Thursday, July 31, 2008

Anniversary Of My Birth

Today was my birthday. I was born in the same year (just the last two digits) that my age just became.

My best friend wined and dined me at a local restaurant of my choice. I chose Hoffbrau Steaks. We each ordered a Dr. Pepper chicken dinner with a bottle of White Zinfandel wine - that just so happens to be a rose'/blush wine. Just like everything else at the Hoffbrau, it was superb!

When I first came to Texas, this was the first place I was taken to eat. It left a lasting mark on my memory chips. The quality and quantity of food was so much better than what I was used to.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Homeland inSecurity and The Border

Compean and Ramos, the two border agents imprisoned under questionable circumstances has resurfaced. The 5th Court of Appeals in New Orleans has just denied them an appeal. At the very least, Homeland Security (who is charged with our nation's and border's security) has failed us. They admittedly lied concerning what evidence and "confessions" they claimed to have. Actually, they called it misinformation. They lied. They lied when they said that Ramos and Compean said they wanted to go out and shoot some Mexicans. They lied when they said the two border guards signed confessions.

If that's not enough, the only witness lied. Even the prosecutor Sutton admitted it. The poor victimized drug runner grew up with a border guard in Arizona. That relationship never came into question during the trial.

So, we have two border guards doing their jobs and sent to prison on the lies of the only witness, not to mention the lies of our own Homeland Security - and they are refused an appeal to their conviction???? Something rotten in Denmark? I think so. I have many questions. Some on this small level, and some on a larger level.

Why were Ramos and Compean's supervisors (who were on scene the whole time) not held accountable or brought to trial for letting their men act so irresponsibly - if it happened as Sutton claimed?

Why did Sutton allow the drug smuggler to continue smuggling drugs that our kids would get hold of - as part of his granted immunity?

Why are the courts so eager to uphold a conviction based on lies?

Why does Homeland Security refuse to enforce our border laws?

Why does Congress not take steps to protect us from these scum? NOT Ramos and Compean, but the scum drug smugglers like Aldrete-Davilla.

Why does Bush close his eyes to our border situation?

Why does NOBODY make any attempt to protect our country?

I fear that there may be only one possibility. I fear that those who are in power to do anything, have sold their souls to the devil. Shall we follow the money trail? I wonder where it would take us.

What other reason could there possibly be? None of those in power want to control our borders. None of them want to stop the drug trafficking coming across our southern border. None of them. The only ones that try to do anything wind up in prison - convicted on lies.

Sooner or later, justice will be done. I just hope it's done before Ramos and Compean are killed in prison.

You might have guessed - this pisses me off. I don't know what the whole truth is. I do know that these men were convicted and sent to prison on false "evidence" - on lies. The whole situation is a farce, but when our courts refuse to do what's right......we're all screwed.

Our own government and law enforcement bigwigs have put a sign on our Country's back:

The sad part is, our government wears it proudly. Drug smugglers and illegal aliens are laughing - as they comply with the sign.

I was once a member of the US Coast Guard, when it was under the Transportation Department. It used to be an honorable thing. It appears that I would have every right to be embarrassed and humiliated to see how my superiors would act now - if I were still in, under "Homeland inSecurity".


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Congressman Help

Good news! My Congressman is going to "look into" my ordeal with Capital One. I contacted his office earlier in the week, and he (or his office) responded with a personalized letter - not the form letter I expected. I was flabbergasted - and highly impressed! I have a package ready to go out to him as I type.

Hopefully he can get some results that I have not been able to do.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kingbird 01

Kingbird 01
Originally uploaded by HighPlainsDox
This is the first of a 7-shot series I posted on my Flick'r space. None of the 7 have been edited. I am still learning to use my Digital Rebel XT, and I think I'm making progress. This is what I strive for - to make my photos come out of the camera and not need editing.

