Hasty Ruminations

Speaking out, to remove all doubt. http://hastyruminations.blogspot.com

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Friday, March 31, 2006

Navy Didn't Kill 'Em - Whew!

There was a big whale stranding on the beach at Oregon Inlet, NC on Jan. 15, 2005. The Navy was conducting exercises 50 miles away. They originally said 200 miles away, but then someone looked at a map. Anyway, some anti-American peacenik hippies accused My Navy of messing up 37 whales with sonar, which caused them to try to walk up the beach, with predictably catastrophic results.

Last week, the Navy announced that the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released the final National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) report, which said that there was no physical evidence that sonar had anything to do with the stranding.

Well, thank goodness.

In an unrelated story, the Navy has put out a call for anyone who might have found a dozen or so extra torpedoes near Oregon Inlet, NC. Seems they lost them during an exercise out there in early 2005. It looked like a whole fleet of terrorist submarines was fixin' to attack the North Carolina beach, so the Navy dropped a bunch of torpedoes on 'em. Didn't see any explosions. Navy Lieutenant W.T. Door said it was almost like something "... opened its big mouth and swallowed the torpedoes." Another mystery of the deep.

In another unrelated story, the ex-Navy T-AGOS ship Hi'ialakai is a welcome addition to the NOAA fleet. The 224 foot long vessel got a $6 million makeover in 2004, to add facilities for scuba diving, a recompression chamber, laboratories and computer systems, and five small boats to shuttle research teams to work locations. You can even ski behind the boats! "It's very tricked out," said Randall Kosaki, research coordinator for the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve. The ship is used a lot in Hawaiian waters. Built from scratch, such a ship could cost $50 million, estimated Dan Basta, director of NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary Program. Yes, NOAA has a great working relationship with the Navy.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Nerd Inc., Get-a-Life Division


This comment is on a huge list of alleged goofs in the movie Christmas Vacation:

"Continuity: Two different model years of Ford Taurus wagon are used in the film for the same vehicle. This can be differentiated by examining the interior door trim panels, specifically the door lock, in different scenes."

Ladies, this is what happens when you repeatedly refuse to dance with Mortimer Snerd at the seventh grade social sock hop (today: the mosh rave). He begins to obsess on sub-trivia in slapstick comedy movies.

You may review the rest of his list

P.S. If you must know, I wound up there when I searched on Google for the name of the movie associated with "Clark Griswold aluminum snow saucer".

Don't ask.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Where Is YOUR Fire Hose?

Sixty-year-old Mithailal Ram Sanjivan doused his body with a flammable liquid and set himself ablaze outside his one-room house in Ahmedabad, western Gujarat state, in India recently. He was a jobless alcoholic whose wife refused to serve him meat for dinner, because they couldn’t afford it.

After an argument with her, Sanjivan locked his wife Geeta in the house before setting himself on fire outside.

Later, Geeta said that they had not had meat for so long that she had forgotten what it tasted like. She said she didn’t know what he was doing outside, but it smelled good.

Spam Rises to the Top

President Bush is slated to meet with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in Washington Wednesday to discuss regional and energy security in West Africa, amid attacks on oil supply lines that U.S. officials consider strategic to U.S. 'national interest.'

We understand that the meeting has nothing to do with an email Mr. Bush received and may have answered:

“Dear friend, I am Mr John Eze, a native of Kano in Nigeria and I am an Executive Accountant with the Nigeria ministry of mineral resources and energy. I have decided to seek a confidential co-operation with you. I hope we keep it as a top secret because of the nature of this transaction. We have in our possession an over due payment bills totally twenty million five hundred thousand united state dollars ($20,500,000) …”

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Ungrateful Sod

This guy Kember, Brit, former hostage. American and British soldiers risked their lives to rescue him and two Canadians in Iraq. Here's what he had to say, after being told that he needs to show some damn gratitude by the Chief of Staff of the British Army:

"I do not believe that a lasting peace is achieved by armed force, but I pay tribute to their courage and thank those who played a part in my release."

NEW POLICY: We will follow the lead of champion bass fishermen on TV. Catch and release. Jerks like this shall be re-captured by Navy Seals, and thrown back into the swamp where we found them.

It's just a matter of time till we hunt down Kember. We found him once, and we can find him again.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Hillary Not Invited


Pope Benedict met with the Cardinals of the Catholic Church on Thursday. He has called them for some advice, and to elevate 15 bishops and archbishops to Cardinal on Friday.

