Hasty Ruminations

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Friday, June 30, 2006

Family History

. Jennie Lenington and otheres (sic), Dolan Hotel,
Judith Gap, MT, July 4, 1917

My mother was born in January 1922, in Judith Gap, Montana. The kids in the picture were still in grade school when she was born.

Mom was the youngest of four. Jack and Marie (Ness) Roney had Jack Jr., Virginia, Eleanor and Frances. In Judith Gap, Marie and Jack homesteaded on a small plot. Jack, a French Canadian, was a trapper and he left the family one day in 1923, never to return.

I hear that it was a tough life. Grandma Roney kept the plot going by cleaning and laundering, perhaps for this hotel as well as for her neighbors and the saloons. When Mom was about 6 or 7, Marie moved the family to Great Falls, MT, about 110 miles to the northwest, so that the children would have proper schooling. Except Eleanor, who was "slow".

As a teen, Jack got a job on the local radio station, and he was eventually hired by the producer of a new radio program. The producer moved Jack and the family to the city where the show would originate: Washington, DC. Jack was the first announcer for "Meet the Press", and he worked there for the rest of his life.

Here is an article from www.JudithGap.com:

Where it all started...Judith Gap started to provide stop for steam engines
Lewistown News-Argus **
Sunday, December 18, 1994
Christmas Edition
by Don Miller

Cowper once stated in "The Task" that God made the country and man made the town.

This is so true of the little town in the gap of Judith country, nestled sweetly between the majestic Snowy Mountains and the magnificent Little Belt Mountains, as if cradled in the arms of God.

Judith Gap was founded in 1908 when upon the completion of the Great Northern branch from Billings to Great Falls, the steam engines couldn't make it the whole distance and needed a division point to reload on coal.

They chose and purchased two homesteads, that of Mrs. Jennie Olson for $2,000 and Olof Sandberg's for $3,000, sister and brother of Carl Olson to place their division point.

The Great Northern wasn't interested in building a town site at the sight of the Ubet depot that was built for the Jawbone railroad (later called the Milwaukee Railroad) one mile northwest of Judith Gap because of the swampy land. But the depot at Judith Gap was still named Ubet depot but "of Judith Gap" was added.

In July of 1908 the postal charter given to the Great Northern also was called Ubet with George Haynes postmaster.

This Ubet made the third in the area. The first one was four miles west of Garneill. The second was the Ubet depot for the Jawbone and the third was the Ubet depot of Judith Gap.

The postal charter in August of the same year was for Judith Gap with George Haynes as postmaster because it had always been known as the gap into the Judith country. After the purchase, they built an 11 stall roundhouse, a depot, a coal chute, a water tank, repair buildings and added some sidetracks. When the postal charter changed they changed the sign on the Great Northern Depot to read Judith Gap.

Sam Small was a land surveyor and the editor of the first newspaper in Judith Gap called the Judith Gap Journal, which he owned until 1913 when he sold it to Mr. Cowan, who owned it until 1929 when the paper shut down the presses.

The town site was surveyed by Sam Small in July, 1908, and in August of the same year, Small sold lots. People came from all over to grab hold of this opportunity of a lifetime and a building boom started. People built on the lot that they had just bought that same day.

The first building to be built in Judith Gap was by Charles Beers and George S. Haynes. The building was a general mercantile. Beers ran the store while George was postmaster at the post office. George Haynes and Beers had previously owned a store in Garneill and Great Falls before moving to Judith Gap.

Another one of the first pioneers in Judith Gap was C.R. Stone who had earlier established a small store at the Milwaukee U-Bet Station in June of 1908. When the store was built on the newly purchased lots of Judith Gap he moved and operated a store and restaurant with his sister, Nettie N. Stone (Haynes), later wife of George Haynes. The store still stands today across from the Legion building.

Several families’ names started businesses here. One of which was C.J. Volf, father of Chuck Volf. He was a threshing machine operator and later went into the garage business.

McCaull-Webster Grain and Lumber Co. of Vermillion, S.D., also took advantage of the building boom and built a 25,000 bushel grain elevator and opened a lumber yard and also opened a restaurant that ran for 12 years.

