Friday, October 30, 2009

Big Shopping Trip

I don't often go shopping beyond the local WalMart and Brookshires, so I seldom get a real feel for how busy other stores are. However, today I drove into the big city of Tyler...population 91, make some purchases I've been putting off for a while. From the heavy traffic and the number of people in the stores, you would never guess the economy is bad. Traffic in many places was bumper to bumper, restaurant parking lots were full for the noon meal, and I had to stand in line to pay for my merchandise in every store. Maybe there are fewer clerks working the checkout lines, but I couldn't tell the difference.

What I did notice is that almost everything has had a significant price increase since the last time I shopped. A few months ago, I could get a 40# bag of dog food for $35, but now it tops $45! If it keeps going up at that rate, I'll have to train the dogs to hunt feral hogs for their meals. Bonnie might like that, but poor old Belle's legs wouldn't allow her to do much chasing.

It was a pleasant surprise to see the price of a pound of coffee beans dropped, so not everything has increased.

During these rare shopping trips, I usually treat myself to a Sonic-burger and a chocolate shake, and that's something else that has gone up in price. Not long ago, I could hand the carhop a $5 bill, give her a tip, and get some change back, but today it was almost $6. Guess I better get back on my diet.

Stopped at the gun store and once again took advantage of the Second Amendment before the socialists in Washington repeal it. Got a good buy on a new series 80, 1911 Colt Commander. I even picked up a box of Winchester .380 ACP ammo. It's the first I've seen on a store shelf since last spring. The ammo shelves were much better stocked than they were only a few weeks ago, so it appears that situation has improved.

I also bought a 23,000 btu kerosene-fueled heater to use in the garage when I'm working on the car this winter, and since it doesn't need electricity to operate, we can use it for emergency heat in the house. We've had the electricity go off several times since we moved here, so at least now we're covered for winter.

It certainly didn't look like a bad economy out there today, so maybe our part of Texas will be spared a severe recession. We can only hope.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mad Hatters in the House of Representatives

Has Congress gone stark raving mad?

Our economy is in the toilet; the Afghanistan situation needs immediate attention; graft and corruption are rampant in government; a president is grabbing power like a banana republic dictator, and Congress' priority is to discuss injuries in the NFL?

Rep. Conyers says he doesn't have time to read bills before he votes on them, but he has found time to worry about a few overpaid mental midgets voluntarily damaging their bodies in return for a few million dollars a year? How in the name of Odin can people keep electing these idiots????

Heat up that bucket of tar; I've got a couple of old feather pillows that I can think of a better use for.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Nero on the Potomac

Another eight Americans killed in Afghanistan today, pushing the death toll to fifty-five for the month…and still the president fiddles. Of course, he wouldn’t want to make any quick decisions about we are going to do there, that would require courage. Gen. McChrystal’s report of two months ago said that time was of the essence, yet no decision has been forthcoming from the White House, and yesterday, Obama had the unmitigated gall to tell a group of sailors that he would never send them into harms way until he was absolutely certain that it was the right thing to do. Then he would give them his complete support. Sure.

Here’s a clue Mr. President…you already have troops in harms way and they are dying while you’re wasting your time raising money for the Democrat Party, playing golf and trying to pass a health care bill that the majority of Americans don’t want.

Read some of the interviews with soldiers in the combat zones. Just like Vietnam, morale is starting to fade because of feckless politicians who don’t know how to fight a war and don’t know how to get out of it.

When Obama was elected, I told myself I would never talk about him the way liberals talked about Bush, but I’m having a hard time biting my tongue while he dithers. Please, Mr. President, make a damn decision! As Commander in Chief, it’s your decision to make and it must be done now. Don’t destroy our military from the inside, the way every other recent Democrat president has done. Either give the generals what they need, or get the hell out!

Monday, October 26, 2009

End of the Month Catch-up

When I left on my trip to the Pacific NW, I expected to run into rain as soon as I crossed the Cascade Mountains into Western Washington, but it was a pleasant surprise to experience mostly clear, cool weather for my entire stay. What I didn’t expect was to return home and find Seattle weather in Texas, but I was informed that it had rained nearly every day that I was gone.

During those ten days, more than six inches of rain fell here at our house. My rain gauge holds six inches and it was overflowing the day I returned, so I’m not certain how much total rain fell, but one friend said we had about twice that. Then a couple of days later, we received another two inches, and last night and today, nearly two inches more. This is turning into the wettest fall I can recall in my thirteen years here.

