Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Spin, Baybee!

Why would the Mittster need to "spin" what Teh Won says, when what he really says indicates that he does hate businesses?

If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”
Shall we examine what Obama did say here? Obviously the guy/gal who believed "build a better mousetrap and people will beat a path to your door" was mistaken. His/her idea that hit it big was not really their idea nor can they take credit for it because of all the help they got over the years. It's really because of that special teacher way back when, they did it.

And the people who put in super long hours keeping the business running, and made all kinds of personal sacrifices to be a success had no bearing on the outcome - it was all kinds of other hardworking people who made it happen. They might as well have been sitting at home watching soap operas instead of busting their a$$es.

Somebody else set up the system that allowed that business to thrive, but it sure wasn't our intrepid businessperson. Nor were they involved in the infrastructure - someone else did that. Apparently all the taxes the businessperson paid over the years had nothing to do with that.

And if it weren't for our all benevolent and wise government built the internet for the benefit of businesses. It surely wasn't the military wanting a more secure and reliable method of transmitting data than radio, telegraph and telephone - not an evolutionary step at all. It was designed straight off by the Government. Don't you forget it.

It's very clear that President Obama has a collectivist point of view. In a country founded on the principles of individual rights.

Romney doesn't have to spin what Barry says, and I fail to grok why someone like Steve Sack can't take off the blinders.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Truly I Am One Lucky Bastard

Yannow, after all that happened and my life starts to settle, I cannot help but reflect on the generosity of so many people in and in the fringes of my life. This small town has really come through for me as well as many of you on the internet, and some of long time friends have gone above and beyond the call. Not only cash, which I sorely needed, but places to stay, furniture, cookware, towels, sheets, dinnerware, you name it, I've gotten some pretty awesome stuff. Like Corelle dishes. Bath and kitchen towels - quality stuff, unlike the linty stuff I buy from WallyWorld. Leather furniture. Art for the walls. You name it.

One gift really stands out, though, because it's not what you'd expect. A longtime pal called me up and wanted to meet me - and he, his father and grandmother gave me a substantial chunk of money. But that wasn't all.

Scott told me that he knew I'd lost all my knives, and that I'd probably be needing a good one. Just to recount, I'd lost a bowie collection - including some custom stuff by Gil Hibben, a KaBar, and other admittedly el cheapo fantasy blades. Also - the inevitable samurai sets, some auto opening ones of different varieties, some collector trappers, a straight razor collection, all kinds of sharpening stuff (including a grinder with paper wheels - the best way IMHO), as well as some nice Forschner and Henckels kitchen goodies (although some of my replacements are Chicago Cutlery, which ain't nuttin' to sneeze at), and a bunch of pocketknives of various manufacturers and patterns.

He had purchased this older Case XX Sodbuster (buffalo horn scales) from eBay, and sent it in to Case for a tune-up. Let me tell you this baby is sharp. Tight, too, and plenty of snap. It's been damn useful around here.

And he wasn't the only one, but I have a policy not to mention that I may or may not own particular items online, especially considering I had a bunch of them stolen several years ago. It's none of the Algore's Innertube's bidness. But someone (rather, a family of someones) made sure I would be protected. Stylishly. 'Nuff said.

At any rate, it's great to have such fine friends who know me too well, and just thinking about it makes me all misty and runny and mushy. I love you all.

Friday, July 27, 2012

On The Beeb Tube

Watching the BBC tonight - Das Boot is on. So what, Jeffro? You might say.

It's one of the best war movies ever made, that's what. It is about the "adventures" of a WWII German U-boat crew. The film really accurately captures many of the elements of living in a tiny metal tube with a big diesel motor sharing living space. The crew is continually dirty and unkempt, and alternate between euphoria  and depression, depending on their circumstances. They are more than willing to do their jobs, and are proud of their boat, but the High Command's failures, the politics, and the unending duty without a break tears the men down.

You can share their claustrophobia, while also sharing their camaraderie.  One scene I've always gotten a kick out of is where one sailor picks his nose and throws the boogers at another. Yeah, it's gross, but these are young guys forced together in an uncomfortable environment with death over their shoulders at all times. Just another way to vent some steam.

There are scenes where they escape their hunters by going too deep, and breaking down, being bombed and strafed - they are always among the hunted - the predator as prey. Another scene shows them being resupplied by essentially a cruise liner. The opulence of the ship, the extravagance and waste outlines their more meager daily existence. Even though the crew of the supply ship treat the submariners with awe and respect, they still feel out of place, and look it as well.

This movie does not cover the rightness or wrongness of the Third Reich. It's just sailors who like their jobs and just want to be left alone, and of course, that will never happen. The prevailing attitude about the politics is largely that there is too much interference. The political officers are not liked at all, and comments about the Glorious Hitler's Regime are sarcastic. They're in it because they are sailors.

This clip, though, really captures the spirit of the men and their fine sub - they battle the elements and clearly enjoy themselves, because they are sailors. That is what they do.


The original move is in German, and there are two English versions - one dubbed and the other with subtitles. Naturally, I prefer the dubbed version.

Edited to add - it's on The Military Channel, not BBC. Sheesh. Good thing it's Friday - apparently I've run myself dry, as it were.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I Challenge YOU, Pat Oliphant

Go ahead. Just try to order guns online. Try real hard, as in call up the company and chew their butts when you find that option is actually not available to anyone but federal firearms license holders. See how far that gets you, and how many cops you can attract.

