In 1983, a tornado blew down our house on the east side of Topeka. It didn't blow it away, it just blew it off the foundation and stirred the contents. It was considered a total loss and we rebuilt. Through a comedy of errors in dealing with the Small Business Administration we had it paid off in less than five years and wondered what's next.
Barb didn't like the neighbors behind us and wanted to live in the country. For weeks, we spent Saturday and Sunday looking for a good place to live in the woods. We finally found 18 acres in the woods and bought it. We paid it off in short order and started the process of deciding what to build. It was fortuitous that my niece had just graduated from the school of Architecture at KU and we enlisted her in the design process. Carrie Craig just had some great ideas and she and Barb easily laid out a great design. After a review by one of her firm's engineers, a complete set of plans was delivered. For her part I will be forever thankful. I tell a joke about the initial house being 2400 sq feet and Barb made some changes, The next idea was about 2700 feet and Barb wanted to make some more changes. the next floor plan was 3,000 sq feet and I just didn't want it to get any bigger so we built it at that size. Back then it was about estimated at $50.00 a square foot to build.
Barb contacted a local builder and drove him into a hard bargain and we started the building process. If you have never built a house, let me tell you that there are a million and one decisions to be made. We finally worked out a pattern. if it was pretty, it was Barb's decision. If it was structural, the decision was mine. It worked out fine and our marriage survived the months of decisions and building.
The sloping lot was a natural for what is known as a walk out on the lower level. Barb drove the contractor hard to make sure there weren't any extra trees taken out. It left us with a house built in the middle of the woods and we love it. The upstairs was built with cathedral ceilings and natural woodwork. We had the kitchen done by a custom cabinet builder (Custom Woods) in Saint Mary's, KS. All in all it came together and we have lived here since Dec 1989.
The name for our house is from one of the first times we drove in the drive there were rabbit running everywhere. Look at those Rabbits Run!
After my short stay there, I was put on a bus and sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The home for wayward "cannon cockers". It was the Army's "Cannon Cocker College" and a really good place to blow up things. Because I had tested well and a board thought I might be able to read a map and live in the jungle, I managed to wrangle an assignment to an Officer Candidate School Preparatory (OCS Prep) class. Step one to becoming an officer. I won't bore you with the details here (later story) but they did everything they could to try to get us to quit. They did not make it fun or easy to go on in that program and being so young, I got my fair share of harassment.
After 8 weeks there I finally arrived in OCS. I found it easier from the harassment side but they were serious about academics and leadership. I had to hide my goof off side and study as well as shine my boots. The OCS Prep stay had me ready for the "spit and polish" side and the gunnery part was easy for me. I graduated from there in July 1967 and was assigned to Fort Irwin, in the middle of the Mojave desert.
I spent about 6 months there helping a hopeless battalion train for Vietnam. It was the blind leading the blinder. Yes, I know that in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is King but there wasn't anybody with anywhere near 20-20 vision in any eye. In fact, the Army had most of the leaders of that unit performing "rectal defilade" (Head up their posterior) and in complete denial that we needed to be somewhere there was anything near a jungle to train in. I'm pretty sure that the Army was busting at the seams about that time so there wasn't any space to train anywhere else. Besides, isn't southern California a good place to train in the fall and winter?
The desert is fine in the night in summer and daytime in winter. In the winter you spend more time putting on or taking off layers of clothes to adjust to the change of temperature. In Kansas if the temperature is going to change more than 30 degrees from high to low they issue a stockman's advisory. It was completely normal for the temperature to change 40 to 50 degrees during a 24 hour period there. The wind always picked up at night and added a wind chill to that cold.
After passing all the tests known to the modern Army the battalion was certified to go to war. We packed and were sent to Vietnam on two slow boats. Yes, I know real sailors called them ships. The USNS Geiger had so little keel it wallowed as it went up and down. It resembled a "turd in a punch bowl" and the up down and side to side just made most of us ready to blow chunks, hurl, talk to Ralph and order Buicks for the entire time we were on that floating pile. Try to trap me on a cruise today and you will find me gone, hiding, playing Magic man and generally not there.
I would love to tell you that in spite of the intense training the 6th Bn, 84th Artillery, 155mm Towed Howitzer battalion was a raging success. Remember the bind part mentioned above? We got our asses handed to us by a mortar crew and the unit never recovered. The only salvation to me was that I was almost immediately transferred (they called it an infusion, kind of like transfusion to keep it alive) to another unit near Pleiku, in the Central Highlands. I started my assignment there as the battalion ammo officer but spent most of my time either flying as an aerial observer or sent out to small units as a forward observer. I will tell you more about that in part 2 and three. Stand by for them...
The National Guard had selected a summer camp site, the Active Army training area in south eastern Colorado called , "Pinion Canyon". It is in the middle of "no" and "damn where " somewhere near Pueblo, Colorado. If you aren't familiar with that area, it is a dry dusty plain that has some mountains as a backdrop for scenery and a few hills to keep the place a little interesting. The environmentalists had made so many rules that it was darn near impossible to maneuver so it was one of the slowest camps I had ever attended. A day there was like a week any where else. We were glad when a storm blew through so we would have something to do.
Getting to the middle of no where took us through a bunch of small towns in western Kansas and eastern Colorado. If you have never traveled with a Military Convoy, try to imagine driving 45 miles per hour with a bunch of diesel trucks ahead of you. Every time one of them would accelerate to close up the interval or hit a small hill they would belch black smoke that smelled horrible and obscured your sense of smell. To make matters worse, I had been chosen to follow one of the groups of trucks as a part of the trails party and I was one tired, dirty bored soldier that couple of days. When we left Topeka I noticed that the driver had an oil can on the floorboard full of kitty litter. As the trip progressed, he continued to spit in it until the last day it sloshed a foul crude oil looking pool of tobacco. Only then did I become thankful that my sense of smell was gone.
