Friday, October 30, 2009

Goose Season

The trigger finger itches.  The truck is loaded.  The dog is trained.  The call are on the lanyard.  The shells are in the bag.  The gun is ready to rock. 

And there are a few birds in the area. 

Yes, it is a special time of the year. 

Waterfowl season. 

Shooting time is 7:02am tomorrow.  I'll be there with call on. 

Are you?

Monday, October 26, 2009

I'm a Bad Blogger

and I know it.

But quite frankly, as crappy as life has been over the last month, I just haven't felt much like talking.

A little update. 

In case you haven't noticed, the economy still sucks major monkey balls.  It is better, but unemployment is up around 10%, markets are still down, and the family business is still losing money.  FY2009 was a $300,000 loss on $950,000 in total revenue.  Then, we had been working since late August on preparing a grant application for ARRA funds to increase our efficiency.  Currently, our recycling center processes 2.5 tons/hour.  Originally, we thought we could find enough material to increase that production by 8-10x's.  A big key to this increase was the city of Peoria starting a curbside recycling program of significance.  That didn't happen.  The program that was selected is nothing more than a warm fuzzies program.  And after that, all the pieces of our program started to fall apart.  By the time we got down to a week before applications were due, we were planning to install a system that could potentially quadruple our through-put but we only could identify sources for a doubling, at best.  Finally, last Monday, we found a short sentance that derailed the whole plan.  Projects were only able to apply for 50% of total project costs, and costs had to be incurred after the middle of February, 2009.  Which for us, meant we only had $200,000 in equipment to put against the total project cost on our half.  This meant we would have to get financing for about $1,400,000.  Not a possibility.  So, we had to abandon applying for the ARRA funds.  This was a major blow to my folks.  First was anxiety, and then depression. 

And on the other side, the weather this fall SUCKS!!  Here were are at the 27th of October and we only have 82 acres of soybeans harvested and fewer than 40 acres of corn.  It rained all night Sunday.  There is more rain in the forecast. We still have over 300 acres of beans to harvest and over 200 acres of corn.  At this pace, we will be lucky to be done by Christmas.  We harvested Sunday, for the first time in a week.

Basically, please pray for my family.  And all the farmers right now.  It is going to be a really rough and long harvest.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Hero Is Called Home

Friday afternoon, October 2, at approximately 5:00pm, an American Hero was called home.  He is my Great Uncle Bruce.  Born in a small farming community in central Iowa, Bruce was a boy when the United States was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941.  His father had taken him, his sister (my grandmother), and several other kids sledding that morning after Sunday School.  At the age of 17, he wanted to enlist in the Marines, but great-grandma wouldn't have it.

So Bruce was drafted into the Army, in a delayed deployment program that was going to send him to college prior to deployment and then bring him in as a 2nd Lieutenant.  But just a couple of days before Bruce was to begin classes at the University of Oklahoma, the whole program was cancelled, and he was on his way to Europe. 

When he crossed the Channel, he landed at Utah Beach (not on D-Day) and began the move through.  He was captured during the Battle of the Bulge and taken to Stalag 12A in Germany as a P.O.W.  On April 12, 1945, the Stalag was liberated by the English 7th Armoured Division.  Until his passing, Bruce still had the boots and uniform that were provided by the 7th upon liberation-the first change of cloths or shoes since early January at his capture. 

Bruce was awarded 2 purple hearts and 2 bronze stars for his service. 

After returning home, he met a wonderful woman, who would become his wife for over 52 years.  They had one son, and two grand-daughters; the oldest of which was married two weeks ago.  Bruce was at the wedding.  The next morning, he began a two weeks of illnes, which ultimately took him home.  He was coherent, giving orders all the way to the end, and told his son on Friday that he was ready to go home.  His wife passed a couple of years ago, and Saturday, October 3rd, was their wedding anniversary, for which they are back together.

It took Bruce over 40 years to talk about his experiences in World War II.  He was an ardent advocate for Veterans, especially in the Des Moines area.  He served on the committee for the first state or national World War II Memorial, which is located on the state capital grounds in Des Moines.  He served as Master of Ceremonies at its dedication.  Follow this link to see pictures of Veterans Day Services at the Memorial.  Bruce is the 3rd from the right in the first two pictures, and 2nd from the right in the third picture.

It is always sad to lose a dearly loved family member, but our entire family takes comfort in knowing he has gone home to his Savior, and is reunited with his loving wife.  We take pride in know that he was a great man, and that we had the honor of being his family.



Bruce you will be greatly missed in this life, but we will see you again, soon.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is it a Platinumed Golden Anniversary?

250 years ago, history was changed forever.  Arthur Guinness signed the lease on the St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin, Ireland.  And more importantly got the water rights on the property. 

The lease terms?

100 pounds down, and 45 pounds per year, for 9,000 years. 

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

And so today, We all must raise a glass to Arthur. 

TO ARTHUR!!



h/t to Blackfive.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Great Music Monday-Bringing Mary Home

I haven't posted one of these for a few weeks.  My heart just wasn't in it.  But tonight seemed like a good night to get back in the swing.

When I started rendezvousing in 1998, one of the greatest things about it was sitting around a fire listening to music (this is not to say that there isn't still good music, because there is, but I am now part of the performance instead of just a wide-eyed kid wishing I could be that good).

I remember one night in particular at the Galesburg Heritage Days Rendezvous around 1999.  We were still camping West of the main pavillion and on Saturday night, there was a good group sitting around doing music.  Somebody asked Rod and Ollie to do an old Smiley Bates tune, Bringing Mary Home.

The song is the story of man driving down a lonely road when he see a girl in a formal dress along the side of the road.  The driver stops to pick up the girl and take her to her home.  They drive down the road and the girls tells the man to pull into a driveway.  But when he stops the car, the girl is gone.  He goes up to the house.  He tells her the story and the woman smiled, and told how her daughter had been killed 13 years ago, and every year, someone brought Mary home.

The story is loosely based on a Chicago area legend and one of the most famous ghost stories in the country.  The story of Resurrection Mary.

This song is still one of my favorites and every time I hear it I am taken back to that rendezvous where I first heard it, and then I picture myself on the dark, dusty, lonely road and bringing Mary home.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Questioning

I'm beginning to really question what kind of hunting dog Omar the Wunderpuppy is really going to become.

Case in point, yesterday (Saturday).

I headed down to Gobbler's Knob Hunting Reserve between Canton and Banner, with 3 purposes.  Number 1: Clean the clubhouse for next weekend's test.  Number 2: Help anybody that showed up in their preparations for the test.  Number 3: Put out some birds to work Omar on and see if I could get him to connect all the elements, point, bird flushes, shot, and retrieve. 

2 chapter members showed up to prepare for their text nest week.  Both are running Natural Ability, both dogs are Wirehaired Pointing Griffons, both dogs are from the same litter, but the owners did not know each other until last month at another training day. 

