Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Fever

I love this time of the year & it isn't because there is no stress. Quite the opposite in fact. What do we buy for Johnny or oops we gave to much to Jill & now we have to buy something else for carol. We need baked goods for 12 people & 50 cards for the rest of our friends but we always forget somebody & then as if waiting to see if they get something first, a card shows up the day before Christmas & its to late to send out a card without looking like these friends are an after thought.
we spend to much, we eat to much, we stress to much about where Bill will sit at the table because nobody like his poor eating habits or bad attitude.
Oh yes, these thing do happen & if you are reading this & act like you don't know what I am talking about, you are delusional & completely disconnected from the events around you. Hmmmm this may be the way to be, delusional?
As those who know me have figured out, I used made up names to protect myself & that is because I know that if I used real names & real situations (wink), I would be very stressed out come Christmas day, when nobody would talk to me.
With this little expose of the joys of Christmas, how on earth can I love this time of year so much? Well lets look at it. We are all in the same boat, so for the 2nd day next to Thanksgiving, we all know what each other is doing & become part of this world wide fraternity, where we are all connected in one common cause. We may do it differently & there are some who aren't participating but the majority of people get into this & we are one.
people smile more, they laugh & talk, it is great. You go to the store & people are singing or chatting it up about new recipes or who is coming over for Christmas. We want to know how each other celebrates Christmas & we share our tricks for how to get out of some of the family gatherings we should go to. Some celebrate Christmas eve with one family & then Christmas day with another. Some do both in one day & some can only swing one. Some don't go anywhere & choose to stay home & relax on this one of very few days off in a year. I love to hear what some people do for traditional events. I know people that go blow the crap out of things with shotguns every year & although I am into blowing stuff up, with the cost of bullets or shotgun shells because of Obamas mission to eliminate guns, I am not spending the money to shoot anything that isn't attacking me or my family. There are families that do a crossword puzzle every Christmas, play games, go to movies, go to church or have a family play that is planned by some aunt that feels she missed her calling as an actor & is living out her fantasy as a director/actor.
You may or may not believe in Christ of whom this holiday is about but whether you do celebrate Christmas or not, you have to feel of the love people have for each other & bask in the kindness which is everywhere you look, like a field being blanketed by sunlight as it effortlessly rises above a hillside while everything it touches warms by its touch.
I do love Christmas & hope that you can feel the spirit of love that it brings so that you also can find peace & happiness during this chaotic time in the world. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


There is nothing on this earth that irritates me more than when people rant or rave about something in print & then sign their name as ANONYMOUS. I literally want to find those spineless people & drag their sorry butts into the public, to let those who stand behind their name, tar & feather them. I understand donating something or providing charity or good deed & choose to be anonymous but when you enter an arena or fighting for a cause & choose anonymous as your name, you are a disgrace to the human race. I have been in many battles & always use my name behind the cause that I choose to champion but without fail, there is always some poor excuse for a human that chooses to fight in secret so nobody will see who they are. Oh yeah, maybe if people find out your identity they will not want to be your friend or will judge you harshly. Well duh. if your friends or the public think your spineless comments are in error, maybe you should reevaluate your stance because you are probably misinformed or wrong. Regardless of whether you get castigated in the arena of public opinion or not, get some backbone & stand up for what you believe, using your name & not the pansy name you have been using of anonymous. I have been beat to a pulp by public opinion but I don't care what the public thinks about me as long as I am true to my beliefs & my values.
If you are anonymous, you don't exist, so go away & leave the rest of us alone because you are nothing along with your anonymous point of views.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Do I or Don't I

Have you ever had occasion to make a decision that you really couldn't win regardless of which direction you went? For example, I have made decisions on a School Board that were both wrong but they happened to be my only options. The angst I felt was beyond unbearable & have at times haunted me to this day. What do we do when faced with "no win" decisions in our life? I am not sure that I have an answer for you except to say that, in my case, I have to choose what allows me to look in the mirror.
Life, just by the nature of diverse opinion, creates situations in which we must stand behind our convictions or beliefs or we must compromise our beliefs for what is best for the whole & that causes an environment of controversy & heartache.
we can stand firm on what we feel but the outcome will be that we are standing with a few but that the problem is never resolved or that we become embroiled in a battle of wills, with neither side ever forgiving the other.
Once again, I don't have the answer but I know that hatred over a point of view seems to be worse that compromise at least in the event that it is not moral or ethical & in that case i feel we need to fight to death to protect what we feel is essential to our moral & ethical beliefs.

Monday, December 7, 2009


When I woke up this morning it was snowing & there was a couple inches of snow on the road, making it an adventure getting to work because some commuters hadn't planned for snow & were off the road trying to figure out what to do. Those that were like one of my employees, faked sick & took the day off or at least that is the story I will use.
As I look out the window of my office, with snow falling gracefully from above onto a billowy blanket of new fallen snow, it becomes a surreal moment, mesmerizing me with the incredible beauty & although hypnotic, the realization of how dangerous it can be if stranded becomes a very possible realization.
Falling snow to me is like the flickering flames of a warm fire dancing in the dark, you can't help but fall into the hypnotic trance of watching these flames begin from the red hot fire & disappear into our imaginations.
Snow falling reminds me of days gone by as a child, when once my brothers & sister at the sight of snow would grab all the winter clothes & out the door we went to sled up & down the street while hitting each other with snow balls any chance we could. The problem was, that the fresh snow makes horrible snow balls because it doesn't compact well, which was probably good so as to avoid a fight from hitting somebody to hard.
We didn't care what we were doing as long as we could play in the snow & the day it snowed was always the most exciting because you are caught up in the experience of snow falling all around you. We made snow forts, snow angels, tunnels, we even jumped off our two story house roof if there was enough snow on the ground. The problem with this was that as kids we underestimated or overestimated how much snow was needed all the time, causing all kinds of problems. If there was not enough snow we would go right through the snow to hard ground & it would hurt really bad but if we jumped off when the snow was over a few feet deep, we would get stuck in the snow & couldn't get out without help, allowing the neighbors or brothers to do all kinds of annoying things before they finally got bored & pulled you out. My brother thought it would be funny one time to dive into the snow drift from the roof, head first & yes, it was a scary moment for him but hilarious to those watching because his legs were flailing around above the snow but all you could see was about 2 feet of his legs.
Working in the snow isn't my favorite thing to do so I guess, once the playful childhood games were over & the reality of life set in, snow wasn't quite the enjoyment it once was even though I still feel the urge to go out & jump into the snow or to build a snow fort, I don't think it will happen any time soon but no promises.
The one thing I can do though is sit here & watch the beautiful snow fall while it transforms me back to my youth & the enjoyment I experienced playing in the snow, free of care & free to play until my hands were so cold I couldn't feel them.
May we never forget those things we enjoy even if but for a fleeting moment, sitting at a desk, watching the snow fall through a window.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Turkey Gone Wild

I love to cook & every Thanksgiving have been given the task of cooking the turkey because I won't tolerate a dry turkey & everyone knows it. Now I have tried all the different ways of cooking the perfect turkey which includes, deep frying, ovens, smokers, roasters & boiling. I have used brine's, marinades, injections & all types of secret recipes from the food network, family, friends & even a few old wives tales.
I have however conjured up my own recipe & if the turkey is under 25 lbs, you will have a turkey as tender & moist as the very best chicken you have ever eaten. I have had chef's tell me that they wanted me to teach them what I do because they like it so much. Now I know that people give compliments all the time when they get free food & don't have to cook themselves but I am not really a big turkey fan & find that I really like the flavor of my turkeys along with how moist they are.
I have an interesting story recounting this years Thanksgiving turkey which weighed in at 36.7 lbs & no, this isn't a typo although I have plenty with my two fingered typing.

