Friday, July 31, 2009

One Day At The Dentist Office

The lady's story goes something like this...

I was sitting in the waiting room for my appointment with a new dentist. I noticed his DDS name tag, which bore his full name. Suddenly, I remembered a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name had been in my high school class some 30-odd years ago. Could he be the same guy that I had a secret crush on, way back then??

Upon seeing him, however, I quickly discarded any such thought.

This balding gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was way too old to have been my classmate. Hmmm. . .or could he???

After he examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended Centralia High School.

"Yes. Yes, I did. I'm a Tiger. SWAMP SWAMPTOWN!" he gleamed with pride.

"When did you graduate?" I asked. He answered, "In 1978. Why do you ask?"

"You were in my class!" I exclaimed. He looked at me closely.

Then, that ugly, old, wrinkled son-of-a-blanket asked, "What did you teach?"

Can you say,

"Drill Crazing," "Dielectric Breakdown," and "Wicking?"

There. I knew you could.

Now say "Circumferential Cracking" and "Insufficient Annular Copper."


Just pausing to consider that I love my job and am very thankful for it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Saying goodbye

Just back from the Vet's office.

Bosco laid down in the kitchen after dinner last night and didn't move from the spot till this morning when we carried him to the back of the family car.

He was just plain done. Low back/hips completely shutdown and incontinence had become the norm rather than the exception. Like a typical Lab he made nary a whimper or complaint, although I'm sure he was really uncomfortable for some time now.

Goodbye Bosco. You're one for the record books.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Italian Pregnancy

The triumph of pragmatism over principle? Like suspending the free market so you can save it? Ah well, it's a laugh. I needed a laugh today...

An 18 year old Italian girl tells her Mom that she has missed her cycle for 2 months. Very worried, the mother goes to the drugstore and buys a pregnancy kit. The test result shows that the girl is pregnant.
Shouting, cursing, crying, the mother says, 'Who was the pig that did this to you? I want to know!'

The girl picks up the phone and makes a call. Half an hour later, a Ferrari stops in front of their house. A mature and distinguished man with grey hair and impeccably dressed in an Armani suit steps out of a Ferrari and enters the house.

He sits in the living room with the father, mother, and the girl and tells them: 'Good morning, your daughter has informed me of the problem.

I can't marry her because of my personal family situation but I'll take charge. I will pay all costs and provide for your daughter for the rest of her life.

Additionally, if a girl is born, I will bequeath a Ferrari, 2 retail stores, a townhouse, a beach-front villa, and a $2,000,000 bank account.

If a boy is born, my legacy will be a couple of factories and a $4,000,000 bank account. If twins, they will rec eive a factory and $2,000,000 each.

However, if there is a miscarriage, what do you suggest I do?'

At this point, the father, who had remained silent holding a shot gun, places a hand firmly on the man's shoulder and tells him.

'You gonna try again.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hitting Close(r) to Home

Got word last night of close friend at church possibly losing their house. Has some sort of hearing with bank today. His landscaping business has been hit hard in the downturn. I didn't realize how close to the line he was. He's not worn his problems on his sleeve, just buckled under and tried work it through.
He's heavily involved in leadership of the Spanish speaking meeting at our church. Our individual responsibilities at church have grown in different directions so the personal details were lost on me till just now.

4 young ones at home. Ungghhh.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Fan boys

Another one of those Saturday "We should be done by noon" projects that took till quitting time.

Picked a spot. Marked it. Cut an opening.

Pix of work in progress got all itsy bitsy in transfer from my phone for some reason. So, I can't show off all the blocking and strapping and fun with wiring.

There it is buttoned up. Works well. 4500 CFM clears the house out nicely.

Sounds like a B-17 in the run-up area getting ready to launch.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tomatoed out

Remember that pile of tomatoes in the sink this morning?

Finally after some afternoon veggie prep at the sink, cooking and straining skins, followed by hours of boiling down to reduce to sauce and 35 minutes of boiling in canning pot...

We come to this at nearly midnight...

3 pints of finished sauce for the cupboard and a partial pint for the fridge. Wow. Sort of like a parable of my paycheck after the .gov is finished with it. /heh

We'll check back in the morning to see how they sealed.

In case you're wondering; no I won't rush to make sauce again. I'll stick to whole tomatoes, salsa and juice. This just takes too much time and heat to reduce to sauce. I'll stock up on sauce cans when it's on sale for rainy stash (earthquake, fires, cash crunch) and enjoy the garden tomatoes other ways.

