Saturday, October 10, 2009

Air Show at Tucumcari

Wednesday, Shelley and I took the day off to take a short jaunt to Tucumcari, NM to see an air show that the Rotary Club was sponsoring. Tucumcari is only about an hour and a half down I-40 from us. The Canadian Snowbirds were there, as well as an assortment of WWII planes and other aerobatic aircraft. The Army's Golden Knights parachute team performed as well. I took over 1000 photos of the event, and Shelley did 800 or 900 or so. Makes me glad I don't do film any more.

Here are some of the shots I took that day.

This Avenger is similar to the one "Papa Bush" flew in WWII.
An F-15 demo team made an appearance, too.

The Canadian Snowbirds - flying their Canadair T-114's.

A T-6 Texan.

You can see more photos HERE.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Rainbow Bridge

From Shelley:

For 15 years he was in my life and in my heart.
He was his own cat--funny, independent, kind--but never cuddly.
Cuddly wasn't Chip--but I never doubted where I stood with him.
We respected each other.
He was a funny old Maine Coon who called the shots in our relationship
and I obeyed him the best I could.
Chip was unique. He talked. People would doubt it until
they heard his verbalizations with their own ears.
"Hello!" "Out"
Plain as day.
His given name was "Chaucer" but he didn't like that. He sure let us know that
"Chip" was more suitable. "Chippie" was another name he was called when he was "kittenish".
He loved being outside--and because of a thick long coat, even
a blanket of snow didn't bother him.
He sure kept my feet warm on a cold winter's night.
Chip would let us know it was time to get up before the alarm went off.
Chip had a soft purr and he loved treats.His favorite place to sleep was on the
console table in our bedroom--under the fragile Tiffany lamp because the sun came in that window.
He was special,
He will be missed
Rest in peace my little friend.
I will see you again waiting for me at Rainbow Bridge...where Bat must be waiting too. Perhaps you're together playing in the cool grass or basking in the sun.


- and From Dale....

Chip was a special, albeit a bit misunderstood little fella. He was known for being a bit psycho, unpredictable. You would wake up sometimes in the middle of the night and look up and see his face - just staring at you - an inch or two from your face. You never knew if you would get slashed for simply petting him. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

He was misunderstood by most - but I understood him. I knew he wasn't a bad boy at all. As time passed, my faith in him was proven right, and we became the best of friends.

One of his talents was that of speech. He could say "Hello!" as well as you or I - and he'd do it when he wanted something, not just at random times. If we were doing something and not paying attention, he would say "Hello! Out!" when he wanted to go out.

He was special. He was our little boy. We will miss you, Chippie.

Relaxing in the back yard.

Security Device: Locking down Momma's computer.

"The most beautiful things in the world cannot be
seen or touched. They must be felt with the heart."
-Helen Keller

Sunday, September 27, 2009

PBase Down

Many of us use PBase to display our photographs. Some are amateur hobbyists, some experienced/advanced, some real professionals. Whatever your level of photography, everybody who uses PBase's service has been affected by the outage that began a few days ago - 24 September 2009.

I've seen many comments in cyberland concerning this. A few are patient. Some are outright vicious towards "Slug" and his setup - even claiming a lack of professionalism and blasting his hardware setup. Come on, give me a break! Have any of you heard of Murphy's Laws? I've been in the trenches of industrial maintenance for over 35 years, and I am not worried. I have confidence in Slug and PBase. I know how stuff happens. Multiple servers have been affected in his area, and some could well be one/some of the big boys that have "proper" setups.

The main problem might not be with PBase per se', but with someone much bigger. I don't know how he is set up. Do you?'s trail involves people like Inflow, Inc. and Who supplies the servers? Who is the responsible tech? I have a domain and servers that I have absolutely no control over. The hardware is not in my house, nor do I have access to it - and that is very common.

I have no doubt that all of our photos are safe. I know that it often takes an ungodly amount of time to do simple things with computer systems. I have no doubt that there is redundancy. Even if you delete all your stuff inadvertently, it can be restored. Yes, it is possible that some things might be irrecoverable. Maybe even some of my stuff. So what? I have backups and can put it back without near as much hassle as Slug and PBase are going through as I type this. If you don't have your stuff backed up.....well, what can I say?

Don't be impatient. Can you imagine how much data is involved? I can't. People all over the world have been using PBase to store their photos - plus all the additional related data like custom page setups, etc. Terabytes on top of terabytes on top of terabytes are very likely involved. Think of how computers have been a problem to you, and how much time you have spent offline because of it. Imagine the similarities, but on a much bigger scale.