As we drove into this one small town, I had the driver pull into the parking lot of the only store within 30 miles. I didn't care if god himself broke down, I was going to get out of that vehicle and get something cold to drink. I knew I had to make it quick because there were about 15 convoys headed to Pinion Canyon and there were only three roads leading in. Oh well, on with the story.
Out in eastern Colorado, the coyote hunters take a perfectly bad pickup (thought I was going to say good here didn't ya. You would have to see these piles of crap with wheels to appreciate how un-roadworthy they were) and put a dog box on the back. The dog boxes contain the worst accumulation of dog flesh ever assembled. They looked like furry wolfhounds that were so ugly only their mothers could love them. I think they drive around and when they spot a coyote they would unleash the hounds of hell and the dogs would run the coyote to ground. From the assortment of antennas on the trucks, it appeared that CB radios kept them headed the same directions. I don't think I ever sw one of those trucks without a rifle rack in the back window and a year's wages worth of guns right there to use. I'm sure that when they put their rifles in the rack and filled the gas tank it tripled the value of the truck. Well, that sorry excuse for a truck was also the main source of transportation for one of the wives as she did her weekly shopping.
Being in uniform and three days away from home just makes most guys less critical of women and in fact amplifies their horniness. Kind of like an all male fire crew's conversation turns to women when there is nothing else to do. (Sorry Jenn, they do talk about women when you aren't there) Even women that couldn't stand the second glance test back home are worth a stare when you are on the road. Not this one.
The first thing I noticed about the gal that got out of that truck was that she spit tobacco out right there in the parking lot. It looked like she had been storing that spit all the way from her house to the store. Judging from the streaks down both sides of the truck they knew how to spit out the doors. I would say windows but I'm not sure there was any glass besides the windshield. The quantity looked like an oil tanker had hit a rock and I swear it looked like a two foot patch of oil spill. (can I hear an "Ewh Gross" boys and girls?)
The woman looked like she had gotten right out of bed and if she owned a comb she didn't use it. Her hair looked like the dogs, rough, long and ugly. She was dressed in a dirty pair of jeans and a tank top that so dirty I couldn't tell what color it really had been. As she got closer, I noticed that she was as dirty as her clothes and by that time I was so grossed out that couldn't help but stare.
The lady's belly was sticking out like she was in her third trimester. It was somewhere in this time frame I noticed that her breast stood out straight (not breasts, she only had one) because it had no place to hang. If her belly had not been in the way, it wold have hung out the bottom of the tank top. I would estimate it at 43 long, only god knows what cup size. As much as I wanted to look away, I could only stand there dumbfounded that she would go out like that.
As she got close to the front of store where I was standing she smiled. Her tooth was dark brown and thank god I wasn't close enough to smell her breath. (yes, I said tooth not teeth, I know the difference.
After I got my cold drink I went back to our vehicle. I almost could not describe how repulsed I felt. I asked the driver if he had seen that lady from the coyote truck and he said," Man did you see the tit on that one". "Man would I like to get to know her". (OK, I did clean up that comment) Just goes to show you that for some every gal there is a guy more than 30 miles from home.
I watched MU beat the Hawks during the first half and the hawks just not quite have the finish to win. I won't be sad that two great teams met and one won. There will be a bowl game for both and lots of $ for the Big 12 to help build for next year.
I am watching basketball and love to see the Hawks show up and whip some pretty good teams. About the time you shut down the interior their shooters blast the three pointers from outside.
Speaking of Basketball, the former Hawk, Paul Pierce, has the Celtics on a roll and they are 11-1. I like to keep the pro basketball on hold for the late June play off's when there isn't much else to watch. I just can't watch baseball and I'm too old to play. I guess this year I will try to watch the Celtics during the year.
Hope you all have the hatches battened down as winter is here and it will be a while until we can spend hours outside doing fun things. Oh well, such is life.
Get ready boys and girls, it snowed here today and a lot of people will be watching tonight as the Tigers and the Jay Hawks play for what could be a birth in the National BCS title Bowl. It will be a battle royal as both teams are good and have a winning record. KU is 11-0 and Missouri is 10-1.
Yesterday was upset Saturday in Football and the Bowl picture is completely as upside down as is possible. Hawaii won the WAC and is undefeated. If KU could win out it is possible that two undefeated teams Hawaii and KU could play for a National Title. I won't hold my breath but hey, this is as early as it ever snowed in Kansas that I can remember.
Enjoy the game and get ready for the Bowls and Basketball. KU ain't bad there either.
This fine young lady's mother was about the best cook I had ever met. After eating a small sampling of chicken her mother had cooked I managed to wrangle an invitation over for Sunday dinner. Visions of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and sweet buttery home made rolls danced in my head. They were from the south so they served sweet tea but hey, you can't have everything. Being there with that fine young lady was nice but truly the way to my heart was through my stomach at that age.
Just as if in a dream the meal was served with the entire family around the table and piles of food were set on the table. I was almost dizzy from all the good smells. Beyond that dream was the reality that the food was the best I had ever eaten. I managed to eat my fill without embarrassing myself. There was an apple pie with ice cream served at the end and I swear I thought I was going to have to unbutton my jeans or explode. (I really would have never done that but hey, it is my story)
After that wonderful meal, I was escorted in to the living room and my young girl friend sat down beside me. I felt about as content as I had ever felt in my life. We had a nice conversation for a while and finally the topic shifted to our relationship. The girl's mother said, "You kids do know that you are way too young to get serious." Talk about a dose of cold water poured right down the middle of my back! Heck, I was there for the fried chicken. About that time, in her sweetest voice the young girl friend looked her mother straight in the eye and said, "Mother, you do realize that I am older than you were when you had me, don't you?" Wow, the reality of that statement scared the h, e, double toothpicks right out of me. They were talking about sex and having kids and I didn't even have a driver's license.
