Saturday, December 30, 2006

Another Year Gone

Another year comes to a close. Much has happened in my part of the world.

Drought ravaged the panhandle.
Fires raged, blackening a million acres and killing 12.
When the drought ended, flooding took one life in town.
My divorce became final.
I celebrated my first anniversary at my new job.
I spent my third Christmas in my new home - with my friends and extended family.
Snow and ice hit us three times - unusual for year's end.
The third is working on us as I type. I hope we don't lose power.

While the year had its ups and downs, the net result was very much "up". I look forward to the New Year, and what it has waiting for us. I know it will be just as good if not better!

Here's wishing you all a very Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year!

Be well, and be safe.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Jerome Murat

This is really cool!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Tradition

A friend and I have started a Christmas tradition a few years ago. We swap ornaments.

This is the one I got. Since I'm a proud veteran, she appealed to my patriotic side. I love it! :)

It's a Hallmark keepsake ornament called "The Proud and Brave".

On the back, it says:



Strong and free,

we stand united.

So be it.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


No, that's not a type-o or misspelling. Toy stores can bring it out of you - kidness. :)

I couldn't help myself yesterday. I was at a local toy store, similar to Toys R Us, but smaller and very much unlike it. I just had to play with their toys! ...and they didn't mind at all. In fact, they seem to encourage one to do so. The employees would come around and explain what they were, and how they were to be played with.

This was a dedicated toy store, one that had generations of toys - from the latest radio controlled cars, to the board games and wooden (and die-cast) trains of yesteryear. There were Wheel-O's and dolls. (No, I didn't play with the dolls.) There were stuffed toys and tops, stick horses that relied on the rider to make the sounds, gun sets to battle Indians and outlaws with. I remember being on many a cattle drive in my younger days, and keeping law and order in the old West on my trusty steed. They had microscopes and telescopes, banks that looked like safes, doll houses and toy ovens that did absolutely nothing - but spur a child's imagination. Ladies, do you remember the ovens of yesterday? They didn't make noises. There were no lights that flashed, no bells that dinged. There were only gourmet meals that magically appeared - after suitable baking time.

Speaking of baking, it's about the time of year when kringla need to appear. I need to make a list and check it twice - to make sure the ingredients are readily available.







Butter or oleo











Baking soda

2 ½


Baking pwd.







Mix sugar, butter, unbeaten egg. Add buttermilk and soda, then flour, salt, baking powder and vanilla. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Must keep dough cold as you work with it so just take out of the frig. what you need at a time. Roll out small pieces like a pencil on a floured pastry cloth. Can make them into a circle, a bow shape or a figure eight shape. Bake at 400 F. on an ungreased cookie sheet til very lightly browned, only about 8-10 mins. Serve spreading butter on the bottom. You can double this for five dozen. These freeze well and warm in microwave oven for drop in coffee friends.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tora! Tora! Tora!

December 7, 65 years ago. Our complacency and arrogance resulted in a sucker punch. On that day, 2388 were killed in that attack. Only 48 were civilian. It could never happen to us.

September 11, 6 years ago. Our complacency and arrogance again resulted in a sucker punch. On that day, over 2700 civilians were killed. It could never happen to us.

Today, wheels are in motion in our Government that would set up the same situation again. They fail to see the root causes of both of the aforementioned attacks: Complacency and Arrogance. We were comfortable and complacent in our comfort zone. We were too arrogant to believe it could happen to us. It did - twice. It will again, if we do not become passionately aggressive and forget about political correctness.

Mr. Politician, tell our fighting men and women what outcome you wish them to achieve - and "...let slip the dogs of war!" Let fighting men fight, and let politicians sit back and shut the hell up.

Our wimpy stand and desire to talk to madmen intent on killing all who do not think like them will be our undoing. You cannot reason with unreasonable people. You cannot reason with one who is sworn to kill all who are not radical Extremist/Fascist Muslims!

Let us keep Pearl Harbor from occurring a third time. May we never forget that we are vulnerable and that people wish us dead. We have been told twice, on 7 December 1941 and again on 11 September 2001. How many times do we have to be told? Let us honor those who died at Pearl Harbor and on September 11th, by not allowing it to happen again.

Remember September 11.

Remember to Remember.

May our comrades' souls rest in peace.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Tree Trimmin' Time!