Do you have a professional photography business that only centers around PBase? You don't have a backup plan in case of problems? Why not? Ever hear of a computer that crashes? Think it's just your little notebook PC or Mac that have hardware or software crashes? Your home computers never have problems, do they? Think again.

I have well over 1500 photos on PBase. They are still there. They will be there when he gets back online. I will be there, too. I'm not leaving. I have no reason to leave. I trust PBase with my photos and the price is very good. Plus, I like his TOS. Many sites lay claim to your photos for various reasons, like advertising. Some even lay unrestricted claim to them to the point of even transferring them to 3rd parties! Not Slug. He specifically states it in plain language - no legalese BS. The photos you post there are yours and will always be yours. Nobody else can claim or use them in any way, shape, or form. That's one of the many reason I will not leave PBase.

Hang in there, Slug. Do what you need to do. Take the time you need. You have my full support. I'll see "you" when you get back up. I've got some more photos to upload. :)

-doxielover1 at PBase


From PBase:

28-Sep-2009 1:01 UTC / 27-Sep-2009 21:01 EST

We have been working nonstop to continue importing the data into the new database, and we are making good progress. While we wait for the data to import, we are going through PBase pages and making sure everything will be ready to go online when the data importing is complete. When PBase comes back online, some of you may find that some of your images do not display. This is simply because the data for those images will still be copying over to the new database. As the rest of the data comes in, those images will be fixed. We will let you know as soon as we have more news.


Importing to a new database, huh? I guess that means it's not just a quick-and-easy copy from one to the other. I would presume that there is some conversion going on to make it usable by the new database as well. They didn't take a break for the weekend like some people (that were/are bad-mouthing Slug) have been alleging.



As of the time of this addendum, PBase appears to be up and running in its entirety. I never lost anything. I'll bet nobody else did either.

Thanks for your efforts, Slug!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Remember.

Do you?

I remember seeing where one plane hit the first tower.

I remember watching the TV and seeing the second plane hit the tower.

I remember thinking at that point, "That was not accident. We are under attack."

I remember "that feeling" in the pit of my stomach.

I remember the towers falling - from the safety of my couch.

I remember thinking "Put me in, coach!"

I remember the skies falling silent.

I remember our Canadian friends coming to our rescue by taking in our people.

I remember wondering when it would end.

I remember thanking God for brave Americans like those on Flight 93, who prevented far more loss of life.

I remember how Americans from all walks of life, all beliefs, and all political persuasions were as one.

I remember September 11, 2001.

I long for the attitudes of September 12, 2001.

Do you remember?

Do you really?

Let us never forget - anything.

Semper Paratus.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


In my world, the question has come up as to whether we are a Christian nation. In answering that question, we need to agree on a definition of "Christian" as it is generally used. Technically, it refers to one who believes in Jesus Christ, the Trinity, and all the events of Jesus' life. That would not include Jews and others. However, it is used casually today to refer to those who believe in God, a deity, or a supernatural being worshipped in a religious faith by whatever name. That is the context I use it in here. I use it to include all believing faiths.

A little bit of research will show that most if not all of our Founding Fathers did believe in God. Some of them like Thomas Jefferson believed that one's religious beliefs were deeply personal, and were between one and his God, as evidenced in the following quotes.

"I have ever thought religion a concern purely between our God and our consciences, for which we were accountable to Him, and not to the priests." --Thomas Jefferson to Mrs. M. Harrison Smith, 1816. ME 15:60

"Religion is a subject on which I have ever been most scrupulously reserved. I have considered it as a matter between every man and his Maker in which no other, and far less the public, had a right to intermeddle." --Thomas Jefferson to Richard Rush, 1813.

"I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others." --Thomas Jefferson to Edward Dowse, 1803. ME 10:378

"Our particular principles of religion are a subject of accountability to God alone. I inquire after no man's, and trouble none with mine." --Thomas Jefferson to Miles King, 1814. ME 14:198

Some take advantage of these comments to suggest that Jefferson did not believe in God, and use this as support of their arguments against the issue. In fact, he was adamant that his beliefs remained private, as he considered everybody else's to be. It was nobody's business, plain and simple.

One of Jefferson's quotes has been selectively and partially quoted in an effort to support non-belief or atheistic arguments.

