Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!



I'll be spending a quiet evening at home with my new wife, treating ourselves to some baked brie and enjoying a sip of wine. We might even ring in 2009.

The cardinal shot above is one of the many we got yesterday in Palo Duro Canyon. Below I've added a few more.

Tufted Titmouse



Tufted Titmouse



Female Cardinal



Golden-Fronted Woodpecker



Male Cardinal

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hairy Woodpecker

Here is a new one for me. This Hairy Woodpecker paid our back yard a visit after I filled our feeder up with sunflower seeds. He might have been checking it out. Might have just been there coincidentally. The hairy woodpecker is nearly identical in appearance to the Downy Woodpecker, but the hairy is larger, with a longer beak. The downy is the size of a sparrow, whereas the hairy is the size of a robin.



I've also been playing around with manual focus, trying to get good, clear shots of birds back in the array of branches of a bush. This sparrow was one of my successes.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bitter/Sweet

This last week has been both sweet and a little bitter. Saturday, I received the perfect wife as a gift from God. That was "sweet". For our wedding, my son couldn't make it, nor could he apparently send a card or anything. That was a little on the "bitter" side. Admittedly, he lives quite a ways away and genuinely might not be able to make the trip. However, simply acknowledging the event would be nice. Am I petty for wanting to see something in the mail (electronic or regular mail) from him? Is 42 cents too much to spend to send a 50 cent card from the Dollar Tree? Or even a quick note by Email?

Today is Christmas Day. We had a nice quiet Christmas dinner with all the trimmings - just my wife and I. It was great! We gave each other some awesome gifts and had a great time. I've gotten something from most of my family - be it a just a card, or a package in the mail. That was "sweet". I got nothing from my son. He didn't even call. I called him a little while ago. He seemed a little preoccupied, but that was kind of understandable I guess - being Christmas and all. One of the things that bothered me is that he didn't say anything about the 11x14 photos I sent them in a 16x20 frame. No mention if it got there in one piece or not. I had to ask. When I did, he offered that he really liked one of them, but never once did I hear the words "thank you". Not even the one word "thanks". Nothing. Will something show up late? Maybe. The number of disappointments of the past indicate that there will be nothing.

I try to go out of my way to make sure I catch every special day in their family - birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, etc. I've never missed one. I try to send gifts, but can't always. I always send cards, regardless. I let them know I think of them.

Am I wrong to feel the disappointment, and a little hurt to boot? It's not easy to fight off encroaching bitterness. Maybe he harbors some resentment towards me for leaving him to put up with his mentally ill mother. If he does, I'm sorry. There's nothing I can do about that. It's up to him to clear that hurdle. I have every right to be alive and happy.

The Best Christmas Gift of All!

Here is my best Christmas gift. Nothing can out-do this one. I received it early - on the 20th. This gift came from God Himself.


(Photo by Steve Douglass)

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wedding Day - IMG_2080

This morning I was greeted with a gift when I looked out our front door. It only lasted moments, but enough of those moments to allow me to capture some of it before it vanished. As photography goes, it isn't much. It marks the beginning of a very special day.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hope and Emotion

Hope

I am hoping that some of my family will be able to make it down for our wedding. I communicated with my brother today, and although things are not really rosy in their part of the country, they may be able to come down. Hopefully, at least 5 of them (mother & husband, brother & wife, sister) will be able to car pool and split expenses and make the 12-14 hour trip.

*****************

Emotion

I've been thinking about our stock market lately. We've had some wild swings in its prices for a while. The conclusion I've come to is that the market is run by emotion: fear that [something] will happen, fear that housing will do [whatever], fear that oil will do [whatever]. If fear consumes the investors, they will sell and prices will drop. The media will confirm this. Pay attention to market reports. Listen for words like "fear", "worry", etc. If hope or elation fills them, they will buy and prices go up. It seems that very little has to do with actual business conditions or a tangible belief that a company has a future by virtue of its product or service.

Ideally (IMO), investors should invest in (and support) businesses/corporations that they believe can be successful on the merits of the respective business. Must they engage in emotional buying and selling in a desperate attempt to make a lot of money? The stock market was never intended to be a short-term money-making endeavor. It was never intended as a vehicle for high-stress panic buying and selling. Its reason for being is to help a business grow by allowing investors to help supply capital towards that end. If our markets were to return to its roots and not run by an emotional crap-shoot, it would be in much better shape. But then, our government would have to get out of the way and not force businesses to make stupid decisions, and at the same time allow irresponsible ones to fail.

*****

Emotion is the fuel for another of our country's engines: Politics and political elections. I don't recall any election (and I've seen quite a few) that wasn't run like the stock market - on emotion. Far too many people fail to vote with their brains. They vote with their hearts, according to what "feels good". Candidates always try to appeal to emotion, because that is what voters use most. Because it's driven on emotion just like the stock market, its results are just as shaky.

We need to start fueling our nation's engines with brain power, not emotion. It's very similar to drugs. People do drugs because they make them "feel good". They become trapped by them, enslaved by them - all for the desire to feel good. The same is true for the market and the government. Invest and vote with your emotions, and they will bite you.

As a nation, let's let our brains be the driving force, not our emotions.


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Friday, November 14, 2008

Overcharged

One day last week, I took Shelley to a nice local restaurant. We got some really good service and the food was great - as it always is at this particular place. Had a great time.

This evening, I checked my bank account against my check register and found a discrepancy. The entry for our night out was $10 too high. Thirty five dollars was all of a sudden $45. I called the restaurant and talked to the manager, and he told me to come down to get it straightened out. He said if one of his people are stealing, he'd fire 'em. When I got there, he went into his office and made a print-out of the credit card transactions that day. The entry for our meal showed a $14 tip! I have never, ever left a tip that high. That was almost the price of one meal! As it turned out, a $4 tip somehow came across as much more - as if somebody "accidentally" put a "1" in front of the 4.

I told the manager that I would hate to see anybody get fired, and asked that if this employee has never been a problem before, to show some mercy - but at the same time, I understood that he had to do what's best for his company. I am convinced that he will check it out before taking action, as it could have been an honest error/type-o, or whatever.