Yesterday we got our tree out, and dug out all the decorations. Lord, I didn't realize we had so much Christmas stuff! We barely had room to walk with it all spread out on the living room floor! It took a little while, but we got it all done. And, the stockings were hung on the mantel with care. There are still some things to put out inside, but the outside hasn't been started yet. I still have a string of lights in my bedroom window, but I think we'll need more than that. ;)

Here is the end result:

Merry Christmas to all, and to all - a good life!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Day Off

Do ya know what this means?

It means there ain't no school - especially with a bit of ice under it.

Know what else it means? NO WORK TODAY!!! I think I can handle it.....since I get paid anyhow. :) Working in the education system has some advantages.

With an official 6" of snowfall by dawn, the wind turned it into a couple feet in many places due to drifting. It's nice to have an extra "vacation" day, but I've got some work to do later. Snow removal, of course! :)

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere I go...."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Christmas In Sarajevo

Here's something I thought was really cute. :)

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Blessings are all around us. We all have so much to be thankful for, whether we see it or not. I am blessed and thankful to have family around me and easy to contact at any time. I am blessed and thankful to have such good friends who have stood by me, lent me their hands, protected me, and taken me under their wings as one of their own.

Be especially aware of your blessings on this Thanksgiving Day, and have a great day and weekend. Friends and family are the most important things we have.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Be safe and be well.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Family Visit

My older brother paid me a visit earlier this week. It's been 5 or 6 years since I've seen him or any of my family. That's beginning to change.

During the time he was here, I was proud to show off my new home to him. He has been through the panhandle before, just passing through, but has never seen the "Real Texas" until now. The Palo Duro Canyon and the other natural wonders of the panhandle will escape everybody that hugs the interstates. That is very apparent to him now. One of the things that really amazed him was the physical size of a purebred longhorn. It's a massive animal, indeed.

He was to fly back on Wednesday, but got bumped from the flight when they needed extra fuel due to a strong headwind. Not a problem, they put him up in a really nice Holiday Inn, fed him, and took him back to the airport where he completed his return trip without a hitch. The airline was very accomodating, and even gave him a generous travel voucher for another trip. If given the opportunity, I will not hesitate to fly Great Lakes Air. I was really impressed!

It was a great week. I enjoyed having him here, and he loved my new home - the panhandle itself, and my friends.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Veteran's Day

It is the VETERAN, not the preacher,

who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the VETERAN, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the VETERAN, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the VETERAN, not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.


When you think of the military services, what do you think of? Chances are, you think of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Most people do. There is another branch that many overlook. When military memorabilia is displayed, this one is seldom amongst it. Where service scrapbooks are sold, rarely is this one present.

There is an unsung military force that is very often the first on scene - even before the battle rages. They secure waterways and prepare the way so the other branches can safely begin their missions. They have patrolled and fought in the Viet Nam War with and alongside other forces.

The United States Coast Guard is not just a drug smuggling fighter. They are not just lifesavers when mariners encounter trouble. They are not just one of the entities that rescue hurricane victims. They are not just the ones that board your pleasure boat and issue tickets to piss you off. Where battles rage, the Coast Guard is right there - as surely as the Navy.

When you honor veterans this and every Veterans Day, please don't forget my brothers in the Coast Guard - of yesterday and today. While "Coasties" never expect any pats on the back for anything they do, it is only right to bestow the same honor upon them that you would their comrades in arms. Their most common mission may be a peacetime mission, but in times of war it becomes something much more than you might expect. Don't let them become forgotten warriors.

Semper Paratus.
(Always Prepared)

From American Forces Press Service

Aug 6 2004
The U.S. Coast Guard is an active player in the war on terror, both in Southwest Asia and on the home front, according to Adm. Thomas H. Collins, commandant of the Coast Guard.

Collins said the "fifth armed service," and the only one to fall under the Department of Homeland Security, is making its largest commitment to port- security operations since World War II. At the same time, the Coast Guard has deployed its largest contingent of Coast Guard members and assets overseas since the Vietnam conflict, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

At the height of the conflict, Collins said the Coast Guard deployed 1,200 men and women, 11 ships and a port-security unit to the theater to conduct maritime-interception operations and coastal-security patrols. The port- security unit and five — soon to be six — patrol boats remain on duty in the northern Arabian Gulf, where they work closely with the Navy and Marine Corps under the command of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fun Stuff

Count the black dots:

I've learned....
I've learned....
That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I've learned....
That when you're in love, it shows.

