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.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Recap and Prayers for 2012

The year of 2011 turned out to be the year that Jo and I finally became full-timers. After 3 years of trying, our 2250 square foot house on ¾ of an acre finally sold. We actually lost money on this house, what with the sorry economy. Our two previous houses both made us anywhere from 25% profit on the first to 35% on the second one.

If we had known then that we wanted to sell and buy an RV, we would have done that after the sale with the 35% profit. That would have let us pay cash for what we have now in the Mobile Suites. But, that big house proved to be beneficial when our oldest son and his wife moved back to the Oklahoma City area after he finished his degree. With that large of a house, we were able to let them live with us for a couple of months until he got hired and on his feet financially.

September came and with it came another granddaughter; little Genevieve Ruth came along on the 29th. It has also been the year when her older sister, Moira Eilene has kind of warmed up to Grandpa. For what seemed like such a long time, she wouldn’t come near me. In fact, to begin with she would cry when she saw me. I finally determined that she didn’t like the baseball caps that I wore. No one else in the family seems to wear them. But all is good with her and me now. We spent quite a bit of time at Thanksgiving out on a playground slide. Actually, she slid and I helped her from the ground.

We actually ended up with three weeks of vacation this year. That was a first EVER. We had a week of vacation at Red Rock Canyon State Park at Hinton, Oklahoma in April, which I documented here on the blog. Then in early October, we left the Mobile Suites behind and drove to Canon City, Colorado. That was our first time in Colorado that late in the year, so we got to see quite a bit of fall colors. Then, a couple of days after our return from Colorado, we took a week and went to a Suites Owners International Travel Club (SOITC) rally for the Central Region. I got some pretty good photos taken there as well.

So we are now nearing the end of 2011 and looking forward to the new year of 2012. We dodged the bullet with Harold Camping’s prediction that the world would end in October, so we had at least something of a reprieve from unmitigated disaster. Of course, that still leaves us with December 21 of 2012, which is supposed to be the “new end” because of the Mayan calendar.

However, never fear for I bring tidings of great joy. It seems that University of Kansas anthropologist and Maya scholar John Hoopes is extremely skeptical about that foretold date. The lady who wrote the stories about Colton Burpo’s and Akiane Kramarik’s near death events has also written a story about Mr. Hoopes and his work.

Here is a portion of her article and two links to the two-part story on the “latest” prediction of gloom and doom.

“In a paper presented in January at the Oxford IX International Symposium on Archaeoastronomy in Lima, Peru, Hoopes tracks the 2012 Maya myth origins through various revivals into the 21st Century. The myth is rooted in an early 16th Century European combination of astrological and biblical prophecies to explain the new millennium. Columbus believed that his discovery of the world's most remote land would lead to Spain's re-conquest of Jerusalem and fulfill world-end events described in the Book of Revelations.”

Huh…who knew that Columbus would get into the “predicting business?” Here are the two links to Lori Henshey’s two articles.

http://www.examiner.com/religious-spiritual-mysteries-in-national/maya-scholar-debunks-doomsday-myths-part-one

http://www.examiner.com/religious-spiritual-mysteries-in-national/maya-scholar-debunks-doomsday-myths-part-two

So, it appears that in spite of man’s attempts to predict the end of the world, God just hasn’t cooperated yet. So, with the knowledge (did I ever doubt) that the world will continue on until God fulfills the prediction, I will now turn to the job of looking to the future.

It goes without saying that I offer my prayers to God with thanks, praise, and requests. Generally, my requests are for the benefit of others and not myself. (Well, except to ask forgiveness of my sins.) So, with that in mind, I will briefly touch on what I hope for this coming New Year.

My prayers are that there will be continued good times, good health, and good fortune for my immediate family, my extended family, and my “family of the heart.” Should you be first reading of the “family of the heart” in this blog entry, that family is made up of all those whom we have grown to know and love, even when we really have never met.

A big part of that “family of the heart” are members of the two church of Christ congregations that we attend, our co-workers at our jobs, and those we’ve come to know that are living in or planning for an RV lifestyle.

Even if you aren’t a believer in God, I still ask for Him to shower his blessings down upon all that we know, and even on those that we know and dislike. Allow me to finish this blog entry and this year with an example of some of God’s beauty, and hopefully, a foretelling of a bright and beautiful future for all.

God be with you all. Thanks for being my family and friends.

Love,

Terry and Jo

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Sunrise in Purgatoire River Campground, 2000.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Terry Did WHAT in December???

This one will be a pretty simple one to come up with. As we were driving home from work, I was kidding Jo that I didn’t have anything to do tonight as I had dumped the black and grey tanks yesterday.

To that comment, she answered, “Well, you could always mow.”

So, I mowed.

Before you think I’m slightly nuts to be mowing the yard on December 30, let me explain. We have two Oak trees in our yard and another, BIGGER one just to the south of our mobile home site. The two trees in the yard are of that variety that seems to keep their leaves all winter long. But, the BIGGER one has gotten rid of all of its leaves….right into and next to our yard.

Since we bought a mower to mow our teeny-weeny yard, we bought one that mulches because I refuse to bag leaves. So, I got out the mower and began to mulch Oak leaves. Because of the number of the leaves and the need to go slow to allow a good mulching process, it took quite a while to do what little yard I did tonight.

Normally, mowing that part of the yard is a 20 minute job at the most, and if I want to mow the yard immediately to the south of us, that is another 20 minutes at the most. However, the inside yard took about 1 ½ to 2 hours to mow because of the slow pace. So, guess what Terry will be doing tomorrow.

I really don’t want the leaves from the south of me to be blowing into our yard, so I need to get all around our coach and then mow some of the area to the south of us. The north side of us is protected by a chain link fence, so I doubt there will be much blow in, even with the northerly winter winds.

In addition to the mowing, I also need to do some measuring so we can build a platform with steps right outside our door instead of always using our metal steps. Because of the cement platform that runs the length of the lot just to the north of the coach, we can’t extend the 4th step, and since we will be living here for a while, we figured it would be easier for us and for the dogs.

In our case, I am not trusted very well with a tape measure. I can cut boards good, but I sometimes get the measurements wrong. So, I will get the basic measurements of how big we want the top platform to be and a rough figure of the length of legs for that and we’ll then buy the lumber we need for the job.

What will make this one interesting is that the two legs closest to the coach will need to be longer than the two furthest away. That is because of that long concrete pad again. So, it will be interesting as to how this process works out. We considered having someone build it for us, but those folks want too much of our money.

Then, I need to take in our Honda EU3000IS generator and get it serviced, tuned up, and get the battery replaced. For about the last year, each time I’ve started it to “exercise” it, I’ve had to use the pull rope to start it. However, that may need to wait until next month. I will need to roll it out and “exercise” it again before winter comes. If we lose power and we need it, I need it to be fairly easy to start.

We are just about at the point that we have all that we need for our stay in this location. Early in the month, they delivered a 120 gallon LP tank that we are leasing from American Propane. I think all we need now to be finished with everything is the platform and steps at the door and a pressure regulator for the water supply.

It is about time. For the last few months, there seems to be an endless supply of things that needed to be bought, and most of those have to be done at the first of the month so we can budget the rest of the month. Since we are only paid once a month with our employer, we have to watch things pretty closely.

I haven’t calculated in the amount of Propane we have used this month, but Jo says the electric bill isn’t all that big considering we were running the fireplace and two Lasko electric heaters for most every evening of the month. Don’t hold me to it, but I think Jo said the electric bill was only about $130. Considering we used to pay roughly $200 a month for a 2250 square foot house with 6” walls and insulation, I don’t think that is too bad for a month in the Mobile Suites.

