Monday, February 28, 2005

BTK Free zone. and Michael Jackson too

I am sure if I lived near Wichita Kansas or had relatives there I would follow the BTK killer arrest and upcoming trail. I do not, so I will not.

I confess that I may have owned the 'Thriller" album, I cannot be sure, it may have been my sister's album. In any event, I did enjoy Michael Jackson's music at one time. That time being back when he was a young black man. I have not followed his career after his transformation to a middle-aged white woman.

I am sure we will be getting wall to wall coverage of these two stories on Larry King and the rest of the MSM.

The Lebanese government has just fallen. The people of Lebanon may get a chance at democracy after decades of Syrian control. The Hezbollah training camps could be shut down, giving the Palestinian/Israeli talks a chance to succeed. Who cares about Jacko and BTK?

A slow news cycle? Only if you are a slow thinker.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Vox Blogoli 2.2: Does the Senate GOP Go McClellan or Grant if Harry Reid "Goes Gingrich?"

McClellan or Grant. Very good question Hugh.
Bill Frist must be playing Abe Lincoln deciding which direction to take.

McClellan was very good at doing one thing, building an army. He was indecisive and fell apart during the heat of battle, but he could train and organize better that just about anyone you could name. McCellan constantly demanded more troops, he was convinced that the much smaller force standing between his army and Richmond was twice his size and would not move until he had a super-majority.

Grant was out for one thing, victory. He looked at the situation facing him and did the math. We are a larger force, they are a smaller force and should be put on the defensive. We can wear them down. We may pay a price to do it, but we will win.

A great insight into Grant came just after he was named to take over the Army of the Potomac. His staff, who had been with him in the west were talking about his victories and his strategy with the old guard from McClellan's command. The union generals who had been crushed by general Lee time and again where telling Grant's staff that Lee was brilliant and he would hit you out of nowhere, there was no telling what Lee would do next.

Grant heard this, and told McClellan's old staff 'stop worrying about what Lee is going to do to you, and start thinking about what you are going to do to him'.

If the democrats 'Go Gingrich' Bill Frist and the Senate GOP needs to 'Go Grant' on them. Stop worrying about what Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer are going to do to you, and start thinking about what you are going to do to them.

We have the numbers, we have the message, if only we have the will.

Home prices, insurance rates and contractors.

In the 1990s a homebuilder worked with a few good sub-contractors. Companies who were reliable and offered good work at a good price. Most general contractors used good subs because they were liable for any defect in the subs work. Today the relationship has changed, large homebuilders are transferring all the risk to the sub-contractor. That is the model today. If you won't sign a contract assuming the liability of not only your work, but the work of other subs on the job, you will not get the contract. When you are offering sub-contracts on 200-800 new homes, you will find people who need that amount of work to stay in business. Assume the risk or go out of business. If the general has enough subs that take on the liability, they will pay for the insurance claims against the project.

How many claims are there? Thousands and thousands, some of them legitimate, some that are coming from a cottage industry of attorneys that sue every one listed on the project. The sub-contractors, or their insurance company will pay about 5,000 to settle the suit regardless of it's validity. It drives up the cost of homes, makes insurance companies fight hard against real claims filed against a new project, and drives good sub-contractors out of business.
A great article in the Sac Union about this issue. If you live in the Sacramento region, you should subscribe.

I am a contractor, I understand that there are more than a few bad builders out there. Once the house is sold and they have your money, it can be impossible to get them back out to do repairs or punchlist items. These are the times to call an attorney. Here is the problem, when a crack develops in a patio in the backyard of a new home and someone trips and falls, they don't sue the General Contractor or the concrete sub, they sue everyone, the roofer, the cabinet guy, and the garage door installer all have to pay the claim.

If I install a phone outlet in a new home and a year later the roof leaks and damages the plasma screen TV, I will be named in the suit and my insurance will settle my end for a few thousand dollars. It doesn't matter that when I installed the phone jack, the roof was not there. Even if I had letter from a thousand structural engineers testifying that there is no way I can be responsible, me or my insurance will pay. It will be cheaper than fighting it in court.
My insurance rate goes through the roof, my hourly price goes up, the cost of the new house goes up.

There are many factors involved the soaring prices of homes, this a large part of that increase.
And please don't get me started on workmen's comp...

