Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Hummers Have Arrived

The hummers are here and they brought lots of friends.

In the past two days, the number of birds using our feeders has jumped from six to about twenty. The feeders were empty this morning when I went out onto the patio before sunrise, and I could hear the birds already looking for something to eat. I filled the feeders then and by noon they were already empty. At 5PM, I filled them again, and by the time the sun went down tonight, they were nearly empty. Time to put up a few more feeders.

The neighbors also have two feeders up, so the little birds are feeding heavily.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Obama's War

The August American death toll in Afghanistan is the highest since the conflict began, yet there are no protests from the left, or at least the media has not been reporting any. Why not?

During the campaign, Obama constantly harped that we should get out of Iraq and send more troops to Afghanistan. His argument was that the terrorists lived there and that's where the 9-11 plans were hatched.

Okay, Mr. President, now that the troops are leaving Iraq for Afghanistan, what are you going to do about that war? It's now your war, so what is the mission? When will we know if we won? What is your exit plan? When will the troops come home?

Just asking.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Please forgive me for careening away from the problems of today to indulge a blast from the past...pun intended.

This is the missile I was assigned to from 1959-1963. It was known as the TM-76A Mace, and was operational in Germany and Okinawa from 1959 to 1969. I was on a launch crew, and while that might sound marginally exciting, it mostly involved sitting in a blockhouse and waiting for WWIII with a deck of cards or a pocket novel in hand.

As you watch the video, don't bother trying to turn up the's a silent movie...but do watch for the chase plane to flash by just after the missile leaves the shed. The pilot earned the nickname "Sagebrush Kid" when he returned to base with a twig of sagebrush caught in the intake of his F-100. Watching him approach the missile pad just before launch was like watching a plane taxi at 500mph. He was so close to the ground, you couldn't see daylight between his plane and the desert floor.

This old film was taken about the same time our crew was there in 1959, but we were on a different launch pad. The base is Holloman AFB, New Mexico, which is adjacent to the White Sands Proving Ground. I spent a week there and it was the most interesting week of my Air Force career. We got to see dozens of Air Force, Army and Navy missiles being tested, and most were top secret at the time.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Proudly Made in the PRC

If I recall correctly, I posted a rant about Chinese made goods a few months ago, so consider this rant #2.

I've been working in the garage the past several days, trying to organize and finish things like shelves, cabinets, door trim, etc. I also installed a window air conditioner in the workshop. Instead of setting it in the window, I cut a hole between the garage and workshop and mounted it up and out of the way. The damn thing was brutally heavy and getting it up the ladder and in the hole was a major undertaking.

Yes, just as you probably guessed, after a few hours of operation, the blasted "Made in China" heap of high-tech camel dung has stopped cooling. Now I get to climb the ladder and remove it...hopefully without dropping it...and then drive twenty-five miles to return it to Home Depot. Of course, instead of giving my money back, they will replace it with the another of the same unit. Then I can go through the installation process all over again.

The way my luck has been going with Chinese products, it will fail again, but this time it will happen a few days after the warranty expires.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Obama in Montana...the Rest of the Story

A friend passed along this e-mail that explains the warm reception the president got in Montana. The Wizard of Oz is still behind the curtain and the state controlled media can't bring themselves to open it.

Hello All,

By now you have probably heard that President Obama came to Montana last
Friday. However, there are many things that the major news has not
covered. I feel that since Joe and I live here and we were at the
airport on Friday I should share some facts with you. Whatever you
decide to do with the information is up to you. If you chose to share
this email with others I do ask that you DELETE my email address before
you forward this on.

On Wednesday, August 5th it was announced locally that the President
would be coming here. There are many groups here that are against his
healthcare and huge spending so those groups began talking and deciding
on what they were going to do. The White House would not release ANY
details other than the date.

On about Tuesday Joe found out that they would be holding the "Town
Hall" at the airport. (This is only because Joe knows EVERYONE at the
airport) Our airport is actually located outside of Belgrade (tiny town)
in a very remote location. Nothing is around there. They chose to use a
hangar that is the most remotely located hangar. You could not pick a
more remote location, and you can not get to it easily. It is totally
secluded from the public.
FYI: We have many areas in Belgrade and Bozeman which could have held a
large amount of folks with sufficient parking. (gymnasiums/auditoriums).
All of which have chairs and tables, and would not have to be SHIPPED
IN!! $$$$$
During the week, cargo by the TONS was being shipped in constantly.
Airport employees could not believe how it just kept coming. Though it
was our President coming several expressed how excessive it was,
especially during a recession. $$$$$

Late Tuesday/early Wednesday the 12th, they said that tickets would be
handed out on Thursday 9am at two locations and the president would be
arriving around 12:30 Friday.