I've learned..
That just one person saying to me, "You've made my day!" makes my day.

I've learned....
That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful
feelings in the world.

I've learned....
That being kind is more important than being right.

I've learned....
That you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I've learned....
That I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help
him in some other way.

I've learned....
That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a
friend to act goofy with.

I've learned....
That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to

I've learned....
That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I
was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

I've learned....
That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the
faster it goes.

I've learned....
That we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.

I've learned....
That money doesn't buy class.

I've learned....
That it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

I've learned...
That under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated
and loved.

I've learned....
That the Lord didn't do it all in one day. What makes me think I can?

I've learned....
That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I've learned....
That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that
person continue to hurt you.

I've learned....
That love, not time, heals all wounds.

I've learned....
That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself

with people smarter than I am.

I've learned....
That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I've learned....
That there's nothing sweeter than sleeping with your babies and feeling
their breath on your cheeks.

I've learned....
That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

I've learned....
That life is tough, but I'm tougher.

I've learned....
That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

I've learned....
That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

I've learned....
That I wish I could have told my Mom that I love her one more time before
she passed away.

I've learned....
That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he
may have to eat them.

I've learned....
That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I've learned....
That I can't choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do about it.

I've learned....
That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his
little fist, that you're hooked for life.

I've learned....
That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness
and growth occurs while you're climbing it.

IT IS SAID.........

Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks.

Some people are like Slinkies . . . not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.

Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.

In the 60's people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.


Which way does this window face?


Rules for Non-Pet Owners Who Visit and then Complain About Our Pets ---

1. The pets live here. You don't.
2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why it's call "fur"niture.)
3. To you, our pets are just animals. To us, they are an adopted son/daughter who happens to be hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.
4. Dogs and cats are better than kids because:
---- they don't ask for money all the time
---- they are easier to train
---- they usually come when called
---- they don't hang out with drug-using friends
---- they don't need a gazillion dollars for a college education, and
---- if they get pregnant, you can sell the children.


Two bowling teams, one of all Blondes and one of all Brunettes, charter a double-decker bus for a weekend gambling trip to Louisiana.

The Brunette team rode on the bottom of the bus, and the Blonde team rode on the top level.

The Brunette team down below really whooped it up, having a great time, when one of them realized she hadn't heard anything from the Blondes upstairs.

She decided to go up and investigate.

When the Brunette reached the top, she found all the Blondes frozen in fear, staring straight ahead at the road, clutching the seats in front of them with white knuckles.

The brunette asked, "What the heck's going on up here? We're having a great time downstairs!"

One of the Blondes looked up at her, swallowed hard and whispered... YEAH, BUT YOU'VE GOT A DRIVER!

An Excerpt

Excerpt From "A Cat's Guide To Human Beings"

The cat world is divided over the etiquette of presenting humans with the thoughtful gift of a recently disemboweled animal. Some believe that humans prefer these gifts already dead, while others maintain that humans enjoy a slowly expiring cricket or rodent just as much as we do, given their jumpy and playful movements in picking the creatures up after they've been presented.

After much consideration of the human psyche, we recommend the following: cold-blooded animals (large insects, frogs, lizards, garden snakes, and the occasional earthworm) should be presented dead, while warm-blooded animals (birds, rodents, your neighbour's Pomeranian) are better still living. When you see the expression on your human's face, you'll know it's worth it.


Has anybody seen this documentary yet?

Monday, November 06, 2006

An Offering To Vampires

Vampires are still out and about, even a week out of Halloween.

The local blood people were at work today, and I had heard that they have been a bit low on my flavor. This is the first time I donated in many, many years, and I figured it was about time. Even though I ate through the day before I donated, I got a little woozy for a couple minutes, but not a problem at all. This is probably the most pleasant donating experience I've ever had. I'm sure to do it again.

The best part? I gave the Gift Of Life, so that someone else may live.

