Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Waiting to See Lucy’s Post Office Picture

Lucy came home from grocery shopping a while ago with 35 pounds of chicken thighs she got for 35 cents; not 35 cents per pound, total cost 35 cents. It was going out of date tomorrow and she happened to walk by as they marked it for clearance, at least that’s what she claims.

“Okay lady, put the gun down; you can have the chicken. My wallet’s only got a couple of bucks; but you can have it too, just put the gun away.”

“Next week I’ll be back and you’d better have some lean ground round at a reasonable price or you’ll be pushin’ up Daisies, pardner!”

Lucy was in the kitchen for the past hour or so stripping the skin off and putting all that chicken into freezer bags. 35 cents; unbelievable! I often joke that one day the manager of the local Kroger’s is going to come outside as Lucy drives up and hand her a twenty in an attempt to get her to shop some place else.

This past week a 56 year old woman was arrested for robbing a couple of banks here in the Houston area. They nick named her the ‘Grandma Bandit’. Bold as it might sound, she never attempted to disguise her features during the hold ups. Maybe she watched that movie with George Burns and figured she couldn’t lose; if she got away clean she’d have the money and if she got caught she’d have a place to stay rent free with three meals a day and full medical coverage.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Blue Heaven

Every now and again someone will drop a great question in the comment section, one that makes all the others pale in comparison. This week the prize went to Probligo for asking:

“I think that I know what might make my "utopia". It is unlikely that other people would "like" it as much as I, but that is the product of my own selfishness.
How about it TF? What would be your "utopia"?
More importantly, how might it be achieved?”

The first thing I thought about was being able to be around my family without worrying for their safety, to make a living without governmental bureaucrats mucking up the works or worrying about world affairs and political upheaval. If my family is happy and secure then I’d be in Utopia.

Last night I was listening as my 7 year old grandson read aloud to me, part of his homework assignment from school. He could read from any book in my house; but it had to be aloud to an adult, making sure he understood what had been before him.

I handed him Mark Levin’s, Liberty and Tyranny; a tough read for somebody his age, lots of words he’d have to sound out and then figure out their meanings with opportunities for discussion. There was a reference to “ Federalist 51” and I had a chance to explain that it had come from a compilation of thoughts entitled, The Federalist Papers.

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

JJ and I read that paragraph a second time as he attempted to understand what had been offered for his young mind to fathom. It didn’t take long for him to agree that if everyone acted to the best of their ability there would be no crime, no need for police or courts to try criminals, no need for locks to keep thieves away and so on.

I brought up a tangent idea, closely related to the idea that government was the greatest reflection on human nature; the coinage and artwork engraved upon it as a reflection of what a particular country places on its currency. In previous blog articles I’ve mentioned, Numismatics , an episode from Dr. John Lienhard’s short radio show, The Engines of Our Ingenuity:

“Money, after all, represents the works of our hands -- our technology. Our interest in money has a component that's far more honorable than greed. Money represents what we do. And what we do is what we are.”

All of this reminded me of a line in the Book of Mormon, a challenge to us all:

“Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.” Alma 48: 17

The Utopia I’ve presented has some lofty aspirations for my fellow humans with whom I share this spinning planet. If you have to play games with people’s lives, impose unrighteous dominion and power in order to control others, obtain anything of value through deception; then go some where else and leave me out of it; that’s a start. The blessings of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness were written into our founding documents, a utopian desire if any there was.

Our founders desired to have a nation with as much freedom as could be afforded each individual based on their ability to discipline themselves for such is required to permit such freedoms to continue; that comes about as close to Utopia as can be achieved short of living after the Second Coming where Christ will reign here on Earth.

In the year 1831 Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” Taken from Ezra Taft Benson’s talk, Watchmen, Warn the Wicked.

My vision of Utopia you ask and how might it be achieved? There’s your answer; and the formula for such a “state” lies with following the constitutional boundaries placed on government. America is the Utopia sought for; its foundations rest upon divine principles, which principles were established from before the world was. It’s up to us to live up to the standards required to maintain the blessings offered from God.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What Good is an Old Rocking Chair?

One of my friends salvaged an old table from the dumpster near their apartment the other day, painted it and turned it back into a useful piece of furniture. Somewhere in the cobwebs of my mind a memory surfaced; a short video made in French speaking Canada about the life of a rocking chair.