The end result is that they take care of their customers. They made it right with me, at a generous rate of twice the error. I put up a little bit of argument, as it was not necessary to refund more than the erroneous amount. He insisted because of my inconvenience and having to make the trip, etc.

Always be sure to keep accurate records when using a credit/debit card for purchases. Up until now, I have shredded all my card receipts to prevent ID theft. Now I will keep them until I confirm the amount with my bank. Online banking is a blessing.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

President-Elect Obama

Election 2008 is over. Obama has won. Now all we can do is wait to see what he will do for (or to) America and its citizens.

Many say that this is a historic time - and it is in a sense. It is only historic in the sense that he is the first black President that we've ever had. That's where it stops. He is no god, nothing really remarkable. His qualifications and accomplishments are actually quite unremarkable - unless being a "community organizer" is all it takes to be the leader of the Free World. It sounds like an extremely lackluster qualification to me. Even one who incites a riot can be considered to be a "community organizer". The term has no meaning. Be that as it may, we now have a black president-elect - regardless of how or why he received so many votes. But should it be a historic moment?

If we were truly color-blind as Dr. Martin Luther King wished, and didn't judge people by the color of their skin, he would be "just" another president-elect. This should not be anything "historic" because he is just another man. His skin color should not enter into it. Why so much emphasis on it? It doesn't make sense.

This Republican does as Dr. King wished. I judge people by the content of their character, and not by the color of their skin. I have seen little in the content of Obama's character that gives me the warm fuzzies. I have trouble trusting him. However, we have no choice at this time but to give him a chance. Admit it or not, he will be the President of The United States of America. If this is your country, he will be your President - the leader of our Country.

I personally have little faith in his ability, but I am willing to give him a chance. As I said above, we have no choice at this time. If he fails us, we have telephones to contact Washington with. We have Email. We have Congressmen. We have mouths. We need to use them. We have the power. Washington gets their power from us, not the other way around. The only power they have, is what we allow them to have.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Tyco

The brightest crater on the moon is by far Tyco. Normally, it is the brightest spot on the full moon. It's so bright, it's hard to get any detail in it without significantly darkening the rest of it. This shot shows Tyco in all its glory and detail. It's the prominent crater at the lower left of the moon in this view, and appears to have spokes spanning across the moon's surface.


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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Moon Fix

I had to get my "moon fix" last night. Here's what I saw.


I love how crater shadows set it off.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Share The Wealth

Click on it for the full-size version.


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Friday, October 31, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Release The Tape!

The L.A. Times says its promise to a source prevents the paper from posting the video, which shows Barack Obama praising Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi at a 2003 banquet. They claim that it would reveal their source. My question is, if they had to promise not to release it, why was it given to the big boy newspaper to begin with? What's the point? Yes they did print an article about it in April 2008, but they only print the parts of it they want to print. Why not print a complete transcript of the tape?

I personally think that Obama said some things that could jeopardize his campaign, and support his radical associations with the likes of Ayers - who was reportedly at the same event.

It was said by Alan Colmes tonight, that McCain gave several hundred thousand dollars to that group that Khalidi headed up. (It was a wimpy attempt to take the spotlight off of Obama.) If so, show us the tape so we can see what McCain is associated with.

No - if this tape was harmful to McCain in any way, the Times would release it.

I have an idea. Let the Secret Service see it. They are charged with our Executives' safety. They need to know what they are dealing with so they can do their jobs more efficiently.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Obama's Tax Plan

The following letter accentuates the fallacy of Obama's "tax the rich" logic. Read this carefully. Laugh if you wish, but pay attention to what you read. His link is at the end if you want to contact him directly.

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Given the furor about "Joe the plumber" I've written an open letter to Mr. Obama myself. I think it is worth the read. Maybe if Americans could take a closer look at what a small businessman is, they wouldn't want politicians penalizing their success. Feel free to forward it if you want…

Cory

Mr. Obama,

Given the uproar about the simple question asked you by Joe the plumber, and the persecution that has been heaped on him because he dared to question you, I find myself motivated to say a few things to you myself. While Joe aspires to start a business someday, I already have started not one, but 4 businesses.

But first, let me introduce myself. You can call me "Cory the well driller". I am a 54 year old high school graduate. I didn't go to college like you, I was too ready to go "conquer the world" when I finished high school. 25 years ago at age 29, I started my own water well drilling business at a time when the economy here in East Texas was in a tailspin from the crash of the early 80's oil boom. I didn't get any help from the government, nor did I look for any. I borrowed what I could from my sister, my uncle, and even the pawn shop and managed to scrape together a homemade drill rig and a few tools to do my first job. My businesses did not start as a result of privilege. They are the result of my personal drive, personal ambition, self-discipline, self-reliance, and a determination to treat my customers fairly. >From the very start my business provided one other (than myself) East Texan a full time job. I couldn't afford a backhoe the first few years (something every well drilling business had), so I and my helper had to dig the mud pits that are necessary for each and every job with hand shovels. I had to use my 10-year old, 1/2 ton pickup truck for my water tank truck (normally a job for at least a 2 ton truck).

A year and a half after I started the business, I scraped together a 20% down payment to get a modest bank loan and bought a (28 year) old, worn out, slightly bigger drilling rig to allow me to drill the deeper water wells in my area. I spent the next few years drilling wells with the rig while simultaneously rebuilding it between jobs. Through these years I never knew from one month to the next if I would have any work or be able to pay the bills. I got behind on my income taxes one year, and spent the next two years paying that back (with penalty and interest) while keeping up with ongoing taxes. I got behind on my water well supply bill 2 different years (way behind the second time... $80,000.00), and spent over a year paying it back (each time) while continuing to pay for ongoing supplies C.O.D.. Of course, the personal stress endured through these experiences and years is hard to measure. I do have a stent in my heart now to memorialize it all.

