Why the title?

"Pioneers take the arrows"

Oh, wait. I should be upbeat and taking arrows doesn't sound like an upbeat thing to say.

So, let me amend that statement.

It was courage and vision that led the pioneers to leave behind a comfortable, settled life and trek West to begin a new life in a new place. Many of those from the East that went West found a strength within themselves that they didn't see while they were in their old life. Instead of being one of those that just kind of went along with the others in the old life, they became leaders and visionaries in their new lives.

The sentiments of that last paragraph come from a favorite author, Louis L'Amour, in many of his books. So, I can't really say that it is an original thought from me. However, what he said is truthful.

Welcome to being a pioneer. Look ahead and ignore the "barking dogs" that give you negative opinions and comments. Louis L'Amour also spoke of the barking dogs.

In some of his stories, it was usually a father or older man telling a young boy how it was that when the Westward bound Conestoga wagons rolled through towns, the dogs came out to bark at them. His character then told the young listener that the barking didn't stop the wagons from going on to their destinations.

Following the advice of the Louis L'Amour characters, may we all forge ahead with our plans, after carefully considering all consequences and leave the "barkers" behind.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Setting a Precedent and More On Genny

There has been a saying that I like to quote, one that almost always causes the listeners who hear it to be taken aback and have to ask for clarification. I was once told that it is a quote by someone else. However, after I have done pretty diligent searching with the use of two or three different search engines, I have been unable to find another source of the quote by anyone else that is searchable via internet search engines.

Since my blog lists that photos that I have taken and ‘most’ of the text written by me has the ‘rights’ reserved by me, I will thus put it here where it has a ‘presence’ on the internet and written by myself. The quote goes as this:

“I know what I know, and I know what I don’t know, therefore, I DO know it all.”

Having thus now been written and posted upon my blog, any further uses of that quote must include my name as the source. Otherwise, anyone using that quote without my permission will be subject to punishment. You know….. something like being flogged with a dry feather.

Tongue in Cheek Megan Fox

My work day was really a long one today. Since I don’t have a lot of vacation days built up, I don’t want to use what I have up and mess up the vacations that we want to take. So, I had to work the whole day instead of going to see Genny.

I was able to retrieve the photos on Photobucket on my computer at work, and everything looked normal. So, I sent those from my work e-mail to our home e-mail account with the hope that everything worked from that source. Those were also elongated as well. So, I decided that it was our default image viewer that was messing up.

I can retrieve them with Adobe Photoshop Elements and they looked fine, so I created another folder and saved them there from Photoshop. Now they all should work, so I’ll now post some pictures for those that don’t want to follow links.



Moira has been wanting to hold Genny, and today she tried to pick her up.  Surprisingly, in her attempts, she was trying very hard to get her hands just right and also support Genny’s head as well.  While no photos were taken of that attempt, we do suspect that Moira will “mother” her little sister.  When Moira first got to meet Genny yesterday, she kept wanting to kiss her and put her hands on her.


Until we download some more of Jo’s pictures of Genny, this is the best that we have.  It was taken with Kevin’s cell phone and sent to me at work.


Here is the one with all four grandkids that I linked to yesterday.


I can’t wait to start taking them all camping.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Introducing a New Little Angel

Our oldest son and his wife have just had the 4th, and probably their last, child. So, God delivered to them, and to us as grandparents, a new little angel by the name of Genevieve Ruth. I know God delivered them because Nate, their oldest boy told his parents that he had seen the hand of God in the hallway of the hospital.

They had a 5:00am appointment to be at the hospital so that they could induce labor. And, along with Prissy, the maid in Gone With The Wind, “I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout birthin’ babies.” You see, two or three days ago, Amy was having contractions about 3 minutes apart. But rather than allow the birth to go as what I would call natural, they chose to give Amy morphine to delay the arrival of the baby for two more days so she would have a full 39 weeks of development.

Excuse me, but could someone tell me what two days difference would have been?

Anyway, Jo was at the hospital during all this and when she first called me, she said that they were taking Amy in for an emergency Caesarian because they “had lost the heartbeat” of the baby. Needless to say, I immediately choked up for fear of losing this little baby before she really had a chance of life. I was so choked up, that I couldn’t even explain to my co-workers what was happening.

All I could do was sit at my desk with my head in my hands and offer prayers to God to help this little one. Some of the words of my prayer went like “please put your hand around this little babe” so that she could give us the joy we expected and that we could provide some joy to her as well.

About 10 or 15 minutes later, Jo called to tell me that both mother and baby were just fine. Genevieve Ruth, to be called Genny in the future, had a knot in her umbilical cord and it was also wrapped twice around her neck.

So, did Nate see the hand of God that I had prayed for? I don’t know about all of you, but I think he did. I have one other little note about Nate. Prior to Moira’s birth, Amy and Kevin were using a midwife service for her birth. About a week prior to her birth, the midwife was asking Nate if he had any ideas as to when “the baby would be born and whether it would be a boy or a girl.” Nate’s answer was that it would be Saturday and it would be a girl. It was a cute prediction from a 3-year-old boy for a baby.

Kevin and Amy had chosen to not know from ultrasounds as to what the baby’s gender would be as they wanted this one to be a surprise. So, the next Saturday, September 13, 2009, Moira was born. Nate had hit two for two. So, anyone want to doubt a 3 year old? I won’t anymore.

Thus, please allow me to introduce the world to Genevieve Ruth, born the morning of September 29, 2011, weighing 7 pounds and 1 ounce and measuring 19 ½ inches long.