One topic: bishops and cardinals are supposed to retire at age 75. But if they can still work and if you're still paying them ...

There was not a woman's voice in the house.

Hillary Clinton, one of New York's matching Senators, spent some time reading and quoting the Bible this week as she blasted a proposed law to control illegal immigrants. It was seen as a last minute effort to impress the Papal Nuncio. But, Vatican watchers said, it was too little, too late to get her name on the list of new Cardinals.

She may have to focus on a job in the U.S. instead. Or, become a Catholic, become a priest, and get promoted to Bishop in order to pursue her Cardinal career.

Shouldn't be that hard. Two years ago she couldn't spell "senater".

Boy, Some Heads Will Roll!

Someone in ALF got a bad stain on her resume in Scotland recently.

A deer farm in north-east Fife was targeted by the extremist Animal Liberation Front. Fences were cut in four fields and graffiti including “Scum” was spray-painted on the ground.

However, none of the 50 to 60 red deer tried to escape.

The farm is free-range and Nichola Fletcher, who owns it with her husband John, said the wrong people were targeted. “These people have made up their minds without coming to find out about us. I would love to invite them for a cup of tea and explain to them what we are trying to do here, " she said.

The owners’ daughter Stella described the sleuthing which lead to the suspicion of the ALF. “We think it’s the Animal Liberation Front because they scrawled ALF over everything. They wrote ‘Scum’ on the roadways and ‘This is a wildlife prison.’ They’ve cut the fencing and written all over our sign.”

The ALF did not phone in to take credit for this action. ALF is preparing a statement about how hard it is to get good help these days.

The Animal Liberation Front is said to operate in small cells which take direct action—including damage to property—where activists perceive animals are abused. It targeted Oxford University because of a research laboratory being built to house animals to be used in testing.

Presumably, testing other than midterms.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Why Can't the English Learn... To Speak?


The passage below is fairly typical of things we all read every day:

“So get this, I'm allergic to the potato family. What am I speaking of? My allergies reacts when anything in the potato family which includes red potatoes white potatoes, baked potatoes, roma/cherry/vine/pinapple etc tomatoes, and other stuff I don't eat: eggplant, red pepper, green peppers, and chili.

"Can you comprehend what that means? no mashed potato and gravy, no ketcup, no speghetti, nothing with any of the ingredience mentioned. What a freaking bummer. Yikes is right. At least I'm not allergic to corn or sugar.... that would just devastate me. I guess I could eat a caprese salad but I may be itching all day the following day or it may affect my breathing. So happened I ate a caprese salad last night and I'm a little bit congested right now. what a set back. At least I can substitute startch for rice. “

The British were notoriously callous to their colonial servants, i.e., anyone whose country those Imperialists had conquered. Is it hard for the Brits to realize that everyone in the world has difficulty speaking and writing English? Even Lisa Doolittle. English does not have the consistent and reassuring rules of Latin or Greek; it does not have the melodies of Italian, the passion of Spanish, the precision of German or even the rhythms of Russian. It only has Shakespeare, and since no one speaks like that anymore we must read Shakespeare aloud to have even a chance of comprehension. Gnarly Charlie and Queen Elizabeth (Rue Brittania) sound effete, not educated, when they speak it as if their pinky were raised.

As to the passage above, it is from a blog, which in this case stands for “Bad Logic, Obscure Grammar”. Imagine: the person who wrote it maintains a blog because she enjoys writing! She is just hamstrung with using the worst language in the Galaxy.

Out With the Old... Hurty Flurty


Isaac Hayes and Tom Cruise are conspiring to ruin South Park.

Well, at least to ruin the parts not already ruined by the scripts.

Today, we announce our proposal for Chef's replacement:

The worst this guy would do would be to decorate his cakes with cartoons of The Prophet.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Sure 'n Begora!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Posted by Picasa

I looked for something to post to mark St. Patrick’s day, and this picture reminded me of some of my Navy days over 30 years ago.

When I was a young Navy officer, on my first ship, the salty Captain told us once of his exploits in the 1950’s on HIS first ship. The ship deployed to Europe for six months, and he and some cohorts decided to challenge the rigidity of the Captain and the Executive Officer (#2) by publishing an anonymous newsletter, poking fun at the more ridiculous orders as well as the antics of the crew.