I spent the next 10 years developing the reputation for being the most competent and most honest water well driller in East Texas . 2 years along the way, I hired another full time employee for the drilling business so that we could provide full time water well pump service as well as the well drilling. Also, 3 years along the path, I bought a water well screen service machine from a friend, starting business # 2. 5 years later I made a business loan for $100,000.00 to build a new, higher production, computer controlled screen service machine. I had designed the machine myself, and it didn't work out for 3 years so I had to make the loan payments without the benefit of any added income from the new machine. No government program was there to help me with the payments, or to help me sleep at night as I lay awake wondering how I would solve my machine problems or pay my bills. Finally, after 3 years, I got the screen machine working properly, and that provided another full time job for an East Texan in the screen service business.

2 years after that, I made another business loan, this time for $250,000.00, to buy another used drilling rig and all the support equipment needed to run another, larger, drill rig. This provided another 2 full time jobs for East Texans. Again, I spent a couple of years not knowing if I had made a smart move, or a move that would bankrupt me. For the third time in 13 years, I had placed everything I owned on the line, risking everything, in order to build a business.

A couple of years into this, I came up with a bright idea for a new kind of mud pump, a fundamentally necessary pump used on water well drill rigs. I spent my entire life savings to date (just $30,000.00), building a prototype of the pump and took it to the national water well convention to show it off. Customers immediately started coming out of the woodworks to buy the pumps, but there was a problem. I had depleted my assets making the prototype, and nobody would make me a business loan to start production of the new pumps. With several deposits for pump orders in hand, and nowhere to go, I finally started applying for as many credit card as I could find and took cash withdrawals on these cards to the tune of over $150,000.00 (including modest loans from my dear sister and brother), to get this 3rd business going.

Yes, once again, I had everything hanging over the line in an effort to start another business. I had never manufactured anything, and I had to design and bring into production a complex hydraulic machine from an untested prototype to a reliable production model (in six months). How many nights I lay awake wondering if I had just made the paramount mistake of my life I cannot tell you, but there were plenty. I managed to get the pumps into production, which immediately created another 2 full time jobs in East Texas . Some of the models in the first year suffered from quality issues due to the poor workmanship of one of my key suppliers, so I and an employee (another East Texan employed) had to drive across the country to repair customers' pumps, practically from coast to coast. I stood behind the product, and made payments to all the credit cards that had financed me (and my brother and sister). I spent the next 5 years improving and refining the product, building a reputation for the pump and the company, working to get the pump into drill rig manufacturers' product lines, and paying back credit cards. During all this time I continued to manage a growing water well business that was now operating 3 drill rig crews, and 2 well service crews. Also, the screen service business continued to grow. No government programs were there to help me, Mr. Obama, but that's ok, I didn't expect any, nor did I want any. I was too busy fighting to make success happen to sit around waiting for the government to help me.

Now, we have been manufacturing the mud pumps for 7 years, my combined businesses employ 32 full time employees, and distribute $5,000,000.00 annually through the local economy. Now, just 4 months ago I borrowed $1,254,000.00, purchasing computer controlled machining equipment to start my 4th business, a production machine shop. The machine shop will serve the mud pump company so that we can better manufacture our pumps that are being shipped worldwide. Of course, the machine shop will also do work for outside companies as well. This has already produced 2 more full time jobs, and 2 more should develop out of it in the next few months. This should work out, but if it doesn't it will be because you, and the other professional politicians like yourself, will have destroyed our countrys' (and the world) economy with your meddling with mortgage loan programs through your liberal manipulation and intimidation of loaning institutions to make sure that unqualified borrowers could get mortgages. You see, at the very time when I couldn't get a business loan to get my mud pumps into production, you were working with Acorn and the Community Reinvestment Act programs to make sure that unqualified borrowers could buy homes with no down payment, and even no credit or worse yet, bad credit. Even the infamous, liberal, Ninja loans (No Income, No Job or Assets). While these unqualified borrowers were enjoying unrealistically low interest rates, I was paying 22% to 24% interest on the credit cards that I had used to provide me the funds for the mud pump business that has created jobs for more East Texans. It's funny, because after 25 years of turning almost every dime of extra money back into my businesses to grow them, it has been only in the last two years that I have finally made enough money to be able to put a little away for retirement, and now the value of that has dropped 40% because of the policies you and your ilk have perpetrated on our country.

You see, Mr. Obama, I'm the guy you intend to raise taxes on. I'm the guy who has spent 25 years toiling and sweating, fretting and fighting, stressing and risking, to build a business and get ahead. I'm the guy who has been on the very edge of bankruptcy more than a dozen times over the last 25 years, and all the while creating more and more jobs for East Texans who didn't want to take a risk, and would not demand from themselves what I have demanded from myself. I'm the guy you characterize as "the Americans who can afford it the most" that you believe should be taxed more to provide income redistribution "to spread the wealth" to those who have never toiled, sweated, fretted, fought, stressed, or risked anything. You want to characterize me as someone who has enjoyed a life of privilege and who needs to pay a higher percentage of my income than those who have bought into your entitlement culture. I resent you, Mr. Obama, as I resent all who want to use class warfare as a tool to advance their political career. What's worse, each year more Americans buy into your liberal entitlement culture, and turn to the government for their hope of a better life instead of themselves. Liberals are succeeding through more than 40 years of collaborative effort between the predominant liberal media, and liberal indoctrination programs in the public school systems across our land.

What is so terribly sad about this is this. America was made great by people who embraced the one-time American culture of self-reliance, self-motivation, self determination, self-discipline, personal betterment, hard work, risk taking. A culture built around the concept that success was in reach of every able bodied American who would strive for it. Each year that less Americans embrace that culture, we all descend together. We descend down the socialist path that has brought country after country ultimately to bitter and unremarkable states. If you and your liberal comrades in the media and school systems would spend half as much effort cultivating a culture of can-do across America as you do cultivating your entitlement culture, we could see Americans at large embracing the conviction that they can elevate themselves through personal betterment, personal achievement, and self reliance. You see, when people embrace such ideals, they act on them. When people act on such ideals, they succeed. All of America could find herself elevating instead of deteriorating. But that would eliminate the need for liberal politicians, wouldn't it, Mr. Obama? The country would not need you if the country was convinced that problem solving was best left with individuals instead of the government. You and all your liberal comrades have got a vested interested in creating a dependent class in our country. It is the very business of liberals to create an ever-expanding dependence on government. What's remarkable is that you, who have never produced a job in your life, are going to tax me to take more of my money and give it to people who wouldn't need my money if they would get off their entitlement mentality asses and apply themselves at work, demand more from themselves, and quit looking to liberal politicians to raise their station in life.