The artwork presentation was done in pastels which danced in unison to traditional French Quebec folk songs portraying a story of how a simple rocking chair came to be made and enjoyed through its lifetime. The rocking chair served its young mother as she rocked her baby to sleep, then acted as a make believe boat for her young boy as he pretended to fish from it. Eventually the used up rocking chair ended up in a junk pile; but was spotted as worth salvaging where upon its usefulness sprang back to life.

I was unable to find a sharable Youtube type video of The Rocking Chair ; but the fifteen minute award winning production can be purchased along with many other useful computer related items for those interested in French Canadian Folk art. The photographs supplied are from the original video.

We grew up with an old Hitchcock Rocking Chair, classic black enamel with a simple design painted as accents with a touch of gold leaf. That rocking chair eventually was enjoyed by my own children when they’d visit my folks. My oldest daughter would sit on her grandpa’s lap while a story was told; a distracted version since lines of the tale would be woven in between downs with the Sunday afternoon football game filling in the plot.

One afternoon while the bonding of generations was being played out that old rocking chair gave up the ghost, so to speak. The wood had become dry and brittle; it had nothing to do with my father being a few pounds over weight, nothing. One moment the two were rocking and then there was a moment of excitement, loud snapping and popping sounds followed by a crash to the floor. That was a sad moment as we realized how far gone the rocking chair was; no reasonable way to repair it.

A few years went by and I found a similar looking rocking chair to replace the original, a special Christmas present. There’s something about a rocking chair that slows time down into chunks which are more easily swallowed. The world may still be teetering on disaster; but as long as the rocking chair wraps its protective field around you, those frightening moments can wait a bit longer.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Selling With Real Enthusiasm

I watched a video , a rather long video at that, regarding how to properly evaluate the usefulness of a hand gun. I was entranced by the enthusiasm which flowed from the presenter, his honest likes or preferences.

I’m an “old head” retired cop with a preference toward the revolver; I know, a dinosaur. I posted a picture of my primary duty weapon some time back and it’s still my favorite for getting off the first shot. Today I’ll give you a different look at that same pistol, an X-ray taken by my chiropractor; charged me $35, still wondering how that showed up in billing.

My partner and I used to go down to the Capitol Street Bridge police pistol range to get out of the cold and rain when we were on three wheelers; that ought to tell you how long ago that was. The “bet” was always on the best first shot, loser had to buy the soda out of the machine. We figured if we got into a really bad situation, that first shot was the one that counted; right or wrong, that’s the way we had it in our heads.

The idea occurred to me while the video presentation captured my attention on a marginally interesting subject like the purchase of a pistol, listening to the abundance of factual information and subjective opinions, wouldn’t similar presentations be a welcome breath of fresh air on really important subjects; Stimulus Spending, Cap and Trade, Health Care Reform, National Security or any number of really important topics?

I need to give a tip of the hat; first to Nutnfancy for the quality video and secondly to Never Yet Melted for catching my attention, a beautiful picture of a Smith and Wesson 686P . Why don’t you share your method of information sharing with the folks who seem to exemplify just the opposite, the art of smoke and mirrors, our elected representatives; transparency in government, yeah…

Friday, September 25, 2009

Environmental Harassment Suit in the News

I was prying my eyelids open, sitting at my computer this morning with my bowl of oatmeal as the headlines rolled off the monitor. The Houston Chronicle highlighted one of its favorite targets, the environment and how mankind has destroyed the planet with every carbon footprint it has taken while escaping the cave. My one handed applause goes to Victor Flatt with his article, New Pressure to Pass Climate Legislation .

“That tremble you felt yesterday was the world digesting the 2nd Circuit's decision in Connecticut et al. v. American Electric Power Council. After sitting on the case for 4 years, the court finally held that Connecticut and 8 other states could proceed to sue the 25 largest coal fired power generators in the country for damages resulting from their contribution to global warming/climate change.”

I looked up the case referenced and found the political machine of the environmentalist movement hip deep in manufactured sewage as they attempt to shut down what was once the most efficient and productive industrial nation in the world through harassment in the courts. An article written by Chad Bray and Cassandra Sweet in The Australian explained the rational of the original court dismissal of the cases.

“US District Judge Loretta Preska in Manhattan dismissed the cases in 2005, saying the question of whether carbon-dioxide emissions should be reduced laid with Congress, not the courts.”

