26 June 2016

Home

Home...
Familiar.
Normal.
Everything in its place and a place for everything.
Nice.
Boring.

New location...
Different view.
Different surroundings.
Different people.
Exotic? Yeah, maybe a little.
"Where's my stuff?"

Stay a few days.
Neat.
Learn.
Enjoy.

Back home.
Normal.
Everything in its place and a place for everything.
Familiar.
COMFORTABLE.
WONDERFUL.
Better than anything else.

Travel is more than a good thing.
It focuses your thoughts on how you've made your HOME a home.
It reinforces why/how home IS home.
Travel is necessary and wonderful.

We're glad we went
We're SO glad to be home.

19 June 2016

Happy Father's Day

My Father died 13 years ago of lung cancer.
He was a smoker.
I nagged him to stop.
He resented my nagging.

He was also one of those "Macho" guys with a wall around him to keep others at a certain distance.
Sara Jean and I worked on that for years, and by the end of his life had moved that wall considerably.

My sister always claimed the two of us had been raised by completely different parents...
Almost six years my junior, she was right.
From my viewpoint she was always "Daddy's girl" and was a consistent source of friction between me and Dad.

In the worst argument we ever had, when I was sixteen, Dad and I were face-to-face and he drew back and made a fist.
Almost a grown man by this time I cautioned him...
"Dad, I'm not sure you want to do that. You may whup me now, but soon you won't be able to!"
He relaxed his fist. We talked.
And the resolution to the problem was to put a lock on my bedroom door to keep my room from being trashed.

From this narrative you can discern that my Dad and I DID NOT have a perfect relationship.
But I loved him. He loved me. There was never any question of that.

Our relationship grew closer as we both aged.
I was always proud of him...
He could do most anything he set his mind to... expertly.
I know he was proud of my accomplishments. As a matter of fact, I often wonder if my success at some of the things he had always dreamed of was part of the friction between us.

After all the nagging about smoking, I was angry about his lung cancer diagnosis.
Truly, I'm not sure he could have avoided lung CA... he had smoked SO many years.
Watching him weaken and slowly fade, my sister and I coordinated our efforts to care for Dad, (and by doing so, take much of the burden off Mom's shoulders).
We all worked as a team.

How many young boys don't have a male figure in their lives, providing support, and at least showing that men, just by "bringing home the bacon", show a willingness to bear a responsibility to their families?
My Dad wasn't perfect. But even through his mistakes I learned things I used to make my relationship with my own son better.

Dad, I'm thankful that during those last weeks of your life you knew we were there to make your exit from this life as comfortable as possible.

I'm grateful that you were able to let us know you appreciated our efforts.

I think of you every day. I miss being able to share stuff about our mutual interests in flying, nature, and mechanics.

And I will ALWAYS be thankful our last years were not like those we shared together under one roof.

God be with you 'til we meet again.




15 June 2016

The Koran

I want an education.
I'm even considering trying to start a conversation with an official at our local Muslim place of worship.
I want to know what the Koran says.

I'm told the Koran, like the Bible, has contradictions.
Contradictions in the Bible are resolved by Christ's appearance on earth.
The New Testament establishes new rules-
Love the Lord.
Love others as you love the Lord.

What does the Koran say?
This is where I need expert input.

I'm told followers of Islam are told to do one of three things with "infidels"...(that's you and me).
1. Tax them.
2. Enslave them.
3. Kill them, and the preferred method of execution is beheading.
How much of this is true?

Today, from many friends I used to consider intelligent, I'm hearing "religion is the problem".
True Christians ARE NOT the problem.

Please...
Someone who knows more about the "Religion of Peace"...
Tell me the truth, and cite where I can get an education on the subject.





02 June 2016

I HAVE To Kill You.

As is so often the case, I can't even remember the discussion that led us to get into the subject in the first place. But I was talking with a guy I THOUGHT I knew well...
He was my neighbor growing up. We went to the same grade school, same Jr. High, same High School. We were drafted into the Army within months of one another. He's a Viet Nam Veteran.
He's a Christian who practices his faith by doing wonderful works. I admire that in him, tremendously.

