Sunday, November 30, 2008

Winding up the Week

It was a quiet, cool Sunday. The wind came up early this morning and gusted hard all day long, so instead of putting up Christmas lights, I stayed inside and updated financial stuff. I’m trying to get a head start on organizing records for our income tax returns so it won’t be such a grueling exercise next March. Famous last words.

I dug out the picture matting tools yesterday and framed 3 photos for Judy. Except for breaking one glass, they turned out quite nice. It’s been a few years since I used the cutting tools, so I had to re-learn the procedure. The tools are high quality and made in the USA, so they’re a pleasure to work with.

On the flip side of the coin, I had another reminder that Chinese-made goods are total crap. A couple of months ago, our ancient, American made blender finally wore out, so I made a trip to WalMart and bought a new GE blender. I bought the best one they had, since I wanted it to last. At the same time, I bought a little electric single drink mixer for those times you don’t want to dirty the blender to mix a single milk shake. Naturally, both machines were made in China. Are you getting the drift?

Well, within days the blender began to ooze a black liquid from the bottom of the jar after each use, and it was a pain to clean up when the goop dripped on the countertop or the floor. Then last week, metal flakes started to show up in the mixture and it appears the bearing has failed. We searched the Internet for parts, but GE doesn’t offer replacement parts for that model…no surprise, since it’s made specifically for WalMart.

Judy wanted a chocolate shake for breakfast that day, but no problem since we have the little drink mixer for a backup. Well, it worked one time, and the next day it too was non-functional, and no amount of coaxing can get it to operate.

Tomorrow, both go back to WalMart, along with detailed instructions specifying what they can do with them. I don’t even want replacements if the damn things are made in China, so I suppose they are both a write-off.

We did a web search, and discovered that KitchenAid blenders are still made in the USA and are sold at Lowes. Since their store is right across the street from WalMart, that’s where I’ll be heading tomorrow after I return the two junked machines.

I only hope they are truly made in the USA, not assembled in the USA from parts manufactured in China.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Welcome to Lindale

I’ve been asked about the little town of Lindale, where we now live, so I’ll give it a whirl.

I could tell you that the population is about 5,000, if you stretch it a tad, and that it’s located half-way between Dallas and Shreveport, LA. I could also tell you that it used to be the blackberry capital of the country, and for a while cotton was king, and then the soil gave out. I could boast that they filmed a Randolph Scott movie here in the late 40’s, and that football star Earl Campbell was raised nearby, and that our latest claim to fame is a young Country Western star by the name of Miranda Lambert. However, that wouldn’t tell you much that wouldn’t fit a hundred other small towns in this part of the country.

As you’d expect, it has a Lowes, a WalMart, and the usual fast food places along with 51 churches, and no bars. We’re in a dry county. The old section of town was built in the 1800’s, while the new part of town, the bigger part, is still under construction and growing rapidly.

You’d learn a lot about Lindale if you’d visit Pop’s Cafe, where a dozen of us get together every morning to reminisce and resolve the world’s problems. The air is awash with the enticing aroma of bacon,sausage and peppery, white gravy. The music is old country...George Jones...Buck Owens...Merle Haggard and Charlie Pride. Farmers, truck drivers and construction workers kill time before work, drinking coffee and seeing who can tell the tallest tale, and who can laugh the loudest. Two real cowboys…spurs and all…sit quietly at a side table, sopping gravy and over-easy eggs with buttermilk biscuits. They enjoy a pinch of smokeless tobacco while they down several refills of strong, hot, brew before leaving to saddle up in the chilly morning air.

The regulars are a diverse bunch, drawn together by common values and common goals, not government edict, or gnawing guilt. Old-timers…newcomers….the mayor… farmers…ranchers…retired military…a plumber…a lawyer…civil servants…engineers…salesmen…business owners and a retired college professor. Sometimes we’re joined by the banker, a local author, and occasionally, the newspaper editor stops in to take the pulse of the “city”. Wealthy…middle class…and just getting by. Not a stiff shirt in the bunch.