I did not need to hear more. Our ship was USS O’CALLAHAN, and her radio call sign was Irish Song. So, I designed an anonymous newspaper named “The Shillelagh” – the right instrument, I wrote, with which to beat the administration about the head and the shoulders for silly, inane and harassing rules. I enlisted the aid of a Radioman both because he was discrete and because he had access to a mimeograph machine. I swore him to secrecy, and we proceeded to publish our underground newspaper.

It was 1969 – 1970, and we deployed to Vietnam for two six-month cruises in those years. The secret of the newspaper's authorship was very well kept, and the subject of some serious… well, not investigations, but serious snooping anyway. I had some anonymous reporters, whose names I knew but who didn’t know I was the author. I imposed self censorship, to avoid serious charges of sedition or mutiny; but I did not shy away from criticizing, with tongue firmly in cheek. The XO was a prime target: we took him down a few pegs from time to time. “Who appeared in the Pilot House (the command area where the Captain and the Officer of the Deck control the ship) in his skivvies (underwear) as we pulled alongside USS FORRESTAL last week?” Well, everyone knew it was the XO; and everyone got a good laugh at his expense.

Once, I heard from my sources that some folks were mailing the newspaper home. I launched a special edition, admonishing them NEVER to do so, since some of our articles spoke smugly of crew activities after hours in the bars and the hootchie-cootchie joints in the Philippines, Japan and Australia. I wrote that we would have to cancel the newspaper if it didn’t stop. And that stopped it.

On the night before we pulled back into home port, I published the final copy, and signed my name to it. I handed the Captain his copy after dinner, and I sat down in the wardroom as he read it. When he got to the end, he smiled smugly, said not a word, and left for his cabin. In about three weeks, I got the best annual performance review (fitness report) from him as I had ever received. The facts in the report were my own accomplishments in my job(s) on the ship; but the very positive tone, I think, came from his appreciation of The Shillelagh.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

War: The Continuation of Politics By Other Means


I have been concerned for a while about the way we Americans have gone to war, since WWII. I was trained as a professional warrior at Annapolis, where I also spent some time reading the U.S. Constitution. (Not the USS CONSTITUTION, which is a ship.)

I subscribe to a strict interpretation of the Constitution. That is because I think that the framers put as much emphasis as possible on making checks and balances, and the separation of powers, very strict. In the matter of war, the Constitution simply says that the Congress shall have the power to declare war. It does not specify that the Executive must approve, as it does in the case of laws. They wanted the people's representatives to declare war, because next to sedition, losing a war (or abusing one) would be the most sure fire way to destroy the great Republic and their experiment in democracy. So, Americans have to REALLY want a war (as determined by their repsentatives assembled in Congress) or there cannot be one.

We have formally declared war in only a few instances: against England (War of 1812), Mexico (Mexican-American War), Spain (Spanish- American War), Germany and Austro-Hungary (World War I), and Japan, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania (World War II).

All of the other actions - Vietnam, Iraq, Barbary States, Lebanon, Panama, Persian Gulf 1, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, etc. - have received Congressional support but not a formal war declaration. Except for Korea. Harry Truman engaged in the "police action" under the authority of the U.N. Charter and without Congressional approval. It was never ended with a treaty.

Some say that declarations of war are antiques. They aren't necessary anymore since the rules of war are well understood.

I'm not so sure. The current one has raised a lot of questions concerning treatment of prisoners, the rights of detainees to attorneys, and the role of the Army as policemen.

And while Congress has authorized and tried to control (in the War Powers Act) the President to engage American troops in various conflicts, I am not convinced that the full checks and balances contemplated by the Constitution are preserved. Instead, they concocted an abdication of responsibility. Debating war is a painful process, and the Government will never impose something painful on itself. Unless We the People insist.

As with most things governmental, if We the People are to prevail, we need to capture the purse strings. Here's a way to acknowledge the government's apparent fondness for undeclared wars (as determined by our Congress and Presidents) while asserting the People's needs:

  1. In the case of a Pearl Harbor, go through the formal steps and declare war. Then, the Congress produces a written Declaration of War, and we have a war. Now, funding comes from the Treasury as provided by Congress and things are normal.
  2. For lesser affairs, where the administration wants to bomb a dictator, to intervene in a foreign civil war, to stop drugs - in any of dozens of actions we have already taken or might take, including that vague War on Terror and it's brothers, the War on Poverty and the War on Cancer - well, they find it uncomfortable to ask for a formal declaration, because they might not get it. So, if they cannot or will not get a formal declaration of war, no appropriated funds (tax dollars) can go to the action.
  3. So, how can they fund it? Remember the war bonds of WWII? Patriotic Americans bought war bonds to raise money quickly for the war. At first they were called Defense Bonds, U.S. Government issued bonds to finance the war effort, but the name was changed to War Bonds after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The bonds were set to yield 2.9% after a ten year maturity.
  4. This time, the Administration must make its case for each different war action, and sell bonds for each one. If it were in effect now, Rumsfeld would have to convince Americans to buy Iraq War Bonds to pay for the troops he has in Iraq. To the extent we believe it's in the U.S.'s best interest, we believe that he's the right guy to run it, and we believe he has a plan to win and a plan to get out, we might buy his bonds. The government in return doesn't pay us interest, but it does give a tax credit for the amount we pay. Once the money is gone, they have to sell more bonds, or get out of Iraq. It is our way of expressing our will on each action.
  5. Unscrupulous politicians (what? NO SUCH THING!!) might enlist their millionaire gangsters to buy lots of bonds for unsavory wars. We still have our reps in Congress who can cancel the sale of bonds in cases where the national interest is not served by the proposed undeclared war.

Why go through all of this? There are several advantages, I think:

  • Those in favor of the action pay for it with their taxes, effectively. They don't pay more than they would have under today's system.
  • Those against the action do not pay for it, and their taxes cannot be used for it.
  • Either group can change its mind as the events proceed, and vote with their wallets.
  • The checks and balances to prevent frivolous war are back in effect - not presently the case.
  • The administration will need to prioritize which actions to pursue; how to contain costs; how to get out quickly while there are still funds. No more "blank check" for DOD!
  • The basic costs of the military - personnel, training, hardware, bases and infrastructure, etc. - remain funded by the Treasury under appropriations. Only the operational expense needs to be paid for by the bonds. Flying B-2 bombers from Missouri to Baghdad and back for each sortie - as was done in this war - is a very costly operational expense which DOD may rethink. So is stationing an aircraft carrier off Somalia "just in case".
  • And, foreign governments who want to pay us as mercenaries could do so. They just don't get the tax credit, because they don't pay taxes.

There's probably a lot of loopholes and aspects I haven't addressed or thought about. But, I think that Congress and the President have let us down in this area and we need to get control over these "police actions" once and for all.

My two cents, anyway.

Carlie Bruscia's Murderer Is Condemned

Carlie Bruscia, 11, whose abduction was caught on a car wash surveillance camera (above), was kidnapped, raped and murdered by Joseph P. Smith.

Today, the judge in Sarasota FL sentenced the animal Smith to life imprisonment for the kidnapping and the rape; and to death as the jury recommended, 10-2, for the murder.

Smith begged for his life, saying he would be a positive influence on his three daughters.

Ya think?

Meanwhile, Carlie's Mom developed a severe drug addiction and she resorted to prostitution to pay for it. She is now serving time.

I think that we need to change the way death penalties are administered. It is cruel to keep the condemned on ice for 15 to 20 years, while he or she learns enough law to keep delaying things with one appeal after another, right up to the end. New rule: the bad guy has to file all of the appeals BEFORE he is sentenced. (Hey, how about BEFORE he even commits the crime?!) Then, on the day of sentencing, if he hasn't been pardoned, he gets whacked before sundown.

Cruel and unusual? I think not. He killed little Carlie pretty much that way, after four days of unspeakable depravity.

Oh, and don't worry, Joe: your death will have a VERY beneficial effect on your family. Trust me on this.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Word Versimilitude

I'm glad I turned word verification off. I am getting so many thought provoking emails now.

This guy found one of my posts of a YEAR ago, to target his service. Check out the third comment:


Good thing I have a trailer. This dude works in Tucson, AZ. I'd have to use rest stops along the way, if I am towing my broken toilet to him to fix.

PAY ATTENTION, kids: crystal meth is not the only substance which will mess up your mind. There's always sewer gas.

Monday, March 13, 2006

There But For The Grace of God Go I

.Mobile Home After Tornado

As you know, last week I drove through Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Tennessee on the way home. Towing my 33' fifth wheel trailer.

A couple of days ago, severe weather including 200 knot winds and tornadoes devastated that area.

I am saying thank you prayers, and prayers for those killed and wrecked in the weather. And a thank you bark for Lacy.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Back Home!

