Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Switching Teams

For years, I have been a fan of Creative Labs products, i.e. MP3 players. I've owned four of them, the most recent a 30G Zen Xtra. The Creative line has served me well, but after seeing my son's iTouch and my niece's Nano in action this past weekend, I've made a major decision in the arena of digital entertainment...I bought an iPod Nano. I'll be setting up the iTunes account shortly.

This DOESN'T mean I've abondoning my trusty Dell Inspiron for a Macbook.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Atheists and Chick-Fil-A

On a couple of occasions during this Christmas season, the subject of where we shopped came up among friends and family members. Invariably, statements like "I don't shop there because they don't allow the Salvation Army bell ringers" or " I don't shop there because they support gays" came up.

I really hadn't thought about the issue of whether Salvation Army is or isn't allowed to stand in front of some stores. I assume they do receive a large part of their support via the "red kettles." I wrote the Salvation Army a sizable check because I think they do a great work, not because I felt guilty every time I walked past the red kettle. I would have sent the check regardless.

I couldn't think of a single retailer I purposely do not support because of their "support of gays" or any other group for that matter. Because I believe the Bible, I also believe homosexuality is a deviant behavior. People can and DO think I'm wrong. OK. So, I Googled "gay friendly companies" and discovered that Dell, Boeing, Best Buy, Clorox, Coca-Cola, just about every major auto manufacturer including Ford, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Toyota, and Saturn, among a host of other corporations have been rated as "gay friendly." Hmmm. If I was going to start boycotting "gay friendly" companies, looks like my list of acceptable shopping choices would be pretty limited. That still doesn't change my mind, but that's not the point of this post.

Since there are folks-let's be honest, it's mostly those who identify themselves as Christians- that are specific about which companies they do and do not support based on certain behaviors/things they consider to be sin(s), my question is: "Do non-Christians (atheists/agnostics, etc) boycott business for similar reasons, i.e. they are "Christian friendly?" Chick-Fil-A is owned by an openly Christian family. They don't allow their franchises to be open on Sundays. The same goes for Hobby Lobby stores. Do people avoid these and similar companies because of their owner's religious beliefs?

Just wondering.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Unto Us a Child is Born

"[The angel said to Mary] You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." (Luke 1:31-33 NIV)

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I Actually Like Christmas

I've seen it more this year than in the past; lots of people seem to be just fed up with Christmas. They are miffed about rude shoppers, a sluggish economy, the push to be "politically correct," the prospect of spending one more holiday with family members they really don't like, etc. There are a lot of things we could and do gripe about. As human beings, particularly Americans, we're actually pretty good at it. I heard about a foreign exchange student the other day that said: "You Americans sure have a lot of nice things to complain about" (emphasis mine). Pretty sad commentary. I admit that I've joined the chorus from time to time, but honestly, I really do like Christmas.

I like the fact that more than any other time of year, there is a overall sense of caring for others, showing kindness and reaching out to those who are less fortunate. I like the fact that during the Christmas season, people think more about Jesus, the baby in the manger. I like the fact that during this time of year, people are more open to talking about their faith, their eternal destiny, etc.

Today is Christmas Eve. I got up this morning around 6:30; both of the boys were already up. Right now, we're waiting on Dana to get ready, i.e. makeup, dressed. We're going out to eat breakfast and then return home to open our presents. (We started this tradition several years ago when my parents moved out of state. In previous years, we had to do that "it's my parent's year for Christmas Eve and your parent's year for Christmas" thing. Since Dana's parents are the only ones within driving distance now, we pretty much just spend every Christmas with them)

Tonight, we'll fix some snacks and watch A Christmas Story--you know the one where the mom keeps saying "You'll shoot your eye out!" It's a Christmas tradition. We'll finish the evening by doing our "Happy Birthday Jesus." We've done it since the boys were little. We have a little birthday cake for Jesus and we sing "Happy Birthday."

For all the things it has become, there are still lots of things I like about Christmas. One of my favorite things is to dig out the Jim Reeves - Twelve Songs of Christmas CD--it's a remaster of an old vinyl record my mom played the grooves off of back when I was a kid. My favorite song is entitled: C-h-r-i-s-t-m-a-s. On the original recorded (for some reason, it's omitted on the CD), the song starts out:

When I was but a youngster
Christmas meant one thing
That I'd be getting lots of toys that day
I learned a whole lot different
When mother sat me down
And taught me to spell Christmas this way...
Then the song goes like this:
C is for the Christ child, born upon this day
H is for herald angels in the night
R is our Redeemer
I means Israel
S is for the star that shown so bright
T is for three wise men, they who travelled far
M is for the manger where He lay
A is for all He stands for
S means shepherds came
...And that's why there's a Christmas day.

Yep, I like Christmas...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Trip to the Barber Shop

Every other week, I get up early on Saturday, drop by McD's, get a coffee, then head over to Dean's Barber Shop where Dean and his wife, Jean, have been cutting hair for over 30 years. Dean's not there anymore. Diagnosed with cancer over a year ago, Dean had to retire, but Jean keeps the shop open. It's one of those "old fashioned shops"--lots of hunting and fishing magazines laying around and the TV is most always on one of the cable news channels. A buzz cut like mine costs $8; the town news/gossip is free.

I noticed him as soon as I entered the barber shop this past weekend. He was probably my age, but he looked much older. His skin was rough and carved by the deep wrinkles. His eyes were sad, almost empty as he he sat slumped in the chair across from me. He really didn't need a haircut...mainly because he had very little to cut. His mostly bald head had a few wispy patches of hair that did very little to hide the scar that dominated the right side of his head.

I had pretty much figured out his situation, but I listened as he told Jean his story. A truck driver, he had just dropped off his load and was heading home when he was involved in an accident. Although the truck was totalled, he walked away, thankful that no one was injured. He returned home without seeing a doctor. Several days later, he noticed he was having trouble focusing; standing and walking had also become difficult. "You should have gone to the hospital (after the accident)," his wife told him. Unable to drive, she took him to the nearest emergency room.

They took x-rays and did a catscan among other tests. "We've found a large tumor," the doctor told him, "and there's an ambulance waiting for you outside." He was rushed to the hospital for an emergency surgery to remove the brain tumor. Sadly, once they began, they discovered the tumor was more involved than they first thought. Doctors were able to only remove 80 percent of the growth. "We've bought you some time," they told him...and sent him home.He sat in the barber shop and said,"This will be my last Christmas with my grandkids."

I know that we're all going to die some day, but this man has basically been given THE date. He said it so matter-of-factly; didn't flinch or bat an eye. Barring a miracle, his words will come true, maybe sooner than he thinks. I sat there and thought: "How would I live if I had been given that type of deadline? What would I do different? What would I continue to do the same."

I get pretty aggravated with things, especially this time of year--the materialism, the busyness, the pushing and shoving just to get the latest toy or electronic device, etc., After my vist to the barber shop...I figure my life--no matter what I may have to put up with--really ain't that bad.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Take Your Political Correctness and...

I'm sick and tired of all this politically correct crapola surrounding how we address the holiday season many of us refer to as "Christmas." Oh, my! Someone might be offended if we use the "C" word. Tough!