"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

The point here is to question the government. He is expressing the mindset here to be very suspicious - not of God, as they would have you believe, but to be suspicious of those who hold high public office. The comment about questioning the existence of a God is only to emphasize the veracity with which one should be suspicious of government.


Tolerance and The First Amendment

The town halls of late show disturbing trends. Those trends seek to demonize Americans. Town hall meetings are set up to try to convince us that the happenings in government are good and should be carried out. When citizens speak out their minds as individuals with their concerns about those bills and policies, "stuff" happens.

We are not to be persecuted for our opinions and are in fact supposed to be protected from it in light of The First Amendment. Unfortunately, there are those who have very little tolerance for opposing viewpoints. Our current leaders are in violation of the First Amendment. They slander and persecute us repeatedly because we do not agree with them. They call us un-American?

Where is the the tolerance they preach? Where is their support and defense of our Constitution that they have sworn to?

Sunday, July 05, 2009

A Humbling Experience

Yesterday morning we went to the parade in downtown Canyon. It was the biggest they've had yet - markedly bigger than past years. It lasted over an hour this year. We loved it!

As the floats of military men past and present passed along the route, they were met with one long standing ovation and grateful applause the whole way. As they passed by us, I stopped my applause to take a few pictures and give them a high "thumbs up". One of the floats touched me. I was standing there with my US Coast Guard cap on, camera in hand, just minding my own business. ;-) Two of the soldiers (shown here) broke loose from escorting their Veterans of Foreign Wars float to come over to me - ME, of all people - for the purpose of shaking my hand!

I was surprised when the first one (a Desert Storm veteran) extended his hand and said, "Thank you, sir!" (I thought they just wanted to say hi to the kids in front of me.) I was kind of glad he did though, because I wanted to thank them - each and every one in the parade.

I was very much humbled. It's been over 30 years since I served and I must admit I felt a little unworthy. I remember thinking, "Everybody should be thanking you guys."

Thank you, Gentlemen!
Thank all of you who are putting it all on the line (and have put it all on the line) to keep our Country safe and Free.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mandatory Savings?

I don't get it. Maybe someone can explain it to me.

"Obama’s plan for IRAs does not make the accounts universal. Instead, it targets employers that don’t offer a retirement plan to workers. But like Social Security, the benefit would be automatic. If workers aren’t given a 401(k) or similar option, then their employer must automatically open an IRA on their behalf and make contributions through direct deposit, pulling the cash from the workers’ paycheck. Employees who don’t want to participate could opt out."

  1. "But like Social Security, the benefit would be automatic."
  2. "their employer must automatically open an IRA on their behalf"
  3. "pulling the cash from the workers’ paycheck"
  4. "Employees who don’t want to participate could opt out"
Now (if I understand this right) his plan would force (the word "must") employers to automatically take our money like Social Security (whether we like it or not - again, "must"). With all that definitive talk, we could opt out if we wanted. So I ask you.....

Why would we want the government to make us do another Social Security-like thing, as well as they've handled it?

What's the point of forcing employers ("must") to take our money for an IRA - and allow us to opt out if we want to?

You have to do it, but you don't have to????

How about "do nothing" and let me contribute to an IRA if I want to - through payroll deductions if I want? Stay out of my wallet.

All I can see is that they want to control more of our personal finances. If this goes through, they will have control of yet another aspect of our personal lives.

  • Ask and ye shall receive.
  • You get what you ask for.
  • "Change" is not always good.
  • "Fundamental change" can be catastrophic.
  • Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.
The sad thing is, only Liberals/Democrats can change it. Think about it. Does the Democrat [sic] Congress listen to the Republicans? Or do they just let them talk and ignore them - and do what they want without any consideration? Are there any Liberals that will listen to a Conservative and take them seriously? Are you taking my comments seriously? For our sake as a Free Country - I hope so. If not, it will fundamentally change, and very few will like it.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Energy Control Bill

It passed the House. Does anybody know what's in it? The ones who voted for it don't. I've looked a some of it over, and I don't like what's there. You wouldn't either. I went to the Library of Congress and other official sites.

I really hope the Senate shoots it down, but I have little hope that it will.

I never wanted to "fundamentally change" my Country. I kind of liked it as a Representative Republic form of Freedom. I wonder if anybody asked what he and his Democrat Congress wanted to "fundamentally change" it into?