What could I say, what I could I do. I think I mumbled something about needing to get home and beat it right out of that house. I swear that wonderful meal almost got deposited on their front porch as I walked out into the bright light of day.
This story was one of my many encounters with the law of unintended consequences. Just be aware that looking for that best chicken dinner can mean a lot more to some people than it does to you. Last time I had heard anything from her, Sheila was still married to one of the guys we went to church with. I on the other hand went merrily on my way through life until I met the cutest girl in Yermo, California. Next February we will have been married 40 years.
Female Downey Woodpecker. (No red on her head)
Red bellied woodpecker. (I know he has a red head but it is not a red headed woodpecker like woody woodpecker.
Hi there, What'cha doin'. Barb and I never go out on the Friday after Thanksgiving to spend money if we can help it. I got up fairly early and unloaded the dish washer and re-loaded it. I am now sitting here at the computer and half heartily watching the birds at the feeders. The assortment of small birds hit the black oil sunflower seed feeder and the woodpeckers hit the suet block. I have a finch feeder set up for the different assortment of finches that come through and those hearty enough to stay here. This time of the year most of the finches are pretty plain and it is not until spring that they will be different colors. We have some that are red and some that look like a flock of canaries.
Barb signed up with some group to count the birds at the feeder and only because we were watching did I noticed that there is a strange woodpecker out there. We have small one's called Downy woodpeckers and big one's called red bellied woodpeckers for the most part. One came in a little while ago that looked like a punk rocker and had a wild hair do. It is definitely not one that is normally in this area by our bird book. Now that I have seen him and have a camera he will probably not show up again. As a matter of fact, there is not a bird in sight now that I have the camera.
At the seed feeder, there is a pretty established pattern. Birds fly in get a seed and then stack back up in a landing pattern that is pretty much one bird and one seed per stop. At the suet block the woodpeckers fly in and take their time. If one of the little birds wants some suet they will fly past the woodpecker and try to get him/her to leave. About the only thing that will scare the big red bellied woodpecker off is the flash of the camera.
My Nikon doesn't like to auto focus through the window. It either gets the window or the trees in focus and the birds are pretty much a blur. I am doing some manual shots right now and will see if they work out. If there are some pictures at the top of this post it worked if not, I need a camera that has not been dropped as many times. (it worked)
Jeez Louise, you would think that at the age of 60 and with the good part of life in the palm of my hand I would stop asking myself that stupid question. I find that several times a week I ask myself what do I want to do with the rest of my life? I have everything I need and most of what I want so what the hell is there left? I'll tell you that it is the social capital that I think I need. As much as I needed Kenny here to help me with the really technical jobs, I think I needed him to have someone to talk to. I probably frustrated the hell out of him but I truly think I needed that social interaction that included having his dog meet me at the door and wagging her tail.
Our PBS Station has a program called "Simple Living" with Wanda Urbanska and she had a long talk about simple living. One topic was called "Bowling Alone" and it had a lot of the answers even if I didn't know all the questions. For example join one social club or organization and you are 50% less likely to die that year. Join a second organization and you are an additional 25% less likely to die. I'm sure that some where out there everyone must die but we are social animals and quality is better than quantity but quantity isn't all bad.
Now back to the real world. A couple of days ago it was 70 degrees and we set a new daytime high for that date. Today it started at 35 degrees and it has continued to cool off. As I went shopping about noon it was cold enough that on thin surfaces ice was forming. The ground is obviously way too warm but the mailbox and the hood of the truck had a rind of ice when I got home.
Crap, just as I thought I had one of the answers to life, Wanda talks about having a room of your own and spiritual growth when we set time to be alone and finding our own simple place. Slow down when you feel too pressured and try to find a center for your life. www.simplelivingtv.net is supposed to be a place for you to find answers . Great web site and I recommend you look it up.
So what is I really want to do with the rest of my life? I guess I'm doing it right now and so long as it works for me, I'll continue doing it.
My version of a turkey is much darker after being smoked over a slow hickory fire but the picture gives you the basic idea of the centerpiece of the meal. I will brine the turkey tomorrow and cook it either late in the day or early Thursday.
There will be garlic mashed potatoes, stuffing (Stovetop done in a pan with some sausage,onion and celery) an apple salad, green bean casserole and some pies. My choice of pies is apple and Dave likes chocolate cream.
The most important thing is that the kids will be here and we will all enjoy a good meal and good company. Next year I hope we can do it at their house and have Barb's Mom there. We'll see. I'll probably still do the turkey and a lot of the cooking there but it will be instructional as I'm sure that Barb wants to learn as much as she can.
Put a radio in the old 53 pick-up and it can blow the windows out with 150 watts. I can't imagine what it would be like with an amplifier. Minor problem is the antenna length isn't quite long enough to reach the overhead location where I put the radio. Need an antenna splice or stretcher. I really put it in so I could listen to the radio but this thing will hook up to an i-pod, play CD or MP-3s as well as play the radio. You know that you are in trouble when your value of the truck gets doubled when you put in a tank of gas and a new radio. Oh well.