A month ago, we were feeding upward of fifty hummingbirds from our four feeders, but every time the wind switched to the north, we’d lose a bunch of birds as they took advantage of favorable tailwinds. By the first week of October, only a few birds remained and I expected them all to be gone by now, but one little diehard, a female Rubythroat, remains. I hope we haven’t turned her into a welfare queen, so content with us providing her meals that she forgets to migrate.

I received the last of the major parts needed to rebuild the brakes and suspension of my Valiant, so I spent the day getting everything ready to install. If I can coordinate a nice day with my oftentimes-absent ambition, I’m going to start the big project. It will likely take several days, and though I’m not looking forward to crawling around on the concrete floor to do the work, I am looking forward to the improved braking and handling.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Why Doesn't This Guy Get on TV?

I got this YouTube link in an e-mail...thanks Patricia.

What is it with the Republican Party? The same old faces and the same old tired rhetoric on TV. It's time for the current losers to retire and let some of the previously unseen faces be seen so the story can be told in a different way. The liberal bloggers hate him, so that's a good enough recommendation for me.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Slip-Slidin' Away

The morning I left Washington to return home, I was greeted by a sign that said Chinook Pass was closed. The Chinook Pass route is my usual shortcut through Mt. Rainier National Park that knocks nearly an hour off the driving time across the Cascade Mountains. Even though the highway is narrow and winding through most of the park, it’s still the preferred route.

Since there had been no snow the night before, I had no idea why they closed the road, but later that day I heard on the news there had been a landslide that blocked the highway near the town of Naches. No one was injured, but several houses were damaged, either by the slide itself, or from water when the river sought a new route through the slide area.

I didn’t much like the extra driving time, but I’m glad I missed all the action. Had I left a few hours earlier, I might have been right in the mess.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Small Town Fame

I was raised in a state that only a handful of famous people call home, so one of the things about Texas that amazes me is that almost every small town lays claim to a celebrity of one stripe or another. Sissy Spacek was born just two little towns away; Earl Campell was raised just a few miles down the road; Wiley Post called another neighboring town his home; Audie Murphy lived on a farm about thirty miles away, and singer Johnny Horton...Battle of New Orleans...was a Tyler native. Several well known politicians from the past also hail from around here, but I'm not going to give them any publicity.

Lindale has claimed the latest celebrity, in the form of country singer, Miranda Lambert. I've yet to meet her, but most of the folks around here have. She visits quite often and has done several shows in the area...even got into a bit of trouble in a Tyler honkey-tonk. It wasn't her doing, but it made the papers for a while.

The building in the picture above is her fan store run be Miranda's parents. They sell Miranda merchandise, and even a brand of Texas wine, despite this being a dry county. That situation is too difficult to explain, but just know that Smith County is often refered to as the wettest dry county in the state.

The small town where this video was filmed is not Lindale, but it could be.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I Feel Better Already

I attended the first car show of the season with my Valiant convertible last Saturday and actually won an award. It wasn’t for a fancy paint job or a chromed, hopped-up, motor, it was for being “The car that makes you feel better”. First time I ever got an award like that, but I’ll take it. I always feel better when I’m driving it, so I suppose the award was appropriate.

Speaking of my convertible, while I was gone, some of my restoration parts arrived, so I’ll soon be covered with grease and nursing sore muscles and skinned knuckles. I’m going to rebuild the suspension, upgrade to modern disc brakes, re-chrome some of the interior parts, and then take it in for a repaint. By next spring, it should be handling and stopping like a modern car, and looking better to boot.

Another winter project is rebuilding my spare engine so that I’ll have a new one ready when needed. I have all the parts and pieces needed and I only have to assemble it. The original engine in the car has never been rebuilt, but still gets over 1,000 miles on a quart of oil.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Trip Report

Crossing the Continental Divide in Wyoming. This was on the way up, before they received several inches more snow.

Funny how life seems to turn 180 degrees as you age. When I was young, I needed a vacation to rest from the long days I worked. Now I need long days of rest to recover from my vacations.

I was gone from home nine days. Three days travel time to the Pacific NW, three days visiting family, and three days driving home. Now it’s been another three days catching up on chores and just plain resting, and I’m nearly back to normal.

Making that trip in the fall is actually rather pleasant. Besides the beautiful fall foliage, there is hardly any traffic and the motels offer their off-season rates. With my military discount, Comfort Inns were nearly as cheap as Motel 6, and the accommodations are wonderful.