I heard from someone the other day that their child's first grade "holiday concert" ended with the singing of We Wish You a Merry WINTER. oh, brother.

I've said it before, I'm saying it again: the First Amendment protects ALL free speech. It does NOT guarantee you protection from being offended! I may disagree with you; you may disagree with me. One of us may be offended. Get used to it.


C H R I S T M A S !

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Not This Year!

Frozen Flowers

This is what things looked like this time last year. Man, I hope we NEVER have to go through that again. We were without power for five days; Dana's parents were without power for over two weeks! Just in case, I filled up the big gas can for the generator today. I'm praying that was a wasted trip.

Here are some more pictures from last year's ice storm.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What Inconsistency?

A worried woman went to her gynecologist and said, "Doctor, I have a serious problem and desperately need your help! My baby is not yet one year old and I am pregnant again! I do not want kids so close together!"

"What do you want me to do?," asked the doctor.

"I want you to end my pregnancy." she said. "I am counting on your help with this." The doctor thought for a little while and after some silence, said to the woman, "I think I have a better solution." She smiled with a sense of guarded relief.

He continued: "In order for you to not have to care for two babies at the same time, perhaps we could terminate the one you have in your arms."

The woman was horrified. "Doctor! How horrible! Its a crime to kill a child!

"Oh, I do agree, " said the doctor, "but you seemed to be OK with it. I simply thought this would be the least risk to you."

(Thanks to Thinkerup for this one)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Bailout?! You've Got to Be Kidding?!

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the Ford Foundation has over $13 BILLION (that's with a "B") in assets. That's right boys and girls, the same group of auto execs that have their hands out are sitting on a pile of cash...but they expect you and I to help them out! Check out the WSJ story here.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Many Christmases Ago...

We met the summer of 1977 (I may tell that story some other time)--actually we sort of already knew each other from high school, but had never spoken to each other. I met her parents for the first time that summer. Her father told her: "You will never date THAT!" Looking back, I can understand his sentiment/desire to protect his daughter from a very hairy, "hippy-looking" guy.

We didn't date for about six months, i.e. we weren't allowed to go anywhere alone, but her parents did allow me to come to their house. And so, for the next six months, we sat, watched TV, and sat. We were eventually allowed to go to the local Sonic and get something to drink, but we had to come right back to the house. Keep in mind now, I was in college and she was still in high school.

I went to school year-round, so I would come home on the weekends, spend most every moment at her house or follow her to the high school football games (she was a cheerleader), etc. We wrote to each other most every week, and talked on the phone when I had money for the pay phone (remember those?).

We talked about breaking up once...actually I was doing the talking, she did the crying. We didn't break up.

I graduated from college, started and shut down a graphic design/sign business with a buddy from school, then moved back to the town where we both grew up. I took a job with a sign company in Tulsa. She finished high school and took a job with an oil company in Tulsa, eventually becoming a systems administrator some years after we married, but I'm jumping ahead.

It was a Saturday, as I recall. We were going shopping for Levis for me; can't remember if she was looking for anytyhing in particular or not. The mall we were in also had a couple of jewelry stores and for whatever reason, we found ourselves in one of them...looking at wedding rings! By this time we had been dating a couple of years and her dad was over being REALLY mad about the situation and had settled on "resigned" at that point. We had talked about marriage, but really hadn't made any plans. There we were, two "kids" looking at wedding rings and both of us saying: "WOW! That's a lot of money!" I can't remember how long we were in the store, but when all was said and done, we had made a down payment on a wedding band for me and an engagement ring/wedding ring set for her...all three rings came to around $500. How in the world was I ever going to pay for that?!

We went home that day and honestly, I don't remember telling our parents about our purchase, but I'm sure we did. We didn't have a wedding date set or anything. Neither of us owned a home--in fact, we were both still living with our parents; but we had rings or at least the payment on rings for the time being.

By Christmas in 1979 I had made enough payments to get the engagement ring. I took it home, showed it my mom and then proceeded to wrap it. Now, I couldn't just wrap up the little box; she'd know what it was right away. So, I wrapped the ring box, put it inside a bigger box and wrapped it; put the bigger box inside a BIGGER box and wrapped it; then...put the BIGGER box inside a B I G G E R box. She'd never guess what I had gotten her.

I remember watching her open the present. She had no idea what was in that big box. Her family stood around and watched as she unwrapped and opened box after box until she got to the smallest one. By then, I could tell she was getting excited; so where her sisters. A little box that size could mean only one thing: WE'RE OFFICIALLY ENGAGED! She jumped up and down; there was a lot of squealing (that may have been me) and crying (I think that was her Dad).

In January, we purchased a 900 square foot house about a mile from her parent's home. I moved in and begin renovating it; she would come over evenings after work and we would paint and wallpaper what would become OUR home for the next 12 years. We were married on May 31, 1980.

NCA_12_SFBayWe live in a different town now; we have two boys--one in college, the other in Junior High, and a dog. She still wears the same engagement ring from 31 Christmases ago. I thought she was pretty then; I think she's pretty now. She says she hates to have her picture taken, but I do it anyway.

Merry Christmas, Sweetie! I love you.

Monday, December 01, 2008

50k Pair- 50 Days

This is a very worthy cause. DONATE!

The 50,000 Pairs in 50 Days Challenge

Sunday, November 30, 2008

(Non) Handicap Parking

(Non) Handicap Parking

I took this picture with my camera phone this morning. I see this all the time at this grocery store: people parking in the handicap parking spaces WITHOUT a handicap tag on their car (I checked). What really gets me is when they park like this idiot--BETWEEN the parking spaces! The area is clearly marked (large diagonal lines) indicating it is a "no parking area", yet they still park there. Don't they know (or care) that that area is there for handicap parkers that might have a lift gate or similar device?

People are so self-centered...and lazy. There was an empty parking space about three spaces over. But then they would have had to walk further. Wouldn't want to burn an extra couple of calories now, would we?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful and Other Things

Catching Up
It's been a while since I posted anything; I've been tied up with stuff at work, i.e. end of year inventory stuff and catching up welding procedures that have been sent in by customers that require editing/revising before they can be approved for fabrication (boring, I know).

new_paintOn the home front, I'm finalizing the floor plan for cabinets in my office. We built a 14' x 16' office on to our bedroom this past summer. To date, we've got the walls painted, wood floor installed, and I built shelves for the closets for Dana's preschool supplies. In the meantime, we painted the entire exterior of the house--new base and trim colors. Oh yeah, and I built some new shutters for the front of the house.

One of the things I have always wanted to do to the exterior of the house is get rid of the gutters. We took all the guttering down on the front of the house and replaced them with Rainhandler "gutters." No downspouts, no cleaning, no maintenance, no kidding! I still need to do the back of the house. What I really like about them, is you really don't see them unless you're looking for them. If you look real close at the facia boards, you can see the "guttering" running right along the bottom. Pretty cool stuff.