Primarily, both of those owners wanted to work on the track portion.  So they got a couple of pheasants and one of the more experienced members of the chapter and I set the birds out.  One dog did a really great job, the other didn't do terrible, but it fell short of good.  All in all, I think they will do alright.  The only thing that matters is that the owner is happy with the performance and uses the test as an opportunity to evaluate where they need to focus training.

The other person there had his German Shorthaired Pointer which he is trying to get to become more steady.  The dog points very nicely, but as soon as you make a step, she wants to break in on the bird.  He worked the dog on three or four birds.

Finally, I wanted to get birds in front of Omar and get him ready for hunting season. He has a good strong point, and does a nice job of retrieving when we train at home, but at the last training day, we would point but I couldn't get him to follow up with a retrieve to hand.  He just didn't seem interested then. 


Not a problem yesterday.  I put out 6 chukar partridge, in 2 differnt set-ups.  The results were spectacular.  On the last bird, I had one of the other guys take some photos for me.



Omar, pointing the bird.













Another of Omar on point.
















On Point.  Can you tell where the bird is?















The circle in the center of the picture is around a blaze orange clothespin.  This marks the location of the bird launcher.  It is about 30' in front of Omar.













I'm moving in to flush the bird.















After the flush, taking down the bird. 

And a retrieve to hand.
The great thing about this is the way Omar reacts.  If you notice in the pictures after I move in and the bird has been flushed, Omar is still standing in the same location.  When the bird is shot, he STILL didn't move.  Finally, just as the bird hit the ground, Omar broke from his point and moved in on the dead bird, which he retrieved to hand.

Man, that was FUN!

So do you think he is going to be a decent bird dog?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Tribute

Today, proper honor was bestowed on one of the greatest American Hero's to grace this country.

SFC Jared C. Monti, was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2006.  Today, his parents accepted his very deserved Medal of Honor.

Words cannot express the extreme grattitude that we all should feel towards Sgt. Monti.  He is one of the greatest heros this country has ever known.

This is a video of the presentation Ceremony, this afternoon.  Caution, it may cause you to get choked up. 




Thank you to MCQ at BlackFive for originally posting.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Respect is Gone

Well, it is official.

Any waining shreds of respect I had for the United States House of Representatives is completely gone.  Zilch.  Nada. Nil. None. Goose egg.

Currently, there is a major debate on how to reform health care.  We are still fighting a war in Afghanistan.  The economy, at best, is reaching for the rim of bowl of the crapper that it has fallen into.  And the nut jobs in charge in the House of Representatives felt it was more prudent to take a day on OUR DIME to bitch about Rep. Joe Wilson's comment during the boring dronings of the POTUS last week.

What the hell are these idiots thinking?  I mean really, WTF. 

Yes, Rep. Wilson's comments were in poor taste and a breech of decorum, but in the heat of the moment, after Obama just got done calling almost every Republican in the room a liar, Wilson let his emotion loose.  He apologized to the POTUS within an hour of the end of the speech, which Obama accepted.  The issued should have ended right there. 

But no. 

The Dems had to play party politics and flex their muscles and beat the dead and rotting horse for a week.  Now, they've gone and caused the carcas to explode and their face is covered with the disgusting carrion. 

And then, to ice the intestinel slime that has covered them, Barbara Lee (D-California) and James Clyburn (D-South Carolina) have the audacity to suggest that Wilson's comment was somehow motivated by race.  Good God in heaven, please give me the strength to keep from vomiting.

Get it through your freaking heads-just because Obama is black, does not mean that everyone who opposes him is a racist.  It wouldn't matter if Obama was black, white, red, yellow, or purple with pink polka dots, it is his policy positions that make my blood boil.  And quite frankly, I am sick and tired of the racism towards people like me. 

Rep. Joe Wilson is right to stick to his guns and not issue a second apology.  And the Dems should be rebuked for the wasting OUR MONEY on this bullshit.  Rebuked at the ballot box. 

Friday, September 11, 2009

9-11 Reflections

It has been said that members of my parents generation will never forget where they were when they heard President Kennedy was shot.

And for my generation, it is the attack of September 11, 2001.

I was a Freshman in college at Black Hawk College's East Campus.  That morning, I took my very first college test in a U.S. History class.  Once the test was over, I went out to a commons area to prepare for my Speech class.  I had been sitting for a couple of minutes and opened up my book bag  when a woman walked in and said that a plane had hit the WTC and Pentagon, and another was headed for the White House.  I sat there, dumbstruck for a minute.  Not sure I had heard her right.  I packed my bag and proceeded to the student center where over 100 people were gathered around a 27" TV watching Aaron Brown on ABC with the towers burning over his shoulder.  Some people whispered quietly, but most were just silent.  As I stood there, I muttered under my breath "bin Laden."

That afternoon, the local newspaper editor took an eerie photo.  Jet trails.  7 of them.  In lines across the sky.  By that time of the day, there was only one plane in the air, Air Force One.  Bush was flying from Nebraska back to the East Coast and fly right over my town.



The only feelings I remember feeling that day are surprise that it happend, sorrow for those lost, and a deep burning anger against those who had perpetrated the heinousness.

And now, 8 years later, I am sitting here tonight, listening to Alan Jackson who did such an elegant job of containing the confusion I think we all experienced.  The History Channel is running video footage of the attack.  Tonight, I think it is affecting me more than it did 8 years ago.  Maybe it was shock on that day.  But it is also stirring my anger and resolve that we WILL prevail.  We MUST prevail.

But today is also a day for great celebration in my town. Another group of American Hero's returned from Afghanistan this morning.  They have been deployed for a year.  This is the second homecoming in just over 3 weeks.  And it is appropriate that tonight is also Homecoming at the high school.  There is local news coverage of the homecoming HERE, the coverage begins at 2:33.

It is because of hero's like these, that I can right this blog, and that we have gone over 2,900 days without another attack on our soil.

Baxter Black, the great American cowboy poet, really puts the right perspective on today and every single day.


Thanks to Michael Bane for the Baxter Black video.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Defender's Creed

I read this this morning in the weekly e-mail from the USCCA (United States Concealed Carry Association) and thought it bore repeating again and again.  I may print it and frame it to put on the wall.

The Defender's Creed
By: John Farnam

I accept and understand that human predators exist. Criminal or terrorist, they take advantage of our civilized society to prey upon the weak. They represent evil and must be confronted and defeated.

I believe that self-defense is a moral imperative, and that illegitimate force and illegal violence must be met with righteous indignation and superior violence.

I will not rely on others for the security of myself, my family and my community.

I proudly proclaim that I run with a like-minded pack. I do not amble through life with the mind-numbed herd.

I will train with my chosen weapons, maintain them and carry them in a condition of readiness at all times.