Oliphant is funny at times, but if he knew what he was talking about, he might actually be something. Kinda calls his previous works into question, no? If ignorance truly is bliss, Pat Oliphant is one happy man.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Still Alive

Just busy and tahrd.

Kinda lazy, too, but keep that under your hat. Hate to ruin my stellar rep.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Once again, climbing on the soapbox and talking like I know something.....

Of course the shootings at the Century 16 Theaters was a tragedy. And, we can count on anti-gunners to bathe in the blood of the victims, claiming that if we got rid of all the guns, this sort of thing would not happen. And once again, we will counter that overly simplistic argument with the facts that criminals will still have guns, and besides all that, you can't take them away. It's a right guaranteed by the Constitution. End of story, as far as I'm concerned. Of course, no one asked me.

Another fact is that our media and news obsessed world makes instant celebrities out of chickenshit wannabe assassins like James Holmes or Jared Loughner. Perhaps their mother didn't breast feed 'em or something, but they are surely warped individuals who got exactly what they wanted, and while they are mentally aberrant, I have to wonder if they aren't really fairly sane. The sort of meticulous planning that this shooting exhibited showed a fairly organized mind. Murderous, infantile and selfish, sure. Yet he managed to conceive a detailed plan and carry it out.

People like this are going to be around us forever. I wish I had a cure, or a means of detection that didn't infringe upon our personal liberties, but this does not exist. Keeping guns away from you or me wouldn't stop guys like that, unfortunately, nor does it stop MS-13 or other noted lawbreakers.

And we really don't want to muzzle the press when it comes to wallowing in the blood and anguish of the victims, and popularizing the murderers. I think the price we'd pay for stomping on the First Amendment would be more than we'd care to pay.

But one means of defense was denied to the moviegoers. The patrons of Cinemark Century Theaters, who own the Century 16, are not  allowed to carry within their businesses. They maintain "gun free zones."

What this says to me is that the various business owners fear law abiding citizens carrying guns more than they do the thought that someone with ill intent might look at their operations as an opportunity.

Well, too bad. It's our right to defend ourselves and our loved ones. I'm of the opinion that if you deny the average citizen the Constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms, then By Gawd you oughtta be making damn sure this sort of thing never, ever happens. That means security measures, which also would logically include armed security. So, if one is to be secure in this weird world, people with guns seem to be the best antidote to people with guns. Simplistic as hell, but people without guns are always going to be subject to the predations of those who obtain them, legal or illegal.

I am for thinking that at some point, someone who has passed all the state's requirements for CCW is going to be killed or injured in a similar situation, and they're gonna be connected to some high powered lawyers. After some of these anti-gun businesses are successfully sued (and I have no delusions that this will be easy) for neglecting security after denying it to their customers, I'm for thinking the "gun free zones" might just become a thing of the past, and the odds will tip in the favor of those who want to remain safe and in control of their destinies.

I just don't see any other way out of this box.

This Was Interesting

Well, to me anyways. My posts about my home fire were linked by several prominent bloggers in the past couple weeks, and it's been interesting to compare statistics considering the traffic potential they bring when they do link.

Just for the record, I posted about finding out about my house on the 26th. On the 27th of June threecollie of Northview Diary and GBBL of the Gunblog Blacklist both passed on my predicament, as did drjim of Every Blade of Grass as did Jinglebob (Robert Dennis) of Dennisranch's Weblog.

On the fourth, my old internet friend The Anarchangel posted in the Guncounter forum.

Then on the fifth, Tam of View From the Porch mentioned me in a post, along with Bobbi of The Adventures of Roberta X - who owns the house where she and Tam reside. Og noticed at Neanderpundit. Also, my buddy Bog Agard of Bob's Blog started working on having The Instapundit link me. Professor Reynolds wanted me to put up a Paypal link first - so it took me some time to get that set up, since I was back at work. He linked me on the 18th.

I hope I remembered everyone and their roles - if I missed someone, let me know - I plead being a tad distracted.

Anyhoo, it was interesting to compare traffic during these times, because the initial rush did have more people linking me, but the second rush was from the Instapundit. I'd never gotten an "Instalanche" before - the resulting crush of traffic a link from him generates. I had, however, gotten a "Tamalanche" in the past. So, who brought me the most traffic?

This is what Sitemeter says. This is also distinct visits. The gun blogosphere sorta blew Insty outta here.

And thus we have the tale from Google - in pageviews, not distinct visits, so this stat is higher than what Sitemeter was tracking.

The complete tale of traffic sources:

I got significant traffic from other iterations of Tam's blog as well - different variations on the addy of her post.

I found all this somewhat odd because I'd always understood that an Instalanche was generally overwhelming. In this particular case, I'd say the gunblogging community won, if this was a contest.

So, I thank you all. It's been a hell of way to generate traffic, and frankly, I'll be glad to be a little less notorious, thank you very much!

Edited to add: Jed tells me Kevin linked me as well, and I missed it. I don't comment much on his site, but I do have him in my Google Reader and try to keep up. He's one of the bloggers I've actually met - at a big blogmeet in honor of 9/11 in Plano, TX - at the du Toit place so many moons ago. Hell of a nice guy, and a freaking genius to boot. I do have certain debating skilz, but I'd surely detest the thought of going against Kevin - he's formidable, thorough and meticulous in his arguments.