The Western Kingbird is a bug eater, an insectivore. They are a lot of fun to watch, their "antics" and maneuverability as they hunt and catch their food. This appears to be a young bird. Its overall appearance, and the fuzz/hair around its beak suggest he is a young one. These kingbirds don't much care for Mississippi Kites hanging around them at times. Some of my photos show them attacking the kites, who are quite able to make quick work of the kingbirds.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Large, Intrusive Noses

Recently my IP/traffic loggers and trackers have uncovered some disturbing activity. There have been a couple people who have shown signs of being way too nosey. Their presence indicate a desire to be more than friends or friendly acquaintances. Stalkers are not welcome here. If you come to stalk and try to dig too deeply into my life, you are here for the wrong reason. No, I have nothing to hide - but it is common courtesy to not shove your way into my "house" and look in every drawer simply for the sake of having to know everything.

Most of you who visit my blog and my other sites are my friends or my family and have nothing to be concerned about. You are more than welcome to come share my life as I provide it. You are not doing investigative research. It's those who think they are so damned smart and have to know everything about my life, that have the problem. Every site you visit and everything you do on the internet superhighway leaves your fingerprints in NEON lights.

If you are one of those that are here on some kind of paparazzi-like tabloid hunt, buzz off. You are not welcome here. This blog is for my friends and family, not you.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Air Assault

I find it interesting that small birds can harass larger (often predatory) birds that could easily put them in their place. I don't know if they just see the little fellas as nuisances, or if the small birds are just so fast and maneuverable that the larger ones can't really react fast enough. I do pity the little ones if they ever let one of these guys snag 'em.

This is a Mississippi Kite, a raptor - one of the eagle and hawk family. It is very much like a falcon in appearance. They are quite capable of inflicting substantial injury, not necessarily by its powerful beak, but with its very formidable talons.

This kite takes a break to watch for prey. As it does, a mockingbird decides it doesn't like the kite hanging around. The mockingbird flies in from behind to urge the kite to leave.

The kite doesn't budge, and the mockingbird persists.

After a few more attacks, the kite has enough of this pest and leaves right after this shot was taken.

Amazing! The mockingbird doesn't seem to care that the kite eats small mammals and......birds!


Friday, July 18, 2008

Moon 03 - After

Moon 03 - After
Originally uploaded by HighPlainsDox
I've been trying to perfect my moon photos when I snap the shutter. Yes, I can edit them and make them look a lot better. I try to edit as little as possible - if any. I think it will make me a better photographer in doing so. Here is a moon shot I took last night. It needed a little sharpening and contrast/brightness tweaking, but generally worked out ok. This one has already been adjusted. Click on it to go to my Flick'r galleries and see the original right before it in the photostream - "Moon 03 - Before".

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I got a new wireless remote switch/trigger for my camera. Last night's moon presented some shots, so I thought I'd give it a smoke test. My intent was to eliminate all the camera shake I could. Not touching it helped a bit. I set up on my tripod, set the camera up to do its thing, and focused in on the moon manually. When I hit the button on the remote, here's what I got:

(Click image to see full size.)

I think they are improving, but I still need some work on it. :)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

What's NOT In My Wallet?

Capital One. You can see the evidence they furnished me in the recently updated information on my site. You be the judge. Let me know what you think.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

TEXAS! Lone Horseman

TEXAS! Lone Horseman
Originally uploaded by HighPlainsDox
The "lone horseman" always starts the show. He appears on the canyon rim 600 feet above the amphitheater, pauses for a short time, then rides off along the rim with the Texas flag unfurled. This is the signature start of the "TEXAS!" musical.

Last night, on July 4th, Shelley and I went to see this musical. It is held in the Palo Duro Canyon's amphitheater all through the summer months. Our show was a bit better than normal, because it was performed on Independence Day. It was concluded with fireworks that lit up the Texas sky. It was done with an ideal mix of humor, drama, and action.