You say Tomato

Well here goes nothing...

Here's a pot of tomatos from the garden all seeded and simmering. It was almost overflowing before going on the heat.

I have NO idea what I'm doing. Just some memories of growing up, relying on Ball Blue Book and big sister on the phone in a pinch.

20 or 30 minutes to reduce that and into the handy dandy KitchenAid strainer to remove the skins. Hope it's faster than the old apple sauce mill with wooden rolling pin...

Yep. WAY faster!

Makes cute little tomato skin doodies too!

Back onto the stove to simmer and reduce volume by half.

Wonder how long this part is going to take...

Then to figure out the actual canning part.

Ready for Romas!

This sink full plus a bag in fridge. Empty jars waiting on the back porch -- time to get busy.

Where's daughter #2 when I need her?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Road Trip: Good Eats

What else are roadtrips about? No pork rinds or Blue Ribbon on this last trip but did get a chance to set down for some classic diner fare in Fife at the Poodle Dog. Been there since 1933 -- probably established as part of the build up along the then new Highway 99. Old 99 is to the left coast North/South corridor as Route 66 is to the east/west corridor.

This photo is terribly backlit but it catches the feel of that moment.

It. Was. Hot. At least by the standards of Western Washington. Of course as my Dad likes to say about Western Washington weather, "When it's nice, it's really nice. When it's bad, it's not so bad."

My trophy wife and I were headed south to my home town on that stretch of I-5. Got there in time to enjoy a slice of apple cobbler at "The Country Cousin." Then we wandered out to the north of town to enjoy an evening walk along the Skookumchuck at "The Shallows" (now referred to as Schaffer Park and then on out past the Steam Plant to see how things are shaping up now that the coal mine has closed.

My buddies and I spent a lot (A LOT!) of time out that valley hunting as yout's. Imagine my surprise (and delight) to find that elk have moved in to the area. 30 years ago we would have thought it inconceivable.

Hard to make out in these sunset photos...

There's a bull in velvet, a cow and a calf somewhere in these photos.

Back up the road a piece we spotted a couple more elk cows and fat blacktail doe.

My camera phone wasn't up to the task -- can't make out the wildlife very well in these backlit shots -- I know where to look and can barely make out their outlines.

Down the road just a bit (not shown here) Canada geese were all over enjoying an evening knosh in recently mowed hay fields. I spent a lot of time freezing at sunrise in those fields in hopes of spotting a duck or two. Nice to see the habitat supporting so many waterfowl now.

Back in town here's a shot of the town's original reason for being. Joseph Borst set up a ferry and roadhouse/hotel here in the 1840's. It was major and flourishing stop and trading location between Puget Sound to the north, Gray's Harbor to the west and the Cowlitz/Columbia/Vancouver settlements to the south. A foreshadowing of later years when the town became the "Hub City" & "Centerville" of SW Washington railroads. Eventually they settled on the name of "Centralia" and established a flourishing downtown -- in large part due to the vision and generousity of a former slave, skilled tailor, farmer, and Indian fighter and friend of Indians name of "George Washington."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

You can('t?) go home again

Sure. You certainly can go home again. Just expect the grass to need mowing, the bills to be piled along with all the junk mail on the kitchen table and some minor crisis to immediately surface with kids, vehicles or something else.


Yep. Home from Seattle. Back in the saddle tomorrow.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Name that tune

Missed blogging the past several days. Flew out Thursday to a niece's wedding. It's been quite a weekend.

Guess where. Name that tune...

"The blue-est skys you've ever seen are in xxxxxxx.
And the hills the greenest green in xxxxxx.
Like a beautiful child, growing up free and wild.
Full of hopes and full of fears.
Full of laughter, full of tears
Full of dreams to last the years..."

Lots of time waiting for ferries and riding ferries back and forth to help prep for wedding day, flowers, reception, yadda, yadda

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Taxman, Yeah-ahh the tax man

With apologies to the Beetles for the title,

This came to me in e-mail over that thar' intraweb thingie...

Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table
At which he's fed.

Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.

Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for peanuts
Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.
Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.

Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries
Tax his tears.

Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his ass.

Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won't be done
Till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers;
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
He's good and sore.
Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he's laid.

Put these words
Upon his tomb,
Taxes drove me
to my doom...'