But, on this day, the bottom fell out. We were discussing the sorry state of our Nation. Somewhere in the discussion his shoulders slumped and his expression changed.
"I'm just one guy... what can I do?" he asked.
And I realized I no longer really knew this man I had "known" for sixty years.
I also realized my desperate need to find others who feel as I do and surround my family with them.

History is a hard teacher.
George Santayana is credited with the quote about those that don't know it being forced to repeat it.
And the rest of us have to suffer as we watch our world crumble while folks on "Watters' World" continue to vote.
I'm paying attention to Europe. Because with the "I'm just one guy, what can I do?" attitude, that's where we're headed. And that's interesting to me because of a guy named Neville Chamberlain.
If you don't recognize the name, do the research and learn some history.

I shout at the TV a LOT lately.
Our nation, founded on Christian principles, is at war with an enemy and we don't even want to admit it.
My Holy Book tells me to love everyone, including my foe.
Their Holy Book tells them they must do one of three things with people that do not believe as they do:
-Tax them.
-Enslave them.
-Or KILL them, with beheading being a preferable method of dispatch.

"Not all Muslims are bad people" I often hear folks on TV say.
And then I scream at the box... "The 'good Muslims' aren't paying attention to their Holy Book!"
But... I'm just one guy.
What can I do?

01 June 2016

Protecting Gaia

Change the oil in your Dodge Ram truck with the Cummins Diesel engine and you'll end up with nearly two gallons of used motor oil in your receiving container.
Add to that container the used oil from two mowers and a garden tiller and like me, you may find you have a couple heavy containers full of yucky liquid.
I was under the impression the law today was such that I could take my used oil to any facility in the oil change business and they were required to accept my containers.
Where did I get that idea?
I was mistaken.


Jiffy Lube turned me down but suggested a business that "might" accept my oil for recycling.
My local tire store said "Yes, I'll take it for you", but it was obvious he wasn't happy about it.
"They used to pay me for this oil", he said. "Then they'd suck it out of my tank for free. Then they charged me $20", (this is a 300 gallon tank). "Now they're charging me $65."
This "green energy" business has, once again, turned out to be a pipe dream.

There ARE places that will accept used motor oil...
When I got home a quick internet search indicated both our local Auto Parts stores will still take it.
My question is, how long will that last?

Old tires.
Motor oil.
Old TV's, computers, microwaves and other electronics...
The "free lunch" idea here seems to be to just to take this stuff out in the country and dump it alongside a quiet country road.

(That's a joke... I KEEEEEEEED.)

25 May 2016

Our Robot Masters-

We already have self-driving cars.
But motorcycles?
And to what purpose?

At what point do we start hearing complaints about how dangerous it is for humans to be in control?


10 May 2016

Waiting For The Inevitable

Some time ago, before I realized how much FaceBook discussions were raising my blood pressure I wrote there:
"What has happened to my country?"
An old High School chum responded,

"It's gone. Get used to that fact."
I can't tell you how disappointed I was in him for that response...
He too is a Viet Nam Combat Veteran, and I expected "better" from him.
So I continued my quest to stop this runaway train and turn it around.
But, now that the two major parties have selected their nominees for the upcoming election it is obvious:
He was right.
I was deluding myself.

It's now being suggested I once again "Hold my nose and vote".
Hold my nose?
Since the Reagan administration, the political stench has gotten worse, and worse, and worse.
We've "Destroyed the free market system in order to save it".
We've totally forgotten the rudimentary lessons we learned in Psy 101, Soc 101, and Econ 101; that if you reward a behavior you get MORE of it.

I'm boggled by where we now find ourselves:
Babies born today find themselves already saddled with $40,000 of debt each.
"Illegal" is an ugly word, so we must now use the word "undocumented" instead.
We no longer have to pay attention to the sign on the bathroom door.
"Constitution? We don't need no stinking Constitution."

It's now a living document that means whatever makes us feel good.

Our country is now deluged with debt.
If he is able to get elected and pass out all the freebies he desires, Bernie Sanders will add another $17,000,000,000,000.00 (is that enough zeroes?) to our already IMPOSSIBLE national debt.
I don't know who said it... some smart person... but there's a saying... "What CANNOT continue, won't".
Students of history are quite aware, this CANNOT continue.


My family is preparing for the worst.
Some of our Christian friends are simply watching the horizon, expecting Christ to return.
Others are keeping a firearm close at hand with ONE bullet in the chamber... (two if they're married.)
Sigh.

