Wednesday, November 28, 2007

In Praise of Neighbors

While I was out and about running some errands this evening, I was reminded of one major reason I like living out here on The Poor Farm. I've been down for the last few days with some sort of stomach malady, and I needed supplies.

I rarely go to my hometown much anymore, because it is out of the way driving to my workplace. I tend to shop at that town rather than drive to my hometown or the other "big city" to the east I used to shop and work. So, I don't see a bunch of people I know in the city to the west. They say everyone meets at Wal Mart and it is true in these predominantly rural areas.

My first stop was at the local parts house. I ran out of washer fluid on my little trip, so I needed some. I knew I could get some winter formula there - so I caught them just about closing time. Well, of course it was Old Home Week with the guy behind the counter - we hadn't seen each other since a cookout this summer. We didn't spend much time - he ended up on the phone, and I had other places to go, but we basically got caught up.

The next destination was my buddy's fuel islands and car wash. The pickup needed a bath and some gas. Who did I run into but our county Sheriff. He basically inherited the job after his older brother (the previous Sheriff) passed away from complications from cancer. I'd heard he was a bit reluctant to take the job - he was our hometown police chief and just wasn't wild about the extras involved. So, I asked him about that. He was enjoying the job these days. He was concerned about what I was up to, so I got him caught up. Altogether an enjoyable little chat. I assured him he had my vote in the next election, which he certainly appreciated.

Next, and last, was the grocery store. I'm actually a shirttail relative of the owner. He has several stores scattered over the area to the east. While I was shopping, I ran into the mother of one of my friends. She and her husband are custom harvesters. Mostly, they run the show themselves. Sometimes they hire temporary help, but most of the time it is just them. He has one combine, and she drives two semis. They've been doing it this way for nearly forty years.

Now, they are in their sixties, but when they were younger they cut a rug. He is a strapping, tall curly haired gentleman. She is short, trim and with a bobbed 'do that has streaks of silver in the dark brown. Both have the lined leathery skin of people long exposed to the sun. In his younger days, his strength was legendary. He didn't bother with engine hoists when he overhauled motors. That sort of heavy lifting eventually ruined his back, so he's not as likely to carry anvils just for the fun of it anymore, but he sure did at one time. I wouldn't want to cross him, or for that matter - her - even today.

We talked for about an hour, right there in the aisle. I was informed in no uncertain terms that if I didn't have anyplace to go for Christmas - I was invited to their family shindig. I do have plans, but if for some reason it fails to pan out, my name will be mud if I don't show up.

I got home to a phone call from my next door neighbors. They will be taking me to the hospital tomorrow morning for a lithotripsy. It will be an outpatient procedure, but the hospital won't release me on my own - someone has to pick me up.

These neighbors farm and lease the pasture here at The Poor Farm. They are an old fashioned bunch. The kids have worked since they were old enough to be of some help - after school and all summer. The eldest girl is in junior college in the town to the west. The son is a senior at the hometown high school, and the youngest daughter is just now fourteen, with a learner's permit to drive. I've seen these kids grow up, and have helped tutor when they needed it - mostly math. These are the people who had me for Thanksgiving. These are the people who I call to feed my pets when I'm out on the road for longer than I planned. These are the people who watch my place, and check if strangers are messing around where they shouldn't. These are the people who stop by if they see I haven't left the place for a couple days - because they know I'm probably sick. They've always been there for me, and consider it nothing - it's just something you do out here.

I'm in a bit of a bittersweet mood about all this. These sort of people are a dying breed. These neighbors were some of the "young bunch" a few years back, but the kids are leaving the nest. There is a young family farming fairly close, but there just aren't as many as there used to be. When the custom harvesting family retires - there won't be anyone carrying that on. My friend, their son, works for the state road department. His parents would not be happy if he gave that job up to take over the family business. He'll probably end up taking over their farmground. He does run some livestock with his parents, but the harvesting will be over.

These are the kind of people who stop if you have a flat tire out in the boonies, or whatever the trouble may be. If an ice storm rips branches from your trees, they'll be there to help clean it up. If someone dies, they bring food to the house, and show up at the funeral.