I Gave At The Office

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Good Ole Mater

All of the cars/trucks in the movie Cars were based on real vehicles. For instance, here's the story on the lovable Mater:

Route 66 News via Upcoming Pixar reports that the inspiration for the animated tow truck in Pixar's Cars, has been located in Galena, Kansas:
The truck had been parked for years next to an abandoned, circa-1933 gas station at Old Route 66 and Main Street in Galena. Galena businessman Larry Courtney recently purchased the building, sans truck, to convert it into a gift shop and snack bar.

Courtney had no idea of the connection of the gas station’s truck to Pixar until Harsh told him. The truck eventually was found in a farm field, with its hood a quarter-mile away, Harsh said. Courtney purchased the truck, and it’s being stored in an undisclosed location.

“Mater” is a 1951 International boom truck, not a tow truck. Harsh surmises the extra-long boom was used to lift equipment out of the lead-mine shafts that dot the region. Wallis confirmed it is the same truck that Ranft saw in 2001.

Now “Mater” will become a part of the gas station’s attractions.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Alzheimer's Affliction

In the last month or two, it has come to light that my 77 y.o. Dad has been afflicted with Alzheimer's - estimated for about 4 years, according to my siblings. That has prompted my siblings to begin taking action to manage his affairs...since I'm so far away. They are all in Iowa.

Everything is an issue. His driving, his bill-paying, predators bilking money from him, bills not getting paid, disposition of his empty house, and everything that goes with Alz. While not being able to directly assist with these matters, I can offer guidance through my experience with my ex's grandmother. Been there, done that. As I've told them several times, unless one has "been there" with someone, they have little real comprehension of what they are in for. So far, they seem to be handling his affairs quite well - as far as getting his affairs in order, PsOA legally assigned and everything. I'll continue to offer what advice/foresight that I can in order to make their transition a smooth one.



Voting time always stirs strong emotions in me. I'm going to vote early this evening. I've done my homework over the last couple months, looking at the candidates, what they are "for" and "against", and picking out the ones that most closely align with my beliefs on the most important matters. None of them match mine completely, but some do with the most important things. The most important of them right now is national security - the war against those who would exterminate anyone who is not a radical Muslim, our sovereignty as it relates to our borders. I will not vote for anybody who I do not believe is willing to pursue these things aggressively. (This is not for me, but for those who will come after me.) As you might guess, the Democrat (sic) party has clearly stated that they want us out - before the job is done. (No, I will not refer to them as "Democratic" anything.)

John Kerry pisses me off, as do those who make excuses for him. He continues to tell of his distaste for our soldiers, sailors, and airmen. His comment was not a "botched" anything. He spoke his heart, as he has the right to do. He has a history of sticking knives in our fighting men's backs, and this is only a continuation of it. Like it or not, 90+% of our servicemen believe in their mission. The least we can do is respect and honor them and their beliefs. They are fighting in Iraq for us, and they are doing it for common Iraqis who want a peaceful life that is free from the likes of Saddam. Let's not "support" them by whining for them to abandon the mission they believe in. Let's not "support" them by demonstrating against the mission they believe in. Let's not "support" them by attacking them physically when they come home. Let's not "support" them by saying we support them, but not the mission they believe in. They don't believe in that kind of support. Let's support them and the mission they believe in by telling them, "GIT 'ER DONE!!!"

They (Democrat politicians) can say what they like about how "horrible" our country's economy is right now, but the facts do not favor their deceptive/lying crap. Unemployment is down to 4.4%, the stock market is at all-time highs, our GNP is up, our deficit is down, all indicators are up. These are the same indicators they use for "their guys", and the same indicators they use against "our guys" when the numbers "go south". Isn't it simply amazing? Think about it. From our economy being totally trashed in September of 2001, to all-time highs today - only 5 years has passed! Incredible! I won't be swayed by their silly games.

Vote for who you want, but please cast an informed vote. In these crazy times, vote for the important things, the things that can and will determine our future as the United States Of America. Don't believe everything you hear. Don't believe what you want to hear. Do some research and find out by yourself. Research both sides, not just the one you want to believe. Don't concentrate on the petty things that are "for me". I have put aside the things that might benefit me, personally. There are bigger fish to fry. This is one time we have to vote for the good of the Country, for our Country's future. Without our Country's future, we have none as individuals. Let's secure it first, then we can worry about "I" and "me". I have set my selfishness aside, and I challenge you to do the same.

I know who I want to watch my back. Who would you want watching yours?