When he's gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax.
Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service Charge T ax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Sales Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Ser vice FeeTax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge=2 0Tax
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

thought 'o day

...and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

"My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.

John 10:28-29

Puts it all in perspective...

Monday, July 13, 2009

5 most feared words in Suburbia

While on the subject of the new hot tub some friends got to talking about their dream setups. One dreams of a Japanese style soaking tub with sake and the whole nine yds.

Well forget that. We're situated perfectly to call coyotes in from ours. Need to get my camo net set up and stash my predator call and a long bow down there. Maybe set out a wounded rabbit decoy and we'd be in ...

Redneck heaven!

As my neighbors can all attest, the 5 most feared words in suburban American are indeed, "HOWDY! I'z yo new neighbor!"

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Uphill. All the way

Looking forward to 2nd test drive of the hot tub tonight after all the heavy lifting we did today. Worked ~350 sq ft of new garden spaces around the pool. Worked the beds at the other end too. Had to be careful, cukes are planted there already. The girls helped me haul about 1.5 yds of mulch/manure up over the retaining walls in garbage cans and turn it in.

Then I got busy planting. 3 queen palms, 4 clusters of Phoenix Roebellini mini-date palm, a Plumeria, and finally we tucked a nice big split leaf Philodendron into the upper most corner above the spa.

Have to get 3 more plumeria to finish that big pieces on that slope. Then to get some ground cover going to help hold the dirt and a vine to cover that reed mat on the chain link between us and the neighbors -- maybe bower vine or trumpet vine.

Doesn't sound like much but that's a mess of work for a desk jockey in 97F weather. Good thing I don't have to actually work for a living -- doubt if I could still give an honest 8 hours of physical labor. If I did, I might be in traction for a week. Everything was uphill and on a sidehill. My back couldn't have survived it this time last year. Daily workout with Esgoscue Method keeps making steady progress on posture and function.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Gassed up and ready to go

Propane arrived, connected and filled today. Upright 150 gall tank is visible at the end of the fence.

Heater/hottub test ran fine. Pool plaster is well cured and over a month old now. All systems go.

Yee-hah! Hot tub tonight!

Morning wanderings

Wandered around before sunup with morning coffee enjoying the light coming up. Took pix of some of yesterday's work and pix of next areas to work on.

Doesn't look like much does it? /heh

Fair bit of cutting, nailing, backfilling involved in that bit of bottom fence wood and gravel

Got a drainage issue there to address. When the pool overfills it flows out through the pool cover box. I need to open the retaining wall up there and run a line out to control the runoff.

Next up is this area to pour and set posts for stairs from lower drive up to the pool.

Ready to get busy setting plants in beds around the pool. The east end next the neighbors fence is going to fun. Palms, split leaf philodendren and maybe an Australian fern tree or two!

This bank is the next "heavy lifting project. The tarps will come off shortly then get busy getting drainlines down from above and retaining wall and drainage set down below.

Came back in with mess of Romas.

Didn't realize these were going to be low bush plants. Expected taller plants I could train up the fence.
Need to figure a better way to get them up out of the dirt. Maybe I can just rig some straps off the fence to lift them a bit without damaging the vines.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Full but leaking

The pool that is. Full of kids right now and leaking through the spa light wiring.

An improvised ball game of some sort going on here at twilight. Looks like the girls have left it to the guys now. Surprised at how well it showed up on my phone's camera.

The new pool has been losing water at an alarming (and expensive) rate. After waiting almost 2 weeks for an appointment, the leak detection tech came out today and isolated the problem. Now, I have to get the report to the electrician who did the work and negotiate & coordinate the repair.

The Church High School group meets Thursdays. They moved it here this week. I'm hiding in the (momentarily quiet) house for a coupla moments. I did the honors at the grill and suitably charred enough tube steaks and hot Polish dogs to feed the lot of them. Just taking a couple minutes in the quiet house now while they're enjoying the pool. I need to recuperate from a heavy stretch in hot weather working get things situated for them. Got myself dehydrated pretty good in the sun this afternoon.

Had a good bit of "hurry up heavy lifting" to do today. Had to get some fencing modified, keystone block wall gravel finished and backfilled. Had to take a few hours off work to get ready for tomorrow and be here with the leak detection tech. I got some work done while he did his tests. Tomorrow the propane company is bringing the tank for the pool heater and the tank's pad needed finished.

