Thursday, March 29, 2007

Jokes for Thursday


A sweet grandmother telephoned St. Joseph's Hospital. She timidly asked, "Is it possible to speak to someone who can tell me how a patient is doing?"

The operator said, "I'll be glad to help, dear. What's the name and room number?"

The grandmother in her weak tremulous voice said, "Norma Findlay, Room 302."

The operator replied, "Let me place you on hold while I check with her nurse."

After a few minutes the operator returned to the phone, "Oh, good news. Her nurse has told me that Norma is doing very well. Her blood pressure is fine; her blood work just came back as normal and her physician, Dr. Cohen, has scheduled her to be discharged Tuesday."

The grandmother said, "Thank you. That's wonderful! I was so worried! God bless you for the good news."

The operator replied, "You're more than welcome. Is Norma your daughter?"

The grandmother said, "No, I'm Norma Findlay in 302. No one tells me shit."

Little Johnny

For his birthday, little Johnny asked for a 15-speed mountain bike. His father said, "Johnny, we'd give you one, but the mortgage on this house is $280,000 & your mother just lost her job. There's no way we can afford it."

The next day the father saw little Johnny heading out the front door with a suitcase. Johnny’s father asked, "Son, where are you going?"

Little Johnny told him, " I was walking past your room last night and I heard you telling mom you were pulling out. Then I heard her tell you to wait because she was coming too… I'll be damned if I'm staying here by myself with a $280,000 mortgage and no bike!"

Benefit Concert for the Croc Hunter

I heard the other day there was going to be a benefit concert for the Croc Hunter’s family… I guess it’s going to turn into a world wide tour, I’ve only heard of 3 bands so far that has signed on… Heart, Sting, and Poison….

LMAO…. I know I’m going to hell… Ya’ll know I’ll be the greeter…

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Marine Sgt. Gary S. Johnston

A good PGR friend of mine sent this to me, SergeantMoon. His son is a Marine, Gary was his son’s best friend.

The letter is form the BBC and is about their visit to Winthorst, TX

The link is the audio file (mp3 format) from the BBC.
As Mr. Johnston says, we in middle America are VERY proud of our country and our sons.

In Memory of:

Marine Sgt. Gary S. Johnston

21, of Windthorst, Texas; assigned to 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force Okinawa, Japan; died Jan. 23 while conducting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq.


Dear Angela,

Thank you so much for inviting us into your home, and for telling us about Gary and how you and all your friends and neighbors in Windthorst have been coping with his loss.

Jamie and I found the experience very moving. Neither of us have seen anything quite like the scenes at Gary's funeral. I know you are very proud of him, and the town of Windthorst certainly gave him an amazing send-off.

It is obvious to us that Texas looks after its own, and the sense of community spirit in Windthorst is very strong.

I am sending you a copy of the piece we did. I hope you think it is okay. If you have any problems playing it please let me know and I will send you a CD in the post instead. I am sorry I didn't get to send this yesterday, but I have had a few computer problems here...

Thanks again for having us, and for feeding us!!! Please pass on my regards to Nebin, and say hello and thank you to everyone else who made the effort to come over on Wednesday evening.

It was a pleasure to meet you all.

Take care, and as I say, please let me know if you have any problems with the mp3 file.



The Audio Clip

Photo of the Year

This is the gang waiting at Camp Atterbury. Photo by Jim "Infidel". Click on image for 2mg version.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Wow!! What a Ride!!

Welcome Home 961st Engineers and Company B Marines

Saturday started at 0500 for me after 4 hours of sleep… that’s another story, maybe tomorrow.

With one eye on the weather radar channel, I packed leather and dressed in rain gear. The sun doesn’t coming up around here till about 0745, so it remains cool for quite a while. ‘Pack a t-shirt, a sweat shirt (might be cold again on the way home), no room for dry jeans… Just don’t get wet’ I was thinking. I left the house about 0530 and met up with Infidel at our first meeting place, McBP. A quick bite to eat and we headed off to meet the other Indy area riders just south of the outer belt. We had wet roads for this first leg, read “lots of road spray”, thankfully no real rain.