Saturday, June 20, 2009


The last three years have given us little rain. We've been very dry around here. The main lake we get our water from has been very low. This year has been pretty wet by comparison. We have been getting rain fairly often. By comparison to previous years, it's been monsoon season. No, it hasn't been a lot really. We could use a lot more, that's for sure. So far this year, we've gotten 5.9" of rain at the airport. That's about 2.5" below normal. Normally, we would have 8.35" by now.

Let the monsoons come!


Saturday, May 23, 2009

New Blog

Shelley and I started up a new blog today. We will display our photography there, along with various happenings in our life together. Feel free to stop by and take a peek if you take the notion. It is new - and a work in progress - so stop by now and then to see what's changed. It's called


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

New Ice Age?

Global warming is changing the currents in the Atlantic, according to a 2005 National Geographic News article. So much so, that fears are emerging that we will encounter a mini ice age much like that of the 1300's. We have already been in a cool-down cycle for a couple of years.

Interesting, isn't it? The self-regulating nature of the Earth. The Earth warms a bit for a while, then it finds a way to cool itself. When it does, it will counter that with a warm-up cycle. This cycle is never ending, just like the thermostat in your house. That's why there have been several ice age scares over the last 100-150 years, alternating with global warming scares. Recently, the global warming crowd even recognizes this happens. It's why they changed the terminology to "climate change".

More recently, a National Geographic News report dated May 4, 2009 indicated that the sun's activity is the lowest it's been in decades and the dimmest it's been in 100 years. This tends to support the cooling statistics over the last couple of years. What will happen? We shall see. It won't be catastrophic though, either way. You can bank on it.

Do I buy the ice age theory? Nope. No more than I bought the man-caused global warming hysteria. I have no doubt that the Earth is self-regulating. It's all part of the natural order of things. Us silly humans have to be just a bit arrogant to think that we can actually control the climate. We can't even control it on a very minimal scale - day-to-day weather. In the grand scale of things, we are nothing.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

A Leap

We have been talking about getting rid of our landline and DSL service over recent weeks, maybe months - just kind of toying with the idea. A recent brochure in the mail piqued our interest again. Friday, I went down to our cable provider to ask about cable internet. The offer sounded promising with 6 times the speed we were getting, not to mention saving a fair chunk of money each month. I came home with the starter kit and got it all hooked up with our router and all was well. Much faster, indeed!

Since we'll be shutting off our landline, we'll need phone service of some sort - besides our TracFones. I have been using Skype for outgoing calls because we didn't have long distance with our AT&T service and have been well pleased with it. I opted for a very cheap yearly subscription with Skype that would give us unlimited US/Canada long distance service. That, along with the higher speed internet service, will still yield us a fair savings per month.

There is one little thing, though. Ole "Murphy" is paying us a visit now and then. Occasionally our cable internet will lose synch and drop connection. Don't know why yet, but we have a tech coming out to check things out. I hope it's nothing serious and they can fix it quickly. I won't be able to shut off our landline until we can have some reliable service. If we can't get it, we might have to go back to DSL.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Game of Cat and ........Squirrel?

The neighbor's cat, Binx, decided to try some squirrel hunting this afternoon. He used a natural tree stand in the crotch of some branches, and waited for an unsuspecting squirrel to run up the tree.

It was really a pretty good idea, but this squirrel saw him up there and waited him out. When Binx got tired of waiting and headed back down, they met halfway. I can only imagine what the squirrel was saying as they passed. Binx got a good scolding, I assure you!


Monday, April 13, 2009

Traditional Values are Gone?

Chuck Schumer has declared that traditional values and a strong foreign policy are over. See for yourself.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Renaissance Festivals

Anybody go to 'em? Shelley and I will be going to one near Dallas this year - Scarborough Faire. We went once before and had a blast! This year, two things will be different. We both have digital SLR cameras now. And we both have the beginnings of period clothing. Shelley has a peasant blouse and I have a peasant shirt and vest. I'll be adding a wooden stein to my belt. We will look a little more like we're part of it, I think.

(Oh, BTW.....Hi, Kathy!)


Friday, April 03, 2009


My best friend and soul mate presented me with a book that she ordered for me - without my knowledge. My wifey's such a sweet angel. The book is titled "Poems of Patriotism" by Edgar A. Guest - almost 100 years old. After reading over a couple of them, I see that it's a very fitting collection for today. It portrays an attitude that seems to be long gone Here is one that really jumped out at me.