I once had a friend that when given an assignment by our boss would do it just good enough to get it done but not so good that he got asked to do it again. He made sure that he did things well enough to not get fired but I'm pretty sure that his work wasn't up to my standards. In fact, I did his job for while he went on a short tour to Washington and got in more trouble for the things he didn't tell me about than those things I did because I knew what to do. I got a call from our higher headquarters and they wanted to know when we were going to cut the order on a change in a unit. 1st, I had no idea there was a change out there and 2nd, I didn't have a copy of the change. My friend called me and said, "Remember that drawer I told you not to open? Open it". It had about a year's worth of changes that needed to be made. I started to work the changes that day and about a week later I had at least a handle on what was needed to do. I set up an action file and made time lines on all the changes. I worked that list until I had everything done. About a month later, the higher headquarters came out for a visit and to audit the job I was doing. I showed them the work I had done and they immediately had me brief their staff and from that discussion they issued a paper on how to manage changes for units. The auditor loved the work and upgraded the job two grades. My boss wouldn't give me that grade increase because I was a temp or back fill. My friend came back to Kansas and was immediately given the pay raise.
The good news is that the Chief of Staff saw the results of my hard work and hired me for a job that gave me that two grade raise. It also included a recommendation for promotion but I was then assigned to a unit in a Major's slot and had to wait a year to be promoted. The even better news was that I was immediately put in a command position and would have had to wait for a couple of years if I had been promoted.
Good work is almost always rewarded. Sometimes it is with the reward of more work but most of the time it pays in the long run. So, when I hear someone say, "Good Enough for Government Work", I am pretty confident that is is good enough for me.
The way I see it, the information age is here and there is so much out there about us on line that no matter how hard we try you can be "Googled" and found out about. I don't even try any more. I figure that if the bad guys want my good name they are welcome to share. I will continue to do my best to not besmirch it too much but by now most of the damage is done.
This morning the sky was about a wild as I have ever seen it. Right above Rabbit Run there were some very high clouds and as the sun was coming up it reflected a golden hue right down here. The sky in the east was a reddish golden color and the colors here were spectacular. I walked in the house and told Barb about it and when we looked out, the sun had just moved enough that it was all gone. Now it just looks like a lightly overcast day and in spite of it being 9AM it looks much earlier. Oh well, it will be 60 toady and it s not to snow for a couple of days. Better get some things done outside.
I really want to thank Ken for the idea of going to Joyland to look for things to update the new house. I looked at shutters at Lowe's and they were $25 to $30 @. I found four for $20.00 at Joyland. That is our local second hand store here and is a treasure trove of things piled here and there. The railing was about $10.00 a foot at Lowe's and I found it at about $1.00 a foot at Joyland. Heck, I bought paint and color matched the rail for about half of the cost of the railing. I guess used doesn't mean bad, it means inexpensive. I had typed cheap but that is not really the way I see it. Cheap could be inferior and not up to the task at hand. Most of the older stuff is better built and built to last. Most of the new stuff is plastic and won't last out the first season it is used.
Better get my act together. I need a ride up to the house to get my truck and Barb will be ready soon.
When I was about 10 or 11 my dad had a bunch of tar drip on his head as he was patching a hole in the roof of a shed in our back yard. I don’t think I dripped the tar on his head but you never know and I don’t remember? To remove the tar he used a liquid he called coal oil. I don’t remember where it came from but I suspect it came out of a garage we tore down in Eldorado, KS. (El-dough-raid-o not the home of the gold, El dough raw dough) That coal oil acted as a thinner and not only did it remove that tar, it cured a really bad case of dandruff. That home remedy is one that I filed in my memory banks for later use.
Sometime later and I’m not sure of the intervening time frame but later on a friend of mine had an old dog that came down with the mange and had large bald spots where the fur was dropping off. One day as we were goofing off in the back yard I mentioned the coal oil remedy to Denny. He was a really fun kid to play with but not the brightest bulb in the pack. I think it was a disease that burned up some brain cells when he was younger that diminished his capacity. Being a consummate follower, Denny couldn’t wait to find some of that miracle coal oil. We searched my dad’s shed and where Denny’s dad stored his stuff. Not a drop of that “New Miracle Cure” could be found. (Yes, I now know that Coal Oil was an old product and not something most people would have a can of) We found a long list of products that could be a substitute but few that we thought would be appropriate to pour on a poor dog’s fur. Denny finally found a gas can and thought that because it came from crude oil that it would be close enough to substitute. You know, Crude oil vs coal oil. I wasn’t sure but hey, it was his dog and his gas.
Needless to say his experiment and application of gasoline to a mange spot turned out to be something we were not ready for. I had heard the term turpentined cat but had never witnessed a gassed dog. That old cur, that could hardly walk, turned into a whirling dervish of snapping, barking, howling and foaming at the mouth critter much more scary than Steven King’s Cujo. Mostly because we had to imagine Cujo and that dog was right there in real life and pissed off.
Thank god there were piles of large boxes in the yard and I immediately sought refuge on top of one. After a few seconds Denny thought that was a good idea and joined me. The dog continued to run around that box and bark, snarl and act rabid for about five minutes. All of a sudden she dropped on her side and didn’t move. Denny said,Did she die?" "Na," I said, "She ran out of gas."
Other than the ending of this story that I have made into a joke the above event did happen. Needless to say we learned a good lesson that day.MUD
My concern is one that I pointed out to a couple of people last week. They talk about things and don't tell us background an the what's of what they do. There is also a new blogger out there that is still testing the water and hasn't even posted a profile to identify herself.
I figure that writing about what I do is the purpose of this site. If you don't like why I write there are always the comment section. Lately there doesn't seem to be much in the way about comments but the number counter continues to spin so people are reading.
I love to hear about your gardens, your grand kids, you joys and the things going on in your life. Whatever form you use, continue to communicate.