Friday, July 20, 2012


This venerable landmark has been around and managed to survive the excesses of western Kansas weather for who knows how many years. It's an old one room schoolhouse located on - guess where - "The Schoolhouse Corner." If one is trying to explain the location of a certain field, household or other significant place, one generally asks "Do you know where the Schoolhouse Corner is at?" Directions from that point fix the location of whatever the subject is. It's actually in the southwest corner of Hodgman County on 202RD and C RD. C Road is also known as the "Boothill Feeder's Road" because it's a shortcut across country to said feedlot - north of Dodge City, KS on a county road.

There used to be a couple of one holers to the north, and I think the building was used for some community meetings and such until the early sixties. And, it's three miles north and three east from my former home. I was driving by here on the way up to the Wright place, which is eight miles north and a half east of this corner. So, living there more than doubled the distance to Cimarron for me.

This area is full of old cemeteries, but not much is left of the ghost towns. I've mentioned them before, and there are remnants of certain ones, but in my area, not so much. For instance, the Wright place is near the Bundyville area - but just try and find information about that. St. Michael's Cemetery located due east of Schoolhouse Corner is listed as being in "South Roscoe, KS," which is now a township in Hodgman County.

Oddly enough, after going on about local sustainability yesterday, it is interesting to note that a hundred years ago or so, the area did support a lot more families and communities. Even up until my childhood - there were   four families within a 1.5 mile radius of the Poor Farm. Now? Just two, and one is the family of a hired man for one of the larger farmers. That includes me not being there anymore, either.

But, that's the result of economy of scale in action long term, and the fact is that our food is far, far cheaper compared to income levels than it was "back in the day." A family cannot afford the labor involved in keeping that kind of lifestyle today, when opportunity costs of those efforts being applied elsewhere are considered.

Even so, tomatoes were grown in a well tended, labor intensive garden, not commercially. Heh.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ignorance Is Bliss

This picture appeared on my Facebook news feed, and frankly, it pissed me off. The page Knowledge Is Power posted it. I'm sure it was put up just to spark discussion, but what the statement implies belies actual hands on knowledge of how that "acre" is used and works.

Yes, when one compares total acreage in the US, one can see that producing vegetables is a pound for pound winner.


That acre of ground cranking out the tomatoes? Labor freaking intensive and the crop requires a certain temperate zone with lots of water.

That acre of ground cranking out the beef? Chances are it is in grass because that is the only thing that will grow there plus it's being used to hold the soil in place. It's too rough to use for farm ground. It does not have enough available water to grow vegetables. The labor supply is too short to tend to them. The winter temperatures are far too low and the growing season too short.

The undiluted fact is that we aren't completely stupid out here. Potatoes have been tried, along with other crops. What grows out here on tillable ground is wheat and grain sorghums, and corn/soybeans if has enough ground water for irrigation, along with hay and alfalfa. The Ogallalla aquifer is being depleted growing just these things right now - how fast would it drop if some granola munching hippies forced us to grow potatoes and tomatoes? How about the grasshoppers? Can we use pesticides in this brave new farming world? If you want veggies, you'll be spraying.

In order to actually grow that stuff out here, you would have to repurpose the farmground. Working up a bunch of draws and bluffs ain't gonna work, so that grass would have to remain, unless you want all of the ground to end up in New Orleans. Then you are gonna probably have to haul in a bunch of sand to mix in the soil - the clay composition naturally here does not support vegetables. Once again - water. Once again - the huge amount of labor required to tend to the plants and harvest them.

I see a fair amount of veggies grown in Eastern Colorado along the Front Range - stuff like onions and cabbage. Cabbage is harvested by running a wide platform with a row of seats so the workers have a place to sit and pick the cabbage as the platform runs through the field. Onions are harvested mechanically.

But none of those grow here.

It seems people have it in their heads that cattle are raised on grass paddocks like you'd see around Churchill Downs where the racehorses can frolic. Nope. It's the roughest, toughest, driest and most inhospitable ground we've got.

The whole idea of self sustainability depends on the ability to actually grow everything everyone needs within a short radius. Not gonna happen here or about anywhere else. We can raise beef more efficiently and cheaply out here, ship it to you, and still beat the price of locally grown labor intensive stuff. Other areas can raise tomatoes far more efficiently than we can, so if we want tomatoes, they're gonna have to be shipped here.

Self sustainability is a bong influenced pipe dream.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Business Expert Speaks Out

Yup, he really did say that. I'll agree that having help, well, helps, but wow. So many successful bootstrap stories where the owner was the only employee and put in endless hours without any help at all exist. Others have hired help, but you and I know that the help does not have the incentive to succeed nor the willingness to sacrifice to win. At any rate, belittling business owners for their dedication to success is hardly the hallmark of our national Leader. What a buffoon.

Of course, Facebook is loaded with parody images - putting the ones I collected under the fold:

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Case of the Missing Eyebrow

Shaved 'er off pretty good, eh? It was windy out today, too. And yes, that is a melon of a head - 7 3/4 or bigger hat size.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Adventures With New Stuff

I'm about moved in to my buddy's rental. His mother had a double wide put in near her ex-mother in law's place, which is also next door to her ex's place. They were a close bunch, even divorced. Both his parents have since passed on, and he rents out Mom's old place.