But it's now more than obvious my old H.S. mate was right... the chanting of Socialists, Black Lives Matter, and even old Viet Nam Veteran friends who are willing to sacrifice all principles in order to keep Hillary from being elected have finally opened my eyes.
The group inside my circle of wagons just got noticeably smaller.

But I continue to tell those I love and respect-
Be prepared.
Or be a victim.

07 May 2016

Life Ain't Safe.

Yesterday, weather was gorgeous. We woke and, after checking the weather, had smiles on our faces because we had planned a "Christian Bike Ride"...
Four bikes would depart from our Church at 0930 with the planned destination of Patti's 1880 Settlement at Grand Rivers, KY, in the beautiful Land Between the Lakes area.
At the appointed hour the contingent was "all present and accounted for"...
Sara Jean and me on our '03 GoldWing, the other three bikes were H-D "Ultra Classics" with husband and wife teams on each. We chatted a bit in the Church parking lot, then, after a prayer for safe riding, at about 0950 we set off.


We made it all of about 8 miles before coming to a stop...
Third in an "echelon right" formation, we watched as Harley #1 first put on his flashing warning lights, then slowed to a stop at a safe spot alongside the road.
"My cruise control is stuck ON" said the Harley pilot.
He pulled his front brake lever full on, (which normally would automatically disable the cruise control), released it, then started the bike. The engine would have screamed to full throttle had he not immediately turned the ignition key to "off".
He pressed on the rear brake lever then started the engine again... same result.
He scratched his head, then pulled the side cover on the left side of the bike that granted access to the fuse panel and searched for a placard indicating which of the fuses might disable the errant accessory... to no avail.
One of the other Ultra riders walked over and closed his throttle...
"Try it now *****", he said.
Success! Turns out most bikes today with throttles controlled by cable actually have TWO cables...
One to open the throttle, and another, for safety purposes, to close the throttle should it stick open.
Problem resolved, we set off again for our destination.
ADVENTURE!

We rode the Interstate, mostly.
Yeah, I know... boring as watching paint dry.
But still, this was beautiful country, beautiful weather, and Sara Jean and I were surrounded by the staccato sound of three H-D's with moderately loud exhaust pipes.
Symphony!

We ate a great meal and had great fellowship, catching up on one another's lives, then, surprised to see we'd been chatting for two hours, realized we had to start home to let Lucy out to do her business.
We mounted up, rode to the first gas station we could find, topped off our bikes, and set off.
We had agreed our trip home would be off the concrete slab as much as possible, and jumped off the Interstate onto a nice two-lane highway at our earliest chance.
This is more to my liking...
Up and down rolling hills, sweeping left and right turns following the paths laid down by our forebears years ago. Breathtaking.


But riding the two-lanes DOES mean extra risk-
Stopped behind a car with its left turn signal on waiting for oncoming traffic, we watched terrified as the oncoming car crossed into our lane in front of the car in front of us, departed the road to our right, then, still going about 30 mph, crossed between the stopped car and the first two bikes in our formation, only to run up into an available driveway there and crash to a stop after colliding with a car in that drive.
The event stunned my wife to the point she wanted to flee the scene...
"Go, Go, Go!" she urgently shouted.
And we all dropped our bikes into gear and did just that.

What could cause an incident like this?
Driving under the influence?
Brake, or other mechanical failure?
Inattention to the task?
Since we didn't stop to investigate, there's just no way to know.

But it once again points out the obvious...
If the gal driving that out-of-control car had not expertly divided the gap between the car we were stopped for and our formation of bikes, several people COULD have been seriously hurt, not to mention the damage to a bunch of fine machines.
The pilot and wife on one of the lead machines were helmetless.

Life is a risk.
We choose to ride because we enjoy riding immensely, and realize the risk we take doing it.
No matter how safe you are, personally, there's always the chance someone else is gonna come along and mess up your day.
Be prepared for that. Try to protect yourself from the mistakes of others as much as possible.

Yesterday was beautiful.
And now we have a couple more "ADVENTURE!" stories to share with friends.