The hoax being perpetrated on everyone, to persuade empty minded humans that they are destroying the planet through breathing in and out, consuming natural resources in order to improve the quality of life and any other unpardonable insult to the lords of the Great Algorian Church of Environmentalism; may I grovel to obtain forgiveness, Global Warming and Climate Change being a well known fact among the enlightened. We should all go back to our caves and suffer a marginally satisfying existence until such time as we are covered with composted soil. I’m restrained from using my formerly well used and socially unacceptable crude language skills; how unfortunate since it flowed like poetry from my lips and covered these miscreants much better.

“Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said: "This ruling restoring our legal action breathes new life into our fight against greenhouse gas polluters and changes the legal landscape to impose responsibility where it belongs.”

‘"Our legal fight is against power companies that emit a huge share of our nation's CO2 contamination, but it will set a precedent for all who threaten our planet with such pernicious pollution."’

Here’s one solution, stop selling electricity to folks who don’t want anyone to use it. If these folks are serious then they shouldn’t be contributing to the problem which they claim is destroying the planet.
“You guys should go sue yourselves”, very close to something I would have said many years ago before gaining some social graces; not as crisp as it lands on the ear, close enough.

Never mind that most of the so called scientific facts which have been used to create the necessary hysteria associated with Man Made Global Warming/Climate Change have as much to do with science as the Flat Earthers have with reality.
The sea levels will rise and flood the major cities of the world all because T. F. Stern leaves his computer up and running all night long instead of giving it a rest. T. F. Stern also uses soft two ply toilet paper, stands for long periods of time in front of the refrigerator with the door open looking for the perfect snack, enjoys reading by the light of an incandescent light bulb rather than a pale yellow tinged “green minded” upgrade that will require sealing off my house as a contamination area should one of them ever fall to the floor releasing mercury vapors to escape, and my work truck consumes enough fuel to support a village of twenty in Mongolia for twelve years; so sue me!

“For the good of all humans we have decided that…fill in the blank…is not good for you.” When I hear a sentence like that I know to put on my brown shoes and stay outside the house so as not to track any of that stuff inside.

The problem with having Utopian minded folks, for that is what they have as a singularly acceptable goal, nothing short of Utopia will do. These high minded folks would throw away all that has been accomplished and is being accomplished because it falls short of perfection, is less than totally efficient or has some flaw which diminishes the unreachable Utopian’s stated goal.

The environmentalist movement reminds me of Star Trek: The Motion Picture where the damaged Voyager probe comes back, considerably altered in both form and purpose, seeking out its creator; all the while destroying every imperfect carbon based forms it comes in contact with as a means of purifying the universe.

So it is across the world with the G-20 summit plotting to save the world by doing away with the means of productivity, damn the consequences, “We must affect Change!”. Never mind that the models for such change are based on less than scientific data, often times fraudulent as has been shown far too many times, “We must affect Change! Imperfect human beings must stop enjoying this planet which is under our stewardship!”

All these “do gooder” environmental groups want to exact their pound of flesh from the dirty old coal burning electricity suppliers; fine, then let’s back that up with something a little less hypocritical. They should vacate their fancy air conditioned offices, stop using electricity all together for that matter. Then they need to walk to the court house instead of employing the use of internal combustion engines which also destroy the planet. They’ll have to learn how to fly without those big airplanes which destroy lots of fossil fuel too.

Why don’t we stop breathing every other breath; think how much carbon dioxide we could keep from destroying the planet. With a little more effort we could cut that in half again and then after considerable self discipline we might even make it to where one breath of air could last several minutes.

There is a group of folks who have figured out a way to make it so humans never take even one gulp of precious air, never exhale any carbon dioxide and keep them from polluting the planet completely. If the new Health Care legislation is passed your tax dollars will be spent to help unwanted pregnancies end in abortions; just think of it as part of the ecology movement, rather than preventing a human life we’ll be saving the planet.

The Utopians/Environmentalists have abused our courts through harassment suits, suits which are filed as a means to defeat the industrialization of our planet, to keep everyone safe from carbon dioxide, to reduce productivity levels. They seek to turn back the calendar to a time when the only available power was provided by a swiftly running stream nearby or some stupid animal tethered to mechanically driven device, forever to walk in circles without hope or change of scenery. We are to become slaves of our environment rather than masters over it; no thanks, that’s not very progressive.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cash for Clunker and It’s a Wonderful Life

Remember the old Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, where our hero is sitting in old man Potter’s office grabbing at his last straw after the deposit somehow got misplaced? Old man Potter knows where the money is; but far be it from him to return it to the rightful owner.

