Friday, September 29, 2006

Idiot and TSA is Redundant

I read an article (linked via title bar) by Mike M. Ahlers on the CNN site this morning where a “Wisconsin man who wrote “Kip Hawley is an Idiot” on a plastic bag containing toiletries said he was detained at an airport security checkpoint for about 25 minutes before authorities concluded the statement was not a threat.”

“Ryan Bird, 31, said he wrote the comment about Hawley -- head of the Transportation Security Administration -- as a political statement. He said he feels the TSA is imposing unreasonable rules on passengers while ignoring bigger threats.

{. . . }

“My level of frustration with the TSA and their idiotic policies has grown over 2 ½ years," he said. "I'm frustrated that poorly trained TSA people can pull random passengers out of line and pat them down like common criminals. The average traveler has no recourse."

Everyone pay attention because I’m only going to say this a few times today; the folks at TSA are idiots, to include Kip Hawley. It’s not their fault, it’s a requirement, call it “job description” from the bureaucracy which is Washington. These folks “allegedly” (that was fun) learned how to perform security checks by watching a cake walk at some elementary school Fall Carnival. They saw the children marching in circles around a row of chairs while the music played. Then one chair was removed, the music stopped and one child was randomly removed from the game. Notes were taken as it was determined that nobody’s rights had been violated, those remaining in the game continued to march to the music and the ACLU didn’t threaten litigation.

Back in Washington the notes were handed off to a committee and key issues observed. Was that child, the one without a chair, a threat to the rest of those marching aimlessly around in circles; no, that’s just the way the game has always been played. Did the teacher in charge of the game get sued for discrimination, no; in fact everyone was all smiles, well, almost everyone. The same holds true to passenger searches at the airport; are the passengers, the ones who are singled out threats to the other passengers or did some idiot simply turn off the music?

Here’s a list of known threats:

“My name is Atta and you’re all going to die!”

“I’m Ted Kennedy and I’m your voice in Washington.”, ditto for Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schu…., hell, just put (D) on a name and they're a threat.

“I’m John McCain”, that should be enough to scare anyone; forget that he’s a front runner for the presidency in 2008, party affiliation to be determined later.

Possibly the most frightening of all, “I’m Victoria Osteen and I’d like to fly to . . . (fill in the blank)”.

Okay, you can turn the elevator music back on, get the line moving; “Hey you, yea you, the nearly Caucasian looking fellow wearing the table cloth on his head and reading the Koran, stop lighting your shoe laces, this is a non smoking flight.”

I’ve posted on this topic before:

I’ve linked with TMH Bacon Bits for the “OTB Splatfest”, or Open Line Friday as I like to call it.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Last night while taking a reading break in the Old Testament I was going over the book of Psalms. I came across several of the pointing fingers of guilt, character traits which continue to ensnare my weaknesses as I struggle to improve. I suppose the important part is that I do continue in my struggles to improve; none the less, I found this one particular thought among them which caused me to contemplate blogging. Who would have considered that David would be writing about bloggers in his day and time?

I write my thoughts and put them out on the internet, nothing to deep, at least most of the time they are light editorials and nothing more. I’m not a world economics or political guru, I can’t tell you which political party will win and I enjoy a baseball game far more than Meet the Press. I wear sneakers while working, a pair of blue jeans and a sport shirt instead of blue pin striped suits. At the end of the day I long for the comfort of home and my wife, not some preppy bar where I can impress anyone with my wit. I think David read my blog and left this comment.


David says: Let Israel hope in the Lord forever.
A Song of degrees of David.

1 Lord, my heart is not haughty nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.
2 Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.
3 Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.

Here’s a friendly invitation to listen to the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as General Conference is broadcast this weekend. Details are provided via the link in the title bar.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What if . . .

What if . . .

I got this from my friend Richard Sutton. Most of you have seen the Mormon missionaries, the clean cut young men on bicycles who knock on your door. What if the same approach were used by Al Qaida ( best guess on the correct spelling, I’ve seen it spelled several ways; but each one requires looking under a rock )

Click on the link to watch a short video clip ( Viewer Discretion Advised :).

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunday Picture Music

Years ago when our children were young and living at home with us we would have special music videos reserved for Sunday, something to remind them that the Sabbath was a day to rest and appreciate the quiet moments. We have an exceptional library of videos that bring out such an appreciation.

With the purchase of our new computer, one that has all kinds of entertainment abilities, I’ve decided to transfer my Laser Disk videos to the hard disk to protect them from eventual deterioration and loss of quality.

I began by recording Earth Scapes and Earth Dance, two of my favorites. The photography is enough to take your breath away as the Earth in all her splendor is revealed; panoramic views of majestic mountain ranges, migrating birds, close up shots of intricate flowers and such; all with hypnotizing rhythms to match the mood presented. In contrast to the everyday offerings on the television these gentle reflections are necessary reminders of the important natural blessings given to us all.

I took a break from recording and writing as Bricks Corbin, my Home Teacher, arrived to check on the well being of my family. Bricks had a copy of a talk given back in May of 2004 by Elder Dallin H. Oaks Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, entitled, “Preparation for the Second Coming”. One of the quotes that Bricks had highlighted with his marker happened to fit with my observation that it was wise to avoid watching television’s perverted view of what’s permissible or even lauded as enviable in today’s world most of the time, much less on Sunday.

“Evil that used to be localized and covered like a boil is now legalized and paraded like a banner. The most fundamental roots and bulwarks of civilization are questioned or attacked. Nations disavow their religious heritage. Marriage and family responsibilities are discarded as impediments to personal indulgence. The movies and magazines and television that shape our attitudes are filled with stories or images that portray the children of God as predatory beasts or, at best, as trivial creations pursuing little more than personal pleasure. And too many of us accept this as entertainment.”

I once had to defend my actions as a police officer to my immediate supervisors and up the chain of command, all the way up to the Assistant Chiefs as they attempted to impress me with “gray areas”, that I might turn a blind eye to keep from rocking the boat. My unwillingness to overlook minor violations, especially those involving “sacred cows” of the community, those with considerable influence at city hall had put them in a position of having to void out tickets that I continued to issue. Possibly the best compliment I’ve ever received came in the form of an accusation, that I saw everything in “black or white”. It made me bristle, that those in a position of leadership would lower the standards of an entire community in order to avoid drawing a line in the sand, by not enforcing laws that were on the books evenly and without consideration as to who it was that was complaining due to political influence or financial ability. Well, shame on them for buckling under pressure.

