Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

In the Northwest corner of Colorado is a private cemetery on ten acres left from an old homestead. Buried there is my father and eight of his siblings. Yesterday we gathered to bury the ashes of one of his sisters. Around forty people attended.
All his brothers who were physically able served in WWII including one who was nearly blind in one eye. Most of his sisters married servicemen. Of the men in the yesterday group maybe two out of three are veterans. Among my father's nieces and nephews, several have children serving or who have served.

The pictures are of what remains of the five brother's sleeping quarters for two or three Colorado winters during the Great Depression.

What I want to say to those who want to take away our freedoms, our way of life; to subjugate us, our children, our clans is this: We know where we came from, we will fight; and we will prevail. Don't fuck with us!

God bless all who have fought for this country and the freedoms we enjoy; have served in our armed forces; or have kept their homes intact waiting for their warriors to come home.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tea Party - For Real?

Had a recent interesting conversation with my sister about the Tea Party and how long it will last.

We grew up with politics played out in our living room. Our parents, especially our father, were active Republicans and held many county level offices. They often hosted candidates. My sister remembers sitting next to a United States Senator at a community fund raiser pancake breakfast. We have witnessed over and over the bursts of enthusiasm that fade away leaving the same hardcore of party workers that stay year after year. Who is left from Ross Perot’s Reform Party?

We both agree that more citizen involvement is a good thing. She is of the opinion the Tea Party participants are not “stayers”. My guess is she is right but there will be a percentage who are “stayers” and they will have an impact for years to come. Many of the evangelicals who overwhelmed local school boards and had a huge impact on the Republican party in the Reagan era have dropped out. Some remain and still influence Republican politics.

If you want to have an impact, get involved. The mother of my children is a lifelong activist. We have an autistic child. She became an unpaid lobbyist that my earnings supported. The draft Washington State Education for All Act was written on our dining room table by her and four other pissed off mothers. She spent three years lobbing for the final successful passage. In the process, she came to know many people. A campaign manager for one candidate running for governor told me they though she influenced at least 4,000 votes. This from one couple who for certain were never rich and could have used the money her efforts cost for personal needs. While our marriage didn’t survive, what she accomplished is still working.

Perhaps there is a parallel between involvement in local politics and military service. It is a voluntary commitment. You are required to do things that may be boring at inconvenient times. You deal with people you may dislike. You are often criticized and even belittled. Someone needs to do it. Your personal reward comes from looking in the mirror and knowing you contributed.

Some folks have demanding travel schedules that restrict what they can do; been there and done that. There is always something you can do. Be an election judge as an example. A two day commitment every two years. Scoff? How else do we keep elections honest?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

President Popular????

Back after 4,100 miles, Colorado-Florida-Colorado. Entering Texas from any direction you see big signs honoring George Bush. From East St. Louis through Illinois to Kentucky I didn't see one sign with Obama's name on it. To keep alert, I look for bumper stickers. Saw fewer than twenty Obama/Biden stickers. Saw NO McCain stickers. Saw at least a dozen fading Bush stickers. Mean anything? Who knows?

Old NFO posts about bad days. Can't top him but someone wasn't having a good day.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Work Calls _ Blogging Stops

But First, a Headline in the Denver Post

May 13, 2010 11:17 am US/Mountain Psychic Doesn't Foresee Her Fraud Arrest

“Part Time” job is now a six day, 4,000 mile test drive. No blogs until next week. This will not be a joy ride. Colorado to Florida and return.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Close Call - PTSD

Just missed going on the NICS background lists as mentally incompetent thanks to the smiling lady at the Veterans Administration. At the urging of friends, applied for and was approved for VA medical care. It is not something that I need or want to use now. In the future, who knows? Can’t hurt to get it set up, right?

Said lady was screening me as part of the process to set me up with a primary care facility and primary care person. Lots of questions. Inoculations, medical history, surgeries, etc. and then the Post Trauma Stress Disorder screen. Four simple questions. Having been a salesman most of my life, I can spot setup questions as fast as they are uttered along with the body language and voice tones of the questioner. Me, admit to PTSD? No way, but she almost got me. Then the sex questions. “Was I every subjected to…………”? Answer, “Yes”. “Have you suffered trauma because of this”. Answer, “No, the trauma was suffered by the person making the unwelcome advances”. End of questions. Thanks to the senior Senator from New York (a gutless asshole who has never once put his personal safety on the line, who wants to disarm you and me while he is licensed CCW) most vets can be barred from purchasing firearms just by answering four generic questions the wrong way. If I am wrong about this, please correct me.

I was treated well at the VA Hospital. The process was fast, well structured, and the personal comportment of the staff I encounter was very professional.

As to PTSD, I know some veterans have been emotionally devastated by their service experience. In no way do I not respect their experiences. The majority are, I believe, like me. I was an asshole when I went into the Army. The Army didn’t cause that. When I got out I was the same, only with some stress added.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Miscellaneous Irritants - Rant

We are not supposed to sweat the small stuff yada yada yada. A lot of the small stuff is what makes the temper boil. For instances, this roadside history exhibit. Someone, or some group, went to a lot of effort to create something pleasing, informative, and a tribute to a lot of hard working people. Then someone comes along and steals the information plaque.

My workday starts at 5 a.m. Every morning I see vehicles with headlights out or misaimed. Then you have the "lifted" big tired trucks or the high discharge lights. As I get older, the glare is a problem for me. I remember a time when law enforcement ticketed headlight violations with a vengeance. More than once, I saw them using a tape measure to see if the vehicle and lights were legal heights. Then again, I am such an old fart I remember synchronised traffic lights.

Guess I will continue to be irritated by the "small stuff". Probably a character defect.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Springtime in the Rockies

Hwy 285, South Park. Tarryall Creek

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Do They Think?

Saw a truck driver today walking down the shoulder with a fuel can about a half mile from his rig and mile from an exit with a truck stop. The truck was hauling a bulldozer. Wonder what the bulldozer uses for fuel? Ever see a big rig without ten to twenty feet of spare air line? Think a couple of gallons of that red dyed untaxed off road only diesel might work as well as the ten gallons he planned to haul back from the truck stop? Naw, that can't be right.

Reminds me of a "very important individual" years ago paying someone to put tire chains on the rear wheels of his 1967 Cadillac FWD Eldorado. When I had the terminity to ask why, his reply, "Young man, THIS is a CADILLAC", certainly put me in my place.