Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pledge Allegiance to the Flag (Whatever flag they offer)

    The Flag of the United States of America, also known as ”The Stars and Stripes”, “The Stars and Bars”, “Old Glory”, “The Star Spangled Banner” and simply “The American Flag” has been the symbol of our nation almost from the beginning.  In one form or another it has been present at times of our greatest achievements and our darkest moments.  It has led our troops into battle, it was left behind on the moon (6 times), it stood guard over the rescuers as they searched through the rubble of the World Trade Center.  Even at a time of division, during the civil war both the Union and Confederacy marched under stars, bars and the red, white and blue colors of our nation.

    On June 14, 1777 the first version of The Stars and Stripes (13 stars) was adopted as our national flag.  It has changed only slightly over the years to include additional stars in the blue field as new states joined the union.  Then on July 4, 1960 the current version (50 stars) was officially adopted (executive order Aug 21, 1959).  Each part of the flag has a significant meaning.  The seven red and six white stripes represent the original thirteen colonies, the blue field represents the union and each star represents the members of the union.  Over the years meaning has also been attached to the colors themselves. White signifies purity and innocence, Red for hardiness & valor, finally Blue represents perseverance & justice.  Beyond the official description of the significance of each part of Old Glory, to the people of the United States, the people of the world it has been a rally point for principles, ideas, safety and hope.

    For twenty years in the military it was my honor to wear the flag on my sleeve.  It was my honor to face it and salute at the beginning and end of each duty day.  Now I take pride in displaying it in front of my home.  To this day, anytime I walk pass the Flag of the United States of America I pause for a moment to reach out and lightly touch the pole that supports it.  I do this to remember the ones who have given something in its service, to remember the ones who have given all in its service.   

    All this being said, I found it curious that the Obama re-election campaign would choose to take such an iconic symbol and mutate it into their image.
The Obamanation (spelling is different but sounds about right) and the Obama Banner.
I’m sure when the idea was first considered they thought their adaptation would be harrowed by the masses.  Copies would hang upon the walls of classrooms.  Families would display the treasured print in a place of honor in their homes.  Men like Chris Matthews would stare longingly at its magnificence while reliving the moment of the “tingle up the leg”.  THEY couldn’t have been more wrong.

    For all their belief that the American public lives for the thought of Obama, their adaptation of the American Flag was met with scorn and ridicule.  They failed to realize the iconic symbolism of the Stars and Stripes was built over a couple of hundred years of trials, action, deeds and bravery, it could not be replaced by a couple of years of narcissistic hype.  No, the Obamanation print will not replace the American Flag in the classrooms.  Very few families if any rush home to gather around the Obama Banner to sing songs of praise.  They may have gotten the Chris Matthews part right, he’s likely spending some lonely time with it right now (sorry about that mental image).  They did however, spark a firestorm of creative adaptations that I’m sure they never dreamed of…  (or saw coming). ENJOY.   

There are some funny folks out there.  The next design was my first submission, featured in last weeks posting and also appeared on 
    Like the original Stars and Stripes, I have attached meaning to the sections and the colors of this poorly thought-out monstrosity.  The red and white stripes stand for the categories the American public has been divided into. The blue circle represents the insulation of the administration (and friends) from rules and regulations placed upon the nation at large.  White signifies the absence of transparency and leadership, Red for the blood spilt due to the administrations dereliction and indifference, finally Blue represents the mood of the American public after they realize they have followed a charlatan and scoundrel.
    Shortly after the prints initial offering (for $35) they were quietly removed.  Was it because of the backlash or the creative mockery?   Myself, I’d like to think word came down…

My Final Offering.     The TOMCAT

Saturday, September 22, 2012

As it has always been.

     I’m a night-shift worker so I get up in the afternoon, start the coffee, pack my lunch and get ready for work.   As the day comes to a close for most people mine is just starting.  I have a five mile drive to work down country roads past the corn and bean fields, past the dairy farms.  Down the same roads day in and day out the view is the same with only subtle changes, hardly noticeable from one day to the next.  On my drive I could easily be lulled into thinking everything is normal, everything is as it has always been. 

    Then it comes to me, it’s not the same.  The combines are starting to pull into the fields to harvest, while not so many months back the farmers were tilling the fields and laying the seeds for this year’s crop.  The late winter rains and warm spring soon produced sprouts in the fields with the hopes of a bumper crop.  All looked to be going in the farmers favor, that is until the heat of summer rolled in and the rain stopped.  The once lush green fields began to yellow as the corn and beans started to wither and die. 

     I pulled to the side of the road and stopped along side a field of corn today. As I stepped from the car I could see the stunted ears on the brown lifeless stalks.  The field that once held so much promise and hope has now dwindled to a harvest of desperation.  There has been change.  What I looked at day in, day out and came to accept as normal is nothing short of a disaster.  The field will be harvested and the grain that can be salvaged will be but, is this to become the accepted norm?  Is this harvest going to be the benchmark to strive for in the future? 

    As I think about the field I widen my view and wonder, what else has become the new normal?  What else have I (and those around me) seen day in and day out till we think of it as the way it’s always been?  Do we find ourselves wishing gasoline was back to $3.58 a gallon instead of $3.98 or more? (It was $1.86)  We casually carry on with our daily routines as the announcements of coal industry layoffs continue, just this week 1,200 miners were told they will be losing their jobs due to the administrations war on coal (1,200 is not just a number, its families and communities).  Are we now thankful for 8.2% unemployment (actual is 16.1%) and a loss of 5,000,000 people who are no longer participating in the workforce?  Is the thought of having 4 trillion dollars added to the national debt and another 5 trillion projected something we just shrug our collective shoulders at?  Instead of celebrating achievement and success the new normal is to berate it.  Our embassies are being sacked around the world and diplomatic staff members have been wounded and murdered, is it now the accepted norm to respond to these attacks with apologies and appeasement to those who would attack us? 

Is what we are seeing day in and day out our new benchmark?
Something to strive for?
Is it, as it has always been…?


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Is it too hot to be thinking about this?

  I had written the first portion of this a few years back
 (March 2011, part of another project).

    (October-November 2010) as I was checking the furnace and getting it ready for winter I noticed my liquid propane gas tank was down to just below 30% (approximately 180 gallons remaining). I would normally have a truck come out and service it up to at least 80% (say 500 gallons) so I was looking at purchasing 325 gallons of liquid propane at $3.56 a gallon, just over $1,100 to heat the house over the winter (OUCH!).  I made my mind up that I was going to make it through this winter burning wood and using the LP gas as little as possible. 
    Just up from my house about ¼ of a mile is a hillside that had been logged a year or so back, as they pulled the trees out they left the tops lay and pretty much left it a mess.  So one day each week I would go along the hill with my 20” Stihl chainsaw and spend a couple hours cutting, hauling and splitting fire wood (Actually I looked forward to my time in the woods, the snow, the occasional deer, the peace and some exercise).  As I had mentioned it’s now late March and the LP tank is now at 20% (the water heater also runs off LP gas) there were a few sick days through the winter or times I just couldn’t get the fire wood in so the LP furnace kicked in every once in awhile (I kind of took the sound of the gas furnace kicking on as a bit of a defeat).
    The wood burner in my house is a little supplemental unit that was already installed when we bought the house (I had to do a bit of work on it when we first moved in, it had not been used for a few years) the actual box size is 12” wide, 18” tall and 24” deep, not a big unit.  Each night I would load it up before I went to work then the wife would load it again before she went to bed and in the morning when I got home I would load it before I went to bed.  This kept the house at 65* to 68*F through the harshest part of the winter.  Now I just load it up before I go to work to keep the evening chill off (house gets up to around 70* to 72*F now).
    The cost for me to heat with wood was not bad at all.  After each use I use a drimmel tool to sharpen the cutting links on the chain myself (no cost). I did buy a new chain mid season ($28.89) I used 5 gallons of fuel ($17.00) 1 quart of 2 cycle engine oil ($3.75) 1 gallon of chain lube ($9.60) and I’ll add 10 gallons of diesel fuel for the tractor driving back and forth hauling the log’s ($36.50) totaling out at $96.00.  Also my saw is 9 years old so this past weekend I bought a new clutch, bar and chain ($92.80) but now the saw cuts like new and is ready for next winter.  Either way you look at it I saved $900 to $1,000 and gained a bit of personal pride in setting a goal and achieving it. In the grand scheme of things a little victory but a victory just the same. 

    Welcome back to today.  I had used the supplemental wood burner for a couple of seasons and almost exclusively heated the house with it the past two winters but I was always a bit uncomfortable with having the fire inside the house.  There is always the potential for an accident plus the chimney is well over fifty years old and is due some major refurbishment (an easy $1,000+ to do it right).  After saving on fuel cost over the years and being comfortable with the supply of timber in the area I’ve decided to upgrade to an outdoor wood boiler unit.  Starting early this summer I began watching for sales on the different company’s web sites.  I finally settled on a company outside of Indianapolis, IN. (   The unit cost me $4,500 and the installation package (pump, tubing, ect…) was an additional $900 plus $340 sales tax.  In addition to heating the house it also preheats the water going into the hot water heater (this should be a small but noticeable savings).    Being that it was only 200 miles round trip I was able to drive to pick it up from the manufactures shop and make it back home the same day (My fuel expense was $127.00).  I did the installation myself over a few weekends.  A bit of a note on the installation, I did it by myself but it took all of my skills to put it in.  The unit weighed close to 2,000 lbs. a real hand full to move off the trailer onto the concrete pad.  I had to dig an 85’ trench 20” deep, drill and chip out a 6” hole through a 10” brick and concrete wall, all to run the supply and return water lines.  Then I had to run the inside plumbing lines and circulation pump to the furnace and water heater.  There was sheet metal work to mount the water to air heat exchanger in the furnace unit. Then there was some electrical wiring for the pump and thermostats.  I also took the opportunity to move the water heater closer to the furnace so this required some rerouting of the liquid propane gas supply line.  Not a job for the novice and you will need some specialized tools but what a feeling of accomplishment when you’re done.

    With a more efficient burn chamber that’s over three times the size of what I’m using now plus the option of mixing in a bit of coal I’m expecting to reduce the amount of wood used throughout the season and more importantly my wife shouldn’t have to stoke the fire at night.  Not that she can’t, I just prefer she not have to (Ya got to pamper the wife whenever you can).  All total, I’m about $6,300 invested into this project but I should start seeing a return within four years after deducting the savings from the past couple of years from using the small unit plus I have the peace of mind from not having the fire inside the house.          

Just a little step back from the world and a glimpse into what I’ve been up to…

I hope you have a good week

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Party is Planned (Just waiting on the invitations)

11, September 2012…  Islamic extremists around the world were set to celebrate the anniversary of the most devastating blow cast down upon the infidels of the west.  They just needed a reason to get the party started…   Any reason would do…

    This time the Islamic extremists pointed to an obscure thirteen minute video that in their words “Offended their religious sensibilities”.  Had it not been the video it would have been a cartoon in some rag newspaper or they could smell bacon being fried in the embassy or they had seen a picture of President Obama eating a pulled pork sandwich during the DNC convention.  You see the excuse was unimportant other than to place a religious veil around the attacks in Egypt and Libya.  Both assaults were planned in advanced, coordinated with Egypt and Libya government support and executed with deliberate military tactics. 

    The attack on the compound in Benghazi Libya was particularly brutal and effective, killing four and wounding at least three of the American Consulate staff.  What proof could I have for my assertion that the attack was preplanned, coordinated and officially supported?   Simple answer.

1.)  The assailants’ targeted a specific building within the compound then targeted another building as Ambassador Stevens and staff were moved.  This required reconannce and intelligence gathering (just not a spur of the moment thing.  PLANNING).

2.)  The assault lasted for 4+ hours requiring several thousand rounds of ammunition.  The assailants would not have been able to carry this weight.  (They required resupply, the when and where meant there was COORDINATION).

3.)  Consulate grounds in this region of the world are designed and built with defensive considerations taken into account.  The firepower required to overcome these defenses well exceed the normal religious zealots’ access.  Superior firepower had to be provided by a government entity. (OFFICIAIL SUPPORT).

    By any definition these attacks were acts of war and require an equal and immediate response.  There was no loss of life in Egypt so a cut off of monetary aid will suffice.  On the other hand Libya must be punished in kind.  Much like President Reagan’s 1986 Air Show over Libya with the FB-111’s, its time to call upon the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing again.  Send a pack of F-15 Strike Eagles to devastate two of Libya’s main military bases.                   
    Talk about a leader stepping up to make the “Hard Call”, again it’s a no brainer…  Why does the thought of Mr. Obama doing the Happy Dance and singing Go Team Islam pop-up in my mind as I picture him taking the call about the consulate attacks, on 9/11?  Guess I’m a bit jaded by his history in the region…  Most likely he’ll bomb them with a few billion tax payer dollars and an apology note.  Well maybe not right away, after all he had to cut his briefing short yesterday “Got to catch a flight, there’s a fund raiser in Vegas Baby”.  Nothing like a man that can set priorities, This Party was Planned also .


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Where Did That Come From?

    I was listening to the radio a couple of weekend back while I was working on a project (I believe it was a repeat of Sean Hannity from earlier that week).  Any way a young lady called in and her final comment kind of got me thinking.  She told Sean “What’s Romney going to give ME!   I mean, if he’s (Romney) not going to give me anything I’ll vote for Obama”.

    I stopped what I was doing and sat back for a moment.  I waited to hear what this young lady needed.  What was she so desperate for in her life that she was willing to follow anyone, Romney, Obama or whoever, if they offered to give it to her?  She never said she just hung up the phone.  I sat there thinking, Where did that come from?

    So I considered what are we being offered, what special needs have been spoken of?

 Mr. Obama has a track record now, his actions match his offers.

     African Americans have an unemployment rate of 14%+ with no prospects of lowering the rate.  In fact he has begun a program that’s giving illegal immigrants work visas so African Americans will face more competition for available employment opportunities.  President Obama has offered this group 4 more years of not just dependency but growing dependency.

    The Latino community has been offered what amounts to back door amnesty using vague criteria and inconsistent regulatory oversight.  Mr. Obama’s administration has coordinated to have this group take advantage of welfare programs.  President Obama has offered this group not the American Dream they seek but a life of dependency on the government.  (Side Note:  Any immigrant willing to serve 6+ years in the military deserves instant citizenship, they’ve shown a commitment to our nation that I feel is commendable and worthy of our thanks. I stand by them as brothers and sisters.)

     The women of America have been battered with a barrage of “women’s health issues” all with the same goal.  Birth control pills, morning after pills, abortion on demand and sterilization.  Listening to the Obama campaign rhetoric, birth control is the only issue important to the women of America and anyone voicing a different opinion is waging a war on women.  My wife said it best “Anytime a man offers to pay for your birth control he’s planning on F#@KING YOU!”  Figuratively or literally.

    The Green Energy Movement has witnessed a covert and sometimes an overt war on America’s fossil fuel production capabilities.  Through mounting EPA regulation, restrictive DoE permit requirements and suspicious presidential mandates.  Mr. Obama’s actions have not furthered the movements’ goals, in fact by throwing billions of dollars at campaign contributors failing companies he has wasted funding that could have been better spent perusing a functional renewable energy program.  Much like President Kennedy's challenge to the nation to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade in the 60’s, President Obama could have challenged the nation to achieve energy independence by the end of this decade while focusing on renewable components as a center piece of the vision.  Americans Love a Challenge.  Mr. Obama gave you cronie energy that failed to meet the nation’s needs and a cloud of doubt that will linger over future prospects.  