I take my turkey & do all the normal prep work, like start my defrosting a day or two in advance in the refrigerator because Heaven forbid you might get some bug from defrosting wrong. I then take everything out of turkey & rinse it in clean water. I pat it dry & let it stand for about an half hour while I prepare my cooking barrel. yes, I have an old 55 gallon barrel that I designed & built to be a smoker. I add 10 lbs of Kingsford briquettes in the bottom of barrel which sets on a rack that is a few inches off the bottom. I never used pre soaked briquettes because they have a oily residue on them. I then add my electric starter to the briquettes until they start to have some flame.
While waiting for the flames to appear, I get my turkey ready by taking melted butter & rubbing it with my own dry rub consisting of sage thyme, chili powder, garlic salt, Lawry's season salt, dry mustard, salt & pepper with a little brown sugar. I reach between the skin & the body of the turkey & do the same.
I place sliced apples, oranges, garlic, & onion under turkey in a roasting pan filled with chicken stock, mixed with more of my dry rub spices & some apple juice or orange juice. I place the lid on the roasting pan or cover with tin foil to keep the moisture in the pan & in the turkey. I then set the pan on a rack about 3/4 of the way up my barrel for 1.5 -- 2 hrs. make sure the lid is on the roasting pan & make sure the lid is on the barrel.
I check for my 165* at thigh joint, next to body. I then add 10 more lbs of briquettes while lid is on roasting pan. After a few minutes I take lid off roasting pan to let the turkey brown. If the bath the turkey is cooking in is getting dry, you can add more at this time & baste the turkey.
your 20lb turkey may be done at 2hours but don't take out of smoker until you reach 165 degrees. I know we are told to reach 170-180 degrees but this is way overkill. You now continue basting at half hour intervals & checking temperature. If it is taking longer to reach desired temperature, put the roasting pan lid back on to keep moisture in pan & turkey. If you do everything correctly you will cut down your cooking time in a conventional oven by 1 to 2 hours & this will be the most flavorful & moist turkey you have ever experienced.
My son called this year because he couldn't get home for Thanksgiving & said that he didn't realize how different my turkeys were from others until he had turkey at some friends house this year. he may have been just making dad feel good but "it did".
Now we get into this years monster turkey. We had a traditional 20 pounder but the neighbor shows up with a turkey just under 37 lbs that they were given as employees of a turkey farm. I didn't know turkeys could be so big but I can assure you, they do. I began to stress out because this monster didn't fit in anything I owned & outside of using a chainsaw to cut it in half, I didn't have a clue what to do but I knew that I couldn't serve dry turkey.
An advantage to living in a small town is you get to know a lot of people & I went to the Murphys Hotel to ask the owner if I could rob his kitchen for a giant roasting pan. He said yes & then gave me his ideas on what to do which included piecing out the turkey & cooking seperately which was considered. I still thought the pan was to small so I went to Ironstone Vineyards massive kitchen to find two pans that were big enough but I was concerned how I would get this monster in my barrel.
I found that my concerns proved to be valid as when I got home & began to place the pans into my barrel, they didn't fit. I was finding myself a little bit screwed if there is such a thing as being a little screwed? I racked my brain for a solution with less than 18 hours before the timer begins on this adventure & then it struck me to get 3 of those funky aluminum roasting pans from the store. they were flexible enough to mold to the turkey & if I added 2 or 3 inside each other, they would be sturdy enough.
I boiled 1 cup salt with a gallon of water along with sage, thyme, brown sugar, salt & pepper. I then added a couple gallons of cold water into a 5 gallon bucket. I added the turkey & let the brining process work overnight, hopefully breaking down the meat & tenderizing it with flavor. The next morning I rinsed turkey with fresh water & let sit.
I could just barely get my citrus, apples & chicken broth bath in the pan & knew I need more moisture in the barrel to keep the meat moist so I filled 2 small camp pans with broth mixture. I placed one on top rack next to turkey & one in the briquettes on the bottom. Now I just had to do what I have done every year & hopefully I would have the same results.
I checked my temperature at 2 hours like I always have done & added 10 more lbs of briquettes but the temperature of 140 to 150 of which I usually expected was at 70*. I gave myself 5 hours just in case but was beginning to sweat it when at 4 hrs & 10 more lbs of briquettes, I was only at 140*. I couldn't rush it but I knew that the chances of a moist turkey were fleeting by the moment & I was not very optimistic. My options were none, except to tell the guests to cover the turkey with gravy & cranberry sauce & that was my exit strategy.
We received a call about 4.5 hours into this from one guest, saying they would be an half hour late. I was greatly relived to have an extra half hour & at 5 hours & 165* I pulled the turkey out which needed a small crane. I then wrapped it in tin foil & placed it in an ice chest to continue cooking while becoming moist by sitting in its own steam bath.
At 2:30 I pulled the turkey out of the ice chest & set it on a cutting board to rest for half an hour. The juice was running everywhere & after I cut the first slice of breast meat of which I don't really like because the breast is always more dry, even though this process negates this normal problem. this meat had a beautiful pink smoke ring about a 1/2 inch deep into the meat & tasting incredible with the moisture of turkeys past.
I sighed a breath of relief & served the turkey which received rave reviews, with everyone taking large bags of turkey home for later.
After 20+ hours of worry & 5 hours of cooking, the entire eating experience was over in less than half an hour & I needed two aspirin to relax of which I finally did.
yes, there are 37 lb turkeys but my advice is not to get one, they will only cause you stress because by the way, it didn't fit into our oven either. Happy cooking & you now have my secret to the perfect turkey that you can add to the thousands of others you probably have.
Gobble Gobble

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Innocence Lost

When does it happen that innocence becomes a vague memory of a once distant quality or personality trait? What is innocence? I watch my grand kids & I see innocence in everything they do but when I see adults or teenagers, not so much. I don't know for sure but I think innocence is a state of mind, free from corruption, trials & greed. When I see a child, I know that they are not responsible for any actions because they don't have pre conceived motives or desires of hatred, lust, greed or retaliation. Most adults however have some or all of these traits along with coveting, unforgivness, jealousy & envy.
When do we lose innocence & are there adults that are innocent? I think we lose innocence when we are betrayed, hurt by others, lied to & for the most part, been involved with any type of turmoil, tragedy or hardship. I believe that innocence is purity of heart & that adults can have innocence, it just isn't as profound as with children.
Innocence should be sought after because it is what allows us to be free & if we have lost it we should do what we can to find it again. If you arent sure how to get it back, just do what children do because child like is a virtue & child like is innocence.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Angels Camp & the famous Frog Jump

Many of you don't have a clue where angels Camp is or what the Frog jump is so let me explain it to you. Without going into all the details of where the story comes from & how it all started, I will let you research that on your own but check Mark Twain & Angels Camp CA. for more information.
Angels Camp is located approximately 50 miles east of Stockton, in the Mother Lode region of California. Known for its colorful past, Angels Camp hosts the annual Frog Jump which in & of itself isn't that important but the fact that people from around the world, continue coming to an old mining town of less than 8,000 people for a small County fair just to see frogs jump, is remarkable.

I was born in Calaveras County from where the Frog Jump takes place & as a small boy, I became fascinated by the fair & all the incredible activities & food that go along with a County fair but the one thing which always became the highlight of my fair experience was the jumping of frogs. Anyone can sign up to jump a frog from a circle placed in the center of a stage & after 3 jumps, the frog which jumps the farthest, wins the award for frog jumping in that year. You can bring your own frog or choose from some fatigued frogs that have been jumped by 100s of kids all day.
I know that seeing frogs jump doesn't seem like an interesting day but to a youngster with the thought of winning anything & playing with frogs, was a pretty incredible way to spend the day.
The allure remained for many years even though as I got into high school it wasn't so much the frogs I wanted to see but rather my friends and the girls that tagged along.
To some degree, I believe the fair still holds these same meanings for the different ages but for me, the mystique wore off years ago as the commercial element crept in & the charm was lost. the Frog Jump went through a rebellious time during the late 1960s & early 1970s in which the Hells Angels took over angels Camp & broke windows throughout the community along with other infamous groups that found a place to have turf wars, far from their homes in the Bay area or other California cities. My Mom in fact, was knocked over by a biker in the 1970s while she volunteered to collect entrance fees for the Frog Jump but never did it again after she was robbed & her neck was severely damaged. The next year the National Guard was called in to maintain peace & civility. The hippie movement also came to the fair and it was hard to find a space in the surrounding hills close to the Frog Jump which didn't have naked & dirty people expressing themselves any way they wanted. Once again the police cracked down on the hippie movement & for me the once, dreamed of, Frog Jump adventure was lost forever.
I took my children to the fair when they were young because they wanted the experience & I wanted to be with them but once they lost the desire to go or no longer wanted to be with Dad at the fair, I relinquished my fair duties & have not been for over 5 years. I can't say for sure if that is because it no longer interests me, I didn't like the change that took place or if I just became to lazy to walk around all day to visit friends. I can't answer to what reason it is but I know that the Frog Jump is unique & although the Hells Angels & the Hippies have been replaced by Yuppies on motorcycles along with a mixture of locals & the curious from around the world, everyone should experience the Frog Jump at least once in their life because where else on earth can you come & watch frogs jump or relive your youth by jumping your own frog ?

Sarah Palin

I don't care whether you like Sarah Palin or not but what is the obsession with her? You love her, you hate her, everybody has strong feelings about her. Why is that? I think it is because she appears normal & that scares people in power but makes herself endearing to normal people who see her as one of them. I can't understand the argument that says, " she has no experience"? This is a conundrum to some but it in reality, she has more experience than many of the elected officials in office today & even if she doesn't, she ran a state. Even if she doesn't, the elected politicians with the "so called" knowledge, being referred to with Sarah Palin, are the very politicians that have destroyed our Country. So if somebody wants to come in & run the Country with common sense & be fiscally conservative while giving power to the people, I am voting for that person, regardless of the party they attach their name.
Why would people spend millions of dollars trying to smear somebody with false accusations if there wasn't a real fear that this person had the right answers & was able to lead others? If Sara Palin wasn't a threat to the liberal, progressive movement & the Democrats, she would be dismissed like yesterdays boring news but she isn't so maybe you should pay attention to why she is so hated & why she is so loved?
There is a reason & it isn't because she is inexperinced, it is because she will stand up for middle America & tell the Corporate elite to kiss off. Something my party should have done years ago before they started "butt kissing". Anybody that tells you that you can have something for free is lieing to you & if they say they will take it from the rich & give it to you, they are more dangeroous because the rich are going to stay rich & the way they do that is by passing on their costs to you, Duh!!!! are we so stupid that we would think anything else???? Come on & wake up, if you don't like somebody like Sarah Palin saying it straight & want to hear somebody tell you a fairy tale, here is one for you. Magically, Obama is going to wave his wand & sprinkle fairy dust on everyone so that we can live happily ever after & we will all have money falling from the skies as the elite give their money to you out of kindness & love.
Yeah right. You don't have to like Sarah Palin but quit justifying your own selfish motives by demonizing somebody else because they disagree with you, that is contardictory to what you are preaching. We should all be able to speak our opinion & not be crucified because of differing points of view, you don't like somebody, don't vote for them but don't try to destroy their life.
We are all on this planet together so lets try to share it with respect.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dogs vs Friends

Wouldn't it be nice if friends were as loyal as dogs or if friends talked as much as dogs? There are times when it seems the world is falling down around me & it doesn't matter which friend you talk to, they all talk to much but when you look at your dog with their loyal eyes wanting to be with you & comfort you, there is just a sense of peace & a feeling of being needed.
Dogs accept you when you don't accept anyone, dogs will love you when nobody will, dogs are loyal, comforting & willing to please you just because all they want in the world is to be with you.
there is no other friend or family member that is as loyal as a dog or accepting of your life regardless of how unstable you are or confused about life.
I have had dogs for most of my life & outlived two of them that lived to be over 12 years old. These two dogs wanted to spend every moment with me regardless of what I was doing. They would always greet me with a friendly, excited attitude & would do everything possible to make me play with them & be happy. I miss those dogs because they gave me over 24 years of unquestionable loyalty & friendship, which brings me to today.
The funny thing about dogs is that it really is personal preference of what type you want or where you get them. My last dog which I had for over 12 years was an Australian Shepherd & I picked Tasha up from the pound as a puppy. This dog would die trying to keep up with us on hiking trips or doing anything for me, she didn't ever want to be away from us.
I picked up my current dog from the pound as a puppy last winter & his name is Shasta, now I have to admit, Shasta is a beautiful black on white border collie but he is so full of energy I wasn't sure I could handle it. He would run off every chance he got & I do believe he was beat as a little puppy because he was afraid of everyone until you started playing with him.
We have taken Shasta on hiking & camping trips which seemed as though they would kill him because he was so out of shape but in the past two months he has transformed into a loyal friend that can't please us enough. I say that with a slight hesitation because he is much closer to my wife & perhaps because she walks much more than I do or maybe because she makes me discipline him. Shasta loves to play & every morning & evening greets me when I leave & when I come home, with loving eyes that say "please notice me & play with me", so I do.
Shasta is not the brightest dog I ever had or is he the easiest to train but what is the same is his love for us & his willingness to please regardless of how I feel that day.
I guess the moral of my thoughts is that when nobody can give you what you need, your dog always will, so treat them like the best friends they are.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What Do The Polls Tell Me To Do

I am so sick of politicians making every decision on what gets them elected or doesn't offend their money donors. That is why whether you like the woman or not, you have to admire the tenacious attitude of Sarah Palin. I know the argument against her, she has no experience, she should be home with her kids & on & on & on. Bla Bla Bla, so friggin what. All of us should be doing something but probably aren't doing it as well as we should or can so give the woman a break. When somebody has the backbone to stand for their own convictions & not a poll number or peer pressure, they become unique in today's world & they are people I respect, whether I agree with them or not. They are not afraid to take a stand against God himself, if needs be but they stand for something & it is transparent to everyone.
Now on the flip side, we have what some may call, "President Obama" & his merry band of pollsters & manipulators. I don't personally call him president because I have another name I have given him which I will keep to myself. I don't know anything about this man because he waffles on everything. The biggest problem I have with people like Obama is that they say one thing & do something else, they say what people want to hear while doing what the poll numbers tell them to. The case in point is the requested troops in Afghanistan of which Obama can't make up his mind if he wants to send any troops. Imagine yourself as a soldier which is (being shot at daily to protect us) & you need some help to be safe because the enemy is getting closer to where you are. The soldier asks the person in charge for help to get out of this alive & the person in charge cant make up their mind because it doesn't look good with money donors or with some polls. I want to rip my hair (whats left of it) with anger because of such a Pansy attitude. these people are protecting us as well as people in other Countries & Obama wants to play political games to make a decision because he is afraid to do anything. You sicken me as a human & are just like the people on a street that watch somebody get mugged or raped or murdered & do nothing or worse yet, you video the tragedy so you can make money off of it.
I don't want the troops there, I have a son in law there but get them out or give them help, there are no other options Mr President.
You think sports fans go crazy when their team loses or wins? You think sports fans don't venomously hate the rival teams while holding their home team on a pedestal with God? Well if sports fans can get this crazy over a stupid sport, what do you think will happen when it isn't about a sports team but about your own family or about somebody allowing them to be hurt or suffer. What do you think a person will do to protect their family if they will blow up the rival teams cars & beat each other senseless? We are at this point Mr President, which side are you on?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Children and Angels

Every time I am fortunate enough to wish my grand daughter a good night with sweet dreams, I end with "goodnight sweet angel". Well today I overheard her talking to my daughter & she asked her mom, "can angels fly"? Her Mom said "yes, angels can fly", which I thought was the end of the conversation but then as if planning an elaborate trap to catch her mom in a false statement, she popped up with, "am I an angel"? Her mom responded with a quick yet thoughtful response which I thought, once again, would end the discussion. She said, "of course you are an angel".
Oh but as we all know, it was not over because children can ask questions forever & become the master manipulators. The little angel with a quizzical mischievous side to her asked, "well if I am an angel & if angels can fly, then why can't I fly"? Her mom once again, brilliantly responded without hesitation by saying & I do believe this comment was her attempt to end a conversation that she was going to lose. She said "You aren't old enough".
This wouldn't have satisfied me but seemed to satisfy my granddaughter as she went around the house flapping her arms in an attempt to fly, while hoping to find out if she was old enough to fly at the age of , as she would tell you, 4 but almost 5. In any event, the debate was over but I am sure this will need to be dealt with again because children have an amazing memory & won't forget anything, unless of course it is what they may do wrong & then their little memories are magically erased forever.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Overcoming Fear