.We arrived home on Friday afternoon. My brother was at work, but he prepared a great gift for our arrival: The house was wonderfully clean, neat and organized! It was a real pleasure. I told him I wish I had invited him to join us years ago; and, I'd like for him now to move into Big Easy, the trailer. It needs a lot of cleaning! I think that he is happy for the company, living alone for so long.

I did not feel cramped in the trailer for those nine months, but living in the house again after so long is a new experience. It is great to have so much room!

Thanks, Stew, for the invitation, but we did not return via Atlanta. Maybe next time.

Lacy has found most of her toys, and is very happy to be home, too.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Dubai Backs Out Of Ports Deal


SURPRISE! Dubai's DR World Ports has backed out of the deal to control six of our biggest ports. The Bush administration is breathing for the first time in a week.

They said that they will turn over the contract to a U.S. firm.

Know who? Why, Dick Cheney's old buddies at Halliburton, I suspect!

If you disagree with that, you may be required to meet with the VP so that he can convince you personally.

Say, on a hunting trip.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


.Escher - Waterfall
Just a recap of some of the nonsense coming my way today:
  • A friend sent me an article about the WWII memorial in Washington DC. Someone said that the words "... so help me God" were omitted from the FDR Day of Infamy speech, partially cited on the monument. I automatically clicked on the Urban Legends reference page (snopes.com), where it was naturally debunked with a logical explanation. FDR said the words, but two paragraphs later in a different quotation. Why don't people check before sending along this bunk?

  • Jimmy Carter drank his Ovaltine today, and blasted the war in Iraq from sixteen different positions. The most error prone president in history, IMHO, Carter flouts his Nobel Peace Prize as if it's a badge to say anything he wants. I do not condone the Iraq debacle, but it was Carter whose Iranian non-policy started us on this merry-go-round. Just look at the list of Nobel Peace Prize winners to put him into context: Arafat, Gorbachev, the IAEA, the U.N. and Kofi Annan!! The best thing Alfred Nobel ever did? Not the peace prize; he invented dynamite. Here, Jimmy, have a cigar...

  • Princess Diana. Will it never end? The conspiracy theorists are running amuck, again. Who knows what set them off this time? The royal family, it goes, had a lot to gain by wacking Princess Di. The simple facts are stunning: four people were in the car. The only one who lived was the only one wearing a seatbelt. All of the seatbelts functioned correctly. The one who lived sat in the passenger's side of the front seat: the most dangerous seat in the car. There was no malfunction of the car. Just how did the Royal Family convince three people NOT to wear seatbelts; get the driver all liquored up; and get him to speed enough in an underground tunnel so that he would crash? Please, people, take some valium and then go for a ride. Without your seatbelt.

There. The case is solve -ed.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Music City, USA

. Vince Gill at the Grand Ol' Opry, Nashville TN

Lacy and I arrived in Nashville, TN, this afternoon, and have set up camp at a very well equipped KOA campground. Next door is a group of four Dutch gentlemen who rented a motorhome and are wearing Nashville T-shirts. Very friendly fellows, drinking Budweiser around the picnic table. I keep looking for their big hats and the Meerschaum pipes, and the Rembrandt guy painting their portraits.

I came here to see the Music City, much as I wanted to see Branson MO: for future trip planning. No time now to go to shows, or to go on tours, though I'd like to. I think that Nashville TN may be within one day's drive to home in North Carolina, which would be fun for a long weekend.

Tonight, I am staying in the trailer with a new movie I bought today on DVD: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I need to keep up-to-date on the Potter series for discussions with my niece and my nephew. I think that this is one of the better Potter shows, with good wit and some realistic teenage angst. (And angstresses, for the distaff side...)

I enjoy cut fruit sometimes, just the fruit, for dinner. The better supermarkets often have a medley of melon chunks (honeydew and cantaloupe, sometimes watermelon). But recently I have had some bad ones - turning sour, or actually fermenting. So, last weekend, I bought the makings: a honeydew melon, a cantaloupe, fresh strawberries, fresh seedless grapes, and some great Fuji apples. I made my own cut fruit bowl tonight - honestly, there is enough uncut fruit left for five more dinners! I added some semi-stale French bread with peanut butter. Just great! All while Harry was trying to get a date for the ball.

Road Trip!

Big Ride (the truck) and Big Easy (the trailer) are exceeding expectations - again!