Living where I do, I may forgo some of the pleasures and benefits of a major metropolitan area. I'm not going to see the latest off Broadway show, nor will I see much in the way of an independent film screened somewhere. There is no municipal orchestra. I won't be able to purchase certain ethnic food ingredients for that special recipe. No Starbucks out here. We have Wal Mart, not Costco. Our "overnight mail" - well, since there are no major airport hubs - not so much (it's usually two day service).

But ya know, I really don't miss all that stuff at all. I grew up without it, and I'm not wild about all the drawbacks of a major city. From where I sit, I feel like I've come out ahead.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dale



Dammit! Dale is half over on CMT and I didn't even know they were running it on television at all! Last I knew, it was in limited release at theaters near Cup events.

Guess y'all know what I'll be doing for the next hour.

Ear Worm



Gawd, I clicked on the video without knowing just what it was, so now y'all will have to suffer with me.

H/T KISP

Monday, November 26, 2007

Are You a Chicken Hauler Test


Your Score: Chicken Hauler


You scored 75% trucker awareness!




you got more chicken lights on your truck than you did on your christmas tree. more toys on your radio then your kids have in thier room. it costs you at least $35 in velcro to change trucks. your Mike does a lot of Bungee-jumping. You Transmit with a Road King and sleep with a ThermoKing. You use "101 reason you may be a chicken hauler" as a check off list trying to improve your score.

your my kinda people.




Link: The Are you a Chicken-hauler Test written by straycat1974 on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test


Actually, being called a chicken hauler is pretty much an insult. I'm not sure where I went wrong on the test - which was written by someone who could have picked up the skill of using spell check somewhere along the way, and didn't.

I do transmit with a Road King, but I sleep in motels, not truck stops (thank God). And unless you are a slip seater, moving from one truck to another takes a while.

And that ain't much of a chicken haulin' truck, either. An old anteater Pete? Yer kiddin' me. It doesn't even have any chicken lights on it, or extra horns, or a droopy visor or any of the other visual cues.

This is what passes for a "chicken hauler" in the derogatory sense - a Wiener Wagon:




Now, I'm not trying to denigrate this particular fleet - but it is a plain fleet truck, albeit all shined up and clean.

This is more like a decent chicken hauler:



Notice the droopy visor, the custom grill on the extended hood, the custom bumper, stainless cab and sleeper trim with lights, lights on the air cleaner, hidden (probably train) horns, full rear fenders, tall stacks on a flat top sleeper, cargo lights and custom hub covers. This is more than likely a flatbedder. I'd give him static about being a chicken hauler (if I knew him) but I'd be a bit envious of his ride. It's a clean, fairly uncluttered look that I prefer. I like the painted tanks - less to polish! The bumper isn't filled with lights, either. Less to work on after running through the ice treatments certain states use that eat wiring (I'm speaking to you, Colorado).

I'm no chicken hauler, nor am I a "good buddy." But, I am forever a gearhead!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Luv Them Cars!


From Here

Hot for the car

Edmonton man sentenced after masturbating on a BMW

By TONY BLAIS, COURT BUREAU
Sandy Wong gets turned on by expensive and classic cars, motorcycles and women with big feet and really likes to expose himself in public.

Unfortunately, the 45-year-old Edmonton man’s sexual deviancy has led to him “pleasuring” himself while sitting on the roof of cars, including a BMW on display at the Home and Garden Show at the Northlands Agricom.

Wong was sentenced Friday to 90 days in jail, which he has already served in pre-trial custody, and put on probation for two years after earlier pleading guilty to three counts of indecent exposure, two counts of mischief, two counts of obstructing a peace officer and theft.

“Mr. Wong is a sex offender. That is what he is,” said Crown prosecutor Kimberly Goddard. “These are sexual offences done in public; voyeurism, exhibitionism …”

Court heard Wong was observed checking out three BMW vehicles on display at the BMW display at the Home and Garden Show on March 22. Then, he was seen sitting on the roof of a 2007 BMW 328i sedan, valued at $50,000.

Shortly after that, Wong had dropped his sweat pants to his ankles and was spotted masturbating while sitting with his legs dangling over the driver’s door window.

Security eventually detained Wong until police showed up and a clean-up crew had to wash down the BMW.

According to psychiatrist Dr. Curtis Woods, Wong says he is “sexually attracted” to the BMW’s roof top because “it’s curved like a woman’s body, the sex appeal, it felt good.”

