Monday, December 29, 2008

Football

I'm looking forward to watching as many bowl games as I can this week. I really like to watch college football, but don't really like pro football much any more. It is always nice when both of the Oregon PAC 10 teams are playing in bowls. Back in the 90's and before it was a rare occurrence when either Oregon or Oregon State were playing in the post season. Of course, that was before the proliferation of bowl games. Here's hoping that Oregon can break their recent history of losing in post season and that Oregon State can continue their string of bowl wins.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Snow and more Snow

It has snowed off and on for the past week. We had accumulated about a foot of snow in the back yard up through Saturday and I really got a good opportunity to test my new snow blower. When we got back from Canyon City on Christmas Day it had snowed about 4" and the wind has built some interesting drifts. I just had time to clear out the walkways before we went to Char's for dinner. I used the snow blower every day since we got it until today. It warmed up and didn't snow so I got a break from snow blowing. I'm really glad we got it. It still takes some effort to use it but it is much less tiring than using a snow shovel.
The snow level in the back yard has gone down to about 8" and fortunately it is melting slowly, so we shouldn't have any trouble with flooding. Most of our trouble with high water in this area comes with a sudden melt of the snow pack.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

CHRISTMAS

Jean and I went to Canyon City yesterday to do a Christmas Eve service at St. Thomas. We left about 3:30 in a snow storm and drove in snow all the way to Canyon City. We got there about 5:30 their time and all the restaurants were closed except Subway, so we had Subway sandwiches for dinner.

The service was super! The original 1876 oil lamps along with the altar candles were the only lighting and they provided the perfect mood. The singing was great and there were about 40 people present including the pastor of the Ukiah Presbyterian Church. The people of St. Thomas are well aware of the jewel that they have in that little rustic church and it's heart warming to see the way they work to keep it up. (In the 1870's there was a carpenter/priest named Ruben Nevius and he went through Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington building churches. He would build the building and stay long enough to get a congregation started and then move on. All told, he built over 30 churches and many are still in use. In Eastern Oregon there are at least 5.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snow Blower

I picked up my new snow blower this afternoon. As soon as I got it home I read the instructions, filled it with gas and oil and fired it up. I works just fine. I was blowing snow all over the neighborhood. It was more work than I had anticipated, since it is not self propelled I had to wrestle it through the deep snow. It is a lot easier than using a shovel. I will now find myself doing snow dances so I can use the machine. Need your sidewalk cleaned? Give me a call!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

I started snowing yesterday evening and has continued all day today. It is a very light fluffy snow, it's amazing how it has piled up, we have 8 to 10 inches on the ground. It has stopped now, but I think it's supposed to start again and snow through Tuesday. I'm hoping that it stops before Wednesday afternoon because Jean and I are going to Canyon City to hold a Christmas Eve service with them. We have to go over two mountain passes to get there and the snow can get a little deep up on the top. Not to fear, I have studded snow tires on the car and it will go just about any place I'm brave enough to take it.

I broke down and bought a snow blower today. I can't get it until I put the snow tires on the pickup and I'm sure that all of the procrastinators like myself will be at the tire store tomorrow wanting their snow tires put on. It used to be fairly simple because I had my snow tires mounted on their rims so all they had to do was to take the highway tires and rims off and put the snows on. I bought a number of sets of snow wheels which never fit the new car so I had to get new tires and rims. It got expensive so I stopped buying rims and just had them remount the snows on the same rims. Problem is that now they charge $60 to do that. You just can't win!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Cold Snap

The temperature has plummeted this evening. We didn't quite get above freezing today, but it was fairly nice. Then this evening as soon as the sun went down, so too did the temperature. It is now 6 degrees F, about as cold as it has gotten here in a number of years. When we first moved to far Eastern Oregon the winters were bitter cold. Always a few days of -25 degrees F. each year, but we haven't had that kind of cold for many years. Makes me happy that we have a down comforter on the bed. Sophia doesn't spend much time outdoors now, it's out and back in as soon as her business is done. Same with me, the only thing sticking out from under the covers is my nose. Just the same, I'm much happier here than in Arizona or Southern California. I like the four seasons, besides, when it is cold, it is clear (no snow).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Music

I hope that you enjoy my music list. I have become a great admirer of Iz, the guy who does the Somewhere over the Rainbow that I have listed at the top. I always felt that Judy Garland was the consummate singer for Over the Rainbow, but Iz's interpretation is so different that there is no basis for for comparison. I still love Judy's rendition, but I love Iz's too. It's too bad that he died so young; there is a wealth of golden oldies that would sound good in his style without detracting from the original. I think he could have done wonders with "Danny Boy". (my favorite song)