At any rate, its a two bedroom two bath with attached garage manufactured home. I have not tried to fit my pickup in the garage - the drive is kinda twisty and it sure looks tight. I've got most of what I need - I keep running into things that I do not have and end up buying - stuff like flashlights, or a lighter and matches to start up a recalcitrant gas range, batteries, or whatever. The lists have been endless.

Things like a beard trimmer. I have a goatee that I like to keep trimmed, and it was getting shaggy. El Marto Del Wal did not have the same model trimmer I had before, so I had to select a new one. While Wahl is undoubtedly the quality king of trimmers, they also start at sixty bucks or more. The Remington was about fifteen. My old one had an adjustable head for controlling depth. I used to run it at two or three, so when first using the new one, I decided to try setting three because it would be "longer." Good thing I tested it on an eyebrow (I was sporting the Andy Rooney look), because three on this thing was about like 3/4 on the old one. Not much left of that eyebrow.

Of course I had to buy a new television. And once again, El Marto Del Wal was the retailer of choice - they are just plain cheaper. Earlier this week, I bought a Vizio (the toasted tv was a Vizio, I stay with what works for me). I also had to buy a stand, which meant assembly. So, after spending quite a bit of time putting that thing together, I pull out the tv and set it up for mounting on the stand. Finally, I got it up there and fired it up.

Three fourths of the screen didn't work. It looked like someone had held a square dance on the right side of the screen - I don't know how the glass didn't start falling apart. I discovered this at about eight o'clock and I was just plain tired. DirecTV was scheduled the next morning for installation. I hoped they carried something that would let them set up without using my tv, but alas, no. So, had to reschedule. Took the broken unit back, got my money back, and they didn't have another one of that model in stock.

What. Ever. Got one five inches wider for seventy bucks more. Oh well.

The new new tv works fine. I ordered a DVR with HD model - the toasted one was just an HD  model. I'd been planning on upgrading for some time, but never got a round tuit. So the installer was showing me how to record episodic television, using Law and Order on TNT as an example. I got it, but he insisted on actually entering the request to record all the episodes. Not necessary - I got it, but he insisted. He then "deleted" the entries.

He did warn me that the receiver would be sluggish for some time until all the software updates and such were done. So, it was not surprising to find the remote was ineffective. I had to manually enter everything with the buttons on the front of the unit.

Only to find out "Law and Order" was recording. I stopped it (still w/o being able to use the remote), deleted the episodes already recorded, and so on. Finally got the remote back.

This morning, the remote refused to work. Recording "Law and Order" again. Same procedure, different day.

If I have to keep deleting "Law and Order" episodes to make this fine piece of electronics function, well, me and DirecTV are gonna talk. If I can't use the remote when it's busy recording, me and DirecTV are gonna talk.

And the new digs need a little attention in certain areas, but they are being attended to. I think this place is about half again as big as the ol' farmstead, and it has ∞ +1 storage compared to the old place. The kitchen is way smaller, but once again, tons of storage compared to what I was used to. Pantry? This place haz it.

One of the areas of concern is the garbage disposal. Not. Functional. At. All. No. Water. Flowing. Completely. Plugged. Not a big deal - the sink is a twin and the other side works. Until I fired up the dishwasher (old place, dishwasher was ME) and discovered it drained into that side of the sink. Did some baling over to the other side, and had to watch the dern thing - luckily it would only just about fill the sink in one cycle, but it sure had to be emptied out or there would have been a disaster.

I've got a place to live now, and I think I'm gonna like it. I am completely in debt to so many people. Absolutely unreal.

Friday, July 13, 2012

All Cleaned Up

Last Saturday members of the local Mennonite church came out and cleaned up my mess. They brought equipment as well. There were about twenty five volunteers, not counting the women who brought out some lunch. They all prayed, and fell to doing some very dirty and unrewarding work.

We've had some rain since the fire, and the pasture is actually greening up in the burned out areas. This picture doesn't show it very well.

This is the view from north of the house looking right at where it used to be.

This is the view from the front drive. All the questionable trees have been uprooted and buried, the foundation, the well pit, the septic tank and all of the trash has been buried. The head of the project told me they were going to salvage as much iron and steel as possible to sell and give me the cash, but I told them I would donate it to the church. Good grief - I should be paying them. No way I could accept that money. The Mennonites are always in the background of our society out here - you just never notice them until you are out around their farms. They are never involved in politics, they school their own, so no social interactions at the local football game, and so on. However, when the chips are down, they arrive, ready to assist in whatever fashion they can. I am extremely indebted to my community as a whole; the support has been overwhelming. This was just another example of the generosity of the human spirit in southwest Kansas.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The View

From the front porch of my temporary abode. If you like open spaces and cattle, this is the place.

Looking west. When I first stepped out, I had a cadre of calves who's curiosity overcame them and they lined the fence checking me out. Even the one out by the cow in the foreground was walking this way. One of the calves bawled out in a remarkable baritone, and that got a cow from the yard directly in front walking over. She looked the bunch all over, looked at me, and tossing her head, snorted rather derisively, if I do say so myself.


