Monday, June 30, 2008

Need a New...

...nervous habit.

Over the weekend while building the dog kennel and dog house, I did my normal nervous habit when I am concentrating on a project intently.

I was biting my lips.

And I don't mean a little bit. I have this totally sub-conscious habit where I get to focusing on something and I purse my lips together and then bite them.

Oh sure, at the time it seems harmless enough at the time. But, later in the day or the next morning, I realize what I have done. Like today, both lips have what feels like a scabbed over cut about 1/4" above and below the mouth. And they pretty much hurt like hell.

One of these days I am going to end up biting my lips off.

Approaching O-Hour

1200 June 30: Well, I am just about 80 hours away from the O-Hour, a.k.a. the arrival of Omar.

Thursday night after work, my buddy Rendog and I are heading North for the pick up, then turn around a head back home.

That'll give me three days with Omar prior to heading back to work the following Monday.

Spent the whole weekend working on final preparations. Saturday was a trip to Galesburg to Lowes and Tractor Supply Co. for lumber, dog food, a couple of water dishes, and a couple Kongs.

Saturday I worked until 3:00am Sunday morning building the raised kennel. After a few hours of sleep, Sunday was spent building the dog house to attach to the kennel. Stupid manufacturer supplied really crappy directions and the sheet metal for the roof doesn't fit worth a shit. Thank goodness I work for a sheet metal contractor and can get a decent one fabricated that will fit like it is supposed to. Tonight will be either painting the kennel and house or building a training table.

Posting may be light this week. I am still working on the post I promised in the comments last week about the real implications of the Heller ruling last week.

But until then and to satisfy those who really need the cutesy tootsy artsy fartsy pictures to coo over, here is a picture from last week of Omar swimming.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Great Reading

Found this while enjoying The View From North Central Idaho.

The actual suit filed against the City of Chicago and Mayor Daley to challenge the Union of Soviet Socialist Chicagoans ban on handguns and requirements for registration.

(Note, the suit is a .pdf file, but if you click to drag the sheet, it will open a link to Buckeye Firearms, so click it after you have read the suit)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Idiots Abound

Found a link to the article at Days of our Trailers*.

I didn't figure it would take long, and it didn't. The Second Amendment Foundation and the Illinois State Rifle Association have already filed the challenge to the 25 year old Chicago handgun ban.

From the Chicago Tribune:
An angry Mayor Richard Daley on Thursday called the Supreme Court's overturning of the Washington D.C. handgun ban "a very frightening decision" and vowed to fight vigorously any challenges to Chicago's ban.

That challenge was not long in coming. Hours after the high court's ruling was made public Thursday, the Second Amendment Foundation and the Illinois State Rifle Association sued the city and the mayor in an effort to overturn Chicago's quarter-century ban on handguns.

But the most telling comment of the article comes some other city official.

City officials expressed confidence the city would prevail in any court challenge, asserting, among other things, that the 2nd Amendment as part of the Bill of Rights restricts the federal government and does not apply to state and local governments...

...Even before the suit was filed challenging the Chicago Weapons Ordinance, city officials said they believed the Chicago law did not fall under the Supreme Court ruling.

"We are confident that this does not invalidate Chicago's ordinance at this point," said Jennifer Hoyle, spokeswoman for the city Law Department.

Benna Solomon, deputy corporation counsel for the city, asserted that the Supreme Court decision applies only to the federal government. Washington D.C., she said, is part of the federal government, but Chicago is an independent home-rule unit of Illinois.

Oh yeah. That will fly like a lead freaking balloon. Sounds to me like Chicago thinks they are their own country. Last time I checked, the Union of Soviet Socialist Chicagoans was a part of the State of Illinois, and the State of Illinois is part of the United States of America. I will grant, this decision does not DIRECTLY invalidate Chicago's ban, but it makes overturning it very easy to see happening.

Sorry ya stupid idiots, you are governed by the United States Constitution. And what part of "shall not be infringed" don't you understand.

Gun Rights Gettysburg

Michael Bane has a short post up in the wake of the landmark Heller case. Basically, quoting someone who says that the GOP and Conservatives are now screwed for 2008 because we can't make the 2nd Amendment a major issue.

I left a lengthy comment that I thought deserved its own post. The text of the comment is below.

WE have to MAKE it an issue. We have won a victory in a huge battle. This is our Gettysburg. A turning point in an epic war for the very foundation of this country.

ANYONE who thinks we just won the war, is jumping the gun (pun only slightly intended). The enemy still has their resolve. If they can't take away our actual guns, they will try to flank us. Measures have already been introduced in some states to basically regulate us out of options.