I will be mentally prepared and physically equipped to effectively respond to an attack or emergency.

I will constantly test myself against realistic standards to discover my strengths and weaknesses. I will turn weakness into strength.

I will seek to learn new skills and techniques, and then teach what I have learned to other members of the pack.

Be it with firearm or blade, empty hand or blunt object, I will hit my enemies hard, fast and true.

I will live a quiet and unobtrusive life, but I will develop and retain the capacity for swift and decisive violence.

I recognize that I am the modern equivalent of the traditional Minuteman, and that I may be called to service at any time against heavily armed enemies. I will respond effectively.

I accept that I am a pariah among some of my countrymen, and a quaint anachronism to others. I will not hold their ignorance against them.

I will win, or die trying.

I swear this creed before God, my family and my fellow citizens.





John Farnam is an internationally acclaimed firearms instructor, and the author of three books and numerous articles. Please visit his website: http://www.defense-training.com

Monday, August 31, 2009

Great Music Monday-The Mercy Seat

Johnny Cash is a Legend above legends. Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Songwriters Hall of Fame, but permanently banned from the Grand Ole Opry, you would be hard pressed to find a more iconic musician anywhere in history.

With a career that spanned nearly 50 years, Cash would see some amazing highs and very deep lows throughout his career. And what could have been a huge low towards the end of his career, actually turned out to be and amazing redirection. When the Nashville establishment no longer seemed to have an place for Cash, he found new direction with Rick Rubin of American-best known for their rap and hard rock records. The albums Cash did with Rubin pushed him to new limits, and were among the best of his entire career.

This week's Great Music comes from one of those albums. And while not written by Cash, he made this piece his own, to the point where I haven't found another version that really compares.

The Mercy Seat.

Interesting News Piece

Last night, after watching Jay Cutler and DA BEARS!!!! beat the Broncos, the late local news came on, and they had a story that blew me away.

Now, it is easy to find "stories" in the MSM that portray gun owners as right-wing wackos. But this particular piece I found to be very good, done by the local NBC affiliate about a USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association) regional competition held this past Saturday.

The video is HERE.

Or to watch the whole newscast and see how the story was led into, go HERE. The story about the USPSA begins at 13:30.

The news station even linked to the USPSA site. Which I clicked on, and right there on the homepage, was another video from the local Fox station with a feature story about an area shooter preparing for the USPSA Steel Challenge. Watch that video HERE.

I guarnatee you would not see stories like this on a Chicago station.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The "Lion" sleeps tonight, forever.

The "Liberal Lion" or "Lion of the Senate" if you are the MSM, is dead.

In case you missed the headlines on EVERY SINGLE FREAKING MSM station, Sen. Edward Kennedy died last night, following a battle with brain cancer.

I have two thoughts on this.

1) Politically, good riddance. I am glad he is gone. It has been 47 years of Teddy. WAY overdue for a change. Politicians are like diapers. They should be changed often and for the same reason.

2) I would not wish cancer on anyone except the most vile wastes of humanity, i.e. Osama bin Laden, Hugo Chavez. Aquavelvajad. I would NOT wish cancer on Ted Kennedy, or his family. Especially following the passing of the sister just a few weeks ago. The Kennedy family is in my prayers for their personal peace.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

So many options

Well, I think I am taking the Stoeger back to Gander Mountain tomorrow after a meeting in Peoria. So today, I was surfing through the Gander Mountain site at some options to replace it.

Here's the list I am thinking about.

1. Marlin 39AS .22 lever action. I've always wanted a lever action, and like the function of the Marlin levers.

2. Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle. I've thought about the Mini-14 for years. The only drawback-.223. Not really a big fan of the glorified .22.

3. Colt Single Action Army Revolver. The Peacemaker. 'nuf said.

4. Marlin 336 XLR lever action. The classic Marlin, with a laminated stock, stainless barrel and receiver, and chambered in the classic .30-30 Winchester.

5. Marlin 1895CB lever action. The first lever action I ever shot was chambered in the .45-70 Govt. and so is this.

6. H & R 1871 Buffalo Classic. Another .45-70 Govt. with a 32" barrel, single shot rifle. Just a classic for the high plains.

7. Winchester Model 70. Its a Winchester. What more do you need to know. I'm a Winchester whore. The first two guns I ever fired were Winchester, and they are American Classics.

8. Tikka T3 Hunter. Manufactured in Finland, no Tikka T3 leaves the factory without shooting a sub-1" group at 100 yards. Adjustable trigger pull with a simple Allen wrench. Amazing quality for a cheap price. And in .243, it is the perfect midwest rifle, coyote, deer, javelina, fox, whatever. And they are said to be very affordable..

Preparations for a return home

This is a video I shot last Wednesday, August 19, of preparations in Galva, IL for the return home of a group of Illinois National Guard Soldiers.

There are flags ever 50'-100' for about 2 miles from the National Guard Armory building all the way to the edge of town. More things were done the next morning, but I wasn't able to get footage of it or the actual return. I simply couldn't get away from work, even though Lord knows I tried.

The video really doesn't do justice to how impressive town was for that day.



God Bless American, and keep and protect our troops. Bring them all home safely.

Monday, August 24, 2009

GAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The resolution that had been obtained, has been lost.

And I'm so mad I can't see straight.


Back in June, I talked about arriving at a resolution to a long running problem. I thought the issue was dead.

Until today. I finally took the new Stoeger out to use during some dog training. Since I wasn't actually shooting any birds, just trying to mix gunfire with retrieving, I was using 12 gauge poppers (a.k.a. blanks). But that shouldn't matter since a) the Stoeger Uplander does not up operate on recoil, and b) the problem was with the first barrel. Yes, ladies and gents, brand new shotgun that it took a year of bullshit to finally get to replace the malfunctioning gun, has the EXACT SAME PROBLEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I fired 10 or 12 rounds of blanks during training, and had two not fire.

Needless to say, I am slightly pissed.

So next time I go to Peoria, the shotgun goes back and I am going to get something different. I don't know if it will be another shotgun, a rifle, or a pistol. But it sure as hell ain't going to be a Stoeger Uplander.

Great Music Monday-It's America

I know, I know. My posting lately has pretty much sucked. I've just been rather uninspired.

But then last week, was a special day. August 20th, a group of American Hero's returned home (to the town where I live) from Afghanistan to a well earned Hero's Welcome. I have a video that I shot going through town the night before of the preparations being made by citizens, local groups, and the city. Once it is uploaded, I will post it here.

But their return got me thinking about all the reasons that America is a great country. The Soldiers are always #1. But there are several other great things to celebrate in this country.

Rodney Atkins captured the spirit of America really well in his song, "It's America."

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hiatus

I've been on a little bit of a hiatus for the last few weeks. Partly because I've been busy, partly because I've gone, and partly because I've just haven't felt like saying much.

So a little bit of catch-up.

July 11-18 was the Rocky Mountain National Rendezvous. A 15 hour drive. But worth the miles. There was a little bit of rain on Sunday evening, and Monday we had two wind storms come through. The first wind storm knocked down a teepee and a traders tent, a couple people got knocked on the head by poles, but nothing major.

Tuesday was probably the highlight of the week. Dragonfly, another friend from Northern Wisconsin, and I climbed to the top of the Grey Rocks formation at the North end of camp. I
don't the precise elevation, but it was probably 300-400 feet above camp.

Me and Dragonfly on the way to the summit

















On the way to the top, we found this hot tub with a view. Except the water was only about 70 degrees.
















Dragonfly by the world's greatest hot tub.

















View from the top. Worth every step.


















This is the rock face we went down. The picture doesn't really do it justice.

















View from the South end of camp looking back to the Grey Rocks. We were at the absolute highest point on those rocks.















Another view from the South end of camp. Our route of travel started all the way to the far left side of the picture, up the long slope.














We left Friday morning and headed to the Museum of the Fur Trade. We were not even 10 minutes from camp, still running on the gravel road with the windows down, when suddenly, we hear the horrible hisssssssss of air rapidly escaping. Cut a tire. Bad. So we pulled into a lane to ranch and changed to the spare. After a short delay, we were back on the road.

The Museum of the Fur Trade was awesome. I was particularly interested in their feature exhibit on the voyagers. In particular, the 36' birchbark canoe. All in all, I took over 230 pictures.

After the museum, we took 2-lane highway to Sidney, Nebraska and Cabelas. Saturday we returned home.



Once I returned home, it was catch up at work. Lots of deliveries to run, contacts to make.

And a project that I agreed to prior to leaving for the RMNR. A good friend from the Quad Cities, who was my canoe partner two years ago on a 3 day Maquoketa River trip, is leaving tomorrow morning (Tuesday) on the MR340. A 340 mile canoe race down the Missiouri River from Kansas City to St. Charles. The boat he is racing in is a 30' Chinook style boat named "Its Woot." The 4 man crew were all members of the 200th Anniversary recreation of the Lewis and Clarke Corps of Discovery. Well, my friend wanted to use a canoe paddle that I built. So the last two weeks were dedicated to making this paddle perfect.

I think it turned out alright.
Full view.























Close up of the Welsh Dragon I hand painted on the blade, with my touchmark above.















And finally, I threw in a great little canoe trip down the Kishwaukee River this last Saturday with Contagion, Ktreva, Wes, Wil, Red, and Dragonfly.

No wonder I'm tired.

Now, more paddles to make, and archery match to plan, and Rendezvous season is about to go into full swing.

Oh, and early goose season is less than a month away.

Great Music Monday-Circle of Life

Sometimes great music can be found in unlikely places.

One of the greatest movie themes ever came from the animated classic, "The Lion King."

Elton John's "Circle of Life" is one of the greatest movie themes ever. 'Nuff said.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Great Music Money-Mary Ellen Carter

Stan Rogers is one of the greatest folk songwriters/singers of the last 100 years who was taken fare to young when he was only 33 following a fire on a plane in June, 1983. There is speculation that Rogers died when he went back to try and help other passengers escape.

One of his greatest compositions is a song about former crew members trying to raise their old ship from the sea.

The song is credited with saving the life of one sailor in February, 1983. As the Marine Electric was going down, the Chief Mate was trapped, but used his snorkeling experience to escape and clung to a partially inflated life raft for several hours in the frigid water. And just as he was about to give up and let himself sink to the depths of Davy Jones Locker, he remembered the words of Roger's song and maintained his resolve by singing the song over and over again. Of the 33 on board the Marine Electric, only two survived. The Chief Mate's story is at the beginning of the video below.

The Mary Ellen Carter.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

AWOL

I'm going AWOL.

Actually, it AWL.

Omar the Wunderpuppy is going to the breeders near Rockford for the week, and then Dragonfly, The Man From Ohio, and I are heading for the Rocky Mountain National Rendezvous, a little South of Douglas, Wyoming. for the week. On our way back from the RMNR, there is going to be a stop at Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron, NE, and then Cabela's in Sidney, NE.

The beatings will resume upon my return.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Great Music Monday-Face the Flag

It's been a helluva day. So I am making this easy.

Saturday was the 233 birthday of this greatest nation on God's green earth. And in 1973, John Wayne (yes, the American Icon actor) recorded a spoken word album of patriotic themes. Sunday morning as I was waking up, I heard one of them played for the first time ever. I was immediately blown away by its power.

I can't find any video of it, but there is a good site with the lyrics and audio playing. Listen to the voice of The Duke, and listen the the words he speaks.

Face the Flag

God Bless America, and God Protect the Men and Women Who Keep Us Free.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Great Music Monday-Only God Could Love You More

This past weekend, I had the great joy of going to the St. Louis suburbs for a very special wedding. You see, I have a small family; one brother, and each of my parents only has one sibling (Dad has two other siblings who died in childhood). Dad's sister is married and has three kids, and Mom has a sister. Outside of that, it goes to 2nd and 3rd cousins.

That is until Saturday afternoon. My aunt married a great guy. Now, my aunt is the same age as my Dad (I'm 26, almost 27, ballpark an age from there, cause I won't tell out of respect) and has never been married. They dated for almost 5-1/2 years, and waited until he finished his Master's Degree (graduated a week before the wedding). He also has a 9-year old son from a previous marriage.

This is an awesome union. Truly, a match ordained by God. And the ceremony reflected that their faith is the center of both their lives. Really, it was inspiring.

So this week, the Great Music is a song played at the reception that really describes their marriage and is in honor of my aunt and new uncle and cousin. Welcome to the family.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Great Music Monday-People Are Strange

I don't really think this particular piece is all that great of a song. It is one that you can't help but sing along with.

This morning sitting in the office, we got a call that one of our drivers had missed a stop on his curbside route. The exchange between our staff member and the resident left all of us doing a *facepalm.*

We called the driver to make sure he made the stop.

His response, "I haven't even done that street yet!"

People are so freaking strange.

So in tribute to the people that cost me so many brain cells, a little ditty.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Resolution

Last summer, I mentioned that I hadn't gotten some new guns shot. Well, I got one of them shot for the first time during dove season, the Stoeger Uplander. But the problem was that out of the four shells that I put through the gun, one didn't fire. I never thought much about it.

Then New Year's Day rolled around, and there was an extended range session that combined about 1,500 rounds of 12 gauge, 20 gauge, .45 ACP, and .40 S&W. One of the several firearms used that day was the Uplander. But it didn't take long for all of us there that day to get very frustrated when one barrell of the Uplander repeatedly didn't fire. It seemed to be every shell or every other shell through the right barrell (which is the first to fire) would not actually discharge. The primer in the shell was dimpled, but no discharge. Needless to say, I was pissed. Over $600 for a gun and it doesn't freaking work! But it is still under warranty.