The soil lab gets in samples each day and according to the desires of the farmer/gardener they dry and then grind the samples. The samples come about 50/50 from the gardeners and farmers. The farmers send most of their samples in right before they plant so the busy time for the lab is spring and fall. The remainder of the year is through the county extension offices and is garden soil. Mostly they extract and then measure things like Potassium and Nitrogen and Phosphorous in the soil. What starts out like a brown organic sample is reduced to a clear liquid for most of the tests. That same lab also does plant and water analysis. I guess the farmers need to know the nitrate levels of the plants they are going to grind up for feed and the water treatment facilities are concerned about the high nitrate levels in drinking water. The lab manager told of one small town that had six of the seven women in one community spontaneously aborted their pregnancies because of the high nitrate level in the drinking water. The one that didn't, drank bottled water mostly and used the public water only for household purposes other than drinking.
One nice thing about our trip was that one of my co-workers completed the class with Barb and I got to visit with him and talk about old times. There are a lot of things we have in common and both are willing to share our thoughts/memories and war stories. It made the trip a good time for me. I hope Barb enjoyed the friendship and camaraderie.
For me I enjoyed the walking tour we took from lunch back to the greenhouse on campus. We stopped and talked about some of the problems the plants and trees on campus have. It is a little late for most of the plants so we did focus more on trees. It is always funny to me that our tendency is to plant trees and then when the grass dies in the shade of the tree to put in sidewalks. Yep, that kills the tree and the cycle begins again. Cut down the old tree and plant grass and a new tree. Build sidewalks to keep from walking in the mud when the tree gets over 10 feet tall and then cut down the tree when the sidewalk kills the tree. Year after year. The Doctor that gave us the tour also asked why some plants up by the building were yellow. Duh, frost! She didn't like that answer then I said over watering. I got a lot of ribbing about thinking I could know as much as the plant Doctor but hey, I have lived 60 years in Kansas and know poison ivy three times out of four.
Better run and get some things done today. It is not near as nice as it has been. A cold front is moving through and it is cooling things off but didn't bring us any much needed moisture.
Today is the celebrated Veteran's Day and there won't be any Government Offices open and the mail won't get delivered. The things that work today are the paper and the coffee maker. Those two things start my day in a good way. I was a paper boy for a year back in the early 60's and got in the habit of reading the paper at the start of the day. The coffee part didn't start for a few years but man I enjoy a good cup of coffee and the rustle of a new paper. I think there is something primal about being the first person to open a new paper that goes back to the days of having about a hundred new papers. Back then I walked my route and put the paper on the porch in most cases. There was one house that I would throw a paper on the porch and mostly I hit the porch until the owner met me one day with a ladder. I had to climb on the roof and get down those I missed the porch with. They were OK people just a little fussy about having those boxed papers on the roof. On Monday the paper was pretty small and you could make a box out of it and man would those boxed suckers fly.
Those of us that are KU Sports fans are just holding our breath. KU is listed at number three in the nation and our next games are against Missouri (Number 5) and probably Oklahoma (Number 4). The fate of the football team in in our own hands. I don't think they are really number one or two but they sure play like a good team that wins. I told someone the other day that it always seemed like the Football team found ways to stop on the offense and lose in the past. This year they just keep playing to the end of the game and win. 10-0 ain't no small potatoes. The Basketball team just is loaded with talent and they will lose only when they forget to do what has them ranked number 4 in the Nation. They have big men and guards so talented that it is just not funny. They have one guy sitting on the bench letting his knee heal that will probably go pro next year. He has a Paul Pierce ability and if his body holds together will be on someones big money list next year.
Barb and I have been talking about a trip to Morocco in March or early April next year. Probably won't hurt to do the taxes early and see if there is enough money to take the trip. I guess it is a blessing to have money to earn taxes on and then to have the money to pay them when due. Mixed blessing. The value of the US dollar is also way down but hey, this is a trip of a lifetime.
I hear the squirrels up and out at the feeder. It is a shame that our outside cat doesn't like those bushy tailed rodents. Squirrel snacks might be just the ticket.
- I have a squirrel feeder that is "Squirrel Proof". Yesterday I saw the strangest behavior by one of the little buggers. He would climb up on top and try to get the seeds. When he just couldn't, he would jump over to the porch support. I saw him do this three or four times before it was clear that each time he jumped, the feeder would bounce up and down ad spill a few seeds. The little bugger had found a way to get a few seeds from the feeder. Give them enough time, and they will find a way. He is back this morning but hasn't been up there yet! There are anywhere from three to six squirrels out there now.
- Do you know the significance of Veteran's day being on Nov 11th. WWI was ended at the 11th Hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. (no, the year wasn't 1911 it was 1918) Today I would ask that you spend a few moments thinking about your family members that fought in earlier wars to help maintain freedom. Whatever you do, don't confuse the members of the Military with the guys that cause the wars. The failure to maintain peace is the Government's fault not the Military's.
- Thanksgiving is a mixed blessing. If you don't have it at your house you don't have left overs. The good news if you don't have it at your house you don't have leftovers. Yes, this is an oxymoron. (Isn't that the guy that sells that stuff on TV?) How many thousands of calories do you eat because it is there and you don't want it to go to waste (or to your waist) I think being a volunteer at the local Thanksgiving feed is a good thing. I'm not sure what we will do. Somewhere out there in the future I will probably stop preparing enough to feed the masses but I will miss it. I will continue to grill a turkey on the grill sometime between September and Christmas. Nothing better than a good smoked turkey. I even bought myself a special ring so there would be a spit to turn the turkey on. No, the turkey doesn't get turned on, it gets turned slowly over the smoke.
- One of these times we need to have a long talk with the kids about the color scheme of their house. It is a real light blue with a dark blue trim. It looks like a giant Lowe's building. Oh well, it is really starting to look good and one of these days I'll be done there.