What is fear? If you are afraid of something, does that mean you are afraid of everything? I can't speak for everyone but as far as fear has entered my life on occasion it is specific to a certain situation or thought & doesn't affect other facets of my life.
I was afraid of the dark when I was younger & had a traumatic event to magnify that fear which became an insecurity that lingered throughout many parts of my life, causing me to be afraid of other things. I was afraid to speak or be the center of attention in public, I was afraid to be around adults or to have to speak to them, I was afraid of my Dad, I was afraid to sleep because my demons became vivid reality as I had nightmares all night long. I was so afraid of the dark & my nightmares that I would rather wet the bed than to get up in the dark. This became an added burden because my Dad was not very patient with me regardless of my Mom being very patient. I was yelled at, spanked, humiliated & spent many days & nights feeling alone & worthless because of my insecurities.
I was 12 when I decided that I had enough & had to take control of my life & quit living a double life. I say double life because I was popular, good in sports & polite to others but on the inside I was falling apart while thinking I was the only person in the world that had these fears & was to afraid to talk about them.
I decided to conquer my fears, one at a time & felt that if I ever had a chance to be strong mentally that I would have to take this on myself, of which I did.
I didn't mind hiking, fishing or being in the woods alone during the day but once it got dark, I was in the light & at my home, which is why my fear of the dark challenge became so remarkable. I took my small dog, some camping gear & food & walked about a mile through the forest to a favorite fishing hole of mine. I built a campfire pit & rounded up enough wood to last me all night. You have to remember that I was 12 or 13 & the mere thought of being alone in the woods after dark was the very nightmare I had run from hundreds of times in my nights when I slept. It started off ok because I was fishing & playing with the dog but when it started to get dark, I kept thinking, I can still make it out of here before black covered the forest but then it happened, It was to dark to leave & I knew that I was facing the biggest demon of my life. Fear overcame me & I was at the state of panic while trying to keep the fire as big as possible. I tried to take my mind off the fear by playing with the dog & eating but I wasn't hungry & every time I played with the dog, I lost focus of the forest noises of which I was paranoid about.
As night settled in & the darkness engulfed me I laid perfectly quiet in my sleeping bag within reach of an enormous wood pile that I could keep the fire going with. I heard the forest noises & tried to imagine what each sound was so I could justify that it wasn't a bear or mountain lion that was looking for a 12 year old meal.
I struggled to stay awake & thinking back, I don't know why because I certainly couldn't have fought off a bear or mountain lion as a helpless kid but at the time, I suppose that I believed I could. Next thing I realized was that it was getting light out & my fears began to subside as the sun made its way over the mountain ridge between myself & civilization. Not only did I make it through the night, I realized that fear was a state of mind & that if I could convince my mind that the dark was nothing to fear, then I could conquer all my fears.
I began an annual quest to identify fears & conquer them. My birthday became the point of realization & myself along with trusted friends began finding things that scared me, with the hope that I could overcome those fears. My journey took me from sky diving, bungee jumping & survival camping in many different weather conditions to fire walking which has it's own type of fear attached. I heard about a fire walk over hot coals & had to see what this was about & after a couple hour training on mind control & self worth, I followed some of the participants across 20ft of red hot coals. I have since done this three other times over 20 years & each time , although the fear is gone, I learn something new about myself & the quest I have to overcome fear.
I have done many things over the years to overcome fear & although my quest may not be yours, I would recommend that you at least find out who you are & what you are capable of because if you don't push yourself, you really won't know what you are afraid of until that defining moment arrives.
Fear for some is a measure of comfort & tells us when to stop while others, whether right or wrong are motivated by fear. I have to say that the latter is more in line with me but I also will back off in sight of fear if the outcome is not worth the sacrifice or pain.
I suppose the moral of the story is that if you are comfortable with yourself in any given situation, you can decide whether fear stops you or motivates you because it really doesn't matter what anyone else does, you need to know your limitations but don't let limitations stop you from being & doing whatever you want to do.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Las Vegas World

I recently was given a Birthday trip to Las Vegas by my wife & although I had an incredible time with all the great food & entertainment, I found myself watching the people from all over the world, that seem to be in another world. I understand that "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" but people go crazy. I saw people justifying why they spent thousands of dollars & were now broke, I saw people chasing a mobile strip club that had girls performing at the intersections while being in a lighted glass box in a huge van. I heard a woman say that she couldn't understand why people don't like cigarette smoke & look down on her while not complaining about cocaine addicts????????
The competition between casinos to bring the people in is nuts, you have big name performers of which we saw two incredible acts. LaReve & Terry Fator. You have huge deals on rooms, food & amenities so as to get you to drop money in the machines or at the tables. Try buying a pair of shoes in a Casino or any other clothing item or accessory. $99 for a cotton button up shirt was cheap & as high as $200, slippers were $110 but still selling for $250. I know that when people are wasted, lost all their money gambling or just got married to someone they met at the bar is all part of Vegas but then to rip them off walking out the door & drain every last drop of money & dignity the poor person has left, this is just wrong.
Las Vegas is like the ultimate playground for adults & encourages frivolity with a bit of uninhibited exploration thrown in. If you want it, you can find it, if you want to be crazy & carefree, you have a place to do it but if you want to go for a peaceful & relaxing weekend, Las Vegas isn't the place to go.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


As I watch my grand kids get ready for Halloween today, I reflect on my own memories of Halloween past, when I was planning all day what I would wear & all the candy I would get that night. I am not quite sure why this traditional holiday continues even though I know from whence it came. the Celtics remembered their dead on this day & believed that the spirits wandered the streets seeking recognition for the lives they lived. The citizens would place pastries & food on door steps to satisfy the spirits & to insure good crops & good fortune. This belief & practice took on a new life of its own as people started dressing in costume to be mistaken as the dead spirits & thus be left alone by the spirits. The poor, in costume, wandered the streets & took the treats left for the spirits.
I don't know for sure but knowing how business is done, I am pretty sure that some entrepreneurial type, realized he could sell costumes & treats, setting in motion the grand celebration we have today.
Instead of having dead spirits wandering the streets, we have millions of little beggars wandering around in costume asking for candy & treats. I wonder sometimes about what we subject our children to & if we are helping them or hurting them? I don't know but I remember that when I was a kid, this was a fun time & I didn't see any harm it except for the ensuing toothaches & cavities(lol). Not really but this is about the only harm I see in it & if people have a problem with it, don't do it. Nobody is forcing you to participate & nobody really cares but when you try to stop others from enjoying this fun event, then shame on you & you need to lighten up. Life is stressful enough & just because you didn't get any candy when you were a kid, don't ruin it for others.
The world is to full of "tight asses" that don't have any fun so as far as I can see, anytime you can get people together to have fun & socialize, this is a good thing, even if it started with remembering the dead & maybe that also is not a bad thing. We can imagine as the early Celtics believed, lets have a celebration of those who have passed on & maybe we can have good fortune. That doesn't sound bad to me. I need to go carve pumpkins & get the costumes on because tonight we will be having fun together & I will remember my Brother & dad who have passed away, with the hope that they are with me tonight. Happy Halloween