I took the Uplander back to Gander Mountain, where I purchased it. When I walked up to the gunsmith counter, he took one look at the gun and said "Oh, it's a Stoeger. I get so many of those in I don't even work on 'em, I just send 'em back to Benelli."

Shit.

So at the end of January (it took me a month to get to Peoria since it is an hour drive), the Uplander was sent to Benelli. I finally got it back in early April. The day I got it back, I took it out to make sure it worked. First shell in the gun: CLICK!!!!!!!!!!!! DAMNITDAMNITDAMNIT!!!! I put 8 more shells through that barrell and had a total of 2 mis-fires. Even more pissed than before. I just spent two months without my shotgun and paid $25 in shipping to get an unfixed gun. So I call Benelli and complain that it is not fixed and that I am NOT paying shipping again to fix the same problem. They tell me to go back to Gander again, and they can bill Benelli for the shipping. So back to the Gunsmith, and as I walk up to the counter, he recognizes me immediately (I've been told I leave and impression on people). He asks what do I have this time.

"Same gun, same problem" I tell him.

"Well, we can send it in again."

Another month of waiting, and the gunsmith calls. Benelli sent it back and said they found no problems.

"They're lying to ya," I respond. So the gunsmith suggests that I bring in a box of the shells I was having problems with and he can test fire it before I take it home.

So when I go to pick up the Uplander, I carried in two boxes of shells. The gunsmith took 4 to his test range and fired, with no problems. I am simply dumbfounded. And he could read it on my face, I am sure. So he suggests, let me try four more. This time, the first shell in the the right barrell doesn't fire. So the gunsmith comes out and calls Benelli to tell them that he had the same problem I did. They ask what shells he used. After he read off the label, the Benelli rep said "Oh, we recommend you don't shoot anything lighter that an 1-1/8 ounce load."

"Well why does that matter on the first barrell?" (and it wouldn't matter on the second barrell either, since the Uplander does not require recoil to set the trigger).

But the gunsmith humors the rep, and says he'll try an 1-1/8 oz load. First shell, CLICK!

Back on the phone to Benelli. This time, he gets the return authorization.

Finally, we have a resolution.

A little over a week ago, the gunsmith called me. "Benelli sent you a new gun."

So the next time time I am in Peoria, I get to go pick up a new Stoeger Uplander. Hopefully, without the problems.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Great Music Monday - Ballad of Ira Hayes

Yesterday was Flag Day. A day to honor the adoption of Old Glory.

Last year, I posted one of the greatest songs about the flag ever, and this year, we will focus on one of the men who was a part of one of the most famous flag raisings ever in American History, the raising on the top of Mt. Suribachi on Feb. 23, 1945.

This one photo, of the second flag raised on top of Suribachi (see Flags of our Fathers).

This same image is immortalized as the United States Marine Corps War Memorial, located near Arlington National Cemetery.

The person on the far left in the picture, is PFC Ira Hayes, USMC. Ira Hayes was a Pima Indian from Arizona.

Following the War, Hayes came home to much unwanted attention. He would be arrested more than 50 times for drunkenness. In 1949, Hayes, along with the other two men who raised the flag in the picture who survived the war, joined John Wayne on the silver screen for the classic "Sands of Iwo Jima." In the film, Hayes, along with John Bradley and Rene Gagnon, played themselves and were handed the same flag raised in 1945, from John Wayne, to raise it again.

But Hayes was never able to regain normalcy in his life. In January 1955, following a card game Ira Hayes was found dead, laying face down in his own vomit and blood. Official cause of death was exposure and alcohol , but his brother believes an argument following the card game was a factor.

Ira Hayes is an American Tragedy. An American Hero who was never able to resume a normal life, and died far too young, at age 32.

Folk Singer/Songwriter Peter La Farge wrote a ballad about the life and tragic end of Ira Hayes. By far, the most popular recording ever was by Johnny Cash.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

History foretelling the future.

Just saw this video and had to post it.

I remember hearing about Alexis du Toqueville's Democracy in America when I was in high school or college, but have never read it. Obviously, I need to.

Andrew Klavan: On The Culture

Monday, June 8, 2009

Great Music Monday-Somewhere In Kentucky

Well, last week I missed posting some Great Music, I was out of town at a conference for work.

But this week, I have something very special for you. A reader suggestion.

My good friend, Wil, suggested several great songs last year. And I kept a list of them, and have been looking for decent videos to use.

This week, I found such a video for one of the songs. Somewhere In Kentucky.

Tom T. Hall is one of the classic country and bluegrass artists of the 20th century, recording cult classics I Love and I Like Beer.

Somewhere In Kentucky is written by Tom T. and his wife, Miss Dixie, and was recorded on the album Tom T. Hall Sings Miss Dixie and Tom T., a compilation of songs written by the couple, selected by Miss Dixie as part of a Christmas present from Tom T., and recorded live.

The song is the story of a man working in an Ohio mill, who wants to go home to his love, who is waiting in Kentucky.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

D-Day + 65

I had planned to right a long post of reflections on this incredibly important day, and then watch the greatest D-Day movie I've ever seen, The Longest Day.

Unfortunately, I had to work 13 hours today, after a 16 hour day yesterday, and more tomorrow. A pitiful excuse, but it is what I have.

So I will simply say this:

65 years ago today, over 150,000 Allied troops undertook one of the greatest military operations in the history of the world, as they began Operation Overlord, and the beginning of the end of WWII. The Allies suffered over 10,000 casualties that day. over 2,500 would never leave the beachheads. No words can acurately describe the sacrifice, the courage, determination, and spirit of all those who landed on the beaches, jumped from the planes, dropped the bombs, and piloted the planes who moved the Allies that next step closer to victory. We owe everything we have to these men, and to all Veterans, who have stepped up to the plate, willing to give the 'last, full measure of devotion."

Thank you.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Test Results

Well, it went alright, I guess.

Omar and I arrived at the hunting club Saturday morning at 6:20am. After getting Omar out of the truck to stretch his legs and makes his bladder gladder. Then it was into the clubhouse to check in, meet the judges, and get the day started. After some instructions from the judges we headed to the field for the search portion of the test.