A real highlight of the trip was my personal version of a pilgrimage to Mecca. I got to visit my old launch officer from my days on a missile launch crew. As I wrote in an earlier entry, next to my father he was the most influential male role model in my life, so it was a wonderful treat to see him after all this time. For several years, I promised myself that I would take the I-70 route across Colorado so I could make the visit, but schedules, or something else, always ruined my plan. This time, Wyoming weather made it the sensible route to take and though our time to reminisce was far too short, I’m glad I made that choice.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Home Again

Home again and checking in. It was a good trip, but there are lots of chores to catch up on, so I probably won't find time to blog until this weekend. Until then, I'll just post a picture of the sunrise I saw yesterday just outside of Raton, New Mexico.

Monday, October 5, 2009

On The Road Again

Time to get a good night's sleep, as I'll be rolling by 0530 tomorrow morning. It should be a beautiful drive through the Aspen country.

I'll leave you with one of my favorites from our old dope-smoking Texan

Friday, October 2, 2009

Catching up

The hummingbirds managed to devour nearly twenty pounds of sugar this fall, but we were down to two birds today. I imagine they'll be gone in a couple of days. I already hate winter.

As the hummers leave, the Monarch butterflies begin their migration. I'm seeing more and more every day. We're a ways off their main migration route, but still get to see quite a few.

I mowed the lawn today, but it was mostly a leaf chopping exercise. At least it goes fast with the mower in high gear.

Speaking of mowers, mine has developed a starting problem after only two years of moderate use. I guess I'll worry about that when the grass cutting season is done. Fixing it will be a good winter project.

And speaking of winter projects...I'll be working on my '64 Valiant this winter. I'm upgrading the brakes to discs in front and 10" drums in back. When you had to stop fast with the tiny 9" drum brakes all around, you needed more hope than an Obama voter.

After the brake upgrade, it goes into the shop for a new paint job. The previous owner gave it a cheap repaint over 20 years ago, so it really needs some TLC.

I see GW Bush is being blamed for Chicago losing the 2016 Olympics. Thanks, W, you probably saved the taxpayers several billion dollars and kept a few hundred terrorists out of the country.

After record cool weather in much of the country this summer, several states are already reporting record lows this fall. That's a sure sign of global warming. Meanwhile, sunspot activity remains at a low ebb. Of course, that has nothing to do with our weather. It's those damn SUV's and George Bush.

Heard a Republican politician bragging today that the socialist Obama agenda means great things for GOP candidates next year. Apparently he hasn't paid any more attention to the tea parties than Obama and the Democrats. I'm as fed up with spineless, incumbent Republicans as I am with Democrats, and many I've talked to share my opinion. It should be a good year for Libertarians and primary challengers in both major parties.

I'm off to the Pacific NW on Tuesday, so won't be blogging until I get back in about ten days.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

When Government Bureaucrats Control Healthcare

The rhetoric over this Obama care/health insurance reform/health care reform, is getting ridiculous. Are people so stupid that they can’t understand basic facts, like the laws of supply and demand, or that the government has never, ever, overestimated the cost of a purchase or service? Despite that record, some fools still believe government mandated universal health care will be cheaper than what we have now.

First, consider Medicare. The Democrats argument is that they can reduce Medicare costs by offering more and better coverage. Is that patently stupid, or what? The fact is that if they cut the cost of Medicare, some people, or some maladies, will not be treated. If their plan is to lower cost by eliminating waste, what exactly do they plan to fix that couldn’t have been fixed in the past 40 years?

Death Panels. The Libs claim opponents are spreading lies. Of course, a panel of experts is not going to look at each person’s case and say yea or nay about pulling the plug. There will simply be a rule that after a certain age, or if the chance of a successful recovery is uncertain, some treatments will not be approved for payment. That means that if the treatment is not approved, the patient will suffer with it forever, or if it’s a serious ailment they will die. Life and death will be meted out by a bureaucrat with an instruction manual. It’s not exactly a death panel, but the results are the same.

Jail sentences for those who don’t buy insurance. The leftists pooh-pooh this claim, but if it’s not true, what will be the punishment if someone can’t, or won’t, pay the fine? Isn’t imprisonment the usual punishment after fines? Maybe they will send a harshly worded letter.

The Democrats don’t want health care reform, they want power over people.