Now, the real test will be January and February because those months tend to be the coldest ones. Here is hoping that the next few years will have mild winters so we aren’t tested to the extreme.

For a closing, here are two pictures of the area where I mulched the leaves today. In the photos, you can see the long concrete pad that I have to deal with in regards to building the platform and steps.

Looking from the west towards the coach and yard.

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Looking from the east towards the west.  The metal structures you see beyond our site are actually three sites that are covered.  While one of them is empty right at the moment, we can’t use it.  The entry area is limited to something less than 12’ 9” in height.

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The final picture is of the area on the south side of the Mobile Suites.  The area within and outside of the fence is what I need to mulch tomorrow.

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Just think of all that area there covered with large oak leaves.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

So be it to all, whether believer or non-believer, from one who is a believer and a Christian.

While Christmas has been described as both religious and pagan rituals, to me it is not about the birth of Christ. It is simply about Christ. I am but a simple, “uneducated” individual, but I know that God exists and that He demonstrated the greatest of love in sending his Son, an actual part of Himself, to this earth that He created in order to grant salvation to what He has considered his greatest creation.

For all the beauty of both Earth and the heavens, it is all of secondary nature to what is His most beautiful, and yes, capricious creations. In spite of the horrendous actions of the children of Israel, God still provided salvation by His grace to all who would believe.

We have all come close to the end of another year on our calendars, and we have all experienced both joy and sorrow. During this season of Christmas, most all peoples tend to offer joy and love and gifts to those they love. Because of the season and its traditions, we also endure sorrow for any that have passed away in the last year. For suddenly we find ourselves without those persons around us during our celebrations.

Now, if there be anyone believing in the notion that the world will end on December 21 of next year (because of the termination of the Mayan calendar), let me offer this thought of consolation. Yes, I am an uneducated man and I have no idea when the world will end; yes, I am even ignorant of the Mayan calendar and trust other’s comments that the end will be December 21 of 2012; but, I have yet to find a Mayan that can verify to me that the end will come before next Christmas.

So, I will blindly go along and offer to all, even the non-believers and non-Christians, a very Merry Christmas. I don’t do this because of the birthday of Christ, but because of Christ himself. He has offered the ultimate gift, and I am merely trying to advance His kingdom with my paltry little words. His gift is offered for all, not just those of certain nations.

Please consider that when I offer wishes of a Merry Christmas and ask God to bless each and every one of you, I do it not because you are like me in belief, but like me in that you are also a part of mankind and a part of God’s plan. For those reasons, I don’t offer “season’s greetings” or “happy holidays.”

At the risk of losing my “rights” to a photograph and a page from my book endeavor, allow me to provide you a photo and some thoughts from me. After all, the book isn’t progressing too quickly and the following is something that I truly wish to share.

I do this because I truly have love for my fellow man.

Sentinel on the Prairie

Standing in the Panhandle of Oklahoma, this windmill serves as a source of life. In an area where there are very few streams or rivers, much of the water that sustains life is located underground, needing to be tapped by way of drilling and putting up a windmill.

As the fan turns on a windmill, gears in a gearhead at the top move about causing a long shaft, known as a “sucker rod” to move up and down. At the bottom end of that sucker rod is a cylinder that contains “leathers” that in the up and down motion causes water to lift to the surface. The life giving water then spills down a pipe and into a cattle tank, creating a reservoir for both wild and domesticated animals. Many times, hanging somewhere on that windmill tower will be a wire holding a tin cup for the benefit of man as he passes by.

In a treeless area where the land seems flat and desolate, these sentinels stand as an invitation to both man and animal for life saving sustenance. As such, they are almost an emblem of that greater need for life saving sustenance.

As a guiding star once appeared over Bethlehem, it provided a means for mankind to find He who would become a Savior, thus giving us hope for eternal life. While it is not a guiding star, the circular pattern of a windmill fan stands as a beacon to those in need of salvation, although on a temporal basis instead of a heavenly one.

The life giving water from a windmill merely provides our earthly life to be sustained. However, John 4:14 states, “….but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."

He has provided us with the opportunity of two lives. Life on earth, served with “temporal” water and the life giving water provide for eternal life, the latter of which can be only found by following the “Light” that is Jesus Christ. May we always be searching for each.

Winter Windmill

Jo and I both offer a very Merry Christmas to all of you.

May God bless and keep you all.

(While this is actually being posted on December 24, 2011, it is because we will be out of town and away from the computer on Christmas day.  However, I felt it important to offer our good wishes, so I am doing it early.)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Washington Liars and Deceivers

I’ve finally gotten around to the rant about Congress and the inability to function as adults. Many of them are also outright liars, intent on deceiving the American public. Pardon the numerous links, but I do wish to prove my point. Prior to pillaring the Democrats, allow me to admit that there are deceptive Republicans as well, some of them in leadership roles in Congress.

This last week has seen the wrangling of the House and the Senate in Washington, D.C. with the President proving to be a liar as well. It has all been about passing a “tax cut extension” which technically isn’t really a tax cut. According to the story below from Jake Tapper of ABC News, hardly a news source that is always supportive of conservatives, the recent passing of a 2 month extension is unlikely to be properly implemented because of the short length of time it would be in effect. Jake Tapper’s story is here.

Earlier in the year, even Obama was pushing for a 1-year extension. Well, this last month, the House passed a one year extension. However, because of political reasons, the Senate didn’t want to pass that one, possibly because of the Keystone LX pipeline from Canada down to the Gulf area. So, the Senate passed the 2-month extension instead, so that they could still go on vacation or whatever and the President suddenly forgot all about his desire for a 1-year extension and signed onto the 2-month one and even berated the Republicans for not passing that shorter extension.

As for the tax cut, it is basically an extension of the lowering of what is taken from wages for Social Security. Yep, you read right. Everyone is pushing to help defund Social Security with all this, mostly because the Congress has been negligent and corrupt. Since before the 2010 election, Congress has failed to pass a budget, even though it is a requirement.

It wasn’t until the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives that a budget was passed in the house. Even after that has been accomplished, the Senate still refuses to pass a budget. That story from Townhall.com is at this link and a story from FOX News is at this link, although the FOX story is a few months earlier.

That it is hard to find these stories in the main stream media is not a surprise. As far as I am concerned, most of the media is fully in the pockets of the Democrats and do all they can to protect Obama and their “buddies” in government. I think that the media should be required to put a “dollar figure” on the value of the news or non-news that it does and be required to list it as campaign donations to the Democrats.

Now, to another point in this rant, why was it that the President didn’t want to make a decision about the Keystone XL pipeline until after the elections in 2012? Well, he has a quandary. One of the Democrat’s special interest groups is the environmentalists, who do not want the pipeline to be built. (Incidentally, why not build this pipeline since this country is already criss-crossed with pipelines?)

On the other hand, another special interest of the Democrats is the unions, who do want the pipeline built because it will mean jobs for its members. So, Obama wants to put off the decision on the pipeline because he wants campaign funding from both groups, but if he alienates either of them with a decision, then he could lose that funding. By delaying a decision until after the election, he would be getting funding from both groups since they would hope to influence his decision.

With the pipeline issue, regardless of which way he decides on that, one side or the other will be alienated. Thus, it is obvious that Obama is deceptive. With the extension that was passed, Obama is supposed to make some decision within 60 days on the pipeline. Only time will tell if they can find some wording in the agreement or extension that would let him wiggle out.

While the media and the Democratic Party leaders want to deride the “tea party” movement and the representatives in both houses of Congress that were elected due to that movement, it is that movement that best offers a chance of getting the country’s fiscal affairs in order.

How about we start with a budget from the Senate? How about a constitutional amendment requiring the government to balance the budget EVERY year, just as numerous states already do. The best way of balancing is to cut spending by government. It is a proven fact that with true tax cuts the revenue to the government increases, so if taxes were cut, or the FAIR tax or flat tax implemented and spending cut, things would get better in a hurry.

Sadly, so many in the country today swallow the lies and deceptions of President Obama, the Democratic Party leaders in the Congress, and the main stream media. More people need to be educated about economic matters before the November elections of 2012. Then, after Obama is defeated and the Republicans take over the Senate as well as the House, we need to hold the feet of the Republicans to the fire so that they will do the right things for the country.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Should Claim My Property…

I came across an article yesterday that has prompted me to start watching for one of the Chevy Volts. That will probably not be anytime soon as there are very few people buying the darling of the environmentalists and certain government people.

In fact, there have been claims that GM hoped to sell 10,000 of those vehicles this year.  Oops….ain’t gonna make it.  I have heard, but not yet found the articles yet, that part of GM’s Volt sales have been helped with fleet purchases by GE and, get this, the federal government.  So, with federal government purchases, there goes MORE of our money.

So, if you happen to be in the Oklahoma City area and I spot your Chevy Volt, don’t be surprised if I insist on driving it around a block or two. After all, we taxpayers are really being soaked on this one.

Here is the story for your reading pleasure, which if you are a proponent of GM, probably won’t really be a pleasure.  Now, in fairness, others besides GM have taken subsidies from the government for electric vehicle technology, but as this article points out, GM is still 26% owned by the government, thus the taxpayers.

Chevy Volt Costing Taxpayers Up to $250K Per Vehicle

Analyst: 'This might be the most government-supported car since the Trabant'

By Tom Gantert

Dec. 21, 2011

Michigan Capital Confidential\

Each Chevy Volt sold thus far may have as much as $250,000 in state and federal dollars in incentives behind it – a total of $3 billion altogether, according to an analysis by James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Hohman looked at total state and federal assistance offered for the development and production of the Chevy Volt, General Motors’ plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. His analysis included 18 government deals that included loans, rebates, grants and tax credits. The amount of government assistance does not include the fact that General Motors is currently 26 percent owned by the federal government.

The Volt subsidies flow through multiple companies involved in production. The analysis includes adding up the amount of government subsidies via tax credits and direct funding for not only General Motors, but other companies supplying parts for the vehicle. For example, the Department of Energy awarded a $105.9 million grant to the GM Brownstown plant that assembles the batteries. The company was also awarded approximately $106 million for its Hamtramck assembly plant in state credits to retain jobs. The company that supplies the Volt’s batteries, Compact Power, was awarded up to $100 million in refundable battery credits (combination tax breaks and cash subsidies). These are among many of the subsidies and tax credits for the vehicle.

It’s unlikely that all the companies involved in Volt production will ever receive all the $3 billion in incentives, Hohman said, because many of them are linked to meeting various employment and other milestones. But the analysis looks at the total value that has been offered to the Volt in different aspects of production – from the assembly line to the dealerships to the battery manufacturers. Some tax credits and subsidies are offered for periods up to 20 years, though most have a much shorter time frame.

GM has estimated they’ve sold 6,000 Volts so far. That would mean each of the 6,000 Volts sold would be subsidized between $50,000 and $250,000, depending on how many government subsidy milestones are realized.

If battery manufacturers awarded incentives to produce batteries the Volt may use are included in the analysis, the potential government subsidy per Volt increases to $256,824. For example, A123 Systems has received extensive state and federal support, and bid to be a supplier to the Volt, but the deal instead went to Compact Power. The $256,824 figure includes adding up the subsidies to both companies.

The $3 billion total subsidy figure includes $690.4 million offered by the state of Michigan and $2.3 billion in federal money. That’s enough to purchase 75,222 Volts with a sticker price of $39,828.

Additional state and local support provided to Volt suppliers was not included in the analysis, Hohman said, and could increase the level of government aid. For instance, the Volt is being assembled at the Poletown plant in Detroit/Hamtramck, which was built on land acquired by General Motors through eminent domain.

“It just goes to show there are certain folks that will spend anything to get their vision of what people should do,” said State Representative Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills. “It’s a glaring example of the failure of central planning trying to force citizens to purchase something they may not want. … They should let the free market make those decisions.”

“This might be the most government-supported car since the Trabant,” said Hohman, referring to the car produced by the former Communist state of East Germany.

According to GM CEO Dan Akerson, the average Volt owner makes $170,000 per year.

http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/16192

Here is a link to a story about buyers of Chevy Volts.  Look for the references to what GE has committed to buy.  Great, a subsidized car powered by subsidized power generation.

http://nlpc.org/stories/2011/12/15/chevy-volt-reflects-akerson%E2%80%99s-failure-not-all-evs%E2%80%99

Chevy Volt and Windmills

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What a Dysfunctional Household

While it too is dysfunctional, I was prepared to go on a rant about the current situation with Congress having to pass yet another continuing resolution to keep the government funded. All because the Democratic Party controlled Senate refuses to pass a budget. They haven’t done their responsibility in over 2 ½ years so far as the budget is concerned. Their latest one was to pass one good for two months so that they could go home for the holidays.

However, another story surfaced today that shows an even more dysfunctional “house.” This story comes from Taylorsville, Utah. (Hey….that’s the state that Harry Reid, the dysfunctional Senate leader is from.) Oops. Got side tracked there.

It all boils down to a man shooting at a mouse with a 9mm handgun, hitting one of his roommates, who is in the bathroom, and when the cops come to investigate the accidental shooting, they end up arresting the THIRD roommate for rape.

Hey, would you believe that alcohol was involved?

But, I’ll let you read the story for yourself and provide a link to the original story.

Man Shoots at Mouse, Hits Roommate; Another Roommate Arrested for Rape

By Pat Reavy

December 21st, 2011

KSL-TV Utah

TAYLORSVILLE — A 34-year-old man has been arrested for investigation of multiple counts of sex abuse against a 13-year-old girl.

The four-month relationship was discovered after a bizarre incident at the man's house in which one of his housemates was shot by a third housemate who was reportedly trying to shoot a mouse in his kitchen with a 9mm handgun, according to investigators.

Paul Daniel Kunzler was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of two counts of rape of a child, three counts of sodomy of a child and three counts of sexual abuse of a child.

The string of events began to unfold about 2 a.m. Tuesday when police were called to a house, 2584 W. Brucemont Dr. (5450 South), on a report of an accidental shooting. Officers arrived to discover that a man who was in the bathroom had accidentally been shot in the chest by his 27-year-old housemate who was shooting at a mouse in the kitchen with a handgun, said Taylorsville Police Sgt. Tracy Wyant.

The bullet went through a wall and struck the 28-year- old man while he was in the bathroom.

"After the gun was fired, both the roommate and Paul heard a scream," Wyant said.

The victim was taken to a local hospital in serious condition. He was later upgraded to stable condition. Alcohol was involved in the incident, Wyant said.

During an ensuing search of the house, officers found a 13-year-old girl hiding in a basement closet, Wyant said. The girl told police she had sneaked out of her house without her father's knowledge to see Kunzler, according to a jail report.

After further questioning, investigators learned Kunzler and the 13-year-old had been having a relationship for four months. The two had met through a common friend, Wyant said.

It was not known Wednesday whether any of Kunzler's three housemates were aware of the relationship.

http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=148&sid=18586564&title=man-shoots-at-mouse-hits-roommate-another-roommate-arrested-for-rape

As an afterthought, that last statement of the story seems to indicate that maybe there was yet another “housemate” somewhere? If there was another roommate, do you suppose he was out trying to get more liquor?

tom_and_jerry_guns

Monday, December 19, 2011

Things May Be Changing

I have been rocking along and waiting for retirement so that we can get on the road, but that might have changed today. News received today at work may cause our wait to be for four more years instead of just two.

Jo and I both work for the state of Oklahoma in a law enforcement agency. She is an IT professional and a branch manager in our agency’s department. As such, she is the one called upon to be “the boss” when the IT division director has to be out of town or is on vacation.

With the state of Oklahoma wanting to consolidate all the IT departments in the state, there is a lot of flux at the moment. At first, Jo was uncertain as to whether she would even still have a job after this process of consolidating began to happen.

As a part of that consolidation plan, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) has set up five “departments” within the state IT agency, one of which is over all the law enforcement agencies’ and, I think, the state court system’s IT departments. Jo’s boss, our agency’s IT division director has applied for and apparently been offered the position over that “department.”

When they recently had a discussion of the future of the consolidation, she had mentioned that she would like to take early retirement in two years if the consolidation looked to be a problem for her. Her boss asked her if she would stay for four years IF he got the position of the head of the law enforcement systems under this new plan, and Jo said that she would.

Her boss will be retiring in about 4 years and I think he really wanted someone that he could depend on, and Jo is definitely dependable. I can’t count the number of times we have driven in to work at all hours to address issues involving the computer systems and servers. With the sale of our home last May and the move to a mobile home park with our Mobile Suites, we are now only 3 miles away instead of over 20 miles away, so that has made it a lot easier to be “dependable.”

It now looks like we may very well be staying put for four more years. That will let Jo get to full retirement instead of early retirement. I could retire at any time as I am just enough of an old fogey that I could, albeit with a reduced amount of benefits simply because I haven’t put in quite enough years for full retirement benefits.

In order for me to get full retirement, I would have to work until I was 72 years old. Since I am now 65, that would have been 7 more years, but if Jo goes ahead and retires after 4 more years, it will add to my retirement benefits, but I would still be 3 year short of having full retirement benefits.

Hey, I could live with that. After all, I would only be 69-years-old when we start, and I fully plan on living to the age of 103 and dying in a fight over a prime campsite.

Fall and Winter colors in Colorado, October 2011

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Musings About Multiple Things

Today came with the need to go to a co-worker’s home and finish up helping her with setting up your new laptop computer. This lady has finally moved away from dial-up internet modems to a high speed connection. After such a long time of denying herself some goodies, she took a bonus and bought a new AT&T modem and Jo helped her pick out a new laptop.

A couple of weeks back we spent part of a Saturday helping her set up the modem, configure the wireless connections, and configure the new laptop and new wireless printer. Today, we went back to do a “mirror image” of the computer hard drive and cancel out her old AOL paid account and left her with her new “FREE” AOL account, thus keeping her old e-mail addresses.

Dark Ages and its Influence

While we were over in that area of town, we ended up behind a pickup that had a bumper sticker stuck in the back of the window. That bumper sticker read, “While the world was ruled by religion, it was called the Dark Ages.” That began a discussion between Jo and me.

There was a time when the Roman Catholic Church had forgotten the meaning of Christ’s message and was punishing those whom the church deemed heretics. Many of those victims of the church’s crusade were put to death. While I don’t know all the details of the history of the early Catholic church, it did begin somewhere around the 3rd century after Christ.

Some years ago, I was having an online discussion with another Oklahoma City resident about religion. I had spoken of the need to get closer to the Bible as it was the inspired word of God. His answer was to say that the Catholic Church had “helped” determine the make-up of the Bible, but even the church didn’t deem it as God’s word.

That statement has led me to closer study the beliefs of the Catholic Church. I have a dear friend and co-worker who is also a Catholic, so I asked her to ask her priest a question for me. That question was, “Between the Bible and the Catholic Canon, which does the Catholic Church deem the one to follow?”

She came back with the answer that the Canon took precedence over the Bible. (She had made statements to me in the past that the Bible was just “a good book with good stories.”) The answer from the priest further makes me question that if the Bible is not considered such an important document, what in the world does the Catholic Church base its beliefs upon that is a “rock” of a foundation.

I don’t know how Canonical law (?) is decided, but if it is similar to how the Catholic Church chooses a new Pope, do we have a faith based on the consensus opinion of a group of men and not the teachings of God? If so, what will God do with those that usurp his word? If he has a standard as to how we are to live and worship, how will he judge those who live and worship in different ways?

It was similar concerns that led the reformers of religion to create the Protestant movement. They were of the belief that the Catholic Church had strayed from the Bible and its teachings and wanted to return to more biblical beliefs.

Since it will be God who judges mankind, I would presume to believe that he will judge according to his “yardstick” as opposed to mankind’s opinion of what that yardstick should look like. It is for that reason that those in the churches of Christ, of which we are members, adhere to the teachings of the Bible, a movement begun in this country of “restoring” worship and a way of life based on what is deemed God’s word.

Evolution

When we returned to our part of town and went to Walmart for groceries, we stopped at a Braum’s Ice Cream Store for lunch. (Yes, we had lunch, not ice cream.) While there, I could overhear snippets from a nearby table about evolution. The discussion was kind of along the lines of how does one say to convince a non-believer in religion that creation has more validity than evolution.

I was sorely tempted to say something, but held my piece. I don’t think any controversy would have ensued as I believe that all at the table believed in God. I didn’t want to intrude, so I said nothing, but I’d like to share the questions that I ask unbelievers that give them something to consider.

Let’s say that it were given that evolution was a viable option for the creation of the entire universe, I have two questions.

1. If the “Big Bang” occurred, how does that “create” such intricately functioning things such as the bodies of humans, animals, and fish and the interrelationship of soil, rain, and plant seeds?

2. If evolution is a long process of genetic changes over time for man to evolve from “whatever” through the appearances of monkeys and apes, how is it that the blood of man AND OF ANIMALS managed to “develop” to the stage of being able to coagulate without seeing the extinction of man and animal from bleeding to death before those genetic changes could have developed?

There are many more points to argue in favor of creation as opposed to evolution, but non-believers should be given the opportunity to ponder those two questions. I don’t expect them to answer me, nor do I insist that they do. I just like to ask them so they have something to think about.

So, do we have the contemplation of evolution, or is this an interpretation of a biased journalist?

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Politics

I ran across a story from earlier this year that demonstrates the bias of the media. Among many points in that story, there was the telling fact that following the killing of several in Arizona and the wounding of Representative Gabrielle Giffords MSNBC savaged Sarah Palin. This quote from the story followed by a link to the story:

Indeed, four days after the shooting, the day Obama cautioned the nation to discuss the issue "with a good dose of humility rather than pointing fingers," MSNBC over the course of five hours mentioned Palin in connection with the massacre 166 times while mentioning the alleged killer, Jared Loughner, only 18 times.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/sarah-palin-msnbcs-obsession-75184

Jackson Lake and the Grand Tetons; Wyoming 2002.  How many of you knew that Jackson Lake leans?  I have photographic proof right here.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holidays and Traditions

In a comment to my last posting entitled “Warring Against Liberals, Part 3,” Doris from Doris and Dave’s Excellent Adventure provided me with a link to an article at History.com with more information on Christmas and other Winter holidays.  Incidentally, Doris and Dave’s blog site is one that I read daily.

While Doris was not rebutting me, the article was at least an interesting read, one in which I found some comments that concerned me enough to question the author of the History.com article. This post is not a rebuttal of Doris, but is one where I will have to question those comments in the original article.

Sadly, the article does not give the name of the author, nor does it provide any footnotes or links to corroborating information that authenticates the article. Then, at the bottom of each article is this little comment: “Fact Check We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!