We were running 5th out of 10 dogs. At 7:00am there was a lot of dew on the grass and the temperature was comfortable. But by the time we ran, it was after 9:00. The dew was gone and the temp was steadily climbing. However, we got lucky. Just a couple of minutes before we started our run, clouds rolled in. Heavy clouds. I considered rolling up my truck windows before we started. And the temperature dropped a couple of degrees. After dumping a bunch of water on Omar to cool him down and giving him a good drink of water, we were off for our 20 minutes search. About 8 minutes into the search, Omar bumped a quail, it flushed with no point. DAMNIT. We continued on the search around the corner and Omar found the same quail that he flushed a minute earlier. But this time, he locked onto a beautiful point. I moved in to flush the bird. Awesome. We continued on. Omar had 2 more good points, and we made it through the field portion in good shape. At the end of the search, the judges told me to leash my dog and head back to the gallery. I call Omar, and he is not interested in coming to me, but in continuing to hunt. While I like his desire and enthusiasm, I am pissed because this will probably ding the cooperation score. More waiting while the last 5 dogs run.

The next portion is the tracking. Again, we run 5th. When it is our turn, we head across the field to the blind to wait while the judges release the pheasant to run. They bring us out of the blind and begin their explanation. "There's the feather pile, and when we set him down, the bird jumped over there," as the judges point to a milkweed about 10 feet away. I ask if I can lead my dog to where the bird landed and they responded, "I would." So I did. Showed Omar the feathers and lead him to the milkweed, and released him. He started out good for about 15 feet, then got off track and went into a search, first to the left, then way the hell out to the right. Disappeared over a hill. Comes back over the hill. Stops to crap. Starts searching again, and BAM!!! slams on point. Judges tell me go get my dog and head back. I'm thinking were screwed. But then, a glimmer of hope. When the guy taking birds from the crate out to the judges came back from taking the 7th bird out, he comes over and tells me the judges are recalling Omar to run a second track after the 10th dog has ran. Not because of anything negative, but they needed to do more evaluation. SWEET!!! I'll take the second chance. After the 10th dog ran, Omar and I go out to run our second track. As I come up the judges explain the situatition. After they discussed my run, they figured out that Omar had crossed into the track for the dog that had run before me and that was the pheasant he had pointed, so they wanted to get into an area with less scent and run another track. So I bring Omar up to the second feather pile, get him interested, and release him He tracked for probably 20 feet, then lost the line and began a more compressed search than before, and then locked on point again. "Go get your dog." I'm thinking, well, he tracked, but not very far. If I get a 2, I'll be pleased.

The final portion of the test is the water. I went into this with no worries. My turn comes, I head to the water's edge, pick up a bumper, get Omar excited and throw. Without hesitation, he moves into the water and grabs the dummy. Second throw, same result. Should be a 4 no problem.

The physical exam was fine, all teeth, no extras, good bite. coat fine, testes intact.

AND WE ARE DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Except for the waiting for scores.

Finally, they judges step up to begin announcements. After the formalities, they begin reading scores.

They get to Omar. Eyes: OK Bite/Teeth: OK Testes: OK Coat: Medium Dense Medium Harsh
Temperment: NORMAL Not Gun Shy

Scoring:
Use of Nose: 4
Search: 4
Water: 4
Pointing: 4
Tracking: 3
Desire to Work: 4
Cooperation: 4


For a total of 110 and a PRIZE 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just about fell over. The only point I dropped all day was on the track. Max score in the Natural Ability test is 112. This is a PHENOMINAL score. All the hours and days of work paid off. Omar lived up to his potential and made a great impression.


Now, all he needs is his x-rays for PennHip hip dysplasia check, and he is ready to get laid.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Testing Day

Tomorrow is Testing Day.

Omar the wunderpup has his NAVHDA Natural Ability Test.

We have to be on the road by 5:15 in the morning. Hour and 15 minute drive to the Preserve. A little run time, and the test starts at 7:00am.

The test combines 4 areas, three of which count towards Omar's overall score, and one that is purely a courtesy evaluation.

First off, will be the field portion. Omar has to hunt for 20 minutes. They will be judging his desire, cooperation, and pointing. The second portion of the test is a track. Judges pull the flight feathers on one wing, and then pull some breast feathers where they put the bird down, and let it run. Once the bird has run a sufficient distance, I bring the dog up to the feathers, get him interested, and he has to track the bird. Doesn't have to catch it, retrieve it, or anything else, just simply track where the bird ran. The third and final portion is the water test. I bring the dog up to a pond, select a retrieving bumper, and using the bumper, I have to get Omar to swim twice. When he comes out of the water, the judges will do a physical exam. Check his teeth, coat, whether he is intact. And then we wait for the scores.

I know Omar is capable of doing very well. But I am nervous as hell.

HTML Help

I want to create some entries with the "fold" in them. But I have no freakin' clue how to edit the HTML. Can anybody help?

Leave me a note in the comments or e-mail skoal underscore 82 at yahoo dot com.

Thanks.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New Blog

I have started a second blog.

Crazy? I know.

But for those of you who know me, I am a big guy and am going to change that. I have set myself upon a path to lose about 220 pounds. The new blog is a place for me to chronicle the journey from fat to healthy.

I warn you, some of the stories and pictures may be disturbing to some, but I do this for myself and need a place to hold myself accountable.

I am not looking for others to join a challenge or anything of the sort, this is a personal journey, not a contest with anyone else.

However, if you care to stop by over there and read, I would appreciate the moral support.

So here it is, The Incredible Shrinking Petey.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Great Music Monday-For My Country

This is a day we all must pause and remember.

Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a set aside on the last Monday of May to remember all those who have, as Abraham Lincoln put it in the Gettysburg Address while dedicating a National Cemetery, given "the last full measure of devotion."

And on this day, I believe it is proper to once again say THANK YOU to all the veterans who were willing to give that measure, but were able to come home. We owe everything we have to the American Heroes. It is by there grace and sacrifice we are able to live in this great country.

To honor all those who have stepped up, "For My Country."

Friday, May 22, 2009

For my trucker friends

Your result for The How Well Do You Know Trucking Test...

True Trucker!

91% Pure!


You scored 91% pure. You definitely know something about trucking. I probably don't need to teach you a thing.


Take The How Well Do You Know Trucking Test
at HelloQuizzy




The only thing they didn't ask is was my IQ below 50.



I kid, I kid.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Great Music Monday-Are You Lonesome To-night

83 years ago, Lou Handman and Roy Turk wrote one of the most quintesential songs of love and loss ever. The most famous recording of this song was done in 1960, when the King, Elvis Presley laid it down.

The story is of a man to his former love. Simply asking the question, "Are you lonesome to-night?"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

One Word

It's almost hard to believe that one word can say SSSOOOOOOO much.

What is the word?

OBAMUNISM

What is it?
Communists and Socialists and Marxists of America unite! We finally have a real president who holds our values dear. We support Obama because he wants to nationalize health care, take money from hard-working Americans to give to the poor, and make one class of people. Hooray for communism! Hooray for Obama! Hooray for Obamunism! (That whole democracy thing just wasn't working out anyway.)


If I wasn't freaking broke, I would own at least one of these shirts.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Great Music Monday-New Old Songs

For this week's Great Music Monday, I am doing something a little bit different.