“George Bailey, you’re worth more dead than you are alive”, explaining how his life insurance policy would set things right; after all, it was George Bailey’s fault the money got lost, the bank examiner won’t care that it was an honest mistake.

This afternoon I got called out to one of my regular car dealerships to make keys for a couple of Cash for Clunker cars. “Why would they need keys for a car that’s headed for the scrap heap” you might ask. You’re not going to like the answer; but I’ll do my best to explain the lunacy behind such an imbecilic idea.

Some of these cars had to be hauled to the dealership on a wrecker, others limped in on their last vapors while others looked like they had plenty of life left in them; but because the government was paying premium prices they got used at trade in towards the purchase of a bright new and shiny fuel efficient vehicle. When I say the government was paying I hope most of you understand that in actuality taxpayers first were robbed by the government in order to obtain that money. In essence, you and I helped put our neighbors into a new car and supplied them with up to $4500.00, as long as they promised to destroy one vehicle in the name of “Let’s Go Green”.

My job as a locksmith is to make keys and in return I get paid; sounds fair enough. I charge just as much for a key that will work in a car headed for the crusher as for one that will be driven off the lot by the next proud owner; go figure. Today I made keys for some real winners, a 1995 Chevy pick up truck and a 1990 Aerostar; neither of them worth the price of the key I made; but they had to run in order to be destroyed properly.

The mechanic was happy to take the keys so he could go about the process of seizing up the motors. That’s right, he had to be able to crank up the motor once all the oil had been drained and then pour in a silicate solution to completely destroy the engine to be eligibility for Cash for Clunkers money. Wasteful as that may sound, it was not near as puzzling as he explained that some of the other Cash for Clunker units also had to be destroyed in the same way.

He listed a late model Dakota, newer than the one I’m driving with a Quad-cab, big V-8 motor and spotless body; nicer than mine and with fewer miles. He pointed out a pristine custom Dodge van that I could find nothing wrong with and the line of “Clunkers” kept on and on. Most were true Clunkers; but even so, why destroy a useful motor by running it until it locked up when it could easily be torn down, rebuilt and turned into a useful product?

“George Bailey, you’re worth more dead than alive”, that’s the way our efficient government sees things. I can’t wait until they take over health care like they have the car business; yeah, that will be so much better than what we have now.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Really Cheap Watch Contest Update

Last week I announced the return of the Really Cheap Watch Contest and thought it was time to show the “carrot” dangling out there before you, an incentive to jump into the deep end of the pool.

The prize winner will have his/her choice of the finest watches China has ever sent to America and rumored to be assembled by unemployed Chinese rocket scientists. The woman behind the counter at the pawn shop promised a 30 day money back guarantee so these must be Really Cheap Watches, as advertized.

The Church website has a link where you can obtain General Conference in many languages . Please take advantage of the opportunity to hear inspired talks from the leadership and general authorities of the Church, take good notes and then write down something which might pass for an essay based on what you’ve heard in those talks.

Rules for the Cheap Watch Contest

1. “Watch” at least one session, either Saturday or Sunday.
2. Write a short article expressing how at least one of the talks given increased your desire to become more Christ like, listing the name of the speaker(s) and topic(s) of his/her talk(s).
3. Extra points for including scriptural references.
4. Include a reference to my original challenge in the opening paragraph of your article.
5. Send a copy of your article to my email, , by October 10, 2009.
6. One winner will receive a Really Cheap Watch (see photograph).

All entries become the property of the contest and may be reprinted. Should you win a Nobel Prize or Pulitzer Prize as a result of your efforts, a portion of the winnings will be skimmed off the top.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Remembering Hurricane Ike

( If you use Firefox this particular blog article will have major font changes later on; but if you use Internet Explorer these font changes don't show up as badly.)

This time last year the Houston area struggled after the effects of Hurricane Ike . Most of the city and surrounding areas lost electrical service; we lost service for a couple of weeks.

My neighbor across the street had a huge pine tree crash through his house letting the heavy rains pour into his living room. With little in the way of “construction materials”, a couple of tarps, some nails and bungee cords; a couple of us pitched in to assemble a make shift patch to reroute the water, not that it helped all that much.