However, in an honest statement of my own, I’m not really familiar with much of the festivals, holidays, feasts, and other celebrations of the really early cultures and countries. So, rather than try to counter every statement in the article, let me merely point out some things that really seem to be conjecture on the part of the article’s author.

This conjecture is enough in my mind to begin to throw some doubt as to the authenticity of the rest of the article, because the author is making some statements that seem to lack validity. So, let me start with at least two statements that really began to make me doubt the author’s credibility.

In the portion of the History.com article with the heading of “An Ancient Holiday,” this following statement was made:

“The end of December was a perfect time for celebration in most areas of Europe. At that time of year, most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter.

What disturbs me about this statement is that part that refers to most cattle being slaughtered. Having been a farmer and cattleman, the idea of slaughtering most of one’s cattle is alien. If one slaughtered most, one would still have to keep breeding stock so as to be able to raise more cattle later. However, most cattlemen don’t just raise cattle to provide meat for themselves.

They raise cattle to provide meat, milk, and to sell or trade for other goods. In our ranching operations, the bulls were turned out with the cows in the summer and the resulting calves would be born in the spring of the next year. As such, one’s calves would not even be a yearling yet at the time a winter slaughter would occur, leading to very little meat to eat from those calves.

Then if cows died or calves were killed by wild animals, I wouldn’t think it would take too long for one to run out of cattle entirely. It hardly seems to make sense to me. Then again, I am unaware of the nature of animal husbandry in Europe in the Middle Ages and before. So, perhaps they did as described in the article, but it certainly seems suspicious to me.

The second comment that REALLY blared out to me is in the area of the article under the heading of “Saturnalia.” In that section, what disturbed me was this statement:

“Although some evidence suggests that his birth may have occurred in the spring (why would shepherds be herding in the middle of winter?), Pope Julius I chose December 25.”

First of all, what else would be done with the sheep? They certainly don’t hibernate so that the shepherds could have a few months off. Sheep require care all year long, and since grass will have nutritional value even when dormant in the winter, that would be their logical source of food. While some hay might have been stored for the winters, I really have my doubts as to how much would be available for so many sheep from so many owners.

Unlike colder climates, I would think that the Middle East’s weather would be more temperate than what occurs in lands further north. Thus, there wouldn’t be the need to forage into deep snow to find grass, so it would be natural for shepherds to be out with their flocks, at least until time to take them into the folds.

The author’s question as to why shepherds would be out with their sheep in the winter seems to ignore the fact that sheep would still need to be fed or grazed. So, he has made a leap to a conclusion with that question and that leads me to doubt at least that part of his article. With such a glaring error, I really have to wonder about some of his other comments as to whether they are actually factual.

Now, let’s move to more modern times. There is this reference:

“In 1828, the New York city council instituted the city's first police force in response to a Christmas riot.”

While I haven’t done an extensive search for the possibility of early police forces, the following ling indicates that the New York Police Department wasn’t established until the 1850’s, and I couldn’t find any references to an earlier force being started as the result of a Christmas riot.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City_Police_Department

While the first paragraph of that article does refer to an earlier “force,” there is no reference to when and why that force was implemented.

I am really disappointed that the article’s author chose to not identify himself or provide any footnotes or other references to the sources of the material used for his article. While it is an interesting read at that article, for now I will have to seriously question it validity.

One final touch that is not related at all to the article, but is in relationship to a post at Doris’s blog, here is a photo that I took back in 2002 at Yellowstone National Park. It is a very close up image of an elk. In Doris’s article entitled “Clackity, Clickity, Clack,” she wondered whether the critters she saw were deer or elk. Thus this picture is for her benefit. Incidentally, the deer she took pictures of have some very healthy racks of antlers. See them at the link just above.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Warring Against Liberals, Part 3

Since today’s posts (this looking to make it a “three-for”) are likely to irritate some liberals, I’ve sort of covered politics with the global warming believer’s problems. I just as well throw in religion as well. In fact, that religion will specifically be Christianity.

I cannot in any way lay claim to the following comments, as they were uttered (and written) by a local radio talk show host on the KTOK’s morning show here in Oklahoma City. After hearing it, I immediately e-mailed him asking for a transcript of his comments and explained that I would be posting them onto my blog. Within minutes, he was announcing on the radio that the transcript was available on his KTOK blog post.

So, with that, I will share his thoughts and a link to his blog posting.

Dear World -

Reid Mullins

Monday, December 12, 2011

KTOK Blog

Dear world -
You can have it. We're done with Santa, trees, the colors green & red, candy, and presents. We've had it with the pressure of trying to express our "love" for those around us by spending every last penny on some worthless, thoughtless, late night impulse-buy at the checkout stand at the gigantic "everything" store. We're giving back to you what you're so good at: manufactured emotion, sympathy ploys, class warfare guilt trips, and the coup de grace of EVERY other outward expression of Christianity: "inclusiveness."
From now on, you can have your endless TV commercials and internet banner ads which basically say, "hey, thanks, God for sending Your own Son down here to be born humbly, live exceptionally and innocently, die brutally and horribly, and be brought back to life as a once-and-for-all payment for everything ALL of us have ever done wrong... so now we get 20% off sheets this weekend only!"
We're giving back to you the hyper-extension of this season to include the confiscation of family time and rest going clear back to Thanksgiving, when you made Moms and others come in to work for a bunch of shoppers who were using these same employees as emotional Kleenex so they could "get away" from the relatives they themselves (probably) begged to come for Thanksgiving in the first place.
We are returning the now dirtied-up (ruined) portions of what we once knew as a pure celebration of God's love, such as replacing the Manger Star with a snowflake, replacing "Closed for Christmas" with "Closed December 25th" on EVERY door on EVERY Smithsonian Museum property in our nation's capitol, making the saying "Merry Christmas" not only unacceptable, but guilt-invoking, and ripping out the very heart of who we Christians are for a supposedly aggrieved few who - in reality - do little to outwardly express their own "faith" which is basically any absent of Christ.
We're done. You go on, and battle the final definitions of minutiae like whether or not a Christmas tree is a co-opted pagan ritual symbol: you have that fight with the pagans. You decide whether or not the colors red and/or green are actually some ideological visual possessions of the Muslim culture and should or should not be included in the infidel's festivities: you have that fight with the Muslims. You deal with whether or not this whole observance has become nothing but crass commercialism that generates a profit: you have that fight with the profiteers. The truth is that you - Jew, Muslim, Pagan, whatever - are welcome to come observe the (arbitrary) date we've settled on to call the birthday of Jesus. We won't exclude you, we won't hurt you, we won't chastise you, we won't be mean to you, and we won't abandon you.
Why? Because our Jesus didn't do any of those things to us, either.
Love,
American Christians

http://www.ktok.com/pages/Mullins.html?article=9499933

And as a final personal note to those the last paragraph refers to, Jesus made his sacrifice for you as well.

The title does not mean that all liberals need this message. I have too many friends who are both Christian and liberal.

May God bless us all.

Three Crosses and Verse

More Bad News for Global Warming Believers

I just as well put a little twist to that “thorn in the side.”  Here is yet another story, but it STILL isn’t from the mainstream news media.  This one is from Popular Science.

Canada Pulls Out of Kyoto Protocol

Making it the first country to legally opt out

By Clay Dillow

Posted 12.13.2011

Popsci.com - from Popular Science Magazine

After U.N. climate talks in Durban, South Africa, produced yet another international commitment to wait a few more years before committing to anything, Canada has gone and done exactly what many feared it would do and pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, making it the first country to formally do so. And today, the finger-pointing begins.