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I must be Stupid

I thought I was relatively intelligent but apparently I am stupid because I see a President of The United States surrounding himself with radical/gangsters that are corrupt in every sense of the word. Look at Rahm Emanuel, do you really think he cares about anybody except his own power trip? This is a guy that embodies the very image of a Chicago gangster. Obama must be spineless to let everyone around him make the decisions while he sits in the Ivory Tower & strokes his ego while telling everyone what a terrible Country we lived in before he was President. Either that or he is brilliant & is the chess master, manipulating everyone & sacrificing them when they can be used to reach the ultimate goal of check mate & becoming the only King left in the game.
He appears to care nothing about the people except for controlling them & making them look stupid & become dependent on his mercy, he will discard us at any moment if we get in the way or question his esteemed wisdom.
Am I the only one that sees this? It seem very obvious to me & to have people think that Government can really fix anything, is in sane. Do you really think that spending trillions of dollars we don't have, to help companies & unions that cripple this country with abusive business practices, really helps? No way. Obama is rewarding corruption & those that elect him while destroying free enterprise, patriotism & hard work. Why should anyone try to start a business when you can't afford to run it & are taxed out of business?
Either I am stupid or the people that believe in Obama with his arrogant, self serving objectives are, because we cant both be right on somebody so polarizing.
Whether you are slobbering all over yourself over Obama or whether you hate him, I don't really care but it's time to look at facts & not fiction & that goes for everyone. We are making decisions now that will determine the future of this Country & the World so choose carefully which side you are on.
If you choose Obamanation over freedom & you really believe it, I can respect you but if you believe any media or think you will get something for free, you are a moron, nothing is free &
the old saying applies to you, "be careful what you ask for" & "you vote for him, you deserve what you get".
I just heard a sign maker tell me that he was making a new sign to sell & it made sense.
Obama is an example of somebody that can win the Nobel Peace Prize just for thinking about peace but not actually doing anything for peace.
Alfred Nobel is crying right now because he dedicated his life to peace after being ridiculed when his brother died & the media thought it was Alfred. They hated him because he created nitroglycerin which is in dynamite. People didn't say it to his face like the people today but when his brother died working in Alfred's plant, the paper said how happy they were that this monster was now dead & his weapons of destruction would stop. He felt so bad that he dedicated his life & money to making dynamite safer & promoting peace, through action & not by talk.
Once again, I must be stupid because I have done more for peace than Obama & I know many people that have but he walks on water to some & promises riches, so many that we will all be rich. At least that is what some people think, I know somebody who thinks Obama will flood their home with money so they won't have to work. Wow, if that is the case, I am signing up because if I can get paid to stay home & play rather than go to work, that is a no brainer, we are all in & Obama can just keep printing worthless money to fall from the sky. yeah right---------somebody is stupid here?????????????

Monday, October 26, 2009

Worth The Pain

I was asked recently to describe what it is like to backpack on a difficult journey? I know that there are many types of backpacking trips & unless you enjoy carrying what is comparable to a 6 year old kid on your shoulders all day, sleeping in the dirt & washing in cold water, all backpacking trips are hard.
What separates the hard from the extremely hard, are the miles, the elevation, the weight of pack, the length of days, the shape you are in & the will power you have. Most people can hike a few miles in a day but depending on the terrain & elevation, a few miles will still kick some butt.
When you are talking about extreme backpacking or through hikers, you are packing light & are traveling between 15 to 3o miles per day depending on conditions & elevation changes.
Most healthy hikers can hike at a pace of 1/2 hour per mile, difficult terrain with technical elevation changes will take up to 45 minutes per mile but usually you won't be this slow unless at the end of a long day & trying to conquer one more 1,000 ft elevation ascent.
You can walk 20 minute miles on good terrain with good conditions but as a rule, I plan on 1/2 hour miles just to allow for breaks. Most hikers will hike no more than 4-6 hours but if you do the math, 6 hours gets you about 12 miles. Everbody is different so walk at a pace you can maintain & if that pace is an hour per mile, so what, you are still accomplishing something & challenging yourself. This isn't a race, it is an opportunity to find yourself so enjoy the journey & pay attention to where it takes you.
My wife & I average 15-20 miles per day & as many as 28. Whether gone for 2 days or 10 days, the first day is the hardest because of acclimating to the pack & hiking a lot of miles. The body isn't made to carry a pack for 20 miles per day for more than a few days, you just break down physically if you don't take care of your body, including your feet. I recommend starting your trip with about 10 to 12 miles on the first day & increasing to what is comfortable as you progress. After a few days you should be able to do over 20 miles per day but try to take a short day or a "no mile day" after several days just to rest the body & mind.
If you aren't into "many miles per day", you should maintain a 10-12 mile per day average & for most people, that is hard but you have enough relax time to prepare for the next day.
Pack light, no more than 35 lbs to start & get less as the days pass on if going more than 100 miles. If possible try to be around 25 lbs. Make sure you have a few items that will make your life much easier: head lamp, matches, mole skin for feet, knife, water purifier, rope ( I prefer nylon strap), Bear canisters are a must in some forests, extra socks, extra underwear, aspirin, water proof jacket, warm jacket, extra camp shoes or sandals, TOILET PAPER (you want a must have--this is),light cook stove, water purifier, 2-liter bottles or water bladder, map, duct tape, hat, lube for lips, chafing or rashes, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, bowl plate combo, spork, comfortable sleeping pad & warm sleeping bag, my wife takes a small cup but I drink out of my liter bottle.
My wife uses technical walking poles while I use an oak limb that I carved into a walking stick years ago, it doesn't matter whether you use them or not but they will make your hike a lot easier in the technical terrain. There are a few extra things you can take but this will get you by. Now for food, I make my own salt mix of favorite nuts, crackers, pretzels, etc. I also make a sweet mix of peanut m&ms, dried pineapple, & various sweet items that wont melt. For dinners we put cup of soup in a zip lock bag so we don't have extra trash. We also used dehydrated mashed potato's with dried bacon bits, chives & seasoning in a zip lock bag. For breakfast we have instant oatmeal in zip lock bag or granola & power bars. We also use the bars & home made trail mix for lunch. We bring powdered electrolyte mix to add to water during day, don't use a sugar based drink like Gatorade because sugar is hard to metabolize & although it tastes good, it doesn't help for long distance only short term. An important note, if you get dehydrated or completely cramped or wiped out from no food or water, it is to late to replenish quickly, you have to rest. The way to hydrate & stay healthy is by eating small amounts of food all day (it is like building a fire, you add a little dried wood & the fire burns incredible but if you dump a lot of wood on all at once, the fire takes awhile to get the flames going again). Water & electrolytes are the same, drink as you go, I have a philosophy of a drink per half mile & with that average plan, I use about 2 liters in 10 miles & 4 liters in 20 miles. there are factors that cause you to use less or more & adjust accordingly. Know your body & what your body needs. The body is amazing & will tell you what you need but you have to listen.
One item that you can't cut corners on is your backpack, if you have a pack that is not fitted right or doesn't protect your body from the pains of carrying weight for many miles, you will have a miserable time. Remember when picking out a pack, just because it feels good in a store, you have no weight in it & even if the store adds some, you haven't carried it for 10 or more miles. I recommend checking references from people who have the pack, this is not unlike buying a car, a bed or anything else in your life that needs to be comfortable. Do not get caught up in the hype of what is new must be good, I have backpacks that are over 20 years old that are still great but I have packs that are 2 years old that kill me at the end of the day. The pack I have now is incredible & I searched it out for years, if I can carry the weight & walk all day, the pack will make it as comfortable as possible.
Everybody finds what works for them & this is what we use but regardless of what you pack or eat, you have to carry it & when people tell me how much fun this sounds, I always say that it isn't fun but it is rewarding & challenging. Overcoming challenges is much more rewarding than just having fun, even though we do occasionally have fun on the way & the beauty is incredible.
Backpacking puts your life in perspective & makes you realize how insignificant much of what we thought was important, isn't. I have hiked all day & am so depleted of energy that I couldn't take a step once I took my pack off & sat down. I have been in so much pain that I wanted to cry & became almost delusional, thinking about how far I had to go. I have also hiked over some of the most incredible trails & seen the most incredible sights that I can't do them justice by explaining them. You have an awakening of sorts, into who you are & what you are capable of accomplishing, of how you can endure pain after pain, day after day. You learn to survive with huge blisters that while every step you take, vividly reminds you that you are in a lot of trouble because you have many miles to go & the pain will only get worse. You will realize that although you think the place you are camping for the night is just over the next mountain pass, only to find that it is over two more passes & you have no energy to continue but you find an inner strength that makes you almost super human because you continue you through all the physical & mental obstacles placed before you. It is a spiritual experience when you persevere while so many won't or can't & we have seen 100s if not 1000s of people cry, complain or quit as we pass by them to a greater reward & that reward is accomplishment of a job set out to do & using your own ingenuity to figure it out regardless of the pain or obstacles.
I don't recommend hiking 20 + miles per day for everyone because you don't have much time to enjoy the beauty you are passing but regardless of how you do it, how far you go or what you bring, it is worth the pain. You will find out more about yourself than you ever dreamed possible & knowing yourself probably is a good thing.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Kid Reality

