Sunday, June 30, 2013

Obama Administration; Equal Opportunity Tyrants?

Another muddied political rant. You have been warned.

Seems the Left/Progressive portion of the population has more in common with the right than they might think. Surveillance and agent provocateurs?

The author, Todd Gitlin, is, surprise, a Columbia University professor teaching journalism and “communications”.

Of course, the IRS scandal isn’t,  per one leftist spin.

Only talking point he missed is, “It is Bush’s fault”.

I wander over to this site, Common Dreams, from time to time, when my blood pressure is under control. There is a common theme in many postings; distrust and loathing of government. Not a whole lot different from Townhall.

A cartoon from the sixties comes to mind. A conservative dressed man,  reading a newspaper,  saying, “The more my thinking veers to the Right, the more I find in common with the Left. I think I’m becoming a middle of the road extremist”.

Competition for power and position has existed forever. People seem to quickly recognize when the playing field is being tilted against them. How they react, and how they organize to  protect themselves, is a large part of the human experience. Factor in whatever philosophies have influenced them and you have politics.

Current reading is, “The Rule of the Clan” by Mark S. Weiner. He wrote it, so is entitled to his biases, but I am finding some solid ideas in his work.

Call me a cynic; through out history, those who have the wealth are determined to keep it, and the rest of us can survive the best we can. Yes, call me Captain Obvious.

As part of my deficient personality, I so enjoy putting sticks in the elite’s spokes. Bad, bad me.

Seems to sum it up. Your mileage may differ.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hearty Congratulations

Congratulations to a young friend of mine who is marking his second year of sobriety today. It hasn't been easy. His father and older siblings may be his inspiration for what not to emulate.

It is a joy to see he and his pretty wife doing well and enjoying life. Here is hoping for many more years of success for them.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Thankful for What I Don't Have

Walking out on the deck this morning, the smoke in the air made my  eyes water. For a moment, I was irritated; this has been going on for days in Colorado. Missed clear views of the "supermoon" because of the haze. Then, it struck me that people are seeing their whole world burning, and I'm a long ways from any of the fires.

During the Korean War, we were living in a spot on the map, in the Rocky Mountain foothills, Pinecliff, CO. The Denver and Rio Grande main line ran through the town. To meet the demand for rail transport, the railroad had brought back many steam engines. You would see three or even four steam locomotives laboring up the 3% grade and blowing black clouds of smoke and cinders. Even with their smokestack screen, burning cinders would start small fires alongside the right of way.

There was no fire department, or equipment of any kind. The fifty or so local residents, men, women, and children, would put out the fires the best they could with shovels and buckets of water from the creek. I was in the second grade then. The railroad maintenance crews were busy fighting fires in the roadless canyons. We had little choice. It was a dry, hot summer. If the small fires got going, we would lose our homes, cars, pets, everything.

House fires were a dreaded event then, if not now. There was little in the way of fire fighting equipment. I have a very clear memory of classmates standing in the snow in pajamas watching their house go up in flames. Another memory is of our detached garage burning to the ground with all my father's tools inside. Only a garden hose spraying water on the wall of our house closest to the garage kept it from catching fire.

So, this morning I'm very grateful for what I don't have; a wildfire outside my door. Please say a prayer for those who have lost, or are losing everything. Another prayer for the fire fighters.

You don't need to join me in cursing all the fucking tourists in their RVs clogging up the roads and watching the spectacle. Go home, damn you!

Seldom do we escape damage free. These are from last nights violent thunderstorm.

Friday, June 21, 2013

We're Getting Hosed, Yet Again

Being a to the bone cheapskate, I’m diligent about checking prices, ingredients, country of origin and weights. I’m noticing prices on all kinds of things going up, and none going down.


Bag of cat food, brand I usually purchase, went up a dollar from last month.

Simple faucet defuser, a two bit item, $3.28 at Lowes.

Basic oil change, with a coupon, $19.95++ Last year I could get it done for $9.95.