Promptly after returning from the talks in Durban, Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent took to the airwaves, telling his country and the world that “Kyoto, for Canada, is in the past.” Kent cited the usual reasons: the emissions standards don’t cover the world’s two biggest emitters--China and the United States--and that the onerous demands of Kyoto are causing Canada to lose its economic competitiveness. Then for good measure, he managed to get a few shots in at the Liberal government that preceded the current administration.

The criticism that Kyoto doesn’t require anything legally binding from the U.S. (which refused to ratify it) and China (whose commitment to cut emissions is not legally binding) is an old and frequent one. Kent argued that global emissions would continue to rise as a result of this, even as Canada is forced to come up with roughly $14 billion to buy carbon credits abroad since the country is so far behind on its reductions.

Under the 1997 agreement--the only legally binding international agreement to cut carbon emissions--Canada was supposed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 6 percent below 1990 levels during the four years between 2008 and 2012. Right now it is something like 30 percent above the target. Hence, Kyoto is something of an albatross around the neck of the Canadian government (and economy), and the country is now the first to bail on the agreement. That decision is drawing criticism from governments around the world. Even China is getting in on the ribbing, saying that Canada is going against the efforts of the international community to combat climate change.

So what does all of this mean? On its face, not much, as Canada isn’t a huge emitter of greenhouse gases (though its contribution is growing). But it’s a big blow to the Kyoto Protocol and could lead other countries facing their own economic problems to follow suit, emasculating the only binding international emissions reduction agreement ever ratified. The Durban talks mapped out a path to internationally binding emissions reduction standards, but those won’t be agreed upon until 2015 and likely not implemented until 2020. In the meantime, Kyoto is the only tangible set of standards in place.

Nonetheless, Canada is out. “Kyoto is not the path forward for a global solution to climate change,” Kent said. “If anything it’s an impediment.”

There are plenty of people out there questioning that statement--and Canada’s motives--today. We’ll have to wait and see if this move effectively spells the end of the Kyoto Protocol. More on this as it develops.

Link to Popular Science online article:

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-12/canada-pulls-out-kyoto-protocol-making-it-first-country-legally-opt-out

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So, was that image of some fireworks or the global warming believer’s reactions to the stories?

Global Warming Believers Have a Problem

This first note is not a surprise to anyone who understands the U.S. news media, but there is a story out there that they are NOT reporting. Huh….fancy that.

A story from the Ottawa Citizen today is this one:

Hurricane experts admit they can’t predict hurricanes early; December forecasts too unreliable

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

By Tom Spears, The Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — Two top U.S. hurricane forecasters, famous across Deep South hurricane country, are quitting the practice of making a seasonal forecast in December because it doesn’t work.

William Gray and Phil Klotzbach say a look back shows their past 20 years of forecasts had no predictive value.

The two scientists from Colorado State University will still discuss different probabilities of hurricane seasons in December. But the shift signals how far humans are, even with supercomputers, from truly knowing what our weather will do in the long run.

Colorado State has been known for decades for forecasts of how many named storms and hurricanes can be expected each official hurricane season (which runs from June to November.)

Last week, the pair made this announcement:

“We are discontinuing our early December quantitative hurricane forecast for the next year … Our early December Atlantic basin seasonal hurricane forecasts of the last 20 years have not shown real-time forecast skill even though the hindcast studies on which they were based had considerable skill.”

The two will still make the traditional forecasts closer to hurricane season.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly said they were stopping all forecasts.

Here is a link to the actual story:

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/mobile/story.html?id=5847032

Now, reading between the lines here, the phrase “even with supercomputers” clearly indicates the use of computer models for their forecasting.

So, what is the problem for global warming believers?

Well, if the computer models can’t even predict next year’s hurricanes in December, then how can computer models predict what global temperature trends will be for what many of them say are for decades into the future?

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Monday, December 12, 2011

I Found More Paintings

While it isn’t like I didn’t know where they were, but they weren’t close to home. Some were at Jo’s sister’s place in Canon City and others were at Jo’s other sister’s place in Tulsa. While there are a lot more at my sister’s, we weren’t in that area this fall and winter.

On our vacation to Colorado, we stayed at Jo’s sister’s there since we could save money by not pulling the Mobile Suites all the way up there and back. In addition to some of my mother’s paintings, she had some of the ones that Jo painted, a few their mother painted, and some other items. Not all were paintings, and there may have been one or two paintings of Jo’s second sister.

So, let’s start with the Colorado paintings. The first one to show is of a violin, a cabinet behind, some sheet music and a card. The card is interesting in that it is a painting of an actual card that mother received. She had met a woman on one of her trips to the Holy Lands and the woman couldn’t remember Mother’s name. All she could remember was the name of the town. With that she looked up the zip code and mailed it to Keyes to “That Crazy Painting Lady.”

Of course, the postmaster knew who it was for since he also took painting lessons from mother. Here is that painting.

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In the same theme of a violin, Mother also showed where she had gained skill in painting faces. While she couldn’t accurately render an exact likeness to a specific individual, she could do well enough to make a tracing and fill it in. Mother played the violin, and I like to think that perhaps she had herself at a young age when she did this painting.

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The last one of the Colorado paintings is appropriately a mountain scene, but is one of her earlier works. While I can make out her name on the painting by zooming in on the lower right hand corner, there is no date there to tell me what year she painted it.

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The next five paintings were at the Tulsa sister’s home. While I will show them here, the color isn’t the best because the weather wasn’t cooperating enough to be able to take the paintings outside to actually take the photos in natural light. I even had to do some “creative flash” work to not get these with a glare on them from the flash.

This first one was done in 1988. I can’t decide whether this is supposed to represent a Northeastern United States scene or a European scene. I guess it really doesn’t matter.

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Next is another human painting. This one is roughly an 8” X 10” painting and it looks like she painted it in either 1985 or 1995. The digits are a bit fuzzy when I zoom in, but I’d guess that it looked more like 1995.

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Next is a landscape in what I would call “Fall transition” colors as there are greens as well as the fall colors. It is really hard to read a date on this one. We will be back over to Tulsa in a couple of weeks and I can verify for sure, but I would guess the 80’s on this one.

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This one with the house/cabin on the mountain side could almost be considered with a European theme, but it is uncertain. While the house seems to have a Spanish look, it could be a setting in either Spain, Mexico, or the Western United States. This one was definitely painted in 1988.

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This last one is one that has hung on the walls of three different homes. It was painted by Mother as a gift for Jo’s mother and dad. It hung in their home over a fireplace mantle (gas fire as there aren’t enough trees in the Panhandle of Oklahoma to fuel many fireplaces.) At some time, they either wanted something else there or they moved and didn’t have room for it, but it hung in our home for a long time. Then at some time, we gave it to Jo’s Tulsa sister since she always liked it.

There is no date on this one. However, if one were to zoom in on the lower center part of the painting, one could see that the canvas had been repaired and painted over. Sometime in the moving about of the painting by Jo’s parents that canvas was ripped. It is what Mother called a “stretched canvas” as it was a canvas fabric stretched over a wooden frame.

When it was first painted, I really liked the scene and Mother then painted a small 8’ X 10” one of the same scene. I’m not sure, but I think my sister now has it. If I can get it again, this scene will again hang in our home, albeit the Mobile Suites.

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Mother was born on October 23 of 1920 and passed away on March 26 of 1998. In all the years of painting for herself and family, trading other with friends for other goods like antiques, and just giving them as gifts, she never had an art show. Some tried to get her to have one, but she never did. She entered her paintings in the County Fair and won many ribbons, but when she started painting she quit exhibiting at the Fair so as not to compete with her students.

Some years ago, during the annual Keyes High School alumni get-together, she and her students had a lot of paintings exhibited in the bank there at Keyes. Other than that event, I guess my putting her paintings on my blog is the closest thing to an art show her work will get. When I get to photograph more, I’ll share them, but the next ones you will see here will be some that were done by some of her students, including Jo, her sister, and her mother.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Another “Friend” is Gone

No, not really anything for which to be sad. The “friend” was a “thing.”