Friday, December 12, 2008

First Snow

Well, it started snowing this afternoon, the first snow of the season. I was pleased to see the snow coming down and quickly covering the ground. If it's going to snow, I want it to be a real snow storm, not some wimpy stuff that doesn't even get the lawn covered. However, I did have some misgivings because I no longer look forward to shoveling snow. If it's very deep, snow shoveling soon gets to be real work. Jean has offered to let me get a snow blower but I'm not sure I want to spend that much money on something that I may use once a year or so. It might be cheaper to give some kid $10 to do it. It would probably take at least 20 years of snowing to match the cost of a snow blower. I think I can take care of the snow by myself for a while longer. I don't think I'll be making any snow angels though. To my friends in the South enjoy the snow, it's really neat stuff.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Day of Infamy

Today is December 7, Pearl Harbor Day, "a day which will live in infamy", in the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President of the United States in 1941. I wasn't aware of the date until I fired up my computer and looked at the date on my blog. I had completely forgotten the date. I had seen nothing on TV or heard anything on the radio concerning the attack on Pearl Harbor Naval base which plunged the United States into World War II. It certainly changed my life, at the ripe old age of 2 I lost my father for the next 4 years while he went to war. Had the war not come, I'm sure Pa would have stayed in the sawmill until he retired and we would have remained in Bend until we were out of school. We might have even gone to work in the sawmill until we retired. As it was, when Pa returned from the South Pacific in 1945 he was restless and unhappy with his job at the mill and we began an oddessy that took us all over the state and ended with Pa losing a leg in a logging accident. I think that my brothers and I saw that there was a better way to make a living than working in the mill or the woods. So we all went to college and got degrees and jobs where we used our brains instead of our brawn. It may seem that I have drifted away from my title, but I'll get there.

We seem as a nation to have forgotten Pearl Harbor and have replaced it with 9-11. That's understandable since Pearl Harbor was 67 years ago and 9-11 was only 7. Who knows what disaster will replace 9-11 in our minds, I only hope that it's 60 years or so from now. I hope our wounds will have healed by the next one.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Great Poem

I stole this from Graham at Digging A Lot who
got it from annedroid-annedroid.blogspot.com/


How to Hide Jesus by Steve Turner


There are people after Jesus

They have seen the signs.

Quick, let’s hide Him.

Let’s think; carpenter,

fishermen’s friend,

disturber of religious comfort.

Let’s award Him a degree in theology,

a purple cassock

and a position of respect.

They’ll never think of looking here.

Let’s think;His dialect may betray Him,

His tongue is of the masses.

Let’s teach Him Latin

and seventeenth century English,

they’ll never think of listening in.

Let’s think;

humble,

Man of Sorrows,

nowhere to lay His head.

We’ll build a house for Him,

somewhere away from the poor.

We’ll fill it with brass and silence.

It’s sure to throw them off.

There are people after Jesus.

Quick, let’s hide Him.

December...Already!

I always forget how quickly Christmas follows Thanksgiving. It's December already and I'm just now thinking about cards and gifts; and I know that even though I am thinking about cards and gifts Dec. 20 will be here and I will still be only thinking about cards and gifts. (That last sentence looks like St. Paul wrote it) I know that it is a sign of ageing to find time flying by and that, to a child, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is interminably long. I guess that I just won't dwell on the passage of time, there certainly isn't anything that I can do about it.

I think I'll get the fake tree out this weekend and get it decorated. Artificial trees are good when you want to have your tree up a long time. You don't have to worry about them becoming a torch. A priest friend calls trees put up before Dec 24 Advent Trees because the 12 days of Christmas begins with Christmas Eve and runs to Epiphany. Few people whom I know leave their trees up that long. Generally they're gone before New Years.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

TV and Football

I just finished watching the Oregon-Oregon State football game on my computer because it was not shown on TV. I got to see the box score change as each team scored. It was a high scoring game and must have been exciting to watch, but my TV was showing Kentucky vs Tennessee I think. The Oregon-Oregon State game had a number of wide spread implications depending on the outcome of the game, but it's important to watch Kentucky and Tennessee play, a game that has little interest outside of the region. If anything will drive me off cable to dish it will be the crappy scheduling of regional interest football games. The love affair between sports programmers and the east coast football teams is sickening. West coast teams get short shrift when TV picks poll leaders or great teams. SEC teams with 2 losses are ranked above teams with 1 or 0 losses from the west because they are from the SEC and of course, SEC is a tough league. Yeah, Florida State and Tennessee are just fantastic! Oh well, since they stay in the south there's not much chance of them getting whipped by one of our teams.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm Re Retired

If you have been following my on again off again scribbling on this page you know that I have been working full time as a truck dispatcher. Dispatching has been an exciting and stressful task, but I think I got to be fairly good at it. It is amazing how quickly the pay for loads dropped after the stock market crash and the decrease in fuel prices. Where I would hold out for $2.25 per mile before the crash $1.80 per mile is considered very good now. It has been much more difficult to find good pay for the drivers who are now paying for inflated costs incurred before the crash with deflated pay after the crash. One more thing to stress over.

Back to the title of this writing. We have found a dispatcher who can take over my trucks and relieve me of my duties. Today was my last full day as a dispatcher. I will continue to go to the office an hour or so a day to take care of some of the paper work that has to be done in Vale rather than Wisconsin where the new dispatcher lives and works. I have mixed feelings about the end of my work this time around. I will miss the excitement of getting good loads for the drivers, but I will not miss getting up at 6 AM and working until 4:30 PM. I am looking forward to being the chief cook and bottle washer, having time to do my workouts and work in my shop. The pros outweigh the cons in this case. I might even have more time to write!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Leaf Update

The High School Auto Club raked our yards Friday. They finished the three yards in about one and a half hours and filled about 2 dozen garbage sacks with leaves. I had gotten behind mowing up the leaves due to the rain, but they made short order of it.

Thanksgiving Service

Yesterday was my time in St. Thomas, Canyon City. As usual, my neighbor Paul went with me, he is a great traveling companion, helps keep me awake. We talk non-stop on the 2+ hour trip, often telling the same story from trip to trip. On the way back we don't talk so much, worn out from all the early talk.

This Sunday I was asked to stay over and participate in the Community Thanksgiving Service hosted by St. Thomas. We killed the four hours between the services watching football at the home of a couple who are active in the church. We had a great time, much better than driving around the area for 4 hours.

The Thanksgiving Service was great! We sang all of the good old Thanksgiving hymns, Dennis read Washington's Thanksgiving proclamation from 1789, the offering was for the local food bank and I gave a brief homily. Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves. They even lit the original 1876 lanterns, an act usually reserved for Christmas Eve. Small towns do this kind of thing best.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

To Sleep, Per Chance to Dream...

I'm finally going to have my sleep test to see if I do indeed have Sleep Apnea. My Kidney Dr. recommended I be tested a year ago, but his office fell down on scheduling the test and I didn't remind them. This year they really got on with it and Thursday night I will go to Meridian, Idaho to a sleep center to be tested. I have read the brochures and talked to Cathy, so I am prepared, but I have trouble with people watching me sleep. It really isn't any different than a hospital stay except they don't wake you every 4 hours to give you your sleeping pills. I guess that my biggest concern is the idea that I may have to use a CPAP machine for the rest of my life. My concern is really about being able to sleep with the device that is designed to help you sleep. Rather foolish, I know, but there it is. I guess that if this is the most intrusive thing in my life I shouldn't be concerned. I'll keep my 4 readers posted.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Raking Leaves

We have two trees in our backyard and one in the front. The two in the back are Chinese Elms or something like that. They are messy trees with a lot of dead limbs and seeds in the spring. They give great shade in the summer and keep the yard cool. The tree in the front is an Ash and shades our bedroom. I enjoy all three trees except in the fall when they drop their leaves. My usual practice is to mow the leaves with a lawn mower, but now that I am working 5 days a week I don't have time to do timely mowings and now the leaves are too thick to mow. I have decided to take the local High School Auto Club's offer to rake the leaves of local seniors. I guess that means I am beginning to accept the title of Senior Citizen. As I have stated in other writing, I don't feel like a Senior Citizen, and I even try to rationalize my decision to accept help from the high school kids. I guess I'll just have to accept the favors offered to a 69 year old.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President Obama

First I will happily admit I was wrong about Barak Obama's chances for election. I misjudged the American people, I didn't think that the voters would accept either a woman or an African-American. I am glad to say I was wrong. I think we have made a great decision in electing President-elect Obama. He is a man with great charisma and a very inspiring speaker. I think he will be a great President, especially if he is able to implement his plans. What an historic time! And, for the first time in over 8 years I can talk about My President. Way to go Obama.