Woods said Wong reported he also gets aroused by certain cars, including a 1967 Camaro and a 1955 Chevy Bel Air, and blames the owners for buying the cars because it tempts him to “pleasure” himself.

Court heard Wong was also arrested May 24 for jumping on a 2005 MiniCooper outside the downtown Boston Pizza, dropping his pants and proceeding to “tuck, rub and bounce his naked genitalia” on the hood of the car.

He also admitted climbing onto the roof of a 1991 Buick Century parked at the rear of a south-side home, taking off his clothes and masturbating on June 12.

A witness said Wong was looking towards students in the playground of a nearby elementary school at the time, but Wong denied seeing or being motivated by the children.

In a psychiatric assessment of Wong, Woods said he told him he has a sexual preoccupation with women with big feet, has bought porn magazines about feet and once paid a prostitute $50 for a sexual service involving her feet.

He also revealed a “sexual captivation” with motorcycles.

Wong, who was born in North Korea and is living in a group home and receiving AISH benefits, has a lengthy criminal record including property offences and arson.

In 2004, he was convicted of several arson charges relating to a series of deliberately set fires in 2003 and jailed.

Provincial court Judge Peter Caffaro ordered Wong to abide by a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for the first year of his probation and a weekend curfew for the balance.

Now, I like cars and all, but just wow! I don't think a car has ever gotten Mr. Winky all wound up. Not even a Beemer.

h/t Ace of Spades

Americans With No Abilities Act (AWNAA)

NEWS RELEASE - FROM: DEMOCRATIC PARTY - WASHINGTON, DC 11/07/07

Congress is considering sweeping legislation which will provide new benefits for many Americans. The Americans With No Abilities Act (AWNAA) is being hailed as a major legislative goal by advocates of the millions of Americans who lack any real skills or ambition."

Roughly 50 percent of Americans do not possess the competence and drive necessary to carve out a meaningful role for themselves in society,"
said California Senator Barbara Boxer. "We can no longer stand by and allow People of Inability to be ridiculed and passed over. With this legislation, employers will no longer be able to grant special favors to a small group of workers simply because they have some idea of what they are doing."

In a Capitol Hill press conference, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pointed to the success of the U.S.
Postal Service, which has a long-standing policy of providing opportunity without regard to performance. Approximately 74 percent of postal employees lack any job skills, making this agency the single largest U. S. employer of Persons of Inability.

Private-sector industries with good records of nondiscrimination against the Inept include retail sales (72%), the fast food industry (68%), and home improvement "warehouse" stores (65%). At the state government level, the Department of Motor Vehicles also has a great record of hiring Persons of Inability (63%).

Under the Americans With No Abilities Act, more than 25 million "middle man" positions will be created, with important-sounding titles but little real responsibility, thus providing an illusory sense of purpose and performance. Mandatory non-performance based raises and promotions will be given, to guarantee upward mobility for even the most unremarkable employees. The legislation provides substantial tax breaks to corporations that promote a significant number of Persons of Inability into middle management positions, and gives a tax credit to small and medium-sized businesses that agree to hire one clueless worker for every two talented hires.

Finally, the AWNA Act contains tough new measures to make it more difficult to discriminate against the Nonabled -- banning, for example, discriminatory interview questions such as "Do you have any skills or experience which relate to this job?"

"As a Nonabled person, I can't be expected to keep up with people who have something going for them," said Mary Lou Gertz, who lost her position as a lugnut twister at a GM plant in Flint, Michigan, due to her lack of any discernible job skills. "This new law should really help people like me." With the passage of this bill, Gertz and millions of other untalented citizens will finally see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy: "As a Senator With No Abilities, I believe the same privileges that elected officials enjoy ought to be extended to every American with No Abilities. It is our duty as lawmakers to provide each and every American citizen, regardless of his or her inadequacy, with some sort of space to take up in this great nation."

h/t Scully

The Booze Test

91%DRUNKARD

I actually missed a couple first tries - got 'em on the second, though.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

He'll Be Back

It's after Thanksgiving, so posting something about Christmas is legal.

Friday, November 23, 2007

GladWare etc.




