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.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Forum Moderation

Back in early October, Howard and Linda Payne at RV Dreams were preparing to take a trip to Africa with two other RV couples, one couple of which were natives of South Africa. Since they would be gone for a bit over a month, Howard recruited myself and another forum participant with the username of GENECOP to be moderators.

While Gene had been or currently is a moderator on other forums, this was the first time I had an opportunity to participate in the forums in an entirely new way. I was first humbled to think that Howard had enough respect for me to ask me to serve in such a way, and I certainly took it as an honor.

It is an interesting task because one suddenly finds oneself looking at a forum post from an entirely different perspective. I guess it would be like a police officer having an entirely different perspective with the public and with drivers in particular.

I also saw the opportunity as a way to pay Howard and Linda back for sustaining such a wonderful website and forum as the one at RV Dreams. If I could help them by being on the lookout for spam, I would also be helping the other forum participants by keeping out the riff-raff such as spammers and those with the wrong attitudes.

Now, not having had any experience with such an undertaking, I suddenly found myself with a new respect for the moderators over on a firearms forum where I also participate. Those gentlemen (or ladies) are responsible for keeping a bunch of “gun-totin’” individuals curtailed in what they say and how they say it.

In fact, when someone gets banned for an inappropriate comment, the word “Banned” pops up under that user’s username and avatar. It always leads us to wonder what they did to get banned. However, on that forum, one doesn’t ask why someone got banned. Otherwise, one could be construed by the moderators as “questioning their authority” and be banned just for asking.

Fortunately, the folks on RV forums (and RV Dream’s forum in particular) are really nice people and seldom get out of hand. That is not to say that there aren’t misunderstandings. In my duties as moderator, I “chided” one individual about his choice of wording and he felt like I had “thrown him under the bus,” so to speak. That was not my intention in chiding him. He has been an online friend, and I hope that he remains a friend today.

Now, let me get back to the aspect of me trying to keep the riff-raff off of the forums. There was one in particular that kept spamming with comments about some kind of LED lights that were clearly not related to RV’ing. I must have deleted his posts and banned his IP address at least 8 to 10 times. He got to the point that he was somehow able to post without increasing his post count or show up on a “last entry preview” so that I had to literally go into each new posting and see if he was there.

While I wasn’t able to get rid of him with Moderator functions, Howard was able to with his Administrator functions when he got back. I had kept a log of the actions that I took and relayed that to him upon his return.

Now, because of the aspect of banning is a real necessity, and remembering the shooter’s forum’s moderators being quick to ban for even somewhat minor infractions, they always referred on that forum as the moderators being equipped with a “ban hammer.”

Well, guess what??? I found one…….

…….check out the horns and the “come on” gesture with the free hand.

Kind of like, “Come on, Dude (or Dudette). Try and mess with me.

Spammer Hammer

To be honest, while I think most everyone on the RV Dreams forums would sense my strange humor, I have really been hesitant to post this there. But, since this is my blog (thanks to Google and Blogger and Live Writer and imaging software), I can safely post it here.

Oh, by the way….

….I’ve been asked to continue as a moderator. Again, but in spite of the image above, I feel humbled.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

An Improvement on an Air Compressor

I thought I had posted a blog comment on this topic, but apparently it was only a post on a forum somewhere instead. So, I’ll mention what it was that I did to improve the efficiency and capacity of our Sears air compressor.

This particular Sears compressor is one that has been purchased and used by numerous members of the forums where I frequent. I haven’t seen anyone say they were unhappy with it. While I am happy with the compressor, I did have a desire to improve the use of it.

The Sears compressor I am speaking of is at this link:


For the most part, folks call it the 15309 model, based on part of the numbers in the link above. As seen in the post, it sells for $99.99 and has been around for a number of years. Some claim that they have problems finding them, even on-line, but I’ve never had that problem when I went to looking. On occasion, they mark it down to $89.99. Unfortunately, I didn’t get it at the cheaper price.

The one thing about the compressor that didn’t really impress me was the size of the tank on the compressor, which is only about 1 ½ gallons in size. The tires on our Mobile Suites are 17.5” and are to be aired up to 125 psi when cold.

While the compressor is rated at 150 psi, that is a maximum pressure and the actual working pressure is closer to the 125 psi. When airing up our coach tires, I will have to make sure the compressor is actually running at the time that I reach that 125 psi; otherwise, the tank just isn’t good enough to supply the air. It is all about volume in the tank.

So, for the times when I am airing up coach and pickup tires in preparation for travel, I took an older LPG cylinder for an outdoor barbeque unit and converted it to an air tank. I did have to buy some black pipe fittings, air chucks, and valves, but the connecting hose I use is the one coiled one that comes with the air compressor. That way, I don’t have two air hoses snaking around when airing up tires.

With the use of valves in appropriate places, when the LPG cylinder (bottle) is not attached to the air compressor, it can be used as an “air bubble” for those occasions when not a lot of air is needed, such as when airing up car tires. Also, with the valves, the air compressor can be used by itself.

Since the air compressor has a control knob controlling the amount of pressure that is sent through the hose, it is really helpful in airing up bicycle tires. With them, we set the output pressure to 60 lbs. psi and air up the tires until I no longer hear the air flowing. As small as bicycle tires are, if one uses an air tester, a wee bit of air is lost with each test of the tire’s air pressure.

One of the extra things I did was to use an old milk carton case to keep the cylinder in so that it isn’t falling over in the basement of the coach and rolling around.

Now, I will grace you with photos of the air compressor and the modifications that I did to it and to the LPG cylinder. With the two hooked together and the valves opened on both, instead of 1.5 gallons of air capacity, I now have 6.5 gallons of volume. It helps in that it doesn’t require the air compressor to run as much as with only the 1.5 gallon capacity.


This next photo is of the data sticker on the compressor, giving its volume and compressor capacities.


This compressor also has a valve on the bottom so that one can expel all the air as one expels the air from the tank.  On the LPG cylinder, I turn it upside-down and open the valve to do the same with it.


In this next image, you can see that I used a tee, a valve, and male and female air chuck fittings to create the portion on the compressor.


The next picture shows how the cord is stored and it shows the safety valve for the compressor, should it not shut off at the appropriate pressure.  The center knob between the gauges is the one that controls the output pressure from the compressor tank(s).


Now is the LPG cylinder with the coiled hose attached.


A close-up image of the fittings and hose on the cylinder.


And now a close-up of the fittings and valve.  They are a black pipe 90-degree street “L”, a black pipe reducer, a valve, and a male air chuck fitting.


Not mentioned before now, but in honesty I must mention it now, it just goes to show that I can sometimes be “full of air.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An Answer to a Comment on Presidents

My comments yesterday about politics and religion prompted an anonymous commenter to post his take on the “worst” President. His comment:

Anonymous said...

All in all, George Bush took an actual sur­plus of $127 bil­lion in 2001, and
turned it into a deficit of $319 bil­lion in 2005. His total in new spend­ing
equaled over $5 tril­lion. This fig­ure dwarfs the $1.44 tril­lion in new
spend­ing Pres­i­dent Obama is expected to make through two terms end­ing in
It should be noted that the biggest spend­ing spree George Bush and the
Repub­li­cans went on, accord­ing to these fig­ures from the
Con­gres­sional Bud­get Office, were the Bush Tax Cuts. The New York Times
report puts it this way; “If all of them [Bush Tax Cuts] expired as
sched­uled at the end of 2012, future deficits would be cut by about half, to
sus­tain­able levels”.
Worst President ever? You must have been asleep between January 2001 and January 2009.

Anonymous seems to think the only thing to judge a President on is the amount of deficit that a President incurs during their term. Now, I will agree that President George W. Bush spent too much. Or, I guess I should say that he didn’t have the inclination or fortitude to veto the bills presented to him by the Congress.

You see, it is the Congress that initiates the spending bills, even though sometimes with the encouragement of the President. So, let’s be sure and include Congress in the mix as to spending and thus incurring additional deficits or debt.

Also, keep in mind that the unemployment rate during President George W. Bush’s terms were a LOT less than those in Obama’s short 2 years and 10 months so far. I’ll stack up Bush’s 8 years of good unemployment numbers against Obama’s any day. If I remember right, the worst unemployment rate, based on “new” unemployment benefit applications, during Bush’s term was something like 5.7% compared to Obama’s 9% plus.at his worst so far.

Speaking of unemployment, the actual number of unemployed is probably closer to 17% (or more) rather than the 9% “new” benefit applications. Many of those unemployed have gone beyond the extended period of time that unemployment benefits have been allowed to them. I would imagine a number of them have given up looking and are simply working part time.

Now, as for the spending of the two last Presidents, I seem to have some different numbers than those of Anonymous. He claims that Obama’s spending will be $1.44 Trillion over a two term period of time. I think those numbers are a wee bit shaky, and I even think I detect the smell of a smoke screen here.

Back in January of this year, which was 10 months ago, an article appeared on NPR’s website which was one from The Weekly Standard and was written by one Jeffrey H. Henderson. In that article (link to be provided below just so I can show my source of numbers), there is this passage:

“When President Obama took office two years ago, the national debt stood at $10.626 trillion. It now stands at $14.071 trillion — a staggering increase of $3.445 trillion in just 735 days (about $5 billion a day).

To put that into perspective, when President George W. Bush took office, our national debt was $5.768 trillion. By the time Bush left office, it had nearly doubled, to $10.626 trillion. So Bush's record on deficit spending was not good at all: During his presidency, the national debt rose by an average of $607 billion a year. How does that compare to Obama? During Obama's presidency to date, the national debt has risen by an average of $1.723 trillion a year — or by a jaw-dropping $1.116 trillion more, per year, than it rose even under Bush.”

Here is more:

“According to the White House's Office of Management and Budget, during his eight fiscal years, Bush ran up a total of $3.283 trillion in deficit spending (p. 22). In his first two fiscal years, Obama will run up a total of $2.826 trillion in deficit spending ($1.294 trillion in 2010, an estimated $1.267 trillion in 2011 (p. 23), and the $265 billion in "stimulus" money that was spent in 2009). Thus, Bush ran up an average of $410 billion in deficit spending per year, while Obama is running up an average of $1.413 trillion in deficit spending per year — or $1.003 trillion a year more than Bush.”

Now, how do those numbers stack up compared to Anonymous’s projected number of $1.44 trillion over a supposed 8 year term for Obama?  Also, keep in mind that during the last two years of Bush’s presidency there was a Dcmocratic Party controlled Congress.  Since Bush was somewhat lacking in the ability to veto legislation, it was still the Congress that created most of the spending in those last two years.

Somebody’s numbers (and perhaps their sources) are just a wee bit fuzzy. Oh, and I get tired of the liberals saying that a tax cut is actually “spending” and Democratic Party officials are always crying as to how can we “pay for a tax cut.” You don’t. You just don’t take the people’s money. Tax cuts are not “paid for” from the treasury.

Oh, and as a final thought, it has been proven a number of times that tax cuts increase the revenue to the U.S. treasury. So, with more than 8,000,000 extra people out of work, I wonder what effect that is having on the revenues? Anyone with any sense of economics would have a clue or common sense would have a clue.

Now, the link to my source and NPR is not even close to being considered a conservative source of news.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Question for Blogger Users

I have noticed lately that when I click on a post title to “copy” the address from the browser address line, the words in that address line do not display the post title, but instead it displays part of the first line of the post’s text.

So, is anyone else noticing this?

Does anyone have an idea of how I can get my address line information to display the post title instead of the first line?

Or, is this just a recent idiosyncrasy of Blogger?

Any help would be appreciated if you have any answers for me.

Thanks all.

Politics…or Religion?

What should be the topic for today? On one hand, we have politics or religion, or there is the choice between religion and politics. So, I’m now in quite a quandary in choosing a topic for this blog.

I know…..

……I’ll do religion AND politics. (I can hear the squirming audience of readers now.)

To start the process, let’s pull up one of the liberal’s favorite bible scriptures from Bible Gateway, a great online biblical source of many versions. We go now to Matthew chapter 7 and verse 1 of the New International Version:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”

The liberals love to throw this one down as if they were playing a trump ace in a game of cards, saying in a sense, “Take that, you haven’t the right to judge me and my actions. However, many of them have never heard of verse 2 of the exact same book of the Bible. That one reads:

“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” The chapter goes on to speak of making sure one has removed the “log” from one’s own eye before criticizing the “speck” in one’s brother’s eye.

However, if one has a righteous reason for judging, it is not a bad thing. If I wish to criticize or judge someone on their belief in abortion, as long as I firmly believe that abortion is murder and know so from the teachings of God’s scripture, I am free to judge. And, should I judge on that basis, I can honestly and firmly state in my defense at the judgment that because abortion is unrighteous, then I am righteous in my judgment of abortionists.

Since I have said that, I will now take the opportunity to judge President Obama.

Barack H. Obama has got to be the most incompetent and ignorant man to have ever held the office of President. After the fiasco that was Jimmy Carter, who now can breathe a sigh of relief because he is no longer the worst President ever, I never thought we would have someone so completely out of touch with the necessary knowledge and beliefs to be a good, effective President.

In setting up his administration, Obama has populated it with a lot of “educated” idiots who have dealt with theory for years and decades but have no experience at all in their theories. This President’s administration has the absolute LOWEST percentage of people who are experienced in economics, energy, and education.

Under the guidance of Obama and his administration, our national debt is skyrocketing at the same time the unemployment is as well. While there are already those out there saying that “the stimulus didn’t work because we didn’t spend enough,” they are prepared to double down with stupid ideas of hurting the economy more by raising taxes during a recession, which is an act that Obama himself has stated is a bad thing to do.

Obama has “delayed” a decision on drilling for shale oil, an act that is affecting up to 100’s of thousands of jobs. They have nixed the building of the pipeline from Canada to the lower United States, and that is affecting roughly 20,000 jobs, most of which would be union jobs. As a result, Canada is now looking to China for a market for their oil.