Well, much to my chagrin, the photos I had Jo download to Photobucket and that I then copied to my computer from that account all came out s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d and really un-viewable, so I will have to post a link to start with and will add pictures to a later posting.

This image is of a hospital person, Genny, and her three siblings.  Nate is to the left, Liam is in the center, and Moira is to the right.  (Note that they are all beautiful kids…..must be my genes.)


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Preview of Coming Event

Hey, I remember that phrase being used to announce an upcoming movie. However, it isn’t in this case. Instead, this is an announcement that I am working on a review for an RV park near Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

We stayed at Sportsman’s Campground in August of 2009 for two weeks when we still had our 26-foot Rockwood fifth wheel. It is a nice place in that it is way out of town. It is about 18 miles out of town, in fact.

Since I have a number of pictures from that two week vacation, I have to decide on which ones I want to use for the review. I’ve also considered doing reviews of some of the places we went, such as Mesa Verde, the Durango/Silverton Railroad, and a few other places.

I guess I am making this little announcement to see if I will get any comments from anyone asking for certain ones first or whether you want reviews of the attractions or not. So, if you have a preference, or another idea, leave me a comment.

Heh, heh.  I imagine a comment I might receive would be something to the effect that it would be better than religion or politics.  Sorry, Folks.  You get to have it all.

Horrific Events in Progress

OK. Sorry, this one will be somewhat political, but it is being written more as an alert for those who read my comments. The news lately has been a horrendous example of a media that is bereft in their responsibilities. At least they are bereft in the responsibilities that I think they should be embracing.

Sadly, with the arrival of the presidency of a man with socialist tendencies, certain elements of our society have emerged from the darkness in which they hid to try to advance their agendas. Because I really believe that much of the media shares those agendas, they are not reporting what is occurring.

Just today, the news is out that the Governor of North Carolina, one Beverly Perdue has made a speech at a local Rotary Club event, in which she stated that she thought there ought to be a suspension of elections for Congress until after the 2012 elections. Her staff has stated that she was “just joking,” but the reality is that no one at that event laughed or clapped. In addition, she said that he hoped she could find someone to agree with her. That doesn’t sound like joking to me.

The story with an audio clip is at this link:


There are also protests occurring on Wall Street by a number of people who have been planning such an event, and one of the leaders, Cornel West who is a professor at a college, has openly called for revolution. That video can be seen at this site:


Incidentally, that second one with Mr. West is found at a website called “The Blaze” which is made up of journalists who are out there finding news stories, audio clips and video clips that the rest of the media is ignoring. As an example, has anyone seen a story about the professor at the protests in any other media? The Blaze is a website that is associated with Glenn Beck, but a lot of stories there won’t be found in the main-stream media.

For the benefit of anyone who has not heard me say so, and I can’t remember whether I ever wrote about it, but I get a lot of news and analysis on radio talk shows like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Neal Boortz, and others. Unlike the normal media, those programs have a tendency to inform the listeners of both sides of the stories and then explain why one side is right or wrong.

I have tried to listen to radio talk shows with a philosophy more to the Left, but it usually doesn’t take long before I begin to discern dishonesty in their analysis. Plus, they are very quick to call people names when they begin to be challenged and they have no answers. Why else would the participants of the Tea Party movement and conservatives be called such names as “Nazis,” “homophobes,” and “racists,” just to name a few.

It is amazing what kind of education one can get by listening to them. However, I also look for other sources of information about many of the stories and commentaries that I hear. The website named above lets you see and hear the stories as does The Drudge Report. With Drudge’s site, he mostly supplies links to other media stories that inform one of what is going on with the news of the day.

Since President Obama is failing so much in his policies and in his popularity, the forces on the left are being emboldened to speak out more and try to do more to advance their agendas which would take this country into a Communist state. When I served in the military so long ago, Communism was our enemy. To me, it still is.

Now, in my older age, I find that my most effective weapon against the enemies of this country is what I have learned over the years and using my blog to help distribute messages about what is going on in our country today. Many of the things I write about are things that are either right or wrong, not necessarily of the political “Left” or “Right.”

I would hope that people would do more to further their knowledge base and sources of news, but I have friends who will state that they only listen to one network as it is there that they were told that people on the “Right” are stupid or otherwise uneducated.

In a conversation one time a co-worker and I were discussing some antic that Nancy Pelosi had done and another co-worker popped in and made a common (at that time) comment that was usually used to disparage Sarah Palin. She mistook whom it was we were talking about, but her comment sounded exactly like something that would have been reported on MSNBC, a very liberal news network, about Sarah Palin.

So, I simply ask people to be diverse in their sources of news and don’t be hung up on only one network. Believe it or not, FOX News is not a “far, right-wing” news source. Shoot, several of their contributors are liberals as well. How many conservative commentators will anyone find on the MSNBC and their like?

Mild Chastising of Online Friend

This month has seen a very minimal action on my part for writing posts for the blog. Part of the reason is that I have had something of a mental block as to what I wanted to write, and part of it is because the bandwidth on our Verizon MiFi was getting close to the 5gig capacity. If anyone anticipates what I have to say (yeah, RIGHT!), then I apologize for being lax this month.

I find myself needing to mildly chastise an online friend, one whom I’ve come to admire their writing skill and their life philosophies and lifestyle. In an attempt to not name this lady, I will try to be as vague as I can, but if she reads this, I hope she recognizes to whom I am writing.