The Time for Deeds

We have boasted our courage in moments of ease,
Our star-spangled banner we've flung on the breeze;
We have taught men to cheer for its beauty and worth,
And have called it the flag of the bravest on earth
Now the dark days are here, we must stand to the test.
Oh, God! let us prove we are true to our best!

We have drunk to our flag, and we've talked of the right
We have challenged oppression to show us its might;
We have strutted for years through the world as a race
That for God and for country, earth's tyrants would face;
Now the gage is flung down, hate is loosed in the world.
Oh, God! shall our flag in dishonor be furled?

We have said we are brave; we have preached of the truth,
We have walked in conceit of the strength of our youth;
We have mocked at the ramparts and guns of the foe,
As though we believed we could laugh them all low.
Now oppression has struck! We are challenged to fight!
Oh, God! let us prove we can stand for the right!

If in honor and glory our flag is to wave,
If we are to keep this—the land of the brave;
If more than fine words are to fashion our creeds,
Now must our hands and our hearts turn to deeds.
We are challenged by tyrants our strength to reveal!
Oh, God! let us prove that our courage is real!
-Edgar A. Guest


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Global Climate Change

Global Climate Change - it's the new term for "Global Warming". Why? Probably because the Earth has been cooling for the last couple of years. This prompted me to do some research and see if and how the media and science communities have changed over the years. This is what I've found.

In 1895 when Grover Cleveland was President, the big boy media outlets were predicting a global cooling crisis, where Canada could be wiped out and failing crops would be the cause of billions to die. On February 24, 1895, the NY Times reports, "
Geologists Think the World May Be Frozen Up Again."

After the late 1920's, a mere half degree in warming prompted quite the opposite warnings. "The Earth is steadily growing warmer", the Times reported.

Those warnings slipped a bit until 1954, when Fortune Magazine began to warn of another cooling trend in an article stating "Climate - The heat may be off." The Times published stories of warming fears into the late '50s.

In 1969, Science News magazine quoted a meteorologist expert in saying,
“How long the current cooling trend continues is one of the most important problems of our civilization.” In June of 1974, Time magazine showed that the Arctic snow and ice had increased over the years to support the new ice age theory. In 1975, the Times and other publications warned of the impending ice age that would destroy us all, calling it “A Major Cooling Widely Considered to Be Inevitable.” Science News magazine printed an article, "The Ice Age Cometh?" on March 1, 1975. Newsweek also touted the big freeze for Mother Earth. In June of 1974, Time magazine showed that the Arctic snow and ice had increased over the years to support the theory. May 31, 1976, US News and World Report reports that "Even U.S. Farms May Be Hit By Cooling Trend".

We all know of Al Gore's tirades about global warming over recent years. Lately, the term has been changed from "Global Warming" to "Global Climate Change". Why? Because for the last couple of years, the Earth has been cooling.

What does all this mean? Panic after panic after panic. First cooling, then warming, then cooling, then warming, now cooling again. Seems pretty obvious to me. The Earth knows what she's doing. She controls her own weather and climate. We have nothing in it.

Consider the amounts of greenhouse gasses produced throughout this time period. Consider the amount of industry. Consider the money we've spent on all of this, and the efforts we've put out to try to stop this cycle. Every time we have been wound up over climate changes, Mother Nature has proven us to be dunces. Blindly following the "Wolf!" criers is not productive, nor to our advantage in any way.

Fighting "Global Climate Change" is futile. It's the biggest scam ever perpetrated. The Earth will take care of herself, as she has proven to us over the years
. Yes, we should take care of our environment. No, we should not think for a second that we can control climate - any more than we can control our day-to-day weather.

Give this a little thought. It's not hard. There is something to be said for the K.I.S.S. method of reasoning. You can run to see who is crying "WOLF!" if you like, but I won't be fooled.

Somebody's getting rich from this scam. And we're paying for it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Apologies - and an Explanation

If there is anyone you know could see this blog before, but can't now - it's because I have made it private, for select persons. If you can see this, you are one of them. (If I missed anybody, I apologize. Let me know and I'll consider allowing them to visit.) I really don't need to, but I feel like I should explain.

You see, I work for a largely liberal institution. No, there's nothing wrong with being liberal. It's not a dirty word. The concern comes with me being quite conservative, and expressing my personal views here on my blog where the whole world can see. Those views often grate on liberals to the point that it could harm my employment situation if the right person(s) would visit here. I have personally heard those with liberal beliefs repeatedly express hate towards those who have differing opinions, to the point of wishing them dead! Some of my posts here echo some of these situations.