Hauled and lifted a pile 90# sacks of concrete, some 60# blocks, a bunch of treated 2x6 and 2x4's. Then made a run with the trailer just before the yard closed to get a couple yards of mulch/manure mix.

That last load is sitting in the trailer just outside the open window I'm typing this near. Umm, umm good. Reminds me of when the wind was just right back home and we could smell Mahoney's dairy.

I haven't been to the range in a coon's age. Gotta do something 'bout that...

Monday, July 6, 2009

"In box" this morning

Subject: CBS News Reports on Obama Squashing Dissent

CBS News - hardly an outlet of the "vast right-wing conspiracy" - has the explosive allegations that the Obama administration directed aides to suppress information critical of the authenticity of global warming theories, just as the Obama Administration is trying to shove through a big-government, socialistic "Cap & Trade" legislation that would lead to massive government expansion and higher taxes:

Carlin has an undergraduate degree in physics from CalTech and a PhD in economics from MIT. His Web site lists papers about the environment and public policy dating back to 1964, spanning topics from pollution control to environmentally-responsible energy pricing.

After reviewing the scientific literature that the EPA is relying on, Carlin said, he concluded that it was at least three years out of date and did not reflect the latest research. "My personal view is that there is not currently any reason to regulate (carbon dioxide)," he said. "There may be in the future. But global temperatures are roughly where they were in the mid-20th century. They're not going up, and if anything they're going down."

Carlin's report listed a number of recent developments he said the EPA did not consider, including that global temperatures have declined for 11 years; that new research predicts Atlantic hurricanes will be unaffected; that there's "little evidence" that Greenland is shedding ice at expected levels; and that solar radiation has the largest single effect on the earth's temperature.

If there is a need for the government to lower planetary temperatures, Carlin believes, other mechanisms would be cheaper and more effective than regulation of carbon dioxide. One paper he wrote says managing sea level rise or reducing solar radiation reaching the earth would be more cost-effective alternatives.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Leaving the plantation?

Or at least sneaking off at night?

Colin Powell is cautiously breaking voicing some concerns with the man he voted for last fall.

Hey, it was an "historic" vote! How's that working out for you General?

To wit, this quote from this Washington Times article:

"I don't like slogans anymore like 'limited government.' That's not the right answer. The right answer is, give me a government that works," he said. "Keep it as small as possible. Keep the tax burden on the American people as small as possible, but at the same time, have government that is solving the problems of the people."

Even allowing for his criticism of the term "limited government." I was rolling with him right up to the last of the last part of the quote about "solving the problems of the people."

I don't know about you but I don't WANT government to solve my problems. What problems has .gov solved?

Make no mistake about it, 999 out of 1000 times, Government IS the problem.

I want a government that stays within it's constitutional bounds and leaves me free to pursue life, liberty and happiness.

Oh yeah, in case you missed it... That means I am MOST DEFINITELY for "limited government."

Me and the 10th Amendment? We're tight!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Date Night

Went out to see "The Fantasticks" at a local theater this evening.

All these years of theater and somehow I've managed to avoid seeing one of the most successful plays of our time.

Ok. Now I've seen it.

Yeah, I get it. I can see why it was such a success in 1960 and enjoyed a record setting run off Broadway.

This production was staged and acted well. Though, the singing was just passable. Yeah, I'm a critic. /heh

I might have even enjoyed the show if the theater seats weren't scaled for people from 1860. As much as I have enjoyed our season subscription to this theater for many years now, it's gotten to be more of an endurance event than an entertainment event -- except on the rare occasion they pander to the "Penney Pit" and put on some cheesy musical comedy standard that appeals to we trailer park folks puerile tastes.

As my back has aged it's gotten to where I fairly dread the thought of going to sit in seat that's at least 4" lower than appropriate for my tall average height. Starting to reevaluate the cost/benefit ratio of this season ticket/date night tradition.

Let's see... A season subscription costs what? How much should I be willing to pay to sit in a 5 gallon bucket for 2+ hours five times a season?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Hunting Trip

some fellas might oughta be reminded what it means to "cherish and nourish" their wives. /heh

Dave was attending his hunting club's monthly meeting and had just
told them he couldn't make the hunting trip scheduled for the next
day because his wife wouldn't let him go.

After listening to the jeers and other derisive remarks from his
fellow biker buddies Dave left to go back home to his wife.