So, we have lost energy from oil and jobs. But, the eggheads and Obama aren’t through. Anyone heard of Solyndra? How about this headline from the Investor’s Business Daily:

Ex-Solyndra Staff to Get $13,000 Each in TAA Federal Aid.”

The story is at this link:


Each of those employees of the company will get that amount in benefits and cash for retraining for new jobs. Yet, Obama and the Energy Department head Steven Chu have said that solar energy is the future of energy, but those employees will now be trained for other jobs, even though it is said that they are highly skilled employees.

Well then, if solar technology and its trained employees are so good, why will they be trained for something else? If solar and wind energy is so good, why do we HAVE to subsidize them (again stealing from the taxpayers) and the companies involved? Especially when you consider that Solyndra got over $530 million in loans, I have to wonder what rat-hole that money went down.

Similar to the bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler, where the money was really to bail out the unions, who is the real beneficiary of the $530 million to Solyndra? By the way, the TAA aid is designed for employees who have lost their jobs because of tough competition from foreign countries. Since Solyndra management (and the Department of Energy’s Steven Chu) should have known that China was underselling American companies, why was a loan even given?

Obama and Chu are probably not even asking themselves those questions, let alone really seeking answers. Since Obama is unlikely to go looking for replacement people for his administration from among those with actual business management experience, I don’t see any turn-around in the devastating course that Obama has steered the country.

I’ve stated this before, and it is still pertinent. I don’t have any kind of college degree, but I understand economics and energy far better than Obama and his administration officials. Or, is he just evil, with every intention of doing what he is doing? After all, he is a Socialist.

While the media is out attacking every Republican seeking the Presidential nomination, we should really be looking for a Republican knowledgeable enough to really manage the economy and energy. Oh, and any one of the bunch currently seeking the Republican nomination is far better than Obama.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Note to Self: Proofread

OK. I am officially embarrassed with myself in that I have gone back and looked at some posts and found some atrocious mistakes. I’ve relied too much on Microsoft Word’s spelling and grammar checker instead of reading things myself to proof them. If I try to write my book that way, folks will think I’m a real rube.

While I won’t try to correct all that I found wrong, I do want to point out one error that I made in yesterday’s post about the wireless thermometer. I said there was about an 8 degree difference between the outside temperature and the temperature in the underbelly.


What I should have said is that so far, the range of temperatures in the underbelly had been about 8 degrees. In the cooler weather, the underbelly had been ranging between 57 and 65 degrees. However with the advent of even cooler weather, I’m getting readings of 52 degrees there this evening.

I’ve had a bit of a mystery this evening. To supplement our heating, we have been using the fireplace and a Lasko Ceramic electric heater in the living room. That way, we limit the amount of propane that we are using, at least until we get the 100 gallon tank delivered next month.

However, I noticed this evening that while the fireplace was “lit up,” I wasn’t getting any heat from it. I presumed that it was because the thermostat was set about right that it just wasn’t coming on. Then a little later, just to check it out, I turned the thermostat up and it never came on to heat.

So, I turned the fireplace clear off, figuring that was another thing I was going to need to get checked out and fixed. But, before setting down to write this little note, I reached over and turned it on again and it is all working. I wonder if it just needed a rest or whether I am imagining things.

I’ll need to go to bed pretty quick. It is 11:00pm and I do have to work tomorrow. (Afternoon naps can sure mess up one’s sleeping habits.) One good thing is that we will only have a three day week this week because of Thanksgiving. Working for the state has its occasional advantages.

We are looking forward to a Thanksgiving Day trip to Tulsa to spend the holiday with Jo’s middle sister and her family. She has a granddaughter and none of our grandkids have ever got to meet their cousin. The only one missing from this gathering, at least from the Oklahoma bunch, is our youngest son, Eric. He has to work the holiday. So, Jo and I will fix a Thanksgiving dinner for him on Saturday when he is off.

For your pleasure, a sunset picture taken last month at the SOITC rally in Grove, OK.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Technology is VERY Helpful

Today looks like it will be a “two-for” in that I will have two blog postings for today instead of a single one. The first one was about the “Occupy” movement and its supporters, sympathizers, and sponsors. One not mentioned that I suspect very much is George Soros.

But, let’s call that it for the whiny brats. This post is more about technology and how little, almost insignificant things become such a blessing to us. Basically, it boils down to using technology to avoid having to use a more simple, yet troublesome method.

A case in point is our Radio Shack Indoor/Outdoor wireless thermometer system. It is Radio Shack’s catalog number of 63-332 should you be interested. It is a system that is referred to a 3-channel wireless system where one can use up to three different thermometers to check temperatures in three different places.

This is that unit.


As purchased in the stores, the base unit and the sensor closest to it in the above picture is what comes in the package. Any additional sensors, like the one off to the right, are purchased separately and have to be ordered. Fortunately, Radio Shack will ship them right to your door or your mailbox.

The larger number at the top is the temperature and the little number “2” off to the left indicates that the reading is from channel number 2. With this system, one can actually monitor 4 different temperatures. There could be the three remote thermometers as well as the built in thermometer in the base that displays the temperature of the location where it sits.

In our case, the base sits on our kitchen counter, near to my desk, channel 1 remote is placed outside and under a slide (so it is shaded), and channel 2 remote is placed in the underbelly near the water manifold located there.

With that system in place, I can monitor both the outside temperatures, should I need to do more to protect our water supply, and the underbelly so that I can add heat in some way to prevent the plumbing from freezing.

While we’ve not been using this for long, what I’ve seen trending is that the underbelly stays about 8 degrees warmer than the outside temperatures. I suspect that difference might get smaller as the temperature gets colder.

The base unit also displays the date and time as well as the indoor temperature. It also has a memory so that one can check to see what the coldest temperature (or hottest) for the day. It can also be set to be on one remote sensor all the time or it can be set to cycle through all of the remote sensors.

The second thing is less useful for a full-timer, but it is really good for the photographers. It is simply a Targus brand device that lets one connect the “box” with a camera memory card in it to one’s USB slot in one’s computer. Compared to the previous USB adapter I had for my memory cards, this one is a flash.

In addition, it also takes more than one kind of memory card, whereas my old one would only take my CF format cards. I don’t know why it took me so long to update my older technology. I should have bought this long ago.


Let the picture taking begin……

One More “Occupy” Blog Post

In a discussion with an acquaintance, I was asked if there was really anything wrong with the Occupy Wall Street (otherwise known as OWS) movement. The acquaintance asked if they weren’t just like the Tea Party movement.

I explained that there was a world of difference. If you read the blog post prior to this one, you know that there have been few, if any, arrests at Tea Party movements and certainly no violence. Not only has there been violence at “Occupy” events, in New York the other day the protesters were harassing children as they went to school.

While my other post mentioned a few that were possibly involved with influencing the “Occupy” movement, I found a document that goes on to mention a bunch of individual and groups of questionable beliefs that are supporters, sympathizers, or sponsors. The author even lists the sources from which he determined who were supporters. Rather than include the entire document, I’ll just post the names of those here and then provide a link to the article.

While the author of the piece is using a username instead of his own, I can attest that some of the source material he used to determine who were supporters, sponsors and sympathizers I had heard or seen before. Some of which was the spoken words of those in support. So, without further ado, here is the list of those groups and people.

“Official list of Occupy Wall Street’s Supporters, Sponsors, and Sympathizers

October 31, 2011 - 10:48 am - by Zombie

Hillsdale College Forums on Constitutional Lobbies
The 99%: Official list of Occupy Wall Street’s supporters, sponsors and sympathizers

Communist Party USA
Sources: Communist Party USA, OWS speech, The Daily Caller

American Nazi Party
Sources: Media Matters, American Nazi Party, White Honor, Sunshine State News

Ayatollah Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran
Sources: The Guardian, Tehran Times, CBS News

Barack Obama
Sources: ABC News, CBS News, ForexTV, NBC New York

The government of North Korea
Sources: Korean Central News Agency (North Korean state-controlled news outlet), The Marxist-Leninist, Wall Street Journal, Times of India

Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam
Sources: video statement (starting at 8:28), Black in America, Weasel Zippers, Philadelphia Weekly

Revolutionary Communist Party
Sources: Revolutionary Communist Party, Revolution newspaper, in-person appearance

David Duke
Sources: Talking Points Memo, video statement, davidduke.com

Joe Biden
Sources: Talking Points Memo, video statement, Mother Jones

Hugo Chavez
Sources: Mother Jones, Reuters, Examiner.com

Revolutionary Guards of Iran
Sources: Associated Press, FARS News Agency, UPI

Black Panthers (original)
Sources: in-person appearance, Occupy Oakland, Oakland Tribune

Socialist Party USA
Sources: Socialist Party USA, IndyMedia, The Daily Caller

US Border Guard
Sources: White Reference, www.usborderguard.com, Gateway Pundit, Just Another Day blog

Industrial Workers of the World
Sources: IWW web site, iww.org, in-person appearances

CAIR  (Council on American-Islamic Relations)
Sources: in-person appearance, Washington Post, CAIR, CAIR New York

Nancy Pelosi
Sources: Talking Points Memo, video statement, ABC News, The Weekly Standard

Communist Party of China
Sources: People’s Daily (Communist Party organ), Reuters, chinataiwan.org, The Telegraph

Sources: almoqawama.org, almoqawama.org (2), almoqawama.org (3), wikipedia

Sources: 911truth.org (1), 911truth.org (2), 911truth.org (3)

International Bolshevik Tendency
Sources: bolshevik.org, Wire Magazine

Sources: Adbusters, The Guardian, video statement

White Revolution
Source: whiterevolution.com

International Socialist Organization
Sources: Socialist Worker, socialistworker.org, in-person appearance

PressTV (Iranian government outlet)
Sources: PressTV, wikipedia

Marxist Student Union
Sources: Marxist Student Union, Big Government, marxiststudentunion.blogspot.com

Freedom Road Socialist Organization

Sources: FightBack News, fightbacknews.org

Sources: ANSWER press release, ANSWER web site, Xinhua

Party for Socialism and Liberation
Sources: Liberation News (1), pslweb.org, The Daily Free Press, Liberation News (2)

UPDATE: Thanks to the hundreds of readers who have made suggestions for additional entries on this list. I now have a large pile of potential new OWS supporters to investigate, and will work on updating this list over the upcoming weeks. When I’ve made it more thorough, I will re-launch an updated list that will be much more “official” in its comprehensiveness, sometime later this month. Keep an eye out for it!”


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Is This Topic Political or Moral?

For the last two months, the “Occupy” movement has been going on throughout the country, with the most prominent movement being in New York City. While I have had a niggling little voice in the back of my head telling me to speak up, I have so far avoided bringing it up. However, today’s events in New York with the protesters trying to tie up Wall Street, the bridges, the parks, and the police, I finally got sort of fed up with them

I could go on and on and on with criticism of the selfish little brats that try to pretend to be adults. However, being of a different generation, I am still trying to give them some benefit of doubt in hoping that they are just ignorant and not evil.

This “Occupy” movement from the very beginning has had the hallmarks of influence from the unions, the socialists, and some anarchists. The news today pointed out that Bill Ayers, that well known “friend” of Obama has been “teaching” the protesters about the proper way to demonstrate. In addition, another “friend” of Obama, that is a Pastor, is providing sanctuary for those involved with breaking the law.

If you don’t remember, Bill Ayers is that individual that was involved with the Weather Underground back in the ’60’s and planted a few bombs. While he has been a college professor in the Chicago area, I suspect that he, like many other college professors, has been filling young minds with false teachings.

As I mentioned, the protesters are of a way different generation than that which I was a part. In fact, most of them would be young enough to be grandchildren of those my age. As such, they have not had the initiative to consider the origins of all the blessings that they benefit from today. In their railing against the banks, the corporations, and the government, they are really showing their selfishness.

Previous generations, including our sons and ourselves, grew up with the knowledge that nothing is provided that one doesn’t work for themselves, whether that be a career or an education or both. However, going beyond the fact that they don’t want to “do for themselves”, they are a sign of terrible things that could happen. They could very well be contributing to the downfall of a nation.

To avoid saying what I would really like to say, I will instead provide a link to a commentary by a gentleman by the name of Bill Whittle. If you haven’t heard his commentary about “3 ½ Days” then this video clip will be something to really consider. It relates to both the cause of the fall of nations and a notion that, if implemented, could lead to a very harsh education for the younger generation as to just how blessed they are, and that their efforts of protesting are like Don Quixote’s battles with windmills.

Bill Whittle’s video commentary on “3 ½ Days” only runs for about 5 ½ minutes, but it is filled with insight and much to consider, especially if one finds oneself confronted with an “Occupy” protester. It clearly demonstrates the knowledge that is lacking among many of our young people today, knowledge that should have been provided both in high school and college. It is sad that the education system today is failing them so much.

It is no wonder that so many today are home-schooling their children. It is obvious with the falling education levels, test scores and lack of critical thinking that children have today that there needs to be a reversal for decades of horrible education policies. If our young people had even the ability to engage in critical thinking and reasonable deduction, they might figure these things out for themselves.

In truth, advances in technological products have helped to really harm our children as well. As an example, there is a young (15-years-old) man in the judicial system here in Oklahoma that will went to a court preliminary hearing within the last couple of days that is there because he killed his little sister. It seems that he was baby-sitting with her and she interrupted his game on his game console.  Perhaps if he had not been allowed to have that game console, his future would be brighter now.

Our young people have forgotten both social skills as well as moral skills. While there have been political leaders instrumental with helping to diminish the educations of our children, their parents should also be teaching moral principles.

So, to answer my own question, it is both a political and moral issue dealing with the “dumbing down” of our youth. I pray that we will soon have the courage to face those that like the path that our young are taking. I hope that we can reverse the direction that education has been going.

Even during this period of the “Occupy” protests, Maxine Waters, a Democratic Party House of Representatives member tried to gloss over the horrors that were occurring at the “Occupy” protests. When asked what she thought about the crime and assaults (sexual and otherwise) taking place, she tried to blame it on the homeless of the cities. She was trying to say that the homeless were “attracted” to the crowds of people because they were looking for companionship and food and that it was the homeless that were the lawbreakers.