Can somebody tell me why this is? Why is it that you can have a differing viewpoint from someone and they wish you harm because of it? Is this what the Freedom of Speech is all about? Free Speech is ok as long as you agree with me??? I'm sorry, but I don't agree with that concept.

I enlisted of my own free will in the 'Nam era - with no coercion, and I served my Country to help preserve its Freedoms for all of us - even the ones who wish me harm for not believing like they do. Is it too much to ask for the same consideration? I have no problem with others having different opinions than me. It would be nice if the converse would be true without fear of retribution. Unfortunately, many who preach "Free Speech" put delimiters on it. That is NAZI crap.

A scary philosophy is rampant these days. "Mine is good. Yours is not." Too many people are looking for "What's in it for me?" They don't think in terms of "What's best for our Country?"

"My special interests are good. Yours must go."
"My Free Speech is good. Yours must go."
"My beliefs are good. Yours must go."

That is not a principle this country was founded on. It's what our forefathers were escaping. Too many people are filled with hate. They hate you and wish you harm for believing or thinking differently than they do. They hate you just because you are a Republican or Conservative - or should I say, because you are not a liberal or support liberal causes. I'm sorry, I just don't understand this. I cannot comprehend it.

Anyhow, that is why I made this blog private. If you still return here, apparently my posts aren't too distasteful to you. I thank you for your tolerance. I am not branding all liberals as haters, wishing others harm or death for not agreeing with them. Unfortunately, far too many I encounter in the real world are like this. I have never heard a conservative wish anybody dead or express hatred because they have differing opinions. I am not naive enough to believe it never happens, but I've never seen it in any of the people I encounter. This is my personal experience.

Thank you for being here and tolerating my thoughts and beliefs. I promise you, I will always have the same consideration for you - I don't care what your thoughts and beliefs are. If I am wrong, please tell me why. Personally, I think it's really sad when it comes to this.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Blizzard of March 2009

Here are some scenes of the aftermath of our little blizzard over the last couple of days. We have about 12" at the house, with drifting to 36" or so.

Our cat wanted to step out into this, but decided against it when he couldn't feel anything under the snow.

There are steps to the left of the terra cotta pot, but you wouldn't know it.

This drift was about 3' high, but it sank a bit under the warming of the sun by the time I shot this.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The State Of The Union

It sucks. Lots of things are happening that shouldn't. People are turning a blind eye to them. Those that don't turn a blind eye and speak about it are branded. Opposing viewpoints to those in power are not wanted. Free speech is going fast, and being attacked by those who claim to support it the most.

At work one day, Rush Limbaugh was being discussed. I only overheard part of the conversation - the part where one Liberal Obama (i.e. "anybody but a Republican") supporter said "Someone ought to shoot him." What???? If someone disagrees with you, you want him dead? I'm sorry, but I wouldn't wish that on anybody - not even Liberals, and I stated so. You see, I really do believe in free speech. This is too often the solution they use, if they can't convert or silence the opposition. Interesting to note is that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by a Liberal. John Kennedy was assassinated by an ultra-Liberal. Gerald Ford was the victim of an assassination attempt by a Liberal. Ronald Reagan was shot by a Liberal. There is a pattern here. Which philosophy is really championing free speech, tolerance of others, etc? Liberal or Conservative?

Bailouts are flying out the door, hand over fist. Somehow, I can't understand why the same logic is being used to solve a problem that caused it. Isn't one definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Irresponsible loans were made by the same irresponsible people that are getting irresponsible loans now. They were pressured into making those irresponsible loans by the same people who are making irresponsible loans to those who made the irresponsible loans in the first place. Insanity.

Currency is being printed to magically have more money to give those irresponsible corporations. There is nothing to back it up. What now? Buy up all the gold you can so you'll have something of value? I'm not so sure. You see, with an Executive Order, our President can outlaw private ownership of gold coins, etc. Don't think it can happen? Sooner or later, they'll have to back up all that currency with something.

Connecticut has recently tried to take financial control of the Catholic Church. That is scary in itself. I understand it has failed, but what comes next?