Road Trip
Pops Restaurant on Route 66Yesterday, the "fam," along with our oldest son's girlfriend, went to Pops for lunch. Pops is a unique restaurant located on Route 66--"the Mother Road"-- in Arcadia, Oklahoma. The modern architecture is fascinating, but the big draw is what they call the "Soda Ranch." Pops boasts having over 500 different flavors of pop (soda) to choose from! One entire wall of the restaurant is a massive cooler filled with every brand of soft drink you can imagine and many you've never heard of. You can select one of the many varieties to go with your meal; you can also mix and match 6-packs to go. We left with a couple of sixes ourselves.

500+ Flavors at PopsThe food at Pops is mainly burgers and fries--good old fashioned road food. They also have chicken fried steak and a few other sandwiches. If you're not into "pop," they serve GREAT malts and shakes.

We drove Route 66 from Sapulpa to Arcadia--about a two hour drive with all the stoplights in the small towns along the way. We passed several Route 66 attractions that we'll have to go back and see another day--probably me and Dana by ourselves since our teenagers don't do sight-seeing stuff all that well.

Today is Thanksgiving. In a couple of hours, we'll load up in the car, and drive the eight miles or so to Dana's parent's house. They still live in the town where we both grew up. Her sisters and brother, along with their families will be there, and maybe an aunt whose husband died last year. There will be LOTS of food and we will eat WAY TOO MUCH of it. We all get along pretty well, so it will be a good day...I may even get to take a nap after dinner!

In spite of the current economic situation here in the U.S., and the fact that we've elected probably one of the most liberal presidents in our nation's history (had to get the political dig in there), there are lots of things I'm thankful for. I'm thankful:

  • that I woke up this morning. God in His grace toward me has allowed me another day of life. Every day is a gift. I pray that I will use this one in ways that bring honor and glory to Him.
  • that God is in control.
  • that I have a job.
  • for a warm home, food, clothes, etc. --also gifts from God. Everything has its beginning with Him.
  • for a church that unashamedly preaches the Word. No fancy gimmicks or "hooks." Just the Bible. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
  • for my family, especially, Dana and the boys. I couldn't imagine life without them. They encourage me, they frustrate me, they make me laugh, they make me mad (sometimes), they belief in me, look to me to provide and protect them, and most of the time...they think I'm an "alright guy."
  • for my health. It could be better (weight-wise; I need to work on that one)
  • that I live in the United States. In spite of itself, it's still a great place.
  • for the men and women who bravely and unselfishly serve in our armed forces. They and their predecessors are the reason we have the freedoms we cherish today.
  • (on a lighter note) that I am NOT married to that gal on John & Kate Plus Eight! That woman drives me nuts. When Dana and Alex watch that show, I have to put on headphones or leave the room. John deserves a MEDAL!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day


Today is Veteran's Day. Thank you to the men and women who have marched on foreign soil, left home and family, fought and lived to tell about it, defended our freedoms-our lands-our loved ones, foresaken comfort, endured scorn, walked with their heads held high because of a job well-done, made America the great nation she STILL is today (in spite of all we could complain about). I am proud to be an American. ¹

Thank you, Dad, Uncle Don, Uncle Frank, Uncle Leonard, Uncle Doug, Uncle Don, my grandfathers I never knew, Gabe, Jimmy, Sam, Tim, Jon, Ben, Dallas, Jeff, Hugh, Patrick, John, "German Wrench", "Buddly47"...

¹ This isn't the first time in my adult life, either.

Not Alone **Updated**

The graphic below shows the states that issue "concealed carry" permits versus those which do not. Only two states outright deny or restrict the concealed carrying of firearms. Any surprises there?


"Our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives," he said. "You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest...And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
- President-Elect Barack Obama, April 11, 2008

Apparently, the good folks of Pennsylvania are not alone.

UPDATE :: I laugh every time I watch this...

Monday, November 10, 2008


I sent this to Dan as an idea for a post, but I'm going to throw it out there myself.

If Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were alive today and HE were running for President, do you think anyone would have brought up the subject of "age?" For the sake of arguments, let's just say that he is the same age as John McCain.

NOTE: Dr. King would have been 79 years old on January 15 of this year.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Win is A Win, But...

Obama won the election; saw that one coming. However, as I look at the election results, something very interesting sticks out to me.

2004 Election Results

  • Bush = 51% 62.0 million votes
  • Kerry = 48% 59.0 million votes
  • Total votes = 121 million

2008 Election Results

  • Obama = 52% 62.6 million votes
  • McCain = 48% 55.5 million votes
  • Total votes = 118 million

Two observations:
(1) BO won the election...by a margin barely more than Bush! ONLY ONE PERCENT!!! How does that happen after you spend over $600 million!!! (Outspent McCain 6-to-1)
(2) Three million FEWER voters turned out for the two parties in this election than in 2004!!! What was all that hub-bub about "record numbers of voters/"

A win is a win, but boy this one sure is lame compared to what we were led to believe would happen!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Bush's Fault

When gas was over $4.00 a gallon, it was all Bush's fault. I just saw gas for $1.94 for unleaded (Tulsa, OK). Who gets credit for that?

Get a Job!

Or maybe Peggy could just get a job, save a little and spend her money wisely. Nah...too much trouble--just take the handout!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Small Town - Part 6

fbc_collinsvilleFirst Baptist Church in Collinsville, Oklahoma celebrated its 100th Anniversary this past weekend. The congregation has been in existence since 1908 (obviously) and has been located on the same corner since its first building was constructed. Why do I mention it? Well, FBC Collinsville was my home church from around 1966 to 2000. I grew up in that church, became a Christian and was baptized in that church (along with my two brothers), and I married my wife of 28 years in that church.

My dad served as a Deacon and Sunday School teacher there; my mother taught Sunday School, and served as Church Clerk. I went to Sunday School and Vacation Bible School there. I was in the Youth Choir, as well as RA's (Royal Ambassadors -- I don't hear of many SBC churches doing RA's anymore; apparently they're still around).

First Baptist, Collinsville is my church "home." It is the place where I encountered people like Monroe Palmer, Jim Carty, Estelle Williams, Frank Johnson, Charlie Miller, Roy McGhee, Phil and Cathy Cook, Ed Blevins, and Mrs. Spyres. Who are they? They were my pastors (Palmer and Carty) and just a few of the Sunday School teachers who faithfully prepared lessons each and every week and then patiently shared the Bible stories with me and several other rowdy boys and girls who really wouldn't appreciate the legacy we were being given until much later.

Throughout my life there, those individuals didn't just teach me Bible stories...they invested their lives in me and the other children, later as teenagers, and even later as know-it-all college students. They poured their hearts and souls into (some days) seemingly ungrateful and uninterested pupils. They became frustrated at times, I'm sure. But there were lots of times they really connected; they penetrated my/our hearts with the truth of God's Word and His plan to "prosper us...plans to to give us hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11) It may not have seemed like it at the time, but those truths stuck...and they stuck DEEP. To this day, on Tuesday--that's just the day I picked years ago--I thank God for my former Pastors and Sunday School teachers. I lift their names up to God, praying for His continued blessing on their lives and thanking Him for the influence they were/still are in my own life.