While I would suggest that she also view this video by Bill Whittle, I suspect that she would deny that she and her philosophies would have played a roll. She has already stated that the “Occupy” protests are a “good” thing, unlike the Tea Parties that have gone on before. Sadly, she glosses over the fact that there were damn few, if any, arrests during the Tea Parties. In fact the Tea Party participants tended to leave the area where they gathered cleaner than it was when they arrived.

Now, let me shut up so you can hear Bill Whittle’s commentary on our youth and our civilizations.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Another Story of Corruption – From Democrats

Jo and I were driving home this evening when we heard a story on the radio. Neal Boortz, who is a talk show host, was relating the story of how a lot of the Democratic Party politicians in power work to further the aims of the unions, and thus the Democratic Party via campaign donations from those unions.

Anyone who understands the nature of how much arm-and-arm the unions and Democrats knows that an extremely high percentage of union campaign donations always go to the Democrats. Here is one way they do it.

The unions have gotten state legislators to pass laws that force the state to automatically withhold the union dues of state employees and send those funds to the unions directly. That way, the rank-and-file members of the unions don’t notice how much of their money is deducted right away. They may notice if they look at their pay stubs, but I would venture that a lot never even look at those pay stubs.

The Governor and Republican controlled legislature has been battling the public sector unions in Wisconsin this last year in an attempt to diminish the power of the unions. Wisconsin also had the law for the state to automatically deduct the state employee’s dues. I think a lot of people may remember the news stories coming from Wisconsin this year after the state’s Democratic Party Senators left the state to avoid voting on a House passed measure restricting bargaining rights for the unions.

Anyway, this news story brought out a surprising aspect in Michigan as to just who is a state employee.

It seems that Michigan grants Medicaid funds to parents who are caring for adult dependent children. The federal government gives block grants to the states for Medicaid to be administrated by the states. Michigan then considers those funds to be state funds, so those “family caregivers” are state employees, since they are accepting money from the state.

In Michigan, state employees are thus automatically considered union members and their dues are automatically deducted to give to the unions. Specifically in Michigan, and perhaps elsewhere as well, those dues go to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a staunch supporter of Democrats, and of Barack Obama. They are as devoted to Obama as ACORN was.

Those “state employees” then see the dues deducted from the actual Medicaid payments to them, leaving them with fewer dollars to use to care for their adult children in need of care. Oh, by the way, those “state employees” do not get any other benefit as a state employee. No insurance, no pension plan, or any other benefit that other state employees receive from the state as a part of their employment.

According to the news story out of The Washington Examiner, it was Jennifer Granholm, former Democratic Governor of Michigan who was instrumental in passing legislations to make “family caregivers” the classification as state employees. Here is a link to that news story:


There is a national effort to enact a National Right to Work law that would be like all the state Right to Work laws in that no one would be required to be a union member to have a job. Any citizen could work at a company that did have union negotiating, but they would not be required to join the union nor pay any kind of dues or fee to that union.

Businesses today are looking for states that have Right to Work laws. They know that with less union influence, they can provide better products, cheaper products, and be able to attract better employees. Those businesses are looking to build or expand their businesses in states with Right to Work.

We had an example of that this year in the fight between the unions and Boeing, who was trying to build their new factory in South Carolina. With the unions being unable to do anything to stop them, they went to the National Labor Relations Board to get a ruling from them that Boeing could not build where they wanted to build. The directors on the NLRB are people who were appointed by Democrats and Barack Obama.

Now, for those who will try to say that the unions are essential for safety concerns to keep the companies from making their employees work in unsafe conditions, I have but one question.

Are the unions really needed for controlling safety concerns when there is a federal agency that does the same thing? Have you ever heard of OSHA? In fact, I might be just a bit bold here and say that there are probably a number of state and federal agencies that are redundant to what it is that the unions say that their mission is all about.

The Democrats and the media really cried “Foul” when the Supreme Court allowed businesses to donate more to political parties. Yet, why is it that unions can donate to political parties and candidates, but they don’t like for businesses to have the same options?

Photo of used teabag over white background

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I Choked Up Again

Today being Sunday, we attended worship services as usual. This time, I knew that I was selected to give the congregational prayer just before the sermon. Let me explain my issues with being in front of people.

Some years ago, my first event of speaking before our congregation ended up being a disaster. Well, sort of. Everyone said I did a good job, but they don’t know the horror I felt being up in front of 300 plus people and trying to get everyone’s minds on having a meaningful worship service.

I walked up to the podium on that day with some dread, sort of like simply saying, “I just don’t really want to do this.” I laid out my bible, open to the verses I wanted to read, laid out my outline of what I wanted to say, and then looked up. Suddenly, an overwhelming fear overtook me, an experience which I had never felt before. Jo even commented later that she watched the color literally drain out of my face.

As many times since that I have been before the same congregation, I still have very serious reservations about being up there, with every eye and every ear trained on what I do and say. The only time that I don’t feel that sense of some fear is when I am praying.

During those times, I am thankfully looking down with a bowed head and focusing my thoughts on speaking to God. I don’t concern myself with the 300 plus people in the audience. At those times, I am completely comfortable, just as I would be with any other friend.

However, today was different in that I once again choked up. I was just fine until I got to the part where I prayed for God’s presence to be with our serving military and their families. In thinking of that very thin line of defense that our country has (see yesterday’s blog entry), it was enough that my voice caught, I hesitated for several seconds (felt like hours to me), and tears welled up and began to glisten in my eyes.

I was finally able to continue, but it was without the steady voice with which I normally pray. The catch in my voice continued for yet a couple of minutes until I finished. While I spent some time afterwards singing with the congregation and getting my composure back, it was still a bit before I felt comfortable to speak.

The times that I find it the hardest to continue with speaking is when I think of family members suffering, or when I really consider the sacrifices of Jesus for our sakes. Now, it looks like I will need to be concerned with my feelings toward our military, police, firefighters, and others that serve the common good.

Our military deserve special recognitions because they do their jobs in some of the world’s worse sinkholes of civilization. Oklahoma’s 45th Division National Guard has about 3000 or so of our citizens deployed into Afghanistan right now. Sadly, we have lost some of them to the evils of terrorism, the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and other Muslim extremists.

I pray that God will be with them and their families in their hours and days and months of sorrow. Fortunately, the United States is a nation of grateful people who have done an excellent job of showing their gratitude and embracing both the survivor’s and the victim’s families.

My heart swells with the stories of the Patriot Guard, those motorcyclists who serve as honor guards for the funeral processions and who quietly place themselves so that the grieving families do not have to see those that protest at the funerals.

I hope that we as a nation will never forget that thin line of defenders and their families, and that we will strive to thank those in uniform, regardless of branch, or whether military or civilian, such as our police and firefighters and other emergency personnel.

Thank you all, and may God bless you with courage and strength.

One Nation Under God

Saturday, November 12, 2011

EZE-Kleen Sewer System

In the past, I remember reading the blog of another RV’er that spoke of going on during the winter of one year to find their stinky slinky with an area of solid ice in side. The water collects in the crevices of the hose and freezes. Then, as more water comes it tends to build up. This would especially be disastrous if one decided to leave a faucet dripping in winter and left the gray valve open so as not to fill the gray tank.