Missouri Highway Patrol has some "training" material that profiles members of "The Modern Militia Movement". It is supposed to teach their officers how to better recognize militia members. “All this is an educational thing,” Hotz said of the report. “Troopers have been shot by members of groups, so it’s our job to let law enforcement officers know what the trends are in the modern militia movement.” Hmmmm. I haven't heard of all these trooper shootings by militia members. Have you? Ok, let's assume there have been, but the media won't tell us about it. Want to know who are likely militia members? Among other things, it's people who
  • have Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, or Bob Barr stickers on their vehicle.
  • support third party political groups (i.e. if you are a Libertarian)
  • display "militia symbols" such as the "Don't Tread On Me" flag.
  • talk about "conspiracy theory" issues like the Canada-to-Mexico mega-highway.
How many of us can be considered suspect under these guidelines? (If everybody is suspect according to their guidelines, it's kind of ridiculous to have guidelines isn't it?) Is free will and free speech no longer acceptable? How will this be put into practice? In order to prevent the alleged shootings, information must be collected on all of us to see if we could potentially be a suspect person. These are things to think about. It appears that differing with those in power will increasingly make you an enemy of "The State". This attitude/concept has no place in America, folks. (I can hardly wait until the White House gets hold of this.)

Militias have been demonized, yet people forget that they are the last line of defense of our country, our home. Yes, there are some nutcase fringe morons in every group. Do not judge the whole group on them. The Militia is The People - you and I.

I saw a couple of bumper stickers on a car yesterday. One on the left said "Keep Abortion Legal". One on the right said "War Is Not The Answer". They were the only two bumper stickers on that car. It struck me as being a little illogical. It's ok to kill babies, but not those who want to kill adults? Let's kill 'em before they grow up? Kill 'em now so we won't have to kill them later? Give me a break. No, don't use my money to pay for abortions. No, war is not always the answer. Unfortunately, it is sometimes necessary.

We need to get our priorities straightened out before it's too late. Pointing fingers at each other doesn't help at all. My Mother always told us, "Two wrongs don't make a right." Errors in the past are not a reason to err now.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Red-Tailed Hawk

Since I began getting serious about my photography, I've made goals for myself. One of them was/is to get good shots of various raptors in the wild. One particularly I want to get is the Red-Tailed Hawk. I've always had a fascination for raptors, and a strong desire to photograph them. I don't know why - maybe because they are such a challenge. They are beautiful, proud, and graceful birds. The Bald Eagle is one of them.

Until now, I've only been able to get good shots of raptors while on their handler's gloved hand. Today I was lucky enough (when Shelley and I were out looking for photo-ops) to complete a step of my goal. She spotted two hawks having an aerial pissin' match. We stopped in hopes of getting some shots. When we did, one of the hawks went after a jack rabbit, heading straight for us. I had my camera on him when he went into a dive and went for the kill. At that time, my camera lost its focus lock. (Murphy struck again! GRRRRRR!) I missed the attempt. The rabbit got away. When the hawk broke off the attack, he was pretty close to us, and took a sharp left (to our right) crossing in front of us. By then I had regained my focus lock and was shooting again. Below are a couple of the shots I got. I am satisfied with these two, but my thirst for capturing raptors on "film" is not satisfied. It may never be.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Flower Child

Here is our little boy. He used to be a little psycho, but he's a real people person now.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

White-Crowned Sparrow

While grilling today, I saw a different-looking sparrow - quite different from the house sparrow we're so accustomed to seeing. I got a few shots later in the day.


American Kestrel

I stepped outside this morning to get some bird shots. I got more than I bargained for, 'cause I expected maybe a lucky blue jay shot or some house finches. What I got was neither.

When I first saw this guy he was flying from this antenna, and making a round trip right back to it. He is a smallish bird, about the size of a robin, but didn't fly like one. Also a little different was his white underside he displayed when he was on the wing - kind of like a turtle dove. I have a "thing" for raptors, and it struck me that it could be a small owl or hawk. It was really too far away for me to tell. This is what caught my attention - an American Kestrel, one of the hawk family. It's the first I've captured on "film" in the wild. (These are 100% crops.)


Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Tonight I am preparing for somewhat of a milestone in my life. I'm making sure I have all I need to accomplish it - fully charged batteries, cleaned-up and ready CF cards, etc.

I've been a photographer "wanna-be" for a while now, and have been taking it seriously for about 4 or 5 years. I've graduated from a film SLR and a digital point-and-shooter, to a digital SLR that I've had for a little over a year now. A few days ago, I delivered some photos I shot at a ground breaking to the head of Marketing and Communications where I work as a maintenance mechanic. That same day, I got a call from her with a job - a paying job! Tomorrow after work, I will be shooting a reception for a well-known celebrity. It's just one shoot, but "ya gotta start somewhere!"