Quoting from Dallin Oaks again, “An increasing number of opinion leaders and followers deny the existence of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and revere only the gods of secularism. Many in positions of power and influence deny the right and wrong defined by divine decree. Even among those who profess to believe in right and wrong, there are “them that call evil good, and good evil” (
Isa. 5:20; 2 Ne. 15:20). Many also deny individual responsibility and practice dependence on others, seeking, like the foolish virgins, to live on borrowed substance and borrowed light.” (emphasis added)

The day is winding down and I will return to recoding my Sunday Picture Music, this next one is Windham Hill’s Autumn Portrait, an appropriate way to start the change of seasons. May the sacred nature of the Sabbath become a part of our lives as we seek to find balance among the ever increasing outside influences that the world provides is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

George W. Bush - Dumb Like a Fox

Growing up I can recall hearing the phrase, “He’s dumb like a fox”, maybe it was, “Crazy like a fox”, I don’t think it matters a whole lot. I tried to picture in my mind what would qualify such a statement. I think I’ve found just the person; George W. Bush. Here’s a man who has been called stupid, illiterate and dumb by quite a few folks; all the while continuing with his duties in spite of the distractions.

It would seem that by quietly letting the talking heads rally around the flag pole of ridicule, letting them vent their hateful remarks and slanderous denouncements of his presidential abilities that the time has come for the truth to come forth. President Bush has the truth on his side, something which needs no fabrication, no pumping up to become “more” true; truth wins out over time.

Mover Mike had an article which he called, “Who is Tyler Drumheller?” (linked via title bar) The main thrust of the piece goes on to explain that Tyler Drumheller claimed that Bush took the United States to war with Iraq in spite of being informed by the intelligence community that Saddam Hussein was not building WMD’s and had no program to obtain nuclear weapons. Mike refers to an article published on NewsMax by Ronald Kessler and is linked by Mike.

“An addenda to the Senate report on postwar findings about Iraq's WMD program says all the operational documents relating to Sabri indicate he told the CIA just the opposite of what Drumheller claimed. The Senate report refers to Sabri as a source with direct access to Saddam Hussein and his inner circle but does not name him.”

{. . . }

At least 134 stories and TV shows have referred to Drumheller's claims and his criticism of the CIA and Bush administration in general. One of the stories ran as the second lead of the June 25, 2006 Washington Post.”

What this says is that in spite of knowing that they were continuing to spread a lie, one that fit their agenda to undermine the credibility of a sitting president during a time of war, the large news media organizations representing the “not so loyal opposition” would rather slander an honest man engaged in defending American interests than admit they made a mistake. I’d call that treason; but what do I know?

Why hasn’t there been a news conference to enlighten the American public as to the truthfulness and integrity of President Bush? The extreme left continues the mantra, “Bush Lied”, Bush is a dummy and too stupid to run the country. Where is the humble pie being served to the liberal media giants, their remorse for having mislead the public through shabby reporting and slanted journalism; my guess it will never happen.

Key leaders in the Democratic Party, those who have had access to this same information continue to ignore the facts set down by their own investigation of these matters, instead holding to their lies and misinformation in the hope that a public, tired of being lied to and not sure which side to believe, will flip a coin to determine the truth. Truth has a strange way of making it to the surface, this time it comes two months away from election time.

The Bush administration has been labeled as too stupid and inept at determining the course of action against a known enemy, an enemy who was known by Republicans and Democrats alike to be in direct violation of the U.N. resolutions, violations which if left unchecked would have left us more vulnerable, violations which are not a matter of opinion; rather, are well documented and a part of the Senate’s findings.

Why would these folks turn around and publicly denounce their own President on the world stage as being a liar and too ignorant to be trusted. Could it be a case of these folks looking in the mirror and explaining how they see themselves? When you hear Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy or Nancy Pelosi hollering into a microphone, “Don’t believe the President, He’s a liar”, what you should consider is that these folks are actually bellowing, “Don’t listen to us, we’re liars. We say these things to make a better man than we are, President George W. Bush, look as bad as we are”.

President Bush has taken a steady barrage of insults from the so called “loyal opposition”, which include leaders in the Democratic Party and a goodly portion of Hollywood’s pretend leaders; Danny Glover, Harry Belefonte and Barbara Streisand come to mind, those whose only qualifications are their box office draw rather than actual “gravitas”. Instead of hammering the liars, President Bush has waited for the course of truth to unveil itself at a most interesting “juncture”, as his father would have said. No, George Bush isn’t dumb, well, maybe he’s “dumb like a fox.”

Finding Stuff on the Internet

My daughter Jennifer posted a slide show on her blog (linked via title bar) the other day. I found this picture of Jocelyne, my granddaughter sitting in front of the computer. While she hasn’t quite figured it out; that mouse makes things happen and judging by the look in her eye. Jennifer needs to keep her password under wraps. “Jenn, did you order a gold filigree sippy cup and a case of fleece lined Huggies?” Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Eager Anticipation

One of the traits that I admire in children is their ability to over flow with eager anticipation. I’m afraid that many adults loose that important potential energy as life wears them down into meaningless rituals that neither gratify or inspire; how unfortunate.

We planned to take our children on a vacation to Big Bend National Park one year. We showed them maps and pictures months in advance and as the time grew ever closer we had them help with putting supplies into boxes, rolling up sleeping bags and things like that. “Next week we will take our trip”, “Only a couple of days ‘till we go” and finally, “We leave for Big Bend today.” What we hadn’t explained to them was that we would be leaving at night.

All day long the kids were bursting with excitement as if we were taking the space shuttle down there. The truck was loaded, gassed up and ready; so why were we not on the road as the sun sank below the horizon. “A little while longer and we’ll go” didn’t sit well with them. The evening wore on slowly and tears began to fall when we had them get into their pajamas.

“But, you said we were going on vacation…”, sniffles and choking back tears as best they could. Then came the accusations, “You lied to us; why else would we be in our pajamas?” Lucy and I could hardly keep from laughing as we loaded them all into the truck and explained that they would be able to sleep in the truck WHILE we were on the way to Big Bend. It took several miles of driving to convince them that the vacation had begun; each mile away from their house was a mile toward the promised vacation. Their smiles returned along with their eager anticipation for the unknown which lay ahead.