When Dave's friends started arriving to set up camp the next day, who
should be there but Dave sitting in front of his tent beer in hand,
camp oven roast stewing away in a hot bed of coals.

"How did ya talk your wife into letting you go Dave?"

"I didn't have to" was Dave's reply.

"When I left the meeting I went home and slumped down in my chair
with a beer to drown my sorrows. Then my wife snuck up behind me and
covered my eyes and said, 'Surprise'!"

When I peeled her hands back she was standing there in a beautiful
see-through negligee and she said, "Carry me into the bedroom, tie me
to the bed and you can do whatever you want."

So here I am!

I wonder if he married her for her Jeep?

Colonel Ed has died...

If you've paid attention to the news lately you probably know where this story is headed. However, just in case it got lost in all the news of Michael, Farrah and the OXY-CLEAN shouter...

He wanted to be a Marine fighter pilot. The US was building up their military force, but they were not at war yet and the Navy required all its potential Navy and Marine pilots to have two years of college. So Ed started classes at Boston College. When Pearl Harbor was attacked the Army and the Navy both dropped the college requirement and Ed applied to the Marines. His primary flight training was in Dallas and then he went to Pensacola, Florida. He was carrier qualified, which means he knew how to perform a controlled crash of his single engine fighter, onto the rolling deck of a Navy floating runway. It took Ed almost two years to get through all the Navy flight training. His problem was he was a very good pilot and the Marines needed flight instructors. He had a great command presence and public speaking ability, which landed him in the classroom, training new baby Marine pilots. His orders to the Pacific fleet and the chance to fly combat missions off a carrier came in the spring of 1945, on the same day the Atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Of course his orders where changed. He never went to sea and he was out of the Marines in 1946. Ed stayed in the USMC as a reserve officer. He became a successful personality in the new TV medium, after the war. His Marine command presence helped. He was recalled to active duty during the Korean War. He never got to fly his fighter aircraft, but he saw his share of raw combat. He flew the Cessna O-1E Bird Dog, which is a single engine slow-moving unarmed plane. He functioned as an artillery spotter for the Marine batteries on the ground and as a forward controller for the Navy & Marine fighter / bombers who flew in on fast moving jet engines, bombed the area and were gone in seconds. Captain Ed was still circling the enemy looking for more targets, all the time taking North Korean and Chinese ground fire. He stayed with the Marines as a reserve officer and retired in 1966 as a Colonel. The world knows Ed as Ed McMahon of the Johnny Carson, Tonight Show. One night I was watching the show when the subject of Colonel McMahon earning a number of Navy Air Medals came up. Carson, a former Navy officer, understood the significance of these medals, but McMahon shrugged it off, saying that if you flew enough combat missions they just sort of gave them to you. McMahon flew 85 combat missions over North Korea; he earned every one of those Air Medals. The casualty rate, for flying forward air controllers in Korea sometimes exceeded 50% of a squadron?s manpower. McMahon was lucky to have gotten home from that war. Once a Marine, always a Marine. When the public was spitting (taking their personal safety into their own hands) at Marines on the streets of Southern California during Vietnam, Colonel McMahon was taking Marines off the streets and into his poshBeverley Hills home. I spoke to a retired Marine aircrew member the day Colonel McMahon died and he personally remembered seeing McMahon at numerous Marine Air Bases in California in the 1960s. He was known for going to the Navy hospitals and visiting the wounded Marines and Sailors from this country?s conflicts, even in the last years of his life. Colonel McMahon presented awards and decorations to fellow Marines and attended many a Marine ceremony and the annual Marine Corps Birthday Ball. He stayed true to his Corps as a board member of the Marine Corps Scholarship Fund and as the honorary chairman of the National Marine Corps Aviation Museum. After retiring from the Marine Reserve, one night on the Johnny Carson show, members of the California Air National Guard came on stage. Colonel McMahon was commissioned a Brigadier General in the Air Guard in front of millions of Americans who watched it happen live. You will not see anything like that on TV anymore. The three core values of a United States Marine are; honor, courage and commitment. This is what a Marine is taught from the first day of training and this is what that Marine believes. That was Colonel Edward P. McMahon Jr. USMCR Retired. Before he was a national figure he was a true combat hero and a patriot the nation needed then and this country needs now. Your war is over. Thank you Colonel McMahon. Semper Fi sir.

23 June 2009

Major Van Harl USAF Ret.

The scale of this pic sort of puts in perspective, no?