Thursday morning about 600 tickets were passed out. However, 1500 were
printed at a Local printing shop per White House request. Hmmmm......900
tickets just DISAPPEARED.
This same morning someone called into the radio from the local UPS
branch and said that THOUSANDS of Dollars of Lobster were shipped in for
Obama. Montana has some of the best beef in the nation!!! And it would
have been really wonderful to help out the local economy. Anyone heard
of the Recession?? Just think...with all of the traveling the White
House is doing. $$$$$ One can only imagine what else we are paying for.

On Friday Joe and I got out to the airport about 10:45am. The groups
that wanted to protest Obama's spending and healthcare had gotten a
permit to protest and that area was roped off. But that was not to be. A
large bus carrying SEIU (Service Employees International Union) members
drove up onto the area (illegal)and unloaded right there. It was quite a
commotion and there were specifically 2 SEIU men trying to make trouble
and start a fight. Police did get involved and arrested the one man but
they said they did not have the manpower to remove the SEIU crowd.
The SEIU crowd was very organized and young. About 99% were under the
age of 30 and they were not locals! They had bullhorns and
PROFESSIONALLY made signs. Some even wore preprinted T-shirts. Oh, and
Planned Parenthood folks were with them.....professing abortion rights
with their T-shirts and preprinted signs. (BTW, all these folks did have
a permit to protest in ANOTHER area)

Those against healthcare/spending moved away from the SEIU crowd to
avoid confrontation. They were orderly and respectful. Even though SEIU
kept coming over and walking through, continuing to be very intimidating
and aggressive at the direction of the one SEIU man.

So we had Montana folks from ALL OVER the state with their homemade
signs and their DOGS with homemade signs. We had cowboys, nurses,
doctors you name it. There was even a guy from Texas who had been
driving through. He found out about the occasion, went to the store,
made a sign, and came to protest.

If you are wondering about the press.....Well, all of the major networks
were over by that remote hangar I mentioned. They were conveniently
parked on the other side of the buildings FAR away. None of these crowds
were even visible to them. I have my doubts that they knew anything
about the crowds.
We did have some local news media around us from this state and Idaho.
Speaking of the local media...they were invited. However, all questions
were to be turned into the White House in advance of the event. Wouldn't
want anyone to have to think off the top of their head.

It was very obvious that it was meant to be totally controlled by the
White House. Everything was orchestrated down to the last detail to make
it appear that Montana is just crazy for Obama and government
healthcare. Even those people that talked about their insurance
woes........the White House called our local HRDC (Human Resource and
Development Committee) and asked for names.. Then the White House asked
those folks to come. Smoke and mirrors...EVERYTHING was staged!!!!!!!!!!!

I am very dismayed about what I learned about our current White House.
The amount of control and manipulation was unbelievable. I felt I was
not living in the United States of America, more like the USSR!! I was
physically nauseous. Joe and I have been around when Presidents or Heads
of State visit. It has NEVER been like this. I am truly very frightened
for our country. America needs your prayers and your voices. If you care
about our country please get involved. Know the issues. And let Congress
hear your voices again and again!! If they are willing to put forth so
much effort to BULLY a small town one can only imagine what is going on
in Washington DC. Scary!!

Bozeman, Montana

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Crime Report

I'm glad we didn't build our house on the road that goes past our little development. It's a dangerous place to live.

Last year, a drunk took down one side of our neighbor's fence and kept driving. They found the car a half-mile down the road with an 8' section of wooden fence jammed underneath. He had torn the front suspension out when he hit the fence and was skidding on the wood for the entire distance. A state trooper found the driver some distance away, trying to leave the scene on foot.

Last night, someone hit a different neighbor's brick mailbox and completely destroyed it. From the looks of the damage, it appears it was hit by a trailer or the side of a flatbed truck. The way some of the locals drive with their farm trucks, it's a wonder there aren't more accidents. The road is narrow and hilly and it's difficult to see oncoming traffic in several places, especially on the stretch where the two accidents happened.

Accidents...break-ins...drunk matter where you live, most of society's ills manage to follow.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Outrage on the Left

Sure is good to see Barney Frank’s ire over someone calling Obama a Nazi. He’s been so consistent in condemning such reprehensible acts, such as Nancy Pelosi claiming town hall opponents to the health bill were wearing swastikas, and Durbin and Murtha claiming our troops were acting like Nazis. Well, even if he didn’t say anything about them, I know he condemned the protester in the photo….you mean he didn’t? What a surprise!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fall Comes in August

The calendar might say that autumn falls during the third week of September, but I believe it comes earlier than that.

Somewhere around the middle of August, everything in nature begins to change. The mockingbirds stop singing, The air takes on a hazy look, additional hummingbirds show up at the feeder, and the bluebird families stop being territorial and flock together. Today was the day.