Friendships, I believe, are built through common bonds and sharing emotional experiences. These people are my friends. When you haven’t seen some of them in weeks, sometimes months, the reunions are heartfelt. We hug, we laugh, we catch up, it’s like they we're never really gone. They have been missed, but never stray far form my thoughts.

We met up with the other Indy area riders and hit the road again at 0700. About 45 minutes later we are at Camp Atterbury. The busses are scheduled to leave at 0800, we got there before the busses… the busses arrived at about 0815. What’s that saying… “hurry up and wait”

We hit the road at about 0900. 16 bikes and 10 of those had 3x5 American flags flying. The motorcycles led the buses and our cagers, also flying 3x5 flags, followed the buses. As we turn the corner heading up the on ramp, we are all watching in our mirrors to make sure the busses made the bend through traffic. They stopped… we slowed… they sat there… and they sat there… “WTH??” We stopped. (Let me remind you from above “…turn the corner heading up the on ramp…”). Yes, we were getting on the interstate and stopped ON the on ramp. (Not the best place to stop on a motor cycle – right?) One Hero runs the 200-300 yards to our rear bike and tells him that they are missing some ‘paper work’ and that a car is running it over to them now, we’ll have to wait. We moved over and sat there. The wait wasn’t too bad, only about 15 minutes, then off we went.

The ride north was uneventful save a few hundred honks and thumbs up from by-passers. When we got to the Indianapolis area, the Indiana State police were waiting for us and escorted us through the city and out the other side about 20 miles. I believe there was 3 of them, one did not allow anyone to pass us and the other 2 rode ahead and stopped any one from entering the highway till we had passed. That was the coolest!! Riding through the city with out one car cutting into or through our line was the safest ride through Indy I have ever had!!

Our RCs (Sleepy Rider and Lobo) had made arrangements with the CO and bus drivers to let us re-fuel in Lafayette. When we stopped the heroes, of course, had to get off the buses and stretch, so we got to meet and talk with some of them.

After gassing up and changing from rain gear to leathers, we hit the road again. About 150 miles later we stopped for lunch in Merrillville, IN, and again got to meet and eat with these ladies and gentlemen. One guy from the local area met us there and led the bussed through Chicago.

Some of our original group had to head home and 6 of us took off east towards South Bend heading for Hoosier HD on the east side. Of course we missed the Hoosier HD group and had to ride over to the airport back west of S. Bend.

The local area turn out was fantastic!!! There was 85 bikes and about 20 cages. There were 40-50 fire trucks and another 20+ police cars. They were form all over N. Indiana and S. Michigan. Once Company B loaded onto the busses we (the bikes, fire trucks and police cars) escorted the 5 buses the 10 miles to the Marine Reserve Center. All along the parade route people were standing outside their houses, waving, clapping and flying flags. Many, many signs read “Thank You Company B”. At the Reserve Center their families were waiting, more signs waving, banners flapping, all surrounded by American Flags!!!

As they disembarked the busses they were swarmed by family, hugged by friends and welcomed home by other vets and the PGR. If there was a dry eye there, I didn’t see it.

As we left, some of the families noticed and started clapping… As I teared up again, I couldn’t help but think, “All we did was ride. Don’t clap for us, you are the ones that let your sons/daughters fight, you are the ones that fought… THANK YOU!! IT WAS OUR HONOR!!!”

We left S. Bend with another 150 miles and about 3 hours to get home. Darkness came and fog, thick enough to cause drips on your goggles. As I pulled into my driveway my odometer turned something over 500 miles. I was beat and my ass hurt. But, my heart was grinning and images of smiling young men and women in their dusty desert cameo would not leave my head. Some where, some how, I fell asleep hoping I would remember everything. Knowing, I WILL NOT FORGET!!!

Co. B Returns

Friday, March 23, 2007

Great Weekend Planed

The 961st Engineering Battalion is here and the PGR is escorting them about 170 miles north. Then we are heading east to welcome home and escort Marines form Company B.

Uuu Raa!! Welcome home gentlemen. Thank you for your service, sacrifice and dedication!!

PS: I know this is kinda vague, but too much details frowned on. I’ll post more AFTER the ride. If you think you can attend, e-mail me and I’ll give you some details.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My Teacher, A Cat

I was reading these posts here and here. They gave me this childhood flash-back.

My earliest memories include cats. When I was 3 or 4 someone had dropped off a box of kittens where my mom worked. Up until that time we had lived in an apartment so the timing was perfect for us to have a cat… actually two. Elf and Dennis.

Both were yellow tabbies and toms. Both were eventually neutered.

Elf was round headed and stocky. I remember his big gold eyes getting so large when I would run my hand under the blankets on my bed. Then, smack!! Faster than this little kid could think he’d grab my hand and bat and bite at it. I’d giggle like I was being tickled. That of course would startle him and he’d run off to the other end of the bed and we’d start all over. Well placed pillows on the bed would give him things to hide behind and he’d sneak back over and ***POUNCE*** again.

Dennis was skittish. He didn’t seem to like us little kids (me and my little brother). We’d walk into the room and he’d leave. He was more my mom’s cat.

Sometime in there Mittens and Patrick came along. Mittens was black with 4 white mittens on her paws. Patrick was white with several black spots on him. They tolerated us kids. Our inevitable laughter would make them leave but they at least played with us for a few minutes.

There was also an older tom we named Smokey Joe. He was a long haired gray guy that wondered up to our door one day. He was skinny, had a big scrape on his tail that was infected and a scar on his back that was about a half inch wide and an inch and a half long. What ever happened there was severe enough that hair never grew back, nor did it grow back on that spot on his tail. One of his ears was mangled, most likely form a fight with another tomcat. One time, he came home not moving his back legs real well. A quick trip to the vet showed that he had been shot. The x-ray clearly showed ever so many spots… ‘bird shot’, meant to kill, but only wounding him. He fully recovered use of his legs. This was the event that made my mom stop letting our cats outside. From this point on they only went out on leashes… (that’s another story) I so remember him sleeping on my lap and purring the day away, front paws kneading and flexing at the air. You’d swear he was smiling sometimes.

When I was 10 or 11, spending my 4th summer at a church camp on Lake Erie in Ohio, I found a kitten under our cabin. He couldn’t have been 6 weeks old. I snuck milk out of the mess hall and fed him scraps form all of my friends plates. When our cabin counselor wasn’t looking, I snuck him into the cabin and he slept with me. One of the leaders found out and wanted to put him back out, just leave him. I insisted we call my mom, I was sure she would let me keep him… She did. He rode back to Pittsburgh with me on the chartered Greyhound bus. He slept the whole way. I named him Hobo. Hobo lived 22 years! After I was married, when I’d go home for a visit, Hobo would come see me. Purring like he was still a little kitten and I was giving him some of that cherished milk. For the last 5 or so years he was stone deaf, but he could see. My mom always said he perked up when we visited, even playing with some of the younger cats after we’d leave again. I remember my mom calling one evening... They had to put Hobo to sleep. He hadn’t eaten in several days, the vet said his kidneys and liver had failed… It was time…

Some others were; Misty, Andrew, Ami, Billy Peaches, Teddy, Cubby, Meow-fit… so many I can’t remember them all. I sure do miss them sometimes.

My mom runs a ‘no kill’ shelter for abandoned cats and dogs now. Last I heard she has 120 +/- cats and 40 dogs. 30ish cats live with her at her house. As do most of the kitten litter until they are old enough to adopt. She hand feeds week old kittens every 2 hours till they are old enough to eat solid food. Talk about cats that love people.

We (my family) have 4 cats right now. They still sit on my lap and we enjoy the day. Their eyes pressed closed sitting in the sun. Just being and letting what will come, come.

In these more stressful days of my life, I am drawn to simpler times. I find it amazing how felinious domesticaus (sp?) can just enjoy life as it is; sleep when they are tired, play when they want and relax like crazy. After 40+ years with these most unique creatures, I find I still have a lot to learn from them.

I know she’ll never see it, but… Thanks, mom, for raising me with cats and dogs; and teaching me to respect all life.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Today's Zen

OK… Remember this.

I am by no means ‘enlightened’. I enjoy these sayings, poems, etc. they can give you something to think about. But today’s’ ZEN Calendar… I don’t get it.

A monk asked Roso: “What is the wordless word?”
Roso replied with another question: “Where’s your mouth?”
The monk said: “I haven’t got one!”
“Then what do you eat with?” asked Roso.
The monk was silent.