She just kept right on plodding along - I'm sure she was walking around the back side of the place to go to water, and the calves fell in behind her. Of course I had been talking to the calves, which seemed to prompt the big bellow from the little feller.
Whatcha lookin' at? You lookin' at me? Well, are ya?
Perhaps I've been out here too long.

Looking east at the pens - already drinking up that water! The float seems to be always down - it rarely gets caught up. I can hear the water running most of the time. Those cows really suck the tank down. The horses off to the right are a little more self service - and are in a separate pasture entirely.

Looking straight south. Not much to see or to slow down the south winds. Not much in the way of anything to the north, either.

It looks like the place in town oughtta be ready by the end of the week - with the new tile and flooring plus me moving stuff in. I'm trying even as we speak to get satellite tv, phone and innertubes scheduled. I'm sure hoping I can get all of that in this week - I need to get back to work.

I really do like it out here, but wow - it's just too far for my gas budget. Cimarron is about another fifteen miles away over the twelve I'm used to. Garden and Dodge are also further away. Jetmore, on the other hand, is far closer. Not that I have anything against Jetmore, but being closer to there is not high on my wish list.

So, I'm amassing a supply of items I need. Went to swat a fly the other day, and here in Cowboy Man Cave there were no fly swatters. Seems like I do not possess any, either, these days. So much crap, and I won't remember it until I need to use what I do not have.

But, it's just stuff, and it just costs money. Heh.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Teeth Gritting Determination

Yes, I'm sure if we all grit our teeth and show real determination, everything will be OK and we'll win the game.

Poor good ol' Charlie Brown!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

The Enormity of the Situation

One of my dearest friends asked me this on Facebook messenger the other day - checking in on me.
Is the enormity of this situation setting in? I want to make sure you stay on top of the emotional end of things. Sorry if that is a personal question.
I answered:
Yannow, it has, but I think I'm getting used to it. I don't bawl every time the subject of the cat comes up now And even though I act like a pessimist, I'm really more of an optimist. Things are looking up.
Even at that time I thought that was a rather weak and generic answer, even though it was true. That question has been bothering me ever since. How do I really feel about what happened?

The best answer is it depends.

I'll frame it initially in these terms - what I don't feel. I do not feel particularly singled out by God or the Fates or whatever. These things happen, and there was nothing I could have done. Perhaps I could have disconnected the electricity from the house every time I left, or had water running on the house, or some such fantastic Rube Goldbergain  solution. And we all know that would be an unworkable fantasy.

Could I have purchased insurance? Sure I could. I will be in the future. Renter's insurance is cheap compared to coverage for a farm. Were I a better money manager perhaps I could have paid those insurance bills. Chalk one up for bitter experience - but once again, what happened is over and done.
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit,
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
Omar Khayyam
My tears for my cat certainly haven't washed out much. Intellectually I realize there was nothing I could do about or for him, but emotionally I do feel responsible because I was not there for him. In his deepest hour of need, I was absent. I am responsible. Right, wrong or indifferent as this may seem, that is how I feel.

I also have a sense of The Man Without A Country. Even though I am "home," I'm not really home. That peculiar combination of location, furnishings and so on is gone forever. It's like I'm in motel mode. Let me explain.

When I'm on the road and staying in motels, I feel that I am a guest and act accordingly. I try to be neat and clean, make sure all the trash is disposed of properly, the towels aren't tossed willy nilly, and so on. I do not believe in making the maids' jobs harder for no reason, and I do have to come back to many of these places. I'd prefer they remember me in a positive light.

I am a guest now, not a resident. Even when I move into the rental, it still won't be mine. There are certain expectations that should be met under these circumstances. I always joke about peeing outside at the farm, and that sort of thing is right out living in a city. Unless indecent exposure is something I want on my record. I am going to have to be on a higher level of behavior, and I am well aware of this fact.

Plus, when I move into that rental, the furnishings might technically be mine, but they were not necessarily what I had chosen for myself, if that makes any sense. Not that there is a damn thing wrong with any of the items collected so far - not my point. My favorite chair is gone, end of story. Will I be able to relax and enjoy the different furnishings and so on? I seem to be highly adaptable, so I expect I will. Just gonna be disconcerting in an unfamiliar environment for a while.

There is also a sort of unspoken set of expectations as well - since the community has gathered around me and taken care of me, it's a given that I won't turn into some sort of child molesting, nun raping kook in a trenchcoat scaring women and children. I am being offered a new beginning, and I should be running with that.

Then there is the hard fact that all my stuff is gone and ain't coming back. It's more than just the expensive items like the guns, knives and electronics - it's also my stash of incandescent bulbs, or all the extra batteries. My die cast car collection - gone. All my books. The cool artwork on the walls. My Dad's yen notes from a trip to Japan when he was stationed at Okinawa. My favorite pots, pans and skillets. The collection of Corelle Livingwear I'd built up from a partial set by filling in from eBay. Candles stashed. Pictures from several trips to Texas Motor Speedway to watch NASCAR. And speaking of - the used tire from one of races. High school annuals. Mementos and placeholders of my past - wiped out forever. Irreplaceable.


It could be said all that stuff made me it's prisoner in a weird sort of way - that I was bound up in the traditions and habits of the past. Being rid of all of that cauterized that part of the past and now I have a fresh beginning. What I do with that opportunity is entirely up to me.