Yes, Lindale is a friendly little town, but that’s pretty much all of Texas. If you need help felling that old oak tree that died last summer, or to fix a mower, or to build a fence, there’s no shortage of offers to help. Need a special tool?...somebody has one to loan you. Need a ride somewhere? problem, you’ll have lots of offers.

Oh, sometimes I hear a gripe or two about all the Yankees settling here, but it’s done with a teasing smile, and a gracious invite to join in some community event. They don’t really mind us newcomers, as long as we accept things as they are, and don’t try to turn Texas into California or New Jersey. We’re guests for a while, but if we mind our manners, we quickly become family. When they refer to you as “a good ol’ boy”, you’ve passed the test.

That’s what it’s like in our small Texas town, and it sure beats living in the city.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Favorite Holiday Foods

I suppose nearly every family has a traditional holiday dish that is passed down from generation to generation. My Norwegian heritage means that lefse is a favorite for Christmas, and it’s the only food I really miss if I don’t have some on Christmas Day. For you non-Scandinavians, lefse is potato based and looks like a slightly scorched flour tortilla. It’s delicious covered with butter and sugar, and then rolled into an easy-to-eat cigar shape.

My mother’s buns are another holiday favorite that I recall from my childhood. It’s been many years since I last had them, but after getting the recipe from my daughter, I decided to make my first batch for Thanksgiving...actually, a double batch. They don’t look exactly like the ones Mom made, but they taste the way I remember, so I must have done everything close to right.

Now I can see why the buns were a holiday special, since they are far more difficult to make than bread…at least the kind I make with the bread machine. I’m used to dumping all the ingredients into the machine and standing back while everything happens automatically, and 4 hours later a fresh-baked loaf sits on the rack to cool. My bread is also good, but no match for Mom’s buns.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day already, but at least this time I have a head start on the cooking. I deep fried a 14 lb turkey today; the first time I’ve cooked only one bird for a holiday, and the first time I cooked it the day before. Of course, nothing gets done without problems. I thought I had a nearly full tank of propane, but ran out with ten minutes of cooking time left. I had to put the turkey in the oven for a short time to finish cooking, but it should be okay.

It will be just the two of us and the dogs this year, so it should be quiet. At least there won’t be tons of leftovers to tempt us into days of gluttony, but the poor dogs will load up on oil-drenched skin and fat. I know we shouldn’t feed them that junk, but they love it, and seem to show no ill effects from years of indulging.

Wish I still enjoyed watching football, since the Dallas Cowboys always play on Thursday, but I'm fed up with professional sports of all kinds. Now that it looks like that dog-fighting quarterback is getting out of prison already, I have one more reason to hate the pros. I think the only group of people with more crooks in their midst is Congress.

No, that's not me in the video, but it shows the rookie mistake everyone seems to make the first time they try frying.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Indian Summer

I don't know if you can call it Indian Summer, but it was one of the Texas fall days that can only be described as perfect. Clear...70 degrees...a slight breeze...squirrels chattering as they hunt acorns...a woodpecker slowly tapping as he searches for bark beetles near the top of the dead post oak. It was a good day to sit on the patio with a cup of tea and a book, so after chopping leaves and sweet potato vines with the mower, and taking care of a few other chores, that's what I did.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Let them Declare Bankruptcy

Listening to the rhetoric about the auto company bailout is becoming frustrating. In my opinion, they should not be bailed out, but the ridiculous charges from the uneducated are as bad as the bailout plans.

I've heard several people say that Detroit should be making cars people want. Well, should they be making cars people want to drive today, or in 2011? Those are the cars they are designing at this very minute. It takes 30-36 months from the time a build decision is made, until the cars hit the showroom. It also costs 2-3 billion dollars to bring a new model to market. It's not chump change, and it doesn't happen quickly.

If you can tell me what the price of gas will be in late 2010, I can tell you what cars would probably sell at the time. If you can tell me what new government regulations will be written between now and then, it will also give me an idea which cars will sell. While you are at it, tell me the content of federal and state tax laws that will be written in the next three years, and don't forget to find out which fuels blends will be available. They all affect car sales.