You see, I know because I've had them work for me before. Hundreds of them over these 25 years. People who simply will not show up to work on time. People who just will not work 5 days in a week, much less, 6 days. People always looking for a way to put less effort out. People who actually tell me that they would do more if I just would first pay them more. People who take off work to sit in government offices to apply to get free government handouts (gee, I wonder how things would have turned out for them if they had spent that time earning money and pleasing their employer?). You see, all of this comes from your entitlement mentality culture.

Oh, I know you will say I am uncompassionate. Sorry, Mr. Obama, wrong again. You see, I've seen what the average percentage of your income has been given to charities over the years of 2000 to 2004 (ignoring the years you started running for office - can you pronounce "politically motivated"), you averaged less than 1% annually. And your running mate, Joe Biden, averaged less than ¼% of his annual income in charitable contributions over the last 10 years. Like so many liberals, the two of you want to give to the needy, just as long as it is someone else's money you are giving to them. I won't say what I have given to charities over the last 25 years, but the percentage is several times more than you and Joe Biden… combined (don't you just hate google?). Tell me again how you feel my pain.

In short, Mr.. Obama, your political philosophies represent everything that is wrong with our country. You represent the culture of government dependence instead of self reliance; Entitlement mentality instead of personal achievement; Penalization of the successful to reward the unmotivated; Political correctness instead of open mindedness and open debate. If you are successful, you may preside over the final transformation of America from being the greatest and most self-reliant culture on earth, to just another country of whiners and wimps, who sit around looking to the government to solve their problems. Like all of western Europe. All countries on the decline. All countries that, because of liberal socialistic mentalities, have a little less to offer mankind every year.

God help us...

Cory Miller

just a ordinary, extraordinary American, the way a lot of Americans used to be.

P.S. Yes, Mr. Obama, I am a real American...www.cmillerdrilling.com

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Gordon Lightfoot

Tonight Shelley, her brother Steve, a friend of his, and I went to a Gordon Lightfoot concert. Even though 70 years old now, he showed great stamina as he tirelessly performed a few hours of his songs. About half of them were his big hits like, "Sundown", "The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald", "Rainy Day People", "If You Could Read My Mind", etc.


After the concert, he met with a select group of fans (meet and greet) with us as part of that group. He is a very likable man, and appears to be a down to Earth kind of guy. He was very friendly and patient as fans took and re-took photos with him until they got good ones. It was a good night.

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Dawn Flight - IMG_0812

It was a chilly, cloudless Saturday morning when the balloons launched. Not near as big as the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, but the Pirates Of The Canyon Balloon Rally in Amarillo had a good show of balloons. About 13 of them launched from Tradewinds airport (TDW) in pursuit of the Black Pearl balloon. This shot is one of those balloons as it passed over the rising sun.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pirates of the Canyon

Went to the Pirates of the Canyon balloon rally here this morning. Here are a couple shots I got there.




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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Change

One thing people need to keep in mind about "change". It's kind of like luck. It comes in two flavors:

Good
and
Bad

Yes, we will get change soon. There is no doubt of that. Don't be disappointed if it isn't the flavor you like.
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A few days ago, Obama said he was going to go and be with his "critically ill" grandmother in Hawaii. Why did he wait 3 days before going to see her - when she's critically ill? I don't understand. I don't slight him a bit for going to be with her, but why wait 3 days?
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Party of Tolerance Attacks McCain Supporters

They do their party no favors. They only create a larger rift between the parties. Numerous incidents have been reported of violence and vandalism against McCain/Palin supporters (i.e. Republicans). Obama supporters are the perpetrators - Democrats. What the hell is wrong with those people? I thought us Republicans were supposed to be the hate mongers, mean-spirited, racists, and every other negative adjective you can think of.

Last night, a McCain volunteer was attacked and robbed. When the perpetrator saw McCain bumper sticker on her car, he proceeded to carve the letter "B" in her cheek. Now, why would anybody be enraged to simply see a McCain sticker?

"Police spokeswoman Diane Richard said the robber
took $60 from Todd, then became angry when
he saw a McCain bumper sticker on the victim's car.
The attacker then punched and kicked the victim,
before using the knife to scratch the letter "B" into her face, Richard said.
"

The above incident was admitted to be false. The woman is being charged with filing a false police report. She needs to be dealt with severely. There is absolutely no excuse for fabricating assaults or any other crime.

Also posted yesterday, a "small middle-aged woman" was carrying a sign in Manhattan when an Obama supporter ripped it from her hands, broke off the stick and proceeded to beat her with it. The criminal admitted the whole thing.

Reports of vandalism are sprouting up everywhere. Senator Coleman's house was vandalized. (He is being opposed by Al Franken.) McCain/Palin yard signs are being defaced and stolen, even in my community. Michelle Bachman's house was vandalized. The home of a Central Florida Republican headquarters manager was shot up and damaged over his support of McCain.

The list goes on and on. Don't believe me or the links I supplied. Do your own research. It appears that if you're a Republican, you are the scum of the Earth - a lower life form, with open season being declared on us.

These are the kind of people that are supporting Obama?

This is the party of tolerance? You can't prove it by me. All indications are that they only tolerate people and opinion that agrees with them. The Republican Party respects your rights. The Democrat Party only respects Democrats' rights. Those rights are (among others), The Freedoms of Speech and Religion (First Amendment), and "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,..." (Fourth Amendment).

Yes, there are some cases of vandalizm from Republicans/sympathizers, but not like this and not near as frequently. I condemn it no matter where it comes from.

In "selected cities", they are preparing for riots in the event that Obama should lose the election. Nobody is entitled to be in power. Nobody simply deserves to be the winner. That has to be earned. That's what elections are for.