Bullet microstamping, so called "smart" guns, licensing with loads of fees (in Illinois we are required to have Firearms Owners Identification (FOID) Cards with a $10 fee for 10 years), registrations with fees. All done with the idea of making it so expensive to shoot our firearms, that they are basically rendered as clubs.

These are the issues we need to be talking about through this election year and making sure we don't elect those that would use the back door methods to take away our guns.


From the SCOTUSblog live blog of the release of the decision in District of Columbia v. Heller.

Ben Winograd -

The Court has released the opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller (07-290), on whether the District’s firearms regulations – which bar the possession of handguns and require shotguns and rifles to be kept disassembled or under trigger lock – violate the Second Amendment. The ruling below, which struck down the provisions in question, is affirmed.

Justice Scalia wrote the opinion. Justice Breyer dissented, joined by Justices Stevens, Souter and Ginsburg. We will provide a link to the decision as soon as it is available.

Tom Goldstein - Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm.

Tom Goldstein - Quoting the syllabus: The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditional lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.

Affirmed. Also known a confirmation of what so many of us have known for so long.

To read the entire opinion, go HERE. That is what I am doing right now.


In the above link, go read the "Opinion of the Court" part (b) on "Keep and Bear Arms." In the Adobe program, it starts on page 10, or if you are looking at the actual page numbers on the sheets, page 7. Scalia uses a prior dissenting opinion of Ginsberg against her argument to not affirm and to support an individual right. Then, he lays into Stevens on trying to justify lots of leftist mislead rhetoric. And it does a nice job of setting up a case for not just private ownership, but carry-either open or concealed. Worth the read. I cheered out loud.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Outrage of the Month

Found at Contagion's.

The WORST form of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) I have heard of in a long, Long, LONG time.

"Neighbors worry about home intended for homeless veterans"

Ungrateful SOB's.

Long story short. An organization called Carpenter's Place purchased a home in Rockford, IL, did a little bit of work inside to fix it up, and are going to move 3 homeless Veteran's into the home-sort of a half-way house.

And the neighbors are ticked. They weren't consulted before the home was purchased.

I will partly blame the media for this. The biggest concern cited in the article is they are worried that someone will "go off the deep end." The media has done so little to report any of the good things that our soldiers do and their success in returning home and focus only on the things that negative. And then the neighbors who don't have a clue and think that since their new neighbors are Veterans, they are obviously going to go crazy or suffer some strange mental disease.

But even with the disgusting media bias in this country, it is a really pisspoor excuse to insult our Veterans. Those "neighbors" represent the worst of this country. Be ashamed of yourselves.

And to Carpenter's Place, we respect our Veterans down here.


Over at Days of our Trailers*, Thirdpower has a post up about a couple of reports that are VERY worth the read.

The report on crime in Chicago is really telling. The things I found the most interesting were that 95.7% of all the murders in the Union of Soviet Socialist Chicagoans were committed by those with PRIOR CRIMINAL RECORDS! It doesn't distinguish misdemeanor versus felony record. The other graph I found interesting was that 107 of 134 murders were with firearms, in a city with a ban on handguns and mandatory registration of all long guns.

There is gun bans in action.

Still Waiting

I was reading the live blog from the SCOTUSblog hoping to see the decision on the D.C. v. Heller case, or more commonly known, the D.C. Gun Ban Case. Looks like the decision will be announced tomorrow.

And it is possible that Justice Scalia is writing the opinion. Could be good news.

Holding out hope, yet.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Atheism versus Agnostic

I found this through IMAO.

New Pew survey: 21% of atheists believe in God

Yes, you have read that right, 21% of ATHEISTS BELIEVE IN GOD!!!!

Evidently, these "atheist" missed a day or 200 in school. Atheism, be definition, is the lack of a belief in a God.

Look at the parts of the word. A-meaning lack of, and theism-a theology. So atheism is the lack of a theology. Like asexual reproduction is a lack of sex for procreation.

If you claim you are an atheist, but believe in or believe there is a God, you are NOT an atheist. You are AT LEAST, Agnostic.

Agnostics believe there is at least a possibility of a higher power.

Personally, I have a hard time with some people who call themselves Agnostic, when they are really more spiritual. To me, if you actually profess a belief and trust in a Deity, you are Spiritual. And one can be spiritual with out being religious. Religion is a particular way to practice a faith, set down as part of a religious discipline.

end rant.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Great Music Monday-Fanfare for the Common Man

I am sure you have all heard Aaron Copland's great piece, "Fanfare for the Common Man" even if you didn't know what the piece actually was.