This past weekend I saw some of those teachers. Yep, they're still around. We hugged; we laughed; we shared some memories. But what we shared is more than just some happy thoughts--we share a common bond in our love for God, His son, Jesus Christ and a congregation--built on God's Word--that has endured 100 years. Here's praying that 100 years from now, another group of Sunday School teachers, pastors and students will gather...remembering and thanking God for the the privelege of being part each other's lives.

Caroline Kennedy Worried About Middle Class

Obama supporter, Caroline Kennedy was on the news this morning alluding to the impact of the current economy on the America's middle class.

Caroline Kennedy wouldn't know what it's like to be middle class if it bit her IN THE BUTT!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obama Fairness

I got this in an email this morning; not sure if it's legit or not, but that's not the point. It makes perfect sense...if you're voting based on something other than race.

Dear Fellow Business Owners:
As a business owner who employs 30 people, I have resigned myself to the fact that Barack Obama, wll be our next President, and that my taxes and fees, will go up in a BIG way.

To compensate for these increases, I figure, that the customer, will have to see an increase in my fees to them of about 8 percent. I will also have to lay off 6 of my employees. This really bothered me as I believe we are family here, and didn't know how to choose who will have to go.

So, this is what I did. I strolled thru the parking lot and found 8 Obama bumper stickers on my employees' cars. I have decided these folks will be the first to be laid off.

I can't think of another fair way to approach this problem. If you have a better idea, let me know. I am sending this letter to all business owners that I know.


Any DOPE that thinks they're going to receive a "tax cut" from Obama and not be paying more for goods and services from companies that WILL be paying more taxes gets exactly what they voted for.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Hate Sarah Palin!

sarah_palin_2I was talking to a rabid an avid Obama supporter yesterday and I asked her why she supported Obama rather than McCain. All she could say was: "I hate that Sarah Palin and her family!" or "I hate that George Bush" or "All Republicans care about is money!"

When I asked her what specific things she thought Obama would do as President, she replied: "I don't know for sure what he's gonna do...I just know it won't be eight more years of failed Bush policies."

There you have it my friends--an in-depth, point-by-by-point recitation of Obama's platform, articulated by your average Obama supporter. And remember... her vote counts the same as yours. (I wonder if she could name the failed Bush policies she holds in such contempt?)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why Obama Will Win


It's simple. The picture above explains it all. Obama will win the election because many people--MANY AMERICANS--are lazy, self-centered, slugs. They believe it's someone else's job to clean up after them. That's why they don't do something as simple as putting their shopping cart in the rack after they unload it at Wal-Mart. "Someone else will get it." "It's too far across the parking lot to walk." Basically, they don't give a crap!

How does that tie in with an Obama victory? He has promised to take care of those same lazy, self-centered slugs by taking money from the EVIL rich people (according to his definition) and giving it to people who think they are "entitled" to something.

Just like it's easier to just leave the shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot, it's easier to sit on your butt and collect a check rather than earning one.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I'm Voting Democrat

I'm voting Democrat because English has no place being the official language in America.

I'm voting Democrat because it's better to turn corn into fuel than it is to eat.

I'm voting Democrat because I'd rather pay $4 for a gallon of gas than allow drilling for oil off the coasts of America.

I'm voting Democrat because I think the government will do a better job of spending my money than I could.

I'm voting Democrat because when we pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq , I
know the Islamic terrorists will stop trying to kill us because they'll think
we're a good and decent country.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe people who can't tell us if it will rain in two or three days, can now tell us the polar ice caps will disappear in ten years if I don't start riding a bicycle, build a windmill or inflate my tires to proper levels.

I'm voting Democrat because it's all right to kill millions of babies as long as we keep violent, convicted murderers on death row alive.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe businesses in America should not be allowed to make profits. Businesses should just break even and give the rest to the government so politicians and bureaucrats can redistribute the money the way they think it should be redistributed.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe guns, and not the people misusing them, are the cause of crimes and killings.

I'm voting Democrat because when someone with a weapon threatens my family or me, I know the government can respond faster through a call to 911 than I can with a gun in my hand.

I'm voting Democrat because oil companies' 5% profit on a gallon of gas are obscene, but government taxes of 18% on the same gallon of gas are just fine.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe three or four elitist liberals should rewrite the Constitution every few months to suit some fringe element that could never get their agenda past voters.

I'm voting Democrat because illegal aliens are not criminals, are not sucking up resources through government aid, hospital services, education, or social services, but are just people trying to make a better life by coming to America illegally. We can't blame them for that, can we?

(I'm Barack Obama and I AM THIS MESSAGE!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Stupid Voters

I am not a Howard Stern fan, but this is worth a listen. Seems he sent one of his staff to Harlem to interview people, specifically to ask them who they were voting for. The catch? If they said Obama, Sal (the staffer) would then interject McCAIN'S policies into the interview as if they were Obama's. The results are shocking! Remember: these people's vote counts as much as yours!

Link (edited for language).

You can listen to the original, longer, and unedited version here. WARNING: Strong language. Special thanks to my son, Alex, for the editing.

Friday, October 10, 2008


My youngest son recorded this song. He laid down all the tracks and mixed it on an eight-track (not the old 8-track) recorder. Not bad, I think.

Friday Photo

I went to Las Vegas this past week for a couple of days to attend a work related convention/seminar.

Caesar's Palace- Las Vegas
Hoover Dam

I had never been to Vegas and I'm 99% sure I won't be going back. Several people had told me how "fun" it was. Most described Vegas as "different." I don't drink--not even occasionally--and I don't gamble, so that left a limited amount of things for me to do. Luckily (no pun intended), I was traveling with a co-worker that was pretty much in the same boat, so we spent our time outside of the work-related stuff, sight-seeing...and boy are there some "sights" to see!

We visited Hoover Dam one afternoon; most evenings we walked The Strip and watched the people. We took LOTS of pictures--my co-worker had just purchased a new camera. The lights, fountains, and shear magnitude of the casinos is incredible. And we ate good! I had always heard that food was cheap in Vegas, but we didn't see that...at least not in the area where we were staying. We ate at The Buffet at the Bellagio casino one afternoon. It's HUGE! One evening we took a cab to Freemont Street downtown--the "old Vegas;" the Golden Nugget casino is there.

I was amazed at the openness/lax attitude toward nudity/near nudity on the billboards and signs in front of the casinos and along the roads. I was also taken aback by the brazen attitude toward prositution. There were "clickers" everywhere--people that stood on the streets--in DROVES--slapping/clicking business-size cards with pornographic pictures on them and phone numbers for prostitutes. (The clicking gets your attention supposedly so they can hand you a card(s).)

From a logistical stand-point, Vegas is an amazing place when you consider the amount of electricity, water, food, lodging, etc. it takes to make the place run. It's a very sad place from a spiritual perspective--so much energy and money spent to provide temporary "happiness" in the form of sex, alcohol, and revelry. I felt like I needed to wash my eyes out the whole time I was there.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Bailout my hind-end!!! We should boot EVERY incumbent that voted for that idiotic piece of junk...unless of course you make children's wooden arrows, then you're a happy camper.

Fact: Senators and Congressmen/Women are obviously incapable of doing the "right thing" without being bribed.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

15 or 16 Things Most People Don't Know About Me

I was "tagged" by another blogger with this one. It sounded kinda fun to tackle.