The occasion arose that this lady left a popular site because she sensed that she was not being taken seriously. Truthfully, the opinion that I have is that she wasn’t slighted so much as there was a misunderstanding about the concerns others had for her safety. I shared in those concerns and was joyful that she came though that situation safely.

Now, I find myself needing to ask her to return, as the site does value her opinions and comments. Only recently, I began to read her blog. It is an intriguing site and her writing skills are very good, and her narration of her stories/comments is excellent. I have found the need to go back in her blog and read the entire thing.

In trying to get her to return, I would like to remind her that she is from a state where the citizens are known to be very independent. And, she is married to a gentleman whose origins are noble and even warrior-like.

So, I would like her to reconsider and return as I know the ancestry of her home state is that of determination and grit. So, with that, I will ask her to follow the example of the pioneers and circle the wagons in preparation for a fight, should it come to that. Personally, I don’t think that it will.


The following images are not meant as threatening images, but as images of the past of their places of origin. So, young lady, I ask you to take up your state’s known famous weapon


and be prepared for the fray. And your husband can take up a weapon known for his origins to join you in returning to the circle of friends who would like for you to return. Your opinions and insights are missed.


Should you wish to communicate with me, there is the private message function of that other site, or you can leave me a comment here with your e-mail address and said e-mail address will NOT be published.  Then, I will communicate with you via private e-mail addresses.

It is my sincere hope that you will return.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Vacation Changes….Again!!!

After initially scheduling a week in the Colorado Springs area, specifically Mountaindale RV Resort, for late August, we had to change the dates because our youngest son wouldn’t be able to go at that time because of his job.

Well, now there have been more changes. He has submitted a resume to a new company here in Oklahoma City and has a second interview this coming Wednesday. So, if he were to get a job at this new company, it would be likely that he would not be able to go with us on vacation. Now, there is still the chance that the job doesn’t work out, and nothing would have changed.

However, we got a phone call this morning from our bank. It seems that one of our cards got compromised and someone ran up about $250 worth of charges in Barcelona, Spain. With our cards, they are debit cards that are applied like credit cards instead of debit cards. While there are some advantages to a card ONLY being a debit card, there are also some drawbacks which our cards avoid. But, they can be easier compromised than debit cards.

Anyway, while we will get back the $250 for the charges, it does put a crimp on us as to being able to afford the expenses of pulling our Mobile Suites to Mountaindale RV Resort, especially if Eric were to get the new job. He would be helping with the expenses if he goes along, but since there is an “iffy” attached to this whole prospect, it looks like we need to make a change to our plans.

There is a plus side to this though. If we were to take the Mobile Suites to Mountaindale, our expenses could be likely to be enough to prevent us from being able to attend a Suites Owners International Travel Club rally scheduled for the week after our vacation. That one is at an RV park in northeast Oklahoma near Grove, Oklahoma. However, if we don’t take the coach to Colorado, we can afford to do both a vacation in Colorado and do the rally as well

We will still get the Colorado vacation, but will be staying at our relative’s home in Canon City instead of staying at Mountaindale in the coach. So, I still have the possibility of photographing some good autumn colors, provided nature cooperates, and see friends and relatives as well.

Since we had enjoyed ourselves a lot at the SOITC rally in Carthage, Missouri last year, we really wanted to be able to do the one this year as well. These are not rallies in the same sense as the national rally would be. These regional rallies are generally more social in nature than having seminars on matters related to coach maintenance, full-timing, and RV’ing in general.

So, even though we don’t get to test the Mobile Suites in Colorado cold, we still can have both halves of the vacation. Besides, we will get to test the cold in Oklahoma in a few short months anyway. It may be sooner than we want.

By doing this, we will also be able to better afford to do things to get things ready for winter. For instance, I don’t want to go into freezing weather using a plastic slinky sewer hose because of the possibility of it freezing up because the water won’t drain out of it completely after use. Instead, we are planning on buying one of the Eze Kleen systems that I wrote about in this post:


With the all PVC piping, it should allow it to drain better and not build up frozen water after each use. I also want to get some insulating tubing to put around our water supply hoses.

On that one, I will have two hoses going from the water spigots to the coach. Then main one will be for the water supply for the coach and the second one will be for use in flushing the black tank after draining. I can put both of the hoses in insulated tubes and wrap them with heat tape and then insert all of that into a PVC pipe running from the underground spigots up to the compartment for the water inlets and sewer valves.

Then I would mostly need to get a box to cover the underground spigot area to help insulate that. All I would then have to do is raise the box and turn on the water for the black tank flush as needed. I’ll probably also insulate in some way in the water inlet compartment. I’ve considered doing some kind of skirting around the coach, but I haven’t yet figured out how to do that. There is the issue of not having a uniform area for skirting, what with the slides being out and all.

If I really get desperate, I could always buy some hay bales to put around the coach. Then after winter, I could sell or give them to any number of the folks living in our mobile home park that have horses. A number of our neighbors are related to the horse racing business, and some have numerous horses.

I will be calling Mountaindale RV Resort tomorrow to cancel our reservations. It will cost us about 50% of the week’s stay since the cancellation will fall within 30 days of the reservation. But, even with the loss of $100 for that, we will still be in good shape for having the two weeks of vacation.

Should it be that Eric gets the new job, it would be unlikely that he would be able to go on the Colorado vacation. If that were the case, then it would be doubly hard on Jo and me with expenses if we were pulling our Mobile Suites to Colorado and paying all the expenses.