So, do I realize the enormity of the situation? Yeah, I think so. There may be other facets not yet discovered.  How do I feel about it? Like I said, it depends. The future? I feel good. Missing all my stuff? Bad, but not entirely broken up about it. I don't cry about those losses. Nothing is going to change how I feel about my little buddy - just that time is necessary to heal from that wound.

So, Tracy, I hope this is a better answer for you. I think you were satisfied with my original one, even though I was not. Heh.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The "New" Temporary Digs

This is the Wright place I've been mentioning. It's probably ten or so years newer than my old joint, and it's really in pretty good shape. Central heat and air, the hallway still has wood floors, and it has the advantage of being out in the middle of nowhere beyond where I was.


The place sets off the road a bit, so trucks and other vehicles driving by don't disturb. Pretty private, really.

Coming up the drive.

Mama and two babies in the lot.

Google's aerial view.

The neighbors have their "best" cattle here - purebred Angus cows. They've been experimenting with some AI as well. These cows are not used to me or much of anyone at all. I get a kick outta watching them watch me. I'll be doing something outside and feel eyes on me, and there will be a cow or three peering from behind the garage or some bales with a major look of distrust. If they had arms and standing on two legs, their hands would be on their hips with the elbows out, giving me the "what the hell do you think YOU'RE doing?" look.

The calves don't care, and the two horses are bored. I think I'll avoid crossing the barbed wire just in case - I'm a big guy, but those cows dwarf me. Just. In. Case.

The rental in Cimarron should have the new tile installed by Monday, and my legion of volunteers should be ready to move stuff in and out of the way of the installers Saturday. I won't be out here very long. If it weren't further away from anything than I was used to, I'd sure consider staying here. The place definitely has it's charms. I'm probably fifteen miles further from work, Cimarron and Dodge City respectively.

I am totally blown away by the response the community has had towards me. I fell right into the bosom of my small town, who has welcomed me. And I'm getting help from the online community as well.

Y'all rawk.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

I Keep Rollin' and I Can't Stop
It's Driving Me Out of My Mind

This song has been running through my head all day, and I never even heard it anywhere to get it started. I think it's apropos - it starts out easy, then gets frenetic. Seems like my life at the moment.


The easy listening part:
Playin' easy somewhere, shade across my mind
Thoughts that pass I cannot catch, I reach for you and find
That I have learned how not to get burned now
Wind in the tree blows, even the sea knows
That I have learned how, think I can see now
Lookin' through dreams is not what it seems

They handed me the bottle and said drink it 'til it's gone
But now that it's half empty I'm not sure I can go on
Thought I had learned how not to get burned now
Wind in the tree blows, even the sea knows
That I have learned how, think I can see now
Lookin' through dreams... 
Then they kick it into gear:
I keep rollin', I keep rollin'
I keep rollin' and I can't stop
Rollin' and I can't stop
It's drivin' me out of my mind
To the truck stop, to the plane hop
To the boat dock and I'm so close
Boat dock and I'm so close
Give me a little more time 

Spin me around, turn my head down
Take me down slow, don't let me go
Spin me around, turn my head down
Take me down slow, don't let me go
Gonna quit you, gonna quit you
Gonna quit you, pretty mama
Quit you, hey mama
You know that I ain't got time
Get behind me, get behind me
Get behind me, now bad times
Oh, bad times
There's nothin' in there you can hide
Spin me around, turn my head down
Take me down slow, don't let me go
Spin me around, turn my head down
Take me down slow, don't let... 
The worm has turned for sure! Heh.

I may not have the CD anymore, but I do have the songs ingrained in my head somewhere. Couldn't take that away by burning down the house.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Because I've Been Getting Chewed

I am posting the names and addresses of the banks who hold accounts for moi - in case you didn't know, my name is Jeff Borland. Both banks know me and will make sure the funds end up in the proper accounts.
Cimarron National Bank
Box 228
Cimarron, KS 67835

First National Bank
Box 129
Cimarron, KS 67835

I am currently at the "Wright" place. It's a better house than my old hovel was - central heat and air, for one thing. Internet access is through a router with a couple extra antennas for phone data service. The closest tower is less than a mile away, so I'm getting a great signal. Not as fast as my old DSL, but it sure beats nuttin.'

Kudos to United Telecom in Dodge City. They basically donated the unit to me - I did not have to sign up for two years to use it. I just have to pay for the data (unlimited) for a month, or until I do get moved into town and back on the landline and DSL. They also offer digital cable there, so I may just have to give up the DirecTV addiction, since I'm on a tighter budget. When I'm done with the wireless access point, I'll be taking it back.

It's been late nights and kinda early mornings for quite a while. Perhaps tomorrow I'll sneak in a nap.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

It's Definitely A Poor Farm Right Now

But there is hope. I have a fair amount of trees that just might make it. Not sure I'd wanna move back out there to live if there were no trees. While I likes my open spaces, I also like stepping out and hearing birds sing. There were still birds singing there yesterday and today.

I took these pictures coming in from the North headed south.

The pasture grass burned pretty good. I figured the field next to the road had been burned, but the wind was out of southwest, so the fire moved to the northeast. The emergency guys said the draw helped them stop the fire.

Actually, the fire did run along the edge of the field and the ditch, but they got it out.

Those two hedge trees (osage orange) have been lonely outposts there for years. Not so much now.