Semper Paratus!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Today's Venture

Most of you know that I've been dabbling in cutting my own mats for photo framing. This morning, still in my sleepwear, I embarked on something a little different. I had the strange idea to make my mat opening(s) match the general lines and "feel" of the photo that I would make a mat for. I looked through my archive and one photo jumped out at me. It had the "feel" of being diamond-shaped, so that's what I did. I used some black mat board I just bought, and started cutting. I made it for an 11 x 14 frame. This is the result, after putting it in a simple document frame.

While heading out to get the frame today, some unusual cloud patterns were in the sky. This one looked like one helluva tornado - but in an otherwise clear blue sky? Hmmmmm..... I hope the crows were flying under their own power. ;)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Steven Wright

For those who don't know him, he's a rather droll, monotone stand-up comic. I first saw him tonight on Comedy Central. He was pretty good. A google search turned up a lot of his one-liners, which is mostly what he does - one after another. Here is a sample:

All those who believe in psychokinesis raise my hand.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met.

OK, so what's the speed of dark?

How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?

If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.

Support bacteria - they're the only culture some people have.

When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy.

Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.

Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.

Shin: a device for finding furniture in the dark.

Many people quit looking for work when they find a job.

I intend to live forever - so far, so good.

Join the Army, meet interesting people, kill them.

If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire.

When I'm not in my right mind, my left mind gets pretty crowded.

Boycott shampoo! Demand the REAL poo!

Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard disk?

What happens if you get scared half to death twice?

I used to have an open mind but my brains kept falling out.

On the other hand, you have different fingers.

I was sad because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.
So I said, "Got any shoes you're not using?"

My theory of evolution is that Darwin was adopted.

Someone sent me a postcard picture of the earth.
On the back it said, "Wish you were here."

Cross country skiing is great if you live in a small country.

I spilled spot remover on my dog. Now he's gone.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

"Did you sleep well?" "No, I made a couple of mistakes."

My dental hygienist is cute. Every time I visit, I eat a whole package of Oreo cookies while waiting in the lobby. Sometimes she has to cancel the rest of the afternoon's appointments.

My socks DO match. They're the same thickness.

Officer, I know I was going faster than 55MPH, but I wasn't going to be on the road an hour.

I have two very rare photographs. One is a picture of Houdini locking his keys in his car. The other is a rare photograph of Norman Rockwell beating up a child.

I stayed up all night playing poker with tarot cards.
I got a full house and four people died.

I used to work in a fire hydrant factory.
You couldn't park anywhere near the place.

I went to the hardware store and bought some used paint. It was in the shape of a house. I also bought some batteries, but they weren't included.

I went to the museum where they had all the heads and arms from the statues that are in all the other museums.

It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to have to paint it.

Right now I'm having amnesia and deja vu at the same time.

What's another word for Thesaurus?

When I get real bored, I like to drive downtown and get a great parking spot, then sit in my car and count how many people ask me if I'm leaving.

When I was crossing the border into Canada, they asked if I had any firearms with me. I said, "Well, what do you need?"

You can't have everything. Where would you put it?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Picture Frame Mats

Over the last few weeks, I've been delving into a tangent to my photography. I am now cutting my own mats for my photos and frames. Basic hand tools allow me to make anything I see at the stores, and at the same time allow me to customize mats for odd sized photos that would normally have to be special ordered. I've only done rectangular mats to this point, but I can do anything but circles and ellipses. I'll be able to cut out letters and other block shapes without too much trouble.

This is the latest one I cut. It's a simple 8 x 10 photo for an 11 x 14 frame. I donated this matted photo to a silent auction that will benefit The Downtown Women's Shelter.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Warranty Truck Service

After work today, I had to get my truck worked on - warranty stuff. The tailgate cables were originally made with galvanized steel, and were prone to deteriation and rusting. The notice said they'd replace them with stainless steel ones. The manufacturer paid for it. Anyhow, today I got a reminder of why I do all the service on my vehicles that I can - and never take it to the shop if I don't have to. I have a big mistrust of auto shops, be they independent or dealership. Today's experience just supported that mistrust.

I had the multi-page notice that the mfr. send me sitting on the passenger seat when I turned it over to them. When the truck came back, it was gone. I asked the head dude where it was, and he went back into the shop area to get it for me. (I keep all such paperwork for my records.) He explained that it "must have fell out". I didn't buy it, but said nothing. There were fingerprints and greasy smudges on all the pages, as if someone nosed through it. As far as I'm concerned, they had no business even opening the passenger door so my papers could "fall out". They were to work on the tailgate, for Pete's sake!