Let the American companies declare bankruptcy so they can get rid of the anchors that weigh them down now. Like the Japanese, they can then move their factories to Podunk, Mississippi, and get tax abatements from the state, county and city. They can also hire a young, non-union workforce, so they can finally compete with the Japanese and Koreans on a level playing field.

One more thing...just for the record. Yes, private jets are expensive, but when a dozen people are traveling together, it's more cost effective to charter than to fly commercial. Besides, the GM and Ford boards of directors dictate that senior executives use private aircraft for security reasons.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

November 22, 1963

Everyone says they know where they were and what they were doing when JFK was assassinated and I’m no exception. Dad and I were building a house and were installing ceiling tile on that particular day. The new homeowner and his brother were also there, cleaning up construction trash from around the house. As usual, we were all listening to music on Minot's ABC affiliate at the time, KCJB, when the bulletin came on. As you can hear from the video, the first report said only that shots were fired, but we never suspected the president had been hit, and even made light comments about how serious the Republicans were taking his visit to Dallas. The political tension had been constantly reported for days in advance of the visit, and while protests were expected, there was never a public concern about possible violence.

When they finally reported, first that the president had been hit, and soon after that he was dead, I can still see the shocked look on everyone’s face. We all stopped working for the rest of the day and sat around the radio as the news came in a constant stream. The emptiness I felt in response to such an evil deed is something else I’ll never forget. I couldn’t have concentrated on work for anything.

The country was a much different place in 1963. While my beliefs have always been mostly conservative, I was still a Democrat. But the people we were working for were Republicans and they were as crushed as we were. It was OUR president that had been killed, not a Democrat president. We often debated political issues, but we were all Americans and while our words might have been zealous, respect was always maintained.

Today, I look at the unwarranted bitterness and hatred shown George W. Bush, and I fear for the survival of the union. John Kennedy would have also been appalled by the state of politics and the attitude of people today. How soon our citizens have forgotten those inspiring words he spoke at his inauguration: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.

While I will passionately criticize and debate the politics of our new president, and fight for his defeat, I will try to do so with respect for both the office and the person. It’s time to put some civility back in our disputes.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Warning! Political Content

A post from a Norwegian citizen on an automotive forum took the USA to task for the usual charges…arrogance, war mongering, excessive consumption...the usual drivel from He also said that the Norwegian citizens were unhappy that Norwegian troops were involved in the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that they blamed us. He assumed that because it’s my desire to leave the world to sort out their own problems, I had voted for Obama’s promise of change. As tired as I am of protecting the world while they use us, I'm even more tired of those who whine about us.

Here is my response to him:

No, I didn't vote for change, because the change most naive individuals think will happen, will not. The only thing that will change is the location of our troop deployments. Instead of the Middle East, they will be sent to Africa, because for every country that wants us to go home, there are a dozen that want us to come in and do their dirty work for them, all the while holding their hands out for money.

As for the World Bank, I think I know what would happen if we withdrew...the world would scream like banshees. The same for the UN. The world needs a whipping boy, a sugar daddy, and someone to hate. Personally, I wouldn't worry about removing all our bases and troops from around the world. The money we save could be put into an ABM program to defend this country, and improved ICBMs to destroy any country foolish enough to attack us. Let the rest of the world fend for themselves. We've done enough, and it's time to retire.

I also don't worry about our consumption. The market place takes care of that issue in a free society. We have enough energy...including run our country for 200 years. That should be enough time for technology to resolve that issue. We also have tens of millions of acres of forests and farm land that lies unused. We are not wanting for natural resources. I also did not say we should stop trade between nations. Let the market decide who sells, who buys, and who consumes.

No, Einar, we won't "just go and take it". No country in the history of the world has given so much, to so many people, and asked for so little in return…as the USA. Our only expectation is that they become free and peaceful nations. The lands we've conquered, we've returned. The damage we inflicted, we repaired. The economies we hurt, we improved. The friends who slapped our face were offered the other cheek…not the back of our hand.

Thank your troops for helping in Afghanistan, and Iraq, but I really wish they would have stayed home, because if the citizens of Norway are not behind the cause, we don't need a personal reason for them to hate us. I'd rather they remembered the 1940's when they think of America. It's much easier to remember who your friends are if you were living in Norway when Quisling was in charge, than when the tyranny is thousands of miles away and not directly affecting you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Incredible Shrinking Shirt

As long as I’m in a rant mode, I might as well comment on another subject that drives me nuts….the incredible shrinking shirt.