This is the shelterbelt of Dutch Elms on the north edge of the place. I had some old oil drums out there for targets, and there is some disease running through all the old elms (I'm tired and just can't remember the details), so the trees were kinda thinning out, and I and my pals pretty well cut two of them down out of the center when I had my rifle range all set up. From the drive next to the house to the very south side of the trees was a hundred yards.

Traveling further south, looking east, we see the grain bin that made it, and where the old garage and chicken house used to be. That grain bin to the left is junk, been that way for over forty years. I doubt the grain auger is any good - the belts are all burned off and the motor is scorched. That garage was an old single car unit with two lean to's attached on each side. My neighbor who uses this pasture and the farm had a bunch of metal fence posts in there, plus several spools of new barbed wire. Perhaps the posts will be ok, but the barbed wire did not need the heat treatment. First time you put a fence stretcher on it, well, it's gonna break.

Now we see the yard looking east along the driveway - the house should be to the left. The windmill still works and is pumping. The trash bin has two wheels and two plastic puddles now. I'm not sure the propane tank is safe. It was venting when the firefighters got there, and it was just too dangerous to get close. Flames were shooting up forty and fifty feet high, apparently, plus the ammo and a few propane bbq bottles were cooking off. They don't wear Kevlar, so they were somewhat reluctant to spend much time close to the house when they could actually save something by stopping the fire moving north in the pasture. The house was long gone anyways.

Here is a view from the road looking east.

The view from the drive. That tree to the left is pretty hollowed out - not sure it will make it.

The old C-band dish and the DirecTV dish. The C-band was not designed or made to point that far west. The feedhorns in the K-band dish are melted out. I'd had a tree fall right along the path you see with the white ash some time ago, and had never cleared it out. My cousin was whittling it down for firewood. As you can see, it got pretty hot - that white ash is it.

This is the view on further east on the south side of the windmill. That little round dealie in the center is my water well head. It will need work. The drifts are ashes from round bales. That is also what is left of the trees behind the wellhouse and windmill. Some of them are locust trees. The area to the right going back to the east was my father's garden. My nabe filled that up with bales as well.

When I was a kid, some of my buds and I would pick cherry tomatoes from the garden and spear 'em on the locust trees, calling 'em tomato steaks, of all things.

Then we make a hard right and go by the what is left of the old bunkhouse. When Sis and I were little, Dad usually had a hired hand that he'd put up out there for the summer, so they didn't have to drive much, or just to have a place to live. They always ate at the dinner table and pretty well just treated that as an extra room. One high school kid later became our county sheriff. In later years, that was Dad's man cave, where he kept his model airplanes (and his stash of Playboys, as I discovered. Heh.)

Looping back around the house to the north we can see that there is no wooden corral fence left. The nabes had to put up an electric fence. Dad nabe says he has enough panels around to rig up a better setup.

Looking a bit more closely at the stock tank and some of the stuff that is left. That's an old portable water tank from years ago there on the right - it got so leaky it was useless. The pipe on top? Sis and my old swingset. It just ended up there, never hauled away. The wellhouse would have been just to the right off camera.

The contents of the well house. The concrete water storage tanks are at the left edge. Back in the day, one would keep milk jugs in those tanks, and the cool water would keep the milk. As the windmill pumped, the tanks stayed full of cold water, and they drained into the stock tank outside. I won't be using that air compressor much, I fear, nor will the transaxle that fits the front of my pickup be of much use. That is a Cannondale bicycle frame - worthless now. Ther is even part of an old butter churn there to the right of the compressor behind the transaxle. That twisted rectangular thing used to be a shot upright freezer that we used to store stuff after it shot craps. That appears to be what is left of the power line draped over the transaxle. No insulation no mo.

So, there have been two funds set up for me in the two banks in Cimarron. The high school gym is a collection point for donated furniture and whatever. Sis came up right away and was waiting for me to get back from Michigan and did a yeoman's labor getting a bunch of stuff set up. One of my Facebook pals and former classmates - a rather well regarded nurse at the medical center in Dodge - got me a real decent batch of samples for my drugs. I only had until Sunday night on me. I also called my pharmacy, and the gal there told me most insurance companies will allow a one time reset of prescriptions in a case like this, and when I got back and stopped by, they had ALL my stuff ready to go. Just had to pay the copay.

Sis also got me hooked up with the Red Cross. I was eligible for a grocery and some other payment that amounted to a $160 gift card. The stuff I buy with that will be tax free. I am also eligible for up to $450 first months rent. I was eligible for four night of motels, but I had not applied soon enough. Which I could not do, seeing how I was some distance away. It still took some paperwork from the county EMS coordinator that stated I had lost everything in the fire on that date. She is the wife of one of my longtime pals, and she and the main "boots on the ground" guy took Sis and I out to look at things yesterday. He had me tell me where my various guns were at, and dug around with a shovel and actually found some. Others had found some of my rifles. All of them look like they'd been planted in the garden for years, and just dug up. My S&W 686 looked to be in the best shape, but it's still useless. Just less rust. That was my favorite handgun. I still have an M4gery in my pickup, my Glock 22, and a few shotguns and war surplus rifles I had been keeping at the nabes. The keys to my gun cabinets there were in an aluminum gun case with my three .22 handguns in it. We found my S&W 22A out of there. I'll probably have to destroy the locks to get in to the cabinets now. Oh well. I don't have the keys to my safe deposit boxes in Cimarron anymore, either.