- What do you wear as your casual clothes inside your house? I am tending more and more towards the sweats but find them too warm on those days where the sun shines in the house. Today they are a good thing as it is overcast. Now if I could just find that other slipper. Can't wear just one but can't find two.
- Last night Boone Pickens (who has given Oklahoma State many Millions of dollars) said that the real problem right now with oil is that we has demand for 88 million barrels of oil a day and only the ability to pump 85 million. I think the problem is that even if we did get an extra million or two more we don't have the capacity to do anything with it. We haven't built a new processing refinery since the Jimmy Carter Presidency. Both parties have had their run during the intervening time. We need to just wind up our windmills today to have all the electricity we could use.
Today, 10 November is the birthday of the US Marine Corps. The US Army is very happy there is a Marine Corps because if it were not for them, we would be stuck out there on those ships and have to make amphibious landings. We love to have the job of meeting and greeting the enemy at the forward edge of the battle area so long as it is on dry land. Here are a few of my Marine jokes that I tell in jest to Marines:
- There was a Marine and a Sailor in a bath room. After peeing, the Marine starts out the door. The Sailor said, "Hey, didn't they tell you to wash your hands?" The Marine replied, "Nah, they taught us not to pee on our fingers."
- There was a Chief Petty Officer outside the Marine Recruit station near San Diego (They call those trained there, Hollywood Marines because real Marines train at Camp Le June) The Chief was up on top of a dumpster jumping up and down and hollering "FOUR!". A new Marine came out the gate and said, "Uh Chief, why are you jumping up and down like that?" The Sailor replied, " I have stress and this is the way I get rid of my stress". The Marine said, "Uh Chief, I have a DI that just hates me and I'm so stressed that I almost can't sleep." The chief invited the Marine to get up on top of the dumpster. The Marine jumped up and hollered, "4".(Being a Marine he probably couldn't spell Four) The Chief said , No son, you have to jump as high as you can and really holler FOUR!" The Marine said, "OK Chief". As the marine jumped up, the chief threw back the lid and the Marine landed inside. The Chief then Jumped up and down on the lid and hollered, "FIVE!".
- The Army has a saying, "You can Always Tell a Marine! You can't tell them very much but you can always tell 'em.
My love of wrestling goes back to a classmate in Officer Candidate School, Don Carder. He was a wrestler at OSU and got kicked out of school when he was caught in the girls dorm way after the curfew. He was drafted into the Army and was selected for OCS and assigned to the same squad I was. We had many long talks about his college career. I think some of the talks may have been longer than his career. We both went to Fort Irwin when we graduated and he showed me some of his moves after a few too many beers one night. I had a pair of shorts that were too tight and when I finished my spirits and the shorts were both split right down the middle. Don was one fast and strong guy and even with the 30 lbs I had on him could make short work out of me.
It was ironic that Don managed to make the Olympic wrestling team and lost to the same guy there he lost to in the State of Oklahoma final. Dan Grable that went on to be the head coach at Iowa. My friend went to the games (and not Vietnam) as an alternate and assistant coach. The irony of all this was that he was killed in Ponca City, Oklahoma while riding a motorcycle. Stupid, stupid, stupid! He had married and had a three month old daughter.
On a lighter note, I saw in a Nebraska Furniture Mart ad a leather recliner, rocker with a built in massager and one arm that could act as a cooler to hold 4 beverages. What you say, no built in porta potty and remote control holder?
The hawks round ballers play tonight and tomorrow night the football team plays OSU. Should be a good weekend to be a sports fan. Win or lose, they are a bunch of kids playing a sport and should give us a couple of good games. The giggle of the day was the headline on the sports page that says, "KU Fans embrace Mangino". I don't know if you have seen him on the sidelines but it would take two of me to get my arms around him. The T-shirts say "Our Coach beat Anorexia", "Our coach could eat your coach" and "Our coach is PHAT!" I just hope that his heart holds out long enough for this team to play up to their potential without killing him.
Better run. MUD
- Energy - Oil is now at $100 a barrel. That is a 33 gallon barrel and less than a third of the oil is gas so you can see that gasoline is headed to $3.50 to $4.00 a gallon soon. (By Christmas?) Where is the experimentation on alternate sources of energy and why are we letting the NIMBY crowd keep us from developing new sources. (NIMBY is the acronym for "Not in My Back Yard" and is applied to those people that say we can't drill for new oil, build new coal fired plants and that windmills are ugly) If there is an issue that should be on the front burner of every candidate for the president in 2008 it is this one. Don't hear much about it do you?
- The Border - I for the life of me can't figure out why this is a big issue. If it is the dollars going to Mexico I say OK but I think it is a symbolic thing and not worth the effort it would take to plug it up. Get control of who is here by making everyone have an ID card and if you don't have one you can't make/spend or send money. I heard that there are over 3,000,000 bogus social security numbers out there. Where is the policing on that one. Yes, it is a source of revenue that causes Billions of dollars to flow to the Soc Sec Administration. Follow the Dollars!
- Water - There is a real bru-ha-ha going on here about the 345 million gallons of water a proposed Ethanol plant would require. The story makes the point that about 3/4th of that would be recycled and reused and only 1/4th or 86 million gallons would be new each year. The truth is that our typical golf course requires 82 million gallons a year. Now you tell me, what is the most important thing for us to use the water for?
- Does the number 10 trillion mean anything to you? That is our new National Debt ceiling. What is that number as a part of the Gross Domestic Product. (As if most people have a clue what that is in dollars) What does it mean in terms of life right here at Rabbit Run? Unless someone figures out how to make the debt something people recognize as a problem there is just no way anything is going to be done to fix it.