Many times I have used videos from Bard of Cornwall, Jesse Ferguson.

Well, he went and released and album, New Old Songs.

So this week, I am going to do a short review.

The album cover is simple but conveys so much. At the top, Jesse's name. Bottom right, the album title. and a white background with a picture of Jesse, in kilt, with his guitar raised to the rock gods. The back cover is an interesting picture of Jesse, again in kilt, in a fine hurdler's form, along with the usual information.

The inside cover has some basic biographical information about Jesse and about the album. The most glaring piece of information that should be taken note of, is that all vocals, instrumentals, recording, mastering, and design was done by Jesse.

Now the music. To start the album Jesse leads in with a fine version of Star of the County Down. The music is a mix guitar, mandolin, and bodhran, coupled with the rich tone of the vocals.

Track 2 is a great piece written by former Silly Wizard frontman, Andy Stewart, Ramblin' Rover. The beat is set with the bodhran and the vocals lead you through this new classic celtic folk song.

Tracks 3 (Jock Stewart), 4 (The Beggarman), and 5 (Balland of St. Anne's Reel) do a great job of showing off the plethora of Ferguson's musical talents. You'll hear guitar, mandolin, bodhran, fiddle, and whistle all wrapping the vocals in a nest of toe-tapping goodness.

Track 6 (Birks of Invermay) is a beautiful melody that slows down the pace set in the previous 3 tracks. The great finger-picked guitar carries you with the one you love through the birks.

Finally, track 7 (Sonny's Dream) shares the story of "Sonny" who works the family plot, and his mother is asking him not to leave, for she is home all along since Sonny's dad is a sailor. But Sonny longs to experience the world away. As Jesse sings, you can feel yourself standing in his shoes, and looking out at the big world and wanting more.

And that is what I am doing. Wanting more. The only complaint I have on this great album, is that it ends after only seven tracks.

Jesse has a great voice, rich and smooth, with an accent that I have never been able to identify, but appreciate how it gives a great celtic feel, while still being very understandable.

All in all, this is a great album that any Celtic music lover would be proud to have in their collection. I highly recommend all of you buy it, HERE.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How would she know

Clinton impressed by Pakistan military action


I saw this headline and all I could think was, "Did they invite them over for tea and crumpits?"

What the hell would Hillary Clinton know about a decent military action?

She thought she was dodging sniper fire when there wasn't even any shooting going on.

Maybe they played a game of Fistycuffs.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Great Music Monday-Cat's in the Cradle

This week's Great Music is a classic piece of 1970's Folk Rock.

I first heard this song on a recording by Ed Kilbourne in the mid-90's. But it is actually written by Harry and Sandy Chapin. The lyrics written originally as a poem by Sandy Chapin about her father and brother, Harry put the words to music and created a timeless piece on the father-son relationship.

"Cat's in the Cradle" is the story of a son asking his father to join him the childhood activies, but the father responds that he doesn't have the time. And every time the son walks away saying he is going to be just like his dad. Then irony sets in as the father retires and now want to spend time with his son, but like his father before him, the son doesn't have time to spend with his father.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

SUCCESS!!!

It's amazing what you can do with a little duct tape and a superball.







Like, keep 12 people working all day.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Beer Connoisseur

Damn Straight!

Your result for The Good Beer Test...

A Beer Connoisseur

70% Knowledge and 100% Taste!


Behold, a true genius! You scored very well on my test. Obviously you know your beer, or you can use the Internet to cheat. I'm just going to hope it's the former.


Take The Good Beer Test
at HelloQuizzy


Leave your results in the comments. And no cheating.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Great Music Monday-Turn Turn Turn

I missed last weeks Great Music Monday post, not by design, but by circumstance. There was Masonic degree work I was helping with and didn't get back to town until after 11:00pm and I wanted SLEEP.

But we are back after a one week hiatus.

In the Bible, King James translation, if you read the book of Ecclesiastes, third chapter, verses 1-8, you will find this text:

  1. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
  2. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
  3. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
  4. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
  5. A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
  6. A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
  7. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
  8. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
With the addition of two lines (Turn, Turn Turn and I swear it's not too late), Pete Seeger created one of the greatest songs of the 60's. Commonly believed to be a plea for peace, the biblical text is really an explanation that everything in the world happens in its time.

The most successful recording of this song is by The Byrds.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Omar's Sister

I just found some pictures and thought I would share.

My dog, Omar the Wunderpuppy who turns 1 in just over a week (May 5), has 4 brothers and sisters.

The smallest pup at birth is now living in Minnesota, and her picture just showed up in Versatile Hunting Dog, the monthly magazine of the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association.

It is the picture in the upper left on THIS PAGE.

Great News

This is some of the best news I have heard in weeks.

If I was Michelle Obama, I would say "This is the first time in my adult life that I have been proud of my country."

But I'm not, I have been proud of my country so many times I can't count. Granted, there have been disappointment's, but this makes me VERY proud.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How to keep your customers

Let's face it, customer service is damn near an abstract concept anymore. From employees who just don't care to call centers on the other side of the planet, if you have a problem or concern, good luck.

And that is why I am writing this post. I want to share two stories of customer service that I have experienced over the last 5 months.

Experience #1) December 2008 I placed an order for some good cigars. The order included two boxes of cigars. The first box arrived in about a week. But no sign of the second box and no e-mail, call, or note in the package that the second box was backordered. To date, the second box still hasn't arrived. I have tried contacting the company I ordered from to very little satisfaction. I e-mailed them and never got a response. I called their 800 number and got a recording to leave a message and they would contact me. I left two or three messages and was never called back. Finally, I got ahold of a live body. I was informed that the second box was on back order and he would check to see what its status was and for me to call the next day. I called the next day to ask what had been found out only to be told, "It is on backorder, just be patient."


Experience #2) I placed an order March 31, 2009 with Uplanders Warehouse. The order included a shirt and upland hunting chaps. The shirt was shipped from the supplier and arrived in 48 hours. The chaps were on backorder. How did the folks at Uplanders handle the backorder? I received an e-mail FROM THE OWNER on April 2nd, to let me know that the shirt was shipped and the chaps were backorderd, but should ship the next week. April 7th, I received another e-mail from the owners wife that the chaps were still back ordered but would be going out as soon as they arrived to their facility. But because I had to wait for them, they would refund my shipping back to me. What is this? Its only been a week? I was speechless. 3 days later I am heading down the road for a training day with Omar, and my phone rings. It's the owner of Uplanders, Jared Tanner. He has some disappointing news: the chaps still haven't arrived from the manufacturer. Jared apologized multiple times that he was sorry this hadn't been taken care of. I assured him, I understood and was thankful to be kept in the loop. Then, Jared almost caused me to have an accident. He offered to upgrade my order from the chaps I had ordered to a different brand. Now, some companys may offer this option, but not when the upgrade is to a product that costs $10-$30 more, when the original product was only $30, and at NO ADDITIONAL COST. I was blown away. But, I told Jared about my concern that the other brands wouldn't fit, as I had already been down that road. He asked if I happend to know the measuerments and he would check the products. I told him the information and he said he would call back in a couple minutes. Five minutes later, the phone rings again, Jared had check the measurements and confirmed my concern, the others wouldn't fit. So he offered me a refund if I wanted, but I said I would just wait until the chaps came in. Fast forward 9 days, and I get two e-mails. The first is the shipping confirmation and the second from Jared to also tell me the chaps had shipped.