Can we not have our own beliefs any more without getting persecuted, assaulted, and visciously attacked -both verbally and physically?

This is getting pathetic. It's getting to be like the Dark Ages.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Racism Hypocricy

During this campaign, the Democrat [sic] Party has spared no opportunity to accuse those who differ with Obama's policies as being racist. They play the "race card" quite often. I get really tired of it. I have heard that someone (media? campaign worker? Don't recall.) said if a white man voted for the white man in stead of the black man, he was being racist. Does that also apply to the black man who votes for the black man instead of the white man? Is he racist? Of course not. Neither is the white man who votes for the white man instead of the black man.

Childishness like this from Obama's campaign and others in the Democrat [sic] Party is uncalled for. Call me a racist if you like, but I will not vote for someone whose policies I disagree with so much. I judge people on the content of their character, not the color of their skin.

Oh....my.....GOD!

This is nuts. What are they up to?

October 20, 2008 7:35 AM

ABC News' Matthew Jaffe Reports: Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., on Sunday
guaranteed that if elected, Sen. Barack Obama., D-Ill., will be tested
by an international crisis within his first six months in power and he
will need supporters to stand by him as he makes tough, and possibly
unpopular, decisions.

"Mark my words," the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the
second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. "It will not be six months
before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The
world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator
president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing
here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have
an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this
guy."

A "generated" crisis? What is this crisis they are planning to generate? I am not a conspiracy theorist, but this smacks of one. Read Biden's words carefully. Who will generate this crisis?

"I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might
originate," Biden said to Emerald City supporters, mentioning the Middle
East and Russia as possibilities. "And he's gonna need help. And the
kind of help he's gonna need is, he's gonna need you - not financially
to help him - we're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right."

What is this all about? Ask yourself this question and think about it - seriously. What are they up to? Biden is absolutely certain that something is going to happen if Obama is elected. No doubt of it. Is it because the world knows that Obama is a greenhorn? Is it because the "Obama is a Muslim" crowd is right, and he is planning to let terrorists freely enter our country and have their way with us? I personally don't buy into that theory, but I can understand how some might. (And yes, I do expect that we will be more vulnerable with Obama and a Democrat controlled Congress in power.)

The text I boldfaced above suggests to me that Biden has no confidence in Obama (should he be elected), and he expects him to do the wrong thing - yet wants us to support the Democrat Party in spite of what happens. He is preparing us for Obama's complete failure if he's elected. Biden seems to suggest that Obama's lack of experience and lack of fortitude will bring terrorists down on us - maybe worse. He knows that Obama can't do the job.

Osama and his nutcase ilk know that Obama is inexperienced, and they can attack our country and know that Obama will not do anything about it. He will be much easier to get past than McCain and Palin. I have always contended that this is why Hamas, Iran, and our other enemies have endorsed him. Think about it. Why would our enemies put their support behind a given candidate? To make nice with us? Our enemies? I think not.

Where did the campaign donations come from last month - for Obama? Over 150,000,000? In one month? Of that, over 3 million is unaccounted for. Something is rotten here.

"There are gonna be a lot of you who want to go, 'Whoa, wait a minute,
yo, whoa, whoa, I don't know about that decision'," Biden continued.
"Because if you think the decision is sound when they're made, which I
believe you will when they're made, they're not likely to be as popular
as they are sound. Because if they're popular, they're probably not sound."

As I read this, if elected they will stab a lot of voters in the back. He is trying to prepare you for some very unpopular decisions. They know they will get resistance. IMO, he is trying to soften us for a really good backstabbing.

Biden emphasized that the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border is of
particular concern, with Osama bin Laden "alive and well" and Pakistan
"bristling with nuclear weapons."

OMG...! Obama is still planning on going into Pakistan - just as he said he would do. Could it be?

Too many things make too little sense. There are too many things that just don't sound right with the Obama/Biden ticket. I am a firm believer in the K.I.S.S. method of thinking - Occam's razor, if you will. "All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best." Keep it simple. Think about it in that context. And, think what would the reaction be if McCain and/or Palin would say this stuff? Imagine the uproar!

Strangely, Biden doesn't mention McCain/Palin at any time during this ominous warning. We can only take from that, that the danger won't be present if McCain/Palin are elected. They won't be so easy to push around by our enemies.

Semper Paratus!

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Lost

On the night of October 7th, our little boy Bat had an upset stomach. He started to throw up, and I hurried him outside to keep from making a mess in the house. That was the last we have seen of him to this day. I'm trying to hang on to some hope that he'll appear, but it gets harder every day.

Every evening after work, I go to Animal Control's shelter to see if he's been picked up. Still nothing. Every evening after work, I check the latest daily DOA list to see if he's been listed there. Still nothing. I don't know how long I will keep this up. I don't want to give up on him. I find myself hoping the worst case is that he got kidnapped and is being held by someone who is taking care of him. He wouldn't like it at first, but would likely settle down for them after a little while.

Every time I drive up from work, I miss him greeting me. I miss him blocking my computer with his body, looking for attention. I miss him sticking his butt in my face when I try to do email or photos. I miss him laying on the couch beside me when I'm eating - and politely putting his paw on my leg, patiently waiting for his morsel when I'm done. I miss him putting his "hand" on my belly, as if to check to see if I'm "full". I miss him putting his forehead against mine while I scratch his cheeks and neck. I miss him "doing his feets". I miss him chasing the laster light. I miss him gently gnawing on my fingers (like a dog would) as I play with him.

I have never had a 4-legged "pet". I've only had 4-legged kids.

Bat, you are my little buddy. I'm not giving up on you.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Dewey Defeats Truman!"

Can it happen again? Can we elect someone who is supposedly trailing in the polls? You bet we can! We can if we don't give up, thinking the polls are the way it's going to be. I don't give polls that much credit - especially the ones the media pushes. It ain't over 'til it's over.

We need to keep in mind that Obama was endorsed by our enemies - terrorist organizations and the leaders of countries that don't much like us. He has long-standing relationships with our "enemies". Ayers is our enemy. Reverend Wright is too, as is ACORN. Why does he have such interest in being positive in the eyes of our enemies? That sends me a vivid message.