The story of the music, from Wikipedia: Copland, in his autobiography, wrote of the request: "Eugene Goossens, conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, had written to me at the end of August about an idea he wanted to put into action for the 1942-43 concert season. During World War I he had asked British composers for a fanfare to begin each orchestral concert. It had been so successful that he thought to repeat the procedure in World War II with American composers". A total of eighteen fanfares [1] were written at Goossens' behest, but Copland's is the only one which remains in the standard repertoire.

Goosens had suggested titles such as Fanfare for Soldiers, or sailors or airmen, and he wrote that "[i]t is my idea to make these fanfares stirring and significant contributions to the war effort...." Copland considered several titles including Fanfare for a Solemn Ceremony and Fanfare for Four Freedoms; to Goossens' surprise, however, Copland titled the piece Fanfare for the Common Man. Goossen wrote "Its title is as original as its music, and I think it is so telling that it deserves a special occasion for its performance. If it is agreeable to you, we will premiere it 12 March 1943 at income tax time". Copland's reply was "I [am] all for honoring the common man at income tax time".

It is a grand piece and I like it. Fitting for the beauty that is this great nation we live in, but simple enough for everyday schlubs like me.

The best video of this song I found on the internet is of the New York Philharmonic, but it is not embeddable. So, follow this link to see the video, and if you want it on CD, I recommend the Mannheim Steamroller C.W. McCall cd, "American Spirit."

So enjoy, comment on your thoughts, and make suggestions.

*Raising Glass* "To the Common Man."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Choice is Made

It has been a good weekend.

The Cubs have swept the White Sox and extended their home winning streak to 14 games and an overall 20 games over .500 record of 48-28. All in all, a really nice series for the Cubs. (as a side note: If you are in the Chicago area, head out to Lombard to Harry Caray's Steakhouse, where as long as the Cubs continue their home winning streak, Old Style beers are just $0.45)

Last night, I was in Rockford and met up with Contagion, Wes, and later Graumagus (of the currently defunct Frizzensparks). Wes, Contagion, and I met at Carlyle Brewery Co. Contagion and I were there about 10 minutes after 5:00, and stayed until 11:00. Wes joined us between 8:00 and 9:00. All in all, we drank 27 pints of dang good beer. We sang some Irish drinking songs, like the Galway Bay parody, Parting Glass, and the shanty Sailor's Prayer. When we left Carlyle, we went to Contagions, had a few more beers, and a bunch of hot dogs left from Contagions fun day at work.

The real reason I was at Rockford was because I had been out to the dog breeder's at Poplar Grove, looking at the puppies again and making my final decision on which puppy I am going to take.

The final decision: OMAR!!!!!

So on July 3rd, I will be heading up again after work to pick him up and head back that night. Bringing him home on the 3rd allows me to have 3 days at home with him to get him acclimated to my place. And then the training begins. 3-4 times a day. Plus, lots of other little bits of basics. The thing about Omar, he is HUGE. Doesn't even look like he is from the same litter as the others.

And for those of you who have to have the cutsy tootsy fix, excessively cute puppy pics.

Omar-almost like he is on point
Omar-walking across the carpet. Where the heck did he get that gay tail? He didn't have that last time.

Look at the camera!
Time to sleep
The 5 litter mates. clockwise from the bottom left. Bubbles (F, pink collar), Stringer (M, Lime Green collar), Kima (F, Purple collar), Bodie (M, Red Collar), Omar (M, Blue Collar-my pup).

Grandpa T-Bird. As the breeder says-if the pups turn into 1/4 of the dog grandpa is, they will be great dogs. T-Bird has been featured on 2 magazine covers, and at least one t.v. show as well. I was really glad to learn that he is part of the pedigree on these pups. T-Bird and Dia are the Sire and Bitch of the Kita, who is the Bitch for this litter.

So, now I have to finish the final preparations for the arrival. Finish the kennel, get my bedroom cleaned up and the crate set up, build a training table, and install a septic system. Finish reading a couple more books. Hopefully, all goes well.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Exploration of the Amaquonssippi

So, last weekend I traveled with 17 others down for 40 miles down the Amaquonssippi (Spoon River). We put in at London Mills and went to Bernadotte. This was a continuation of a voyage started last year where we went 52 miles from Dahinda to London Mills. Next year we will finish the trip going from Bernadotte to the mouth of the Amaquonssippi at Havana, crossing the Illinois River.