Saturday Lucy and I were on our date enjoying a meal at the local Steak & Ale. Some how the topic of our grand kids came up, “Surprise surprise!”, as Gomer Pyle would say. Imagine grandparents talking about their grandchildren over dinner. We had observed that when JJ, almost 5, was playing on the computer that his younger sister, Jocelyne, just over a year old, watched every move he made. Jocelyne was fascinated with the mouse and began picking it up and waiting for the computer to respond to her desires. One day soon Jocelyne will figure it out and a new world will be opened unto her. With proper guidelines that will only include those areas of life which are uplifting and beneficial.

It occurred to me that I’d read a book many years ago, A gnome there was,: And other tales of science fiction and fantasy, by Henry Kuttner, which featured a story about a “toy box” that had been found by a young boy, a box which contained fascinating and yet unfamiliar items. They were in fact, teaching tools from the future which had either been misplaced or intentionally sent out; it’s been quite some time since I read the book.

One of the items was a clear box or sphere which would materialize simple thoughts. The boy imagined a house under construction and it appeared with little people scurrying about hammering, sawing and framing the house. He imagined the house catching fire and a patch of smoke appeared; the need for firemen to put out the fire and so on.

Another item looked like an abacus and by properly moving the beads it would sing or hum pleasantly. When he moved them in some order other than that which would lead toward the right “answer”, an electrical shock would correct such errors.

The young boy was totally engaged with these “toys” and found, to his amazement, that his little sister was able to work them much more efficiently; not having been locked into any particular regimented thinking process. The two would play for hours in their room while their parents enjoyed the peaceful moments. I won’t give away what happens in the story; but will only say that I was reminded that sometimes the younger open minded child will solve problems more easily than those who have been hammered by traditional thinking.

When Lucy and I returned home from our night out I got on line and looked to see if the book was still available. I found two copies available through; both used, one in very good condition which I purchased. I should have it some time next week.

I await, with eager anticipation mind you, the opportunity to share the stories contained within the bindings with my grandchildren. It is my hope that by hearing well written Sci-fi fantasy stories that they will develop a desire to improve and grow.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Ford Unsolved Mysteries

I make a good living generating replacement keys; especially on Fords with their PATS programmable key systems. I don’t claim to be an expert on how those electrons vibrate, twist and turn in order to come up with an acceptable recognition sign so the computer will permit the fuel injection module to work; I simply follow the instructions that came with the programming computer and hope like the Dickens it works.

The basic PATS system came out in 1996; starting with a small percentage of Taurus and also on the Mustang GT model cars. Once it was determined that the system actually worked it spread throughout and has been improved upon, altered and convoluted until the present where not even Ford fully knows what goes on inside their own cars.

This past week I’ve had a chance to be humbled by some strange goings on. The first was on a 1998 Mustang using PATS II transponder keys. The woman called to explain that her “EX” boyfriend ran off with her only key and refused to give it back. I just love domestic issues; but, seeing as how he wasn’t going to be around while I would be working on the vehicle I decided to go ahead and make her a set of keys. The price was agreed upon before I arrived.

I got to the job and looked at all the locks and noticed an aftermarket alarm system had been installed. I immediately asked if it had “remote start”, something that would require a little more effort. I also explained that who ever had installed the system must have recently come down from the trees to join the human race; looking at the variety of duct tape, electrical tape among the spaghetti bowl of wires shoved up under the kick panel on the driver’s side. I made sure she understood that all my efforts might not provide her with a car that would start depending on how badly the original wiring systems had been corrupted. I was right; after going through the ten minute program the computer showed a fault in reading the new keys, this was after it showed that all the old keys had been erased. I accepted her money and let her know that she needed to take it to the nearest Ford Service Center to have their electrical mechanic restore the system to factory wiring.

Two days later I got a call from her; the old boy friend was no longer “EX” and he gave back the original key. “The old key starts just fine. Will you give me a refund or make these new keys work too, they don’t do anything.” I have to tell you, I have no answer why the old key would start the car since according to my NGS machine all keys had been erased. I also used my T-Code programming machine and had the same results. I told her to get with me and we would settle up.

This afternoon I got a call to make keys for a 1997 Mustang that was on the PATS I programmable key system. The key had been broken and the plastic that used to hold a transmitter was empty. He told me that it had been that way for months and that sometimes the car would start right away while other times he had to try a couple of times before it would work. I had my doubts as I generated a working key since he’d broken off the part that had the mechanical cuts.

I like to use the E-Z Reader; having developed a real liking to the way I can have the exact cuts in a matter of moments. I progressed the last two cuts while sitting in the driver’s seat as I explained how Ford 8 cut keys worked to the customer. The key turned when I got to 4-3 on the tip cuts; it also started the car, the “THEFT” light remained on solid for three seconds before going out as if it had recognized an authorized PATS key.

“Well, I’ll be darned!” I then turned it off and then back to start; the “THEFT’ light was blinking the way it’s supposed too and nothing. “This is very interesting”, I shared my thoughts aloud with the customer.

“See; I told you, sometimes it starts right away, sometimes I have to try a couple of times.” I tried again, nothing, again and “shazamm” it started right up. I was tempted to hook my NGS machine up to program a proper PATS key, one that I knew would solve the issue; but I wasn’t at all sure it WOULD solve the issue. What if I cleared off the system only to find that the new PATS key wouldn’t be recognized? No, leave it the way it was; what’s the old saying, “If it isn’t broke don’t fix it”? I’m not sure it’s not broken; but it still works, well, almost the way it’s supposed to.

I handed him my card and told him to check back later; that I’d write this one up and submit it to Ford. The interesting thing about technology is finding out what happens a few years down the road; what kind of ghosts were built into the system that not even the “en-gin-ears” can explain. I still think, for the most part, Ford’s PATS key systems are a fairly good means to integrate a mechanical key with an electronic anti-theft system at a reasonable price. That having been said, I would never discount the possibilities for the strange and unexplainable when dealing with the invisible world of electronics that have been exposed to the elements here in the Great State of Texas.