Do you all find yourself buying certain deli meats over others just so you can get the containers? Yeah, I know you can buy Gladware by the stack, and I have some, but the shapes and sizes offered with lunchmeat are pretty handy.

I'm from a long line of packrats. We saved margarine tubs to use in lieu of actually buying Tupperware. I can remember a go around with my dad over some butter tubs. There was one particular size that worked great for nuking a scrambled egg. I used them a lot making a breakfast sandwich with bacon or ham, egg and cheese on a toasted English Muffin. It was just the right size. I bought that particular brand of margarine just for the tub.

Well, my dad liked to use them for leftovers. Since he liked to cook, and cook often, he had a lot of leftovers. Several times I would find myself out of the tubs and have to transfer the food from one he'd used to a different one, and clean out the one I wanted to cook my egg in. This kind of defeated the "quick breakfast" approach. So, I asked him nicely if he'd refrain from using this particular sized tub and told him why.

He basically told me to f##k off. Dad could (and he did often enough) be a total asshole. I was highly pissed. I said there wouldn't even be any of those tubs if I didn't buy them in the first place. No matter - first come, first served, and I would just have to suffer. Gee, what a pal.

I thought about tossing his leftovers in the trash when I found myself "tubless," but I figured out something better. We seemed to always have more lids than tubs - usually because they really weren't microwave safe and more than a few got nuked into oblivion. So, I counted tubs, and cut all the correct lids except for one less than the available tubs, and tossed the cut lids. Dad couldn't dig through the trash to get the lids back, because they were useless. Now, no matter what, I'd have a tub to nuke eggs. They were my tubs and lids, after all. Worked like a charm, too.

Too bad we didn't have Gladware back then. Heh.

Found In My Inbox





I could go for a diet like that.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Jessica

I'm a classic rock kinda guy. Since I grew up during the Beatles and all that followed, that would be no surprise. I can remember my mother insisting on watching them on Ed Sullivan. My father was less than impressed with the "damn moptops."

At any rate, the die was cast. Coming home tonight, I heard Jessica by the Allman Brothers. They were the pioneers of "southern rock," and this instrumental definitely showcased their talents:

Another Test

I've seen this at several places today, so I took it:






The Rogers Indicator of Multiple Intelligences
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Logical/Mathematical

You like to work with numbers and ask questions. You learn best by classifying information, engaging in abstract thinking and looking for common basic principles. People like you include mathematicians, biologists, medical technicians, geologists, engineers, physicists, researchers and other scientists.


Logical/Mathematical


82%

Intrapersonal


82%

Verbal/Linguistic


75%

Interpersonal


71%

Visual/Spatial


71%

Bodily/Kinesthetic


50%

Musical/Rhythmic


32%




Yep, I'd say that fits me fairly well.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In Memoriam

Chris's stepdad works as a dispatcher for one of my best friends. I used to work with his mother at Gibson's. Story from here:

Soldier's life changed after 9/11, family says

DODGE CITY - When he headed for Iraq at the end of September after being home on leave, Christopher Kruse told his mother not to worry. He'd be OK.

"But I worried about this," Linda Hensley said. "When they're so far away and you know they're in danger and you won't be able to help them out of it ..."

Kruse, 23, was killed on Nov. 13 in Mukhisa, Iraq, when a roadside explosive device detonated during combat operations.

Tomorrow, Hensley and her family will wait for the plane that brings Sgt. Christopher Ryan Kruse home to Dodge City for a final time.

A funeral service will be Wednesday at the First United Methodist Church. He will be buried at the Ford Cemetery with full military rites.

Her son was "a good caring person who went out of his way to help others," Hensley said.

Their good-byes at the end of his leave time were sad, she said, with her voice breaking in grief.

She recounted that her son learned to read in first grade, his teacher made school exciting with things like spelling bees. From then on, he did well academically.

"He was a good reader, he could read something and remember it, like statistics it was one of those memories that could store up anything," she said.

In high school Kruse enrolled in woodworking, welding and automotive classes, liked working with his hands.

Lee Bogner, a high school classmate in the Dodge City High School Class of 2002, recalled that he and Kruse built a gas-powered scooter from scrap parts. Kruse was enrolled in an automotive course at Dodge City Community College at the time.

One of their friends tested the machine on the U. S. 50 bypass and it kept up with the traffic that was moving at 45 mph.