***Take Notice, this is not the kind of trip that most people would think of as a "canoe trip." The organizer of the trip, Wil, along with most the rest of us in the Illinois River Scum, portray hunters. For us, this would be a trip where we are scouting for game, or maybe mapping locations. So for us, we do a lot of floating and don't spend a huge amount of time trying to cover as much distance as possible. This concept was hard for a few people on the trip to understand. They are used to paddling the whole trip, like the French Voyagers hauling freight up and down the river.

They were working WAAAAAYYYYYYYYY too hard.***

Anyway, this year's trip. Friday morning we met in London Mills an got the boats ready to go. After shuffling all the vehicles to the take out point, I brought everyone back and parked my truck. About 1:00pm we were headed downstream. Our goal for the day-Ellisville. One of the traveling companions has a co-worker who's family has a spot along side the river and had offered the site for us to use.

L to R: Me, Ark Builder, Contagion at the first night camp site

Saturday morning after breakfast we reloaded and launched boats again. About 1:00 we made a planned water stop and continued along our way. Finally, about 5:30 we found a little feed creek just big enough to get the boats into and on shore. After some landscaping (using canoe paddles to cut the nettles), we were in business for the night.

The boats on shore. Feeder creek behind them, river to the far left.

My friend D-O, resting under a tree in Saturday night's campsite. If the landscaping hadn't been done, the nettles would have been about a foot over the top of his head in this picture.

Sunday morning, we were back on the river by 7:30. Which was a good thing, as the nice breeze we had on Saturday was gone and it was getting warm. About 10:30 we arrived at Bernadotte to get off the river. The take out point was a little tricky, as if we missed it we would probably go over the flood dam and have a good chance of drowning. But, at least from what I saw, it worked pretty well.

When we came in, none of were any worse for the wear, just a little bit of sunburn.

The entire group right after taking the boats off the water.

All in all, it was a dang good trip and I think everyone is looking forward to next years trip.

For another perspective, go over to Contagion's and read.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Great Music Monday-Ragged Old Flag

In 1974, Johnny Cash released and album that's title track is the selection for this week's "Great Music Monday."

Ragged Old Flag gives me goose bumps every time I hear it. And while the song is 34 years old, it is still very relevant to the current state of the country.

So please listen to this Great song and remember where we have come from, what we are, and what we need to be.

Also, a note, if you have a suggestion for some Great Music, drop me a note in the comments on any of these weekly posts. I'll check it out and if I agree that it is Great Music, it'll make the post.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The First!!

For the record: This is the first time I have been tagged with a meme. It is one thing to do it for yourself, but to be ordered to do it. DAMNIT!!!!!!!!!!! Navy CPO-yer on the the LIST!!

But anyway.

The rules:

1. Post the rules of the game at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What were you doing five years ago?

June 2003, I was working for a local concrete contractor for the summer between my Sophomore and Junior years of college. I had graduated BHE and was preparing to head to Western.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?
1) Buy 2 waterproof cameras to photo Contagion when we tie him to a log in the middle of the river.
2)Load canoe on truck.
3)Make Scotch Eggs.
4)Load the rest of the gear for weekend canoe trip
5) Clean other junk not needed out of the truck before canoe trip.

What are five snacks you enjoy?
2) Animal Crackers
3)Cathy's Cookies
4)Wheat Thins
5)Movie Theater Butter Popcorn

What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?

1)Adios debt for me, folks, brother and his wife and nephew, and set us up for the rest of our lives.
2)Make sure Fort Obie ground is protected forever with a trust and fix up the fort.
3)Build a really cool, big log home looking over a lake, surrounded by a big grass field filled with lots of pheasants to hunt and my dream workshop where I can work on restoring my tractors, my truck, building canoe paddles, building and repairing canoes, building guns, build knives, and lots of other cool projects that have been stewing in the back of my head for YEARS!
4)Guns. Lots and lots of guns. Not because I am some sort of a gun nut, but I just really enjoy shooting and hunting. Some would be modern pieces-like AR-style rifles (civilian M-16's), Barrett .50 cal, and then a bunch of antique stuff, and some really expensive stuff like this.
5)Philanthropist. I would go around setting up trust funds for organizations that I think are doing great things. Of course the Mason's, since I am a member. The FFA, 4-H. Other really worthwhile charities, too. Also, lots of scholarships through my Alma Mater's.