Air filter for my vehicles, for years $2 - $4, now $9.00++

Replacement windshield washer nozzles, cheap ass plastic, $14.00++

Quart 10-40 oil, $2 to $5

Size and brand of shoe I always buy, up $15 in six months.

Decent, not crap, duct tape $5 a roll.

Disc brake replacement pads, from around $6 to $15 in a year.

Even the junk yards, excuse me, recycle yards are getting high. Pulled two exterior mirrors off a wrecked Contour and paid $20 each for them. Also paid a $2 admission fee just to walk on the place.

Try not to buy “Made in China” but sometimes that is all you can find. All Chinese stuff seems to taken a huge jump.

Food? Packages that were 16 oz are now 12 - 14 oz, and a higher price. Stuff on the very top or bottom of the islands used to be much cheaper. Still is less, but not by much.

It is inflation, which, to me, is another form of taxation. Some is supply and demand, but most is brought about by monetary policies. We are paying off all that toxic debt for the banksters. Your opinion may differ.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

About Damn Time

Old NFO has a post that shows, in part, a Delta Airlines employee honor guard unloading the remains of servicemen. Worth watching.

Some of the remarks, especially  “Bob’s” are compelling.

The contrast to the Vietnam era brings back some not so pleasant memories. After getting out of the Army, I went back to school 1968-1970. To make ends meet, worked at the old Denver Stapleton Airport as a cargo handler, first for TWA, then Braniff. We handled many human remains, and far too many were servicemen.

In the flow of business then, these were just another piece of freight. Each was accompanied by a active duty serviceman, in uniform. About the best we could do was have a single cart and tug haul the box to the airfreight office. The serviceman could ride on the tug. We had to make sure we used a tug with a double seat.  At busy times, not even that would happen. Enough of us were prior service that we were able to handle the transfers ourselves, respectfully, and load no other freight into the cart. Nothing like a formation, or salutes. Simply moving the remains smoothly with no jarring and placing the box in the cart squared away was about the best we could do (and smacking the shit out of anyone making disparaging remarks).

It makes my heart glad to see the changes that have occurred.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Old Age and Change

For as long as I can remember, my blank checks have come in a small cardboard box. Last reorder came in a Folio. All pretty and everything, and probably easier to use. Ok, looked at them and put them in a drawer, then forgot them.

After using my last check, went looking for the box of blank ones. Tore the dwelling apart, looked through the vehicles, cursed and griped, but no checks. Must have put my hands on the damned folio several times in the process. Aarg!

Please, don't talk to me about online banking. The closest I've come is using the  Credit Union site  to check my balance, and print out copies of cancelled checks as needed.  In fact, still pissed I don't get my cancelled checks back.

Did I tell the Credit Union it was ok to change the way I get my checks? I don't think so.

Damn, I need to stop getting old, and, I need to get a life!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Happy Birthday

To all those serving, and those who have served, thank you!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Steamboat Springs Story

My last post featured Steamboat Springs, CO. Here is another Steamboat story. Something for the family history effort, so may bore everyone else. You are warned!

High school years, small town, and ornery teenagers can yield good (or bad, your viewpoint) stories. Willing to bet not many high schoolers caused a flood.

A certain individual cheated my parents out of some serious money. Being of a vindictive nature,  from an early age, I set out to get some justice. His garbage can became the target.

My partner in crime had a Jeep his parents gave him to drive. Once a week, after wrestling practice,  we would cruise by the target’s house and pick up his garbage can by reaching out the passenger door and holding it against the Jeep. From there, it was a short trip to a bridge over a creek where the garbage can was dropped. Very quick, and very quiet, it was.

Came Spring, and the ice breaking up in the creek. The ice jammed under the bridge and started flooding the neighborhood. We drove by the bridge after school and watched the city workers fishing out garbage cans. Many, many cans.

My partner and I had one rare trait for our age group; keeping our mouths shut. Things like the bundle of cherry bombs in the furnace duct work causing years of dust to fill the school library. Then there was the avalanche on the 90 meter ski jump landing four days before a major event.  Who knew a home made sled, with two aboard,  landed harder than ski jumpers?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Not Up to Dutch Harbor Standards.