Have you noticed that when you are around kids, there is no such thing as alone time or private thoughts? Last night was case in point, now I'm not obsessed with watching sports as many are but I do like to watch a playoff game that includes a team I am interested in or supporting a player that I may think is good. With that being said, last night I was watching the Yankees & the Angels play in the playoffs The game was a back & forth nail biter but 2 of my grand kids were in the house & for some reason were bouncing off the walls, they were loud, they wanted to play, eat, jump, run & all those fun kids things. I feel I am talented enough to multi task because I do it most every day but for some reason I got caught up in trying to debate & rationalize with a 2 year old & a 4 year old. What an idiot I am!!!!! You cant do it, you can't debate a youngster & come out of it a winner. Little kids can ask you questions & give the wrong answers for hours & a true hard fact is, they will out live you so why debate them?
The truth from a child is real & nothing you can tell them will change their minds. I knew better than to jump into this arena of kid vs adult but I guess I was pre occupied with the game & it just happened.
Have you ever got into the "WHY GAME"? Oh this one is kid reality. Why does it rain? What is condensation & evaporation? How can water go to the sky? why don't clouds look like water? Why don't the clouds fall? You are getting the idea right?
Well this is kid reality & if you are foolish enough to debate a child be prepared to lose because they are the best interrogators & probably should be hired to torture terrorists for truth & question politicians on agendas & motives?
This would be a much better world if we all were a little more like a child & asked a lot of questions about everything while enjoying life on the way.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Just Dont Get It

I have to applaud those people who stand behind their candidate or for their cause regardless of the outcome but does it ever occur to anyone that when you vote for somebody that (CAN'T EVER WIN OR FOR A CAUSE THAT CAN'T EVER BE REALIZED), you are throwing your vote away as if it doesn't count at all.
I look at elections for example as an exercise in futility. You know you are being lied to but something in the back of your brain, says "what if"? You now that whoever you vote for is going to cave in to minority out cries, political correctness, social pressure, the re-election strategy, step on only a few toes & blame everyone else.
The problem I have is that when somebody you really like is un-electable & you vote for them, you can be assured that you allowed somebody get elected that you don't want. what I have learned to do is decide who I want the least & vote for the person I can tolerate but has a chance of winning. It is the lesser of two evils scenario.
When you fight for a cause that has no support & can't possible succeed, you will fight all you want, be frustrated, get stressed out & lose many nights sleep so why not pick battles or causes you can win or find ways to compromise. I have learned & stand behind 100%, unless it is moral or ethical, you have to compromise, when there are two or more points of view.
We live in a society that teaches we should fight for our beliefs but we also live in a society that says we should be compassionate & help others regardless of opinion.
If you can't do these things you will have a miserable life because nobody gets their way & if you can't understand this, "YOU JUST DON'T GET IT".
Maybe this is a good way to be & if we are oblivious to reality then maybe we are to ignorant to worry about anything because we are in denial & all we can see is the cute little fantasy land we painted & nobody else matters. I think not & that is reality. If you don't get it, you are stopping progress, so don't vote, don't speak & get out of the way.
I am not saying you have to know it all because nobody does but please, think before you speak & don't be like the fool who says what he thinks. I am speaking from experience here, I am a fool on many occassions & it isn't very relaxing especially when I am always right & everyone else is usually wrong----LOL

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Out Of Touch

Do you ever feel that you have no clue what is going on & it is as if the world & society have a master plan that you missed the memo on & are on your own? I am baffled sometimes at the amount of confusion that passes through my head on any given day. I am befuddled by, how out of touch I am with most everything & when I speak my mind, people look at me with bewilderment, that I could differ so much from their point of view.
Example: somebody sent me a note on facebook & told me to write to my politicians & demand that they pass the health care bill. I responded back & said "don't you care what is in it or if we can afford it"? The response was, "who cares if it works or if we can afford it, it is change & we need change"?????????? I couldn't respond & thought that if people don't care if it works or if they can afford it, then how could I possibly convince them otherwise or have a normal conversation about it. I am perplexed to say the least.
On another note of social inadequacy is with youth, they are a size 28 waist but wear a a size 38 waist pants & then keep pulling them up because they are to big. I am thinking? well duh, but they say they like it that way. Teens, tattoo, put not only piercings in their body, they put giant holes the size of a quarter in their ears, nose & other body parts????? I ask why? Because we like how it looks, they say.
People blindly follow politicians & don't ask any questions & don't care if the politician is wrong as long as the other politician doesn't get elected??????????? I ask why? Because we trust them & they are better than the others. Are you nuts, I think? How can you trust anybody blindly but especially a politician, without asking questions to see how you are affected by it?
Buying houses, new cars, toys, shoes, clothes, going on vacations, we all need it right now, whether we can afford it or not & I ask why go into debt????? I hear, because we can pay it off over time & we plan on making more money as time goes on so it will all work out. I shake my head because if all these thoughts & philosophies are in the brains of people electing politicians or making decisions for other people, we have no hope of success because we live in a world of idiots. Or wait, the point of this entry is that maybe I am the idiot & maybe I don't understand the reality of happiness & success in life. Maybe I should just say "what the heck" do what you want & no consequences for anyone". HMMMMMMMMMMMM I don't know that I can stand by & watch this happen even if I am the idiot & out of touch. I can't help myself, I am going to keep fighting for what I believe, whether right or whether wrong. At least I think I can still do that, I am not sure if that right has been taken away yet or not!!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lighter Side

I have been spending a lot of time pounding political & social issues so I figured it was time to lighten up a bit because I don't see Dictator Obama slowing down any time soon & I will have 3 years, 15 days left to talk about what a self centered, egotistical, mis guided dictator that he is.

Disclaimer to my Democrat friends (I love you so you may not want to continue--you know I ramble on but you love me anyway, right?)vbs-- I don't say these things to make my Obama loving friends upset, they just haven't seen the light yet (vbs) & not unlike Those in the days of Columbus. There were people that believed the world was flat & they just haven't thought about this in great detail or they would realize what is going on. I don't fault them for believing in a Messiah to solve all problems because it would be a lot easier to have somebody wave a magic wand & make us love each other & share what we have & all play games together & all sing praises to he who solved the world problems.