He wants to spread the wealth around (but not his own wealth). If you make over $250,000, he will take some of it and spread it around. Why would anybody want to be successful if all they had to look forward to was someone taking their money away from them? Will he donate a chunk of his wealth to the cause? Somehow, I really don't think that would happen. (McCain said he doesn't want to take Obama's wealth and spread it around - or anybody else's.) Obama reported $4.2 million in income in 2007 according to the New York Times. When will he step up and make the first donation? (In 2006, it was even $1 million - four times his $250k "rich" criteria.) Spread some of that wealth my way, Barack Hussein Obama!

Obama says we can be energy independent in 10 years. He says that we only have 3% of the world's oil supply, yet use 25% of it. He won't allow drilling where the oil is. He won't allow nuclear power plants to be built. Something doesn't add up with those numbers considering his "10 years" goal. If his numbers were correct, we can never be energy independent. 25 - 3 = 22. We would still have to ge 22% of our oil from those we depend on, even if we used all of our 3%.

It used to be said that the ideal President would be a moderate, one who isn't at either extreme. Doesn't it stand to reason that one who will buck both parties might fit that criteria?

Let's let Dewey Defeat Truman again. With ACORN registering Mickey Mouse to vote - and so many other fraudulent registrations - we must get out and vote. With Obama, Biden, Pelosi, and Reid at the helm, our Country will be in serious trouble. Let's keep Checks and Balances in place as our forefathers intended.




Obama's Rotten ACORN



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Friday, October 03, 2008

Bailout Bill, Section 124

Summarizing a section of the bailout bill, cut-n-pasted from the government's PDF:

"Section 124. Hope for Homeowners Amendments.
Strengthens the Hope for Homeowners program to increase eligibility and improve the tools available to prevent foreclosures."

The brilliant idea to "increase eligibility" is exactly what caused all this - and Congress did it. Now they are doing it again. How can a problem be helped by doing the same thing that caused it?



For those who don't think McCain or the Republicans tried to do anything about getting oversight...

In 2003, John McCain was a co-sponsor of an oversight bill for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that was introduced by Chuck Hagel.

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Overview

Sponsor:
Bill Text:Summary | Full Text
Status:
Occurred: IntroducedJul 31, 2003
Not Yet Occurred: Reported by Committee-
Not Yet Occurred: Voted on in Senate-
Not Yet Occurred: Voted on in House-
Not Yet Occurred: Signed by President-
This bill never became law. This bill was proposed in a previous session of Congress. Sessions of Congress last two years, and at the end of each session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven't passed are cleared from the books.
Last Action:Apr 1, 2004: Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Ordered to be reported with an amendment in the nature of a substitute favorably.
*************************

The Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs apparently dropped the ball. Guess who was the chairman at the time? Chris Dodd. Where have we heard of him before? And, did you notice? The sponsor and co-sponsors were all Republicans. The bill's summary is as follows (emphasis mine):

******************
7/31/2003--Introduced.
Federal Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2003 - Amends the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 to establish in the Department of the Treasury the Office of Federal Enterprise Supervision. Transfers to the Director of such Office supervisory and regulatory authority over specified government sponsored enterprises (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) from the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and from the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Prohibits merger or consolidation of such Office or its functions.
Requires: (1) the Director to ensure that the enterprises operate in a financially safe manner and remain adequately capitalized; and (2) that each enterprise have prior approval of the Director before implementing a new program.
Sets forth operating, administrative, and regulatory provisions of the Director, including provisions respecting: (1) assessment authority; (2) authority to limit nonmission-related assets; (3) minimum and critical capital levels; (4) risk-based capital test; (5) capital classifications and undercapitalized enterprises; (6) enforcement actions and penalties; and (7) reporting.
Sets forth certain retained authorities of the Secretary.
Abolishes the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. Sets forth related transfer of personnel and facility and property provisions.
*************************

Methinks there is something rotten in Denmark, and it's not the McCain or the Republicans. Research it yourself if you like. Go to official Congressional records, not the blogs or MSNBC.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Economic Crisis

Do you know what caused it? This video will show you the history of it, and who is to blame. You can't correct anything until you know the root cause. Let's correct this and keep it from happening again.

Watch the Video Here

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Election Madness, etc.

For a long time, I was not overly excited about our elections. I had thought that I would go to the polls while holding my nose. Things changed very quickly when Sarah Palin came on scene. The Democrat Party got a good dose of fear and panic. The media joined them.

I always thought McCain was too liberal for my tastes, but Obama is much more so. While many things bother me about McCain, there is so much more that scares me about Obama. In my opinion, an Obama nation would be an abomination.

None of our candidates have any interest in taking control of our borders. Far too many illegals come across undetected or ignored. Truck loads of Mexicans cross our borders through tunnels and through remote parts of our border states. Have you ever wondered how many wacko extremists come in those trucks? If it's so easy for us to turn a blind eye to people in trucks, what's to keep them from transporting certain "things" in those trucks instead - "things" that can do us harm by themselves or can be assebled into bigger, more catastrophic "things"? Somebody better start paying attention. We need to control our borders. It is imperative. Chances are, we will be hit again some day. It would be foolish to believe otherwise. That 's the complacency mindset that caused us to be hit before. Why make it easy for them?

There are a lot of things that bother me about Obama. There are many unanswered quetions out there. We don't know who he is. His past and loyalties are very cloudy at best. Associating with the miscreants and terrorists he has is of major concern, especially considering his reluctance to distance himself from them. Still, why did he keep alliances with them?

The one thing that bothers me most about Obama is that our enemies (and those that don't really like us) have all endorsed him. That, my friends, is where the rubber meets the road. That is the key to who I am going to vote for. If those who want to see us harmed want a given candidate as our leader, that is cause for great concern. I will not vote for anybody that our enemies want in office - particularly in this case. A newcomer with a cloudy past, an associate of and friend to the likes of Ayers and Wright, plus our enemies endorsing him for President of The United States is more than enough for me to vote against him.