My business truck has a small generator which we enlisted to keep our food stores, the outside freezer and kitchen refrigerator cold. We would crank it up for awhile several times during the day and night to make the most of a limited supply of gasoline, there being no power to gas stations in the area either. We were able to run a small fan, the computer and, remarkably, internet service after the first week, you can read a couple of other blog entries about it here and here ; but that’s not the purpose of writing today, I wanted to compare our modest inconvenience with hardships of others.

Today’s Sunday School lesson, “ A Mission of Saving ”, had to do with the Mormon Pioneers who crossed the Great Plains under extremely harsh conditions and their brothers and sister in the Gospel who came to their rescue.

I should step outside the box for a moment and explain that I’m a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the “Mormons”. Prior to doing any serious investigation of the Church’s teachings, about the only thing I knew about the Mormons was how they’d crossed the Plains in covered wagons; oh yeah, that and they had lots of wives. I didn’t know that much as you can see, that part about having lots of wives had been done away with a very long time ago and my understanding of the “afternoon trek” across the plains was the result of the magic of television and my imperfect understanding of what that migration entailed.

The Sunday School lessons work on a four year pattern, that is if I have that part down. One year we study the Old Testament, then the New Testament, the Book of Mormon and lastly Church History. This year’s course of study is Church History through the pages of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Getting back to this morning’s lesson,

“President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “Stories of the beleaguered Saints and of their suffering and death will be repeated again and again. … Stories of their rescue need to be repeated again and again. They speak of the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1996, 118; or Ensign, Nov. 1996, 86).

Referring to the pioneers, President Hinckley also said: “I will never get over being thankful to them; I hope you never get over being thankful to them. I hope that we will always remember them. … Let us read again and again, and read to our children or our children’s children, the accounts of those who suffered so much” (Church News, 31 July 1999, 5).”

You may think you have an understanding of what those hardships were; but I learned about the Handcart pioneers for the first time not long after joining the Church back in 1978 and have listened with moistened eyes every fourth year as the lesson plan unfolds.

The handcart pioneers were the poorest, unable to afford the “luxury” of a covered wagon. Handcarts were hastily put together to enable a small family to “make a go of it”, for lack of a better way to put my thoughts, to join with the Saints in the Great Salt Lake Valley. I often wondered what kind of testimony would be powerful enough to strengthen those undertaking such a trek across the vast distances of unknown territory, many of whom would walk the whole way with only the clothes on their backs.

Then there are the stories of the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies which suffered the worst, the. These folks started late in the season and got caught by the onset of an early winter out on the plains many miles from the Salt Lake Valley. When I think of the human suffering these folks went through my tears well up quickly.

Folks in our day would have hired lawyers to sue the organizers of such an ill fated company of travelers, pointing the finger of blame and a desire for justice. That’s not the way it went down, my apologies for inserting a little cop slang.

An account from one of the survivors, William Palmer:

“I was in that company and my wife was in it. … We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? … [We] came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities.

“I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it. … I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.

“Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.”

I count my blessings for the trials, limited as they may be in comparison. We each are given opportunities to test our testimonies, remembering the promise that we would never be tested beyond that which we are able to endure. Perhaps our character testing is around the next corner and those little bumps in the path, our Hurricane Ike’s if you will, are only minor trials with the really tough test yet to come.

Recalling the words of a return missionary from Samoa and the mild rebuke he got from his partner when a little rain dampened his desire to spread the Gospel, “What, you’re going to let a little rain stop you from doing what the Lord would have you do? You come from a pioneer heritage which had your people walk across the Great Plains, some of them without shoes in the middle of winter.”

Photograph credit to Walter Reed via Flickr .

You might have noticed the font changes; these were brought about through the interpretation of Blogspot's wonderful compose mode functions which took a large dose of LSD, not LDS, while posting this article; sorry, I'm not smart enough to figure out how to fix these unwanted magnifications.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Oh, But This Can’t Happen Here…

Lucy found this news article about an elderly couple who have had their lives stolen by the State of Texas. It made me angry and I don’t even know these folks; just think how angry they are. The State of Texas should hang its head in shame on this one.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Whut Evar Happined to Prouf Reeding?

I winced the moment I saved the title, my apologies; but I couldn’t resist after reading a short article posted on the Foxnews website this morning. Mary Travers of Peter Paul & Mary Dead at 63, the headline announced; I went on to read about one of my favorite folk singing groups.