From the town of my high school years.

Moped in a port a potty is unusual.

Every year the town hosts the  "Cowboy Downhill" open to professional rodeo riders. Some have never been on skis. Usually held the weekend after the Denver Stock Show in January. Things have been know to get "interesting".

Saturday, June 8, 2013

...And The Beat Goes On.....

Colorado politics are as strange as anywhere, I suppose. The divide between rural and urban citizens is immense. From “gun” control to energy, the majority (urban) shits on the minority (rural). I wrote about it before.

Now here comes the blow back, via the second largest of fifty four counties. Secede.

Fifty five of the state’s sixty four sheriffs have gone to court over the recently passed gun laws. Read how the liberals squeal and spin.

These sheriffs probably have a better understanding of laws than most of us, and, access to knowledgeable legal council. Many are term limited, so there is noting in it for them politically.

The Senate Majority leader is facing a recall election. Another Senator will know Monday if enough signatures were gathered to force her into a recall election. Two other recall efforts have failed.

The ongoing Obama “Thank you for Your Service” bus keeps rolling.

The liberal/progressives are all atwitter about having armed and trained opposition to their agenda. Marshall the smear campaigns!

Twits! If it wasn’t for all the undercover cops, agent provocateurs, and confidential informants in these groups, most of them  couldn’t muster enough numbers for a good kegger. Easier pickings than hardcore criminal gangs, for the Feds, plus a chance to be praised by the Southern Preposterous Lie Center.

Do I sound bitter and cynical? Hell yeah!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Greatest Generation Supplement

Follow up/back story on Al Vella.

Germany, early 60’s, I pissed off my First Sergeant. Alcohol was probably involved. He decided my idle hours needed to be filled doing something useful, and handed me some file folders, about 6” thick, that contained our unit history. The assignment was to sort it, catalog it, and retype a new summary.

Turned out to be an interesting assignment. In fact, I enjoyed it.

When I met Al Vella, and started talking to him, I learned he was at the Normandy landing in the predecessor company to mine. We had some interesting conversations.

The company is still on active duty and has been in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

The unit was activated as the 511th Engineer Light Pontoon Company in 1942 at Camp Bowie, TX. WWII Campaigns were Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe.

After WWII, the unit was inactivated, then reactivated in 1954 as the 814th Engineer Company (Float Bridge) at Hanau (Pioneer Kaserne). It was inactivated in 1992, then reactivated at Ft Polk, LA and is still active.

The black and white photos aren't mine but are early 60's. The troops are still wearing "Ridgeway" covers instead of the ridiculous Baseball caps. That is an Atomic Cannon on that raft. Class 80 load on a Class 60 bridge section.

Learning what Al and his buddies accomplished added quite a bit of humility to memories of my service in a designated Soviet Army speed bump unit.

Greatest Generation Repost

Local Resident, subject of a previous post, Normandy D-Day survivor.

Sorry to say he is fading fast. I'm just pleased I got to know him. I'm down to two uncles by marriage who are WWII vets.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Early Winter?

Three signs of Fall in Seattle; the rain is colder, the days are shorter, and the Mariners are 25 games out of first place.

Here it is June 2, and they are 11 games out of first place.

On the other hand, their Triple A affiliate, the  Tacoma Rainers, are in first place by 2 1/2 games.

Maybe they should just swap the clubs.

Climate Changes

 The Colorado Front Range is a cloud factory. Moist air is lifted, sent East over the High Plains, and becomes cumulonimbus clouds.

Lots of Virga (precipitation than evaporates before hitting the ground) that will get a pilots attention in a hurry.

Moving to the East it grows.

And, too often, becomes this.

I'm a man made climate warming skeptic. One good sized volcano erupting will put more crap into the atmosphere that all of the industrial revolution (except, maybe, fluorocarbon).

What I do know is the climate does change. In the 1960's, Denver area summer cumulus tops were in the 35,000' range. Today. they are often in the 65,000' range. My question is this. Is this a normal, historical cycle? If not, what is  causing the change?