We recently ordered an EZE-Kleen Sewer System for our Mobile Suites. It is a system of PVC parts that have either two 90 degree elbows or three 90 degree elbows joined together to give one the ability to turn the plumbing in just about any direction. Then it also has two or three “expanding” lengths of PVC that allows one to shorten or lengthen one’s plumbing to reach the sewer inlet. To start with, here is a link to the EZE-Kleen Sewer website, which includes a nice video that describes just how it works:


If one has a motorhome, the two 90 degree right angle piece is what is needed because the RV’s sewer outlet points down. On an RV that has a sewer outlet that comes out parallel with the ground, the three 90 degree right angle part is needed. The systems come with either three 24” expanding pipes or two 42” expanding pipes. The two 42” pipes actually allow the system to reach one foot further than the three 24” pipes.

One can mix and match. In our case, we ordered the two 42” pipe system and also purchased an additional pipe that is 24”. We also ordered one extra support stand. So, as I describe things here and show pictures, remember that a normal system comes with only two support stands. According to the company, two support stands should be sufficient to support 21 feet. However, I am known as the “KING OF OVERKILL” and wanted one extra support

As the “KING OF OVERKILL,” I am very pleased with this system so far, with only one little disappointment. That one disappointment will be mentioned later as I describe this system. For some people, it could be a problem, depending on what they like on their sewer system.

To start with, here are a few images of the system from EZE-Kleen’s website.

This image shows the steps to help one in ordering the system. Motorhomes do need to have an extension that allows the system to extend down from the discharge pipe to under the coach before hooking up the 90-degree elbows system.

Eze Kleen System Image1

This image shows the two 90-degree system with the three 24” pipes.

Eze Kleen System Image2

This one is the three 90-degree system with the three 24” pipes.

Eze Kleen System Image3

The next two images show two different RV’s (one motorhome and one fifth wheel) showing that their owners installed “hangers” to hold the system in place for travel without having to break down the system and store in tubs or wherever.

Eze Kleen Storage from John McClun Fifth Wheel

Eze Kleen Storage on CoachMotorhome

Now, I did have a problem or two, both of which are related to the length of the connectors that goes into the discharge pipe of the RV. Note in this photo the length sticking out past the locking lugs with the extra O-ring.


That extra length prevented it from being hooked up to the clear plastic short piece of sewer I had that lets me see the sewage flowing and insuring that something isn’t backing up. Mine looks like this one with the garden hose hookup for rinsing. If you notice the inside flange of that is not deep enough to allow the length of the PVC with the O-ring.


Also, the flange area on our Mobile Suite’s discharge pipe had burrs on the inside of that flange. You can see the flange area in this photo and if you look at the bottom, you can see where the burrs went up to the inside edge of the flange.


That large burr was removed using a combination rasp/file that I have. (I think it is called a shoe rasp.) It has one side rounded with coarse rasp and finer file and the other side is flat with coarse rasp and finer file.


I also used that rasp/file to create a small beveled area around the inside of the discharge pipe. That was suggested by the EZE-Kleen folks so that it would be easier to insert that O-ring on the extension into the flanged area of the discharge pipe.

Our system came with two tools. One is a plastic spanner wrench that engages the locking lugs, making it easier to turn the pipe to lock on the lug pins on the previous pipe/discharge pipe. There is also the metal pliers that are really helpful to hold the second pipe as the spanner wrench is used to twist in the opposite direction.


Here is the entire three 90-degree elbow system.


Here are the support stands with one being the extra we ordered. Also, the two base pieces that are at right angles will turn to be in line with the rest of the base for easier storage.


And, here is the right-angle discharge adapter for going into the sewer inlet.


And, here are photos of the finished system. The larger PVC running along next to the tires is the system of fresh water supply hose, flush hose, foam insulation tubes, heat tape and insulation all placed into that 4” PVC running back to the underground faucets. The crappy looking cardboard box back there will be replaced with a nice looking wooden box to add protection for the underground faucets.




One final note to make is that the whole system with tax cost us a little over $330.  But, it certainly seems to be a good quality system, even though I haven’t even dumped the tanks once yet.  The company informed me that people that had bought their systems back when the company first started are still using the system.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran’s Day 2011

What is the percentage of Americans that have served in the U.S. armed forces? It kind of depends on the numbers portrayed in the statistics. One answer that I heard was that there were about 1.7 million to 2 million individuals in active service and the National Guards. As such, with roughly a population of 300,000,000 in the United States, that works out to roughly ½ to 1 percent of the current population.

Others have pointed out that in addition to the current active military and guard, there are roughly 23.5 to 25 million who have served over the years and thus the number is closer to 8 percent of the population. The problem with that number is that it does not take into account all of the population of America over all of those years when those 20-some millions served.

Many of the briefings that our serving military personnel receive brings up the fact that they make up roughly the 1% of the population. 

Department of Defense figures are sometimes hard to glean from the aggregate of a report. However, this link will take you to an enlightening read about the Department of Defense and what makes up our military. It is not a short read, but is filled with a lot of interesting information.


This was one of those little tidbits that many don’t even consider:

“We Hire the Best

The Department of Defense mission is accomplished seeking out our nation’s best and brightest. Ninety-five percent of our employees have high school diplomas versus seventy-nine percent of the national work force; five-point-six percent of our troops have master’s degrees versus four-point-nine percent of the national work force.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau website.
Work Force data is based on the total population fifteen years of age and older.”

The 95% includes the “grunts” with the guts to charge into a firefight when the normal human instinct is to run from it. It was one of the things that many learned during Vietnam because the enemy expected our soldiers to run back, thus moving right into a trap of an ambush. Charging into the firefight took the enemy by surprise and hampered their abilities.

It has been said that during the Vietnam War, we lost no battles of any significance, but we lost the war because of the surrender of the media and the politicians. While American and its military personnel have fought many wars resulting in freedom for millions and millions of citizens of other countries, Vietnam was the one “black eye” on the record of the valiant efforts of our beliefs in freedom and our willingness to bring freedom to others.

In spite of that “black eye,” America and its volunteer soldiers have again stepped up to help free another 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet, it will be the politicians who are more concerned about their images, social programs, and votes for re-election that will again withdraw a steadying force of Americans. The result is very likely to end with the fall of freedom in some of those countries.

America and its military made up of roughly 1% of the population have done great work over the years and highly deserve praise and a hearty “Thank you for your service.” Jo and I try to do that when we see military personnel, our police and firefighters, and our first responders in the form of EMT’s and others. More than once we have purchased the meals of those people when we see them in restaurants, and we always do it anonymously.

While I would prefer to have a face-to-face greeting and a hearty handshake with our serving citizens and offer thanks, with this blog posting I can only offer words. Those words of thanks must necessarily also go to the families of those who serve.

Thank you all for your service and your support. May God bless you all with courage and great blessings in your endeavors and lives.  To those that have served in the past, you are my brothers and sisters in arms.  Thank you for your services as well.