With the advent of cooler weather, I switch from short-sleeved shirts to long sleeves, and every year it’s the same thing. The flannel shirts I bought last year have all shrunk. The sleeves and tails are at least two inches shorter than they were when I bought them. I’m beginning to think that they shrink just hanging in the closet.

When buying shirts with even some cotton material in them, I know there will be shrinkage, but why does it take a half-dozen washings before it shows up? If they’d shrink immediately, I’d buy a larger size and wash before wearing. I’ve even tried doing that a couple of times and it looks like I’m wearing a tent most of the season, with the shoulder seams 3” off my shoulder. Then they hang during the summer, and when it comes time to wear them in the fall, they fit like the shirts on the Incredible Hulk about the time he gets mad and begins to turn green.

With all our technical advancements, it seems odd that someone can’t come up with a soft, warm shirt material that doesn’t shrink.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chinese Junk

No, I don't mean the odd-looking little boat with the square's probably built to last, since it's not destined for the US market. However, all the rest of the junk manufactured in that country should be illegal to import.

Recently, I've had more than my share of their crap failing. Our year-old house was built with upgraded items in nearly every case, and apparently paying more meant nothing, because even so-called high-end items are now made in China.

Since we moved in, several light fixtures have either broken or burned out...two toilets have had bad valves...a switch in the microwave failed...a vent fan seized…the doorbell fell apart…nickel plating is coming off the door knobs...”top quality” cabinet hinges were defective when new, and ditto for the slides. The blinds don't work as advertised, nor do the door locks, and the HVAC system quit when a Chinese-made relay failed after three months.

A few weeks ago, I bought a new weed eater, and it didn't last a half-hour before it quit working. Last week, a sensor in Judy's car failed, and yes, it was another Chinese part. When two Chinese-made starter relays failed within days in my old restored truck, I put the corroded, 35-year-old American-made part back in, and it's working fine, so I guess I can live with ugly.

What really ticks me off is the number of items made in China that are probably never touched by human hands. Why can't we use those same robots and automated production lines to build things here so we can control the quality?

No wonder our industries are failing, and government is so screwed up…they’re both being run by certifiable idiots.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weather Report

As expected, we had frost the other night, but the light covering I put over the tomatoes and peppers saved them. I guess we'll be able to pick a few more ripe fruits before the next freeze hits. The frost did a number on the potato vines that covered much of a flower bed in front of the house. The foilage was bright green when I went to bed and black when I got up. Now I''ll have to rake the remains out of the flower bed so I can chop it up with the mower.

For those of you unfamiliar with Texas weather, this can be a strange time of year. One day it will be in the forties, and the next it can be in the eighties. I've often gone Christmas shopping in December with the air conditioning running in the car, but there are also days when you need a heavy coat.

However, the weather changes here can't compare with one fall I remember in North Dakota. It had been a long Indian Summer, with temperatures in the seventies until early November. Then one day the sky was filled with ducks and geese flying south as hard as their wings would carry them. It was clear, sunny and shirt-sleeve warm at midday, but that afternoon, a gray cloud began to move in from the northwest. By evening it was freezing and starting to snow. By the next morning, it was blizzarding and the temperature was around zero.

I don't care if I never see that again!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Winter is back

We’re getting our second blast of winter tonight. The wind has been blowing hard all day and leaves are drifted in banks outside the back door. We’re expecting a freeze that will probably kill our tomatoes and peppers…just when they were starting to bear fruit again. I covered them with plastic, but if it gets below 32F, I doubt it will help much.

I hope everyone has checked the Operation Migration website I linked over on the right side of the page. Every time I visit the site, I’m amazed by the dedication of those folks preserving the rare birds. This year is proving to be frustrating because of the weather that has slowed their progress.