I guess that things work out for us this year, even though I was looking forward to pulling a mountain pass with our F450 and the Mobile Suites. I don’t think Jo is too excited with that process yet, but being the ex-truck driver that I am, I have more confidence. In addition to all the saved expenses, we would also be driving around Colorado in our Mercury Mariner instead of the Ford F450, thus saving yet even more money.

Also, I can drive to Colorado at 70 miles an hour instead of 60 if we were pulling the coach. As much as I love Colorado, I am always in a hurry to get there, but reluctant to leave. Leaving is usually like a last minute thing and then I need to get home in a hurry as well.

I’m almost as excited as this guy over the upcoming vacations.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sharing My Errors

As usual, one error comes because I didn’t do what is recommended on the RV forums. Another comes because I believed what was written on an RV forum. So, what is one to do?? I would say common sense is in order, even though it costs me money.

We got up Friday for work at 5:30am and while Jo showers and does her bathroom duties, I usually sit and finish off what Dr. Pepper is in my mug from overnight. But, Friday morning I stepped into some water on the linoleum in front of the kitchen counter in the middle of the floor.

After looking around under the sink, we determined that the hot water line was leaking. So, after we both finished our needs for hot water, I went out to the basement of the Mobile Suites and shut off all of the hot water valves at the manifold. I did that because the way they labeled the valves left me wondering just what valve should be shut off, and I didn’t want to have to “trial and error” each valve before going to work.

In the afternoon at work, I got to thinking about what it was that I was going to need to do to fix the water leak, as I have never worked with PEX fittings and line. And then things started to “click” in my head. We had a water leak in the wall behind the shower valves a while back and had to take the coach in to get that fixed. In that case, it was a fitting that was loose.

Then, the other day, while sitting on the commode, I reached down to flush it. After it flushed, I heard a “drip…..drip…..drip” sound for just a little bit and then it stopped. So, I flushed it again and got the same result. My first thought was that I had a leak in the plumbing of the commode. But, when I kneeled down to try to find the leak, I had to flush it again to get it to drip. That is when I found out it was dripping under the sink, and not at the commode.

Looking around underneath, I found the cold water line leaking just a wee bit. I was able to tighten it some with my hand, and after trying the commode flush again, it had stopped.

Of course, this led me to wonder whether the three leaks that we had might be related to our water pressure in the mobile home park being too high. After all, it is on a well and not city water. The obvious clue that should have made me think before is that when we water our yard with the oscillating sprinkler, it puts out a high stream of water even though we only open the water valve about ½ to ¾ turn. (Well……DUH!!!!!)

So, when we got off from work on Friday, we first went down to our RV dealer and looked into water pressure regulators. Remembering that Howard at RV Dreams had written recently about the one they had, I went looking for a similar, adjustable regulator. Of course, the dealer didn’t have any adjustable ones, so we bought one that was regulated at 45psi of water pressure.

We got back to the coach and I immediately shut off the water and installed the regulator just before the filter on our water line. Then, I got a wrench and some pliers and tightened up the fittings on the hot water line. It took a bit to snug it up, so I was pretty sure that we simply had a loose connection. I snugged the cold water line, and it didn’t take as much turning to snug up.

Since then, our water pressure has dropped a lot in the coach and our leak is stopped. I believe that the leaks we were having is because our water pressure was too high. I’m not really happy with the non-adjustable regulator set at 45psi because it doesn’t let the commode flush very well and the little spray line at the side for cleaning the commode bowl has really lost pressure.

I imagine that we will buy one of the adjustable regulators and employ it right at the supply water valve that is underground. That way, the pressure on our supply hose from the valve to the coach will be reduced as well. I just need to determine what the best pressure setting would be once I get one of those.

Now, that was the mistake I made even though the posters on the forums always say to have a regulator. Now, for the mistake made when I believed what one said.

With our Mobile Suites, they recommend that the wheel lug nuts be at a certain “torque setting” by checking them with a torque wrench. Towards that end, I bought my first ever torque wrench this last couple of weeks and checked the torque on the wheels. When I posted about that on one of the forums, I was reminded to also check the torque on the axle nuts that hold the hubs on.

In the past, that has been discussed a lot on the forums and questions had been raised as to what size of socket one would need to tighten the axle nuts. In those discussions, it was mentioned ONE TIME that the socket size was 36mm. Others said that since 36mm might be hard to find, that a standard 1 1/16 inch socket would work as well.

So today, I went to Lowe’s to check on water regulators and see if I could find a socket. To my surprise, they did have a 36mm socket for a ½ inch drive wrench. Plus, it was priced at only $9.00, where the standard 1 1/16 inch sockets that I had seen online were all higher, some of them being $20. I thought I had me a good deal.

Then, we got home after grocery shopping and I crawled under the slides with all my tools and finally got the hub cap off and then the axle hub cap off. Guess what??? The 36mm didn’t fit the axle nut. So, tomorrow I get to take the 36mm back and see if I can find a standard 1 1/16 inch and pay more for it, plus I get to spend for the extra fuel it takes to get the extra running around done.

In my defense, for those that don’t know a lot about wrench and socket sizes, a lot of times there is only a very minute difference between the width of a metric wrench and a standard. So, my thought was that the 36mm would fit EXACTLY and the 1 1/16 would be just ever so slightly bigger, but still useable. It would have been especially so, if one gets a 6-point socket instead of a 12-point one. After that little experience today, I posted on that RV forum that a 36mm would not work, so don’t even try, even if it is cheaper.

So, with all my errors, I deserve a “face palm.”

Polar Bear Face Palm

Friday, September 16, 2011

Politics, Religion, My Book and Boredom

It started out with a political victory for the Republicans in the New York 9th Congressional district, one that was held by Anthony Wiener and by the Democratic Party ever since 1923. It had the effect of really making them to reconsider what it is that the citizens want, and perhaps not what they (the politicians) want.

In addition to that Congressional seat, the Republicans also won a seat in Nevada, although that one isn’t such a surprise, considering the makeup of that district. However, with the loss of 60-some seats in the House of Representatives and about 5 Senate seats in the 2010 general election, it has to be a stinging rebuke to those that think that the majority of Americans do not want to turn this country into a Socialist country.

From what I heard, when President Obama submitted his “jobs bill”, not one Democrat signed on as a sponsor of the bill. It isn’t necessary that one be a sponsor, but after not having any Democrats vote for his last budget in the Senate, and now no sponsors for his jobs bill, he must be feeling a stinging sensation as well.

I get the feeling from some of the news stories I’ve read this last week that even some of the Democrats are ready to throw him under the bus for the 2012 elections. Plus, some of those being critical of the President are members of Congress who have supported him in the past.

Also, some of the unions have decided to not send their money to the President’s campaign funds, but to Democratic Party state campaigns in an attempt to try to help win back some Congressional seats. The Congressional Black Caucus has turned against him because of the horrific unemployment rate for black citizens, his poll numbers keep dropping, his speeches seem to be echoes of previous speeches, and to top it off, James Carville is out there advising him to start firing people.

In a discussion with my wife a while back, I expressed that Obama’s policies and the effects of his actions have proven that the Keynesian model of economics is not working at all, in spite of all the money they have thrown around, trying to get the economy going again. I also told her that in the future, when people said that Obama had managed to prove the Keynes theories wrong, that there would be someone that would say that they “just didn’t spend enough.”

That comment has been made in the past when it was brought of that the Democratic Party models weren’t working. The Great Society is a good example. It was created as a means to fight a “war on poverty,” but after decades of spending billions (and perhaps trillions) of dollars on the welfare system of that war on poverty, we still have poverty. Plus, many of those people want to “milk” the system so they don’t have to work at all.

Lo and behold, an Illinois member of the House of Representative said in a radio interview that we didn’t deserve to keep all of our money (not that we don’t want to pay some taxes.) Her quote:

“I’ll put it this way. You don’t deserve to keep all of it and it’s not a question of deserving because what government is, is those things that we decide to do together. And there are many things that we decide to do together like have our national security. Like have police and fire. What about the people that work at the National Institute of Health who are looking for a cure for cancer.”

Her name is Jan Schakowsky and she went on to say that one reason the 2009 stimulus bill did not succeed was because it was not large enough. So, before the year was even out after my prediction about claiming that they didn’t spend enough, they have already started to say that. The article about her interview with the radio show is at this link:


On another note for this week, I finished the final episode of The Truth Project. That episode I won’t necessarily speak about too much. It was about “community” and our role in that community. It also spoke to our lack of commitment to that role, and that many of us didn’t do enough for the poor and needy as we probably should. Every time I watch that episode, it kind of hits me in the gut.

This past week has also been one where I’ve found it difficult to sit down and write something for the blog. Either I couldn’t decide what topic to write about, or the urge just wasn’t there. Sadly, the same is going on with writing anything for my book, which this blog is supposed to be all about. It was supposed to be something that would make me write more, thus maybe get me to do more with the book.

The last time I wrote anything for the book was back on August 14th. While the book is supposed to be about my photos and thoughts along a biblical line about them, I’ve been able to write about religion, politics, camping and other topics, but it just doesn’t seem to translate to working on the book.

Maybe I need to do more looking at photos and less writing. While I’ve been doing the writing about religion, I’ve not been looking at pictures to try to get thoughts together about them. That has been my problem, in that I’ve either not been able to put together thoughts to go with a picture, or not be able to think of a picture to go with the thoughts.

Now, if my employer would just let me work on the book while I was at work. That would accomplish two things for me. It would help me do more on the book and it would cure the absolute boredom that is my job. My job involves updating the criminal records here in the state of Oklahoma, and I have to look at the data that comes to us from the District Attorney’s office and the court system’s online information to verify that what gets entered is as accurate as possible.

Much of the work we have been dealing with was supposed to have been automated, but that system failed, so we get to do it all manually. In fact, they came to us one day and told us that the automated system was not working and that we had 7 years of cases to enter from just one county. There are about 5 of us doing the bulk of that work, and it took us about 3 years to enter all that 7 years of backlog. We are caught up, but we’ve been told that their automated system still doesn’t work, so we still get to do it all manually.

I need to go take pictures and get charged up.  (And no, this is not one of mine.)

Cactus and Lightning

Friday, September 9, 2011

An Odd Camaraderie

Having been raised in the Oklahoma Panhandle, one gains a firm belief in the quality of the people that live there. At times, the weather is harsh and if one is in the business of agriculture, everyone’s fortunes can hinge on the weather and its fickle notions.

The people there are generous and helpful, almost to a fault. I’ve known of one man who lived on a long lonely stretch of highway with not a gas station for over 60 miles. He always kept a 5-gallon can of gasoline out by his mailbox at the highway. When I asked him about it, he explained that he figured two things out with that gesture. He could be helpful to those who didn’t think to fill up when they should have and it also kept people from siphoning gas out of his vehicles.