It's kind of hard to believe, but it's what I had hoped for - to be able to make some extra money with my photography to augment my retirement - when I get to that point. This may be the first step towards that goal. I hope it all goes well, and that my client is well satisfied.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Day Trippin'

Yesterday we got a wild hair and decided to take a day trip to Lubbock. We loaded up the car with our camera stuff, Steve, and some cokes, then hit the road. Our first stop was the American Wind Power Center, where we took a good supply of photos. Here are some I got.

This is one of the first wind generators, cca. 1930's. It was used to charge 6v storage batteries to power radios.

This is a modern-day wind generator, of course. This one is used to power the Wind Power Center.

After the Wind Power Center, we went over to the Science Spectrum where the OMNI theater is. They were coincidentally having a deal relating to severe weather awareness week, and there were several booths with storm spotting/chasing info. There was also a film showing about severe weather in the OMNI. It was pretty cool! Never saw one like that before.

After all that, we went to Fuddruckers for something to eat and cooled our heels at Barnes and Noble where we each made a purchase. Steve pointed me to some bird ID books, and I found a really good one that was put out in 2007 - much more current han the Audubon Society book I already had.

Had a great time! (....and as I type this, a hawk flew over fairly low and quiet. Never had a chance to get a shot.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Star Gazing

We did some star/comet gazing last night. The Lulin Comet was visible just above and to the right of Saturn. Unfortunately, there was no tail showing (must have been pointing away from us). Tried to get some shots anyhow, but I couldn't keep from getting a little jitter at 300mm. I did, however, get a shot of the big dipper.

You'll have to click on it to see it full size.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Powered Parachutes

Powered parachutes were flying near town recently.

These guys have way too much fun.

A friend of the family puts his machine up.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Dell and Rain

I got my new Dell yesterday, and have been getting it set up and configured the way I want it. I pretty much got through with it a little while ago, but not before I had a few problems (that I might have created). I had to restore once and had to have tech support straighten out an error I was getting. It seems the the Canon Digital EOS Utility I tried to install wouldn't work on a 64-bit Vista system. Does good on XP 64-bit, but not Vista. Canon doesn't even have the drivers I need yet. So, for now I'll have to go back to the USB card reader. The card reader in my Dell is only for the smaller cards like the SD's. Nothing there for CF cards. The only thing I really have to try and set up is the interface for hooking up to vehicles. I sure hope it will work with this new system.


We are in the midst of some good rain. Been a long time since we've had anything. One squall line went through a few minutes ago, and looks like we might have another one coming in a little bit. It sure is a welcome sight and smell! :)


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Economic Stimulus

We got our tax refund today, sort of an economic stimulus. We will be stimulating the economy with it, and this is one of the ways we are doing it. I placed the order today.
It's a dual-core 64-bit machine with all the normal goodies, plus some extras. I struggled with it a bit, and could have gotten the 17" version with a few more bells and whistles, but I try to be practical more than overly frivolous most of the time. In my mind, I couldn't justify the extra cost for more of the extras. Now I gotta wait a couple weeks. *sigh*

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I have been using Skype for a long time to make phone calls across the internet. It does a fine job calling regular landlines and cell phones. (I haven't used it for computer-to-computer calls since I've had it.) Recently, I bought a regular phone handset that plugs into one of the computer's USB ports and resembles the older Nokia cell phones:

It does a fine job, and sounds good and clear to everybody I call - just like a regular landline phone. Sounds good, albeit a little bit "tinny" on my end. Overall it works very well. With it, you can scroll down your Skype phone book or just dial in the number like you would any other phone. It's also supposed to work when you switch users and log off Windows. I haven't tried that yet. (That would allow anybody to use it without you being logged in to your programs and files.) After I saw how well it works, I subscribed to unlimited US and Canada calling for only a couple bucks a month. It's much cheaper than phone company rates.

I think I prefer this way over using a headset or headphones/earphones and a microphone. Seems more natural this way. I would guess that it's best to use a dedicated USB port for the phone, because when I swap devices in the port I use, Windows has trouble going back to the handset. It seems that other drivers don't completely release it and occasionally has to be re-booted. You can find one at Wal-Mart and other places with computer stuff. I'm satisfied with it.