What are five of your bad habits?
1) I really like big fat stinky cigars or a fine pipe of tobacco. I don't indulge too much but enjoy them when I do.
2) I sometimes speak before I think and insert my foot in my mouth. Not that I am ever embarrassed by what I say, it just sounds bad when I say it.
3) I am not always good about brushing my teeth.
4) I am an accomplished passer of gas.
5) I tend to yell at stupid people, either when I am around them or when they are on tv. My favorite phrase-"You're an IDIOT!!!"

What are five places where you have lived?
1) Galva, IL
2)I have had apartments in a few other places while there for work, but my permanent address has never changed.

What are five jobs you’ve had? (a short list)
1)Farm hand (x5 different farmers)
2)Recycling center (my folks own it, but I really hated working there. the only time it didn't suck was when I was driving or riding on curbside collection routes.
3)Timber Framer-worked for a really cool timber frame company for about a year.
4)Construction worker-framing, roofing, concrete
5)Project Engineeer


I tag, Contagion, Ktreva, Wes, Evilpeopleinc, Bruce Wayne.

What is a Democrat

Contagion will like this one.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Puppy update

Last Saturday afternoon I took off heading North. First things first, I made a stop in Rockford to meet up Contagion, Ktreva, Wes, and Bruce Wayne at Carlyle Brewing Co. Wes was a buzz killer and left early, after arriving late. Wes-you suck. At least you made it for a little while.

About 7:00, Contagion, Ktreva, and Bruce Wayne had to head to a football game and I was
off to the dog breeders.

I left Sunday afternoon, around 5:30. Sunday the folks getting one of the females and the guy getting the white male were there as well to view their puppies. And to top it all off, the owners of the sire came down from Wisconsin and brought him along. Huge. 96lbs, which is big for a Spinone.

The puppies are growing like weeds. The biggest male, Omar, was 9lbs on Saturday night when we weighed them. The little female was 6 lbs 12 ozs. The other three were all in the 7 lbs range. Sunday, we had them out into the damp grass three times, and exposed them to a quail the flight feathers plucked so all it could do was run. And, since the breeder is just naturally loud, I don't think there will be any problems with the dog being gun shy. He said the other day he dropped the metal pan he uses to feed them with and it didn't even bother the puppies. With all the rain and since he hadn't cleaned his gutters, the breeder was also getting a little bit of water in the basement room where the puppies stay and he ran a shop vac several times to clean up the water and it didn't bother the pups.

Right now, it looks like I will go up on July 3rd to pick up my pup. That will give me 3 days at home to get him used to being at my house and to being away from the litter-mates.

And now, since I have rambled on long enough, here are the pictures.

All 5 puppies. The white pups from L to R: Bubbles (F), Kima (F), Stringer (M). The Brown males, on the left is Bodie and on the right is Omar.


Omar playing with a paper towel tube.

Omar: "Why aren't you playing, too?"

Bubbles (L) and Omar with a big yawn.

Now, that is a look from Kima.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Socialiam Response

I posted the following as a comment on The Other Side and thought it needed to be its own post here.

The basics of Kim's post was that the dim Senator Durbin believes in Socialism. That the government can limit how much profit a company can make and if you make too much, they government can write a specific tax to take your earnings. This is a reference to the proposed Windfall Profits Tax on oil companies.

So for your reading displeasure (I hope this stirs your blood), the real basics on oil and socialism.

I wish I had gotten them memo when Turbin Durbin changed his name to Richard. When he was elected (not by me), he ran as DICK.

Like you said, Kim, there is no limit on what they can make. And when you really look at what oil costs per barrel versus what it cost when gas was $1.30/gallon-oil companies are actually making a smaller percentage of profit. If the price per barrel and the price at the pump were actually directly tied, we would be complaining about $5.00 gas, not $4.00.

Don’t get me wrong, I HATE paying almost $4.00/gallon (my last three fill ups were $3.879, $3.879, $3.92, but I have been as high as $3.989). If I payed $3.929 for every tank of fuel all year, it would cost me $5,500 just to drive to work! Over 16% of what I take home goes to paying for gas so I can get to work.

But, I also believe absolutely in Capitalism. They have a right to make money.

If we want real relief at the pump there are several things that need to happen.
1. Vote the Democraps out. They are quick to blame Bush and his “oil buddies” for these high prices, but really, it is the Dems that force us to pay at the pump.

2. Build new refineries. Again-blocked by typical bureaucratic red tape. Although, I heard last week that the first new oil refinery in the U.S. in something like 30 years is being built in South Dakota-directly tied to one of my other points.