TEXAS! is a story based on historical fact, of how the Texas panhandle was made. Familiar names like McLean and Armstrong were brought to life. McLean is a town on I-40, and Armstrong county borders Randall county. Randall county contains southern Amarillo. The musical brought 19-century historical figures to life in such a way as to make one proud to be an American, not just a Texan.

If you ever get the chance to see it, do yourself a favor and do it. You won't regret it. Excellent family show!

(Click on the image above to see more images from the show.)


Friday, July 04, 2008

My Country, 'tis Of Thee....

Ragged Old Flag
By John R. Cash
© 1974 House of Cash, Inc.

I walked through a county courthouse square,
On a park bench an old man was sitting there.
I said, "Your old courthouse is kinda run down."
He said, "Naw, it'll do for our little town."
I said, "Your old flagpole has leaned a little bit,
And that's a Ragged Old Flag you got hanging on it."

He said, "Have a seat," and I sat down.
"Is this the first time you've been to our little town?"
I said, "I think it is." He said, "I don't like to brag,
But we're kinda proud of that Ragged Old Flag.

"You see, we got a little hole in that flag there when
Washington took it across the Delaware.
And it got powder-burned the night Francis Scott Key
Sat watching it writing Say Can You See.
And it got a bad rip in New Orleans
With Packingham and Jackson tuggin' at its seems.

"And it almost fell at the Alamo
Beside the Texas flag, but she waved on though.
She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville
And she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.
There was Robert E. Lee, Beauregard, and Bragg,
And the south wind blew hard on that Ragged Old Flag.

"On Flanders Field in World War I
She got a big hole from a Bertha gun.
She turned blood red in World War II.
She hung limp and low by the time it was through.
She was in Korea and Vietnam.
She went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam.

"She waved from our ships upon the briny foam,
And now they've about quit waving her back here at home.
In her own good land here she's been abused --
She's been burned, dishonored, denied, and refused.

"And the government for which she stands
Is scandalized throughout the land.
And she's getting threadbare and wearing thin,
But she's in good shape for the shape she's in.
'Cause she's been through the fire before
And I believe she can take a whole lot more.

"So we raise her up every morning, take her
down every night.
We don't let her touch the ground and we fold
her up right.
On second thought, I do like to brag,
'Cause I'm mighty proud of the Ragged Old Flag."


Homer E. Dixon

I have followed your beautiful valleys
Dug out by the hand of God.
I have roamed your level prairies
Where herds of bison trod;
And I have climbed your rugged mountains,
Majestic, stern, and still,
And perched aloft on a lonesome crag
Where the winter's wind blew chill.

I have sat on the edge of the canyon's rim
And heard its waterfalls roar
And seen through the haze of mountain maze
The lonesome eagle soar.
On oceans deep where wild winds sweep
And wavces roll loud and high,
I have wondered how God made it all
And the beautiful starlit sky.

O America, I love you
Deep as your mountains are high;
And love for you will always be
True blue as your summer sky.
You are beautiful and noble,
Immense, rugged, and grand.
America, I love you,
My own, my native land.


God Bless The U.S.A.

by Lee Greenwood

If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I’d worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,
with just my children and my wife.

I’d thank my lucky stars,
to be livin here today.
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can’t take that away.

And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

From the lakes of Minnesota,
to the hills of Tennessee.
Across the plains of Texas,
From sea to shining sea.

From Detroit down to Houston,
and New York to L.A.
Well there's pride in every American heart,
and its time we stand and say.

That I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

And I’m proud to be and American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.


Lee Greenwood's song rarely fails to bring a proud tear to my eye. It is even more powerful when included in a video like the one above.

There are those who say The United States of America is a mean, cruel country. There are some who deny any pride in this great country they live in. There is a reason the oppressed and persecuted strive so hard, often at risk of their very lives, to come here. If we really were a mean, cruel people, why would they do it?

I don't know about anybody of you, but once again I'll

"...gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA."