Friday, August 05, 2005

I hijacked another quiz thingy.

Got this from Sharon - you are supposed to x the things you've done.

Copy and Paste then p lace a X by all the things you've done and send it to all of your friends. A bit of fun. Remember, these answers go all the way back to your childhood!

(X) smoked a cigarette

(X) crashed a friend's car

( ) stolen a car

(X) been in love

(X) been dumped

(X) shoplifted

(X) been fired

(X) been in a fist fight
(X) snuck out of your parent's house

(X) had feelings for someone who didn't have them back.(Don't we all?????)
(X) been arrested
(X) gone on a blind date

(X) lied to a friend

(X) skipped school

(X) seen someone die

( ) had a crush on one of your internet friends

(X) been to Canada

(X) been to Mexico

(X) been on a plane

( ) purposely set a part of yourself on fire - [Not on purpose :)]

(X) eaten sushi

(X) been skiing - [Well in the loosest sense of the word]

(X) met someone from the internet!

(X) been at a concert

(x) taken painkillers

(X) love someone or miss someone right now

(X) laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by

(X) made a snow angel

(X) had a tea party - Once, for my daughter

(X) flown a kite

(X) built a sand castle

(X) gone puddle jumping

( ) played dress up

(X) jumped into a pile of leaves

(X) gone sledding

(X) cheated while playing a game

(X) been lonely

(X) fallen asleep at work/school

(X) used a fake ID

(X) watched the sun set

(X) felt an earthquake

(X) slept beneath the stars

(X) been tickled

(X) been robbed
(X) been misunderstood - Daily. It's called parenthood. Or Marriage.

(X) petted a reindeer/goat/kangaroo - GOAT :)
(X) won a contest

(X) run a red light/stop sign

(X) been suspended from school

(X) been in a car crash

(X) had braces

(X) felt like an outcast/third person

(X) eaten a whole pint of ice cream in one night - ooo yes - Haagen Daz

(X) had deja vu

(X) danced in the moonlight

(X) liked the way you looked

(X) witnessed a crime

(X) questioned your heart

( ) been obsessed with post-it notes

(X) squished barefoot through the mud

(X) been lost

(X) been on the opposite side of the country

(X) swam in the ocean

( ) felt like dying

(X) cried yourself to sleep

(X) played cops and robbers

(X) recently colored with crayons

(X) sung karaoke

(X) paid for a meal with only coins

(X) done something you told yourself you wouldn't

(X) made prank phone calls

(X) laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose

(X) caught a snowflake on your tongue

(X) danced in the rain

(X) written a letter to Santa Claus

(X) been kissed under the mistletoe

(X) watched the sun rise with someone you care about

(X) blown bubbles

(X) made a bonfire on the beach

( ) crashed a party

(X) gone rollerskating

(X) had a wish come true

( ) jumped off a bridge

(X) ate dog/cat food - I was 5 :)

(X) told a complete stranger you loved them

( ) kissed a mirror

(X) sang in the shower

(X) had a dream that you married someone

(X) glued your hand to something

(X) kissed a fish

(X) sat on a roof top

(X) screamed at the top of your lungs

( ) done a one-handed cartwheel

(X) talked on the phone for more than 5 hours

(X) stayed up all night

(X) picked and ate an apple right off the tree

(X) climbed a tree

(X) had a tree house

( ) scared to watch a scary movie alone

(x) believe in ghosts

( ) have more than 30 pairs of shoes

(X) worn a really ugly outfit to school

(X) gone streaking

(X) gone doorbell ditching

(X) pushed into a pool/hot tub with all your clothes on

( ) told you're hot by a complete stranger

(X) broken a bone

(X) been easily amused

(X) caught a fish then ate it

(X) caught a butterfly
(X) laughed so hard you cried

(X) cried so hard you laughed

( ) cheated on a test

(X) forgotten someone's name

( ) french braided someone's hair.

(X) gone skinny dipping in a pool/hot tub

( ) been threatened to be kicked out of your house or been kicked out of your house

(X) loved someone so much you would gladly die for then.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Faith in humanity.

Hello all. Glad to be back in the blogger's seat. Had some bad things happen, and some great things happen. Here goes...

Madmom and I have dealt with Suburban issues of one form or another since we bought the beastie from our uncle-in-law. Not really his fault, nor ours, it just wasn't up to what we wanted to do with it. So finally, in a fit of exasperation, I took my little blue Topaz and traded it in on a 87 Suburban. Had lots of goodies, power door locks, 4 speed auto trans, a fuel injected 350, 4wd (which is important given the type of work that I do - during disasters, I must be available at a moments notice to go wherever I have to. It doesn't matter if it's raining, sleeting, snowing, or dropping giant frogs from space... I gotta go...) air conditioning, etc. And I got it at a good price.

So, off we set out, the day after buying it, with trailer in tow to go spend a week at the beach. Kids were off to summer camp, so it was just Madmom and the Doc. There is no better bliss than a week with one's spouse.... alone. We got 30 miles outside of town, and the transmission dies. So, we limp home, grateful that it came with a warranty. However, I should have read the warranty more closely. It covers 50% parts and labor, and then only at one specific garage. The garage of choice was 110% of taking it to a regular transmission shop and getting it repaired. In other words, it was simply cheaper for me to repair it myself.

This in mind, I had just taken all of my savings plus my good running beep beep, and used it to get the Suburban I just bought. Needless to say, we were in a pickle. We decided to pull the trailer with our mini-van, which it will do albeit under protest. We took the kids to camp, had 3 fun filled days at the coast, won 150 bucks playing bingo at the Indian run casino in Lincoln City, and came home yesterday to figure out what we are going to do next. It was galling at best to just look at my "new" car and know that I wouldn't have the money to fix it for a month.

So now to the title of my story... I was describing my problem to a mechanic friend of mine... and he said we'll figure something out. Well, what he figured out was that his uncle owns a transmission shop, so we took it today to get it fixed. I assumed it was on an account, and I'd have no problem making it up to him prior to his bill. I assumed wrong. He is going to just pay for it, and tells me we'll sort it out later. I was shocked ... remember we are talking a thousand bucks here. He ain't rich either. But he just said these things happen, and we'll sort it out.

As I'm typing this, I am almost in tears... but they are tears of joy, not sadness or anger. The fellow helping us is a good friend, but not one of long term... we've only known him a year or so. I guarantee we'll do something nice for him and his missus... on top of repaying him... out to dinner at Ruth's Criss or Morton's of Chicago comes to mind. I also re-learned faith... both in friends, family and my God. I can assure you that this guy would never think of himself as an "angel" at any level.

But he is, just the same. Thanks my friend.... and I am listening for the bells that tell me you got your wings.

Until our next.....

Saturday, July 09, 2005

From all of us in the USA to Great Britain

You have stood beside us and have been staunch allies through thick and thin. This blogger and American remembers that. I have been on the line. And should it come to that - for us, US, or you... I will stand the line again. God bless you all.

The Doc.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Answer was YES!!!!!

As some of you know, earlier this spring I got to meet a couple of very special people, Chase and Suzanne, both fellow bloggers and all around good people. We met in Savannah on the river, and had a wonderful couple of hours getting to know each other and enjoying some good Southern Cookin. (The fact that Chase is almost as big a geek as me don't hurt either!! )

Finally, Chase was able to ask THE QUESTION. And to my infinite happiness, here is what happened:

...The following was happily stolen from Chase's blog...

And the answer is... What ?

Many of you who know me understand that before I put myself into any kind of situation, I prepare myself mentaly by having the conversation over and over again in my head, preparing myself for any possible outcome or question. I would mentaly re-live the scanario a hundred different ways, so that no matter which way it went I would have a reply ready as second nature. I had a few family members there, most notably my Father. There were a few friends who were suppose to be there, but if you've ever tried to find someone on a beach that is packed with thousands of people , well... it's best if you come in the same car.

Our family sat in a semi-circle high in the sand, looking over the beach. We waited for it to get dark, and passed the time in a multitude of ways. We took pictures of each other. We watched the kids play in the sand, and change colors from pasty white to a very very black. My Father and I played "catch" with the baseball gloves and ball. It should be noted that I will be thirty next year, and this is the first game of catch I have ever played with him. While some of you might not feel as strongly about this as I do, I am glad it came late. I'll remember this one forever now. He throughs great. I through like a special olypmpian.

Later on that night, it got dark. Very dark. There were two storms in the distance. One to our left, and one to our right. God brought his own fireworks to each side of the beach. I was certain he had it in for me. Our skies stayed very clear, and now I have a perfect understanding of how Moses felt when he had a towering ocean to his left and right as he crossed. The beach and only the beach, had beautiful weather.

Many of you are dying to know the "answer". This is how it went:

As the sky lit up with the first fireworks, I leaned over and whispered in here ear: "You know what would make this even better?" She looked at me out of the corner of her eye and said "what ?" I moved over next to her and got down on one knee and held up her ring... "If you would marry me..."

"What ?" This ladies and Gentlemen, was the answer.

"I want you to marry me..." and I pushed the ring closer...

"What ?" This was the third what. I was getting nervous. And then I noticed she wasn't speaking, or breathing. She was crying a lot though. We stood up and she hugged me and we kissed, under the fireworks. Our faces were lit up, and that was great to me. Although I didn't get the immeadiate "yes" I was looking for, It was there. (later on I did make sure she actualy said yes...

I had prepared for a lot of ways that could have went. "What" caught me off guard a little.

In the end, we held each other, lit up with the night sky. It was the best fireworks I'll ever see. The best part is that every year that we re-live it, there will always be fireworks.

Thanks for all of your well whishes.


Additional note from the ol Doc -

First - it couldn't happen to a more devoted and wonderful pair of friends. All the best from mine to yours!

Second - I personally couldn't have picked a better day. Here's why - Tomorrow - the 6th, is my birthday. It makes it easy to keep track of your "anniversary" so to speak!

Lastly - and to me the most important - thanks to you, as I hit 42, I feel - YOUNG. It's a good thing!

Love from us in the Pacific Northwest -

Doc & Family

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

What the heck is a "meme" ???

Ok, so I know what I think it is - and now I know what it is thanks to "Wikipedia". By the way, ignore the links. They don't work. I couldn't get them to die happily, so here they reside. Forgive me, gentle reader.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The term and concept of meme (pronounced [miːm] in IPA; from the Greek word μνήμη for 'memory') first appeared in the 1976 book by Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene. Though Dawkins defined the meme as "a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation," memeticists vary in their definitions of meme. The lack of a consistent, rigorous and precise definition of a meme remains one of the principal criticisms leveled at memetics, the study of memes.

Different definitions of the meme generally agree, very roughly, that a meme consists of some sort of a self-propagating unit of cultural evolution having a resemblance to the gene (the unit of genetics). Dawkins introduced the term after writing that evolution depended not on the particular chemical basis of genetics, but only on the existence of a self-replicating unit of transmission—in the case of evolution, the gene. For Dawkins, the meme exemplifies another self-replicating unit, and most importantly, one which he thought would prove useful in explaining human behavior and cultural evolution.

The smiley exemplifies what some might consider a visual meme. Anyone who has seen a smiley can copy, reproduce, or modify it and then show it to others.
The smiley exemplifies what some might consider a visual meme. Anyone who has seen a smiley can copy, reproduce, or modify it and then show it to others.

In casual use, the term meme often refers to any piece of information passed from one mind to another. This usage more closely resembles the analogy of "language as a virus" than Dawkins' analogy of memes as replicating units. This definition has come into popular use on the Internet to refer to phenomena such as Obey Giant, "All your base are belong to us", Blogebrity and Icy Hot Stuntaz.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

a quiz??

I stole this from Suzanne. And Sharon. Give it a try?? Cut and paste into a comment.

1. Who are you?
2. Are we friends?
3. When and how did we meet?
4. Do you have a crush on me? If no….why the hell not?
5. Do you read my blog regularily?
6. Give me a nickname and explain why you picked it.
7. Describe me in one word.
8. What was your first impression?
9. Do you still think that way about me now?
10. What reminds you of me?
11. If you could give me anything what would it be?
12. How well do you know me?
13. When's the last time you saw me?
14. Ever wanted to tell me something but couldn't?
15. Do you feel like your back in high school now?
16. Are you going to put this on your blog and see what I say about you?

Thank God it's Wednesday.

Well gentle readers, we made it through another week, and are on the downhill slide. I'm thinking this is a good thing. Relatively uneventful even.

Spent the weekend on the Oregon coast. My older brother came down with us, and had a good time. I'm glad - he has had some loneliness and depressive issues recently too. I do need to be careful and set some limits though ... else we will all get tired of each other and wind up where we started... distant.

We went to the Oregon coast aquarium. That's pretty cool! You can see more of it here. The kids had a blast. We also went fishing and crabbing. Caught two red rock crabs that were keepers, but they tasted funny to my wife. Just a bit to "fishy" I guess. If it was easy, they'd call it "catching" ... but all had fun.

And me? I don't like to fish - for the simple reason that I don't eat fish, and if you don't eat it, I say don't catch it. I enjoyed Father's day though, managed to sleep in a bit, and the trailer is starting to come around now. Fixed all the leaks, working on all the lights that don't work. Got the water pump up and running - woohoo! Now I can feel better about "dry" camping.

The Suburban's mileage pulling it though is abominable. My mini-van (a Ford Aerostar) pulls it - ok - and gets about 11 miles to the gallon. My 'Burb pulls it fine, and gets about 5 or 6. Something fishy here... will have to investigate. With the 30 gallon tank on the 'burb, it's at least 65 bucks to fill it. Sheesh. Maybe it's time to try to find a new truck.

Now, a special note for a special person to my wife and I. Thank you. You know why. I hope that someday I can return the kindness. My best to you and yours.

Until our next..........

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Another long pause

Well, it has been another long pause in the Blogger world. My apologies, gentle reader. It appears, that sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is actually a freight train headed for you. Sometimes it misses. This time was too close.

We headed out to Coos Bay for our "Sabbatical"... but on the way had to stop at the ER. It turns out that my beloved wife had been sleeping about an hour or two a night --- for the last three weeks. So, she had been dealing with unbelievable anxiety, and was damn near delusional. It was frightening for me. I think what was the most frightening, is that she was able to disguise it from me.

With trailer in tow, we head off to the house with hopes of her getting a good nights sleep, and start in the morning. Which she does, and we do. The trip was nice, and uneventful, but upon her return the anxiety cranked back up to full steam, and not even the sleep aid was working.

On Tuesday morning we return to the ER. This time, she is admitted, and put in a room that looked faintly (from my Corrections days as an employee thank you very much) like a holding cell. She is sedated, and then after a LONG discussion between Dr, nurse, and Good ole PCDoc we get her the meds she really should have gotten in the first place, and head home. I took the week off, and stayed here keeping the rugrats at bay whilst she tries to regain herself.

She improves dramatically over the next week. She was used to 10 hrs sleep a night (I'm lucky if I get 5) and had been so deprived that her body was going ballistic. Now, all is mostly back to normal, her meds changed to a much lighter critter that doesn't make her drool so badly (grin - shades of some movie I saw once) and now only takes a light dose to help sleep. The doc says that this will dissipate over the next several weeks, and hopefully will return to the proper "diurnal rhythm".. which I suspect means life back to normal.

That done, I head back to work. One uneventful week passes by, with hopes for another. Lo and behold, on the way to the in-laws, I have a wheel bearing go out on my little putt putt car. She handles it well, but now I'm ready for the booby hatch. Or at least, a strong drink and another vacation.

Bear with me as this passes, and I become more verbose.

Oh and one more "nail in the coffin" - near the 4th of July I become 21 for the 21st time. Tell me that don't suck rocks :)

Until our next....

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I hate SPAM.

Not the ham in a can type, I actually like that. However, I am talking about the myriad of chain letters, hoaxes, and potporri that tend to waft my way.

Often, I get both ads for cialis and viagra, as well as ads to increase my breast size. In my case, they are missing their target audience.

I am getting mad about the chain letters. If I am told one more time that I will go to Hell if I stop this letter, I am going to find their email server, hack it, and then let them know what hell really is. Well, certainly hell for them. (Ed. note, never piss off an OLD time hacker. I was fiddling about with systems back when modems required you to put the phone handset in the cradle of the modem. Nuff said.)

I also get a veritable blizzard of emails from my mother, a devotee of AOL. Invariably, Snopes gives me the straight skinny, and I send her a link to the appropriate site. This, however, is a double edged sword. My loving wife checks everything out with Snopes. This can ruin something funny - case in point - sent her an email with a picture of a mouse caught in a toner cartridge. My comment was that I'd hate to get called out on that ticket. Mouse apparently survived its tussle with an HP laserjet, and was released. She checked it out, and found it "Unconfirmed." Knowing mice and HP's, I'd call it Plausible.

Sorry so long inbetween blogging, don't give up on me. I have discovered that work tends to take more and more of my time, and with that on top of cub scouts, various husbandly chores, and misc bull puckey, I have had little time to put my thoughts on here. Stay tuned though, I promise to write more tonight.

Until our next.....

Thursday, May 05, 2005

I guess I'm normal... ish.

Found this on Patty-Jo's site. Here's me:

You Are 65% Normal

(Really Normal)

Otherwise known as the normal amount of normal

You're like most people most of the time

But you've got those quirks that make you endearing

You're unique, yes... but not frighteningly so!

I have no idea what that means. Oh well :)

Monday, May 02, 2005

A question I have ALWAYS wanted to know the answer to....

First and foremost... I am not the author of the following article. I wish I was... but I ain't. I found it at Discovery. With that said, here we go. I wanted to know why Asparagus makes your pee stink. (OK, so I need a life worse than most....)

Why Asparagus Makes Your Pee Stink

by Hannah Holmes

"This is of no practical importance," the urologist tells me. "It wasn't part of my training. It's something we contemplated over pizza and beer." When I admit that I have actually timed the arrival of the distinctive odor in my pee after eating asparagus (about 15 minutes), the good doctor suggests, facetiously, that my groundbreaking research might lead to a tenure-track position at a fine university.

It is a sadly neglected field. But I'm not the first to ask.

In 1891 a scientist named "Nencki" had so very little to do that he convinced four guys to eat seven kilograms of asparagus (that's about three and a half pounds each). He collected the pertinent pee, worked some medieval magic on it, and concluded that the smell was due to a metabolite called methanethiol.

So there you go. Nencki claimed that as your body metabolizes asparagus, it produces this smelly chemical, which your discriminating kidneys see fit to dump into the bladder.

This probably doesn't qualify as red-hot science, but it's warm enough to spark differing opinions.

In 1975 a chemist from California claimed in Science that gas chromatography had fingered a different culprit: S-Methyl Thioesters, to be precise. No methanethiol.

Then there's the 1980 reference in the British Medical Journal that simply refers to "metabolites." Another asparagus scholar favors "six sulfur-containing compounds."

I'm voting for methanethiol, partly because the guy who did the gas chromatography left no forwarding address, and partly because the methanethiol entry in my aging Merck Index of chemicals is so interesting.

Methanethiol is composed mostly of sulfur with a splash of hydrogen, plus some carbon, a brew famous for its effect in rotten eggs, cabbages and paper mills. Convincing, no? Merck also notes the asparagus connection and, most intriguing, warns that methanethiol may be a narcotic in high concentrations.

Now if you're scowling at your screen and muttering, "My pee doesn't smell like asparagus," first ask yourself if you eat asparagus.

Even if you do but lack the smell, you're still OK. In fact the fabulously funny book, The ReSearch Guide to Body Fluids (by Paul Spinrad, Juno Books, N.Y., 1994), says just 22 percent of survey respondents experience asparagus pee.

Early investigators thought genetics had divided the world into stinkers and nonstinkers. That was until 1980, when three researchers had the presence of mind to wave pee from the nonstinkers under the noses of the stinkers.

Lo and behold, the problem proved to be one not of producing the stinky pee but of being able to sniff it out.

If you've been deprived of this gift, don't give up hope. To increase the concentration of methanethiol molecules available to your snoot, you could either intentionally dehydrate yourself before you dine (this is unhealthful); or pee into a cup and sniff that. Or eat three and a half pounds of asparagus for lunch.

And if you experience a narcotic effect, you could be looking at a tenure-track position at a fine university.

Hannah Holmes sniffs out answers to life's oddities in Portland, Maine. She's a regular contributor to Discovery Channel Online and also writes for Escape, Outside, Sierra, Backpacker, Eco Traveler and Women's Sports and Fitness. Write her at

Monday, April 25, 2005

Not to be outdone by MissPatriot

Saw this on her blog, and had to try it.

I am a d20

Take the quiz at

Which apparently means:

You are the large, round, friendly d20! (You probably didn't know this, but the shape of the twenty-sided die is called an Icosahedron.) You are the friendly, outgoing, outspoken, leader of friends. You are often looked up to, even though you don't normally deserve it. Most other types secretly wish they were you, and you'd give them tips on how, if only you had a clue yourself. Your charisma is often all you need, but you have your occasional moments of brilliance as well--just never when it's actually needed. You are the all-around good guy, a dependable chum, a respectable foe, and an inspiration to those who need one. Who says you can't get by on a smile and good looks alone?

Another Nifty test.

Not sure how I feel about this one ... but here you are....

Your Inner European is Russian!

Mysterious and exotic.

You've got a great balance of danger and allure.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Chase and Suzanne Posted by Hello

Chase, Suzanne and Me in Savannah, GA Posted by Hello

Pictures from Savannah

I got these two pictures when I visited Savannah, they are of Chase and Suzanne of the blog Contemblogging and me. They were quite gracious, and I truely enjoyed our beautiful Sunday afternoon. More later...

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

My test results.

Here are my test results, as noted on Sharon's blog.

Bacardi 151
Congratulations! You're 139 proof, with specific scores in beer (80) , wine (100), and liquor (113).

All right. No more messing around. Your knowledge of alcohol is so high
that you have drinking and getting plastered down to a science. Sure,
you could get wasted drinking beer, but who needs all those trips to
the bathroom? You head straight for the bar and pick up that which is
most efficient.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 74% on proof
You scored higher than 89% on beer index
You scored higher than 93% on wine index
You scored higher than 98% on liquor index
Link: The Alcohol Knowledge Test written by hoppersplit on Ok Cupid

I think I am supposed to be either depressed, or totally inebrieated. I think I spelled that right.

Until our next.........

Friday, March 25, 2005

It's Good Friday.

There is an oxymoron somewhere in the above. I mean, it's good because it's Friday, and it's good because of what happened about this date 2005 years ago... but to realize we are celebrating the death of (in my belief) the Messiah is heartbreaking. Every year I have difficulty with this... but to paraphrase something that makes it tolerable...

Jesus lived a good and faithful life in a wicked world. He did this because that is the kind of person he was, and to show us it could be done. He was one to always lead by example.

On Easter Sunday, he rose again from the dead. He did this to show we could do that, too.

All I can say to that is .... Amen.

God bless, and until our next........

Friday, March 18, 2005

Wow. It's been a while.

I am sorry it has been so long since I typed anything. I have to admit, a part was being so sick (I was off a whole week - I haven't missed more than one day from work in years.) Part was being burnt out from work around the house. Part was just work. And part was simple exhaustion. So forgive me, and if you all have left me, I understand :) Homecoming soon I hope.

I now know what Sharon has to deal with. My wife, who now stays at home to deal with just this kind of thing, went to my daughter's parent/teacher conference. What an UPLIFTING experience. NOT.

It turns out that my daughter, who is ADHD, has still had problems getting the work she does turned in. I have issues with this, but that isn't the point. If she turns in ANYTHING late, even by minutes, it instantly goes into a black hole. This is known as the "Late Paper Bin". My guess is that it is little more than a recycle bin. Anything turned in late, regardless of it's merit and correctness is instantly transformed to a "D" (or a 60%).

I have to be honest. On the one hand, I do understand the teacher's attempt to push students to get papers in on time. I really do. On the other hand, however, I do have issues with an instant 40% degredation of work done. And the fact that he goes through his bin once every month or so makes it even harder. So papers can, and do, get misplaced. Even if she does the work, and gets it in late, it may or may not even get credited to her. This is an ongoing issue.

Secondly, my daughter was hoping to attend "Outdoor School" - which is a summer program for 6th graders. It costs money, for which there are innumerable fund raisers throughout the year. We have participated in all of them, and were ready and willing to make up the difference.

Here comes the other shoe... it appears that there are "behavioral guidelines" that up until now, were not known to us. She has to have three weeks of perfect homework turning in, and must meet another nebulous behavior constrictions. If she doesn't, then she can't go, and the money she (read me and her mom) raised goes into the kitty for other students, thereby cutting THEIR costs for attendance.

My issue is not that the money goes into the kitty. It's that way for a LOT of things. However, my issue IS with their not telling us these guidelines until it is virtually too late to do anything about. There are no exceptions made for LD kids, and we also found out that ADHD is not really a LD issue but a behavioral issue. HMMMM.

SO that's my rant today. God bless everyone, (we all could use it anyway,) and go to Sharon's blog and wish her happy birthday.

Until our next.........

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

I scared myself today.

Woke up last night with a bit of a fever, so I called in this morning. And things proceeded to go downhill. Called the doctor, got an appointment for this afternoon.

When I checked in at the doctors, my temp was 104.1 . They double checked it. 103.8 the second time. I was NOT a happy camper.

So I was the lucky recipient of some IV antibiotics, and some new goodies to tear me up for a week or two, and a note from my doctor saying I can go back to work on Monday. Well, at least I have time to catch up on my blogging. :)

Until our next.........

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Do you want to go Home??

I want to go home. You know, where I came from. I live now in the Pacific Northwest. It rains a LOT. I'm a Southern boy - born and raised in Virginia, went to High School in southern Texas.

When I go home to visit, I can smell the marshes, with their sulfurous odor of decaying seashores, exposed sea mud... and I know intrinsically that the very smell flows through my veins. The smell of the wind over the ocean hitting my face. The way the sun looks right at sunset. It's like the wavelength of the rays are different... Beckoning me home.

I can deny my heritage no more than I could deny being Caucasian or red headed. Well, it used to be red :)... My mouth yearns for the taste of pulled pork barbecue, brisket done Texas style, shrimp boiled fresh from the boat, knowing they were swimming happily in the ocean only hours before.

I remember the sounds .... the splash of mullet in the channels, the lap of water on the shoreline. The look of the moon as it rose over the water. In Virginia, the rustling of trees getting ready to drop their leaves, the crunch of the ice covered puddles as I go to the bus in October/November.

Sometimes I wonder if the strength of these yearnings are not the pull of home but the wish to return to simpler times. I don't know.

What do you think?

Until our next ........

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Life, love, and what was I thinking???

Some days are better than others.

You know, I am sure that is a maxim at some level. However, one of my greatest attributes has been stating the obvious.

Sorry Gentle Reader for the lack of posting. A good online friend went through some bad times, and I was a bit preoccupied with that and life that goes on around this damn computer, and not on it. My friend is home now and done with the hospital. I am glad all is well and back at home. Next time, DON'T WAIT SO LONG TO GO. 'Nuff said.

Bought a travel trailer over the weekend. It fits all of us, and is reasonably comfy. Maybe a bit cosy, but it works. Needed a LOT of help though. More than we expected. It'll sort itself out. I fixed all the appliances and the water leak last night, and my darling bride will grab the last piece of goodies we need to make it whole. But I can assure you that I was not pleased. I hate when people don't give you the straight skinny. It pisses me off. Oh well, so do a lot of other things!!! (GRIN)

We went on a tiny vacation this last weekend also. My wife and two children joined a good friend and his wife and child on a road trip to Klamath Falls, near Crater Lake. It was fun, but also testy. My daughter, although better than she was, still likes to lash out with pure, unadulterated, pre-teen venom on a regular basis.

That can be painful. For all involved. I was reminiscing for the time when she was more pleasant to be around all the time. I had to think back a while.

I commented on this with my wife. she shook her head, and smiled... and reminded me of a few not so dark times.

Here is the big one. On Easter Sunday about 9 years ago, we were at my in-laws for dinner. They lived at the time on a big bluff with a beautiful view of Mt. Hood. Of course, it was basically a heavily wooded cliff, with a dropoff of about 60 degrees. Ick. I HATE heights. A LOT.

All of the children out playing, including the older ones watching came back. Except my 2 year old daughter. That's a bad thing.

So we went running and yelling her name trying to find her. I heard her small voice come up from over the cliff, saying "Daddy".

I jumped.

Not your typical hop of the edge thing. I got a good running start and JUMPED. My sister in law, who is not my biggest fan, said I looked like superman. I never gave it a thought. Well, until later... ick. ICK. I still hate heights.

Got my daughter and clawed my way back up the cliff, hanging onto tree stumps and trunks, with my daughter on my back the whole way. It was about 75 yards down. She was safe. All was well.

Years later, when my wife and I were having problems, (I'm stubborn and stupid from time to time), she said something that made an Impact.

She said she didn't want to be married to someone that wouldn't jump off a cliff for his daughter.

I am glad to say, I will. Because I have.

Maybe some days ARE better than others.

And today isn't so bad after all.

Until our next......

Monday, February 14, 2005

I stlll hate the IRS - I hate FMS more though

It appears, that an old student loan of my wife's has reared it's ugly head. And took it ALL. Ok - so I can file for my half, and thats ok, but that moves it out about 8 weeks. And significantly shortens my temper. And screws up my plans. Damn. I'll live, but my darling wife can attest that I was NOT a happy camper. AT ALL.

God Bless
Until our next..........

Sunday, February 13, 2005

I hate the IRS

Boy. Sometimes it just doesn't pay to do your taxes, no matter what.

For the first time in some years, I am finally due a refund. So, I set it up with direct deposit. It was supposed to be there on Friday. Hmm. Nothing. Not a cent.

I had plans for that - looking at some car repairs, a trip coming up, put a bit away, and a new trailer to go camping in. Shoot.

Maybe this is God's way of teaching me patience. Or someone else's way of teaching me a lesson. But, eventually, it will be there. Monday would be nice.

Until our next.......

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

My Little Girl is not so little anymore.

First and most important... please follow this link. A good friend has seen fit to post her beautiful drawings on the internet. I intend to capitalize on that - please look at them all. It is not often I see the depth of color utilized in that manner. But, then I am no art critic by any means. I do know what I like. Please click on that link - and then come back.

The drawing is of a little girl. My little girl is no longer so little. As you have probably noticed of late, gentle reader, that I have been waxing nostalgic. I like the term "mental rerun". I suppose it is time I got off my ass and woke up and smelled the new millenia. But I don't want to.

I have found out that my darling little girl has now entered pubescence. I hope I spelled that right. She crossed the threshold between little girl and young woman. I was not ready. I guess I never would have been. It comes with being a Dad. I am certain that someday my darling daughter will grow up and beat the crap outa me for posting... but strangely enough this is not about her. It's about me.

I was not and am not really ready for the heartache to follow. The late nights, waiting for her to come home after a dance. Questioning each date as if I were my father. Wishing he were here to guide me more. The drawing apart of a daughter from her father, the rebellion of creepagerdom.

I think I am most sad because this is a point of no return. I could fool myself, and believe that she isn't growing. I could convince myself that age wasn't marking its time step by inexorable step. It seems as if it was only yesterday. Do you know I know exactly what program was on when she was born? My wife and I were lovers of the old show Key West with Fisher Stevens. You know, man wins lotto and then has to pay piper. Moves to Key West to become the writer Hemmingway was. It was a good, quirky show. Personally, I had it bad for Jennifer Tully. (I still do... don't tell my wife. GRIN)

Just about the time that she finally started "getting down to business" - it was on. It was an episode where Fisher Stevens almost dies, and meets another characters dead wife... Quirky - but good. I miss it. I remember the poignancy of the show that night - and it has stayed with me all these years.

And again - it strikes me. That long ago TV show, Fisher meeting Ciece telling "Gumbo" to get along with his life. I guess she's telling me to do the same. I am sad now, knowing my little girl is gone, and I need to start paying more attention to the young lady aspects of her life, hopefully giving her the information she needs to make wise choices that I won't be there to help with.

Mostly, I am lonely. And I feel very, very old.

God bless, and until our next..........

Oh Good Grief.

Michael the Archangel has a blog. He's a friend. I read a blog he wrote today. I laughed my ass off. Then I read the comments. And had to go change my pants. Good Lord. You have GOT to go read this...

MTA Post

Now - truth in "advertising" - as I said, he's a friend. I neither condone nor condemn ANYTHING written about in either the blog or the comments. Well, those that know me, KNOW me. Read my comment. It'll help. :) Jeez.... my side hurts. My face hurts. If I don't stop giggling I will have to go change again. OOPS, too late.

Until our next.......

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Watching Submarine Races.

Over the last few days, I have been suffering from some malaise. I first thought it was because I was sick, but there is more to it. I have been suffering from being homesick. Ok, so far I haven't explained the title. I will. You'll see.

Now before you pooh pooh the idea, you have to realize there is more to being homesick than just missing your "home". I think the nostalgic post from last Wednesday was symptomatic. I miss a herd of things. I suspect it is a lot like what Sharon wrote about today. Read it here. I think that a lot of it is what she says at the end... in order to pick up something new, you have to let something go. My problem is that I am not always ready to let go of the things I already have. Maybe it's because it took so long for me to get them in the first place.

You know the Dylan Thomas poem, Do not go gently into that good night ? I intend to go kicking and screaming the whole way. Fight tooth and nail. If I live to be a hundred, I suppose it won't be long enough. Until I am a little more comfortable with my own mortality.

Which is probably why I tend to wax so philosophical about my younger years. I want to always remember where I came from, so I will know where I am going. That, and I want to be half the man my father was. If I can manage to fill his shoes that much, I will have acomplished much. (You really have to bear with me here, Pop was a bit larger than life.)

I remember how my time was used up then. I spent a fair amount of time looking at submarine races with ..... a female classmate. Never did anything to be ashamed of, but did a LOT to be enjoyable :) I tried real hard to play guitar with three other guys in the bandshell at the beach near the house. I have discovered, that no matter how badly your playing sucks, it ALWAYS sounds better in a band shell.

I used a fair amount of time fishing. Notice it is NOT called catching. We used to fish for redfish, sea trout, and sometimes sheepshead. Usually, we were rewarded with a lot of lost bait, and wonderful memories. Besides, sheepshead are ugly fish. The damn things have real teeth. I kid you not. But they are good eating I am told.

I always felt safe. In my younger years, that was not always the case, but after I moved in with Dad, I felt safe. Not really pressured... Dad just wanted me to do the best I could. He made sure I knew that my best was all he wanted. And that's what he got. Always. I always felt that's what I got from him too. Now, hopefully my children will say that of me in 25 years.

So, please bear with me on the philosophical stuff, and the nostalgia. I promise I'll be back in a bit, but the re-runs are nice :)

God Bless, and
Until our next..........

Doing the right thing

There comes a time when everyone has to stand and deliver. For some, it is tantamount to the Gettysburg Address. For others, it is right there with delivering a pizza. But everyone has a moment or two where they gotta do what they gotta do. Besides, I have a penchance for tilting at windmills, remember?

So here we are, two great ladies with 'tudes, a poor, disheveled Cubmaster, and me. At that time of the morning, I am doing my best to just not look like a heap. So we're a sight. At any rate, the fireworks start when the aforementioned Cubmaster chews on his foot when he calls the ladies over to chat. Sigh. Tact can be lost sometimes. When I arrive, one lady is standing in the door ready to bug out and honked off, the other is blissfully ignoring the first one, I guess because it's easier I guess. The cubmaster looks like he is about to blow up. Ok all, time out.

I manage, 2 hours later, to turn it from a nightmare to one of the most productive meetings we've had. Oodles of stuff got done, and more got predone for the next month because it needed to happen. We managed to become organized. My life is bordering on complete. Well, maybe more up to date at least.

A long time ago, someone told my dad he was good. Dad said he was pretty good, but VERY lucky. He then confided in me that he would much rather be lucky than good. I agreed with him. I still do. I have been, for the most part. Lucky, and loved. Put the two together, and that makes you VERY lucky. Today, again, I was blessed with lucky. Amen and hallelujah.

Here is the part that still bugs me though. We had all of this great stuff going on today, and for the life of me I couldn't explain why it hadn't happened before. Why hadn't the prior folks in leadership - or hell, rank and file, stepped up to the plate and done the right thing? It wasn't hard to see what needed to happen, it just needed to happen. Sheesh.

until later ... (I need more coffee)...

And so the battle rages.....

Amongst the many hats I get to wear from time to time, I have a few Cub Scout hats too. Pack trainer, pack recruitment officer and assistant cubmaster come to mind. Oh and pack committee member.

Well, tomorrow I get to deal with three ladies that get to it like three Marines. The cubmaster and I are getting ready to have kittens. Time to set everyone down and 'splains to everyone that they need to do their jobs, and not worry about who is NOT doing theirs.

The old drill sergeant in me will win out. It usually does. I have long been noted for my amazing ability to kick ass and take names later. It comes from my Dad. Kill em all, let God sort em out. It's a Marine thing. Must work. Kept him alive through 4 wars.

My miserable puke of a brother is in Costa Rica with his fiancee. Skin diving. Or, well, something like that I am sure. I don't spend too much time on beaches... people try to harpoon me or roll me back into the surf. But Hawaii would be nice.

It's way too late. Gnite all - I'll talk tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Pondering bellybutton lint??

Ok, my only excuse for the title is that I am still heavily drugged, but feeling MUCH BETTER :) At least it got your attention! I couldn't figure out how to title this one.

I miss things. Mostly, I miss being able to give my daughter and son things I got. Meaning, unfortunately, times change. Sometimes for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But change is one of those constants in the universe. So, from time to time, I miss things.

I miss being able to sit on a hassock between my grandfathers legs, eating peanuts and watching Hee Haw. I had no clue what the show was about. I just enjoyed his company.

I miss me and my friends riding our Sears bikes (mine was purple with a big banana seat and sissy bar) up the railroad tracks on days off from school. We'd ride for miles, and hours. As long as we were home by dinner, life was good. Margaret, my babysitter and housekeeper, taught me how to REALLY enjoy a peanut butter, banana and mayonaise sandwich. I still eat them. I know - sounds gross, but damn they are tasty.

I miss the exploring we did. My friends and I found an old foundation of a house, with pottery and plates and stuff all over. While we were poking around, we noticed 4 headstones in a little family graveyard. At the time, the most recent date on them was 1790-something. I'll bet they aren't even there now, either moved or under some damn apartment house. I hope it's haunted.

I miss knowing everyone on my block. Mrs. Cheatham next door, Mrs. Brown down at the end. Mrs. Coombs at the other end. Mrs. Sedbury across the street. Mrs. Leavy down the road aways. I can tell you with great alacrity that they had no compuncton with paddling my arse if I did something out of line. And then, they would tell Margaret. Who would whoop my butt. Who would then tell Mom. You get the idea. The end result is, for the most part, I didn't do anything that would get me in trouble. It was just better that way.

I miss going to the pond with my old Zebco and some 10-cent tackle and a loaf of bread on Saturdays and just sit and fish. We'd take the white bread, squish it down until it made a little triangle about a quarter of an inch on each side, and then stick that on our penny Eagle Claw hook. With that, I got perch, bluegill, crappie, bass, and the occasional wandering catfish. I'd let 'em go though. I never developed a taste for fish... so I never kept anything that I couldn't eat. Figured I'd leave it there for the next fellah to catch, and then HE could eat. No one ever even asked why I was by the pond. They'd just wave. I felt a bit like Tom Sawyer.

I miss coming home from school. Sounds a bit funny, but there's a bit to that. Margaret (from above) was a HUGE black lady. Every day I would come home from school, and she was usually ironing or something. She'd yell out "HEY THERE CHILD!" and open up those huge, loving arms. I'd run as fast as I could, jump up on a hassock with the running start, and almost always get high enough to get a GREAT hug. Sometimes, I'd bounce off. I am sure, nowadays, you couldn't do that.... but back then it was the only thing keeping me from being a latchkey kid. I was in Heaven. By now I am sure Margaret is up there, shaking her head at me and telling me I'll do just fine. Just like she always did.

I miss my Dad. I never really got a chance to know my Dad until I was in High School. I moved in with him in Jan of 1978, in the middle of my Freshman year. After a bumpy start (my fault, not his) we got along pretty good. Then as adults, although we were often apart, we'd write. He passed away right after his birthday in 1990. I still talk to him, but I hate not getting answers back. His answers I could always take to the bank.

I miss camping in the Shenandoah National Park. Trust me. If you haven't ever been there, go in the fall. First part of October is the best. Fresh pressed apple cider in Front Royal, black bears near Big Meadows Camping area. COLD and crisp mornings, beautiful warm days. The combination of the autumn sunlight and the colors of the trees in autumn make it look like the whole valley is in fire with color.

Every time I think of that, I feel young. I don't know why, maybe it has something to do with the rebirth of the valley every spring, and this is the portent of it. Maybe it is just because true beauty always makes you feel young. My wife has that quality. Some of my friends do. But most are old, cranky, Walter Matthau souls. Ick.

Parts of my life have been a blessing. My wife (of almost 14 years now) is one. My children. Some friends acquired along the way. Some new friends. I always have room for more friends. But, parts of my life have been a curse. Looking back, it was often me that created the curse to begin with. Once or twice it wasn't under my control, but everything since I was 18 has been. OOPS. But I am getting better. Besides, my daughter tells me not to curse. So there. I guess I've been told.

I wish I could give my children the feeling of relative safety that made it ok to go and explore. To go and play. It isn't that things were better then, just different. There were still pervs out there, but anyone on the block would be more than happy to snap their necks if they came near any of the children. It didn't matter if it was your kid or th next block down. You came too close, and mothers for houses would swoop down like a bluejay when you get too close to a nest. (Trust me... that's a bad thing.)

I am afraid. Sometimes, I am afraid that I have become too jaded and cynical. Sometimes, I am afraid that I am not cynical enough. And, sometimes I am just afraid that when I leave this world, I will no longer exist. The sum total of all that is me will vanish... never to be seen or heard from again.

This all usually passes, since I do believe in God. My particular God (with the big G) is the father of the Christ. However, I can't help but sometimes wonder if, every now and then, God isn't just a bit like the one in the movie Oh God. You know, where he's answering all the questions written in aramaic. I won't go into details, (This is NOT a religious-themed blog, just my personal musings), but sometimes I just wonder.

I tend to get long winded, and frankly, I shouldn't blog when taking cold meds. I sound a bit sophomoric when I do. My Dad made me look up sophomoric in the dictionary. Note definition 2. Gave me a whole new outlook on where I was. Click on the word, and it'll tell you what I found.

Until our next..........

Monday, January 31, 2005

Dentists, Doctors, Lawyers and Weathermen.

Sharon was writing about her recent bout with a dentist. To paraphrase Bill Cosby, I have also discovered through the miracle of Dentistry, that if I become a double amputee there is a good chance I can walk with the cheeks of my fanny. I know this because of my unwavering ability to scoot down the dental chair with unbelievable accuracy.

My wife has left her job as a registered nurse to become the almighty stay at home mom. A HUGE undertaking. Read more here. Personally, I am scared to death, but she thinks we can make it just fine on one income. If you say so darling one.... but I am still waiting for my blood pressure to go back to normal... It isn't that I don't have faith in her or her accounting abilities, but I remember praying to make the salary I am now starving on. We'll have to see... but I am sure it will be fine. (Right after our first discussion, she swore that, in my big office leather chair, I had left a pucker mark. I don't doubt it.) We'll figure it out.

I hate doctors. Just because. Perhaps I don't have the faith in them I once had, or perhaps my faith was shaken when I lost my father to heart issues in 1990. Maybe I just never forgave them for being mortal. Maybe I just never forgave Dad for being mortal... and subsequently was pissed off at everyone else left behind. I suspect the last is the most likely. I miss my father every day. We used to talk a fair amount. Now I talk. He listens. It isn't the same.

My daughter is ADHD. We now suspect our son is as well. Figures. I have this thing against medicating my children because they fit some mold, but my daughter (who had disappeared and left behind this doppelganger that was just one step away from Linda Blair in the Exorcist) is back and fairly delightful to be around. In other words, she is reacting for the most part like... well like an 11 year old kid. How about that.

Weathermen lie. It is a way of life. They have to - well unless they live in San Diego. There all they have to say is ...... nice. Or fairly nice. Or at worst, rainy but nice tomorrow. Up here in the Pacific Northwest, they should just say (at least in the winter) cold, clammy, fairly wet. Up here you don't tan. You rust. If you see the sun up here, you pop your head out of the window, see the sun, and then wonder what god you have offended. Then you try to find a chicken you can kill and swing around your head to ward off evil spirits. And yes, it really does get that bad up here.

I was talking with a friend today about cardinals. Not the baseball team, the bird. I miss them. Up here, all I ever see are those nasty tempered western blue jays. To me, there is nothing more beautiful or majestic than seeing a daddy and mommy cardinal, against a background of new snow, plucking away at some sunflower seeds or suet. There is nothing to me that confirms the existance of a God more than the beauty of Nature. Well, with the exception of the sight of your new daughter or son.

Ok... thank you for listening to my mouth run. Or my heart. Something like that.

I hate being sick.

I must apologize for being away, but I got sick. I guess there is this cold like thing going around up here in Oregon, but I'd never heard of it. Needless to say, I managed to catch it.

And BOY did I catch it. All my life I have been susceptable to ear infections. Well, this time I got the full meal deal. Both ears, bronchitis, fever, chills, sinus infection and a partridge in a pear tree.

I was fine on Friday morning. By Friday afternoon I was a bit sneezy, but otherwise ok. BUT - by Saturday morning, I was toasted. And this morning, I was still running a decent fever with some bad nasal congestion.

I know that you don't really want to hear all this, and I do understand. I just wanted you to know where I was :) So now I am taking 2 antibiotics, cough syrup with codeine, and Sudafed. I hate taking pills too.

Anyone want to help me with my 6 page paper due tomorrow? Well, a guy can hope, can't he?

Until our next.....

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Oh Lord. Here we go again.

Above, you will find a new goodie that I have found in my travels. But, as a father, it depresses me no end to see it actually running - or needed for that matter.

Above find an Amber Alert ticker. It is a Nationwide ticker, so don't be suprised if you see alerts for places other than Oregon.

There is one tonight. I hope it's gone by morning. It could happen. Prayer works........

Until our next..........

Time to tilt at a windmill or two.

(Don Quixote music in background).. well actually it happens to be Alan Parsons Project. I have an eclectic taste in music, from Frank Sinatra to Sarah Vaughn to the Allman brothers to the Foo Fighters. Go figure. (Donning helmet for shelling to follow, I'm sure.)

Ok, the truth in blogging spot commencing - I am Republican. If you disagree, great. Comment to my little blogspot and I'll respond. I might even email you and we could set up some kind of discourse, even if it is only an exercise in debate for debates sake. But try not to flame. Not only is it just plain old tacky, but it lends accuracy to the statement that ours is a country not of people, or even opinions, but sound bites. --- End of disclaimer.

Now that's said... I was reading a dear lady's blog today. Someone whom, although I don't know real well, I have come to appreciate her charming wit, her bright personality, and blatant honesty. One of her children has autism coupled with hearing loss. Mother Mary and Joseph too, that in and of itself is enough in my book to be submitted for sainthood.

But on top of this, she has been given an IEP. (I'm guessing here but I bet that stands for Individual Education Plan). By clicking on the link I provided, you will find out that I looked it up like a good boy. That way I don't get confused as a blathering idiot - rather than the motley fool I really am :)

I noticed that there was a bunch of useful stuff there, and hope that some may be of interest to the aforementioned lady. This is a plan, created I assume by the education system in cahoots with the child's doctors and parents , to try and meet the requirements to facilitate daily living and, hopefully and prayerfully, eventual integration into society and a productive life.

But, alas, it appears that the school system in question is doing as little as possible. Communication between the lady and the teacher of her child is becoming non-existent save for some daily notes. (Read all about it HERE).

What gets me is that she has been told that it will be her responsibility to be an advocate for the child. DUH! It was always (and still is) my belief that the role of PARENT inherently gave you the rights AND RESPONSIBILITIES of advocate. Sometimes, the ability of bureaucracy to state the obvious staggers the imagination.

I was an educator once. A full-fleged member of both the Oregon Education Association and the American Education Association. I taught inmates at one of our local state prisons. Because of that, I was also a member of the Oregon Criminal Justice Association among other such associations.

The list of things challenging the education system as a whole are mind-boggling. Lack of discipline. Lack of parental support. Lack of funding. Lack of interest by the public as a whole. There was a time when the education system was one of the sacred cows that could not be touched, and yet here we are, muddling forth as we always have. Do not for a minute assume that I am against teachers, individually or as a whole. They do a job that, quite frankly, makes my prior paltry dalliance in the education field look pale by comparison. They do it with no money, little help, less support.

Now that that little tidbit is out of the way, however, I need to continue with a thought. The average private school in the Portland Metropolitan area runs just about $4000 for the average student. As of the 2001-2002 school year, the Portland school system spends about $8300 per pupil. Why? No one yet has successfully explained that one to me. There is no difference with the statutory testing requirements, so quite frankly, I am baffled.

Now lets mix in the special needs children like the young man above. I can guarantee that no person, democratic or republican would willingly stand in the way of his getting a fair shake in life. If the private schools can manage just fine on what they get, then why can't the public ones do it? And then, with the surplus left behind, we can tailor special needs systems to augment the difference of specialties that children in these circumstances need.

So there. With that, I now mount my steed, with Sancho Panza right behind, getting ready to tilt at the windmill of the public school system. And to be honest, right now I can't think of anyone more hard-headed to do it, so it might as well be me. Well, maybe tomorrow. Dulcinea is getting pissed I am still typing :)

Until our next.......

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

What a week.

Here it is, Wednesday evening, and I am beat. End of the week beat. I need a vacation beat. Honey, I suddenly feel sick beat. Scoot over cat and gimme my damn couch beat.

I wish I could redo my week. I'd start over, with a significant lack of interest. That way I can get away with lethargic performance, and now that Wednesday is here, I could be a bit more chipper.

My best friend is down in Vegas trying hard to get employed there. I have mixed feelings about this - very similar to watching your mother-in-law go over a cliff in your brand new Jaguar. I mean, the Jaguar is insured, but still.

I pray that he gets it... mostly because I know how badly he wants it... and I wouldn't mind having a place to stay for Comdex and CES... especially one that my wife approves of. It IS Vegas, after all :)

On the other hand, he and his family are more a part of my and my family's life than my own brothers. Not that that is saying much. I wish him luck. I pray for him. And I am trying very hard not to secretly jinx it :)

Good luck, Bubba.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

A couple of things I just found out ... dammit

I found a couple of statistics. I hope they're wrong.

I am nerdier than 96% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

I am going to die at 68. When are you? Click here to find out!

I really hope they're wrong... but just in case, I just upped my life insurance. Online of course.

Until our next....

I wonder...

I sit here, dumbfounded. I learned earlier that Johnny Carson has passed on. My life is now just a touch duller, the colors a bit more dreary.

He was the epitome of class. You could list the number of curse words in his repitoire over the last 50 years on the fingers of your hands. His jokes weren't always funny, but they were never crass.

Rolling down memory lane, I think back to when I was 3 and 4 years old. (I know, a bloody long time ago, but believe it or not, it's one of my earliest memories.) I would never go to sleep. I have been a nightowl all of my life. Our dining room was directly next to the den where the tv was. I used to sneak out of my bedroom and sit underneath the dining room table, and wrapped there with my arms and legs about the big leg of the table, I would be regailed by Johnny Carson doing the tonight show.

It didn't happen every night, but often. Then, as I grew older and joined the service, after work I'd go back to the barracks, (I worked swings), and turn on Johnny to keep me company until Mid-rats would open and I could get some dinner.

Then he retired.... and to be honest, late night tv has held nothing for me since.

I will miss the times with Joan Embry and the menagerie that would do anything from poop on the floor to climb on top of his head - and never once did he complain... not really. I will miss Karnak the Magician, and the envelopes to the head. I will miss his Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan impressions. I will miss the banter between he and Ed and Doc Severinson.

It is the end of an era. One that, frankly, brings tears to my eyes. Our children will never know late night tv under the table. The set will be dark, cold, silent. Good bye, and thank you for the laughter of my youth, (which has had one more nail put in its coffin)... thank you for your grace, charm and wit... thank you for being you Johnny.

But there is one more thing of note to be said here.... at least in MY opinion.

I could have sworn that, in the dark cool night up here in Oregon, I heard Ronald Reagan one last time.... he said:

"Hey God!!!!!!! Heeeeeeeeeeeeereeees Johnnnnnnyyyy!"

Welcome Home, Mr. Carson. God Bless.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Pinapple Express Rolls Along

For those who don't live in the Pacific Northwest, this may seem a bit arcane. However, we are in the midst of a "heat wave". Loads of rain coming from the tropics is dumping on our wet, newly thawed ground.

Put that together with rising freezing level and snow melt and you get.....

You guessed it. Floods. Swell. The good news is that I no longer live on a flood plain. The bad news? My office is on one. But, it has a long way to go to get to it... I feel fairly safe.

It is the middle of winter, and at 10:45pm the temperature here was a balmy 64 degrees and about 95% humidity. I need a shower. It's up to 77 in the house, so I am about to turn on the air conditioning :) Well, it's a thought anyway!

Busy week ahead, and long day - so ...

Until our next........

Friday, January 14, 2005

Oh the pain, the pain .....

Sorry to steal such an obvious line from Dr. Smith and Lost in Space, but Holy Jesus.

I just did ten situps. To be honest, I was damn lucky I didn't soil myself in the process. It seems like just yesterday I was happily plinking along.... in the service, I would do 100 without thinking of it. I guess the good ol' days are gone.

I felt a bit like "Incontinent Man" from an episode of "Who's line is it anyway?" You know, the farsical, made up superheros... Mine was probably done by Colin Mockery. Even though I have a startling resemblance to Drew Carey.

Here is hoping for more situps in the future.... and maybe a dwindling waistline.

God Willing.....

Until our next....

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Do you remember???

Taken from an email from my mom:

Black and White

(Under age 40? You won't understand.)

You could hardly see for all the snow,
Spread the rabbit ears as far as they go.
Pull a chair up to the TV set,
"Good Night, David. Good Night, Chet."

Depending on the channel you tuned,
You got Rob and Laura - or Ward and June.
It felt so good. It felt so right.
Life looked better in black and white.

I Love Lucy, The Real McCoys,
Dennis the Menace, the Cleaver boys,
Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train,
Superman, Jimmy and Lois Lane.

Father Knows Best, Patty Duke,
Rin Tin Tin and Lassie too,
Donna Reed on Thursday night! --
Life looked better in black and white.

I wanna go back to black and white.
Everything always turned out right.
Simple people, simple lives...
Good guys always won the fights.

Now nothing is the way it seems,
In living color on the TV screen.
Too many murders, too many fights,
I wanna go back to black and white.

In God they trusted, alone in bed, they slept,
A promise made was a promise kept.
They never cussed or broke their vows.
They'd never make the network now.

But if I could, I'd rather be
In a TV town in '53.
It felt so good. It felt so right.
Life looked better in black and white.

I'd trade all the channels on the satellite,
If I could just turn back the clock tonight
To when everybody knew wrong from right.
Life was better in black and white!
This was found on the blogger world - I got it from a lady who's blog is here.

We were born in the 40's,50's,60's,70's.
We survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing and didn't get tested for diabetes.

After that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, butt pads etc.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, bread and butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Play stations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no internet or internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live in us forever.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Cheerleaders and little league had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't, had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all!

If YOU are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS!
You had the good luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers, and the government regulated our lives for our own good.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I hate doctors.

I hate doctors.

After finally successfully quitting smoking after 34 years (I started YOUNG), I promptly began to fall apart, piece by piece. Sigh.

So after some concerns on very perceived weight gain (I figured if it was bad enough for me to notice, I should check on it) and some various aches and pains, I finally went to see my doctor.


It turns out that I promply gained 50 lbs in the 6 months since I quit. Oh and they mentioned that my blood pressure (which has always managed to run about 110/75) is now 155/110. Swell.

And did I mention that nicotine masks aches and pains? So now they want to check on arthritis after I lose a herd of weight. And I must exercise every day for at LEAST 40 minutes adding 5 minutes a week until I get to an hour and a half? Oh and then there is the new diet...

Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

By quitting smoking - I now have to also quit sugar, most salt, my love for Indian food (too much rice), most chinese food (too much... well just too much), and when she started to holler about my starbucks ... we had to draw the line somewhere. Decaf bites by the way.

For a great many years I have been yelled at because of my smoking. My lovely wife. My best friend (Michael are you watching???). The rest of my family. It seems that smoking was doing more good than harm in my case.

OK, ok don't go there. I know. But still... Oh, and now I have to drink diet soda. (Not bloody pop, but SODA.) They make me give up barbecue and pork and I am going to start smoking again. They can kiss my butt. It ain't worth it. What's the point of elonging your lifespan if it is mostly unenjoyable.

At least she didn't bitch too much about my wine in the evening before bed. To all out there that know me, I love ya all... but if I had known that quitting smoking would do all THIS - .........

Until our next...

Monday, January 10, 2005

New Counter online

Just a quickie - Feeling depressed. Visited my best friends blog (Michael the archangel .. see it here) and discovered that I don't have the flair for prose he does. I'll get over it. My wife is starting a blog too... it is available here.

Since I wasn't feeling quite inadequate enough yet, I added a counter to see just how many may see my "midnight ramblings." I'm now up to one :)

Until our next...

Oh Lord. Here we go again.

As the political wheels of the United States continue to churn away, I got an email from a friend asking why I felt so strongly about saying Merry Christmas, rather than Happy Holidays.

Umm.... because it's Christmas????

Just how painful does the brick that hits one on the head need to be to get that one through one's skull? If I were Jewish, I would say Happy Hanukkah. If I were a practicing Muslim, it would be Happy Ramadan. Or of African derivation, it would be Good Kwanzaa. (Please excuse my spelling, as it is quite possible I blew it on those :)

I care not in the least if you wish to practice those religions. Any of them. All of them. None of them. My priest was asked about using the sign of the cross. I'm Anglican. He said - "All can, some do, none must." Wise words. I have discovered that the only action commonly tolerated nowadays is intolerance.

It was said to me that I don't want to celebrate Christmas. Ok - so don't. They said, I don't want to see anything to do with Christmas, as I am an athiest. I said - Ok - so gouge out your eyes, and plug your ears. Let's be realistic. You could no more avoid the hoopla that has become Christmas any more than you can avoid death and taxes... unless you move to Pago Pago or something where the Christian religion is outlawed. However, that place is NOT HERE. Well, not yet. They're working on it.

A very close look at the Constitution of the United States says as follows:

The following was taken from

Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The person sponsoring the site adds this:

Amendment 1 - Freedom of religion, press

In my opinion, the single most important part of the Constitution. Some of the first colonists of the nation for which the Constitution was written had been seeking to escape religious persecution. The constitutions of several of the states prohibited public support of religion. And above all, the many varying sects of Christianity in America required that to be fair to all, there could be preference to none. It would have been discraceful for anyone to wish to leave the United States because of religious persecution. So they decided it best to keep the government out of religion. Now, this is not to say that the United States was not or is not a religious one. Religion plays a big role in the everyday life of Americans, then and now. But what they were striving for is tolerance... something I fear contemporary Americans are lacking.

Boy, that's a mouthful. Play it again Sam.

In a nutshell, it is my belief that if you don't like my God, go find your own. BUT - by constitutional mandate, you can't infringe on my right to honor, worship, speak to, or speak about my God. Period. It says that "... Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." However, it doesn't say squat about not honoring one. Look at a dollar bill. In God we trust. You don't like it? Move to Canada or Mexico. No In God we Trust there.

I don't have a problem with diversity. I do have a problem with intolerance. The left side of the isle doesn't like it if I get pissed about one of their beliefs. But God help me if I say God - (however if I say Praise Allah, or for that matter Thank Pitchforks and pointed ears... I'd be in the pink.)

Bah. Humbug. Bite me. So there, neener neener. (I can be childish too.) Now I have to take my ball and go home.

Until next time - Your obedient servant :)

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Hello - Time to start.... I suppose

Time to start musing I guess. Mostly I started this as a venue to vent my own personal opinions, free of the rife that goes with the political correctness that is so rampant. I won't TRY to offend, but I am not going to go around my fanny to get to my elbow avoiding it either.

More later...