Can you imagine a religion killing others because they believe different here in the USA?  He and I neither one can.   Especially the part where if your god is a tree and my dog pisses on it killing both me and the dog. 

Oh well, I read a Facebook page about the 55-56-57 Chevy's and this week they opened the door to have us show what other projects we have in our garage.  I for one have a tractor and two mowers there and use them.  No silly, not all at the same time but the maintenance on high use equipment does take up a lot of my time.  Speaking of time, I had better get moving before my butt starts sticking to this chair.

My collection of equipment.  The Chevy is over along the north wall