3. Drill in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). I am a hunter, and general lover of the outdoors, but I KNOW that with RESPONSIBLE drilling, we can tap oil reserves in ANWR with a minimal impact. Wildlife adjust to changes better than humans do anyway. But being blocked by the DEMS.

4. Off Shore Drilling along the continental shelf. Again-with RESPONSIBLE drilling, this can be done with a very minimal effect on wildlife/ecosystems. But being blocked by the DEMS.

5. Work the Canadians to tap the Alberta Oil Sands. From what I have read, there is more oil in Alberta, Canada than in Kuwait. From Wikipedia ”The Alberta government’s Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) estimated in 2007 that about 173 billion barrels (27.5×109 m3) of crude bitumen are economically recoverable from the three Alberta oil sands areas based on benchmark WTI market prices of $62 per barrel in 2006, rising to a projected $69 per barrel in 2016 using current technology. This was equivalent to about 10% of the estimated 1,700 billion barrels (270×109 m3) of bitumen-in-place.[7] In fact WTI prices topped $133 in May 2008. Alberta estimated that the Athabasca deposits alone contain 35 billion barrels (5.6×109 m3) of surface mineable bitumen and 98 billion barrels (15.6×109 m3) of bitumen recoverable by in-situ methods. These estimates of Canada’s reserves were doubted when they were first published but are now largely accepted by the international oil industry. This volume placed Canadian proven reserves second in the world behind those of Saudi Arabia.

6. Start tapping into the oil in the oil shale in the green river basin. From Wikipedia ”A 2005 estimate set the total world resources of oil shale at 411 gigatons — enough to yield 2.8 to 3.3 trillion barrels (520 km³) of shale oil.[2][3][4][5] This is more than world’s proven conventional oil reserves, estimated to be 1.317 trillion barrels (209.4×109 m3), as of 1 January 2007.[21] The largest deposits in the world are found in the United States in the Green River basin, which covers portions of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming; about 70% of this resource is located on federally owned or managed land.[22] Deposits in the United States constitute 62% of world resources; together, the United States, Russia and Brazil account for 86% of the world’s resources in terms of shale oil content.[19]

If you figure there are 2,800,000,000,000 barrels of oil, of which 62% are in the United States, and based on a consumption of 20.8 million barrels of oil/day in the U.S (from the CIA at ), there is enough oil in the United States JUST IN OIL SHALE to supply us at our current (2005) consumption for 228+ YEARS.

Thanks ya bunch of Donkeys.

Something else worth mentioning that I heard on NBC this morning (a very left leaning "news" source), the biggest oil companies in the U.S. only account for 10% of the world oil market.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Great Music Monday-Gravedigger

I have decided to put in a new weekly feature. Since it is Monday and we could all use some music to help us start the week off well, I will post "Great Music Monday"* each Monday for as long as I feel like it (could be a few weeks, a few months, or a few decades).

And for the record, I use Paul O'Neill's, the founder of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO), explanation of great art: "The purpose of art is to create an emotional response in the person that is exposed to that art. And there are three categories of art; bad art, good art and great art. Bad art will elicit no emotional response in the person that is exposed to it, i.e.; a song you hear in an elevator and it does nothing to you, a picture on a wall that gives you the same emotional response as if the wall had been blank, a movie that chews up time. Good art will make you feel an emotion that you have felt before; you see a picture of a forest and you remember the last time you went fishing with your dad, you hear a song about love and you remember the last time you were in love. Great art will make you feel an emotion you have never felt before; seeing the pieta, the world famous sculpture by Michelangelo, can cause someone to feel the pain of losing a child even if they've never had one. And when you're trying for these emotions the easiest one to trigger is anger.

Anyone can do it. Go into the street, throw a rock at someone, you will make them angry. The emotions of love, empathy and laughter are much harder to trigger, but since they operate on a deeper level, they bring a much greater reward."

Or to put it another way from the TSO biography: "music that was so melodic it didn't need lyrics. And lyrics that were so poetic that they didn't need music but once you put the two of them together, the sum of the parts would be greater than the whole, and you couldn't imagine them apart."

So, now, on with the music. This weeks selection is performed by Willie Nelson, so please enjoy "Gravedigger"

*Some time on Monday I will post the music, unless it is a holiday, then it may wait until Tuesday. Or if I am out of town, in which case I will try to have an automatic posting set up.

Friday, June 6, 2008


I had forgot until I hit the blogroll this morning. Thanks ThunderPig.

Today is June 6, 2008, 64 years since the Allied Invasion at Normandy. D-Day, Operation Overlord.