It's still burning, or smoldering. You can hear things still doing the Rice Krispy sounds. The wind, out of the south, carries the heat north. One does not really want to stand on the north side of foundations for very long. One comes away heated and smelly from the smoke.

I've got two places to live. The first place is nabe's son's home. He's moving out and I'm moving in, probably tomorrow. It's the old Wright place, for those of you who know about it and where it's at. It's just into the western edge of Hodgeman county east of the Finney county line. Jetmore is the closest city. Another long time dear friend has his mother's old house out for rent, and it just came open. However, he and his wife thinks it needs some new carpeting and tile installed. I'll get to move in later.

I also have two very good leads on large amounts of furniture. My old friend who lives in Nebraska is faunching at the  bit wanting to bring me a trailer load of stuff that was her father's. I also have a long time pal in Garden City who has a similar situation. Her father just passed away, and she has about a month to haul his stuff out to auction, or give some of it to me. Her father was a hell of a cook ( used to cook at the old Depot bar in Cimarron, as well as farmed and all sorts of other jobs), and his furnishings sound a hell of a lot better than anything I had. My Nebraska pal's does as well. I know I'll have a washer and dryer for sure if I want to go to Fowler and just pick it up. Just have to see what my Garden City pal has first, I guess.

I know some things are on a short list that I just eventually gotta have. I think a microwave and such appliances are pretty much a given, considering, but I really liked my cookware. I'm also gonna want a deep freeze badly - I used mine all the time. Plus, I hate to sound whiny, but I'm gonna be wanting a decent television and a surround sound system. Gonna be hard without that.

I've got my phone and internet provider helping me out at the Wright place. It's out of their phone territory, but they'll let me use one of their wireless hotspots until I move to Cimarron, then I'll turn it in, turn on my phone and DSL in town. They've got a tower out there for their wireless telephone service withing a a mile or less.They are taking care of me big time. Normally there is a two year contract involved with those hot spots. DirecTV also told me not to worry about the receiver that was torched - and my account is suspended for a month. If I need more time, just call.

So, what started all this? Inconclusive. Some of  the guys think electrical fire. Others (and that includes my Cuzzin' Tom, who was in EMS and did this for years), think it was started by a cigarette in the very southwest corner of the place along the road. Tom even found the cigarette butt. He figured the fire started there, started burning the grass, started the old dead tree up and fired up some serious heat. The foundation bricks on that and the north side showed a lot of heat damage - they were broken out on the outside and not on the inside. Tom thinks the fire came in my cellar, ran under the house, and started the porch on the west side up. The house was probably full of smoke for some time before it really went up.

One of the windmill laborers (putting up wind generators in the area) actually called it in, and he said the house was completely ablaze but he did not see the grass to the south on fire. That is why the other side says electrical fire. The firefighters pretty well had to just let it go - there wasn't going to be anything worth saving anyhow, plus they didn't feel like getting blown up by the propane tank, or hit by a round cooking off, or the little propane bottles taking flight and smacking 'em. Can't say I blame 'em one little bit. Sis - somehow related to Miss Manners (not sure about me) got the guys some cookies to take out on fires with them for something to snack on. I think she even put 'em in big Ziplok bags so they could seal 'em back up. She's taking names of everyone who has helped, so she can send thank you notes.

As for myself, there are two things that are bothering me. One - I cannot understand how I deserve all this help and largess. I don't think I'm much different than anyone else, but I'm hearing that I'm not. Apparently my pal who wants to rent to me and my Cuz got together and figured this might just be a way for me to see just how good people could be, and teach me to take it. I've always been a do it yourselfer. Nope, don't need no help doin' that thang. Hate to bother ya, so I'll do it myself.

Well, I cannot survive without sacrificing that kind of thinking.

Plus, I'm still pretty shook up about Rooster. Every time someone asks how I'm doing, and I bring that little so and so up, I break up. I'm sorry, but I was not there for him in his hour of need. I do not see how he could have gotten out, and I hope and pray he was overcome by smoke inhalation and died in his sleep. Cuzzin' Tom told me he could find him if I wanted, but I'd just as soon not have him disturbed. There is always hope, but is sure seems unlikely. If I had any say in the matter, I'd have traded it all for him to survive. Take the rest of the crap, just leave him alone.

But that ain't the way the dice were loaded. I had about eight great years with the stubborn little turd, and he probably about had me trained as well. He was definitely my cat. My friends tell me he had a good life - he was a rescue cat from the pound in Dodge..I picked him up while unemployed before I even started at my current job. I'm not sure they'd let me adopt knowing how much I'm gone these days. I'm not sure I want another cat right now, either. Don't know if I could handle it.

At any rate, I'm alive and fairly well, other than it's hotter than H. E. Double Toothpicks here. I'm in Garden City at my favorite motel for when I just don't feel like driving home and driving back super early. I wanted one in Dodge with my reward points, but the ones that I could use were full up. Sis is heading back to OKC first thing in the morning. Some little pissy assed thunderstorm came through and knocked this section of Garden City out of power about an hour ago, and I'm tethered to my phone for internet access. Battery is pretty well down now, so I'll be shutting down and calling it a day. It's been a long one. And I mean a long one.

Hope you are all well. I certainly appreciate the positive thoughts and nice comments. Until the next report......