First_Grade(1) I was born March 9, 1958 in Tulsa, OK…it was a Sunday morning as I recall. **smirk** I've lived my entire life in Oklahoma—the first five years in Tulsa, then we moved to Collinsville, OK when I was five. Other than the time I was in college, I lived in Collinsville until 1992 when my wife and I moved to Owasso.

(2) I got into a fight with Les Glover in First Grade during reading period. I was making fun of his name--sorry, Les. We both got swats (yep, they gave those back then).

(3) I used to be an avid fisherman/hunter. I would pull my boat to work and take a short lunch so I could leave work early two to three days a week. From where I worked, I could be on several different lakes within an hour's drive. I loved to bass fish mostly. I gave up fishing when my oldest son was born and my wife informed me that I wasn't spending enough time at home (she was right). A group of us had a "lease" on about 1000 acres where we hunted deer, quail and RATTLESNAKES! We lost the lease and since I refuse to hunt on public land, that was pretty much the end of my hunting days.

(4) My first regular paying job, I was the custodian/janitor at the local health clinic where my mother worked. I made $75 a month.

(5) I rarely did homework in high school. I still managed to graduate with two extra credits and ranked 32nd out of a class of 135. I'm not sure if that is a testament to my ability to read, easily comprehend and retain information...or maybe the classes/system wasn't that tough.

(6) I graduated from a three year program (trade school) in Commercial Art in two years. Seventy-five people began the program; 12 of us graduated. I was number three.

(7) I love the taste of beer, but I don't drink ANYTHING any more--largely due to the fact that I have two family members that are alcoholics and after an embarrassing situation where I turned a 6-piece dining room set into a FIVE piece dining room set. Sad story; I'll spare you the details. If I start drinking, I don't stop and I not a "happy drunk." It's best for everyone that I don't drink.

(8) I used to smoke a pack to a pack and a half of cigarettes a day. Quit cold-turkey in March 1979. Then I started "dipping" Skoal/Copenhagen. Gave that up in August 1985. The main vice I have left is that I eat too much. (I have a lot of sins, but I'm not naming them here.)

(9) I don't have many close friends. I don't use the term "friend" as loosely as many people do. Just because I work with you doesn't make us friends. My friends know who they are--my closest friend is my wife. She knows stuff about me that would curl your hair; she's promised to keep those things to herself. Some of my best friends are some folks I've known since elementary school.

(10) I have owned three businesses--all of them related to art/sign making. The first business, a graphic design "studio," I started with a friend from college. We weren't good money managers. The second business was a silk screening setup. We did t-shirts, jackets, caps, etc. I merged it into the third business which was a sign shop I purchased. I had worked there for 12 years and the family that owned it made me a good deal on the place. I ended up selling off everything when I got so sick I couldn't work for three weeks. Got behind on some contracts and bills and my health was not good. I lost a lot of money on the deal. Took us about three years to pay off everything, but for us, bankruptcy was never an option. I pay my bills--and I learned some valuable lessons.

(11) When I was in Fourth Grade, I told my teacher that I was going to grow up and become a Baptist preacher. Didn't happen--the growing up or the preacher thing. After I was married, there was a point I seriously considered going into the ministry, but later came to the conclusion/realization that wasn't my "calling."

1977 College Class Photo(12) The first time I met my future in-laws, my hair was almost to my shoulders and I was wearing a pair of cut-offs, a t-shirt and "flip-flops." When I left their home that night, her father met her at the door and stated: "You will never date THAT!" We've been married 28 years. I'm not sure if her dad has forgiven me or not.

(13) A few people know this, but I always wanted to live in Macon GA. My dream was to move there right out of high school, walk into Capricorn Records and take ANY job--including floor sweeper--they would give me, just so I could get my foot in the door where the Allman Brothers recorded. I've never been to Macon, but I have a high school friend that lives there.

(14) I get teary-eyed at the end of My Dog Skip. I'm a sucker for a "boy and his dog" movie. (Same goes for Where the Red Fern Grows)

(15) I LOVE 70's rock and roll, particularly The Doobie Brothers, The Eagles, Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Foghat and Led Zeppelin. No big news. Secretly...I also like The Carpenters--other than my wife, Karen Carpenter was the ultimate woman: pretty, beautiful voice, AND she played the drums!

(16) My dream job: Hospital Chaplain. No kidding.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Economic Bailout

It's really pretty simple when you think about it:

  • I buy a house I CAN AFFORD.
  • I make the payments the bank and I have agreed to--I've never missed one.
  • I regularly save and plan for the future.
  • I pay my bills--including paying off my credit cards each month.
  • I don't live above my means.

I'll be the first to admit that I have had some breaks in my life, but no one has handed me anything. I've worked--gone to school--taken on responsibilities at work--and it has paid off. I have been blessed, but that doesn't mean I'm just "lucky" or "more fortunate" (versus "less fortunate") than others.

wallstreetOn the other hand, if you buy more house than you can afford, take out a mortgage for way more than the house is worth, PLUS live on your credit cards because you think you DESERVE a particular lifestyle...and then end up losing your house--no problem! The government, i.e. ME and tens of thousands of other responsible adults will bail you out. We don't mind paying our mortgages AND YOURS, too!

This whole economic crisis thing really ticks me off. And what really burns my butt is that the people that orchestrated this whole mess (bank CEOs, lawmakers, etc) will walk away unscathed. Someone needs to go to jail!!! By the way, I have to pay for that, too!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Marching Bands

I went to our local high school football game last Friday--we got beat--but that's not has me wound up. I've noticed a trend for some time now and that is this: marching bands DON'T MARCH anymore!!!

I'm sitting in the stands, waiting for the halftime "show" to begin, and what appears to be a host of band parents begin wheeling out all kinds of props, backdrops, ground cover, and a plethora of instruments that traditionally and physically were never intended to be part of a MARCHING band, e.g. timpanis, gongs, xylophones, assorted mounted percussion, etc. Then there's the assortment of flags that will be twirled, tossed, and waved by a sea of "support" personnel, i.e. the flag team.

THEN, the music--and I use the term loosely--begins...and I say that because I can BARELY HEAR IT!!! and it sounds like some kind of symphony or something. All I can hear are the flutes, a single snare drum and the timpani. And all the while, the band is doing some kind of flowing type of walking or something. Where is the high-step marching? Where are the blaring trumpets and trombones? Where are the booming sousaphones? Where are the strutting drum majors and fire baton twirlers?!!! And...what in the world are they doing with those "flags?!" They're not American flags. They're not flags from other countries. They're just brightly colored strips of cloth attached to an aluminum pole! I wouldn't salute that thing.

Why are you people just standing there? It's MARCHING band for crying out loud! What happened to March Grandioso or Stars and Stripes Forever?!

It just ain't right.

Monday, September 15, 2008


NCA_91_FerndaleWhenever I pick up a local newspaper, I read the obituaries. If the obits are broken down by town, then I look for particular towns, if not, I just scan the listings. I'm always thrilled when I don't read my own name; I guess that means I made it another day.