For a long time, I used to explain to folks that the people in Oklahoma (as a whole) were friendly and helpful to a fault, especially when compared to the people of New York City. By that same measurement, the Panhandle people were more friendly and helpful than the downstate Oklahomans.

I have been to New York City once in my life. When I was serving in the Army and was traveling overseas to my foreign duty station, we did an overnight stay in NYC. Anyway, the pedestrian traffic almost drove me nuts. The people were like large groups of people walking together, based on the timing of traffic lights. One could be walking along in a space between crowds and be fine until they caught up with one.

It also seemed that they were all in a hurry and certainly weren’t friendly or caring at all of a stranger amongst them. I never gave it a thought that they were mostly strangers to themselves as well, even though many of them may have walked the streets towards busses and subways together on numerous occasions.

When the group of seven of us went to JFK airport to fly overseas, we couldn’t find seven seats together. There were lots of empty seats, but usually only with two or three seats before there were 2 or three sitting together. Looking around, I could see nothing in our boarding area and we still had hours to go before departure. So, I just plopped my duffle bag in the middle of the floor, out of the way of traffic in the concourse, and sat down on it. The others followed suit and we were our own little world in the center of a mass of seemingly unfriendly people.

Following that experience, I had always felt that the New Yorkers were just aloof and unfriendly. After the 1993 bombing of the World trade center, I began to see some of the people as being real and those that were suffering really tugged at me. However, I figured it was just a situational thing and that as soon as things “got back to normal” the people would get back to normal.

Then came April 19, 1995 and the still morning of Oklahoma City being shattered with the sound of an explosion tearing apart the Murrah Federal building and the eventual killing of 168 people, including 19 children under the age of 6 years old.

To this day, I remember the image of firefighter Chris Fields carrying out the small dying body of little Baylee Almon. It was an image that touched a nation, seeing that little girl so helpless to what had happened. If I remember correctly, it was a lot of civilians who first responded to the emergency, being as they were already in the area. Little Baylee Almon was handed to the fireman because it was thought that a trained rescuer could better help the little girl. She died later in the hospital.

Little Baylee Almon

(Photo taken by Charles Porter.)

As the rescue efforts began and operated for about two weeks in the “Rescue” operation, all the workers at the scene would have to do is say that there was a need for a particular product, such as gloves, knee pads, foot pads for the search dogs, or whatever else may be needed. The citizens of Oklahoma City would then head to the stores and buy what was needed. It was very uplifting to see one’s fellow citizens responding to even the smallest of requests with such fervor.

At the time, I was worked for a major car rental company, whose reservations office was in Oklahoma City. I remember a call from a potential customer who was enquiring about a car rental somewhere. She asked me about my accent and where it was that I lived.

After I told her, she told me of the story that she worked in one of the World Trade Center buildings and that after the Oklahoma City bombing, the workers in those buildings made up huge cards that a lot of the WTC employees were signing to send to Oklahoma City. At that moment, I had a whole new attitude towards people from other parts of the country, especially for those in the World Trade Towers in New York City.

After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, we, as Oklahomans, got to reach out to them in their time of horror and grief. Ever since that day, we two cities are linked. One citizen of New York, known locally as “Hard Hat Andy,” has even commented that our two cities share a bond that will be hard to break.  It is my hope that the citizens of New York will forgive me for my previous bad comments about them.

Rescue teams and others from all around the country came to try to help during the rescue and recovery period after the Murrah Building bombing. I remember one team of rescuers that scrawled a message on a wall in the area of the building. They were a part of the Oklahoma Bomb Disposal Unit. I think that section of wall has now been cut out and placed in the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. (I don’t know for sure, as I’ve never been able to bring myself to go it.)

That message from Rescue Team 5 has a meaning for the disaster sites of both New York City and Oklahoma City. It certainly speaks to the idea that if the blood of Cain’s brother Abel cried out to God, then all the innocent lives of the destruction in two cities must also cry out.

Okc_bombings_rescue_team_5 Sentiment

Monday, September 5, 2011

What About God and Labor?

Nope, this isn’t about God’s opinion on organized unions, even though this is being written on Labor Day, a holiday created to “honor” those organizations. This is about God’s commands about working. This posting is based on my viewing of episode 11 of The Truth Project.

Let me start this dissertation with a quote from Exodus, specifically, chapter 20 and verse 8:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

Yep. That is God’s instructions in the Ten Commandments about honoring the 7th day for rest and worship. But, wait. There is more to that commandment. Now, let’s look at the following verses:

9 Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath unto Jehovah thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 for in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore Jehovah blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

Verse 9 speaks to working for six days. So, just as it is explained in verse 11 that God worked for 6 days, so is man to work for six days. The Truth Project carries the ideas of work further than these few verses.

As brought out in the video, God has principals to economics. In fact we could list about seven of them.

1. All things belong to God.

2. God appointed man to do a creative stewardship of His goods with “ownership” rights.

3. Theft of another’s goods is wrong, just as is coveting another man’s goods.

4. Skills and abilities to work come from God.

5. Work is profitable, good and to be pursued, while laziness is not good.

6. Love God and not your goods.

7. Be compassionate and generous with your goods to those in need.

Now, before someone jumps up and says that, “Yep, we’re supposed to be generous to the poor,” I should explain that God later says that owners should not glean all of their crops, but leave some for the poor. He did NOT say that the owners were supposed to glean the crop and give it to the poor. God wanted the poor to be able to work for themselves in going to the fields and vineyards and “harvest” their own from that which was left for them. (Also see Deuteronomy 24:19.)