As I was leaving, I noticed that my employer's parking placard was disfigured - it was very obviously bent. It has never had a bend in it - ever. They messed with it, too. Again, there is no excuse for it!

Add to all this, this is the first dealership/shop I've ever been to, that I've never been able to see the work area. There were no windows, no observation area for the customers at all, just an isolated lounge - albeit a nice, comfortable one. Anyhow, not being able to see the work area adds to my mistrust. Questions go through my mind. What are they really doing? Why is it taking over an hour to change two tailgate cables? (It should take no more than 1/2 hour - tops!) Are they doing something to it in an attempt to get me to come back for more service? Even Wal-Mart and Jiffy Lube let you watch them work on your vehicles!

Maybe I'm paranoid, but some things didn't seem right at all. If it wasn't warranty work, I would have gotten the cables and done it myself. One thing's for sure: I won't go to that dealership again for anything.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Proud Of My Country

Today's small plane crash into the high-rise in NYC was tragic. I was pleasantly surprised that things were handled as quickly and efficiently as they were. Within minutes, our fighters were scrambled over many cities as a precaution. Even though it was likely it was an accident, they took no chances. Also, the NYPD and FDNY was on the scene almost immediately, tending to business - even in the shadows of 9/11/01. You know it had to be in their minds, yet they continued to carry out their mission.

Yep, I'm proud of my Country. It seems as if we've learned a valuable lesson.

Semper Paratus!


It's in the air. I had the pleasure of getting a sneak peek of a local haunted house today. In the dark, with the black lights and strobes - it will be a good show. :) There are moving displays, compressed air jets, and all kinds of lighting to satisfy thrill seekers. Reminds me that I have to get some decorations for the house. I have the sick habit of scaring kids that come around trick-or-treating. I'll have to prepare myself. ;)

At the end of it, a maze rounds out the house - with nothing but black walls, black curtains, and many dead ends. In the dark, it will be tough to get through.

Promised Moon Shot

I promised to show you a moon shot if I got one to come out. I did - kinda. I need to work on my exposure, but it isn't bad. I've proven to myself that at least I can do it.

This was taken with ISO 200 film, at 1/60 second - I think. I'll try again as I can, to get the right exposure and clarity.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Recent Events

Over the weekend, I went to Santa Fe hoping to get some good fall color shots in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. From there, I had intended to see the mass ascention at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.

Saturday was a great day in the mountains, albeit a bit hazy. Had a great time, with many beautiful sights of and from the mountains.
Hermit's Peak near Las Vegas, NM, is clouded in a haze that was typical of the weekend.

(The above shot was taken at 10,000 feet elevation.)

The Aspens were nearly barren above 8,000 feet, save for a few tops that still had some stubborn leaves hanging on.

The mass ascention Sunday morning was a bust. The weather wasn't good enough, with the low ceiling and rain/thunderstorms crossing the Albuquerque area. Unfortunately, it was called off Sunday. Maybe next year.

All in all, a very good weekend.

On Monday, I had to go for jury duty - 2nd elimination. I was there from 9:00am until 7:00pm. 50 or 60 of us were in the pool, and they finally picked the 14 "winners" at 7:00. What a long day! No, I wasn't one of the lucky winners. I got sent home.

Friday, October 06, 2006


I recently deleted my accounts with Delphi forums, and it seems that one of my "adversaries" from there isn't satisfied. A certain "Princess" of Dublin has shown no tolerance of my thoughts or opinions when I was at Delphi. Now it seems that she has to come poking around my blog - only lurking. If my thoughts and opinions are so unwelcome in her mind, why bother stalking me? I didn't think she cared. LOL!

Who Is it we see, The Princess of Dublin?
(Throughout the 'net, she goes a-troublin'.)
Sam Spade can see through her thin disguise

His vision is clear through the ISPs eyes.

(Buzz off, "Princess".)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Cat Clock

Remember this one?

Moon Shots Coming?

Several months ago, I bought a telescope adapter for my Canon camera. I hoped to some day take some full-frame (or closer) shots of the moon through a telescope we have in the house. I kinda gave up when I couldn't get anything to work with it. Tonight, I tried the last thing I could think of, before I put the adapter up for sale at eBay - a 3x Barlow lens.