Death comes, for most, when we least expect it. One day you're here; the next day, people are reading about you in the paper. Some obituaries are short and to the point:

Bob Upslaker died last Tuesday, July 17. He was 84 years old. Services are pending.

Some obituaries are LONG.

Life-long Bochachita, KS resident Bob Upslaker passed from this life on July 17, 2006 after a lengthy battle with psoriasis. He was a pillar of the community, having served as a Deacon AND Elder in his church. He taught the 9th grade boys Sunday School class for 55 years and was on the Finance, as well as Building and Grounds Committees at Church of God in Jesus Christ Our Savior Independent Baptist Church (Est. 1912).

Bob was a member of the Kiwanis, Civitans, and was the Sargeant at Arms of the Bochachita Garden Club; he also served as Grand Marshal of the Bochachita Founders Day Parade. In 1998, Bob was named "Man of the Year" by the Sweetwater County Chamber of Commerce for his participation in their annual aluminum recycling drive.

Bob was preceeded in death by his wife, Bernice. He is survived by three adult children- Joe, John, and Jeremiah, two dogs- Pepper and Scotty of the home, and one cat- Mr. Whiskers.

A memorial service will be held Wednesday at 2:00 PM at Crosby-Still-Nash-Young-Merrill Lynch-Sakowitz Funeral Home Chapel.

Some obituaries don't go as planned. I remember hearing about a funeral/memorial service where the obituary was interrupted by the "mourners." It seems that the deceased wasn't a regular church attender, so the memorial was held in the funeral home chapel with a minister that was hired to do the service. Since the dead man was virtually unknown to the pastor, he did the best he could--given the situation--by interviewing a few "friends/co-workers" and relying heavily on the obit that appeared in the paper.

About half-way through the service, the minister stated something like: "In talking with some of his (the deceased's) co-workers, many of them spoke about what a kind, generous man he was." The words had no sooner left the minister's mouth when from the back of the sparsely filled room came: "Oh, bull crap! He was the most selfish &%*$#@ I've ever met!!!" Before the minister could gain his composure, one of the FAMILY MEMBERS stood up on the front row and shouted, "Yeah! He never was generous. In fact, he was the most selfish #$%*&^!!** I've every known!" From there, it was utter chaos as one after another, family members and attendees yelled and shouted some of the most vile, hateful things about the deceased man. After what must have seemed like an eternity, the funeral home director rushed to the front of the chapel, declared the "service" OVER and sent everyone home. I don't think there was a graveside.

I hope my obituary goes better than that...of course, not any time soon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Photo

I took this picture in our plate yard at work. These are "dished heads" used in fabricaing shell-and-tube heat exchangers (refinery / chemical equipment).

Dished Heads

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Never Forget

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Small Town - Part 5

Elementary School FriendsI loved growning up in a small town during the sixties and seventies. Everyone knew everyone. There were only two elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. Our graduating class still remains the largest--to my knowledge--with 143 (I think) graduates in 1976. One of the things that made those days so memorable were the friends I made. I still keep up with quite a few of them via email/phone calls. Several of us attended the same church; we still call each other to catch up on the newest grandchild, wedding, etc. not necessarily in that order.

Four of us have remained in touch better than most. Bart, Chuck, Robert and I have known each other since elementary school. Chuck was a couple of years older, but he's always been around. We spent many nights at each other's homes growing up. Double dated, hung out on Friday nights, "dragged" Main Street, went to concerts. We also got into trouble together at times--I'll spare the details. We all graduated and went our seperate ways for a while. I ended up at a "technical school;" the other three landed at a four year university, but we would come home on the weekends and get back together from time to time. After college, we were groomsmen at each other's weddings. My brother, Kelly, was the best man at my wedding, but I made sure Chuck, Robert and Bart were in the wedding party.


The other three have remained more in contact because they still live in our home town. Dana and I moved about eight miles down the road to another town in the early nineties. We've done a little better keeping up with each other with the advent of the internet/email (thank you, Al Gore). This past year, we've gotten together several times to celebrate FIFTIETH birthdays. Time flies when you're having fun! We created one of our better memories this past weekend when we all attended the Eagles concert in Tulsa. We met at Robert's house where he charcoaled steaks for us, then we headed to the BOK Center for "An Evening with the Eagles." All four of us have been Eagles/Joe Walsh fans since our middle school days. They rocked the house!! One of the best shows I've seen.

We're a little older, a little "grayer" --what hair we have left-- and hopefully a little wiser. Well, Chuck, Bart and I are wiser...we're not real sure about Robert. But that's just Robert. It's funny; we may not see each other for months, but when we get together, we just pick up right were we left off. Time doesn't seem to have diminished the bond that began over 40 years ago. I hope it never does.

High School Friends

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Friday Photo

Wedding Anniversary

My in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last weekend and asked me to be the "official photographer" (I own a camera and I was willing.) My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year.

Fifty years is a LONG time to be married these days. That's more years than lots of people stay married in MONTHS!

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Palin or Obama. There's your choices.
sarah_palin obama

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Northern California Trip - Pt 5

NCA_21_MuirBeachFrom the beginning, our intentions for this trip had been to see all or as many of the lighthouses along Hwy 1 as possible and to visit the Redwood National Forest north of Eureka. After a few days into our trip, we realized things probably weren't going to work out as we had planned. First of all, we hadn't counted on the amount of time required to get from Point A to Point B. A distance of 20 miles back home means about 20 minutes driving. Along the California coast? Double or triple that, due to the narrow highway, the enormous number of turns and switchbacks. Second, there's all of the breathtaking turnouts that overlook the Pacific ocean. You HAVE to stop! By mid-week we gave into the notion that we weren't going to make the National Forest, so we spent a little more time than planned on the Avenue of the Giants (see previous post).

Another factor in our "shortened" trip were the brush fires that had inendated Northern California. We saw lots of firetrucks on the highways, but had yet to really see any of the fires or their effects--except for a few areas that were a bit hazey. It wasn't until we moved over to Highway 101 heading into Eureka that we could actually smell smoke. We had planned on spending the day in the Eureka/Arcata area, then cutting across to Interstate 5 Saturday morning, then on in to Sacramento for our flight home. Friday morning we discovered that Hwy 299 was closed to traffic in a couple of places due to the fires. Our best bet was to backtrack on 101 to just below Fort Bragg--where we had been two days before--then cut across on Hwy 20. So, in light of circumstances, we decided to make a quick tour through downtown Eureka, hop up to Arcata and then start heading south.

Ingomar Club - EurekaEureka, California was founded in 1850 as a shipping center for the Trinty gold mines. The town is said to be one of the finest and largest collections of Victorian homes in the world. One of the most unique is the former home of William Carson, built in 1885. The Ingomar Club purchased the building in 1950. To my knowledge, the Club is not open to the public for tours.