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Chris Webber traded!

Details here.
I have never been a huge C-web guy, he seems like a good person, he just is not a closer. Ever since he ankle injuries, he won't get in the air in traffic. He rebounds flat footed in a crowd, and his high-post shots makes sure that one of teams big men will not get an offensive rebound.

I wish him well, I do. I hope the Sixers get a long run from Chris. I hope I don't see him on injured reserve for long stretches in a sixers uniform.

We also loose Matt Barnes. A hometown boy with tallent.
The upside?
We get back Scoreless Williamson!

A company of soldiers. PBS' Frontline

I have quite a love-hate relationship with PBS. Some of my absolute favorite series have been PBS exclusives. Ken Burns 'Civil War' and 'The West' are both fantastic television, some of the viewpoints are liberal, but I still enjoy the history. The problem I have with PBS is usually the slant of their news pieces and investigative series, Frontline and Nova.

This week's Frontline was a fantastic look inside the 8th Cavalry Regiment. It follows the men of D Company, known by their nickname 'the misfits' through their daily lives in south Baghdad November of 2004.

While I watched this piece, I was moved on many levels and in many ways. I watched as the misfits went from hotspot to hotspot, taking enemy fire, being hit with a roadside EID, and when they get to a suspected insurgent house, the Captain tells his men to watch their muddy boots when they go inside because it's a Muslim holiday. The pressure of being in combat and wondering what car coming beside you may be filled with explosives should be enough to keep your mind occupied. Having to remember the local customs, trying to be courteous and professional at the same time is multi-tasking taken to a new level. I am so impressed with these young men.

The Army's mission in the past has been to kill people and break things. That is what is does. The mission-shift ability in the past few military engagements is a credit to it's leadership and the men and women of our armed forces.
Building schools, hospitals and farmers markets is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think about an armored cavalry regiment. When their area cools down, they go back to getting the power back on, fixing roads and rebuilding schools. What a magnificent testimony to the character of our military and our nation.

The program also shows the human price being paid by these soldiers. The memorial service for Spc. Babbitt, a misfit that was killed in an ambush, brought me to the point of tears. His fellow misfits talk about his family and the love he had for them, especially his son. I think of my son, and what he would do if I were killed. Who would show him all the little things, how to shave, how to drive a stick, how to ask for your first date? Spc. Babbitt's son will not be able to ask his dad. My heartfelt prayers go out to all those who have lost loved ones and family in the war on terror.

One of the best moments of the program was taking one of the soldiers to the Baghdad airport. As the convoy of humvees move past a small group of Iraqi children are standing next to the road smile and wave at the soldiers. One of the men says 'the children love us'.
Lets hope so.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Where is a root cellar when you need one?

Living in Northern California, tornados are not something I worry about. Ever. Today when my Mother-in law called saying she was driving through a huge thunderstorm and KFBK was reporting a tornado heading straight for Woodland, I started worrying. She and my daughter had just gotten out of the theater and were heading home when the thunderstorm hit. I told them to get to Raleys and go inside away from the windows. They did, and the storm passed without much damage other than heavy rain and some hail.

We do get severe weather here, mostly too much rain leading to local flooding. When that happens I usually wish I had built a two story house, today I wished I had dug a root cellar.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Luke warm Christians

Jump in, the water is tepid!
Today's sermon from our pastor was very interesting and it was not easy to hear. It came from the book of Revelation , a book that I have not spent much time in. Revelation 3:14 is was a letter to the church in Laodicea. Wealthy, prosperous, and pretty full of themselves. Jesus was not impressed.

"I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!"

Being a lukewarm Christian myself, this hit home. I used to believe that if I were pretty good, especially in comparison to those around me, I was in good shape. Not so. Since I became a Christian, that same mindset came back into my life. I think 'well, I am a pretty good Christian, I don't cheat on my wife or steal from my neighbors, isn't that enough?'
Like they say on the Hertz commercials, 'not exactly'.

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me."
Our Pastor made a great reference to this passage. You may open the door and let the Lord in, but you may just leave him in the hallway. That's far enough, you can come in, but you just can't go into these rooms of my house, the room where I keep my money, the room where my friends meet, the room where I keep all my time.
It was a great message for me. I have invited Jesus into my heart, but I haven't given him the keys to all the rooms yet.

Prayer and practice I guess.
Prayer and practice.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Things I wish I had been doing in High School (instead of drinking)

Reading books that matter.
Spending more time talking to successful people.
Finding a mentor.
Taking AP classes.
Spending ten minutes a day in quiet reflection.
Being a mentor.

I was just reading a piece over at The Claremont Institute.

America has been described as an ongoing experiment in self-government, an experiment that can and will fail if the American people ever lose sight of the principles upon which America was founded. The same challenge faces our democratic friends around the world, including those in Iraq who are bravely attempting to bring self-government to a region of the world where it has been little known.

The article is written by Tom Krannawitter. I am sure he did not waste his high school days. As Dean Wormer put it; "fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life son" This is not the part of the story where I blame my parents for letting me have an apartment at 17. I was all for it, I lobbied hard for the chance to prove I could handle the responsibility. In the end, this turned out to be a flawed plan. My grades were always respectable. 3.0 and above for the first two years, then down to 2.14 my junior year followed by an astounding 0.17 the first quarter of my senior year. The realization that if I wanted to sleep through the first two periods hit me soon after school started. My Mom and Dad did drop the hammer on me when they received that grade update. I did a few calculations and came up with the minimum number of classes/most amount of absences I could get away with and followed my plan to graduation. I never did get an 'F' on any report card, although I did earn a few 'incompletes'.

Oh to hit the rewind button!

I look at people like Mr. Krannawitter and wonder if I could have developed a deep, critical thinking mind as sharp as his if I had focused on my education as a young man? I have been playing catch-up since my late twenties when I started reading Shelbe Foote and Ambrose. The past few years I have been reading the 'classics', Shakespeare and the Bible. I love the use of language and enjoy the history lessons. I am trying kindle an interest in reading and history to my son. He would rather play his PS2, but I just keep dripping little bits of it on him to at least make him aware what is out there. Last year I was listening to the radio on my way to his school to pick him up. The radio host had his 'man on the street' interviewing people outside NYU. He asked them three question; Who is the current Vice President? Who is the Secretary of State? Who is the Secretary of defense?
They interviewed 7 or 8 college students before they found one who could answer all the questions. I pick up my son and started on our way home, I asked him the same questions. He answered all of they correctly.

I may not be such a screw-up after all.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Social Security tax cap, what's on the table?

President Bush today said that raising the cap on the amount of your income is subject to SS tax is on the table.

"I've been asked this question a lot, and my answer is that I'm interested in good ideas," Bush said, according to the Birmingham (Ala.) News. "The one thing I'm not open-minded about is raising the payroll tax rate, and all the other issues are on the table, and that's important for people to know."

If that is on the table, I would like to the democrats bring a few item to the table.
If the President agrees to raise the cap from 90,000 of income to, lets say 120,000. I want three things.

1 Personal Accounts, without these, there is no deal at all. I want the money that I have paid into SS, even the one third figure that is being thrown around, to belong to me. If I have paid 50 or $150,000 into SS and I die before I turn 65. I get zero! I have been robbed of that money, my children will not see a penny of it. Even if I live until age 72, SS will still have much more of my money than they gave back. A personal account that could be transferred to my children, in the event of an early death just makes sense.

2 Raise the amount of money I an contribute to my IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA or 401k by one half.
Make it easy for Americans to be savers.

3 Make the tax cuts permanent.

I will make that deal today.

SMUD, coming to Yolo County?

SMUD, the Sacramento Municipal utilities District, has been approached by the large cities of Yolo County, Woodland, Davis and West Sacramento to provide electrical service for their citizens. A release of a independent report has found that savings are likely and service interruptions would be improved by upgrading the existing electrical infrastructure. PG&E has questions about the reports conclusions.
David Rubin, PG&E's director of service analysis, complained that the study wildly underestimates the value of PG&E's system, uses overly optimistic power price assumptions and overstates other savings.

I do not pretend to be a electrical infrastructure engineer, but I have been a customer of both companies. I did like SMUD's rates, service and it's free shade tree program was very well received by me and my neighbors. I also realize that being a rural customer is very different than being a urban customer. Out here in the hinterlands, our electrical service is hit and miss during storms and strong winds. Hit and miss is a very accurate description of the speeding lunatics that think the narrow rural roads that take them to the Indian Casino are the backstrech of the Daytona 500. Twice this year my power has gone out due to these folks smashing into power poles. It does not make much difference what names are on the poles, PG&E or SMUD. The front bumper of a speeding Honda Civic with it's windows blacked out and the radio thumping out the latest rap hits will still take down the power.

The rates I received as a SMUD customer were very reasonable, so if I lived in Woodland I would hope that SMUD does come to Yolo County. I don't think anyone living outside the I-80 Hwy113 corridor will ever see SMUD service. The customer to miles of line ratio is way to high to be profitable out here and up the valley. I just hope that if SMUD does take the low hanging fruit of the cities, that PG&E will not close it's local office and those of us out in the country will have to wait longer for a repair dispatched from further away.

That's the price we pay for a living out here. It is a price I am willing to pay.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Blog Condoms.

Protect yourself from being the next blogger threatened with a lawsuit. Here are a few tips from Matt that are getting many hits from the blogesphere.
Information, isn't it wonderful.
Thanks to Josh.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Blogs, mom and the MSM.

I had an interesting talk with my mother a few weeks ago . We were talking about blogs and blogging. Her first question of course was 'what is a blog'? After a brief description of blogs and bloggers her next question was simple, why blog? My answer was people don't trust the MSM the way they did 30 years ago, they know there is more to any given story than the edited version on the evening news. She asked if anyone reads my blog. I answered that I do get traffic and people comment on some of my posts, so I guess they do.

My mother is in her early sixties, she has her own web based company, a digital camera and a computer, so she is pretty hip. I am trying to get her more involved in the news she consumes. When the MSM puts out a story on a subject that interests me, I start up the search engine to get more information on the subject. The story may be factual but missing the other side of the story. More commonly the source they quote for the opposing side is not directly related to, or well informed about the subject matter. When the facts don't support the view of the reporter, the most important facts are buried in the last two paragraphs.

Mom and my stepfather Paul watch the Fox News Channel and read the local paper. I am glad that they watch FNC in north Idaho because the local news coverage stops at the Montana border. As I have stated in past posts, FNC does have a slant to the right in some of their reporting and opinion pieces, but taken as a whole they give the most balanced coverage in the MSM. My stepfather Paul is a great guy and has helped me move my mom from the darkside, to the fence, and now in this past election cycle she came over to the right side. I can now see where the misguided ideas of compassion in my youth came from. My mother is a very kind and warm person. Like myself, her list of enemies is very short and usually unoccupied. We want to help people. It is very easy to watch the news and listen to left and their MSM chums talk about slashing this program for the poor, or drastic cuts in that program and come to conclusion that republicans are mean and terrible people. It was only in my late twenties that I started to smell what the MSM was shoveling at me.
Why do I blog? To paraphrase Dick Morris' book, because I can.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Valentine's Day, pitfalls and more pitfalls.

Is there a more dangerous day for men than February 14th? I am at heart an incurable romantic, however this day above all others is unstable ground. I have been married for 17 years now to my wonderful wife. The first valentine's days were great, I could have brought home frozen chicken and a box of 'shake n bake' and she would have thought I was a swell husband for just remembering.
As the years pass and most of your good ideas have already been spent like last month's paycheck, the 'shake n bake' sounds more practical all the time. Chocolate and flowers have been done to death, besides the fact that a dozen long-stem roses costs as much as first horse. My wife is not a jewelry person, a fact that I am eternally grateful for. She is also is not into fashion and $200 shoes. Again, thank you Lord.
Please don't get the idea that my wife is as ugly as mud fence. Not hardly. She is actually a very beautiful woman. She works with horses and is outside most of the day. Her idea of fashion is comfort and practicality. When I met her, she was working her way through school as a secretary across from the Capitol. She wore dresses and heels everyday. Today it's jeans and a polo shirt with sneakers or boots. We go out to San Francisco on special occasions and secretly I think she enjoys doing her hair and make-up and wearing a nice dress. I think she enjoys it because she doesn't have to do it everyday. We make quite a dashing couple, she makes up about 65% our dash.
So back to my issue with valentine's day. She does like chocolate, so I am safe with that, but what else to get her? I have been looking for new pup to get her. This year has been a hard one for us. Two of our old cowdogs passed away this year. We are down to one old border collie, Lexi the jack russel terrier (the little ball of hate) and Jake the wonderdog. I would like to find a kelpie-border collie cross. They have been great working dogs, and good pets in general for us. I have not been able to locate one, so I will keep looking. Dinner and a movie isn't very easy, she gets home at 6:30 and we wouldn't get home till after 10:30, and that is very late for my wife.
I get home before her on most nights and cook dinner, so I could cook a couple of very nice ribeyes and send the kids to grandma's house for the night. That is my fall back position if I get stuck.
I just remembered she does want red carpet roses for the front yard, they are not cheap, but at least they will not wilt in a week.
So there is my plan. I will stop by the nursery and pick up a half dozen carpet roses and bring home a box of chocolates, cook a two nice ribeyes and maybe write a nice note thanking her for putting up with me another year.
No problem.

Valentine's day is a piece of cake, what were you so worried about?

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Eason Jordan resigns, does it matter?

Late Thursday news came that CNN's Executive Editor, Eason Jordan had resigned. As the bloggesphere celebrates it's latest victory, many more questions arise from the story.

Do the combined resignation/terminations of CNN's Jordan, The New York Times' Howell Raines and CBS's Dan Rather point to a change in the way the MSM will cover the news?
Yes and no. They may change the way report the news, meaning they will be mindful to stay away from certain language and extremist terms to describe republican policies and republicans in general. The problem is, they will have the bias they always carried, they will just get better at camouflaging it.
It reminds me of the discussion going on inside the Democratic party. It is in fact the other side of the same coin. As the Democrats try to find ways to change the language they use when they discuss values and morality, the MSM will try the same tactic. Change the language, keep the mindset.
Will it work? If I were a betting man, I would give two to one that it will not.
The only way for the MSM, the Democratic party, Academia, and Hollywood to get back to the center of this nation is by using the one ideal they champion but never employ, diversity.
Where is the conservative viewpoint at CNN? Sure, you can say the Robert Novack is conservative. He is also outnumbered by 30 or so. Where are the pro-life Democrats at their convention? There are none. Where are the conservative professors or campus movements? They are shouted down and shunned. Where are the pro-life, moral, and religious movies coming out of Hollywood? Mel Gibson had to bankroll The Passion to get it made.
There is only one viewpoint coming out of these institutions, the left's viewpoint.

Eason Jordan should apply at Fox News for his own show, he could be like Gerraldo.
They might give him one.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Capay Valley Almond Blossom Festival - February 27th

As February arrives thoughts in Yolo County, at least the west side of the County, turn to the Almond Festival. Nothing says springtime like the rumble of 5,000 Harley Davidsons thundering through the valley. Most of the old time residents endure the Almond Festival, or get out of town for the weekend. In my mis-spent youth, the kids would take their dirtbikes, four-wheelers, trucks and jeeps and such to the bridge at Guinda. It was a day of underage drinking, mechanical mayhem and counting the Lifeflight helicopter trips as they would take critically hurt people to the nearest hospital in Woodland.
Those days are past, thank goodness. The AF is becoming a tourist event. That is fine, I still enjoy the FFA Breakfast at the Highschool gym. We take the kids to the midway at the park in Esparto. Vendors, pony rides, food of all sorts, the classic car show, they are a wonderful time for all and a chance to catch up with old friends.
The blossoms paint the valley with hues of white and pink. When the weather cooperates, it really is one of the most beautiful places in Northern California.
If you attend this year, please stop by the Java Station at the left turn corner at the end of main street Esparto. Great baked goods and the best coffee in town. Well, that isn't too hard. The Java Station serves the best coffee in the Capay Valley. That sound better.
Hope to see you there.

Aggies Hoops.

I just returned home from taking my son to his(and my) first college basketball game. Being Kings fans and once having season tickets, I was pleasantly surprised about calling the day of the game and getting two seats in the third row just behind the home bench for 20 dollars. We parked off campus and we rode our bikes to the rec hall. UC Davis was playing UC Santa Barbara. The gauchos put up a good fight and made a close game of it, but the Aggies free throws down the stretch and the ability to break the press put the game away in the final two minutes. My son loved it and wants to come back for the last home game Saturday against Cal Poly. As much as I disagree with most of the politics on campus, at least the ones clamoring for attention, I do like the town and the University. I like to take my son to the campus and ride around to show him what college life looks like. I told him tonight that the people that attend this school didn't just pick it because they like the campus or it was close to home. They applied and worked very hard to get into a University. I think I saw the light go on for a brief minute. If I can get him to equate the homework and other unpleasant things that he has to do, with getting into a school like Davis or a more prestigious school, that may turn up the speed on his work ethic.
One can always hope, right?
Must get to sleep, my son has no school tomorrow, but I have to work.
Ah, to be eleven again!

Raising Cristian Kids.

Last night my wife and I attended the award banquet for my son's 7th grade basketball team. The new principal of the school made a few comments about how hard it is for a small private school to compete athletically with the much larger public schools. The 7th grade team did not have enough players and gave a few 6th grade boys the chance to play. Most of the public schools have 50 to 90 players try out for their team. I was impressed with the heart of our team this year, our record was not very impressive, but our boys played every minute as hard as they could.

The principal also made another comment that stayed with me. He said that he was talking to the manager of a local supermarket about a different subject when the manager said that he has always been impressed with the quality of individuals that come from our school. Our principal was taken aback with the comment. The manager went on to say that if he finds out that a prospective employee graduated from our school that he knew he would have a hard working, polite and honest employee. The principal said that the managers comments were a reminder of what the faculty and staff of the school are really there to do. Getting their students ready for the world.

I agree that since most of our children's day is spent at school, the teachers and faculty play a large part in the development of our kids. However the parents must not come to the conclusion that since I am sending my child to a Christian school that they will teach them about morals and character. It does little to have a child spend the day learning about the proper way to behave only to come home to an environment where the parents are constantly arguing, sibling quarreling and TV blaring.

I see that as my son nears junior high, the peer pressure grows daily. The skater look is in right now, the lifestyle that the video games and magazines hold up as examples of great skaters is a little disturbing. My son received Tony Hawk-underground 2 for Christmas, I told him that I would not get it for him because of the 'tagging' and language in the video game. The game was a gift from his grandmother, so I let him keep it. I don't know if I made the right decision.

His friends are good kids, and in 6th grade they can't get in much trouble. I hope that the lessons that my wife and I try to teach him as well as the example we try to set for him will pay off when we are not around and he is faced with a situation that sounds really fun but he knows is wrong.

I made some good decisions when I was young, I also made some terrible mistakes. I know that both my children will be raised in a loving home with supportive parents, I just hope it will be enough.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

CNN's Eason Jordan demands videotape release to clear his good name.

Just kidding, I would like to pose the question, why not?
If were being tarred and feathered day after day by the blogesphere and now that the MSM is starting look into the story, I would be demanding that the videotape of my comments be made public for all to see. If I were innocent.
If Eason Jordan did not say that he thinks the American military is intentionally targeting journalist shouldn't he and CNN be yelling from the tallest tower that it is not true and there is a tape to prove my innocence? Hey, what ever happens in Davos stays in Davos, right.

I really don't care if Eason Jordan gets forced out at CNN. I don't watch their network; unless I want to see Judy Woodruff almost cry on election night. Their ratings are declining and they are playing to a smaller, more liberal audience. Last nights ratings showed almost a 2 to 1 advantage for Fox News. The real scary part for CNN is the younger demographic shows and almost 6 to 1 advantage in a sample this week. The MSM is becoming a reflection of the country, if you are a democrat, watch CNN. If you lean to the right, turn to FNC.
I hope that one way or the other, the Easongate story concludes this week. The MSM's credibility, what's left of it, can't stand the strain.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Superbowl Sunday

I woke up this morning, put on my sweats and headed out the door with Jake the wonderdog to go for our morning walk. Jake has no wonder powers or anything to that effect, he is just incredibly dumb, it's a wonder that he can remember to breathe. So off we went for our three mile jaunt down to the Java Station for a cup of coffee and a bagel to split between us. I remembered about halfway there that the Java Station doesn't open on Sunday till 8:00. Darn it. So we returned to the house to make breakfast for the family. Usually my wife takes my daughter to work on Sundays, but today she wanted to stay with me and my son. My son protested to no end about being home with his sister all day. My son is a great kid and loves his sister as long as she is not bothering him. This rarely happens.
So today I have both kids for Superbowl. Since the game won't actually kick off until 4:30, I am doing chores to break up the seven hours of 'pre-game'. Mowing the back yard again, plant the first spring flowers in the planters on the deck, then hit the grocery store to get my snacks and drinks in case someone stops by.
As much as I like football, unless my team is playing, I can't get too worked up about it.
I hope you have (or had) a great Superbowl Sunday, My kids and I will sit back and enjoy the game and maybe even let Jake the wonderdog inside to watch the Pats beat the Eagles.

Friday, February 04, 2005

I can't possibly drink three liters of sherry.......

Wow, desperate times call for a sherry enema?
The story from Texas is almost too strange to be true.

LAKE JACKSON - Investigators say a Lake Jackson woman caused her husband's death by giving him a sherry enema, leading to alcohol poisoning. The enema caused his blood alcohol level to soar to 0.47 percent — almost six times the legal intoxication limit, a toxicology report showed.

Dang, now I know how to get rid of those two bottles of tequila I have in my pantry.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Ranch branding time is coming, time to shoe my horse.

February can be a very wet and cold month for Yolo County, but this week has been a joy.
The hills are green and lush, the almond blossoms will soon start budding. Hopefully we will have this kind of weather for the Almond Blossom Festival in a few weeks. Springtime also brings a new crop of calves that need to be branded and marked. This is one of my favorite times of the year. With my small herd, it only take a few hours to vaccinate all my cows and brand the calves. I hope I get invited to a few of the larger brandings in my area, or out of my area for that matter.

It has been a while since I had a chance to go to a large branding. I usually start out on the ground crew flanking calves or castrating them just to let the owner or foreman know that I worked cattle before. I have spent the whole day on the ground crew and never complained, it is dirty tiring work, but I love it. I have been to a few brandings where no one wants to be on the ground, everyone wants to rope. This can be a headache and lead to a few hurt feelings. The last thing most cattleman want is a bunch of people with little experience and green horses chasing their stock around the corrals putting a lot of stress on them. This can also lead to very dangerous situations when a 300 pound calf on one end of the rope is going one way, and a bucking (usually riderless) horse is going another. It will almost certainly end up with one or both crashing into the ground crew. It gets a little too western for my tastes.

There usually is a hierarchy to the branding pen. The most experienced hands will start the roping and after they get a good sweat going they will ask someone they know if they want a chance and so on until they get to the people who they don't know and have been invited. You can get a good read on the ability of a cowboy, or cowgirl, by their turnout. If they have a nylon headstall and a brand new rope, watch out. I have also seen a few cowboys show up with all the right gear, a 60' rope and wheelbarrow full of cowpunching stories that couldn't rope a mailbox from 10 feet away.

So I guess I'll get my horse shod and start throwing some loops from my horse, just to make sure he hasn't forgotten what a rope is. I just hope I have someplace to go.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Pelosi & Reid spell out Democratic vision for the future.

( deafening silence )
We hate George Bush and will oppose everything he wants, thank you for watching our response to the State of the Union.

Oh, you want our plan?
We'll have to get back to you on that.

P.S. Get the troops out of Iraq now.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

John Kerry,,,,,,,whew, that was close.

I was only able to watch a few minutes of the Tim Russert's show this past Sunday with John F-ing Kerry. What were 57,288,974 democrats thinking? He is Al Gore without the magnetic personality. It's a good thing Gore took credit for the internet, John Kerry would have invented it while on his tours in Cambodia running guns to the Khmer Rouge, with his secret CIA hat. Can this man stop lying to us? The election is over, you lost. Please have a modicum of decency and go away. Tell these stories to your 20 year old interns back in Boston that have no grasp of history, not a national TV audience. There are folks out there who won't let you get away with flat-out fabrication.
The Swiftboat Veterans were told to shut up and go away, you weren't there, oh you were there, well you weren't on his boat, oh, you were on his boat, well, you weren't John Kerry.

I cannot believe that people can't see this man for the fraud he is.