I applaud McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. That is when the Democrat Party and media started to really blow their fuses. It's not enough that she is a renegade like McCain, but she's a .....*gasp*......woman! A smart, successful woman - someone the Democrats would love to have on their side. Unfortunately for them, she is a Republican.

In their frenzy, they are doing their best to dig up anything they can on Palin. They sent an army of "investigators" to the tiny, insignificant town of Wasilla to do so. (That's that tiny town she was mayor of.) They dig into her husband, they use Palin's daughter as a pawn in their attempts. They attack her values when she makes the choice to not kill her son with Downs Syndrome. And yet, they are ignoring or trivializing all the serious questions we have about Obama? No bias there.

I know who I will vote for. I know "who" he is. I don't like everything about who he is, but I know what to expect with him. Nobody seems to know who Obama is - except our enemies. They know him well enough to endorse him. Think about that. Our enemies know Obama well enough to endorse him. Me? I took an oath many years ago to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic;...", and I cannot in good conscience vote for Obama and still honor that oath. That oath did not have a time limit on it.

I don't particularly like renegades, but I do agree with Obama. We need change. Maybe getting two renegades in office is the change we need. I'm game.

I know where the rubber meets the road. Do you?

--------------------------------------------------

The financial crisis we are facing is another concern. It was caused by people buying things they can't afford. There have always been "special deals" and incentives to encourage people to buy cars and houses they wouldn't otherwise purchase. Low- and zero-interest rates are not uncommon. However, when the government demands that lending institutions make money available to people who have little or no means to repay those loans - that's asking for trouble, and exactly what caused the big boys to fail. Those damn Republicans! No, both sides caused this. The Democrats prevented oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Bush wanted oversight in 2003, and McCain warned of this in 2005. Bush's oversight bill was shot down on party lines. Republicans voted for oversight and Democrats voted for none. This is the result. Oh, did I mention that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac contributed more money to the campaigns of Chris Dodd, John Kerry, and Obama than any other candidate? They are all Democrat senators. And two were/are candidates for our highest office. I wonder if that's why the Democrats shot down oversight? More questions. Why isn't the media digging into it like they are Palin's life?

What seems foolish to me is that the government caused this by bending to people who couldn't afford houses, allowing them to get them when they couldn't afford it. Now the government thinks it is the one to fix it? In his address about the matter, Bush even said the bail out funds can be used to help people buy homes? Hellooooooo!!!! This is exactly what caused it in the first place!!!

This is what happens when the government tries to run a business. They did it to social security, and now they are going to do it to our financial sector? I don't think so. They won't cure anything. The only way lenders or any business can act responsibly is if they are allowed to fail. They were irresponsible in their lending practices because the government told them to, and they were not afraid of failure. They knew the government would save them.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Old Photos

Back in the '70's, I was in the USCG going to school in NYC on Governor's Island, home of Fort Jay. While in the Big Apple, I got to take a lot of pictures. Unfortunately, I had to leave them behind when I moved in '04. I have a feeling they've all been detroyed. Among them was one very much like this one, from on top of the [then] RCA Building in Rockefeller Center. It is now the GE Building - home of "30 Rock", the TV series.

This is Saint Patrick's Cathedral in NYC, as viewed from the top. You think this is cool? You haven't seen anything 'til you've seen inside it.

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Emergency Training

This week we are getting emergency prevention/response training at work. It's been kind of interesting and there is some good information in it, if even to enlighten us (as people) as to how people react to different emergency situations, be they violence or natural emergencies such as tornadoes or fires. The emphasis was on prevention, and not letting things get to a point of no return.

One "popular" scenario played out as follows:
A "shooter" was chosen from the audience. She was given a harmless Nerf dart gun that would shoot about 20 shots - kind of like a "street sweeper". Her assignment was to enter through any of the 3 or 4 doors to the room (not telling anybody which one), and start shooting. After a few minutes, she came in the back of the room and started firing. The instructor up front yelled "GUN!" and everybody headed for the doors up front - almost. I was in one of the rows near the back. When the shooting started I hit the floor without thinking, scampered on all fours to the side, grabbed a chair for a shield, and went after the shooter. Didn't know I could still move that fast. I may have been the only one, I don't know. It all happened too fast. Adrenaline flowed. Instincts and training took over.

The result? Many more people got out without getting hit. I was told that the chair I was using as a shield was hit maybe 5 or 6 times - after I started heading for the shooter. After more than 30 years, my CG training and mindset is still apparently with me. That, and I'm a firm believer that if nobody does anything in situations like this, everybody is a sitting duck. Somebody has to do something. I keep the same philosophy with everything else. If nobody does anything to help a bad situation (no matter what it is), it will not get any better - but can get much, much worse. Nobody knows what they would do under adverse or extreme circumstances until they are there.

Is my reaction to this scenario good or bad? It all depends on your perspective. To some it would be quite bad. To those whose lives would be spared, it is not.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

My NavBar is Broken

The navbar on these Blogger blogs is showing nothing but "Blogger Blogger Blogger Blogger....."
as seen in this image: http://www.pbase.com/doxielover1/image/103397480.jpg

It's not just my blog. It's everybody's Blogger blog.

When I click anywhere on the navbar, it takes me to the Dashboard.
There is no link for customizing, posting, searching, or anything. This just
started recently (last few days). I've tried disabling GreaseMonkey and Adblock Plus, but it didn't help.

I'm using Vista Home Basic with FireFox 3.0.1. I don't know what's changed on my end, but something had to. It all looks normal on Shelley's computer. She's running XP Pro, and the same FireFox.

Anybody know how to fix this?

Thanks in advance.

*******
Update! 9/23/08

They fixed something, 'cause it's back to normal now. Thanks, guys!


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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bat Man

Yesterday at work I saw something that didn't look right. A young man was carrying a baseball bat across one of our parking lots, and he was "on a mission". He would occasionally hide the bad under his clothes - and that's what really raised a red flag with me.

I alerted the campus police and he told me he'd find and challenge him. Well, the officer found him crossing another of our parking lots and stopped him. I found out later that this 18-year-old had recently lost his best friend and was grieving. He was unfortunately doing it in the wrong way - through anger. While talking to this young man, it was learned that several others jumped him earlier and he was going to even the score in a park adjacent to the campus. This, coupled with the loss of his best friend and a lousy home life, he was really laden with rage.