In Judith Gap, compared to the two bars that now grace the streets of the Gap, there were seven saloons, one of which was the Walter Hards Palace Saloon and another one was named the Bucket of Blood. Walter Hard's Palace Saloon had potted plants and an eagle in a cage adorned the ceiling. Outside in a steel-fenced pen, lived a black bear.

Hal Bills opened the first bank and his brother Glen started a law and real estate office. After a fire destroyed the Hanson Hotel, John Dolan built one in its place and the bank was sold to a man from Minnesota.

Because Judith Gap was a train town, two of the restaurants in town were open 24 hours a day to accommodate the passengers and train men from the eight passenger trains that ran day and night.

The people of the community had public transportation provided by three firms - the three Stanley brothers, the five Murphy brothers and the two Gurley brothers. They ran 12 passenger buses drawn by horses’ nd the only one left to see use the car was Clarence Gurley.

Judith Gap kept up with the progress of the world and the first car to be owned was a case owned by C.R. Stone. There were several businesses that didn't make it very well in Judith Gap. One was a cheese factory build in 1898 and only lasted a year.

A small log cabin sat at the present day Terry Vorhes place and was used for a school in 1908. They purchased a two story building that used to be on old saloon and used that until 1911 with the school was built.

The first teacher was Mrs. Greene, a homesteader's wife, who taught without pay. The new school was done enough to be used at the beginning of 1912, the north half of the school was not finished until 1916 and was valued at $20,000. Electricity was installed in the building in 1916 or 1917.

In April, 1929, a petition for a school gymnasium was passed around and the building was contracted to Axel Johnson and John Bring. On Sept. 17, 1929, construction began on the gym and it was completed by Nov. 15.

Before the building of the gym, basketball was played outside then they moved inside into a lumber yard. The court was surrounded on three sides by stacks of lumber with catwalks on top to seat the spectators. Only one drawback to the setup, the floor was still made of dirt, and the boys came off the floor after a game looking like coal miners. Ora Rice was the first graduate in 1916.

Another thing that was important in all small and large communities was the churches. The first Catholic church was built in 1918, but before that the Catholic families met once a month in the theater.

The first wedding in the church was the wedding of Phil Redmond and Sadie Conroy. The first double wedding was held Nov. 5, 1919 between Michael Siebenaler and Mary Boutsen and Charles Volf married Mary's sister Lena.

The Methodist church was dedicated in 1921 as the Congregational church and in 1957 was changed to Methodist. At one point in the late 1940's there was no church held at the church building, until Max Johnson, an Assembly of God preacher who worked for contract harvest company, was talked into holding church at the Methodist church.

Through all its ups and downs- the population soaring to over 1000 and then dropping to the present day population of just over 200 - it is true, if it weren't for the man, Judith Gap would not have been a town.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Most Popular Noun


The Oxford Dictionary Says That The Word 'Time' Is The Most Popular Noun

From AOL: According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, the most common words are the, be, to, of, a, in, that, have, and I.

The list of the top 25 nouns: time, person, year, way, day, thing, man, world, life, hand, part, child, eye, woman, place, work, week, case, point, government, company, number, group, problem, fact.

They didn’t list the most popular verbs. Probably because, as Neidermeyer said in Animal House, they evoke “… individual acts of perversion SO profound and disgusting that decorum prohibits listing them here.”

So, your challenge: write the best paragraph using all of the most common words, and all of the top 25 nouns, and your favorite clean English verbs (careful: this is a family blog!). You may use additional words, to make sense.

For example, starting at “hand”, one could write, “The hand, or part of it, belonging to a child flew into the eye of a woman at her place of work last week…”

BONUS: use them in the original ordered listed, above; and use each word only once.

(What a humongous waste of time….)

Busy Times

Lacy and I continue to explore, when I'm not at work.

Today, I found a Camping World not ten minutes away from my campground! To a full-time RV person, a Camping World is like Circuit City is to an electronics nut! I got a large charcoal water filter to connect between the water hose and the trailer. It is already getting rid of the bad taste and odor from Midwest well water. At Ace Hardware, it was $59 and it did not have hose fittings. At Camping World, the same thing was $39 WITH hose connections!

I also got some holding tank chemicals, to break up the waste and to eliminate odors. It's priceless, since I cannot get it at Sears, Home Depot or others.

I am now invited to two Independence Day outings - a cookout on Sunday, and a family get together Monday and Tuesday. Yes, a stay-over with the doggie! I shall bring groceries at least.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Time for a Nap...