NCA_111_ArcataWe spent about two hours walking around the "Old Town/Boardwalk" area. Lots of shops, art galleries, etc. and just enjoying the cool breeze coming of Humboldt Bay. Heading north, we made the short trip to Arcata--home of Humboldt State University. Arcata has been described as "California's northern hippie outpost," which became obvious to us as we made out way to the town's square. The square is a very nice little "park" surrounded by all kinds of novelty shops and galleries. The abundance of "Obama '08" signs let us know that we were in foreign territory. We sat on a park bench in the square and just watched the people, many of whom appeared to be in a 70's time warp based on their dress/hairstyles. One individual--we never could really determine the gender--entertained us with his/her version of some type of interpretive dance. We saw all we cared to see in Arcata and began the trek toward Sacramento...and home.

It took us the remainder of the day to drive from Arcata to Williams, CA which is about 45 minutes north of Sacramento. We hit several places where traffic was near stand-still due to smoke on the highway. We also passed a couple of "fire camps" where firefighters were staying. The smoke was so thick at one point that you could barely see 25-35 feet in front of the car.

NCA_115_OldSacSaturday morning, we made our way to Sacramento. Since our plane didn't leave until late afternoon, we drove to the "Old Sacramento" area of downtown. Located on the banks of the Sacramento River, this 28-acre Historic Landmark District features plenty of shops, restaurants, and attractions such as the Wells Fargo History museum and the California State Railroad museum. We spent a couple hours and a few more dollars on last-minute souvenirs in the area. After lunch at Joe's Crab Shack, we headed to the airport.

Our flight home was delayed about 4 hours, but we finally landed at Tulsa International around 1:00 AM! It was a GREAT week. Dana and I got to spend some much needed time together and we got to see a part of the country that neither of us had ever seen. Some day, I hope we can return to Northern California and visit Yosemite National Park.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bumper Sticker

This is not my design. I saw it on CafePress.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Because They Care

This works for emergents AND Obama supporters.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I Feel Safer Now

At the Saddleback "forum," Barack Obama was asked by Rick Warren: "...Who are the three wisest people you know in your life? And who are you going to rely on heavily in your administration?" Obama's answer (in a nutsell): "My wife, Michelle. My grandmother. I don't think I'd restrict myself to three people...Sam Nunn...Dick Lugar...Ted Kennedy...Tom Coburn."

So, it's late at night, the "Red" phone rings and we hear: "Honey, can you get grandma on the other line and come in hear a minute. Iran's getting to launch an attack and I need to now if I should press the button?! Where'e that drunk, Ted Kennedy when you need him?"

Yep. I feel a whole lot safer now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Abortion Solution

I was reading a blog this morning about the McCain/Obama thingy at Saddleaback this weekend. The blogger noted re: the topic of abortion: "...Barack Obama wants to tackle the causes that place women in the position of having to make that most serious of choices."

This seems like a pretty simple thing to me. KEEP YOUR PANTS ON!

There, I fixed it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Northern California Trip - Pt 4

NCA_68_ShelterCoveSunrises in Shelter Cove are just as awesome as the sunsets. We opened the window facing the beach and listend to the ocean all night long. What a way to fall asleep!

I don't know why, but I just can't "sleep in" like Dana does. Every day of our trip--except for Tuesday--I was up, wide awake by 6:00-6:30 AM. I normally get up around 5:30 AM, so I guess that's sorta like sleeping in. Anyway, this morning, I made coffee, sat out on the balcony, read my book (vacation is about the only time I have to read just for enjoyment. This trip I took David Baldacci's The Whole Truth) and watched the sun rise while several pelicans flew back and forth over the cove.

We had picked up some donuts and granola bars the day before, so after a quick breakfast, we packed the car and began the drive out of Shelter Cove. As I mentioned in the previous post, the descent was pretty steep, which meant the "climb out" would be equally as precarious and SLOW. On our way out, we stopped to watch several deer and their fawns as they calmly grazed right next to the road. Forty-five minutes later, we were back on Highway 101, heading toward our day's destination--"The Avenue of the Giants."

NCA_81_AveGiantsNorthern California, just above Trinidad, boasts the Redwood National Forest, but southern Humboldt county is home to the "Avenue of the Giants" (AOTG), a stretch of highway that parallels Highway 101. The 31-mile road is lined with over 51,000 acres of giant redwoods, actually cutting through Humbolt Redwoods State Park. There are several small towns along the way, as well as various turn-outs and picnic/camping areas. There are also more than enough "souvenir" stops featuring anything you can imagine made of redwood (or not made of redwood) with "California" or "Redwoods" stamped or screen-printed on it.

NCA_85_AveGiantsWe picked up several brochures about the AOTG that suggested certain stops, but we decided we would just drive and stop whenever something caught our attention. The first thing that hits you as you drive among the giant redwoods is just how GIANT they are! It's amazing to think that some of the trees are hundreds, if not over 1000 years old and standing more than 300 feet tall! The Dyerville Giant, located in Founders Grove, is no longer standing, but when measured in 1972, stood 362 feet with a circumference of 52 feet. The tree fell in March of 1991. The picture at the left is Dana standing at the base of the Dyerville Giant.

NCA_74_AveGiantsWe took our time driving through "The Avenue;" sometimes our speed was 35 mph or less. When you're driving through the redwoods, you just want to take your time and take in the magnificence of the forest. We stopped in Miranda at Korbly Woodworks. Bernie Korbly has been in the same location for over 30 years, designing and crafting all kinds of furniture, carvings, etc. from redwood. Being an amatuer woodworker myself, I couldn't resist the opportunity to just stop breathe in the aroma of this old woodshop.

We also stopped in Myers Flat and drove through the "Shrine Drive Thru Tree." Just north of there, we got out of the car and walked one of the trails along the highway. It was amazing how quiet and peaceful it was. As we walked through the dense forest, I was reminded of Psalm 46:10--"Be still and know that I am God..." In the stillness and beauty of the redwoods, we were awestruck by the wonderfully fascinating creation God has made for us to enjoy. I asked Dana: "If we think THIS is beautiful, can you even begin to imagine what the "new earth" (Rev 21:1) will look like?!" At the end of the AOTG, we stopped and ate lunch under the redwoods. I don't think we've ever had a picnic in such beautiful surroundings.

Cemetary-Ferndale, CAFrom the AOTG, we made our way to Ferndale, CA. Ferndale is a old victorian town, featuring plenty of bed and breakfast inns and specialty shops. One particular "feature" of the town is the cemetary which is built on the side of a wooded hill. We spent a couple of hours window shopping and admiring the victorian architecture, then made our way to Eureka up the road.

NCA_94_TrinidadEureka is similar to Ferndale in regard to the victorian influence, but bigger. "Old Town" Eureka sits on the edge of Humboldt Bay and provides plenty of shopping and eating opportunities. We still had quite a bit of daylight left, so we checked into our motel (first night we didn't spend on the coast) and decided to hit downtown Eureka the next day, opting instead for a quick trip up the highway to Trinidad and Trinidad Bay--home of the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse. The Memorial Lighthouse is a replica of the lighthouse located on Trindad Head; The Trinidad Head lighthouse is still active, but not open to the public. The Memorial Lighthouse sits above the beach, which the best I could tell, was several hundred yards DOWN a steep path that had been fashioned from 8" x 8" timbers, about 4 feet wide. I walked down about a third of the way, then began thinking about he trip BACK UP...I gave up opting to admire the view from the top of the memorial.