While I have no way of inserting YouTube videos into my blog, I will just have to insert a link to YouTube for a tribute of our military personnel, which includes a song by Toby Keith. To my great pleasure, Toby Keith is a fellow Okie.


Norman Rockwell’s “Homecoming Marine.”  By the way, for you Marines, “Happy Birthday” on the 10th of this month.  From a U.S. Army veteran, “Well done, Devil Dogs.”


Thursday, November 10, 2011

What is the Value of Dumb?

I had initially intended to post something today in regards to some dumb comments by the debate moderators at the GOP debate in Michigan yesterday. After hearing the questions from two journalists who are employed at CNBC, one of whom is a host of a financial program, I had the feeling that their parents ought to be asking for their money back for any college expenses they had incurred for their children.

Then this evening, I logged onto AOL to check my e-mails and to scan through the headlines of their news features. (Note, I said “scan” as it is ridiculous to call the Huffington Post drivel “news.”) In scanning the primary headlines, I usually look quickly at the three headlines that are under the primary headline for that “page.”

What I saw was a headline talking about the record price for a photograph sold at Christy’s in New York. Suffice it to say, being the “serious, amateur photographer” that I am, I just had to check that story out with the hopes of seeing a stunning photograph with lots of interest or contrast or special effects.

But, instead, I found a perfect example of a REALLY dumb person who was willing to spend $4.3 Million for a single photograph. To my surprise, part of the story spoke of earlier photos that sold in the millions and in looking at the story I found links to each of the photos.

Sorry, folks. I was not impressed with any of them. I have seen photographs by any number of individuals on the various RV forums and blogs that have better photos than what I saw that brought millions of dollars.

Needless to say, I’d like to find the dumb person who paid such an outlandish price for such an unimpressive photo. I’ve taken photos by accident that seemed more artistic than these, which someone supposedly took on purpose.

Sadly, the story refers to two different photographers, both of whom have sold photos for millions. I just don’t understand it. I know of painters, two of whom that are participants on the RV Dreams forums, whose work far exceeds the quality of these photos. If the works of those forum participants in their paintings and photographs were to sell for even remotely close to what these photos brought, the artists and photographers could really enjoy the RV life.

Without further ado, allow me to first introduce you to one by Cindy Sherman, entitled “Untitled #153 which at some time in the past sold for roughly $2.7 Million. If something like a crime scene photo has such value, we should have photos worth billions of dollars where I work.

sherman_untitled_153_2_7 Million Dollars

Next, is another by Cindy Sherman, who apparently can’t think of titles for her photos, is entitled “Untitled #96. When it sold for a record price, it went for $3.89 Million. (What is it with taking pictures of reclining people from above?)

Cindy Sherman Untitled no 96 at ._3_89 Million Dollars

Now, for the final one, the record $4.3 Million photo, we turn to a photographer by the name of Andreas Gursky. This one at least has a title. It is simply called “Rhein II.” If I remember right, I also saw one of his photos entitled “Ocean II”, so he must also have some issues with titles. I would have simply called it “Boring II.”

GURSKY-PHOTO-Rhine 4_3 Million Dollars

If you are interested in more, follow this link to AOL’s Huffington Post report.


So, to contrast the above high-dollar photographs, I guess I should post one of my “accidents.”  Maybe I can someday get a few bucks for something like this one.  Look low and towards the trees on the left and just above the surface of the water to see what makes this photo an accident.  I barely noticed the bird, which I think is a grey Heron, in the viewfinder of my camera.  I snapped quickly without even composing and got this image.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Blog Comments Follow Up

Since my last posting about earthquakes and tornados, I received a couple of interesting comments to that post. One is advising me to NOT go to New Jersey and the other is inviting me to go to New Madrid (Missouri, I presume.) One doesn’t want me to suffer more and the other apparently wants me to go with them when the “BIG ONE” hits.

I guess I should talk about the BIG ONE a bit, especially since I kind of have a connection to one of those. One that didn’t happen and I’ve wondered since whether it should have. Let me explain.

Back in the 1960’s, I was stationed with the U.S. Army Security Agency in a small Army post near Petaluma, California. The first time was immediately after finishing AIT and prior to shipping over to Pakistan for my overseas tour. While there the first time, I took a lot of interest and enjoyed the heck out of Northern California. Enough so, that when I returned from Pakistan to the states, I requested that same small post as my final duty post while in the Army.

For the second time to Northern California, I brought along my brand new, and forever beautiful, new bride. We got to enjoy traveling and sightseeing along the coast highway, the Armstrong Redwood Forest (a small grove near Guerneville, CA), the wine country, and San Francisco. We took a liking to San Francisco for the beautiful gardens, the bay area scenery, and the attitudes of those living there. THOSE were the good old days.

The year was 1969 and someone had predicted that there was going to be a major earthquake on the San Andreas Fault, the one which if it were bad enough, would drop a lot of California off into the sea. Well, at least that is what they were saying at the time.

What made it great was that the hippies, who had “infected” the city, decided to skedaddle out of town and head for Boulder, Colorado. As for the native San Franciscans, they took the occasion to rent a drive-in theatre and rent the movie, Earthquake, and show up there on the predicted day of calamity. They were dressed in their gowns and tuxedos as well as other garb and celebrated at 5:00am, the appointed hour of the “demise” of San Francisco.

The inhabitants of San Francisco at that time knew how to “throw it in the faces” of the cowards that left the city. As for us near Petaluma, we watched with some awe at the cheekiness of those “earlier-day” Californians. We felt we were safe since the San Andreas Fault was actually west of the Petaluma area, although it might have been closer to the base where I was stationed. Check out this link and you can see the track of the San Andreas Fault. Look for Petaluma up near the top of the line…..


Since then, it seems that the early-day San Franciscans have been replaced with more liberal citizens. Enough so, that Jo made the comment that if an earthquake fault line were to fail in this area of Oklahoma, we wouldn’t know for sure which part of the country we would want to be a part of for the future. We’ve pretty much decided that both coasts are out of the question since both seem to be a lot more liberal than the center, that which is referred to as “Fly-Over Country.”

So, I’m now in a quandary. New Jersey is out as it is on the East coast. New Madrid is pretty much out because if there is a “crack” in the fault line there, it looks like the Mississippi will fill up that crack and I don’t like swimming all that well.

I would say that my choice of destination would definitely be Colorado……

…….but do you remember what I said about the hippies going to Boulder?

(Damn! We just had another tremor or two at roughly 8:49pm, lasting for roughly 5 to 8 seconds. Speaking of the tremors in Oklahoma, check out this link:


That one will take you to a listing of the history of the local seismic activity in this area for the last few days. While Oklahoma tends to have a number of seismic events throughout the year, this year is supposedly about double of what our normal activity is.)

So, getting back on track, I would be inclined to go to New Madrid if it came to it. At least we would be among fellow “Fly-Over Country” citizens. If you have a desire to read the comments for the last blog posting, they are at this link:


Whatever I do and wherever I go, you can bet I will be prepared. I am equipped with all kinds of weapons for self-defense, hunting, game-dressing, and the like. Now, if I could just figure out this new Smartphone, it would help. Jo spent some time with it this evening and downloaded free apps for a compass and a flashlight.