Having lived in North Dakota, where the Wood Buffalo-Aransas birds pass through during both migrations, I’ve had the good fortune to see Whooping Cranes in the wild twice. I saw four flying overhead during their northward migration way back in the 1950’s. That’s when the entire population was less than 50 birds, so it was a memorable day.

In the early 60’s, I saw an adult pair and two juveniles resting in a slough near Belden during their southward migration. Several big Canadian Mallards were swimming around their legs, and the contrast in size clearly showed how tall they are.

While you are over there, take a look at the merchandise they sell to raise money for the program. Christmas is fast approaching and they have some good gift ideas that are refreshingly different from what you can find in WalMart. Best of all, the profits go to a good cause. The little stuffed bird in the photo is just a sample of what they offer.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Recalling another Hero

I was looking through some old photos today, and ran across this one of my old missile launch crew from 1961 or 1962.
The officer on the left is Capt. Clark Wingate, and next to my dad, he was the most influential man in my life. He was tough, demanding, always fair, and he tempered it with a wonderful sense of humor. He always taught by example, took care of his troops, and never asked you to do anything he wouldn’t do. A born leader, but never a politician.

He is a WWII vet, having been in the 10th Mountain Division from the time they were formed until the war was over. He was another of those combat vets who never bragged about his adventures, but told the most interesting stories. Some were sad, and some were hilarious, especially when he related the antics of the world’s intelligence services. He spent time with Air Force Intelligence, so he had inside knowledge of what he called the “sneaky-peeky” organizations.

Though I’ve never had the chance to meet him since I left his crew in 1963, I’m told he retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel, and then taught at the university level before retiring to Florida. Last I heard he had moved to Grand Junction, Colorado because he missed the skiing. Yes, though he is in his eighties, he’s still an avid skier.

The world would be a much better place if people were more like him.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Going to the Dogs IV

The rain we had yesterday knocked off our Internet connection, so I didn’t get to post anything. Our satellite Internet service is almost as slow as dial-up, and only half as reliable. Unfortunately, ATT doesn’t have DSL out here in the sticks yet.

You’re probably getting tired of seeing our furry kids, but this is the last one, so bear with me.

Lowest on the pack’s totem pole is Cricket, a 11-month-old Maltese. As you can see, she thinks “cute” trumps everything, but she has a lot to learn. Sassy tried that, and eventually learned that life was much better when you paid heed to your humans.

Like Sassy, Cricket is as stubborn as a rock when it comes to housebreaking. Well, I say it’s stubbornness, but I’m beginning to believe she’s mentally challenged. Heck, she’s a dog so I don’t have to be politically correct…I think she’s just dumb!

When you take her outside, she stands around and stares at you like she has no clue what to do. Then suddenly, her bladder tells her brain why she’s there, and everything is fine, she assumes the position and does what comes naturally. But in the meantime, you’ve both stood around for ten minutes getting cold, wet, bored and frustrated. About the time you feel like drop-kicking her over the fence, she looks at you with those big, black marble eyes, that black nose, and that little pink tongue, and she thinks: Gotcha!...cute wins again.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Arachnophobia anyone?

This is Charlotte…well, she’s actually Charlotte 4 or 5, since we’ve had one like her near the house for the last several years.
She’s a Black and Yellow Garden Spider, and a welcome resident in our yard. Besides her beutiful coloration, she’s harmless to humans, bothers no one, doesn’t try to get in the house and does a fine job of catching garden insects, especially grasshoppers. These big spiders…about 3” toe to toe…usually live in our Cannas, but this one built her web across the garage window and has been there since May.

Recently, she attached three egg sacs to the glass, where they will stay until they hatch in spring. As thousands of tiny spiders leave the sac, they will spin a tiny web and disperse with the wind. With luck, a few will stick around.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Joe the Plumber

Here’s a great economics lesson that reminds me of the old “Grasshopper and the Ant” story. Thanks, “RaceBuicks”

Barack Obama discovers a leak under his sink, so he calls Joe the Plumber to come and fix it.Joe drives to Obama's house, which is located in a very nice neighborhood and where it's clear that all the residents make more than $250,000 per year.