Update: I found the Ford Customer Relations Page and sent them a copy of this article as I had promised the customer with the 1997 Mustang, the one that would start sometimes and then wouldn’t. I called him a few minutes ago to let him know that I followed up on my promise and all he could do was laugh.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Something of Value

Barbara Hagenbaugh, USA TODAY, wrote an article, “Feds Lower Boom on Alternative Money” (linked via title bar), which I got from the AOL Money and Finance website. Most folks are unaware that the money issued by the United States Mint has no real value, it having nothing to back up the printed denominations or coinage. There are no huge piles of gold or silver sitting in the national coffers equal in value to the amount of money being printed around the clock by special presses on special paper. The Gold Standard and Silver Certificates became a part of history years ago. Most of us are familiar with the saying, “It’s not worth the paper it’s printed on”; well, some folks are trying to remedy that situation.

At the heart of the issue is the government's claim that money is only what the government says it is, as opposed to the idea that bartering objects of value, whether those items are precious metals or chickens may be determined by those involved in such a trade of items. I was counseled to invest a portion of my assets in precious metals as a means of protecting a segment of my income. I began purchasing 1 ounce gold coins; their price determined by the going rate at the time of purchase. The point being that regardless of the set price, the actual value would be equal to 1 ounce of gold, something which has remained a constant since man began to exchange money.

A group of individuals got together and decided that they would create a hedge against our current valueless monetary system, one that would guarantee true economic value regardless of inflation because each unit of measure would be matched by precious metals such as gold or silver. I’ve included a link which explains much better than I could, how and why money should have actual value rather than the fiat system now in place.

Quoting from Barbara Hagenbaugh’s piece:

“The Justice Department has determined that use of Liberty Dollars, which come in varying denominations, "is a crime," according to the Mint, which issued a rare public warning Thursday.”

"The United States Mint is the only entity that can produce coins," Bailey says.
{. . .}

"Reed Runk, part-owner of Kendall Funk & Bismark Jewelers in Chambersburg, Pa., says the store has been accepting Liberty Dollars for about a year and has sold a few as well. Runk says the store will continue to accept and sell the coins."

"We just feel that they are something that educates people as to what the monetary systems are like in the world, that they are a fiat system, that if people lose faith in them, they will collapse," he says. Besides, "They are a good-looking coin."

My own opinion is that the Fed is jealous of something much better than their own currency, something that has value. Don’t get me wrong, if I saw a dollar bill on the ground I’d still pick it up and spend it just as if I’d earned that through my labors.

When I began buying gold coins I had to decide which coins to purchase, Kruggerands, Philharmonics, Maple Leafs and so on; each having its price determined by the gold content and quality of artwork on the actual coin. I happened to chose American Eagles because they hold up to wear better than those coins made out of a more pure version of gold. Here’s a link to a website where the fluctuation in the price of precious metals is updated every few minutes.

I never liked the fiat system of money; Lucy and I owned a Fiat, one of the worst cars I ever had the privilege to drive, always in the shop for some kind of repair, the parts were never on hand and you get the idea. The Saturday Night Live crew had a character, Rosana Rosana, who would go on for a few minutes and then realize the difference between a fiat and a Fiat, turn to the camera, smile awkwardly and then say, “Never mind.”

I could go a step further and point out to Mr. Bailey, the only “crime”, as that was the term he used when pointing his finger at the Liberty Dollar, is our government’s taking our labor efforts and trading those efforts for a piece of paper that very soon won’t be fit to use as wall paper in the bathroom.

Maybe we could do something a little different; change the base monetary unit from gold or silver to something everyone can understand, a gallon of 89 octane gasoline. Instead of “In God We Trust” being printed on the front there could be, “Put a Tiger in Your Wallet”. A single dollar bill would be worth half a gallon and so on. Instead of putting pictures of “dead presidents” we could have famous oil entrepreneurs; maybe have Getty on the Hundred Gallon Bill, I mean, the Hundred Dollar Bill.

I’ve linked with TMH Bacon Bits as they have an open link invitation most every Friday, a neat way to view other blogger’s articles.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

World Trade Center Revisited

I avoided writing about my feelings this week, those feelings which I keep locked away, those which are so sensitive that the simplest reminder causes my emotions to overflow. I’ve read some well written blog articles, seen various media coverage during the week and was able to distance myself from those emotions somehow; that ended this morning.

I was preparing to go off on a locksmith job that had been scheduled the night before. Lucy was explaining how she had gone over to a friend's house to deliver something and the next thing they were talking about how her daughter was coping.

Out of respect for my friends I will not mention any names. Their daughter was working in one of the World Trade Centre buildings the day of the attacks. She witnessed far more than anyone should; much less have to relive those moments each year as the film footage is played over and over.

I learned that she was sheltered by friends across the river in New Jersey for quite a while, that she was unable to sleep for several days. She was unable to be alone, requiring somebody to be with her at all times. When she went to bed she had to have a lamp on at all times and still her sleep was interrupted with panic attacks and terrifying moments that replayed end to end as she recalled the horrors.

She has made good progress and continues to work in the metropolitan area, taking walks on the beach to relax. This past year while walking along the shore she saw an airplane low on the horizon as it positioned itself on approach to the local airport; that close proximity to a low flying jet caused her to run in panic and hide, believing that her life was in peril.

As for me, I recall leaving our home, having watched the televised nightmare on that fateful day. I thought my emotions had run their course and that by involving myself in work it might take my mind off what had happened. I was mistaken.

I remember arriving at one of my larger car dealerships to make a set of keys for a vehicle. Everyone was talking about the attacks, the buildings collapse being aired on every television. The manager, a friend of mine for quite some time came over and must have picked up on something he’d observed in my countenance, as he asked, “Are you okay?” I was thinking about my friend’s daughter, knowing how concerned they were and knowing that at the time I left they had not yet heard anything from her.

Something in my mind must have crossed the line that controls emotions as I heard, “Are you okay?”, my weakness permitted those emotions to spill over. Again, no names as it is not my intention to put a spotlight on anyone in particular; my response caught the car manager by surprise as he jumped to the conclusion that maybe one of my own family member’s lives might have been in question. It might have been that I was so close to my friends and their being in the dark as to whether or not their daughter was alive, injured, safe or whatever as my mind played a trick on me.

It was my daughter that was in peril and I bought it hook line and sinker at that moment in time. The tears in my eyes flowed down my cheeks and I had trouble breathing as I was unprepared to contemplate this new data. I remember being asked if I wanted to sit for a while; responding that, “I needed to work, to make a key and that maybe that would help”.