We left Branson MO this morning. It's a neat, glitzy, almost tacky town. All of the flash that didn't fit in Vegas or in Times Square is collected in Branson. The Strip contains more country & western shows than Hee Haw. Yakov Smirnoff has his own club - for morning shows! Andy Williams has his Moon River Theater. And the RV campground I parked in had paved sites to park in! Dolly Parton has the Dixieland Stampede with a dirt-floor arena, and ostrich races. My night there was tame: after getting Lacy her dinner, I walked 50 yards to a Japanese steak house. The only other folks at the hibachi were a young husband and wife from Branson. The folks in the Midwest are so nice, that shortly we were sampling each other's dinner as if we were family!

I'm glad that I explored Branson, because I will return.

So, we set records today: 550 miles in 9 hours, and we finished with Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, and tonight (uh... this morning, 1:20 am) we are in Louisville KY. I enjoyed the lack of traffic after 9:00 pm, so we just kept going to my original destination - the KOA 15 miles beyond Louisville.

Now, it's time to sleep...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Meme: Learn About "me... me..."


A version of this quiz is making the rounds. I spiced it up a little - to fit my situation, you understand.

Have you ever:

(X) Smoked a doobie
(X) Drank so much you threw up, then passed out in it
(X) Crashed into a stranger's car without getting caught
(X) Been dumped on
(X) Been laid off/fired with extreme prejudice
(X) Fired three or more cretins who were ASKING for it
(X) Quit your job with flair
(X) Been in a wrestling match with a member of the same sex (X) as a sport (X) as a lesson
(X) Snuck into your parent's house
(X) Had feelings for someone who was romantically dead
( ) Been arrested for a good reason
(X) Gone on a blind date with your future fiancé who is now your ex
(X) Lied to a friend for a good reason
(X) Skipped school without permission
( ) Seen someone die (X) Wanted to see someone in particular die
(X) Been to Canada, Mexico, Vietnam, Paris, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Alaska, Indiana, Bahamas, Korea, Japan, Hawaii, Rome, Germany, Ireland, England, etc.
(X) Thrown up from the flu in Canada, Vietnam, Africa and Italy
(X) Been on a plane as the pilot
(X) Been lost on a plane as the pilot
(X) Been on the opposite side of any country
(X) Been under the ocean in a boat designed to go under water
(X) Gone to Washington, DC, and parked in a “bad” neighborhood
(X) Swam in the middle of an ocean (more than 1,000 miles from land)
(X) Felt like dying, and then felt disappointed when it proved to be just indigestion
(X) Cried yourself to sleep; or helped others who deserved it to cry themselves to sleep
(X) Played cops and robbers with real cops and/or robbers
(X) Recently colored with crayons or precious bodily fluids
(X) Sang karaoke or played cowboys and Indians with real bows and arrows in high school, outside
(X) Paid for a meal with only coins, food stamps, or coupons
(X) Done something you told yourself you wouldn't, except during Lent
(X) Made prank phone calls at work within the same company
(X) Laughed until a beverage or a precious bodily fluid came out of your nose or eyes
( ) Caught a snowflake on your tongue and kept it there until someone else noticed
(X) Stuck your tongue or wet lips to a freezing piece of lamp post or fence post and got it stuck
( ) Put anyone's eye out with a beebee rifle or by playing with an umbrella in the house
(X) Danced in the rain without an umbrella, raincoat or Gene Kelly
(X) Written an email to Santa Claus with sender notification of receipt
(X) Been kissed under the mistletoe by a non-relative who is ( ) same (X) opposite sex
(X) Watched the sun rise with someone you care about or love or are acquainted with, but not on watch at sea in the Navy which doesn’t count
(X) Blown bubbles, or ( ) ________ [Do NOT go there!]
(X) Made a bonfire on the beach out of (X) driftwood ( ) scrap wood ( ) a usable boat up until that point anyway ( ) a flammable liquid
(X) Crashed a party in your dorm after lights out only to find out it wasn’t a party but a séance or an opium den, whichever
(X) Gone roller-skating as an adult and fell hurting your head because it hit first breaking your fall
(X ) Ice-skating ( X ) done it (X ) watched it ( ) helped the French grade it at the Olympics ( ) know what a triple salkow is

If you are brave enough, you may feel free to copy this. If you do, let me know so I can read it, and grade it.