Joe arrives and takes his tools into the house. Joe is led to the room that contains the leaky pipe under a sink. Joe assesses the problem and tells Obama, who is standing near the door, that it's an easy repair that will take less than 10 minutes.Obama asks Joe how much it will cost.Joe immediately says, "$9,500.""$9,500?" Obama asks, stunned. "But you said it's an easy repair!""Yes, but what I do is charge a lot more to my clients who make more than $250,000 per year so I can fix the plumbing of everybody who makes less than that for free," explains Joe. "It's always been my philosophy. As a matter of fact, I lobbied government to pass this philosophy as law, and it did pass earlier this year, so now all plumbers have to do business this way. It's known as 'Joe's Fair Plumbing Act of 2008.' Surprised you haven't heard of it, senator."

In spite of that, Obama tells Joe there's no way he's paying that much for a small plumbing repair, so Joe leaves.Obama spends the next hour flipping through the phone book looking for another plumber, but he finds that all other plumbing businesses listed have gone out of business. Not wanting to pay Joe's price, Obama does nothing.

The leak under Obama's sink goes unrepaired for the next several days. A week later the leak is so bad that Obama has had to put a bucket under the sink. The bucket fills up quickly and has to be emptied every hour, and there's a risk that the room will flood, so Obama calls Joe and pleads with him to return.

Joe goes back to Obama's house, looks at the leaky pipe, and says "Let's see – this will cost you about $21,000.""A few days ago you told me it would cost $9,500!" Obama quickly fires back.Joe explains the reason for the dramatic increase. "Well, because of the 'Joe's Fair Plumbing Act,' a lot of rich people are learning how to fix their own plumbing, so there are fewer of you paying for all the free plumbing I'm doing for the people who make less than $250,000. As a result, the rate I have to charge my wealthy paying customers rises every day."Not only that, but for some reason the demand for plumbing work from the group of people who get it for free has skyrocketed, and there's a long waiting list of those who need repairs. This has put a lot of my fellow plumbers out of business, and they're not being replaced – nobody is going into the plumbing business because they know they won't make any money. I'm hurting now too – all thanks to greedy rich people like you who won't pay their fair share."Obama tries to straighten out the plumber: "Of course you're hurting, Joe! Don't you get it? If all the rich people learn how to fix their own plumbing and you refuse to charge the poorer people for your services, you'll be broke, and then what will you do?"Joe immediately replies, "Run for president, apparently."

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lost in the Fifties

We were sitting at our computers tonight and listening to oldies music Judy had recorded on her Windows Media Player. A song came on that I didn’t recognize, but she was singing along and knew all the words. Now, I love old music, and I pride myself on my ability to identify within a year or two when a song was recorded. However, that song drew a complete blank. When I asked what year it was recorded, she said it was 1968. I shouldn’t have been surprised, because while I can recall nearly every pop song written between 1955 and 1965, I remember almost nothing from the late 60’s and early 70’s. When the protest music came into vogue, I turned off the entire pop music world. That was also the time of the British bands, and I never could get into their music. I guess I’m one of the few people who can barely tolerate the Beatles. Some of their songs are good, but I prefer them done by someone else.

There was no talk radio during those years, so I’m not sure what I listened to. I suppose I might have switched to country music, since it was free of the drug-influenced anti-everything agenda.

Once they lost me, I never again developed an interest in pop music, and until a few oldies stations began playing 50’s stuff, my music listening was limited to cassettes by my favorite artists. Today, I mostly listen to talk radio, with Rush Limbaugh being my favorite. Thankfully, we have an oldies AM station in Dallas, and Sirius has a couple of channels that play my kind of music. The Dallas station call sign is KAAM, and they have a great Saturday night call-in show hosted by ‘Cruisin’ Al Taylor’. In winter, I have to listen on the Internet since they reduce their power after dark.

If anyone else enjoys American rock and roll from the pre-Beatles era, you can listen from 6PM until midnight central time on: They have a sister station in Colorado Springs that streams the same show on:, but they don’t broadcast the first hour of the show.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Going to the Dogs III

Our youngest Shar-Pei, and the pack’s alpha female, is Bonnie. She is three years old, and somewhat small for a Shar-Pei. I’ve never been around a dog that was so affectionate and so in need of affection. She wants to be touching her people all the time, and loves to “hold paws”, while getting her head petted. At night, she will hop on the bed and lay her head against you, as if saying goodnight.