I inserted it into the adapter and tightened it down with the thumbscrew. I attached it to the body of my Rebel GII and slid it into the telescope tube in place of the diagonal. (The diagonal is the 90 degree adapter that the eyepiece goes into.) My camera was mounted and ready to go, looking straight down the telescope tube. After getting it lined up with the just-more-than-half moon, focused it in, and voila! One beautiful view of the moon! It filled the frame, but by its nature it had a little vignetting. That's the same effect you'd get by looking down a paper towel tube. The edges of the view are not rectangular, but a round black border. I took several shots, guessing at various shutter speeds. After I go through about 15 more shots, I'll see how I did. If any come out, I'll post 'em here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Remember When?

Remember when these were the rave? The start of the video game obsession:

"Church" Is Only Her Name

LONDON - The U.S. publishing company Ignatius Press has refused to sell any works by Welsh singer Charlotte Church after she called German-born Pope Benedict XVI a Nazi and mocked the Catholic Church.

She smashed open a statue of the Virgin Mary to reveal a can of hard cider inside, said she worshipped "St. Fortified Wine," and stuck chewing gum on a statue of the child Jesus.

Church, 20, was raised a Catholic and sang for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican at the age of 12.

It looks like the Ditzy Chicks aren't the only ditzy ones around. It's a shame. I used to like Charlotte, too. :( I guess that's one more that I'll have to stay away from.

According to Wikipedia,

"Following his fourteenth birthday in 1941, Ratzinger was enrolled in the Hitler Youth; Membership being legally required after December 1936.[2] Ratzinger has stated he was an unenthusiastic member who refused to attend meetings. His father was a bitter enemy of Nazism, believing it conflicted with the Catholic faith."

That hardly qualifies him as a NAZI.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Chapter Ends

I've been a patron of Delphi Forums for years. I've had some forums of my own, and helped moderate other forums. I made some friends there - my only friends for a while. Some of those friendships have become very strong. I have many fond memories of the time I spent with my friends there over the years. I met my bestest ever friend there, the one who is still my bestest friend. It is kind of sad in a way, in light of all the memories I've made there. Those memories will always be. The new memories I make will only accent them.

My membership is due in another couple weeks. I decided not to renew my subscription, and have cancelled my accounts with them. I no longer exist in Delphi Forums. The pleasure I've experienced there is gone. The most profound thing that comes to mind is the intolerance that some have of others' thoughts and opinions. The atmosphere has become somewhat stagnant at times. IMO, if one cannot enjoy what he does - for pleasure - there is not much point in doing it.

Delphi has over the years increased the cost:perk ratio to the point that it isn't really worth it any more. The $15/year price has quadrupled for practically basic service. IMO, their plan options have become a bit too expensive for what they offer. I'll pass, thanks.

So ends another chapter of my life. I still have this blog, and my photo galleries. I can be contacted through those sites by Email if anybody should choose to.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Give One Away

Got a smile you're not using?

Give it to somebody who doesn't have one. It's contagious.

Well? Are ya smilin'?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I've Been Tagged Shelley. Don't know what I'm doing, but I'll give it a shot.

  1. I can cross my eyes on a whim.
  2. I can roll my tongue lengthwise.
  3. When tickled, I kick my foot like a dog. ;)
  4. I'm left handed and wear my watch on my left wrist.
  5. I take on the persona of a doctor from India.
(I'll have to violate your rules this time, since I don't know anybody yet, Shelley. You already tagged the ones I might have.)

Saturday, September 23, 2006


I went to our fair earlier this week, and got a few shots. Here's a viedo clip I got at the rodeo.


Fairs have a unique air about them that you won't find any other place. I always enjoy a walk down the midway, especially with my cameras in hand. :)

This year was even better: Admission was free! I went on veteran appreciation day.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Not Again.....!

Some people are in such denial, that stuff like this comes out. How can people actually believe these conspiracies? It's crazy.

Uncle's Passing

Today I got word that one of my uncles passed away. He had some problems over recent years, but nothing that would indicate he was going to leave this world. He had a stint, and some kidney problems of late. He was in the hospital for some test(s) or procedure, but nothing that would suggest a chance of not coming out. Anyhow, he wears one of those mask thingies for sleep apnea. While he was sleeping, his wife noticed a difference of sound - and then realized he wasn't breathing. Don't know why he stopped, but he did go quickly and painlessly in his sleep.