“The band’s publicist, Heather Lylis, says Travers died at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut on Wednesday. She was 72 and had battled leukemia for several years.”

My guess is Mary Travers was somewhere between 63 and 72 when she died. Rest in peace Mary, your voice was heard.

Monday, September 07, 2009

These Guys Got Off Easy

I read on the Foxnews website where the attempted suicide bombers over in the UK were convicted . These are the followers of that "religion of peace", the ones who planned to smuggle explosive liquids onto airplanes in order to kill thousands of passengers (Infidels) bound for Canada and America.

“Their arrests led to travel chaos as hundreds of jetliners were grounded across Europe. Discovery of the plot also triggered changes to airport security, including new restrictions on the amount of liquids and gels passengers can take onto flights.”

If justice were to be handed out proportionately, each and every traveler who ever had to toss out a bottle of shampoo, a jar of ointment, a tube of toothpaste or any other item such as a bottle of over priced water should have the opportunity to personally kick each one in the groin or some other anatomical location. Instead they will have a comfortable jail cell for a short while until they get released for humanitarian purposes; remember, the UK needs oil.

It’s War and Bad Things Happen

I read an article on the Foxnews website, U.S. – German Dispute Emerges After Afghan Strike .

“An airstrike by U.S. fighter jets that appears to have killed Afghan civilians could turn into a major dispute for NATO allies Germany and the United States, with tensions rising over Germany's role in ordering the attack.”


“‘If there were civilian casualties or injuries, of course we deeply regret that. At the same time, it was clear that our soldiers were in danger,” Jung said in comments to German broadcasters. “Consequently, I stand clearly behind our commander’s decision” to order the air strike.”


“Taliban militants stole two fuel tankers late Friday that became stuck on a riverbed outside Kunduz…”

I fail to see the need to point fingers at anyone. The statement given by Jung should have been all that was required or necessary. This was a military operation intended to keep allied military personal out of harms way by denying the enemy supplies which had already been obtained.

I guess we need to apologize each time something bad happens, has happened or may yet happen. Congress will have a bill up sometime in the near future offering monetary restitution for Taliban terrorists killed by the explosion, free college tuition for the families of those who died while siphoning off stolen gasoline and free medical attention for life. Geeze Louise, it’s getting to be a revoltin’ development.

Really Cheap Watch Contest Returns

Years ago when I was teaching in the Primary I challenged my class of eleven year olds to participate in the Really Cheap Watch Contest. I went out and purchased a really cheap pocket watch at the local convenience store as I recall, one that cost about ten dollars. The winner of the contest would have to “watch” General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, take notes on the various talks given and then write a short article expressing how one of the talks increased his/her spirituality.

I just got challenged to watch the next General Conference via a Facebook invitation. I like to invite folks to watch via my blog. Here is the official invitation:

“The 179th Semiannual General Conference of the Church will convene in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday and Sunday, October 3-4, 2009. The Saturday general sessions will be held at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.; Sunday sessions will be held at 9:30 a.m. (which includes Music and the Spoken Word) and 2:00 p.m. The general priesthood meeting will be held in the Conference Center on Saturday, October 3, 2009, at 6:00 p.m.”

You can enjoy General Conference from anywhere in the world via the internet, just visit the official home page of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for instructions. Navigating the website is relatively easy; take a few moments and see what is available.

Some folks like to attend General Conference in person in Salt Lake City; tickets are required and may be obtained in advance. You can watch from the comfort of your living room at home depending on cable television availability in your area. I prefer to access it through the miracle of the internet either through live video steaming on the BYU Channel or audio streaming through the Church’s website. (Details of how to access internet streaming are posted about two weeks prior to the broadcast) Archives of past General Conferences are also available through this site in many languages.

Rules for the Cheap Watch Contest

1. “Watch” at least one session, either Saturday or Sunday.

2. Write a short article expressing how at least one of the talks given increased your desire to become more Christ like, listing the name of the speaker(s) and topic(s) of his/her talk(s).

3. Extra points for including scriptural references.

4. Include a reference to my original challenge in the opening paragraph of your article.

5. Send a copy of your article to my email, , by October 10, 2009.

6. One winner will receive a really cheap watch ( to be purchased between now and the first week of October)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Hide In Plain View and Other Security Thoughts

I got my weekly email from the Associated Locksmiths of America this afternoon and there were some good ideas worth passing along. I’m gadget oriented and found the old fake rock hide a key of interest years ago, then came the shave cream can with the hidden compartment to hide your money. (You may recall how this was used in the movie Jurassic Park to hide the dinosaur embryos that were to be stolen.) Now there’s a company selling fake surge protectors that you can take along when you go on vacation or for just around the house. It looks like a standard surge protector except it’s hollowed out and can hold jewelry or cash. There’s yet another free advertisement to come out of my blog.