Estimates are 2,500 to 3,000 Allied Soldiers lost their lives on those beaches, and another 7,000 to 7,500 were injured. It was the beginning of the end.

D-Day and WWII are important to me on many levels. But the real personal level is because of family ties. On my mother's side of the family, I have a Grandfather and Great Uncle who both served in Europe during WWII. My Grandfather was a 1st Sergeant and was supposed to lead a a motorcade off of the boats onto the beaches of D-Day. However, when they got across the Channel, somehow orders were confused and they were sent back to England. Two or three days later he crossed the Channel again and went into France. My Great Uncle served in the Army and, during the Battle of the Bulge, was captured by the Nazis. At 19, he would spend the next 5 months of his life in a German P.O.W. camp. Finally, after losing 100 pounds, taking 1 cold group shower only to return to the same clothes that were waiting out in the snow, drinking coffee made from blackened barley, and eating a constant diet of bread made of 20% sawdust, their camp was liberated by the English 5th Infantry.

We have parts of my Grandfather's uniform, we brought it from Iowa to Illinois when we moved Grandma here following his passing in October, 2004. The Great Uncle is still alive and living in Iowa. He still has the uniform that was given to him by the English upon their Liberation, including the boots. He also still has the pocket bible that he had when captured. It was the only bible in their prison camp area. For him, it took 40 years to even talk about what happened there, and since then, he has become a prominent veterans advocate in the Des Moines area, and served on the committee to establish the country's first WWII Veterans Memorial, and served as Master of Ceremonies at its dedication.

From a website about the Iowa Memorial, there is this description of my Uncle: "An infantryman who served in many skirmishes in the European Theater before being captured in the Battle of the Bulge, after which he was held captive in a German POW camp for nearly six months before being liberated at the end of hostilities. Bruce is well known for his keen sense of humor and his ability to see the lighter side of any situation. He has provided us with the authoratative recipe for "WW II Black Bread", a staple of the POW camp diet as well as his formula for the effective treatment of disentary. Click here for the details." There is also some pictures of some ceremonies held at the memorial. My uncle is the third from the right, in the trench coat without a belt. In the bottom picture, he is second from the right in the black leather coat.

The amazing thing about the Iowa Memorial is that it was the first State Memorial in the country, and was completed 7 years before the National WWII Memorial in Washington D.C.

My Uncle and 11 other Iowa WWII Veteran's stories were chronicled in a book and play completed by two Iowa State University Theatre Professors. The book "Heroes Among Us" is based on interviews conducted by the professors, who also wrote a script based on the interviews and made a stage show that premiered on the 60th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

So, on this Anniversary of the beginning of the end, we all need to remember to say "Thank You" to the "greatest generation" for their sacrifices.

And while we are at it, make sure to say "Thank You" to every Veteran you meet.

From me to Grandpa, Uncle, and all of our Veterans. THANK YOU.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I would like to meet this kid.

Zac Sunderland.

At 16, he is preparing to embark on a challenge to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the world-alone.

Originally, he was supposed to leave on May 31, but an engine issue has pushed him back until June 14th.

I'll just come right out and say it, I am jealous. It would be an absolutely amazing experience.

Quite frankly, I think it would scare me to death, since I have never sailed before, but I would love to go out across the sea on a tall ship. Something like the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned ship afloat in the world. That's right, the USS Constitution was commissioned as a ship in the United States Navy in 1797 and is still on active service in the Navy. She has a crew of 55 sailors assigned to her.

Granted, she is no longer used in any combat, but is a "ship of state" used for ceremonies and tours, as it sits in Boston Harbor.

If you are interested in keeping track of Zac's progress on his voyage, he is going to blog as often as possible. You can read his blog here, and it will be in the blogroll on the right as well.

All I have to say is, God Speed Zac.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Updated Go Read List...

...and do it regularly.

I have been remiss it something. Updating my Blogroll (see right sidebar for "Blogs I Read," and I do, usually every day, or every other day).

So, I have updated and added 4 new links that are on the daily rounds.

1. Война, войны изменения никогда... a.k.a. Evil People, Inc. This is a personal blog of one of my best friends who just graduated film school in Florida. Mostly just life stuff, but some really funny stuff, too.

2. Q.C. Examiner- A political blog from the Quad Cities, dealing with local issues, Illinois Government BS, and the "Specially Selected Congressman." I ended up at this one after they found me following a rant about Rep. Hare-the Specially Selected Congressman for the 17th District in Illinois.