"It worked really good," Bogner said. "Chris was talented, came up with a lot of ideas."

Another classmate, Brian Seacat, played basketball with Kruse during their freshman and sophomore years.

"He was a genuine all-around good guy, friendly, great personality, always happy," Seacat said.

When 9/11 happened her son changed, Hensley said.

"He joined the Army, didn't want them to come over here and hurt anyone," she said.

" 'Keep them busy on their territory and they'll stay away from ours,' " he told his mother.

Kruse's wife, Courtney, his 11-month old son, Christian Kruse, and his stepson, Josh Murphy-Ryder were scheduled to arrive in Dodge City on Sunday form Kent, Wash. The couple met while he was stationed in Washington.

Brave, shy, quiet and sweet, describe her son best, Hensley said.

"God will take care of him now," she said. "And his grandmothers are up there to watch over him."




Godspeed, Chris, and thanks for your service.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Custom Harvesting


One of the givens out here on the prairie is when harvest arrives, there is a lot of ground to cover and not a big window of opportunity to get it in successfully. If you are a smaller farmer, having the necessary equipment is expensive, plus finding the manpower to run it all is tough as well. Many soldier on with a single older combine and some old trucks, but if the weather doesn't cooperate, the crop can be destroyed or reduced in value - rain can cause wheat to bleach or sprout in the head, or hail can destroy the crop.

So, for years, the nomads of the prairie have been the custom harvesters. They own or lease several combines and trucks capable of carrying the crop away, and moving the combines to the next customer. Some have grain carts and tractors, so the combines don't have to quit cutting to dump their loads of grain. The tractor tows a grain cart to the combine, and the combine "dumps on the go." The grain cart can go dump the crop on a truck while the combine keeps cutting. It is a general rule of thumb that a grain cart can be "worth" a combine when you have two or more combines going at once.

These gypsies start in the south - Texas or Oklahoma - wherever wheat is grown, and work their way north to Montana, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and even Canada. There are a lot of Canadians in the business as well. It isn't always wheat in the northern states, sometimes it is barley and other specialty crops. Some quit harvesting wheat in time to come back to Kansas and catch the fall harvest - milo, corn and soybeans. Some go to Colorado west of Walsenburg to cut for the beer companies - hops and so on. Anywhere there is a crop to be cut, custom harvesters will no doubt show up.

I've sure done my share of harvesting over the years. I've done a lot of "dumping on the go" whether it was from a combine, a tractor pulling a grain cart, or even taking the truck out into the field to catch a combine. The gentleman I was employed by for ten years is a custom harvester. I went with him one year, his brother one year, and a different family earlier in my resume. We started in Oklahoma and ended up in Montana.

Most custom harvesters rely on students for their labor force as well, so when school starts in the fall, they are pretty well done for the year.

One of my neighbor's sons "went on harvest" this year. He's a great kid who is growing into a fine young man. His family is pretty much "old school" as far as raising kids and farming - the kids all work, and were home schooled for several years as well. Joe is a tall, lanky redhead, laid back and quiet, but don't let that fool you. He is passionate about things mechanical. At the moment, he's enrolled at Wyotech, which is a very well regarded and tough school for aspiring mechanics. He'll be able to write his own ticket when he's through - his services will be in demand wherever he wants to go and whatever field he chooses. Look out, he might be fixing your Beemer and living next door to you in that expensive development.

I was really surprised his father let him go on harvest this year - but I think his parents were cutting the apron strings a bit. I am extremely fortunate to have neighbors like this - someday I'll tell you about another set of neighbors who really take care of me. At any rate, the subject of this post was about custom harvesters. Joe took some pictures and posted them to Facebook. If you are interested at all in what harvest looks like, go and check it out. Be sure and read his captions - his explanations are what makes this album.

Just so you know, I'm pretty proud of this young man.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Yep, We Need National Health Care

From Here


British woman banned from entering New Zealand because she is too fat

A British woman planning to start a new life with her husband in New Zealand has been banned from entering the country - because she is too fat.

Rowan Trezise, 33, has been left behind in England while her husband Richie, 35, has already made the move down under leaving her desperately trying to lose weight.

When the couple first tried to gain entry to the country they were told that they were both overweight and were a potential burden on the health care system.