     Health Care…  So many directions I could go with this, I think I’ll go with the 18 to 26 year-old children.  It’s time to let go of mommy’s apron string (and get your hand out of daddy’s pocket).  Had President Obama focused on getting Americans back to work and strengthening the economy, most likely you could stand tall on your own.  Instead you’ll turn 27 and be at the level of an 18 year-old of not so many years back.  Life isn’t always easy and sometimes it doesn’t workout the way we wish, but the sense of accomplishment when you make it work is fantastic.  Mr. Obama has delayed your adulthood. 

     Students for Obama…  My favorite group, their starry eyed naïveté makes me giggle.  President Obama has been on this campus or at that university what seems like daily, always preaching the same lines over and over to the silly putty minds of an easily persuaded youth.  Affordable education, cheap student loans and the ever present “The Government will provide”, often followed with “The Republicans want to abandon you”.  The youthful crowd cheers and falls in line behind the Anointed One. 
Wake UP!  Your problem isn’t affordability; your problem is you can’t find a job that is commensurable to you educational investment.  I’d like to introduce you to, well, ME (and many more like me).  I have a degree (it took me 10 years while working full time, never took a loan). I have a 35 year work history with a list of real world accomplishments, achievements and experience.  I’m proven, dependable and stable.  I and those like me are going to be your competition for the limited number of good paying jobs out there…  Guess who’s going to get the good jobs.  Now for the good news (just because you are young and persuadable) get use to working for your dreams, scream for good paying jobs not handouts and you will succeed.  Paying for even a “Cheap Student Loans” is going to suck on a Pizza Hut paycheck.  President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign platform has no mention of a plan for job creation over the next four years; he has given up on fighting unemployment. Fall in line behind “The Anointed One” and the "99%" crowed for now if you like (I guess its kind of hip and cool).  We’ll be out here waiting… 
I’d like extra cheese on that.    

       With this final pandering gift from Mr. Obama I will shatter some people’s dreams but it has to be said…  Mr. Obama has forwarded the calls for equal rights for the Gay and Lesbian people within our society by equating them to the civil rights movement of African Americans or the persecution of Jews by the Nazi regime.  Jewish people were not targeted because they entered the synagogue to practice their faith; they were targeted because of the blood that flowed through their veins. The black man could no more change the color of his skin.   These groups were not capable of changing their physical being.  Gay and Lesbian behavior is just that, a behavior.  Not unlike smoking, alcohol consumption, illicit drug use or pedophilia.  It sounds harsh but think back 50, 30 or even 10 years ago, what were the accepted norms of behavior?  Me, being a smoker and somewhat of a drinker, I have seen the backlash of a changing society views on behavior.  Force feeding a society and its institutions an unnatural behavior as legitimate always results in a backlash.  What will the backlash be?  I don’t know.  What social changes will come about in 10, 30 or 50 years?  Maybe an adult will be taking a 12 year-old girl as a mate, a 7 year-old boy as a “life partner” or even marriage to a goat will be the norm. I doubt it.  The change in a society has always been like the swing of the pendulum, the further left it is pushed the further it goes to the right on the return swing.  History has repeated this fact time and time again.  Mr. Obama has bestowed a false sense of legitimacy.

Now that I’ve offended a majority of the top tier special interest groups and as long as we’re all asking for something, I have a few requests…

Please give me NO handout
Please give me NO hand-up
Please let me work for what I want
Please let me enjoy what I’ve earned
Please let the men and women standing to my left and to my right do the same…


Sunday, September 2, 2012

The 2012 Smash Summer Movie, Say it ain’t so Joe (The Comedy?)