A lot of folks have a long weekend this year over the Fourth of July – they are off Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

I just had a long weekend, of a different type. I was off Saturday and Sunday, which is pretty normal. But I drove from northern Illinois to eastern Pennsylvania and back, which is not.

Lacy and I left Friday evening after work, and made it to Cleveland, Ohio by 3:00 am Saturday. We stayed there in a Marriott hotel I had reserved. After about 5 hours of sleep, I got up and we drove to the Allentown PA area, to my last RV campground.

I hooked on to my cargo trailer (12 feet long by 6 feet wide) which I had left there last weekend, and collapsed the new canopy (20 feet long by 10 feet wide) and stored it inside the trailer. I folded up the ground cloth, and packed that in, too. Then, we drove back to Ohio starting at 5:00 pm.

We arrived at Toledo, in the western end of the state, at about 2:00 am. There, the Marriott charged me an extra $75 for having a dog in the room (the hotel the night before forgot to), so when I got up about 9:00 am Sunday, I did my weekly laundry there and I gave Lacy her monthly bath in the room. They are now earning that $75, since washing the dog in the tub is a messy job!

We got back to the new campground in northern Illinois at about 7:00 pm, after I stopped to buy some ice, some steaks and a big salad.

1,600 miles in a weekend (I get about 15 miles to the gallon when the truck is not towing the big trailer, so that’s more than 100 gallons of diesel at about $3 per gallon).

So now, I have the stuff I need to live in the fifth wheel for a prolonged time, in a Chicago winter, in some comfort. It’s like I have a portable garage with me!

We slept like logs last night!

I am looking forward to a four day weekend next week – the traditional “long weekend”, without too much driving!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

When You Get Where You're Going...

... well, there you are!

It has been a busy couple of weeks. As usual!

I got the offer from my new client in early June, to come out to Illinois on a long term (6 months +) contract for medical device package engineering. The client is a big name in pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and the rate is about 34% more than I was getting in Pennsylvania.

I gave the contractually required five days notice to my Pennsylvania client, and then acquiesced for an additional week to permit them some time to find my replacement. I made my last day last Thursday, to pack up the trailer, and to drive Saturday and Sunday to northern Illinois.

It turned out that I had to go back to the house in North Carolina first, to move my cargo trailer out of the driveway! (*@#!*&! homeowners association!!) So, I drove down Thursday night, hooked up the trailer and loaded some stuff in it I can use in Chicago, and drove it Friday back to Pennsylvania. I loaded it with the excess fifth wheel stuff on Saturday, parked it on my site there, and hooked up the fifth wheel. I drove it on Saturday to Ohio, where I spent the night for free in a truck stop. It was hot and noisy (next time: hook up the generators for the air conditioning in the trailer), and someone “bumped” my trailer during the night. The left rear taillights and some fiberglass are gone…

On Sunday, I drove from eastern Ohio to southern Wisconsin, where I had reserved a RV campground spot near Kenosha. An underpass in Chicago with the wrong clearance height marked on it caused some damage to the roof air conditioner on the trailer, but I was able to get it running again temporarily. That park is about a 45 mile drive to my new client near Waukegan IL.

I started work on Monday, and it is great! The campground wasn’t: too much money, too far away and too few services. So, I found a new one in Illinois, at a 16 minute commute, at 60% the cost of the one in Wisconsin and with all services (the first one had no sewer connections). It is wonderful! Plus, they may let me stay after the park officially closes for the winter on October 15th, since mine is an All Season trailer with heated holding tanks.

This coming weekend, I’ll take the truck back to Pennsylvania and get the cargo trailer. My site at the new park is large enough for both trailers, so it will be like having my small home and a garage with me!

Lacy is having fun: new folks and animals to meet, new spots to see in the country, but always the same place to come home to at night. That’s reassuring to her… and, to me, now that I think of it.

I have family in this area, so I am looking forward to a long Fourth of July weekend!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006



President Bush made a surprise visit to Iraq today. It has been received as a good move, after Zarqawi's death and the completion of the new PM's cabinet.

The speculation that he will STAY in Iraq, and only return with the last of the U.S. troops, is being denied by everyone.

THAT would be a REAL surprise! And they would be home by, oh, the weekend!