Mr Trezise managed to shed two inches from his sizeable waistline to fulfil criteria set out as part of his visa application to work as a technician in the country.

His wife however has had no such luck and faces a desperate battle to shed the pounds before Christmas, at which point the couple say they will abandon their overseas plans.

New Zealand officials assess people's weight using Body Mass Index which measures fat by comparing the height and weight of an individual.

Mr Trezise, a submarine cable specialist and former member of the army said his BMI was measured at 42 making him well over the limit of 25 which is regarded as overweight.


"My doctor laughed at me. He said he'd never seen anything more ridiculous in his whole life," he said.

"He said not every overweight person is unhealthy or unfit. The idea was that we were going to change our lifestyle totally and get outdoors and on mountain bikes and all sorts of activities."

Robyn Toomath, a spokesman for New Zealand's Fight the Obesity Epidemic and an endocrinologist said that obese people should not be victimised, but agreed with the restrictions.

"The immigration department can't afford to import people who are going to be a significant drain on our health resources.

"You can see the logic in assessing if there is a significant health cost associated with this individual and that would be a reason for them not coming in."

While the New Zealand Immigration Service could not say how many peolpe had been refused entry on similar grounds, the Emigrate New Zealand website revealed that many people had been banned for being obese.


If you want to be told how to live, fine. Don't expect me to live the way you think everyone else should, and don't expect me to pay the bill for all this "free" advice and health care. I've been diligent in leaving y'all alone, and expect the same in return.

H/T to Andrea

Friday, November 16, 2007

Digger

Rachel Lucas has come to the conclusion that it is time for Digger. If you go to her place, give her a bit of support in her comments. This is a very hard time for a pet owner.

Plus, I should have posted this earlier as well - Moxie had Bentley - one of her cats - die. Unfortunately, she found the caliber of her friends lacking. None of them would help her. Steve contacted Aaron to help her take her cat to be cremated - she just couldn't do it herself. She's not posting much for a while.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New Seafood

I wonder if it's low fat.

via Dustbury

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Seems More Accurate

Lorrie and Chris both tried this out, and liked it.

What American accent do you have? (Best version so far)

Western

Western is kind of neutral, but not quite since it's still possible to tell where you're from. So you might not actually be from the West (but you probably are). If you really want to sound "neutral," learn how to say "stock" and "stalk" differently.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.


I dunno, some tests I've taken say I'm more Southern, and others have actually said Midwestern. But, people from Iowa and Indiana sound different than Kansans, and we're all from the Midwest, so there ya have it.

I know I've a bit of a drawl. Plus, I warsh my clothes - I don't wash them.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Strip Poker

video

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Google Earth Easter Egg


I'm sure y'all have heard of easter eggs - the hidden "extras" in certain programs, games and movie dvds. If you know the secret, you can access the little clips in dvds, or play the extra game or scene in a game, or whatever.

Well, Google Earth has a flight simulator. Read here, and here. The controls are listed here. Open Google Earth and hit Control - Alt - A. GE must be in Earth Mode and not Sky Mode. It took me a lot of tries to finally get it to work, so don't give up. Some say Control-Windows-A works as well. I found that when I finally got the cursor away from the search box (so AAAAAA quit appearing in it) I eventually got it to show up. After you have accessed it once, there is an option for it in Tools>Enter Flight Simulator.

Now I suppose I'll have to find an old joystick and get to work - some other day because it's late. I'm not a big fan of keyboard and mouse play on a laptop. At least I have it enabled for another day.

Veteran's Day


For me, Veteran's Day always brings memories of local veterans who I know (or in most cases these days – knew). I've spoken of my “Uncle Ted” before, but I also had an “Uncle Nate” as well. He and “Aunt Edna” lived about a mile north of Ted's place, and I spent many a happy hour in their basement house. Uncle Nate was a small man, and he had a son who was considerable larger. The younger and larger Nate was known as “Little Nate” and the smaller but older Nate was “Big Nate.” Which is why - while I'm a Jr I'm nicknamed Jeff and my Dad (Robert for both of us) was known as Bob. My parents didn't want me hung with the sobriquet “Little Bob.”