For most of my life, outside of my love for family (both bloodline family and “family of the heart”), and of course our Heavenly Father, mostly what I have loved are pets, photography, and music. In the case of pets, we have the misfortune that their lives aren’t as long as ours, so we have to occasionally mourn their loss. At present, TJ and Lady (our two MinPins) are 14-years-old and 13-years old respectively. Even now they bring us comfort and joy.

Photography in my case began in earnest in 1967 when I bought my first SLR camera, an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic. Over the years I was to also receive as a gift or buy two others; a Minolta XG-1 and a Canon T50. With the assortment of lenses I had for all three, one would be equipped with a set length lens, one would have a zoom lens, and the Canon would be used with the standard lens as the “fast shooter,” since it had an automatic film advance feature.

When it came time to downsize and sell so much of our stuff for the life of living in an RV, the hardest thing for me to get rid of were those cameras. They were like members of the family to me, even though I hadn’t used them in 11 years as a result of the technology of digital photography. Equipment valued new at several hundred dollars went in the garage sale for $35. While it was troubling to eventually see them go, I knew it was going to a young lady who was interested in learning photography from the ground up.

Music has been in my life since I was a child, even though I can’t play an instrument or read music. My mother always had a record changer in the house and music was on all day long, every day.

While my interest in a music genre has changed over the years, the love of music has never changed. Back again in 1967, I began to delve into the world of stereos made up of separate components instead of “all-in-one” systems. My latest came in the early ‘90’s with the purchase of some Radio Shack equipment. All of those components were with me until we began to think of downsizing.

Prior to that, Jo got tired of the monstrous speakers that I had and insisted that we buy new ones. So, an investment was made in some great sounding Boston Acoustic tower speakers and a sub-woofer. Peace again reigned in the home because they didn’t take up so much space.

Then, along came the RV lifestyle decisions. Even though the Mobile Suites has a very good system, my plan was to keep my component system. We even carried all of it out to the coach and compared the Mobile Suite’s system to the component system. The component system still exceeded the sound quality of the Mobile Suite’s system, so we made plans to keep them and had them in the coach.

Truthfully though, we don’t listen to the system as much as we did because we really aren’t around the coach enough to really enjoy it. Likely, that won’t change until we can actually retire, which is still at least a couple of years away.

However, with the need for a workplace area for Jo with her embroidery and sewing machines, we decided to build her a sewing center. After seeing one built by Jerry at the WagginTailsRV blog, we decided to build something similar.

Now, keep in mind that our sewing center is NOWHERE near as nice as Jerry and Carol’s, it will suffice for us. The image you will soon see is of a center that we haven’t put on any finish yet. We need to try to find a stain or finish that will come close to matching the wood in our Mobile Suites. If necessary, we will see if we can get in touch with DRV Suites and purchase something from them that matches.

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Since we still need our love seat, it was decided to place ours in the rear of the coach, next to Jo’s Lane Euro-chair and ottoman. As it turns out, there is plenty of room for all of that to sit in the back. We only need to turn the chair, push it against the wall, and put the ottoman in the seat when it comes time to move the coach.

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So, while I am somewhat dejected that my beloved stereo is gone, it makes room for my beloved wife’s interests. The stereo has also gone to a nephew, whose life has been mixed with a lot of trouble and grief. Hopefully, it will give him many years of enjoyment as well.

Besides, I think the stereo, stereo cabinet, and all speakers all weighed more than her embroidery machine and work station.

Similar to Jerry and Carol’s, the roller cabinets will be removed and turned around and the machine placed on the floor in the center part for transport. Also, it has been built by us and our youngest son, Eric.

As always, family looks after family. We must sometimes sacrifice, but it is usually for the better.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Justice in Oklahoma

Today, December 9, 2011, has seen two different stories hit the national news that are related to crime and the coming of justice. The first one started out as a bizarre story of a woman in Tulsa being caught cooking Meth on one of the shelves in a south Tulsa Walmart.

Essentially, she didn’t have the money to buy the ingredients at Walmart and then take them elsewhere to cook for her Meth. So, she just decided to fix up a batch right there in the store, shoplifting each item as it was needed. I guess she thought she could get it cooked up into the drug and then just leave with the finished product. That way, she wouldn’t be caught “shoplifting” an ingredient or two when she went to leave.

Many stores won’t confront a shoplifter within the store, but will after they have gone out the doors. It would have worked, but store security noted that she had arrived around noon yesterday and about 6 hours later, they noticed her looking “suspicious.” So, they called the Tulsa police. They caught her just after she had mixed two of the ingredients.

As they were taking both her and the chemicals out, the active ingredients ate through the bottle she had been using, ate through the police officer’s glove and gave him a chemical burn. For anyone not familiar with the process, and I sincerely hope that NONE of you know what the process entails, cooking Meth is dangerous. There is always the danger of explosions. (Ever notice that some house fires don’t seem to have a real definitive cause?)

I remember a few years ago, someone cooking Meth decided to somehow gather the gasses and fumes from their process and inject it into an air mattress. They hoped that by doing that, the neighbors wouldn’t smell the processing and call the police. Fortunately, they were discovered and the dangerous situation made safe. If something had sparked the gasses in that air mattress, it would have been one h*ll of an explosion.

Anyway, the link below will take you to a local story about the discovery and arrest of this woman.

http://www.fox23.com/news/local/story/Woman-caught-making-meth-inside-S-Tulsa-Walmart/Rgu31vt1m0me-p0WwKsN_w.cspx

In addition to getting a Meth cooker off the streets, there was a major announcement this afternoon about charges being filed against a man who allegedly murdered two young girls out near Weleetka, Oklahoma about 3 years ago.

The two young girls, aged 11 and 13, were walking to a nearby bridge to play along the river bank and look for “things.” When the girls had not returned in some time, family members went looking and found their bodies at the side of the road, each having been shot multiple times with two different caliber weapons.

The man charged is one that had been arrested for the recent murder of his girlfriend, causing the OSBI (Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations) to take a real interest in him in regards to the murders of 13-year-old Taylor Placker and 11-year-old Skyla Whitaker.

The charging of Kevin Sweat of Henryetta, Oklahoma has come about after his admission that he had killed “two monsters” along the road that day. While the OSBI still does not have the .40 caliber Glock handgun, they been able to trace the weapon to Mr. Sweat.

Now, it is my prayer that some peace can now come to the families of the two young girls. The loss of such young ladies must be a burden that is hard to bear. Should those families ever hear of or read my words, I would like for them to know that I pray for strength and comfort for the difficult task of now enduring a trial.

Because this case took so long to solve, one Oklahoma legislative representative, who will remain unnamed here, heaped a lot of criticism upon the investigators in the Okfuskee County sheriff’s office and the OSBI. It is my hope that he realizes that law enforcement in the state of Oklahoma does not give up so easy. I also hope that he realizes that law enforcement cannot reveal all the information that they possess until the case has come to an end with the arrest and conviction of a criminal.

A link to this story is provided below. If you go there, you can see some photos of those precious young ladies who were such good friends.

http://www.news9.com/story/16229198/suspect-in-weleetka-murder-case-arrested-charged

I would also like to offer my commendations to the law enforcement agencies and personnel of the state of Oklahoma for their dedication and courage. In addition to the above stories, there is one other where officers in Valley Brook, a community within Oklahoma City, confronted someone who had broken into the Valley Brook city hall. A shootout ensued with one Valley Brook officer and two Oklahoma City officers being wounded and the suspect being killed.