That was five years ago and this morning when Lucy said that she had spent an hour or so visiting to make sure that their daughter was handling all this, I found those emotions had been suppressed; but still quite potent. The tear ducts opened up and I found myself worrying about that young lady, how she might never leave those nightmares or that the slightest trigger mechanism might set it off all over again.

I learned that she’d gone to “ground zero” and managed to hold it together. Maybe, with any luck, my having written my feelings down will help my own healing process. For those who profess that we’re not at war; I invite you to explain that to my friends, their daughter, my friend at the car dealership and if they are unable to explain it to you; come by and I’ll give it one more try.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Short, Sweet and to the Point

I got this one from my friend Richard Sutton. You have to turn the volume up a little more than normal. If you don’t say “Wow!” after this one, well, nothing I can do for you.

Microsoft Outlook Problem - HELP!

I need a favor from anyone who happens to read this. I just bought a new computer and installed the Student/Teacher version of Office from the disc that I bought to go with that neat new computer. I had to do that because the 30 day trial software version of Office that came pre-installed would not work. I deleted the trial version by following the instructions on the Office CD I purchased and then installed the new program and everything looked great. I was instructed to download all the updates which I did. I then found that Outlook will not load, something to do with anti spam software conflicts caused by Norton, so I can’t email anyone. I was instructed to contact Norton, Symantec which I did.

I used the “chat” function at Symantec, communicating with some guy name Dass since the error message by Outlook claimed that the Norton Anti Spam program was the cause for the failure. Microsoft also claimed there was no way to fix the problem, how’s that? Dass had me turn off Norton Security so I did; still no Outlook. Dass said that it had to be a Microsoft problem and to contact them.

I tried to figure out the red tape involved in contacting anyone at Microsoft. It reminded me of the old saying, “Never try to teach a pig to sing, it only makes the pig angry” or something close. So now, yes, I’m angry and tired; having spent most of the day pretending that I knew what I was doing putting this new computer on my desk and getting it up and running.

My internet works fine, as does Word and Excel. I need somebody to leave me a comment, one that a non singing pig will be able to use. Better yet, get a hold of Microsoft and leave a comment for me, tell THEM to read my blog. Maybe tomorrow I will uninstall Office and start all over. Right now my eyes are beginning to blur from reading page after page of Microsoft user unfriendly no-tech no-help pages. They wanted me to wait a full day to receive an email reply to my request as to why my email won’t work on Outlook. HELLLLLLOOOOO!!!!!!

Remember, I am a card carrying Mormon so I don’t drink alcoholic beverages, or smoke odd looking rolled up cigarettes, snort white powder to make things seem better. Those kindly suggestions, while tempting, would be of as much value as waiting for your reply by email. Please leave a comment; maybe that you know how to get explosives past the Microsoft security desk or that you know a member of the Jersey Long Shore Man’s Union, a cousin Vinny who wields a mean baseball bat or something along those lines. I’d love for tech support to understand how happy I am to have purchased yet another fine Microsoft Product.

FYI, I love the wireless keyboard and mouse, awesome. The 19 inch flat panel is nice too. Maybe sometime later in the week I will enjoy my %&*#@ email too.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Membership Dues Serve a Purpose

I had a lock job close to downtown the other day, close enough where I could stop by and visit with my old friend Jim Reed, the fellow who started me down the road to become a locksmith. We had a good visit as he chided me for having mentioned him in some of my previous writings. Jim was a good teacher and taught more than how to make a key; teaching about politics and where the locksmith industry was headed, that was back in the mid 70’s and he was correct in almost all his predictions.

Jim was, at the time, and continues his membership, in the ALOA and wanted me to jump on board. I think there was a deal where if you got somebody to join your next year’s membership was reduced or maybe even free. He explained what the membership dues covered; a monthly Keynotes Magazine with all kinds of helpful tips, legislative updates and last; but not least, the added benefits of having key fairies to help along the way. He’d laugh and wink, a sly grin graced his face as his East Texas accent pulled me along; his wry sense of humor was equal to his locksmith skills.

“Key fairies have to follow the rules too, ya’ know. They’re honor bound; no stealing keys or anything like that. They are; however, permitted to place the corner of a newspaper on top of a set of keys that are on somebody’s desk, flick them in the trash or let them fall into a pocket so’s the owner of those keys thinks they’re lost.” Jim would smile, always a big grin as he went along, following the wonderful explanation of how locksmiths who are members of ALOA have these added ways to earn a living.

Once in a while a customer will ask me why a particular job is so expensive. I’ll point to a list hanging in mid air, going down each item; cost of a transponder key blank, time to determine the mechanical cuts, the expensive computer used to program the onboard systems, license fees to the State of Texas and lastly, ALOA dues which include a small portion set aside for the Key Fairies. I try my best to emulate Jim Reed’s East Texas humor and have some fun with all my customers.

Last year’s tomato garden may have been my very best ever. The plants grew thick with tomatoes that were large and sweet. I enjoy a vine-ripened tomato sliced with a touch of salt; not much can beat the flavor. Each year I take a few photographs to compare with prior crops. In this way, long after the last tomatoes have been eaten I can remember with a certain amount of satisfaction, having grown them in my back yard and look forward with renewed anticipation, the warmth of spring and yet another chance to plant more. It wasn’t until the other day that I discovered the reason for their success; tomato fairies.

No, I haven’t been re-visiting the 60’s and I haven’t taken a pain pill for my back in over a week. Like I said, I took pictures of my tomato plants; the best photograph I’ve been using on my computer as wall paper behind all the icons. This past week I was cleaning up the desk top, getting rid of some unused program icons which left a hole, as it were, in the middle of the desk top icons. More of the tomato plant picture could be seen, an area that heretofore I had ignored, my interest had been focused on the huge tomatoes.

It now showed a part of the plants that were mostly leaves, off to the left of the part that had the tomatoes. There, caught in the moment, mixed in with the lush green of the tomato plant leaves; was a clear and distinct image of a tomato fairy. She must have been flying in and out doing her magic at the very moment I took the picture; her wings outstretched as the reflection of the blue sky danced on them.