Which company has the better customer service? Which company am I going back to? Which company is getting a link in the sidebar?

Easy question, right?

Fast forward to today (Thursday), the chaps arrived and I have already worn them to the field.

Also in the packege, is the newest edition to my truck.


So, my good friends, go get yourself some gear and support a good company. And when you place your order, don't forget to use their UDonate program. It is simple. When you checkout, check a box for either Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, or Ruffed Grouse Society and Uplanders Warehouse will donate 2% of your total purchase to your selected conservation group. This doesn't add anything to your total cost, it is simply something that Jared and his wife feel passionatly enough about to make it a priority.

Also, Jared's blog, JT's Upland Blog, is going to the blogroll. Give it a read.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Celebrate 64 years of FREEDOM!

I missed an important anniversary last week.

64 years of Freedom. Not for me, but my Great Uncle (read more about him in THIS previous post).

April 16, 1945. My Great Uncle, who has spent the last five months of his life in a German P.O.W. camp, surviving on a diet of grass, straw, sugar beets, bread made with "tree flour" (a.k.a. sawdust), and charcoal made from potatoes to prevent dysentery, was liberated by the English 5th Infantry. He was 20 when h was liberated.

Last week, he decided to hold a liberation celebration dinner at the building he lives in.

Go read the entire article here.

Also, check the comments. There are several who make a great suggestion that this should be done not with seniors, but with youth. And I think that is a great idea.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Which Corrupt Illinois Governor Are You?

This is just really, REALLY disturbing.

Your result for The Which corrupt Illinois governor are you test...

Otto Kerner Jr.

You could have been a contender, but ya blew it cuz you're a sucker.


You are Otto Kerner Jr., born in Chicago in 1908 and educated at the Ivy league Brown University as well as Cambridge and Northwestern Law School. You married the daughter of Anton Cermak, one of Chicago's most influential mayors, and fought in World War 2, winning the Bronze star and retiring from the military in 1954 as a Major General. You served as a US Attorney and then as Illinois' Governor from 1961-1968. Wow! You have the resume of a potential US President. What the hell happened?


What happened is that you engaged in the same practices that nearly all politicians have engaged in since before the pyramids. Skim a little graft hear, wet your beak there, line the nest with the cash you pick up helping out your friends. However, you broke the #1 rule in Illinois politics, which is:"Don't get caught!" You took a huge bribe from Marge Lindheimer Everett, manager of Arlington and Washington Park race tracks in exchange for choice racing dates and to get two expressway exits for her Arlington Park racetrack. The bribe was in the form of stocks.


Some say taking a huge bribe wasn't your biggest mistake. Your biggest mistake was taking a bribe from an apparent idiot. Amazingly, the scandal came to light because Everett had deducted the value of the stock on her federal income tax returns under her own theory that bribery was an ordinary and necessary business expense in Illinois!


You were sentenced to 3 years in the Federal Pen, but were released after about a year because you had terminal cancer. You're buried at Arlington National Cemetary because of your distinguished military service.


There are 4 possible outcomes to this test. Congratulations, you are the least of Four Evils!


Please Remember to rate this test. Thanks.


Here are all the test results:


Otto Kerner Jr.


http://helloquizzy.okcupid.com/results/the-which-corrupt-illinois-governor-are-you-test/?fromCGI=1&var_Larceny=-4


George Ryan


http://helloquizzy.okcupid.com/results/the-which-corrupt-illinois-governor-are-you-test/?fromCGI=1&var_Larceny=9


Lennington Small


http://helloquizzy.okcupid.com/results/the-which-corrupt-illinois-governor-are-you-test/?fromCGI=1&var_Larceny=14


Rod Blagojevich


http://helloquizzy.okcupid.com/results/the-which-corrupt-illinois-governor-are-you-test/?fromCGI=1&var_Larceny=21


Take The Which corrupt Illinois governor are you test
at HelloQuizzy



I suppose it could have been worse.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Great Music Monday-Ghosts of Culloden

This Thursday is a very important anniversary.

April 16, 1746. Culloden Moor outside of Inverness, Scotland.

Charles Edward Stuart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, the son of James Francis Edward Stuart, came to Scotland in 1745 to try and return his father to the throne of Great Britain and Ireland.

The Bonnie Prince rallied the highlands and led his army to within 120 miles of London. However, upon the ill advice of his advisers, Charlie with drew his army to Culloden Moor. There, Bonnie Prince Charlie was beaten by the Duke of Cumberland. Charlie fled to France, dieing some 40 years later, having never again returned to Scotland.

This one battle has become a centerpiece in Scottish history and countless songs have been written about the battle, the escape of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and the hopes that he would return.

However, this song is not one of them. Written, to the best information I can find, by Scottish singer/songwriter Isla Grant, "Ghosts of Culloden" is a song about those who never left that Moor on April 16, 1746.



Please leave your thoughts on the song, the Battle of Culloden, in the comments.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A time of need

I have mentioned before, that I am a member of the Ancient Free & Accepted Masons (often seen abbreviated A.F. & A.M.), aka Freemasons or Masons. It is an affiliation that I hold very near and dear to my heart. And that includes the appendent bodies. Besides being a Master Mason, I belong to the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite and have looked into joining other bodies as well.

The old figure that has been used for about 10 years is that Masons give, either through the regular Lodge activities or appendent bodies, over $2,000,000 every single day for charitable activities.

One of the most prominent parts of the amazing work Freemasons do is through the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S.), aka Shriners, Hospitals for Childern.

And that is why this article bothered me so much.

Started in 1920, the 22 Shriners Hospitals provide 100% free care to children with burns, spinal cord injuries, and orthopedic problems.

A very good friend of mine has a son that would not be able to walk today if it wasn't for Shriner's Hospital, and there are literally hundreds of thousands of cases like this.

But at the 2009 Annual Meeting, they will be voting on whether or not to close 6 of the hospitals. This would be a tragedy for so many children and families who would have to travel farther to receive this world class specialized health care.

Basically, my Brothers need help to continue providing this care in all the locations they currently maintain.

So I am asking you, my readers, to help me help Shriners help childern.
Click HERE to make a donation. I did. And this is a tax deductable contribution.



Do you have an interest in joining the Ancient Free & Accepted Masons?

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