He was always a kidder. While he was in the hospital this time, he told some nurses that he wanted to take a bunch of them home with him. His wife told him that if he did, they'd have to have a bigger house. :) I remember when visiting them, he'd always be a kid with us, playing and kidding around just like one of us. He was a good man. May he rest in peace.


Next month, I'm planning on going to Santa Fe and Albuquerque for a weekend. I'm hoping for the colors to be at their peak (or near it) in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. I'm about due for some fall color shots. With any luck, I've got it timed right. We shall see.

The international balloon festival in Albuquerque is going on at that time too, and I am wanting to get some good photos during the mass ascention. If I get lucky and fill up a few rolls with good shots, I'll post some here. (You can also keep watch on my Pbase galleries. I post some of my better shots there as I get 'em.)

Monday, September 18, 2006


I've been eating on some lasagna I made yesterday. Made a 9 x 13" pan of it. I did it kinda different, by not cooking the noodles first. I just stuck 'em in the stack as they were right out of the box. Lot easier that way, I found out. I left out the mushrooms and cottage cheese. It turned out pretty good, even if a guy did it. ;)

Anyway, here's the recipe if anybody's interested:

Easy Lasagna I Yields: 8 servings
"Mushrooms, onions and ground beef in a ready-made pasta sauce are layered with cottage cheese, ricotta cheese and Parmesan between uncooked lasagna noodles. Sprinkle mozzarella over the top and bake. It's that simple!"


1 pound lean ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 (4.5 ounce) can mushrooms, drained
1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti
1 (16 ounce) package cottage cheese
1 pint part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 eggs
1 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles
8 ounces shredded mozzarella


In a large skillet, cook and stir ground beef until brown. Add mushrooms and onions; saute until onions are transparent. Stir in pasta sauce, and heat through.

In a medium size bowl, combine cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, and eggs.

Spread a thin layer of the meat sauce in the bottom of a 13x9 inch pan. Layer with uncooked lasagna noodles, cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese, and meat sauce. Continue layering until all ingredients are used, reserving 1/2 cup mozzarella. Pour 1 cup of water around the inside edge of the pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree F (175 degree C) oven for 1 hour. Uncover, and top with remaining half cup of mozzarella cheese. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Insect Predator

Yesterday I was watering the flowers in the back yard, and got a pleasant surprise. A 2 1/2" praying mantis popped up to get dry. He posed for a little while for me to snap some pics of him - like this one. Note the water droplets on him from when I misted the flowers he was amongst.

Many people fear these beneficial predators, even though there is no reason to. They are a little strange-looking, but looks should never be a reason to think negatively of anything (or anybody). They do their best to rid us of many true pests.

"Praying mantises are about 2/5-12 inches according to species. Their colors vary, ranging from light greens to pinks. Most mantids are pea green or brown.

"The praying mantis is a carnivorous insect that takes up a deceptively humble posture when it is searching for food. When at rest, the mantis' front forelegs are held up together in a posture that looks like its praying. These front legs are equipped with rows of sharp spines used to grasp its prey. They wait unmoving and are almost invisible on a leaf or a stem, ready to catch any insect that passes. When potential prey comes close enough, the mantis thrusts its pincher-like forelegs forward to catch it. The prey probably won't escape because the forelegs are so strong and armed with overlapping spines. The mantid bites the neck of its prey to paralyze it and begins to devour it. The mantis almost always starts eating the insect while it's still alive, and almost always starts eating from the insect's neck. This way, the mantis makes sure that the insect's struggle stops quickly. Praying mantises eat insects and other invertebrates such as other mantises, beetles, butterflies, spiders, crickets, grasshoppers, and even spiders. The praying mantises also eat vertebrates such as small tree frogs, lizards, mice and hummingbirds. Praying mantids can resemble flowers and can catch small, unknowing hummingbirds. Praying mantids also eat other nesting birds."

Naturally, it's the larger ones that can prey on the larger critters. The biggest one I've ever seen was about 4 or 5" long, in the Eastern US. Again, praying mantises are not to be feared, but welcomed.