    Looking back over the past years at Vice-President Joe Biden’s most memorable moments I’ve come to realize his most notable accomplishment is to have had a phrase coined after him, “Bidenisms”. 

    Bidenisms (otherwise known as “Open mouth, insert foot disease”) have been around for years and have afflicted many politicians.  Normally I would let the occasional slip of the tongue or errant phrase go with a slight giggle while thinking to myself “He’s human after all”.  I’ll start with my favorite Joe quote or BIDENISM

    Looking back over the past years at Vice-President Joe Biden’s most memorable moments I’ve come to realize his most notable accomplishment is to have had a phrase coined after him, “Bidenisms”. 

    Bidenisms (otherwise known as “Open mouth, insert foot disease”) have been around for years and have afflicted many politicians.  Normally I would let the occasional slip of the tongue or errant phrase go with a slight giggle while thinking to myself “He’s human after all”.  I’ll start with my favorite Joe quote or BIDENISM.

Sep. 22, 2008  “When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, Look here’s what happened.”

Is that so, Joe?  The stock market crashed in Oct. 1929, Herbert Hoover was the President  and television was still in development.  FDR became president in 1933.      

     But reading over VP Joe’s remarks something kind of caught my attention, I noticed a consistency that became a bit disturbing to me.  Look over this list of Joe’s questionable remarks and see what comes to mind…

1.)  Jul. 6, 2006  “You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent… I’m not joking.”

Really?  Immigrants from India are relegated to retail service jobs?  I’ve met a few people who came from India over the years, several were doctors…

2.) Aug. 27, 2006  “You don’t know my state.  My state was a slave state…” [Delaware]

His explanation to news interviewers question on how he would remain competitive in the Democratic Presidential Primaries when they entered the southern states. 

3.) Jan. 31, 2007  “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking man.”

Is that to say before Obama African-American’s were not articulate, not bright, not clean or nice-looking?  Sorry Sir, but Mr. Obama is standing on the shoulders of giants.  The list of articulate and bright African-American’s is long, it could fill many pages but perhaps one will do… Dr. KING       

4.)  Aug. 14, 2012  “… he’s [Romney] going to let the big banks write their own rules.  Unchain Wall Street.  They’re going to put y’all back in chains.”

Speaking to a largely African-American audience in Virginia…  What picture was he trying to paint with his words?     I know what I pictured as I listened to him…

    During my time in the military if I had publicly uttered any one of these phrases I would have been putting my career at risk.  In the military if a subordinate had spoken this way I’d have called them on it, there and then.  A single occurrence O.K. a case of engage mouth disengage brain, followed with an uncomfortable smirk then let it pass.  But Joe has displayed a history in various situations (seems a bit closer to the sheets and hooded Democratic Party of the 1800’s).  Falling back on stereotypical assumptions, he all too easily slips into painting groups of people with a broad brush…  Joe has not limited his Bidenisms to race or culture there are many list on the web.  Pick a subject and most likely you will find a Bidenism.  All-in-all you could find humor in the situation, a screen writer could have a ready-made script for the bumbling miss-speaking dolt in the white house.  Yes very funny, until you realize this man is #2, he’s one heart beat away from the presidency.  One Person did take this fact into consideration, papers found during the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound reveled the al-Qaida leader wanted to assassinate President Obama putting an “utterly unprepared VP Biden into the Oval Office”.  Osama bin Laden thought having Joe as president would “send the United States spiraling into chaos.”

         I find it alarming that our enemies consider the VP to be a viable weapon of mass destruction to be used against us.  What I find more alarming is the news outlets that most Americans rely on to find accurate information to make informed decisions choose to gloss-over or completely omit pertinent facts.  I never seen the report about the bin Laden papers on the T.V. news (and I’m a news junkie).  Had you seen this story?     

November 6th is coming
Its time to take a weapon out of our enemies’ arsenal