I had the water sprinklers on all afternoon, and the front yard was a playground for the bluebird families. At times, there were twenty-plus young and old birds taking a bath and playing in the sprinkler. Even a Red-bellied woodpecker joined the avian frivolity for a while. I tried getting pictures, but none turned out clear enough to post.

Just in time for the increase in sugar prices, our visiting hummingbirds are showing up at the feeders. There have been up to four birds feeding regularly, but today there were at least six, and the air-to-air battles have begun. I'll soon have to put up more feeders to cut down on the number of fights. Though it was a lot of work, I hope we see the numbers of hummers we had two years ago. That year I had five feeders up and some of the smaller ones had to be filled two or three times a day.

BTW, happy birthday, Rita. The card is usual.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Brush With Celebrity

The death of Eunice Shriver reminded me of one of my few brushes with celebrity.

It was the 1972 presidential campaign, and VP candidate R. Sargent Shriver was scheduled to visit the Seattle area. Boeing was in the depths of the deepest cyclic slump in decades and the Democrats were trying their best to capitalize on the local joblessness. Ambassador Shriver was due to arrive at Boeing Field within a half-hour of shift change at our plant, so a friend and I decided to stick around and see what happened.

The plane arrived on time, and the two of us were standing against the fence when Shriver walked the rope line before leaving to make a speech in downtown Seattle. He spent a few minutes greeting all the union people that had been bussed by the locals to make sure there was a big crowd. Then he climbed into his limo. As he turned to wave to the crowd, I gave him a thumbs down and he responded by leaping out of the car and striding directly over to me.

When he got to the fence, three television crews crowded in with cameras and microphones. Instead of asking me why I wasn’t cheering him, Shriver launched into a spiel, promising me that he’d find me a job. I told him I was already working…no thanks to him.

At this point, I should explain that one of the campaign promises was that if elected, the Democrats would pass legislation to immediately replace all the engines on old commercial jets with new, quiet designs that caused less pollution. They claimed it would provide hundreds of jobs for Boeing. Of course, it was an idiotic idea, since the engine manufacturers couldn’t supply the new engines fast enough, and even if they could, normal engine changes would be accomplished by the airlines, not Boeing. A bigger issue was that the airlines would only replace them as the old ones wore out, since they didn’t have the money with the entire aviation business in a recession.

Shriver kept on telling me that he would get me a job, and I kept on telling him that I had one, and I tried to explain the stupidity of his idea, but his ears were closed. The conversation lasted perhaps two minutes, with him sticking to the canned campaign statements and totally ignoring what I was telling him.

Finally, he grabbed my hand and shook it, then rushed to his limo. As he drove away, my friend told me that the moment Shriver headed toward me, two Secret Service agents pushed everyone out of the way and planted themselves on either side of me. Since I was concentrating on the conversation, I hadn’t even noticed they were there.

That night, the local news broadcasts covered the event and all three stations deleted the sound, but showed me talking to him and then him grabbing my hand. Without sound, it appeared that I was a supporter and that there was no opposition to him in the crowd.

When I got to work the next day, I had a tough time explaining to everyone that I was merely a victim of media bias. Some things never change.

FWIW...It took years for the airlines to change all the engines on the planes in service, and their maintenance crews did nearly all the work. Meanwhile, the McGovern/Shriver ticket was defeated in a landslide.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Here's to You Mr. Jefferson"

I wish Mike Church had a show on broadcast radio, but as far as I know, it's only on Sirius. He's not only a conservative voice, but he's also an expert on the Constitution.

This is my favorite parody of those he has done recently.

Mike Church Website

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Another species has been added to our patio critter collection. We now have at least one Blue-tailed Skink making a home in our plants, but he’s a shy little guy. He jumped out of a pot when I was watering and then quickly ran around the corner to hide. I managed to get the one poor picture,(he's just above the tag) but when I tried to move in for a close-up, he dived into the pot and burrowed out of sight.

I don’t know why our toads disappeared, to be replaced by all the little lizards, but like the toads, they are keeping the patio plants free of grasshoppers and other large insects.

It’s back to dragging hoses around the yard again. After that nice 2” rain last week, summer has taken over again and the grass is quickly dying out. I hope I can keep it from getting too bad until the next rainfall arrives. If The Weather Channel can be believed, that might be later this week. At least the temperatures haven’t been too high, so I've been able work out in the yard until mid-afternoon.

The local tea party promoters have chartered a bus to take them to the big protest in Washington D.C. next month. Wish I was a few years younger so I could enjoy making a trip like that, but I’ll have to be content with attending our local tea parties. I really hate to travel any more.