Not being an expert on tomato fairies, I have to assume that the one in my picture must be a female fairy; either that or male fairies wear long gowns too. Her translucent figure blended in so well with the leaves as to render her nearly invisible. If it had not been for the sparkling of fairy dust near her head I would never have picked her out of the background. There was no denying her presence, the light blue wisp of gown as it gently floated above the plant, her face rising with the glow of tiny luminescent orbs to light her way. I showed the picture to my wife; but she insists that my imagination has run away with me, that the image is the product of two leaves of varied hue and nothing more.

In my thirty years as a locksmith I have never once seen a Key Fairy; all the same I have no doubt that they have helped my business grow. I renew my membership with ALOA without fail and know that it’s a good investment. My wife can go on about how I’ve let my imagination get the best of me or how the leaves make it appear or give the illusion of something that might look like a fairy. To see such things one has to have the faith of a child, regardless of age. I remember my mother telling me how she took a fairy from Staten Island across to Manhattan when she was young. What more need I say?

This is an updated version of an article I posted in January 2005. You get extra points if you can spot the Tomato Fairy.
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Friday, September 08, 2006

Freedom From Fear

Lucy and I got invited to attend my grandson’s kindergarten class this morning as they wanted to spotlight grandparents. I took time out to visit and enjoyed watching JJ in his schoolroom environment. This is the Redd School, a private enterprise and not the public school system version of socialism indoctrination.

JJ showed a picture he’d been working on and held it up proudly as the teacher took our picture. I enjoyed the compliment when told that I didn’t look old enough to be a grandparent. Way back when, I had a Captain who would proudly explain that “I don’t get gray hair; I give it!”; having shaved my mustache and beard does make me look a tad younger.

Lucy and I watched as JJ went past the snack table which had been prepared for everyone; picking out a well balanced portion of carrots, celery, apple wedges, a square of cheddar cheese and a pouch of juice. JJ had watched as the grandparents went through first, each item being skewered with a tooth pick as it was placed on the paper plate. JJ must have been impressed with the new social requirement as he carefully attacked each item with his toothpick. He had a little trouble getting the toothpick to penetrate a crunchy cookie that eventually fell to the floor and had to be discarded.

JJ sat with a friend at one of the small tables as we continued to take in all that was going on around us. JJ must have equated the toothpick as being the same as a fork, sticking it through each item prior to eating. The cheese cube was fun as it easily spun around, placed exactly in the middle of the toothpick, like an ear of corn. The carrots were a bit harder and the celery was nearly impossible to manage until he held it firmly in one hand and was able to drive the toothpick in; holding it like a popsicle until it was finished.

This weekend many will be pondering the importance of what happened on September 11, 2001; an attack on America and our way of life. One of the reasons we have gone to war is to protect the next generation so that they can grow up to appreciate all that we have here in America. Norman Rockwell painted a group of illustrations known as the “Four Freedoms” (link via title bar).

I’ve shown the one titled, “Freedom from Fear” as it conveys our desire to live in peace while we are engaged in war. May we one day reduce the impact of terrorism by exposing our enemy’s strongholds, bringing them from the shadows where they hide and take away their ability to wage war. May we strengthen our resolve to safeguard our country’s future by remembering what it is we stand for, what is important to being an American.

I’ve included this on TMH Bacon Bits Open Line Friday linkfest.

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Potpourri Friday September 8th

That’s a fancy way of saying I have no clue what to call today’s meandering thoughts. I read a couple of neat articles this morning. The first piece was by DL over at TMH Bacon Bits which he called “GOP – Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde (linked via title bar), about good and evil and how you can’t play with evil and expect to walk away without being damaged.

The second was by Al, Old Whig’s Brain Dump, entitled, “Khatami’s Harvard Visit Is a Disgrace” that points out the need to draw a line between those who are our declared enemy as we are at war rather than appease them, welcome them with open arms to hear their thoughts on why we should be eradicated. He then added his comments on the negative effects of government interfering with the free market, the need for UNBRIDLE CAPITALISM.

I had a bowl of cereal, bite sized shredded wheat with some kind of sugar and vanilla coating, sitting in front of the television prior to getting my morning shower. The movie, National Treasure was on, my having missed the first fifteen minutes or so. The show had gotten to past the part where The Charlotte gets blown to kingdom come followed by a breath taking pan shot of Washington D.C. There was some kind of music in the background as the beginning credits flashed by and introduced the movie, I could feel the music as it awoke something in me, a rhythm emphasizing the human effort and pride we all hopefully share being Americans.

A few minutes later I was stepping into the shower and noticed the bottom of the tub needed cleaning as I poured some Comet over it. I practiced a few dance steps from the 60’s on the dampened powder, drawing the bleach over the areas needing attention until the tub floor returned to its natural sparkling appearance. (In the name of common decency I didn’t include any video clips)

I found myself replaying the base tune from National Treasure, (no, there is not a Freudian connection associated with my standing in my birthday suit and National Treasure, or is there?) I then realized that the tune was very similar to the one in the movie, Babe, all about the cute little pig who finds a special talent in being friendly and then goes on to win a sheep herding contest. They smile quietly as perfect scores are displayed, Babe and his master standing together, having won the prize and the music announces their triumphant efforts; same music or pretty darn close.

Now, to tie all this together I would return to the concept of good and evil. We are provided with opportunities to improve ourselves each day, the choices of what we listen to, what we read, with whom we associate with and what we contemplate; rather like an elevator or set of stairs, the direction we go being left to our agency. There is a passage in the Book of Mormon that came to mind, one that clearly provides a means by which anyone can figure out, how to decide if something is good or if it is evil. It can be found in Moroni 7:5-20. I invite you to read the entire chapter, paying close attention to the truths found therein.

TMH Bacon Bits has an open link invitation on Fridays, a place to post just about anything.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Marriage - Taking the Bait

Dave, over at Dave’s Not Here, has an interesting article (linked via title bar) Men Shouldn’t Marry Before 25. Dave went on to say that such a claim is supported by scientific data in Men's Health Magazine:

"Why no man should marry before age 25
Quite simply, a man's brain is incomplete before then. Sure, his sexual organs are all present and accounted for, but his prefrontal cortex (PFC) is still developing. Which is too bad, because that's the part of his brain that's involved in judgment, impulse control, organization, planning, forethought, and learning from mistakes. And it won't be fully developed until he's 25."