Zen Mondo

My first response was, “This is a great smartass remark!!” but I fear I’ve missed the point… any one care to enlighten me??

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Times, They Are a Changing

There comes a time in all employment relationships when things must change. Companies get bought, new cultures are introduced and an organization changes. If you hired into the new organization now, it would be just another big company; rules to be followed, supervisors to be answered to and a culture to be learned.

We (the company I was hired into) has been owned by another company for 20 years. Recently (about 5 years ago) our parent company was purchased by yet another much larger company. Now there is a desire to be a conglomerate and compete with the big boys. This push is making us change. We had, in days gone by, a can do attitude. Our catalog offered about 500 basic items, each with 5-7 options giving us a little over 3,000 products. Our specialty (this was my specialty for about 8 years) was modified products. We work with architects and designers who feel each project should be a statement, thus nothing standard will do. “I could use product AAA but I want the adjustability of BBB and add a glass…” somethingorother. Our philosophy was ‘time and money’ is the only obstacle. If you need it fast or cheaper, we cut back on some of the features… BUT we did it, I did it. As many as 140 per month usually about 100; submittal drawing, new part drawings, BOMs, production scheduling and on the floor to make sure it worked right.

We specialize in commercial, they specialize in residential… As the residential sector falls the hope is that the commercial sector can increase and even grow. Grow enough to take the company into the conglomerate, big boy arena.

(FU#1) - We merged computer systems.
(FU#2) - They insisted we change out cat numbers… all of them. Incase you have never been involved in something like that, it is like learning a new language. That thing that was an orange is now called broccoli, broccoli is now called lettuce, iceberg lettuce is called orange and romaine lettuce is now called peanut. (I live with a cross reference sheet)
(FU#3) - We formed cross functional teams (3-6 of them and one of us on a committee) to decide who had the best practice or procedure and adopt that way for the new merged system. Any guesses as to who had the best way to do things?? They did.
(FU#4) - We (the managers) learned new tricks (read – their way of doing things) but got no rewards (follows the analogy but kinda strong. We didn’t necessarily want a ‘reward’, a ‘thank you’ would have gone a long way). In the period of about 4 months, over 100 years of experience and product knowledge walked out… rumors say some were offered MUCH more money (along with other things) to stay. But to a man, they left.

There are 3 maybe 4 of us left with over 10 years each of history with this company. My 16th year anniversary is coming up in about 60 days. I don’t think I’ll make it. It’s time for a change.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday's Feast

Feast One Hundred & Thirty Five

Name two things that made you smile this week.
1 - Riding my motorcycle about 130 miles Tuesday evening (it was 75+ degrees).
2 - Finally mailing out about half a dozen resumes.

Fill in the blank: Don't you hate it when ________?
You forget to get a lottery ticket and your numbers come up...

When you can't go to sleep, what is your personal remedy to help yourself drift into Lullabyland?
Guess I don’t have a remedy. I just lay there and wait for sleep to arrive. Sometimes hours.

Main Course
What is something about which you've always wondered but have not yet found a good answer?
If everything started with a big bang and thus all matter was sent moving out from one point, how do some solar systems collide? Seems to me that they should only get further away. Right?

What is your favorite pasta dish?
Standard spaghetti with my home made garlic and olive oil sauce with garlic bread.

Olive oil in a pan (1/4 cup or more, it's good for you!), warm
Place ½ to ¾ of a head of coarsely chopped garlic (yes, a head, not a clove)
Warm garlic about 5 min. Allow to soften, should not fry.
Add cilantro to taste about a teaspoon for me
Add one can diced tomatoes, not drained
Increase heat and bring to bubbling before serving.

Garlic bread pizza
1 gourmet pizza crust, I use Bobbili (sp?)
Slice remaining garlic cloves as thin as possible
Butter crust with melted butter
Spread garlic slices over crust
Cover lightly with mozzarella or provolone cheese
Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes to warm crust
Broil on high for 1-2 minutes to bubble and lightly brown cheese
Serve hot!

My Eyes, My Eyes!!

Found this over at Dazd's place. And thanks Dazd for the code assistance. You ARE the man!!