3. Days of our Trailers*- A political/gun blog, with one of the authors being from Illinois. Part of the "Unorganized Militia Propaganda Corp," which I am going to have to do some looking into.

4. The Michael Bane Blog- If you ever watch the Outdoor Channel on Wednesday nights, you should have seen Michael Bane. He is the host of "Shooting Gallery" which is a really great show, that I unfortunately haven't gotten to watch since I came back from Iowa 15 months ago, and "Cowboys" which covers all sorts of aspects of the old and new west. Both really good shows. But anyway, his blog is loaded with, again, politics and guns (does anyone else see a pattern here).

So go out and enjoy the reading (and don't forget the rest of the blogroll, loaded with lots of interesting stuff... least it is interesting to me).

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Situation Normal...

...All F*^#`d Up.

Politics. In general. But this post is about Illinois in particular.

The dim bulb that is the governor is at odds again (or still) with the General Assembly over the budget.

Between all the problems trying to get last years budget passed and special sessions being called for months, and the whole situation deteriorating the point of the Speaker of the House Michael Madigan telling State Representatives to stay home from special sessions called by Governor Blagoviech and the subsequent lawsuit the Gov. filed against the speaker-AND THEY ARE BOTH FAR LEFT LIBERAL DEMOCRATS. Blago even called Madigan a Conservative Republican. It was a huge mess that we are still fighting the fallout from

Right now, the Illinois Department of Transportation is on emergency response only. i.e. Hit a deer and it is in the lanes of travel-the IDOT will come out and remove the carcass. But if it is on the shoulder-hello carrion until AT LEAST July. Huge dangerous pothole forms-it will get patched, but not the small ones that always start. Basically, the IDOT trucks are tied to the lot unless there is a big problem. Now, don't worry, all they guys in the orange trucks are still getting paid, but they are staying at the shop, painting snow plows and such. If a truck breaks down-out of commission until July again.

Also this year, Blago has been VERY SLOW in releasing any money. The Cooperative Extension Service (which oversees lots of agricultural and consumer programs, including 4-H), FINALLY got part of their FY2008 funding.

Just a couple of examples.

Which brings us to now.

I received an e-mail at work yesterday that leaves a bleak outlook for this year.

"The General Assembly concluded its spring session on Saturday night without approving a capital bill."

The Capital Bill, for those of you who don't know, is the state funding for big projects. New buildings such as dorms and classroom buildings at State Colleges and Universities, public school improvements, etc. This was a problem in FY2008, too. Since I work in construction, the Capital Bill is a HUGE part of the work load for us-either funding project we work on or ensure that there is enough work for all the companies so we don't have to underbid our work just to keep people employed.

The flip side of approving a Capital Budget is brought up by Madigan, though. "The Speaker continues to say that any capital plan will need to include some sort of tax increase."

My response to this, is to simply quote G.H.W. Bush. "Read My [text], No New Taxes." And I really mean it.

However, there is some perspective offered as well. "
Many House members also continued to express concerns about how the proposed revenues would be spent, their lack of trust in the governor, etc."

But, at least they are trying to keep the Gov.'s crazy habit of reallocating money. "He [Madigan} also continues to call for line-item appropriations – that is each project would have its own specific appropriation to limit the governor’s ability to “borrow” money for projects outside the scope of the approved capital program."

The next part of the e-mail should make all of us sweat, though. "The General Assembly also sent an unbalanced FY '09 budget tot he Governor, leaving it up to him to cut out enough to bring it with balance or call a special session."

Things in Springfield (since the last time I checked, it was still the Capital of Illinois), have deteriorated so bad that "some House members are said to be preparing impeachment resolutions so he [Blago] may wish to avoid a special session this summer."

Illinois Senator Gary Dahl puts it best (via Q.C. Examiner) “I’ve been here four years and I’m still waiting for the day that I”ll come here two days in a row and not be disillusioned…If I did business the way the state of Illinois does, two things would happen: I’d go bankrupt and I’d end up in prison. We are spending $2 billion we don’t have.”

Monday, June 2, 2008

They Grow So Fast

Well, I got updated pictures today of the puppies.

It has been basically decided that I will be getting Bodie or Omar, since I am interested in a brown male.

Their eyes are open, they are moving around, tails have been docked, and the color is changing.

This is what they looked like when they were born.

Bodie, Omar, and Kima (L to R)

Omar at 17 days

Bodie at 17 days

Omar at 25 days. Notice, the formerly white hair turning more brown.

Bodie at 25 days.

I am hoping to make at least a day trip up to see them for the first time this weekend.