She is also extremely gentle, and somewhat shy around strangers, but she runs a tight ship with the other dogs. If we scold one of them, she runs up and adds her two cents to the discussion, then comes to us to be praised for her efforts.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thank God the election is over!

In 1994, when Republicans swept into power by capturing both houses of Congress, Peter Jennings claimed that the voters were throwing a tantrum. What he really meant was the media had been politically defeated. This time, the media won. The reason the voters went along? Apparently it was a mass guilt trip that could only be cured by affirmative action at the highest level. It certainly wasn’t because they voted for the best candidate. Granted, McCain was a weak nominee, but his resume was so far superior to Obama, it wasn’t even a contest. It couldn’t have been policy, because in those two years, Obama changed nearly every position he originally held.

Obama could never have won without the full backing of the mainstream media. Not only did they promote everything he said, no matter which direction he swerved, but they failed to look into his life history and to report on his numerous, known, flaws. Their agenda was obvious when they eagerly jumped in and learned more about the lives of both Sarah Palin and Joe the plumber in 48 hours, than they did about Obama in two years.

We pretty much know who the winners are in this election, but the losers are numerous too. Besides McCain, the Republican Party is a big loser. The lack of conservative pre-election support, both financial and organizational, and the defection of party members at all levels, was a spit directly in the eye of the party leaders…all of them. Party leadership, from Bush on down, couldn’t comprehend the truth that it’s impossible to out-democrat the Democrats…but they kept trying.

While Texas remained loyal to the GOP, effects of their spineless drifting were apparent here too. An extremely conservative friend voted a straight Democrat ticket because he wanted the Republican Party destroyed. He’d rather reorganize from the ashes than continue trying to influence the current rudderless leadership. I’ll also mention that he is a conservative atheist, and tired of so many Republicans wearing their religion on their sleeve, instead of in their hearts. Like me, he is also strict constitutionalist, and both parties have strayed too far from the Constitution to win our support. Yes, I voted a straight Republican ticket, but I had to hold my nose while doing so, since there wasn’t a viable alternative.

Another big loser is the mainstream media. Their customer base has dwindled for years, and their latest failure to live up to their constitutional responsibilities has only accelerated their demise. Unless Congress intervenes to prop up the liberal media with taxpayer funding, they will continue to slide until they become irrelevant.

The Constitution will be a loser once judges who believe it's a living document begin to twist and alter its words and meanings.

The biggest immediate loser will be the American taxpayer. All forms of taxation will increase when the Bush tax cuts end, and the Democrats will be quick to find new ways to get their fingers in your wallets. But, I guess that's the patriotic thing to do.

The Clintons are losers, unless BO made a deal to nominate Hillary to the Supreme Court, and maybe even push for Bill to head the UN. I hope he didn't, because it's time for the Clinton clan to leave with the Bush family.

I’d say it’s a relief to know that the incessant hammering of George W. Bush will begin to fade, but I know it won’t. In the minds of the Democrats and the mainstream media, Bush will continue to be the root of every problem in the world until the very last day of the Obama administration.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Elections or fall foliage?

I was tempted to write a scathing entry about the election tomorrow, but if you haven't made up your mind by now, there is nothing I can say that can have any effect. Besides, Texas will go for McCain in a landslide. I only hope people will vote with their common sense instead of their feelings.

Without further political pontification, I'll mention our rare autumn foliage spectacular. While our native oak and hickory trees will never match the sartorial splendor of some northern species in fall, when conditions are right we can enjoy a mini-display of color, and this is one of those years. We had some good rains this fall, and an early freeze, and that's caused some trees to turn a bright red, while others are taking on a soft yellow, or orange. One shrub variety I don't recognize has turned a deep red...almost purple. Our mild show might be laughed at in New England or the Rocky Mountains, but we'll take what we can get.

One more thing political...gas dropped to $1.98 a gallon in East Texas today. I wonder if Congress will investigate the obscene drop in prices? It must be price fixing, not the free market working.