I zipped out a short comment indicating how I’d met Lucy when I was 16 years old and knew right away that she was my soul mate; but we waited until I was 20 to get married. We’ve been married 35 years now and I can’t imagine life without her. The more I thought about it the more I was convinced to write a little more.

There may be something to the so called “scientific data”, that men’s brains are not fully developed; although I would tend to say that it would be all inclusive right up until the day mortality ends rather than restricting that to just young men. Remember the line from Zorba the Greek when asked if he was married, “Am I not a man, is not a man stupid; of course I’m married!” Who’s to say that our Creator didn’t design our brain to be incomplete to such a degree as to make it more complete by taking on your soul mate? Think about it; would a totally mature male fall head over heals in love, forget his name and babble on like a school boy while looking into the eyes of that young woman who might be his forever? Maybe I should strike that last line; older guys are probably overpowered by the spirit of a woman, maybe even worse since they know how quickly time eats up this mortality.

The scientific approach would explain why young men whose arteries are full of piss and vinegar join the military, the fire department or the police department. There is no logical explanation for placing yourself in harms way other than you might be missing part of your brain. I used to joke that before joining the Houston Police Department they would take you down to the medical center to have half your brain removed. I then added that the other half was removed if you wanted to join the motorcycle division. I may not have been too far off.

Getting back to young men being overcome by their immaturity; my first date with Lucy is clear in my muddled mind as if it were yesterday. That line from Gigi is bouncing around in my head as I write, “You were in red, I dressed in blue, Ah yes, I remember it well.” It was on June 16th and we had complementary tickets to see a movie downtown supplied by our boss at the Astrodome where we worked together. I was the “soda boy” and Lucy was the “popcorn girl” assembling mass quantities in the commissaries to be sold by the individual vendors at various sporting events. I admired her work ethic, strange as that might sound, doing what we were being paid to do as efficiently as she could.

The night of the date we had time to stop off at an old fashioned drug store on Main Street a few block from the theater, the kind that had a place to sit down and order food; we had ice cream. I read poetry to her and went on like a fool spilling my awkwardness with abandon. I was so taken by the moment that I forgot to pay for the ice cream as we floated down the sidewalk toward the movie house. Half way down the street it hit me and we raced back to pay, not wishing to be thought of as skipping out on the tab. I knew how dumb I felt and didn’t care as long as Lucy was smiling back at me.

My contention is this, how could I deny the importance of giving in to that over powering spirit witnessing to me that we were supposed to be together forever? It would be like denying that God has a plan for each of us, that we are his children and that he cares enough for each of us to supply our eternal partners for us. Scientific data, Ha!

Instead of wondering if you should get married; the more important concern would be to be able to jump in the pool, get totally immersed and learn how to swim for the rest of eternity. Marriage is a growth process, intended to be learned as both individuals mature together; key word is together. Elder Stanley, a General Authority for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was in Houston many years ago for some meeting I attended. He talked extensively on the importance of appreciating marriage and gave an interesting visual that has stayed with me all these years.

Elder Stanley placed his hands together, his palms touching with his fingers extended to form an angular wedge that, if extended from the finger tips, is ever expanding on into the eternities. He explained that the love young people feel for each other is represented by the palms touching and that it grows, emphasizing the expanding gap, with time, never ending as they learn more and more about the love they have for each other. This is not accomplished without effort, much as anything worth having.

Maybe what Dave meant to say or should advocate is that young men should accept the fact that they’re still immature and that they must commit their entire soul, not just a part of it, if they are to enjoy the eternal nature of marriage. Maybe we should all appreciate the divine nature of our marriages and in doing so, learn what real happiness can be.

TMH Bacon Bits has a Mid Week Open Post where anything goes that I like to link with.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

America’s Security

The Fox website has a neat little question each week, “If you were the President…”; today’s question, “What would your strategy be for keeping America safe?” (Linked via title bar)

The answer, one which will not sit well with many folks, comes from the faith based side of preparation. There will be a momentary time out while those not interested can click on some other article, yawn once and shake their heads from side to side, exclaim something along the lines, “Damn, it’s the religious right, here we go again”, or some other less printable statement.

The requirements for safeguarding America are simple; each individual citizen is responsible for following the commandments, from our elected leaders filling fancy chairs in Washington to those sitting in our homes. If we are a righteous people the Lord will not permit this land of promise to be overrun. In the scriptures you will find:

“( verse 3) If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;. . .(verse 6) And I will give peace the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.” (Lev. 26:3, 6.)

“9 Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever.
10 But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord—having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise—behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them. I’ve shown 2nd Nephi verses 9 and 10; however I recommend the entire chapter; looking down to verse 20:

“And he hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence.” (2 Ne. 1:20.)

“If citizens do not have a basic goodness to govern their actions toward one another, we can never achieve peace in the world. One nation’s greed, hatred, or desire for power over another is simply a reflection of the greeds, hatreds, and selfish desires of individuals within that nation.” Elder Dallin H. Oaks Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from a talk given May 1990 in General Conference.

How much better off would our country be were each of us to commit to following the laws set down by our Creator rather than avoiding them? Would we not be protected by His promise?

“I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”
D&C 82: 10

I’m not advocating peace at any cost, disarmament or backing down from a fight when confronted by those who intend to destroy us. There clearly are evil people with whom we must defend ourselves and our way of life. My concern would be whether or not we are living our lives in such a way as to be worthy to ask the Lord to fight our battles for us or at least be there on our side. Is this too much to ask when planning for the safety of this generation and all that follow?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Fishing for a Story

I read on the CNN website (linked via title bar) where the Europeans have been able to successfully get to the moon, their rocket landing in a region known as the Lake of Excellence. They have been sending back high resolution photographs of the area.

This particular picture was accidentally released showing an astronaut taking a break near one of the volcanic pools. He’s using a Terminator T-1 which is the standard for spinner bait design built out of titanium with QuickSkirt ™ silicone skirts to quickly match the preference of the fish. Tandem Oklahoma blades give off fish-attracting flash and vibration. Field and Stream has listed this as the premium off planet angler’s get away coming in slightly ahead of the Sea of Tranquility which, as everyone knows, was Neil Armstrongs favorite.