Friday, October 31, 2008

HALLOWEEN

Tonight was Halloween and the Trick or Treaters were out in force. I drove down to the grocery store to pick up some last minute candy. The town was jumping!
The merchants were hosting Trick or Treat from 4 PM to 6 PM and the Mormon Church hosted Trunk or Treat from 5 PM to 7 PM.(the people who live in the country park at the church and open their trunks and pass out treats to all who come by. Then, the final football game of the season started at 7 PM with the winner assured a playoff berth. We still had a fair number of little kids come by, though not as many as in previous years.

All this got me to thinking how the church had stolen many of the pagan rituals to use as religious holidays and have had them co-opted by the secular humanists as reasons to party. In my day, Halloween was just for kids, you seldom saw adults dressing up or partying. About the only holy day that we haven't lost completely is Easter and that is rapidly becoming Easter Bunny day. Serves the church right, if they had made the celebration of these holy days a little peppier, we might not have lost them. Oh well, Happy Halloween, remember our sainted ancestors while we rob our kid's candy loot.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Voting in Oregon

We got our mail-in ballots last week. We have until Nov. 4 to have them into the County Clerk's office, but since we live in the county seat it is just a matter of going to the court house to turn in our ballots. I think the vote by mail system is pretty good at getting a good turnout of voters. I miss the old days of going to the voting site, we would always meet our friends and neighbors and get some visiting in. There was something magical about going into the voting booth and filling out your
ballot and then putting it into the ballot box and hearing the elections official saying, "Daniel Gardner has voted." I miss that camaraderie that went along with going to vote at a polling place.

Voting by mail has also done away with poll watchers. When I served as mayor of our little community we would take turns sitting at the polling sites with a list of registered voters marking the names of those voting. From time to time someone would come and look at the list of those who hadn't voted and then go and call supporters who hadn't voted. Of course, the other side would do the same thing and we would lighten the day by saying "there's one of yours voting" and they would reciprocate. Now days, all you get is "thank you" from the county employee watching the ballot box.

We don't have problems with hanging chads since our ballots are like the old standardized tests we took in school. "Fill in the appropriate box with a number 2 pencil." The only problems that arise from time to time are the misplaced ballots that occur when the mail is picked up at the Post Office and not put in the proper place at the Court House. That doesn't happen around here where the numbers are relatively small, but in the Portland area where there are 1.5 million people there is a a better chance of misplacing a batch of ballots. Actually, there haven't been any problems with misplaced ballots affecting an election's outcome.

I will continue to be apprehensive about the outcome of the election, I'm afraid that our country won't be able to survive another 4 years of Republican control. My great-grandchildren have already been saddled with an unpayable debt caused by Rebpublican malfeasance and conciete.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ageing and Sports

I just realized that Pheasant Hunting Season started yesterday, which is really unbelievable for a guy who grew up with a gun or a fishing pole in my hand. In my family we all hunted or fished for whatever was in season. The anticipation of opening day of whatever season was coming next was something that could tasted.
The equipment was cleaned and oiled and tested over and over. For deer season we would go out and sight in our rifles and polish the lens of our scopes. Ammunition would be checked and counted and we would spend hours at the sporting goods store deciding which ammo to purchase. For bird season we would get out the shotguns and make sure that we had a good supply of Pheasant loads. Evenings would be spent poring over maps and deciding where to start the season. Fish and game seasons would be every bit as well planned as a military campaign. During the season we were in the field as much as we could, and filling your deer tag on opening day was kind of a letdown.

I haven't hunted anything for over 30 years. I can't remember when I last went fishing. And, I don't miss it at all. I still have all my equipment, gathering dust in a closet. For some reason, killing an animal for food has become something I don't enjoy. I really don't like the taste of venison or game birds, and I haven't eaten a trout in years. I don't think this change of heart is an age related thing, because many of my friends continue to hunt and fish well into their 80's. I have found other things that I enjoy much more than hunting and fishing. We won't go into skiing, or golf, or watching baseball or pro football on TV, I guess I'll say that I've evolved.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Poverty

My mother used to have a saying that she used from time to time; "There's no disgrace to poverty, it's just awfully inconvenient". In this day and age when we have so much, it's hard to believe that anybody could still live in poverty. That there are so many in the US who go to bed hungry is a terrible indictment of us as a country. We must find a way to share in the abundance that surrounds us. We must also find a way to share our abundance with the rest of the world. We are rapidly moving to a one world government and we must bring the have-nots out of poverty and into our own wealth. There is no religion that teaches us to ignore the suffering around us. Likewise, there is no moral code for the non-religious that teaches us to keep people in poverty. We must learn to share. We must unlearn the hatred that we have been taught. We are all equals and the sooner we all learn this the sooner we will eliminate poverty. Don't look away from the beggar, look deep into his eyes and learn how degrading it is to have to beg for food.