If you are Mel Gibson, we know you are Braveheart so be gentle and do not hurt any of us. FREEDOM! There, I said it.

Today On The Road

. The Ozarks

We're making great progress.

We left Vacaville CA on Wednesday, and went through Nevada and Utah to Denver. Next time, I will avoid I-70 in Colorado - too many 7% grades, which are very hard on the truck and trailer. From Denver, we came East to stay in Abilene, Kansas, on Saturday night. Home of Dwight Eisenhower and his presidential library and museum. Since I toured Truman's presidential library in 2004, I toured Ike's on Sunday after Mass (across the street). The church, St. Andrew's, was built in 1916. I mentioned to one of the regular elderly ladies that Ike probably watched it being built. He was a cadet at West Point from June 1911 to 1915, and he married Mamie Doud of Denver in 1916. So they were certainly in town part of the time it was being built. She said that he didn't mention it to her. (No, no... just kidding.)

On Sunday, we drove through Kansas City, Missouri, where I consulted a couple of years ago. At that point, the prospect of pressing north and east through Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania in March just didn't appeal to me, so we dropped south to Joplin, Missouri. This town was the site of a Bonnie and Clyde shoutout with the sheriff.

I plan to explore Branson, MO, on Monday. It is a country music and show resort in southern Missouri, in the Missouri Ozarks on the Arkansas border. It's the off season, but maybe a show will be open and Lacy and I can put on our Hee Haw duds and dosie doe with Dolly Parton (in my dreams!). Anyway, from there to home in North Carolina is a more weather friendly trip through Memphis and Atlanta.

Thoughts while I am here:

  • It's nice that the gay cowboy artsy Brokeback film didn't get the Best Movie Oscar. I'm tired of apologizing for American cult-chur.
  • I drove through Arapahoe Basin west of Denver a couple of days ago. In 1972, my new bride and I drove to a ski resort there. Both amateurs, we used the bunny slopes at 12,000 feet while she (unbeknownst to us) was pregnant with our #1 son. No problems. Holiday Inn retired our room, since they couldn't get the smell of linament out of it. I called her Friday to let her know I was thinking of her.
  • Some people use no sense when driving around a big truck and trailer rig like mine. A four ton 25 foot truck with an eight ton 35 foot trailer doesn't turn on a dime, or stop in five feet.
  • The diesel fuel for this trip is expensive, but it still feels good when I pay only $25 or so for nightly accomodations!
  • New phone policy: I will call once and leave a message. No more multiple calls from me. I left a message for one member of my family, and three days later I called again. This time I got through, only to find out that they were "entertaining" and could I call back in a few days? Well, no. A son has not replied to two messages spanning a week. Fuggedaboudit.
  • Lacy got a bath Sunday morning. Wow, what a difference! It's nice to have such a large shower in the trailer. Even though the fifth wheel is crammed with all of my consulting stuff, there's still enough elbow room to wash and dry her properly. It's a three towel event, and while it's messy, the results are worth all of the bother!
  • The small, old Catholic church in Abilene was full on Sunday morning. Many families with young children - something the church in Vacaville didn't seem to have. Folks there left the kids at home. In Abilene, a quaint old cattle town, church was filled with noise from the babies and the young children. I spent some time with hands poised to catch a rambunctious two year old in the pew in front of me. After Mass, the young mother and her eight year old daughter retrieved the two year old son with a look of exhaustion and relief. I told her that one thing about being pro-life is that it means we also must like kid noise! She was so happy with my comment that I invited her to bring the kids to the truck to meet Lacy, which they did.
  • At the Eisenhower museum, I bought two of his books: The European Crusade (about WWII and D-Day), and At Ease: Stories I Tell Friends (a memoir). I will put my thoughts on them up here soon. The biggest mistake the U.S. Naval Academy made in the early 1900's was to turn down Dwight Eisenhower because he was already age 21, and make him go to West Point instead.
  • I should have bought this bumper sticker at the Eisenhower museum: "I miss Ike. Hell, I even miss Harry!"
  • I may recommend The European Crusade book to our potential A-rab adversaries in and around the Gulf. They get all ji-haddy when we mention the Crusades. Maybe they should study how it takes Americans a long, long time to get all worked up over foreign agression; but when we do, it's like the line in "Tora, Tora, Tora": all the Japanese did at Pearl Harbor was to awaken a sleeping giant, and fill him with a terrible resolve. The Marines have a new slogan I like: "Travel Agents to Allah."