02 May 2016

The Bathroom Discussion-

"I've got to go see a man about a horse" I said.
From where we were located in the O Club the downstairs facilities were closest. Normally used by informal bar patrons, they'd be nearly empty because this was Sunday Brunch time and the downstairs was closed Sunday.  My need to go was great, so I dashed into the first available door without paying attention to the marking on the door.
I found myself in heaven, in a small anteroom. Two love seats with tufted upholstery were placed at 90-degree angles from one another, with a standing ashtray at either end and in between the seats.
In order to go into the actual "relief" room, you had to go through another door. Good thing too, because back then I could have been in an embarrassing situation at least for entering the "Ladies Room". I quickly exited these plush surroundings and entered the proper facility...
Bare walls, urinals, and a few equally bare stalls to conduct my business.

Back in 1974 I attended the 100th running of the Kentucky Derby. The Centennial of this race attracted a MUCH larger crowd than planners had imagined, and lines to get into the ladies' facilities meant females were standing in queue 15-20 minutes just to find themselves at a stall.
Women started entering the men's facilities, using the stalls while we men used the urinals on the opposite wall. We men understood, and didn't care... no one was put into a compromising position.

So how is this present gender-bathroom controversy gonna turn out?
I think eventually we'll see an arrangement where there will be one restroom, with individual stalls for all... no urinals... and the stalls will be MUCH more private than those in restrooms presently. Women will be forced, frequently, to wipe urine off toilet seats, because men are pigs.
It will be expensive for facility owners and taxpayers and these costs will, as always, be passed on to you and me.
Expensive foolishness.

And the biggest loser of all?
There will be NO anteroom with ashtrays and lovely crushed velour upholstery.
What a pity.

21 April 2016

Some 21Apr16 Thoughts On the Joys of Shopping At WalMart:

Let me start by declaring I DO NOT hate WalMart.
There's no question they have run many Mom & Pop stores out of business. But do we really want to go back to "The Walton's" days where we walked down to Ike and Cora Beth's store and tried to buy fresh Zucchini? Good luck with that!
WalMart has changed the world...
Lots of variety, and almost always priced lower than the competition. (Find a lower price in an ad? Bring it to the cashier and they'll match the price.)
Disagree with me? That's fine... and I'll tell ya why later in this post.

I just finished shopping at my local Wally World. In this small town I always plan to run into several people I know and like, and plan to spend at least an hour in the store even if I only have a few items to purchase. This visit was no different... I ran into a couple people I had not seen since we left for Destin last Fall. I enjoyed running into them and caught up on all the latest small-town gossip.
But let me share some thoughts on things I almost always think while shopping at Wally World...

-Is everyone miserable? Did everyone just lose their aged Dog/Cat?
No one smiles. Well, at least no one does until you smile, say hello, and force them to quit frowning.
It sometimes feels as if the world is falling down on everyone. They walk around looking glum, with their shoulders drooping as if the weight of the world is upon them.
Yes, I know the world is a mess. But can we not at least be civil with one another and try to make lemonade outta this fiasco?

-You're driving around in that electric shopping cart with the backup warning... BEEP!, BEEP!, BEEP!
You are morbidly obese, and the last thing in the world you need to be doing is shopping while seated on your two-axhandle wide butt, manipulating the controls of a motorized vehicle. YOU'RE COMMITTING SLOW SUICIDE.
Stand on your own two feet. If necessary, start out by using your walker, (with attached shopping basket!)

But DO SOME EXERCISE.
Then you can go home and eat those yodels and Donettes!
Providing those carts makes WalMart codependent, making it easy for gluttons to support their "Food as drug" habit.
And what's also amazing? Even while silently puttering around in their carts, these obese folks don't smile. (I guess slow-suicide will do that to you.)


WalMart shopping completed, I went to our local grocery. On Thursdays they provide a 10% discount to
active duty/retired/Veterans. (On Tuesdays they give "Seniors" a 10% discount.)
What's more... they have a butcher on duty to answer questions and serve your needs. I try to do as much business with this store as possible, to keep Wally World honest. Employees in this store try HARDER. Customers here seem happier. There are no codependent carts for customers. And this butcher KNOWS GOOD MEAT.

It's been an interesting, thought-provoking shopping day.
Thank GOD for the free market... or what today could be called the ALMOST free market!
And yes, I found my fresh Zucchini.