Standing up to the constant barrage of liberal attacks on our freedom is like standing on the sea shore with a scoop shovel and shoveling against the tide. Now they are attacking the Oath Keepers organization on various websites. I guess an organization with the stated goal of helping assure that the Constitution is followed doesn’t appeal to the left.

Speaking of leftist tyranny, the snitch website has already found a couple of my conservative friends. They received e-mails from the White House attempting to set the record straight about health care reform. They had to have had their e-mail addresses reported to the Obama brown-shirts, since their addresses are not publicly posted. Looks like dissent is going to have to go underground. And the left complained that Bush was intercepting phone calls from terrorists. What has this country come to?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

From the Author of State of Seige

Tricorn hat is one blog I try to read every day. Blogger Michael Florey has been posting chapters of his book, State of Seige", which is a spine-chilling story about what happens when this country is taken over by leftist extremists. Does the plot sound plausible? It's a great read and I can hardly wait until the book is published.

Mike is multi-talented, as this video shows, and since this song by Louis Armstrong is one of my favorites, I'll end the week with it.


It seems as if I’ve been walking around half-asleep most of the past week, but I finally woke up and got some things done yesterday and today.

Yesterday, I decided to forego my usual morning coffee run to take care of some yard work while it was still cool. I managed to get nearly all the flowerbeds edged and weeded before the temperature became uncomfortable. I had been putting off that chore for days.

Next, I cut a hole in the garage wall and got the air conditioner mounted, so now I'll be able to work on some other projects in cool comfort.

This morning, I took in the gun show in Tyler and actually found some .380 ammunition for Judy’s Ruger LCP. It was about the same price as you can find on the Internet…when you can find it. However, without having to pay shipping and tax, it came out a bit cheaper. Now I can take the little pistol out in the woods and get the new laser sight adjusted.

After the gun show, I stopped at Home Depot and bought more shelf material, plus some nifty hangers for the garden tools. I managed to get everything hung this afternoon, and now most of the junk that was sitting on the floor and in corners is up and out of the way. The garage is actually beginning to look organized!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Speaking of Things Dogs Do...

One of the endearing things about dogs is that they have such distinct personalities. Each has different likes and needs, and just like people, they have to be treated differently.

Belle, the oldest Shar-Pei is fearful of people, unless it's on her terms. Generally, she stays beyond touching range, but she loves playing with stuffed toys, especially those that squeak when she bites them. Her favorite game is to retreive a toy from their toy box; bite it a few times to make noise and then bring it to one of us to play tug of war. Of course, she always wins and then she struts around, wagging her tail and looking pleased with herself.

Another thing she enjoys is getting her butt scratched. She has deep wrinkle above the root of her tail and at times, it apparently itches. Then she will come up, bump our hand with her head and back up to us. It's her way of saying that she needs help with an itchy spot. After a good scratch, she again moves beyond reach.

Bonnie, the youngest Shar-Pei, needs loads of affection. She comes up to me, sits as close as she can and then raises her left paw for me to hold...she's a southpaw. While holding her paw, she leans against me and I have to pet and praise her. She closes her eyes and sucks up all the loving she can get.

Cricket is something else, too. She is afflicted with a condition known as a reverse, or backward sneeze. When she gets excited, she begins to make weird sounds, like something a seal might make, and appears to be struggling for air. It's not uncommon in small breed dogs, but the first time we heard it was a scare. The vet said it's nothing serious and that she might even grow out of it.

The older I get, the more I enjoy the company of our furry kids, which reminds me of the old saying: "The more I learn about people, the better I like my dog".

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

If Humans Were More Like Dogs....

Last Sunday, Judy drove to Denton to visit a friend in the hospital and since no dogs were allowed, I got to babysit Cricket, Judy's little Maltese. Normally Cricket goes everywhere with her, but with the summer heat, she can't stay in the car, though I think she would have preferred that to being separated from her "mom" for several hours.

As the photo shows, Cricket spent much of the day peering under the fence, waiting for Judy's car to drive up.

I doubt we will ever understand what it is that bonds dogs to humans, but it's amazing that two completely different species can be so close without sharing blood.

Hardly a day goes by that you don't read a story about something a dog has done to protect or serve their people...and they ask for so little in return. A kind hand. A place to lie nearby. A fresh drink of water and a shared sandwich, or a scrap from the dinner table. For these few things, in return you will receive absolute loyalty and love. If only humans were so easy to please.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

New Babies on the Patio

We have a bunch of these Green Anole babies on our patio. They apparently hatched in the last two weeks and are growing fast. The first ones I saw were only about an inch long, but are now a little over two inches.

I'm not much of a fan for any critter with scales, but most babies are sort of cute, no matter what the species.