Since Christians base most of their beliefs on the teachings of the New Testament, allow me to provide some verses from II Thessalonians 3, specifically verses 6 through 10, with special emphasis on that last of verse 10:

6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching[a] you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.

But, this is not the first admonishment that idle people should not gain at the expense of others. Isaiah spoke along the same lines in chapter 65:

21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.

22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree shall be the days of my people, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.

So, does God like business? There must be evidence of that since it is mentioned that we are to work, and why work if there is no “profit” to gain? However, we are to remember that we are but stewards of God’s goods, not truly the owners of them.

Social System Circle Work

As humans, we’ve been granted skills by God which we are to use to benefit ourselves but to also glorify God. Towards this end, The Truth Project spoke of Bach placing three letters at the end of each of his “works.” Those letters were “S-D-G” and stood for “Soli Deo Gloria,” or translated from the Latin, “For God’s Glory Alone.”

Does God love a cheerful worker? I would have to think so, since our works glorify Him. I guess we could by like a child that is told that on Sunday (the seventh day) he would have to put up his toys and not play with them. While it might be that we would be pleased to work 7 days a week, God intends for us to have a day of rest.

From the time of Adam, when he was put into the Garden of Eden to care for it, and up until now, we should all take pleasure in our work and what we do to glorify Him. I pray that what I do in my endeavors will do just that.

One of my meager works, which is nothing more than a photograph of something beautiful that He has created.  Mammoth Hot Springs at Yellowstone National Park in 2002.


The American Experiment; Stepping Stones

Such was the title of episode number ten of The Truth Project. With a couple of nights of this Labor Day weekend seeing me not get to bed until 2:30am (for no really apparent reason), there was a three hour nap this afternoon after church services and our Life Group session. Waking up at 5:00pm from the nap, I knew that it would be at least midnight before this day was done, so I watched two episodes of the video series.

In a nutshell, the series brought out that the foundation of this country is not in its Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Instead, it began much before with the arrival in the “New World” of the Pilgrims. Their arrival was because of the lack of religious freedom in England and with the intent of further spreading God’s word.

From The Avalon Project of the Lillian Goldman Law Library of Yale’s Law School is a link to The Articles of Confederation of the United Colonies of New England, written in 1643:


Part of the first paragraph, or preamble, come these words:

“Whereas we all came into these parts of America with one and the same end and aim, namely, to advance the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and to enjoy the liberties of the Gospel in purity with peace…”

Later, during the forming of the Constitution, the least religious of the 56 “representatives” was Benjamin Franklin, who was a Deist and thus believed in God, but not necessarily in Christianity. It was he who spoke during a contentious period in the negotiation for the wording of the Declaration spoke up and implored that each of the members of the body remember Whom they had offered prayers to on a daily basis and to return to the practice of prayer prior to each day’s deliberations.

In today’s culture, one would come to believe that all the representatives of the Constitutional Convention were a bunch of Pagans. Throughout the episode of The Truth Project, various notables such as Adams, Jefferson and others spoke of the need for the Republic to be based on religion and morality. Without those as a foundation for the country, a Republic would be unable to provide freedom. If a country doesn’t have sound religious beliefs and morals, then the common good is replaced by good for those in power.

If those in power have no belief or allegiance in and with God, then what is to prevent them from becoming god themselves and declaring that all freedoms will come as a result of that “leader’s” benevolence, if there be any at all? We already know that the nature of man is not good, so an outcome of a non-believing leader’s dictates would not be good for believers.

Also, in the founding of the government, the drafting the Constitution seemed to have some belief in the Bible, as they probably went back to Isaiah 33: 22 for these words:

“For Jehovah is our judge, Jehovah is our lawgiver, Jehovah is our king; he will save us.”

The use of the words judge, lawgiver, and king almost seems to be the idea for a Supreme Court, a Legislature (the Congress), and a king (the President.) While that doesn’t necessarily fall back into the idea of God’s social order as written about in earlier posts, it does bring about the idea of “threes” again.

I would then wish to contend that the foundation of the country was with the Pilgrims and Puritans who settled this land with the intent of spreading God’s kingdom. And, that the founders of our government were also highly religious people, primarily Christians, and that the form of government was even a reflection of biblical sources.

However, today’s culture reflects what began over 150 years ago. When they were first founded, many, if not most of our universities were created as religious schools. Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia University all had referenced to God and Christ in their creeds and mottos. Following the publication of “The Origin of the Species” by Darwin in 1859, the new President of Harvard in 1869, one Charles William Eliot, hired Christopher Columbus Langdell as the new head of the Law school.

Langdell’s leadership led to the replacement of Blackstone’s Commentary on the Law as the primary textbook, which incidentally was based on biblical beliefs, with the introduction of “case law” as an evolving method of deciding court cases. This is not surprising considering that both Eliot and Langdell firmly believed in Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Alas, the thought comes to me that the universities have been an institution of change from biblical beliefs to more secular ones since the middle of the 1800’s and continues today. While many in those institutions of learning herald that change is inevitable and good, I have to disagree. Our own history, since the beginning of the progressive philosophy in the 1800’s, shows that today’s liberals (of both political parties) have constantly eroded good biblical beliefs.