There’s a line from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 which fits the “hide in plain view” format. Montague is to teach the young firemen at the academy how to find contraband books, “Remember”, he says, “to find you must first learn how to hide.” Burglars and thieves would hardly think it worth their efforts to start tearing apart surge protectors while looking for a Rolex or some similar item. Should you decide to use a “hide in plain view” sort of device; don’t tell anyone, not even your children or you’ve wasted your time.

I put in safes many years ago, simple storage units for homes and businesses where the owner could keep valuables without having to go to the bank. I put one in a wall disguised as an air conditioning intake shaft. They didn’t want their kids to know they had large sums of money and they knew the last place the kids would look was someplace that was in plain view. I even threw in a moderately dirty air filter to cover the actual safe; great looking job if I do say so myself.

The other article which I wanted to share came from Belinda Goldsmith, Reuters, which warned of the dangers in blabbing everything about your comings and goings because Burglars (are) exploiting Facebook or Twitter . There is wisdom in keeping silent; what’s the old WWII admonition, “Loose lips sink ships”.

The same holds true for securing your house and property. If you’re about to go on vacation don’t tell everyone about it via the internet; not everyone who reads your entry is your friend. Some of these folks simply want to know what time you’re gone so they can take their time going through your belongings without fear of being caught.

“Reformed burglar Michael Fraser, ( not related that I know of) who appears in BBC’s “Beat the Burglar” series and helped Legal & General prepare the report, said this kind of information was being used by professional burglars to establish a list of targets.”

If you want to share your vacation experiences, wait until you get back home and then be a little cautious of what you put into your Facebook, Twitter or Blog article. It might not be a great idea to tell everyone you just got that new X-Box, Rolex, Plasma television or any other desirable items which burglars might also want. Share this information with your children and neighbors who might be a little too relaxed in their security measures.

I know of a scam that was used in the Houston area; may still be used for all I know. These guys would call and explain how you just won tickets to the ball game, pretending to be radio shows DJ’s. They’d get your address and send the tickets along with a promise that one of the winning ticket holders attending the game would have a chance at winning the big prize; a new car, a trip to the Bahamas or some other carrot to guarantee you wouldn’t be home for a couple of hours. Then when you got back from the ball game you found the back door kicked off its hinges, your jewelry, television, stereo and game players were all gone.

The point is this, if you’re going to the ball game; wait until you get home to tell your Facebook friends, to Tweet about it or to blog and post pictures of you sitting behind the home team dugout. The story will be just as good, maybe better now that you have pictures to go with it. Try not to give away too many secrets, who knows who’s hooked in to your page, could be one of Michael Fraser’s old cell mates.

New School Pledge?

I saw this over at Nickie Goomba’s ; gotta love a guy who steps up to the plate with a name like that. I’d offer to take him for a free meal at Burger King; but he probably thinks the Whopper is a form of cannibalism. I’m a What-a-Burger fan myself; #1 combo, no onions or tomatoes and onion rings instead of French fries with a Dr. Pepper. What-a-Burger makes the best onion rings of all the places I’ve tried; not like the cardboard substitutes others serve. I should get a bonus for that unsolicited advertisement.

So where’s this going? The video I “borrowed” from Nickie explains the problems associated with irresponsible spending so even a school age child would understand. Our school children are probably not being taught the facts, much like the public is being distracted by the state run mass media. The Stimulus Package, Cash for Clunkers, Medicare, Medicaid, proposed Health Care Reform along with Cap and Trade will permanently place America in debt, to countries not too friendly toward us to begin with, so far as to destroy the liberties and freedoms once promised here.

President Obama has a short indoctrination video for school children scheduled to come out any day now; a pretty sure bet he won’t need labor union bullies at the door while it’s playing. I forgot, the teacher’s union will already be in position just in case any try to escape the force feeding of socialism.

A fellow blogger, Col. Hogan , often closes his sentiments regarding government with the line, “They’ve killed Freedom! Those bastards!” I hope he’s wrong; but…