You scored as Passion. You are very passionate whether that passion is good or evil has yet to be determined. You have great power over others and they seem to flock to your service. You are very competative almost to a fault. Perhaps you should let someone else win for a change?





Eyes full of Pain


Diamond Eyes


What do your eyes reveal about you?(PICS!)
created with

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Then and Now...

Scenario: Jack pulls into school parking lot with a rifle in a gun rack.

1970-Vice Principal comes over, takes a look at Jack's rifle, goes to his car and gets his to show Jack.

2006- School goes into lockdown, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.


Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.

1970-Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up best friends. Nobody goes to jail, nobody arrested, nobody expelled.

2006-Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.


Scenario: Jeffrey won't be still in class, disrupts other students.

1970-Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by Principal. Sits still in class.

2006-Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a disability.


Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his father's car and his Dad gives him a whipping.

1970-Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.

2006-Billy's Dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. Billy's sister is told by state psychologist that she remembers being abused herself and their Dad goes to prison. Billy's mom has affair with psychologist.


Scenario: Mark gets a headache and takes some headache medicine to school.

1970-Mark shares headache medicine with Principal out on the smoking dock.

2006-Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car and locker searched for drugs and weapons.


Scenario: Pedro fails high school English.

1970-Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college.

2006-Pedro's cause is taken up by state Democratic Party. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he can't speak English.


Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, blows up a red ant bed.

1970-Ants die.

2006-BATF, Homeland Security, FBI called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, FBI investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny's dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.


Scenario: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee.
He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary, hugs him to comfort him.

1970-In a short time Johnny feels better and goes on playing.

2006-Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Meme Time

Like Tony said here, I too welcome this meme. It definatly makes for good blog fodder when you don’t really have a coherent thought in your brain.

Q. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you though?
A. I need to win the lottery!!

Q. How much cash do you have on you?
A. $23.00, it’s about $22 more than normal. Does anyone carry cash any more??

Q. What’s a word that rhymes with DOOR?
A. Poor - This is a stupid question.

Q. Do you label yourself?
A. Does smartass count?

Q. Bright or Dark room?
A. Dark - Even if I get almost no sleep, I get a second wind about 9 every evening. I am very nocturnal. My preferred schedule would be to stay up for about 36 hours at least 24, then sleep for 12.

Q. Why is there always a missing question?
A. What ?!?

Q. What does your watch look like?
A. Ummm a watch… with hands and numbers…

Q. What were you doing at midnight last night?
A. Snoring

Q. Where is your nearest 7-11?
A. No clue

Q. What’s a word that you say a lot?
A. Fixture – figure that one out!

Q. Who told you he/she loved you last?
A. My wife

Q. Last furry thing you touched?
A. Zoro – A solid black cat we found at a Taco Bell 6 years ago. We have 4 cats, 1 (Spot) from the local shelter. The other 3 'found' us. (Zoro, Missy aka Miss Hissy Fit and Gracy) and 2 dogs (Duke and Zuma)

Q. How many rolls of film do you need developed?
A. 0 – 100% digital baby! Been digital for 4 years.

Q. Favorite age you have been so far?
A. 17

Q. Your worst enemy?
A. Sinus infection and bronchial infection

Q. What is your current desktop picture?

Q. What was the last thing you said to someone?
A. I rode about 50 miles last night and I rode in today.

Q. The last song you listened to?
A. I have the radio on often, like now. The last time I turned it up and ‘listened’ or sung along was “Long Haired Country Boy” by CDB (Charlie Daniels Band)

Q. What time of day were you born?
A. No friggin clue. Who writes these things??

Q. What do you do when vending machines steal your money?
A. Hit, shake, push, try to rock the snack out. If it is at work I go get a re-imbursement slip

Q. Do you consider yourself kind?
A. Yes, to a fault

Q. What’s your life’s motto?
A. Currently using two;
1. For those that have fallen. I will stand. I will not forget.
2. Life’s not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely, in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, while loudly yelling “What a ride!!”

Q. Name three things you have on you at all times
A. Cell phone, Drivers license, contacts

Q. Can you change oil on a car?
A. Yeaahh and the filter, plugs, wires, distributor, starter, alternator, power steering pump, shocks, break pads and shoes, bearings, rotors, calipers, windows, door handles, gas tank. Get the idea??