It is with that in mind that it is not surprising that the political left is so critical of and afraid of the Tea Party movement. It is that movement that desires to move this country’s philosophies back to more traditional and biblical ones, both in the social and legal realms. They naturally rebel against the progressive movement of altering this country into something that is less benevolent than it was before.

Those progressive movements have been at work in just about every aspect of life. My next posting on The Truth Project will be on the topic of labor, and that movement is prevalent in that field. It may be surprising to many to see the changes in that field over the years.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

What a Sobering Thought

I received a phone call today from one of the participants of a couple of different forums. He and his wife are planning on traveling through Oklahoma City in late October and will likely (his words, if I remember correctly) spend a couple of weeks with some of his family here in the OKC area.

He had mentioned in one of his private messages to me that they would like to meet up with Jo and I and have supper together. Now, I can certainly appreciate and look forward to meeting people from the forums in person instead of always online. So far, we have had the opportunity to meet up with two different families who were participants on the forums when they traveled through OKC.

But then “S” (I won’t use his full name, but just his initial) mentioned something to me that darn near scared me to death. He reminded me that he had called me in the past prior to them buying their first RV, and then he said that I had played a major role in their decision to buy the DRV Suites that they did, based on what I had said on the different forums.

Can you imagine my shock and real concern that someone is spending tens of thousands of dollars on a product based on my comments and advice? I mean, it is one thing for me to research a purchase for myself, because I know that if I make an error in judgment, it is only going to affect my family and me. It is an entirely different thing to think of someone else basing a decision on my judgment.

In truth, they have enjoyed their Mobile Suites and have even placed an order for a new 2012 model. So, to some degree, my mind is alleviated by the knowledge they “S” conducted his research and toured the factories. He spent some time on the “owner’s forums” of another brand of RV, as well as on forums made up mostly of owners and potential buyers of DRV Suites.

His research into issues with the “some other brand,” communication that he received from “someone” from the factory, and comments from two different salesmen of that other brand led him to even follow the advice of those salesmen to purchase the Mobile Suites instead of the “some other brand” that they were selling.

Knowing that he did his own research and that he was happy with his purchase helped to alleviate the initial concern that I had that my thoughts and comments helped lead him to spend a lot of his money on a DRV Suites product. Then, as the day progressed, I became even more comfortable with the idea.

Anyone who has read very much of this blog knows that there isn’t any way that I can get things said in a short and timely manner. Most of my postings run at least two full pages of space in Microsoft Word. Why, just this introduction into this posting has run for 8 paragraphs and over 500 words, and I’m not done yet with my comments.

(I’m thinking that this “problem” may be caused by the fact that as a youngster in school, I got into trouble quite a bit and had to write a number of 500-word themes for punishment. Well, that and usually a paddling as well. So, if you really get irritated with my long comments, blame it on my school teachers and principals.)

My postings here aren’t the only place my comments go longer than many others. It is the same way on the forums. I guess that I want people to have a more “rounded” answer than just a quick, short one. So I tend to “flesh-out” an answer with more information than that for which their original question may have asked.

Anyone who has kind of been around the forums since we started researching knows that Jo and I researched on different RV’s for two years before we made our purchase. That time involved visits to RV shows, RV dealerships, and a lot of questions and even more reading on the forums.

Thanks to the very knowledgeable and friendly folks on those forums, I gained a pretty good education about RV’s. Incidentally, anyone reading this should also know that the RV education continues on after the purchase as well. There is a lot to learn about all the “systems” that are a part of the RV, such as inverters, appliances, air conditioning and heating, plumbing and so much more.

Anyway, the point I am leading up to is that as RV’ers and participants of forums, we have a responsibility to give the best answers we can to the questions that are asked. If someone asks about “X-part of the RV,” perhaps a short answer like “We’ve had “X-part of the RV” for six years and no problems” isn’t necessarily a really good answer.

In my case, I participate on three different forums; RV Dreams, Suites Owners International Travel Club (SOITC), and 5th Wheel Forums. I also read on other forums and a number of blogs and travel journals. If we as forum participants have heard of others having issues with “X-part of the RV,” perhaps we should be mentioning that some others have had problems and that the questioner on the forum should also look at those other resources of information.

We should also be careful to mention to those asking questions that EVERY brand of RV, regardless of type, will have some problems. So, we also shouldn’t be sugar-coating our answers. After all, someone may very well be purchasing an RV with tens of thousands of dollars based on the answers we gave on a forum.

When we were researching, we wanted to get an RV with an inverter so that we could be “campers” on occasion instead of RV’ers. (OK…in our case pretty luxurious camping.) In looking at the forums, I learned that for those using computers and other equipment with “computing power” within them, a Pure Sine Wave inverter is the best bet because it will better protect that computing equipment than what a Modified Sine Wave inverter will.

There is another benefit to all the batteries and inverters on our Mobile Suites. I was sitting up a few weeks back working on the computer and “sounds in the RV changed. I looked up and the oscillating fan on the dining room table was slowing down. There was a thunderstorm going on and the power had gone off. However, my laptop was still running and we still had lights. Quite a change from being in a stix and brix when the electric goes off.

After saying all of this, everyone can now take solace in the fact that it is unlikely that my posts and forum answers will get any shorter. Sorry, but after all the help I’ve received from so many others, I owe as much and more to those who can benefit from my answers.

Sorry, this is not my photo, but it just seems funny to me, and maybe it represents all those interested researchers out there in their own hurry for knowledge.