Oh yeah, Lighter Side? Well I suppose what I just wrote about Obama solving all world problems is on the lighter side but that is not what I meant. I wanted to speak about happiness, fun activities & of enjoying every moment. I believe we need to laugh in our complicated day & to smile more often. I believe that with every passing moment & with every controversial issue that we deal with, we are becoming more withdrawn, depressed & angry with ourselves & life.
Along with Obama wanting to be the King of the world, my granddaughter just made me a paper crown & called me the King, so Obama you aren't the only King because my grand daughter knows the truth & wouldn't lie, unlike you. Whoops, I did it again. Isn't that a song by Brittany Spears? I talked about Obama in a negative way & I am sorry because this was supposed to be about laughing & enjoying life. The lighter side of our daily struggles & responsibilities which I suppose could be looking at giving almost 2 trillion dollars in 14 months to companies that mis manage & over pay but are rewarded by politicians that have never got it right. I am not slinging blame to one group over the other, they are all corrupt & controlled by power & money. If they really wanted to help solve the economy problems, they could have taken the stimulus money & given equal amounts to each family in America. Do you realize how soon the economy would be booming? It would be almost over night because we would buy things, we would pay off debt, we would send kids to college, we would go crazy spending money which would help car companies, banks & every other business in America while starting new companies to hire more employees & reduce un employment. I guess that was to easy & politicians had to reward their greedy friends that pump millions into campaigns & make them richer than they are. Nice move!!!!!
Take for example, & this could be considered the lighter side if it wasn't so "DEADLY". We are worried about radiation from cell phones, car seats, helmets, ozone layer, swine flu & thousands of other things that can "possibly" hurt us or the environment yet we continue to allow people to make & sell cigarettes. Are you out of you friggin mind? Cigarettes are guaranteed to kill, pollute, cause addictive behaviour, start fires, cause wrecks & destroy families. Hmmmmmm I wonder why they are legal? Unless it is MONEY & POWER that keep politicians in office. We have police giving tickets for not wearing a seat belt that may or may not kill you while Cigarettes are being made, sold & used by the billions. This is kind of funny, don't you think? or not!!
Another funny story. What about politicians working for the people & doing what the majority of people want? That would be great except that politicians pander to minorities, sell fear & smear opponents, while promising lies & then when elected, they do what keeps them in office. Whatever it takes, sell out morals & ethics, take bribes, lie, cheat & make policy based on what makes them, oh of course, "politically correct".
Politicians know that spewing B.S. about fighting for human rights, the economy or the environment will get a majority vote to get them elected & then when in office they can make policy dictated by the minorities or political correctness.
Another funny thought, how can politicians agree exactly down party lines? This would be impossible unless it was for the threat of not being supported by your party. I guess this is funny except it makes me sick to my stomach.
Let me think, something else that is funny. hmmm. What about double standards? don't you love it when politicians can go for years & not pay taxes & then get jobs in the White House while the average person is in prison or paying enormous amounts of fines on top of losing everything they have to pay off the taxes they owe. Doesn't that just make you feel happy inside, knowing that you have tax cheats running our Government?
OK perhaps my original plan of making these comments light are fictitious & even though my intentions were good, I just can't get this government corruption out of my mind. I am not saying this about Democrats, I am saying it about all politicians. You are corrupt & need to be fired. We cant rebuild unless we clean house & start over with a single political party, called the American citizen. I suppose Government isn't funny & is indeed very scary but when decisions are made, you wonder what on earth were you thinking? You just have to wonder what is going on & what will happen next? I certainly don't know but I know we aren't going to fix it by going the direction we are headed. People solve problems, Governments create them.

Monday, October 19, 2009


What is racism? The dictionary definition says that racism is a belief that the color of ones skin can determine superiority which in turn promotes discrimination. This belief will allow qualified people to be overlooked & even shunned by employers & society.
I believe, based on history that there always has been racism in the world because man, inherently is trying to compete with others for everything they want & will use any means available to put down one person or group, in order to promote them self.
With that being said, I believe that it is a small percentage of people that actually believe this & that the majority of people suffer because of the actions of a few. What has happened just in my life time is that when a once proud Nation was united in a Civil rights movement that brought all ethnic groups together for one common cause it was replaced with greed, hatred & laziness by all groups.
Society tells us that we have to be politically correct, that we have to give to minorities, the poor, the lazy & the un educated because we must balance out the injustice done to others in the past. The very concept of rewarding somebody for doing nothing except for having a certain skin color or being a certain gender is racist & in itself, promotes racism by all groups. It allows those that are given something for doing nothing to feel empowered to demand more while it infuriates those that work hard & cant get a job because of affirmative action policy or because they happen to be a white male.
Does racism exist today in America? You can bet your ass it does & it is because society & politicians try to balance the scale by rewarding people because of their skin color & because of history.
If you want to get down & dirty with facts, there is no group in America that hasn't been demonized because of race, religion, ethnicity, skin color, under educated or mentally handicapped. The Irish, the Polish, the blacks, the Asians, the Indians, the Mexicans, most every religion including the "Mormons" who had the only human extermination order issued against them from the Governor of a State. The Indians & Mexicans were kicked off their land while every other group that comes here as with the Middle East population of today are demonized.
You have Grammys, Academy Awards, Emmy's & all types of awards that include every race but then you have Black awards, Hispanic awards & Black History month, Hispanic history month & Asian history month.
Are we out of our minds? There is no way this promotes civility among all mankind nor does it help racism to be replaced with tolerance or love for others regardless of their ethnic or religious back ground or the color of their skin or the education or money they have or don't have.
We can continue down this path or we can demand change, the type of change that truly unites all Americans in one cause & that cause is Freedom. The freedom to be whoever we want to be & to be accepted by everyone & when this happens there will no longer be racism in America.

Double Standard

I am not a Rush Limbaugh fan & never listen to him but give me a break. He is rejected from buying a football team because he gave his opinion on what somebody else might be thinking. Are you kidding me, is this America The Land Of The Free, the land of freedom of speech & of equal rights for all or is it a Socialistic Country where you can only say what is politically correct & doesn't offend a soul? Oh of course unless you are a minority & then you can say whatever you want. There are rappers & gangsters that are mainstream & all they do is bad mouth whites, conservatives, religion & the law but they buy into pro teams, are on mainstream television & do whatever they want without consequences.
The reason why is because of "double standard". It is OK for somebody that is a self proclaimed minority to say foul & disgusting things about anyone but when a member of the majority says anything deemed not politically correct, there is an out cry by a whining few that will determine what the rules are & who can say what. What it shows me is that we live in a society that is so afraid of offending the whining minority for fear of retaliation that we disregard everyone else & all common sense is lost.
It is time for people to put down their politically correct banners & get some backbone.
If we continue to let politically correct idiots make all the decisions, we won't be able to say anything except, "what would you like master, I will do whatever you want but please don't hurt me".
There was a "SMALL WAR" that killed over 600,000 people which many seem to forget, called the Civil War. It is where people of all colors, religions & ethnic back grounds fought & died for freedom for all but people seem to forget that President Lincoln was almost murdered before he was assassinated because he was trying to stop slavery. So to all of you that are still whining about what happened to your ancestors, we are in this together & my ancestors with many others fought so you could whine & complain, so quit demanding a double standard.
If you are entitled to something so is everyone else, what is good for you is good for everyone. If you want a better life, quit whining, get off your butts & help somebody, quit trying to take what is not yours because you feel you deserve something you didn't work for.
If you don't like it here, leave because you are taking up space & are wasting time on double standards & are causing more racism than has ever been seen in this Country. Yes your whining causes racism because you lack tolerance & demand tolerance from others while fighting for double standards.
Lincoln & others fought for you to have freedom of speech so why don't you do the same, or are you better than everyone else? The only way out of this social & National disaster is through tolerance of others. The alternative is National war, is that what you want? The Civil War will look like a football game compared to the next war over freedom & freedom of speech.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hollow Satisfaction

My wife & I just hiked a few miles on the Arnold Rim Trail & I was reluctant because I was involved in the community battle which ended up forcing the USFS to ban dirt bikes from this area behind Avery. I was fighting for multi use for everyone but the environmental, social in tolerance movement began small & consumed the debate which resulted in hatred towards some & once friends, lost forever.
As I walked the trail which was built & maintained by my dirt bike friends & I for over 35 years, I experienced many moments of somber reflection & memories of the times spent on these very trails which in some ways helped define me during my early years. I would ride my dirt bike on these trails from Arnold to Bret Harte High School, I would ride after school & whenever I had the chance. It is where my friends & I spent most of our time enjoying this beautiful area. It used to be shared by everyone but now as I hike with my wife, the sounds of a dirt bike in the distance which to some is repulsive but to me is the sound of enjoyment & challenges, will never be heard again even though it is those very same dirt bikes which built these trails that are now being used by a few that don't know the history of so many that passed before them with blood, sweat, tears & incredible bonding experiences with family & friends.
I understand the environmental, self indulgent, lack of patience crowd that exits in society & I understand that co existing with differing social, political or environmental points of view becomes adversarial at times but we have to begin tolerating others who differ with us. We are becoming a society of self interest, greed & hatred toward others & it breaks my heart.
As I was leaving to come home a hollow sense of satisfaction overwhelmed me because the very dirt bikes that were hated by a few & banned from this area are the very dirt bikes that created these trails for those to enjoy that are finally realizing what a beautiful area we live.
So in closing , I would hope that as you walk the Arnold Rim trail that you remember all the dirt bike riders that sacrificed their time, energy & resources to build these trails for you.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Work Or Play