Mover Mike has more on this extraordinary accomplishment.
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Character and Integrity

Last night was “date night”, a great Saturday ritual which I highly recommend to anyone planning to keep the spark of romance alive in a long term relationship. We celebrated our 35th anniversary this past July so we might be doing something right. Date night can be anything from going grocery shopping, going out to dinner, looking at neat electronic stuff at the local toy stores or watching the Astros.

We’d signed up to help clean the church building with several others; cleaning windows, emptying trash containers, vacuuming, picking up broken Cheerios that were in between the pews and the cushions and things like that. Not exactly a romantic Tom Cruise kind of setting; but we were together doing something that needed doing. We did stop off and shared a Philly Cheese steak hoagie on the way over to the church; burning the tip of my tongue, but enjoying a well made sandwich.

After the cleaning was completed we stopped off at Wal-Mart to pick up some odds and ends for the weekend; yogurt, pickles, some really nice hamburger patties and those crunchy puffy cheese things that Sam’s Club makes that are half the price of Cheetos and taste just as good.

Wal-Mart has a DVD clearance bin that you have to wade through to find out if there are any worth having; but at $ 5.50 a movie I’ll sort for a few minutes. I found three movies that we didn’t already own, “Oh, God”, “A Few Good Men” and “Lassie, Come Home”. We got home a little after 9pm and I put “Lassie, Come Home” in the DVD player. For you younger folks this is a pleasant way to spend time together with the one you love without having to expend a bunch of energy; energy that ran out hours ago or that you might have lost sometime a few years ago.

I must be a sucker for the older movies, things that you don’t have to worry about swearing, raw sex and violence to the point of needing a mop and bucket to clean up the blood splatters. “Lassie, Come Home” is a classic quiet movie, a morality play that teaches basic principles necessary to develop decent character traits such as honesty and integrity. Hardly a scene in the movie doesn’t cause you to ponder those important foundations; the need to be accountable, the need to be honest, the need to stand by your word, the need to be compassionate and so on.

It dawned on me that all three of the movies we’d purchased has a similar thread; that personal integrity and character are essential, whether it means testifying on the witness stand during a Court Martial proceeding, standing up to a dubious public when they declare you a fool for declaring God’s words, or a grandfather teaching his grandson about honesty.

There’s the memorable line from “A Few Good Men” as Jack Nickolson’s character is backed against the wall, shouting at the prosecutor, “You want the truth! You can’t handle the truth!” as he tried to justify killing a soldier whom he considered unfit for duty as a Marine. I enjoy the quiet exchanges between God, being played by George Burns wearing his fishing cap, and John Denver, the assistant grocery store manager as they drive down the road. A small thunder shower fills the inside of his old beater, “You made it rain inside my car!” and God explained that there was no reason to ruin everyone else’s day; a smile generator if ever there was one. I would have to say that the efforts of the grandfather teaching his grandson how to accept the many character building challenges leads the pack when comparing all three movies. “Joe, when the sale is made and you’ve spent the money there’s no going back on it.”, as he explained that Lassie was no longer their dog; belonging instead to the Duke who’d purchased Lassie.

For those requiring a bit of violence; there’s a short dog fight scene when Lassie crosses a property line and is considered a threat to a bunch of sheep, then there’s the attempted robbery where the bad guys club the victim’s little tyke with their walking sticks, and a hint of confrontation when the Duke’s hired dog handler gets butted by the grandfather in a not so kind reminder of civil boundaries; other than that you’ll find it rather bland.

I hope these are as important today as they were when I was growing up. I hope that my children watch these kinds of movies too; not that the Harry Potter movies aren’t full of similar character teaching moments also. I hope that my grandchildren don’t get lost in all the meaningless drivel being passed off as entertainment and miss the quiet moments which permit character development as supplied by “Lassie, Come Home”. To borrow from the closing of yet another movie, “Shawshank Redemption”, “I hope.”
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Friday, September 01, 2006

Little Things

I was talking with my folks; seems that they overpaid on their income taxes last year. The IRS sent them a letter explaining that they were due a refund of $1.09, I might be a penny off. A couple of days later they got a check in the mail for the figure owed less a penny. I have to wonder how much money was wasted, both in man hours to adjust the final amount along with the postage to send out the notice and then the check.

My daughter called, the one living in our old house. She and my son in law were removing a privacy fence that was against the master bedroom’s bathroom. At one time we’d built a “lean to” type of roof on the inside of that privacy fence turning it into a very nice dog house. Years of rain destroyed both the lean to and the fence eventually began to rot. Jenn found the skeletal remains of a dog complete with dog collar. I have to wonder what kind of folks we had renting our house; folks that would leave a dog like that. How'd the dog die; was it injured, starved to death or just die of neglect? I’ve linked to an article (via title bar) I wrote last August after these wonderful folks trashed my house on the way out.

Yesterday afternoon I got a call to fix an ignition switch problem at one of my regular mechanic shops. The mechanic, who speaks no English at all, decided that he could install the new ignition on a 1999 Blazer; how difficult could it be, child’s play. He got it all together, slapped it into the receiver and then realized that the original key hadn’t been used to set the combination. He’d simply opened the first pack of wafers and filled all the slots, then when that ran out he opened the next and so on until all the slots were filled.

I had Oscar, the owner of the shop, obtain the empty packets and a brief explanation of how he’d gone about the task of putting the ignition switch together. I then got a blank key out of stock and tried to turn the switch, not this time. I then started to chop two cuts into the key a space at a time; with any luck at all he’d opened pack #1 first and then #2. I got the key to turn when I put the fourth 2 cut on the key. I then pulled all the wafers out and matched the combination to the original key; yea, like it should have been done the first time. I’m still trying to figure out how he got the switch to go back into the receiver; the normal way requires a working key to drop the side bar into position before it will enter. I make pretty good money figuring out how dummies think; wonder if it’s because we think alike, better leave that one alone.

Last on the list of little things would be the heat. It was in the mid 90’s today as I made a key for a 2006 Malibu. I’d figured out the mechanical cuts and was in the process of putting that same information on the more expensive “Circle Plus Z” key when my brain had a cramp and lost track of where I was; clipping a 4 cut where a 2 cut should have been. Years ago that ruined key blank would have left a mark as it bounced off the inside of my truck; but I’ve matured, slightly, and so it dropped quietly into the trash as I started on the replacement key. I suppose I could blame it on dyslexia, something which gets me in trouble from time to time; but this was a pure and simple brain cramp.