Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What Kind of a Liberal are You?

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Reality-Based Intellectualist, also known as the liberal elite. You are a proud member of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.

How About Some Pictures

We saw a lot of great scenery in Zion, my little digital camera just couldn't do it justice.
This is a picture of Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge just outside of Portland, Oregon. This is a truly magnificent site.
On our way back from Zion National Park over the 4th of July we stopped at Shoshone Falls just outside of Twin Falls, Idaho. We have driven by here many times but never stopped. The falls are quite impressive.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Passing of an Icon

Friday evening we went to a memorial service for an old friend, Dave Hawk. Dave came to VUHS in 1955 to teach US History and coach Boy's Basketball. He stayed until he retired in 1986. He continued to substitute and in 2001 was honored by the State of Oregon for having taught 50 years in Oregon. Dave was an original and during the service stories flowed like good mellow wine. I was pleased to work with Dave for 20+ years and was proud to call him my friend. We went to the same church and hunted deer and pheasants in the Fall. He was a great hunter and an excellent shot with his shotgun. He wasn't as excited about hunting for deer, but he really enjoyed going to deer camp with his 5 sons and his friends. He usually took the position of camp cook and served up some fine meals. I suspect that the meals were cooked by his wife, Dona, and placed in gallon jars to be heated up for dinner. He did do the breakfasts by himself, hotcakes, bacon, and eggs.

Dave was a great Basketball coach, but never won a State Championship. His teams were usually present for the State Tourney, but the best they ever did was Third. His players worshipped him and always gave it their best. Vale kids were never really tall, so his teams often lacked the big man to go with the agile sharp-shooting guards.

There were 200 or more people at the memorial service. A great tribute to a great guy. It reminded me of the funeral service we held for Arnie Lewis at the High School in 2000. The two of them really kept VUHS in the sports spotlight for 20 years or more. So long old pal...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Grammar Rants

Just when I thought I had run out of things to rant about I turned on the radio and lo and behold, new material. In a 5 minute period of time the young lady doing the news broadcast mispronounced two words and used the wrong verb tense when talking about two items. I am appalled at the deterioration of the English language. Much of it is caused, I am sure, by e-mail and text messages. I belong to a collector's group that has a list-serve e-mail digest. To read the grammar mistakes and spelling errors would make my old English teacher, George Browning, weep. I am not an English teacher and I am sure that my grammar is not the best, but even I cringe at words such as stold and wayt. I'm not sure if the grammar is bad because they are in a hurry and too lazy to use their spell checker or because they are just ignorant.

While I am about it I also want to comment on the folks who point at a late frost as evidence that global warming is not something to worry about. I just witnessed a Science teacher using a frost in late May as evidence that global warming is not occurring. He completely disregards shrinking glaciers and the shrinking of the polar ice caps as perhaps better indicators of what is happening to our global climate. Wake up folks!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Random Thoughts

As the title of this blog suggests, I am often stuck by random thoughts while working in my wood shop and today was no different. The first thing that struck me was the fact that Karl Rove is deserting the ship of state. And not a moment too soon either, I suspect that if he stayed too much longer the House and Senate may investigate his dealings over the past 7 years. The guy just looks smarmy to me, kind of like a snake oil salesman. I guess that Dick the dick will now be the only one to put words in King George II's ear. Maybe Dick the dick will review his statements from 1994 when he said that to remove Saddam from power would create an unstable Middle East that might leave room for Iran to take over a bigger chunk of the Middle East and really cause problems for the US. Obviously, he has forgotten those words in his zeal to democratize Iraq.

I also thought about the upcoming primaries. Florida is apparently not satisfied with stealing elections, now they want to choose the candidates. What ever happened to the primaries when each candidate amassed delegates based on the percentage of votes received in each primary. Then they fought it out in the convention to get the nomination. Nowadays the candidate is already selected before they go into the convention. Takes all of the excitement and fun out of the convention. If things keep up the way they have been the candidates will be selected at birth!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fifty Years Later

I just returned (Sunday) from my High School 50 year reunion. It was a blast! the event was well organized and we had lots of time to talk and catch up with classmates we haven't seen (in some cases) in 50 years. We were an interesting class with a wide variety of professions. Most of us are retired, but one is still fighting wildfires whenever he's called and another is trying to decide whether to run for re-election to the statewide office he has held for a number of years. Most of us are in pretty good shape health wise although I heard the usual comments about aches and pains. 27 members of our class have died in the past 50 years, not too bad for a class of 110 at graduation time. Most of the survivors were present at the reunion, coming from all over the country.

I found it interesting that I was singled out as being over weight even though there were others who were much heavier than I. No one was cruel in their assessment of my girth, rather just commenting on how much I had changed. I think the surprise was because they still remembered the skinny kid who was 5'5" tall and weighed 130 lbs at graduation. I am a little taller and a lot heavier, I carry it fairly well, no huge stomach, but I am certainly not that poor little underfed kid whose ribs you could count. Nearly all of my weight gain has come after my retirement, I've become rather sedentary because of my bad knees. I try to work out for 30 minutes 5 days a week, but that doesn't lead to weight loss, rather just maintenance. I like my food too much I guess. My biggest surprise of the reunion was how small Richard was! He was one of the toughest kids I knew and in my eyes towered over me in height and weight. Seeing him at the reunion for the first time in fifty years really stopped me in my tracks. I was at least 4 inches taller and 100 pounds heavier! He said that 20+ years in the Marines took all of the toughness out of him, but I still wouldn't want to cross him. It was great seeing him and reconnecting. After 50 years, we no longer felt the need to impress anyone with our success. I think we all realized that surviving 50 years was success enough.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Millennium Development Goals

We received a special mailing of Episcopal Life today devoted to the Episcopal Church's Millenium Development Goals. It gave me pause to think that we as a church are still trying to help the sick, the poor, the uneducated, the homeless, the widows and the children of the world as well as the environment. All this in the midst of the hullaballou surrounding Gene Robinson and Katharine Jefferts Shori. It's nice to realize that at least some people in the church remember what our mission as Christians is. Some people get so caught up in the politics and job of being the orthodoxy police that they forget that our mission is to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and care for the widows and orphans, to be good stewards of our created world, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Let's leave the name calling and the judgement to God.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Not Much Time in the Shop

For some reason I have been fairly busy and haven't had much time to muse in the sawdust. I help my wife in her business by being a gofer and sometimes doing data entry on the computer in the office. She and a friend are partners in a trucking company, "Schatzie Trucklines, Inc." and they are pretty busy right now with 2 new drivers to get oriented and on the road, so I have been helping more than usual. On top of that, Paul, who lost his wife of 60 years, and I have been working on projects to get his home more handicapped friendly. His knees are shot and he finds it difficult to walk, so he got a motorized wheelchair. We have been building ramps in his home to make it accessible for him in his new chair. That mission has been accomplished and we are now working on making his yard more accessible. It is amazing how many barriers there are for a wheelchair. Unfortunately, he is living on a slim pension and doesn't have a lot of spare change for improvements, so we have to go slowly. Paul first came over to help me reroof my house 20 years ago right after they moved here from California. We have been working together on home projects ever since. We call ourselves "The Old Fart's Construction Co." the title fits better every year. Together we have changed the looks of both our homes for the better and we have cemented our friendship. Paul is not as able to work as he was 20 years ago, but he does as much as he can. My job is to make sure that he doesn't hurt himself by trying to do too much. I think I will have more time to muse in the near future, I'm looking for new shop projects to occupy my mind.