If you could have your choice to do any job you wanted or could do anything you wanted for pleasure, what would they be & would you choose pleasure or work five days a week?
I thought about this & if I could choose my profession, I would work five days a week because work is rewarding & the sense of accomplishment makes us feel useful or needed.
Don't get me wrong, I love to play but the rewards for playing are self gratification & would become tiresome after awhile, not unlike & family member coming to visit. You can't wait to have them visit & spend time with them but it is sure nice when they give the house back.(vbs)
I would choose teaching as my profession of choice & it would probably be ages 5th through 8th grade. As far as my choice for pleasure, it would be riding motorcycles vacations around the world or backpacking.
Just something to think about--hmmmmmmmmmm

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rain Days-Power Failure

I had a very busy yet very thought provoking day yesterday so I thought I would share it with you. I got up for work, knowing it was going to rain & went about my day trying to find work for the guys that work with me & keep them inside during the storm which is not always an easy task since most of what w do is outside.
I worked on reports for meetings & updating manuals as most any day but then the fun began. I had to be at Angels Camp at 4:00 to coach a 5th grade girls basketball game with my niece, The power went out about 5 minutes into the game so we waited about 20 minutes & then cancelled the game, the whole while it was a down pour of rain. I had to be in Arnold at 5:00 for a birthday party for a friend of mine, so I hurried up the mountain through sheets of water cascading across the highway. I got to the party & gave my gift, visited for about 40 minutes & then had to be at a work meeting at 6:00 in Murphys so I rushed down the mountain through the same rain & road problems as before encountered. I was going to visit a friend who is having some health problems on the way to meeting but could only manage a phone call.
I made it to the meeting which was held by flashlight & lamp because of the continued power outage which made it more of a camping experience around the camp fire but after 2 hours we were able to leave. I got home a little after 8:00 to a home with no power & the rain still crashing down onto the roof. My wife was reading a book by head lamp & had kept the fire going so the house was toasty. I ate dinner & visited with my wife for awhile & then began reading a backpacking magazine. After about an hour I realized that I was tired & bored so I went to bed at 9:30, which wouldn't seem like a big deal except for the fact that I only sleep about 6 hours & that is why I go to bed between 11:00 & midnight. I wake up at about 6:15 every day whether I have an alarm clock or not but on this night I was awake by 2:30 & there was no chance I would be sleeping again on this night so I woke up & found the power on, so I went in the other room & turned a movie on & stayed awake until I left for work at 6:45.
I guess my point of this little story is, most of us are not farmers or ranchers & do not go to bed at 9:00 or get up at 3:00AM so what are we supposed to do when the power goes out?
We aren't use to conversing for hours or sitting in silence on a cold rainy night with no electricity so does that make us un sociable or lacking in creativity? I don't know what it means but I know that even though I can amuse myself pretty easily, if my routine is broken, it becomes a lot more difficult.
I hope the power is on tonight because I don't want to be watching another movie or reading a book at 4AM while everyone else is snoozing away.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lauries Reading Memes, What are yours

Reading Habits Meme
Saw this on another blog and thought it looked fun. I've memed other people at the end of the post, but feel free to do it on your own.

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?

All the time. Popcorn, soda, ice tea, ice cream, coffee. In the winter hot tea or hot chocolate.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
I only marked books when I was in college. Occasionally I do when I doing research, but I find it really didn't help me much.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?

Bookmark, with anything available. Receipts, shopping lists, sometimes even a bookmark.

Laying the book flat open?
Usually I can't. Hold it in both hands.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

Both. Fiction runs to Westerns or pulp anthologies. Lots of history and memoir too.

Hard copy or audiobooks?

Hard copy. If I go on long trips I'll rent an audio book from the library.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?

I can drop it at any point. I usually have to because I can only sneak in reading here and there between other projects.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?

Nah. I should though. I always think I'll remember later to look it up and I always forget.

What are you currently reading?

My Life East and West by William S. Hart. Almost done.
Soiled Doves: Prostitution in the Early West by Anne Seagraves. Plus a short story pulp here and there.

What is the last book you bought?

Sons of Texas by Elmer Kelton

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?

I usually read two at a time because I get bored so easily. Sometimes I can read three, but usually one of them ends up getting neglected.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?

In the mornings or the evening. I don't have much of a choice there because of my job. I love to read in my flower garden and have a wicker couch set up in there just for that.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?

I usually prefer stand alone. I like to jump around a lot so series have never appealed to me. The Sons of Texas series may be an exception though - I'm ready to start the next one.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?
Not really. There are several I like, but no one I recommend in particular.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)

The house I'm renting right now has very small rooms so there isn't a place for one big library. So I have several bookshelfs all over the house - I've even emptied out a shallow linen closet and made it into bookshelves. Books are organized by subject: history, books on writing, classics, memoir, pulp fiction history (that's the linen closet) and fiction.

Okay, now it's the following blog's turn: Mark Engebretson, Howard Hopkins, Joanne Walpole, Evan Lewis, Chris Jones, Gary Dobbs, and of course Ralph Emerson.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Man In The Mirror

Wouldn't it be nice if all politicians had to take a lie detector test every time they voted on something & were asked if they really believed what they were voting on? I believe in the "man in the mirror" test. You vote what you believe & if you can face yourself in the mirror, it was the right decision. If you can't, then it is wrong.
The problem with this test & politicians is that most of them are two faced & reflect one face in the mirror to help them sleep & another when grabbing all the power they can get.
I believe with all of my heart & soul that politically correctness, polls, greed & lobbyists have destroyed our Country & until we can stop making decisions based on polls or what will get the majority vote, we are destined to destroy ourselves & all because we can't honestly look at ourselves in the mirror when we make a decision.

Bi Partisan Rib Eye Steak

I have a friend that I recently connected with after many years apart & within moments of this reunion have realized how easy it is in the "Maze Of Life" to become disoriented & lose sight of what is important & those who impact us on this incredulous journey called "Life".
I have been following her blog & find great comfort in reading the perceptions she has on life & the trials which accompany life. Although I may disagree with some misguided (vbs) points of view on occasion like Obama & the Dodgers, I am always in awe of her ability to share her thoughts in a poignant yet sometimes humorous way. One in which engages her readers & inspires them to respond or to reflect but always to learn.
I especially liked her comments on a recent awakening she had on a subject which most people have known about forever, the indulgence of the perfectly cooked rib eye steak. I was looking at the photo she used & reading her comments about her new found appreciation for fine dining & realized how much we take for granted & how we as a people need to put aside our differences by sitting down together & having the perfectly cooked, symbolic, "rib eye steak".
Differences could be worked out & problems avoided or solved if we would simply enjoy one another doing those things we love to do. I probably won't ever convert her to dropping her Dodgers fan club membership but the differences aren't important when we share things we enjoy, regardless of political, ethnic, social or religous persuasion.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Champions of Truth

Media is fiction while life is reality so be careful who champions you lest we forget a Nation that was destroyed by the gift of a horse


Opposing views if expressed with respect promote lively debate & inspired joint outcomes while opposing views expressed with anger or rage only promote anger or rage

Monday, October 5, 2009

I Love You

Do you realize how important or how much power these three words have on mankind? You may "blow it off" & act like you don't care if somebody says that they love you but you lie or you are in denial. Our egos can quite often get in the way of reality, causing mental road blocks that don't allow for sensitivity to creep in to our fragile yet complex minds yet when we strip away the years of pain created tough exterior which protects our sensitive thoughts, we all want to be loved.
My son just sent me a text last night which talked about recent events in his life & although his path has taken him away from the place he grew up & given him new opportunities to see the world & live life the way he chooses, I love him with all of my heart & want success for him as he journeys through life on an expedition to find himself. in this text message, which by the way is a pretty remarkable communication device if not over used. In this message he talked about some personal experiences but at the end, he said that he loved me.
I don't care what my children do in life that I may disagree with or agree with but when they tell me they love me, nothing has more impact on me than those three words & nothing does more, to give me hope, stay happy or to be optimistic of the future than hearing it or in this case, seeing it typed in a message.
I do believe you can over use "I Love You" if used frivolously but if used correctly at the right time, nothing has more impact or provides more comfort or creates more happiness. These three words can put the fear of God into a new relationship because of the commitment they represent but once again, if used correctly, they are the most important words you will ever hear or say but as with explosives, handle them with care.