Q. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?
A. Some time last spring (March I think) to my son. He was in boot camp, MCRD San Diego, CA

Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday's Feast

What is your usual bedtime? Do you like that, or would you rather it be different?

10:30pm – 11:30pm. I’m a night owl. I’d rather stay up to 3:00am. And sleep to noon but then I’d need to be up till 7:00am the next day. My mom always told me I had a 36 hour body clock instead of 24 hour.

When it comes to advice, do you give more or receive more?

I don’t ask for help much. Guess I give more advice. For some reason people seem to think I know things…

Describe a memorable meal you've had.

July 5th 2003. The usual cook out July 4th fair, burgers, dogs. After we finished, my brother announced to the family that he had volunteered to go to Iraq and was shipping out Aug 1st. I’ll never forget that day.

Main Course
Name a work of fiction that affected the way you think about something.

Jack London’s Call of the Wild
Thoroughly cemented my love for cold, snow, wolves and wildlife in general.

What is your favorite type of fruit juice?

Orange, but it give me heartburn.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


This blog inspired me to get a ZEN daily calendar this year.

It has been sitting at my desk since the 22nd of January, un-used. Last month while I was in Chicago and Phoenix we (my employer) had a pipe break and of course a flood… in the building… worst at my desk, of course. They tell me there was 2 to 3 inches of water in my cube. (isn't it funny how a flat concrete floor isn't really that flat?) All of that waster resulted in fans in my space for a week, those big squirrel cage type fans. I think there were 6 around and in my cube. Sounded like a dull roar, all day. Then there was the drilling of holes in the drywall to confirm that there is no moisture or mildew in the walls. The slightest moisture resulted in more fans...

Finally the drywall was repaired, about two weeks ago and the wall paper was replaced last week. They finally got around to the base boards today. All of this means I get to move back into my cube, but first, I get to *gagging* clean.

This afternoon has been cleaning day (hell, it’s been cleaning month!). Yuck, must be a guy thing, but I can’t stand dusting and wiping a surface off 10 times just because the dust won’t wipe up. Tomorrow (I’m told) my PC will be moved and I can re-acclimate my self to my cube.

Anyway… Back to the real post. I’ve been going through the ZEN calendar and thought I’d share some bits of wisdom;

It gets late early out there. - Yogi Berra

Knowledge comes but wisdom lingers. - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Want to know how to catch a mouse? Don’t try to learn from a pampered cat. To know the nature of the world, don’t study fine bound books. - Shih-Te

Those who understand the Tao delight, like cats, in just sitting and watching without any goal or result in mind. But when a cat gets tired of sitting, it gets up and goes for a walk or hunts mice. It does not punish itself or compete with other cats in an endurance test as to how long it can remain immovable – unless there is some real reason for being still, such as catching a bird. - Alan Watts

Going forward is a matter of ordinariness. - Zen Saying

One thought fills immensity. – William Blake

The most perfect technique is that which is not noticed at all. - Pablo Casals

Now I’m caught up with the calendar. Go, be enlightened, be Zen.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Our Night Sky

This post (here) got me thinking.

A couple years ago, we dragged the kids across country to see Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse and the Bad Lands. It was somewhere around 22 hours driving. We were camping in an RV and somewhere in the middle of South Dakota, literally 100 miles from nowhere. Some time around 3 am I went outside to streatch. I noticed how ‘light’ everything was. I could see across the camp ground, see out fire pit. There was no danger of falling over anything… then it dawned on me that the moon was not up!! 'holy shit that’s a lot of light'… as I looked up, the absolute most exhilarating view of millions of millions of stars filled my view. If you have never seen it, I can’t explain it. It is a beauty without parallel. Then realize that you can SO clearly see the Milky Way… even able to notice dark spots where stellar dust clouds block stars, creating an eerie absence of stars. I was so excited, I woke the whole family and made them come out to see. I know my son had never seen it. It had been years for my wife and I. I wish I had my camera, but here is a close proximity.

Today, in most cities, you can count the stars in one or two breaths. Here, a little north of Indianapolis, we can count the visible stars on our hands. ‘Urban Sky Glow’ – I hate it. God willing, I will retire to a place where it snows, hard, and the night sky is a star filled wonder to behold.