Anyways, being a veteran was a large part of Nate's life. Every year his unit had a reunion, which found he and Edna in various places across the nation. Nate was in the Battle of the Bulge. I'm pretty sure he was involved in D-Day as well. Nate was like most veterans – he just didn't talk about what he'd seen or where he'd been. He and a cousin (another veteran) went on regular fishing trips that involved a lot of Old Charter. There was always a pint or two stashed in the garage – I spotted them nosing around playing as a child. As long as I can remember, Nate wore hearing aids. Edna would harangue Nate about something, and Nate would shut them off. Then, Edna would harangue him about that, and turn to me and wink. Nate would surreptitiously wink at me when Edna wasn't looking. Nate passed away a few years back, and Edna is in the local nursing home. She is the last of my elderly neighbors.

One of my longtime friends (Steve) father was in the Battle of the Bulge as well. He also liberated Hitler's Eagles Nest. This apparently involved drinking the liberated wines stored there. Needless to say, one of Steve's favorite DVD sets is “Band of Brothers” since his father lived that life. Gene was a paratrooper. He even scored some trophies – one is an officer's sidearm. Sadly, Gene is no longer with us. Steve is the repository for much of his father's experiences.

Another neighbor was in the Korean War. Jim's prize possession was a Garand he purchased after he got out, because he considered it to be the finest rifle he'd ever used. He wanted one just like the one he was issued, so he got one. He used it, too. Many a varmint fell to that rifle over the years. Jim is gone, too.

My uncle in Denver was in the Navy during the Korean War. He was in the Reserves for a long time after the war was over. He served aboard the USS Cronin (DEC 704).

My own father was stationed at Okinawa during the Korean conflict. He didn't see any action. He was a lineman. Nowadays, I fear Dad painted a pretty pure picture of his activities. He enjoyed building and flying control line model aircraft, and most of his pictures reflect that. He got to go to Japan several times on leave – somewhere I've got some yen from those trips. However, according to him, he must have lived a very boring life, because I never heard about any sort of mamasans, cathouses or otherwise. Either Dad was as pure as the driven snow, or he sort of neglected to tell his son about any “good times” he might have had.

All these men were involved with the local chapter of the VFW. I can remember Dad dressing in his khakis for funerals on a regular basis. The neighbors did the same. They didn't expect anything back other than they wanted the same at their funerals. They didn't look at their service to their country or to the VFW as anything other than it was the thing to do. There were no questions of self doubt about a mission, or the political ramifications, or any other sort of distraction. They served their country. They ate and took breaths. They raised families when they got home. They saluted the flag. It was their duty, but there was more to it than just simply doing their duty – they loved their country, their way of life, and felt they had to defend it when called.

These are the men who are my heroes. They became the backbone of our country – in areas requiring morals and courage, and just the simple day to day existences. I grew up in the era when the draft had been dropped, and registration wasn't required. I sometimes regret not having served, but the Armed Services weren't a great place to be at that particular time. Am I the equal of the men of the past? I honestly don't know, as I've never been tested. I am heartened at the bravery and fiber of our soldiers serving now, and hope that as they come back into our society, they will have the long term effects my heroes had.


So, I remember. I think that I am incapable of forgetting.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Who's Your Inner European?

Saw this at Tam's place.

Your Inner European is Irish!

Sprited and boisterous!
You drink everyone under the table.


I wasn't very happy with the choices for cars - what a bunch of yuppiemobiles - not a pickup, SUV or Jeep among 'em. Oh, well, my ancestors would be pleased.

Edit: the sentence "Your Inner European is Irish!" was originally almost unreadable as Blogger rendered it. The color code was orginally black but was converted to a far different rgb value after I pasted and previewed. I just changed the values to (0,0,0) which is black and now at least I can see the dern thing.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Wizard of Oz



TNT is showing "The Wizard of Oz" tonight. Lord knows how many times I've seen this movie over the years. I can remember watching as a child, so scared at certain scenes I ran to the kitchen. I wasn't so scared that I couldn't look at the television through the door, but a black and white Margaret Hamilton sending flying monkeys was just about too much for me at four or five. We didn't get a color TV until about the third or so Super Bowl game. Dad and I went to the neighbors to watch the game on color. By the time we had a color set, The Wiz was kinda anticlimactic.