- Truth - So long as there are ways to obfuscate (lie in a way that seems normal) what the truth is, we will continue to have people doing their best to lie to us in ways that sound believable. Yesterday on of the talk shows spent over an hour talking about "Dog the Bounty Hunter" as if it were a topic that should have been important. Sheesh, I could have told you that he uses the N, f, and lot more words that aren't political correct. I wouldn't recommend you watch his program on A&E but the few times I have watched it they have to bleep out about every third word. DUH!
- Politics - Strange bed fellows are about. Senator San Brownback threw his support to Senator McCain. Talk about too little too late. I am not sure that if I was in third place I would want the sixth (or lower) placed person to support me. Just for the moment I will not talk about Hillary running for President and not running as a woman. (That just makes my head ache when Bill comes out ans says the guys shouldn't pile on because she's a woman)
- People who Don't Care - The real problem is there is so much on the plates of people out there they just don't care enough to make our Government do the right things, first. (Hell I would be glad if they do the right things right even if they don't do them first) People don't spend their money wisely, they run out and buy things they don't need with money they don't have and then wonder how they got under this bus. Just today I read that there is a new grenade contract let to Israel for 52 million to blow down doors. Jesus Christ, don't they have size 12 boots? I know they have C-4 and blasting caps but that just isn't good enough.
- Controlling vs creative. There seems to be a personality type that just can control facts, numbers and things very well. The opposite of this is those that are creative and inventive. (These guys have to develop a system to be able to find their keys on successive days) There are a lot of crossovers on this and I know that there are a lot of the controlling people that can decorate a pretty cake.
- Open and closed. This is the old extrovert and introvert discussion. Don't attribute good or bad things to this. Extroverts would rather work with as group to solve a problem and introverts would rather take it home and study it in private. Sometimes the introvert doesn't have all the facts and sometime the extrovert build a camel when a horse is needed. Most people would rather stand outside in a hail storm than give a public speech and the true extrovert just lives for that moment.
- Sad and Happy. I am not sure where this actually fits but there are people that you meet that just seem to have a smile on their face no matter what. Then, there are those people that always look for the sky to fall no matter what. There are those sad few that need medication to control this but most people have both. One of the nicest descriptions was made this weekend about Col Mike O'Toole who was killed in a private plane crash. Someone said that if you said "Mike O'Toole" and you didn't immediately have a mental image of someone with a smile on his face, you just didn't know him. I hope the same can be said of me later (a lot later)
- Facts and Fluff. Some people don't believe anything unless it can be empirically defined with facts. There are others that look for the clouds and arrows in the drawing to help build the entire picture. I'll bet the new computer age is driving some people completely bonkers. You can not trust anything from a picture to a recording today. On the other hand, you can make some spectacular things that just blows the old stuff away. Is music done by a machine any better or worse that that man written and played? Is one of the computer enhanced pictures taken with a digital better or worse than an an Ansel Adams black and white?
- Change vs conservative. There are people that think that nothing should ever change and the old ways are the best. There are people out there changing things faster than they can document what the hell they want. I know people that won't shop at a WalMart because it is new and different and I shop there because of the cheaper prices. I do think that change should be controlled somewhat and that if a slow and steady change is made things generally get better. Every once in a while I listen to the conservatives and they just rail at the liberals. I think that I don't want to throw out the bathwater with the baby but every once in a while you need to look in the tub for stray turds.
- Mechanics vs Technologists. There are some people out there that just love to have a tool box and fix old things. We are amazed when something is made that is just not repairable. We all know that there are things that we just throw away when they break and things that only Kenny can fix. If you don't know, Ken is my bud and if he can't fix something, throw it away. On the other hand, Dave doesn't have the time and tools to fix my old truck but he can wire up about and electrical component and make it work great. As I get older I find myself absolutely overwhelmed by the new changes in technology and I am less physically able to bend over the fender of the truck to work on the engine as I age. I am sometimes not sure of the differences between a Mega-bite and a Giga-bite and just think the whole thing bites the big one.
- Frontiersman vs Settlers. We all know there are people that never seem to settle down and move about as often as the years change. There is also the other group that it takes a major fire or disaster to get them to get more than a half a tank of gas away from home. Somewhere in the middle there is those that have a controlled adventure plan but enjoy a thrilling ride now and then.
- Planners, plodders and the grasshoppers. We all know the grasshopper story where the ant has to feed the poor grasshopper in the winter because he didn't take care of business during good weather. There is also the turtle that takes his house with him everywhere he goes to have a secure place each night. There is the planner in the middle that takes just enough with him to get there and makes sure there will be enough when he-or she returns to get by for a while.
- Caller ID vs answer the phone. There are people that screen their phone calls by looking at the Caller ID. There are others that just answer the phone and see every new call as another adventure. In some houses there is only one of the many phones that has a caller ID and some that have an answering machine to just hear what is said after the call.
Now to my favorite subject, roundball and hoops. It never ceases to amaze me that the Hawks can year after year load up with incredible talent. Just when you think they are going to have a senior class graduate and take all the good guys with them they recruit raw talent and build powerhouse teams. They lost only one player from last years starting team and recruited a bunch of kids that are going to play their way on the floor. Probably one player that can play either big guard or small forward, Brandon Rush, is nursing a sore knee. I hope he can stay off it and get it healed before the desire to step in just overwhelms him. He played hurt all last year and he needed to play. This year there is enough talent that he won't be too worn out by year's end. If you doubt the Hawks, there is a Big 12 Championship banner that has 7 of the 12 years the Big 12 has been around. Now, if they only had a basketball arena with some parking.