Yep. You read right. A smart phone can be a flashlight. Just don’t figure on the battery lasting long enough to get many places. And, speaking of the Smartphone, how is this for irony? Below is a picture of my previous phone, known as a “feature phone”, on the left with its owner’s manual and the Smartphone on the right being my new Motorola Droid X2 with its manual. Notice how much thinner the manual is for the Smartphone?

It just goes to show, you have to be smart BEFORE buying a Smartphone.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

This Just Isn’t Natural

Well, that title applies to two things that occurred today in the Oklahoma City area.

Throughout most of my adult life, I’ve not really NEEDED a mobile phone. In fact, the main reason I have one is so Jo can get in touch with me. In the past, as long as it was a basic phone, I was happy with it as I didn’t really need much else. We have had the experience of what is commonly referred to as “butt-dialing” wherein one’s phone just dials out because a button was pushed in some way, even if it was in a pouch or pocket.

When folks went on and on about their smartphones, I simply smiled and carried on with a basic phone that I could dial myself, or on occasion when I forgot a family member’s phone number, I used the memory dialing.

Jo has been using a Blackberry so it will be compatible with the systems at work and she can get her work e-mail. However, she’s decided that she no longer needs the hassle of the Blackberry and wanted to go to a phone with the Android operating system. As such, we discussed the various apps and the fact that the Androids seem to have the most free ones.

In discussing those, I came to a realization. I suddenly decided that I actually had more interest in the apps than I did in a phone for phone purposes. So, a trip to Verizon was made today and Jo ordered the new Razor phone. In talking with the salesman, I brought up the occasional need for a map program and that I would really like to have a compass. Did the Androids have an app for a compass?

Now, who would believe that a compass app would sell a phone?

The other thing is one that is really ironic. I have spent a wee bit of time in California in my life, and most of my life has been in Oklahoma. Today, there have been some earthquakes here in the Oklahoma City area, with them being located roughly 45 miles east of the city itself.

Last night at roughly 2:00am to 2:30am, I was sitting on the commode when I felt the fifth wheel shaking. Since the wind was blowing pretty well, I decided that I probably needed to verify the condition of level with the coach and make sure the Level-Up cylinders were engaged enough to provide stability. (Hey, did you know there is a “level” app for a smartphone?)

I received an e-mail today asking me if I had felt the earthquake last night. I hadn’t even realized that it was, presuming it was the wind. I checked the news and sure enough; about that time last night there was an earthquake out East.

Well, this evening at roughly 10:53pm, there was another earthquake east of Oklahoma City. This one I definitely felt as it lasted for 20 to 30 seconds. (I’m only guessing on the amount of time, as I wasn’t looking at my watch.) It was actually long enough that I began to feel slightly nauseous from the shaking.

What is ironic about the whole thing is that with all the years I’ve lived in Oklahoma, I’ve now felt an earthquake of some magnitude, but I’ve never seen a tornado other than on television.

So, now where do I consider moving to in order to avoid natural disasters?


Friday, November 4, 2011

A Photographer’s Curse

The advent of the digital camera has brought about both blessings and curses. I began a more serious interest in photography back in 1967 with the purchase of my first 35mm SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera with interchangeable lenses, which was an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic.

My mother liked many of my photos (don’t mothers always?) and wanted an SLR for herself. However, being a person of limited interest in setting the camera manually, she wanted something that would be pretty simple to use. That led me to search and settle on a Minolta XG-1 for her with suggestions for possible telephoto lenses for her.

After several years of good photographs (even when the camera’s setting weren’t right), she had several rolls of film not come out good when on a cruise. She bought a simple point and shoot camera and the next time she saw me, she handed me that Minolta and all the extra lenses. I now had two cameras, which can be a blessing when photographing nature and wildlife.

Then, my sister informed me one Christmas that she was going to sell her Canon T50. I took immediate interest because the T50 had an automatic film advance system where the Spotmatic and XG-1 were strictly manual film advance cameras. Anyone photographing wildlife knows the advantage of speeding up the chance to get a second or even third or more photographs of a moving critter. When I asked her how much she wanted for the camera and lens, she said $50.

So, I was suddenly the owner of three SLR cameras. With that setup, I could have one camera with a set telephoto lens, one with a zoom lens, and the Canon T50 with the standard lens and fast film advance. I thought I was in heaven. Well, except for the cost of buying and then developing all those rolls of film.

With digital cameras, one doesn’t have to be so concerned with film processing, so one can take oodles of pictures and only print those that really deserve printing. I suspect that most photographers are like me in that they take a lot of photos just to get a few really good ones.

With so many photos taken with wild abandon with the shutter button, there comes the day that “the Curse” takes effect. That is that period of time after the trip or vacation when one has to view each one, organize them all, and choose the ones in which one has a real interest.

I am at that stage of reviewing and organizing them. My first experience with the digital cameras on a vacation was in 2002 on a two week vacation to Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons, Idaho, and back home through Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.

That time, I took over 1700 photos in the two week period. I also DID NOT do any daily organization of photos. So, when we returned home, it must have been almost a month before I got all the photos organized according to the areas of the country and the various features of Yellowstone that I had photographed.

After that, I learned to download each day into folders for each day. I also learned to take a picture of any sign designating an area, such as Old Faithful in Yellowstone, before I even took one photo of the area itself. That way, my first picture would indicate what the area of interest was.

Thus, the 12 day Alaskan Cruise and Land Tour that we took in 2005 was better organized and it didn’t take as long to organize photos after that trip. But, because I took over 4000 pictures on that trip, it took longer to view and choose the better ones for organization into photo presentations.

Over 3200 photos on our two week vacation to the Pagosa Springs area in 2009 were even easier to organize since I was learning the best ways to “organize on the fly” for each day’s photographs.

This year’s trip to the Canon City/Colorado Springs area of Colorado resulted in only just over 2500 photos. But, that was in only a one week period. While they get organized by date each day as I download the photos, they don’t get reviewed quite as fast as I take the photos in the first place.

Thus, “The CURSE” is now upon me. It can be intimidating and frustrating with my photos. I get to see such beauty and photograph it, but the camera doesn’t always give me the result that my mind’s eye captures. A lot of photographs come out darker than I remember. And even though imaging software can better lighten up the photos, they never seem to have the same beauty and lushness of color that I remember after the lightening process is done.

That is usually made up with some really good ones, though. Many of which fall into that “realm” of which Ansel Adams wrote when he stated, “Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter.” Many of those fall into the category of photos that I want to share, but need to be protected as an image for my book.

While in Colorado this year, we visited the Florissant Formation, which is a site with fossilized redwood trees. While there, I stumbled upon a disc set (either CD’s or DVD’s) about the Phantom Canyon Drive. The images on the case showed some beautiful fall colors. Guess where I asked to be taken the next day….

Anyway, here are two photos of that day’s drive into the Phantom Canyon. One of a critter and one of some fall colors. Here’s hoping you enjoy them.

Critter and Pine Cone.


Simply Color….