Where do you live? And what will it be like for your grand children? Go here (International Dark-Sky Association) for a group that is fighting light pollution and waste. If we reduce the light wasted going up, I believe it is a 18% reduction in energy consumed (wasted) to light the sky.

Monday, March 05, 2007

F’ing Taxes

I hate doing our taxes. I’ve done them now for 25 years. It always chaps my ass at how much of my pay the Government gets. I’ve resolved doing these gawd damned taxes to be an evil I can’t defeat. (Maybe I should declare myself a religion and a church…) I usually end up putting it off till the last day. We get a refund. I should do it February 1st.

Twice I’ve f’d them up BAD.

Once, listening to everyone say ‘you shouldn’t let the government hold your money, they aren’t paying you any interest’… yeah, no shit. So, I got all wise and ‘adjusted’ my with-holding so I could be plus or minus $100… Can you say F’dUp.?? That year I owed $2,500. I had to go to Citi and borrow money to pay my damn taxes!! I was SOOOO pissed at my self. I swore that will NEVER happen again. Now I get a big return, no interest paid to me but I’m not paying any interest on the back amount either.

I said twice? Yep.

For about 2 years we had a rental house. Good gawd what a mess that was. You better not have much else going on if you’re going to manager rental property. One of those years I deducted the interest from the rental mortgage from our income and from the expenses for the ‘business’. Oh boy did we have a big return that year… about 9 months later the IRS sends me a letter… “you did this and we believe you are wrong. If you can prove it you have 30 days if not…you owe us plus interest” (fucking interest). We sold the rental shortly there after.

Fucking taxes, why can’t we just have a national sales tax and skip all of this gawd damned paperwork?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Love Our Children

I want to re-state what was said here.

We become so accustomed with our daily routines. A quick kiss and g-bye, “see you tonight”. And we are off to our day, doing the crap that we think is important.

5 times in Enterprise (now 8, I hear), those were possibley the last words spoken to a son, daughter, mother or father in Enterprise, AL. Friday night my youngest son spent the night at a friends. I groggily told him have a good day from the up stairs bathroom Friday morning. (he leaves for school before I get up). I didn't see him again until late Saturday.

God forbid, kids of 18 being kids, should something happen. I’m pretty sure he knows I love him. World be damned I’m gonna tell him and be sure he KNOWS!!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Little Brother

If you’ve read the tag line under my blog’s title, you know I have a brother and son in the Marines. My brother (my little brother… my only brother… my only sibling) was in Iraq for 13 months in 2004. That was the longest year of my life. We’d e-mail daily, and as you know, e-mail can be like a conversation. Replies going back and forth, sometimes several in a day.

The first time we were in mid conversation and I didn’t get a reply from him for about 3 days about killed me. When he finally got back, I think he could tell I was shaken and tried to calm my nerves. “Dude, we have work to do. We go out for 3 days then we are back in for 4 days, don’t worry until it has been over 4 or 5 days”, he tells me.

WHAT!! F-ME!! 4 DAYS…. 5 DAYS!!??!! Good God! I thought, if I go that long without hearing from him, I’ll have to be committed someplace. Every time the 3rd day would pass, I’d be forced to think, ‘What if there’s a 4th day, what will I do? Will I ever recover?? I’ll never be the same. I’ll wait for the 5th day then do… something…’. The 3rd day came many times and forced me to deal with and realize the danger that he, at nearly 40, volunteered to be in. Because ‘it should never be here again’ (referring to 9/11), because he could ‘help’, he told us.

I prepared myself for the worst and thank God it never came.

Thursday the 1st, I will attend the funeral of a friend’s younger brother. He was killed Saturday in an auto accident. There has been no preparation, no one is ready. I’m not ready. Chad Burnette at the ripe old age of 23 was just beginning a carrier as a firefighter.

As members of the Patriot Guard we will ride for Chad tomorrow. We honor the man, the family and the heart willing to sacrifice itself to protect our homes and lives. God bless and be with his older brother, my friend, Chris. As you read this, please say a prayer for Chris and his family. He finds himself now in a position that after a year of preparation, I believe I still am not ready for.