Oddly enough, the Valley Brook city hall is also a part of the same building as where the Valley Brook police department is located. This perpetrator brings some weird things to this story. He left “messages” on the walls of city hall with what appears to be his own blood.

So, if you want to read about that story, check out this link:

http://www.news9.com/story/16230622/police-investigate-bizarre-valley-brook-shooting

I would say that concludes the wild and weird and welcome news with crime in Oklahoma. However, who knows what else went on today. There was an incident on the Turner Turnpike (I-44 between Tulsa and Oklahoma City) where someone fired 14 shots into a westbound vehicle, wounding two people in that vehicle. Unfortunately, at this time that has not been any arrests with that one, so I really can’t say that they are all concluded.

I think I’ll go clean some weapons.

XD9661HCSP

Thursday, December 8, 2011

For Which They Served…and Died

Sadly, I lacked the thoughts of what, if anything to post about yesterday, the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. I was distracted by a medical issue that occasionally plagues me, and I am thus on antibiotics again. However, there is no reason to even mention my ever so trivial problems.

There were thoughts in my mind in regards to the elements of surprise and the errors made by both the Japanese and the Americans. History has pretty much covered a lot of the issues on both sides, but I heard something on the radio that needs to be addressed.

There was a mention on the radio that Nimitz made some comments after he had first toured the damaged facility after he was assigned as the Pacific commander. Someone supposedly asked him what his thoughts were after seeing all the damaged warships and aircraft. His answer, while perhaps inspiring at the time, leaves some degree of doubt as to its validity.

Nimitz was to have stated that the Japanese had made three major blunders in their attack on Pearl Harbor. First, he stated that the attack had come on a Sunday morning when 90 percent of the crewmen were on liberty. Had the Japanese attacked while the fleet was at sea, they could have destroyed many of the boats and could have killed up to 38,000 men instead of less than 4000.

Second, he claimed that the Japanese were distracted with the opportunity to destroy the warships, but failed to attack the dry-dock facilities. Had they destroyed or seriously damaged those facilities, any ships re-floated would have to have been towed to the west coast of the United States for repairs. As it was, only one tug would have been needed to tow a raised ship to a dry-dock. Also, there was the ability to repair a ship and get it back into some service in about the time it would have taken to tow the ship to America.

Third, it was claimed that he pointed out that all of the Pacific fleet’s fuel reserves were in storage tanks only 5 miles away from the harbor, but that no Japanese airplanes attacked those reserves.

While I was doing some research as to the validity of the above statements, I found that the first was the only one that seemed to attract much attention as to being incorrect. In fact, one source said that probably at least 60 percent or more of the crews of the ships were actually on board or on the docks that morning. A major reason for believing this is that there had been a “warning order” issued to the Pacific fleet.

There is also the “mistake” that was pointed out by Yamamoto himself, in that attacking the United States at Pearl Harbor would, at best, give the Japanese only six months of freedom to do as they wished in the Pacific theater. Yamamoto had spent 3 years at Harvard University and served two postings to Washington, D.C. as a naval attaché. Thus, he knew what the capabilities of the American people were if called to mobilize for war.

However, in all the supposed mistakes that may or may not have been committed, one thing remains clear. Those that mobilized for war deserve the accolades that we give them, whether it was for old wars or for current ones.

There is the recognition of the fact that the United States is the greatest beacon of freedom in the world. They swear allegiance to this country and to protect its constitution. They may not know it at the time, but it is the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that has made America what it is, even considering its faults.

It was these and the freedoms they offered for which men, and women, served and died.

While I am not an expert on either document, there is an interesting read in the latest issue of Imprimus, which is a free monthly speech digest published by Hillsdale College in Michigan. This latest Imprimus, currently online but not yet mailed out to subscribers, is entitled: “The Unity and Beauty of the Declaration and the Constitution.”

That issue is actually an interview of Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College. It is most definitely an interesting read. I should also mention that the Hillsdale College website for the Imprimus issues has an extensive archive of previous issues. I should also point out that free issues can be mailed to anyone interested in receiving them.

The website for the latest issue of Imprimus is here:

http://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis.asp

If you look at the archives of Imprimus, you will see a long list of distinguished educators and world leaders whose speeches have been put into the Imprimus issues. The one just previous to the current on online by Phil Gramm about Reaganomics and the American Character is also a good read.

I have enjoyed Imprimus for quite some time, and I am absolutely delighted to see such an impressive list of archived issues.

Enjoy the reading, if you so desire to do so.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Test is HERE!!!

First of all, I have been very remiss with keeping everyone up to date on what we have been doing. I did manage to post in regards to installing our EZE-Kleen sewer system, but I forgot to post about what we did to prepare the water supply hose and flush hose for winter.

As luck would have it, our inlet area on the Mobile Suites is right close to 25 feet from the “underground” hydrant box. Thus, we only needed two 25’ hoses to do this job instead of having to use a 50’ and figure out what to do with the rest of the hose to protect it.  One is the fresh water supply hose and the second is for the black tank flushing.

We went to Lowes and bought 1” split foam insulation tubes that are 6 feet long and bought enough to encase both 25 foot hoses. Then we got an electrical heat tape that was 30’ long and wrapped that around the two 25’ lengths of hose in the tubes. That was followed by wrapping strips of pipe insulation around the two hoses in tubes and the heat tape.

Once that was wrapped, we then inserted the whole “assembly” into lengths of 4” heavy PVC pipe and “tied” each section to the next with white Duct tape. A right angle was created near the hydrant, just in case we decide to “skirt” the coach with something. Also, with the right angle, we can go straight into the box that we had built to put over the underground hydrant.

What’s with the box? Well, since the hose/insulation/heat tape/insulation assembly was too big to go in through the ready cut holes in the lid of the hydrant box, it was not going to be protected from the elements. We had the box made pretty large and it includes a hinged lid with an “eyelet” screwed into the underside of the lid and the whole thing was placed over the hydrant enclosure.

I hung my old shop trouble light, complete with incandescent bulb, on that eyelet and can turn it on when it really gets cold so that it can supply heat inside that box. There is also enough room in that box to add old blankets or whatever to help insulate the area.

With the hinged lid, when it comes time to dump and flush the black tank, all I have to do is raise the lid and turn on the water to the flush system and run that until the flushing is done. Then, I disconnect the hose from the hydrant long enough to drain the hose into that box. So, even though it is insulated and all, that hose won’t have the water running in it that the fresh water hose will have to help prevent freezing of the hose.

You can see in the picture below the proliferation of PVC products, including the EZE-Kleen sewer system in the foreground and the insulated water supply assembly running along the wheels and to the back.

DSC_2164

Last month we arranged to lease a 100 gallon LPG tank to be set next to our fence so that we can have a larger source of LP for heating. It even has a gauge so I can tell when it is getting low. That tank was delivered this afternoon and is now hooked up to our coach.

Now, it is time to test this entire process of me trying to protect water supplies and keep the coach warm, along with all the occupants. A test we are supposed to get tonight.

While in the past month we haven’t seen temperatures below 33 degrees, tonight it is supposed to get down to about 20 or 21 degrees. Considering the worry-wart that I am, I don’t really expect to get a lot of sleep tonight. In spite of being the KING OF OVERKILL, I always consider my efforts to be lacking in what is needed.

I’ve stuffed some extra insulation into the bottom of the compartment for the valves and water inlets and turned on the trouble light in the box. Right now, my wireless thermometer system tells me that it is about 75 degrees in the coach, 29.1 degrees outside, and 47.3 degrees in the belly of the coach.

Maybe I need to get one more sensor for the thermometer so I can put that into the box to monitor that worry spot? Did I fail in being the KING OF OVERKILL?

I guess morning will tell.