Over the years the movie became decidedly cheesy and uncool, or retro and hip, reflecting the current bias of the viewer - namely me. The movie never changed a bit, just my feelings about it.

Now I enjoy it as a children's classic, done in the extravagant style of it's time.

Oh, and the picture? The album cover for The Electric Light Orchestra's El Dorado. Remember when album covers were cool to look at? Plus, this album was and still is pretty dern good. The scene is backwards - in the movie the Wicked Witch tries to grab the shoes from left rather than the right. Why the image was reversed I have no idea.

I'll be right over there, with the headphones on, trippin' out and looking at Moody Blues album covers.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Educational Video

An interesting video on the effects of drugs and alcohol on the wood spider:

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Outstanding Obedience School Graduate


Got this in an email today. Hadn't seen it before, and since I seem to have no time, this is whatcha get.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Hillary


I get a charge out of Chip Bok's work - but since he's conservative, that is no surprise.






But wait! Oliphant the Liberal poking fun at the Clintons? It's piling on time! Heh.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Striking Wind


There really isn't much money in farming unless you go to a large scale operation. This summer, The Poor Farm had a crop that blew anything that had been grown in past years clear out of the water, plus it got a price that was better than anything since the seventies. The price of wheat went up considerably after I sold, but I'm not complaining. Since my father passed away in '98 and I took over the "landlord" position, there have been three crops worth cutting. Only one wasn't drought or hail stricken.

Yeah, I get CCC payments. Big whoop. Sure, it helps out - a lot. However, the total yearly payments do not cover the yearly property tax bill. It comes close, but no cigar. Should farmers get these payments? That is a question for another time - I don't feel like talking politics. Just know that even in the large corporate farm households this conversation never happens: "I say, Muffy, tell Jeeves to stock the Airstream for our gambling trip to Monoco. The CCC payments came today, so we'll celebrate. Plus, remind him the caviar was totally unacceptable on the last trip."

Back in the Seventies, someone leased our mineral rights and actually drilled a test hole. The driller told Dad there was oil there, but it wasn't cost effective to get it to flow. Since then, the payments quit, and no one has offered to lease.

When I was a kid, we had a lot more neighbors. They were older, and finally died off. There were a couple who figured large in our lives - Uncle Ted and Aunt Velma. He was an old school rancher and farmer, and she was an old time farm wife - canning and cooking were her forte. They had both raised families, and married later in life. They lived for their grandchildren, and my sister and I were a sort of shirttail grandkids to them.

They didn't have much. However, Velma had inherited some ground about seventy miles from here. Her family pretty well screwed her over - she got some pasture ground that made pretty poor pasture. However, a wildcatter struck oil on her ground. Her family was highly upset, and tried to muscle in - but they failed. Now, Uncle Ted and Aunt Velma had some extra money - and they spent some of it. They became snowbirds - going to Texas for the winter. We were so happy for them - they got to spend their retirement years in comfort, and they had money to cover the health problems that cropped up.

I'll never forget what Ted told his custom harvester one year (the harvester is the brother of the harvester I was employed by for ten years). "I don't care how neat a job you do - I'm not worried about skips or how much wheat you throw over. I just want to ask a big favor. When you road those big combines by my house, just don't hit the mailbox, because that's where I get the oil checks."

I got a call the other day I about didn't take. I don't answer calls that say blocked or unknown caller, plus if I don't recognize it, I rarely answer those. I used to enjoy baiting telemarketers. Now, not so much. This guy asked if it was me - by name, and said "I've been having a hard time gettin' ahold of ya." He represented a company putting in a wind farm, and wanted to sign me up.

Are you freaking kidding me? How fast do you want that signature? I was ready before I got the details. The lease is around a thousand per year. Apparently, it isn't likely I'll have any windmills on the Poor Farm, but it hasn't been finalized. If there are none installed, they will drop the lease after a few years. They mostly want to bribe me so I won't pull a Kennedy and try to fight the project.

However, if just one windmill is installed, the payments would likely range from five to eight thousand dollars per year. Just one windmill would pay far better than one third of any crops grown plus pasture rent - averaged over the past five years. Two windmills at five grand would just about beat this years crop.

You can imagine how much I'd like to see them plant a few windmills on The Poor Farm.

Snickers Dark



The first time I saw this I had to clean my monitor.