He was taken "downtown", and after evaluation will eventually be given a bus ticket so he can be with other relatives in another city. This is their preliminary plan.

It was obvious to the officer that this young man had some real problems. In a way I feel bad for him that I got the police involved, but I wonder what could have happened if I hadn't alerted authorities to a "suspicious person". Could have gotten ugly real quick. One guy with a baseball bat going up against several others? Someone could have been severely beaten or killed - on either side of the confrontation.

I tell myself that I may very likely have saved a life - either the bat-er, or one (maybe more) of the bat-ees. For that, I have no regrets. I hope this young man can eventually cope with his friend's death and get his life together.

I wish him well.

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Egret - Bansai - IMG_9141

The last few days I've been working nights. That gave me a chance to get out fairly early in the morning to try and get some wildlife shots at the local watering holes. This egret is one of the many photos I've taken. You can see more of my stuff on my Flickr Galleries.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ike Storm Damage

Here are some shots of video from SevereStudios.com and some of the storm chasers that supply live video streams. None of these are my photos. These images belong to the people indicated.
***********

(Video from Stuart Robinson's dashboard camera.)

This is a view at the NE end of Galveston Island after Hurricane Ike spent the night here.

***********

In the same area, David Drummond (another storm chaser) was told to "move along" as he was assessing damage.



He later found these boats on the highway on Galveston Island.
***********


Lake Charles, La. also has its share of water.

(From Brett Adair's "Chase Cam".)


***********

7:30 pm CDT...

I just saw the aerial video of all the homes in Galveston that were surrounded by water. Search and Rescue is under way for the 20,000 idiots that decided to stay there. I'm not a cold, heartless person, but IMO they don't need rescued. I'm sorry, but they chose to be there, in spite of the mandatory evacuation orders. They were warned that death was a real possibility. They ignored it. Now the poor idiots need food, water, and medical care. Use the resources for people that want and need it. Those morons don't deserve it. They created their own situation, knowing full well what they were in for. The water will go down after a while. Use the money and manpower for those who tried to protect themselves, and the clean-up.

Governor Good Hair even told people they would be on their own if they did not evacuate, and nobody would come. He lied, and I guess they'll ignore him again next time. Let them sit in the "middle of the gulf" just one time, and maybe they'll re-think their stupidity next time. Then again, rescue operations are under way. They will be rescued again and again. *shaking head*


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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering......

We all know what happened. We all know what could happen again if we let our guard down, or stop before it's finished. He said it would be a long war, one like we've never fought before. He said it is not bound by borders. He was right on all counts.

Let us never forget. Let us never let our guard down.


Friday, September 05, 2008

Sarah Palin - A Democrat's Dream Girl

(The comments in this post are not directed at the average voter, but the Democrat Party officials and media.)

Sarah Palin is a Democrat's dream. She should be anyhow. She is everything that Democrats claim they embrace, and everything Republicans are supposed to disdain.

She is a woman.
She is a successful woman.
Her husband is a Union worker.
She is a strong woman - politically and domestically.
She is an everyday person, much like you and me - more than any other politician we've seen in years. (Isn't that what Democrats want? Someone who can identify with the "little guy"?)
She is pro-choice. She made her choice to have an "imperfect" baby, but it was her choice.
Her daughter is a teen, unmarried, and pregnant.
She is the typical "soccer mom". (Since hockey is more appropriate in Alaska than soccer, she calls herself a "hockey mom".

For some reason, Liberals are bashing her and trivializing her accomplishments. What is there they don't like? Normally, they would be singing her praises. And why do Republicans like her so much, contrary to the reputation given them by the Liberal sect?

There can only be one reason. There is an "R" behind her name. Pathetic, isn't it? Can you imagine the praise she would be getting from the Democrat Party if she only had a "D" behind her name? Instead, they try to stomp her into the ground. They don't care about women. They don't care about anybody - unless they are Democrats/Liberals. Nobody else matters.

Well, I guess there could be one other reason. She seems to really love and respect her husband, and doesn't have him on a leash, treating him as a domineering, man-hating feminist would.

Personally, this mean spirited anti-["everything-but-white-man"] Republican is tickled that she is in the race. I'm glad McCain chose her. However, I would prefer that she be heading the ticket and McCain was her VP, but I guess that's not to be this time. I look forward to 2012 if McCain and Palin are successful in this election. Imagine that! A Conservative Republican wanting a woman to be President....

For now, I'll settle for VP. Good Luck, Governor Palin! You have my full support. You have given me a reason to vote without holding my nose.

The media and Democrat Party are scared. I love it!



Monday, September 01, 2008

Bobbing For Fish


Egret - IMG_5055
Originally uploaded by HighPlainsDox
Shelley got the idea to take our cameras to a local lake today, and I naturally agreed. We were hoping to find more waterfowl than we did, but what we found kept us busy. As we were shooting ducks and grackles, I looked up towards another section of the lake just to the right of where we were shooting. There stood a Great White Egret, knee deep in water. This is one Shelley mentioned it would be nice to find there today. Ask and ye shall receive, I guess. :) We spent some time trying to get a sequence of shots of him spearing fish, but when they strike, they strike! This is the quickest we could start shooting each time he went after a snack. (Click on this photo to see the full-size image and the rest of the series.)

Rodeo Weekend

Yesterday we went to a rodeo. Not just any rodeo. This one was done by kids between 4 or 5 and 18 years old. Their participation was age-appropriate. All ages were the protective clowns, youngest protected the riders of sheep. The older boys distracted the steers and bulls from their riders. The youngest rode stick horses in barrel races, and the oldest group rode bulls. There was "mutton bustin'", pole bending, barrel races, and even rode calves, steers, and bulls. They didn't have any saddle bronc riding, though. With many of my photos, you may not believe that they are all 18 or under, but they were. Yes, adults were there to supervise and prepare the animals for their riders, but the performers and rodeo clowns were all kids.

(Click here for the full series of shots.)

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