Police v. sunbather

Officers patrolling beach in SUV

11:30 p.m. ET June 12, 2006

"OXNARD, Calif. - Two police officers patrolling the beach in an SUV ran over and killed a sunbather Monday, authorities said.

"The officers did not immediately realize they ran over the woman and continued driving, police Cmdr. Tom Chronister said in a statement. The officers, who were not immediately identified, had stopped on a small berm of sand to watch a swimmer whom they believed to be in distress. When they saw the swimmer was fine, they drove over the berm and apparently over the woman’s head, authorities said.

"A witness called the Oxnard Fire Department to report the woman was bleeding on the beach just south of the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Resort. The woman appeared to be in her 30s and carried no identification, said Ventura County senior deputy medical examiner Mike Feiler.

"Authorities believe the woman may have been a hotel guest since her towel belonged to the Embassy Suites. An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday. The officers have been placed on paid leave pending an investigation.

"Oxnard is located about 55 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles."


I stayed at that hotel while I was working for Nabisco, at their Oxnard plant for Mexican food.

Friday, June 09, 2006

A Fine Mess

. I was trying to post a very witty story a couple of days ago, and I had found this great picture to lead into it, and then Blogger self destructed.

Now I cannot find the witty article.

So, here instead is a witty clip from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail", concerning the Holy Hand Grenade:

"Monk: And the Lord spoke, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then, shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shalt be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shalt be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out! Once the number three, being the third number be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thou foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it."

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Doctors Remove One Arm

Doctors in Shanghai have successfully removed the extra arm on this baby.

It is not clear which arm was actually removed. The lead doctor told the nurse to label the arms with a letter for the location, and then mark the one to be removed with the letter "R".

So she labeled the arms:
R (for 'right')
R (for 'reft')
and so forth.

Definitive Proof


A man who shouted 'God will save me, if he exists', lowered himself by a rope into the lion area of the Kiev zoo last weekend, and approached the lions.

A lioness went straight for him, knocked him down and severed his carotid artery.

The man has provided definitive proof - not about the existence of God, but about the lioness who killed and ate him:

She doesn't speak Russian.
она не говорит по-русски.

Monday, June 05, 2006

I Love This Doctor!



Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?

A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!! ... Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO!! Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

And remember:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO, What a Ride"

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Here We Go Again!

I don't think that Bonnie and Clyde moved as much as Lacy and I!

I've been working with a new client in Bethlehem PA for about two months. The work is good, and the people are nice; but they refuse to stop messing with my time sheet. That's how I get paid, so unable to resolve that, here we go again!

On June 19, I will start package engineering and validation work for a very large pharmaceutical and medical device company in northern Illinois. I worked for one of their divisions in Glendale, CA, about five years ago, and they do not mess with one's timesheets. This puts me back into my primary professional expertise, at a 34% increase (!), for 6 months plus in an area where my family and friends from growing up are within 90 minutes drive. The picture above is from Lake Geneva, WI, where my new RV campground is located.

And Lacy is looking forward to seeing, and chasing, some Midwest field critters again!

Thursday, June 01, 2006


The U.S. military chief in Iraq Thursday ordered troops to undergo fresh training in legal, moral and ethical standards for the battlefield, in response to the alleged murder of civilians by Marines in Haditha.

This really gets me mad.

I was a Navy officer for many years, and I had command of a Navy ship. Whenever I read about these knee-jerk reactions, I start to steam. I’ve seen it done by junior officers all of the time – a CYA move – but senior officers, like Generals, are expected to know better.

And I think that they do.

I think I smell the stench of their civilian overlords – like Dandy Don Rumsfeld – forcing the Generals to "DO SOMETHING, GOL DARN IT!! HOLD SOME TRAINING."

Hey, Don, why don’t you hold some preventive training? All of these troops and officers have been trained and re-trained on battlefield ethics. See the article on CNN by a woman reporter who was stationed with these same Marines, about how they cared for Iraqi civilians at their own peril.

Why don’t you demand some training for the troops now in, say, prevention of diptheria, and how to save your life when the dam collapses? Then, when there is an epidemic of lilfe-threatening sore throats and runny noses next month under a crack in the Aswan dam, we won’t have to have another knee-jerk training exercise.

Doctor’s oath: Do no harm.
Defense Department oath: Do no thinking.