Barb is finally, and formally a Master Gardner. She completed classes through our county extension agent's office and is just waiting for the dirt to that out next spring to bring the prairie to bloom. My hope is that she can focus on Kansas wildflowers but I know they will have her do a pretty flower (Needs lots of water) garden or two to build up some of the volunteer hours she needs to prove she is worthy of the new title. Oh well, she has become the Master Gardener her at Rabbit Run and I will remain the head laborer.
The one on the left is the Army Staff Badge and current Army Symbol
The one on the right is a picture used by my niece Jenn in her Blog.
Can you tell that all the one's I used the eagle faced left? Her's faced right and is a picture of what we called a "War Eagle" Normally the Eagle faces the feather end of the arrows and the "War Eagle" faces towards the arrow points. Jenn asked for a little more information so here goes. The Army wears their rank insignia on the right collar. They wear a branch insignia on the left collar. Their Eagle faces away from the person you meet. During wartime it is rumored that many of the "Old Brass" wore a War Eagle instead of the normal eagle. Just today I found a new book called The Colonel" and darned if they didn't have the eagle backwards. Oh well...;
Trivia brought to you by MUD
The good news is that most of the trim is done on the outside. I do need to do some minor trim on the north side and put up some guttering. A few coats of paint her and there and it will be done.
Went to "On the Border" tonight with Dave and Barb for her birthday. Da Barbs birthdays are a month apart (and a few years). The wind and cold just destroyed my sense of smell today so the only real taste was hot.
Gotta Run. MUD
On Saturday I worked at the new house in the AM and then had a chicken and noodle lunch at a local church. The girl serving mashed potatoes asked if I wanted my chicken and noodles over the mashed spuds. DUH! did you ever have them any other way? Too many meals in the local school system. Barb said, "Carbohydrates over carbs?" Oh well, I also had some mystery pie that was a combination of bananas, cherries, frozen strawberries topped with some whipped topping. It was darned good and managed to get most of my favorite things into one pie. After that meal I managed to watch almost all of the KU vs Nebraska game. It was so exciting to watch the Hawks go down field 10 times in a row and score. The final was 69 to 30 something. It serves the Corn Huskers right to have someone run up the score on them for a change. This has put the Hawks in the number 4 spot on the BCS. Can we say BCS $ boys and girls.
Sunday was a work day and I managed to get a lot of the trim finished on the outside of the new house done. It all needs a coat of paint but watertight is important first and paint will come later. I did listen to the KC Chiefs game but it was a disaster. I wouldn't have watched it on TV or better yet, I would gave napped through most of it.
Sunday night was the best. Barb and I went to a concert at Washburn put on by the Fountain City (Kansas City has more fountains than Rome) Brass Band. It was a very good concert and they play such a diverse set of music that it was hard to believe it wasn't an orchestra and not just brass. I swear that when they broke into a Jewish piece I could hear clarinets. They did a combination piece that took John Williams music from Star Wars played by a alien group and combined it with a Jazz piece that just blew the house down. It was the most enjoyable two hours I have had in a long time. I think Barbara even had a good time. She goes to musicals with me, I think to humor me but every once in a while she gets a winner too.
This morning a cold front came rushing down from Nebraska and I will go get a tire fixed first. The temperature will be near 50 but the 35 MPH wind will make for a miserable day. Oh well, life ain't always fun, sometimes you get wind. (In Kansas that is most of the time) Have a great day out there.
- No matter how hard you try, people just don't hear your unspoken thoughts. Telepathy is not telephony so don't be surprised when you just don't get your unspoken thoughts across.
- Deeds are just that, deeds. People don't always see what you do and they sure as heck don't see them as you intended. Good intentions aren't always seen as such if they cross purposes with the desires of others.
- It is often quick and easy to figure out what and annual salary is. there are 52 weeks in a year and 40 hours per week is 2080 hours. If you get paid vacation and make about $10.00 per hour you make $20,800 per year. If you make about $20.00 per hour you earn about $40,000 per year. I don't know why this is at the front of my mind but hey, not every life lesson has as much purpose as all other thoughts.
- I hear people say, "If we didn't spend so much money on the Military, we could have all the new schools we need." My concern is what happens to all those soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines? When you put them out of a job do we need to retrain them or are we willing to accept unemployment growth while we rebuild. Many of the people today don't remember when Jimmy Carter tried to cut the guns and did nothing to improve the butter. Our economy sputtered and almost ground to a halt. There is a balance in our spending and everything we do has an effect. I'm not sure if anyone has a complete handle on the scales and know just what to do.
- Sometimes the simple things can bring as much pleasure as the big new shinny things. Feeding the birds with a little sunflower seeds and a little suet can bring hours of enjoyment out your back window.
- Unintended consequences can be tricky. When you move item A, sometimes item B is effected. For years I stuck out a career in the National Guard and could have easily quit and had every weekend free. Instead, I stuck out a 30 year Military career and now it is paying off. Once a month I am reminded that my part time job is now paying for a lot of retirement. I know I missed a lot of weddings, funerals and birthday parties but I promise you it is nice to have the money and time now to enjoy retirement.
Dennis aka, MUD
You know what the good news is? The basketball season starts tonight with KU playing one of the local colleges at 7 PM on TV. Yes, it has officially started and the football team is still in action. On the recruiting front, KU has already signed almost a whole new team for next year. They seem to reload each time it looks like they need help. We'll see how that works out but it almost always seems to be a good thing. (Oh no, I'm quoting Barb who quotes Martha Stewart)
Today will be working in a closet at Dave's new house for the most part. I need to measure, put some flooring down and then figure out the best way to put up rods for hangers. Whatever I do it will be sturdy and functional. Gotta Run.