NCA_99_EurekaReturning to Eureka, we decided it was time to eat. We headed across Humbolt Bay to Woodley Island and Cafe' Marina. Since we had arrived a little earlier in the evening, we were able to be seated right away. We opted for an inside table looking out over the marina. Dana had fish and chips; I had a "fried platter" with prawns, scallops, and oysters. Good stuff! After dinner, we walked along the edge of the marina, looking at the boats. It had been a long day, so we headed back to the motel. Tomorrow: downtown Eureka and then start heading back toward Sacramento.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Murderers and Words *UPDATED*

Another One Bites the Dust
Jose Ernesto Medellin, the convicted murderer and rapist of two teenage girls, Elizabeth Pena and Jennifer Ertman, was executed late August 5th by lethal injection in the death chamber at Huntsville State Prison in Texas.

Texas Governor, Rick Perry was quoted as saying: "It's not my job to judge, it is not my job to forgive." He said, "That's the Lord's job. The Lord can forgive and the Lord can judge." My job as the governor of Texas is to arrange the meeting between Medellin and Jesus." Well said Governor Perry...and well done Texas!!!

I've come to understand that the two most overused/misused words in the English language are: "Always" and "Never." No one is ALWAYS right and no one is NEVER wrong.

Update: A correct use of the word "never": That scumbag Medellin will NEVER hurt another person.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Obama's New Plan

In order to help American's with the high cost of fuel, Obama says he would tax the profits of the mean ol' oil companies to provide $1000 rebates to folks struggling with high energy costs. (Source) Boy, I just hope those blood-suckin' oil companies don't try to pass that tax on to the consumers!...oops, I may have just let the cat out of the bag.

(psstttt...I used to just think that Obama was stupid. Now he's gone and opened his mouth and proved me right.)

Friday, August 01, 2008

Northern California Trip - Pt 3/Friday Photo

Friday Photo


Woodley Island Marina in Eureka, CA.

Continuing Up Highway One
The morning of our third day in Northern California, we were still in Fort Bragg. Once a booming logging town, Fort Bragg is the largest town between San Francisco and Eureka California, so besides "Capt'n Flint's," we figured there must other things to see and/or do there. As we were finishing breakfast that morning at Denny's, we asked our waitress if there was anything "unique" in Fort Bragg (other than the Skunk Train) we should see before leaving town. "Have you been to 'Glass Beach'?," she asked. "No," I answered, "How do we get there?" She gave us directions (turned out we were actually sitting at the main road to the beach) and told us were the best area was "that hadn't been picked over." I wasn't sure what she meant, but we thanked her, paid our bill and headed out.

NCA_54_GlassBeachWe knew very little about "Glass Beach," before going there, but had heard that it was quite unique in that rather than a sand beach, this beach was made up of glass pebbles (click the picture for a better view). We drove to the end of a road and parked our car. Walking down a dirth path about 100 yards, we came to a fork. "Take the path to the left," our waitress had told us. We did and very quickly we were standing on the edge of a cliff overlooking the beach. From where we were standing, we could tell this was no ordinary beach. Emerald, ocher, amber, and ruby colors sparkled in the morning sun. We climbed/walked a precarious path about 30 to 40 feet down to the beach and found ourselves standing on--exactly as the name implies--a beach of GLASS! It was amazing! The whole beach is covered with small "rocks" of glass that have been smoothed over by the ocean tide. "How and why is this stuff here?," we wondered.

According to one source:

Early in the 20th century, residents of Fort Bragg pitched their household waste -- glass, kitchen appliances, and sometimes whole cars -- over these cliffs, then owned by Union Lumber Company and known locally as "The Dumps." Wilbur Lawson, 83, of the Fort Bragg-Mendocino Coast Historical Society, remembers poking around the junkyard as a kid during the 1930s. "There was always a fire lit in order to reduce the trash pile," he says, which might explain how that chinaware melded into a slab of solid rock. "This was a playground for us," he recalls...

Fort Bragg's leaders wised up in 1967 and closed the area. The pounding surf began to heal the shore over the next several decades, grinding the castoffs into the glittering treasure that now covers the beach. Since then, the place has become a beachcombers' paradise and a living science lesson in one. Curious visitors and occasional school groups sift through sandy crevices, filling buckets, pockets, and purses with colorful finds...

According to Wilbur, automobile companies started making car taillights out of plastic instead of glass after World War II. Consequently, red sea glass is a rarity.

There were other people on the beach; one gentleman said he had been coming to Glass Beach for years. He explained the different colors: "The green glass is probably 7-Up or Mountain Dew bottles, amber is probably beer or root beer bottles, and the blue glass is most likely the old 'milk of magnesia' or 'Geritol' bottles. The clear or white glass--who knows." We spent about an hour and a half scouring the beach for some of the rarer colors of glass and found some. When you think about it, it's kinda funny--and gross--that we spent that much time, walking on and picking through other people's GARBAGE! Glass Beach is pretty in a strange sort of way, but sad in that it's existence is due to the human race's indifference to the effects of massive litter. I'm not a "tree-hugger," but I think we can come up with better ways to deal with our waste/trash.

Leaving Fort Bragg, we continued north on Highway One, gradually vearing toward the east and merging into Hwy 101 around Legget, CA. At Garberville (about 475 feet elevation), we turned back to the west and begin our decent down to Shelter Cove and our lodging for the evening, The Tides Inn. The 20-mile descent equals about 45 minutes on some of the steepest, narrowest road we had seen to date. There are switchbacks along the way that definitely define the term "hairpin curve!" I would NOT want to drive that road at night. We arrived safely--brakes stinking to high heaven.

NCA_71_ShelterCoveThe view from The Tides Inn at Shelter Cove is breath-taking! Julie, our hostess, had assigned us a room on the second floor, with a balcony that overlooked the ocean. I'm pretty sure all of the rooms at The Tides had an ocean view. As with our rooms in Bodega Bay and Fort Bragg, there was no AC, but you just didn't need it. The ocean breeze was more than enough to keep the room quite comfortable.

NCA_58_ShelterCoveWe put our things away and set out to see the sites, specifically the BEACH and the Mendocino Lighthouse which was relocated to the Cove in 1999. As we walked along the beach, we saw seagulls, starfish, crabs, pelicans and sea lions. We sat and watched the sea lions playing in the water and sunning themselves on a group of rocks about 25 yards from the shore. We also saw several deer and fawns as we walked and drove around the area.

NCA_66_ShelterCoveShelter Cove is an interesting community and one of the last places you can actually buy a lot on the ocean. The homes range from tents to multi-million dollar sea-side retreats. According to some literature we picked up, lots range from $80k and up. One brochure stated it was "difficult to find a home under $300k." Along with the B&B's or ocean front lodges, there are three restaurants and one deli; only ONE--Costa Cocina Pizza--was open the day we were there. The Cove has a private air strip, a nine-hole golf course and a campground (that's were the tents are). The main attractions of Shelter Cove?: the seclusion and the unobstructed view of the Pacific Ocean. Cell phones don't work well there either...which really wasn't a big deal to us--we were on VACATION!

This was our view of the sunset from our balcony.