Blog Action Day - October 15 ,2008

If you scroll down the right (no,the other right) hand side of this blog you will see a small picture of a factory belching smoke. If you double click on the picture you will get more info on Blog Action Day. This year, all of us who participate will write on the subject of poverty on October 15, Blog Action Day. So, plan to check me out and see what I have to say on the subject of poverty. Also, try to look at some of the other blogs and their writings on poverty. I'll try to post some of the other sites that are participating.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bail Out

The term "Bail Out" is an apt description of what is being planned to help keep the banking institutions out of bankruptcy; it goes well with the term "Golden Parachute" which describes the severance packages given to discharged CEO's. It seems to me that before we give the Treasury Secretary $700 billion we should find out how he's going to use it. With $700 billion we could give jobs to all the unemployed and provide health care for those in need. People with jobs buy things, even homes and that would jump start the economy faster than pouring it into the bottomless pit of the banking industry. Of course, we could give the CEO's of the top 700 companies in the US a Golden Parachute of $ 1 billion each and that could start a luxury building boom in one of the off shore islands with lax banking laws. Hell, they could buy me off with a measly million. They could pay the defaulted mortgages off and folks could keep their homes and the banks would come out fine. Give us a blueprint before handing out that much money.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Lies

I had a disquieting experience today. I was lied to by a person with whom I was doing business. I'm not sure why it upset me so much, I knew she was lying and she knew that I knew. Maybe the fact that she offered no apology or any explanation is what got to me. It was a financial deal and her lies cost me and my driver some money, but that's not what bothers me. The fact that she would continue to lie even after being caught is really upsetting. We try to do business as Christians, that is trying to make sure that each person in the business deal leaves feeling good about the deal. In the end, her lies may even cost her some money at a later date. I have put her company on our no call list. I will no longer do business with her and perhaps there will come a time when she needs my help. I will no longer do business with her not as revenge, but as protection. I can no longer trust her to do business fairly, so I feel it would be unwise to expose out company to someone who has lied in a business transaction.

I know that my attitue sounds naive, but most of the folks I do business with are honest and give me the best deal they can.They try to make it so that everyone involved in the transaction is pleased with the outcome. Those are the people I will continue to do business with.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Vacation Time

We got to have a brief vacation on the Oregon Coast this past weekend. It was great fun! Our hosts, Libby and Martin, rented a house on the beach south of Yachats and invited the Bonfire Bunch to join them. Martin's twin sister, Faith, and her husband, Paul, were there from their home in England. They were a lot of fun to get to know. We didn't do much except sit in the sun and walk on the beach. The local whale pod entertained us each day by swimming a couple of hundred yards off the beach. They would surface and blow and submerge again. They didn't show their tail flukes when they dove, probably because the water was too shallow. They were fun to watch, and they spent most of each day off our beach. The weather was fantastic! Both Paul and Martin were sporting sunburns, a rare occurrence on the Oregon beaches.

We also got to visit one of my brothers on the way down and the other on the way back. It's always a good time to be with them. My older brother always thumps me in Scrabble although our first game was close, I only lost by two points. Of course he has the Scrabble Dictionary memorized! It was also fun railing about the Republican nominees for President with my other brother. He is active in the Democratic Party where he lives. I live in a super conservative area, so it's fun to have someone who is more incensed about the Republicans than I am.

So Tuesday was back to work day. We survived, and were astounded to learn that our little 4 truck trucking business had expanded to 15 trucks! I will be stretched a bunch trying to keep that many trucks moving. I have found that a big part of dispatching is getting to know the drivers. Each driver is different and likes to run certain lanes where he is comfortable. Two of our guys refuse to drive in California and New England. Sometimes that makes it a little difficult because of the huge volume that flows in and out of California.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Little Church Guy is Gone Man, Gone

I got to thinking today that my blog name of Little Church Guy is no longer correct. Our little church has closed its doors and even though I still serve a little church part time I think it's time to change my name. Selecting a screen moniker or a name for your blog is really tough, especially if you're not very inventive. With my blog I started out with Rural Rantings and soon found I didn't really have much to rant about, so I changed it to Sawdust Musings to reflect the time I spent in my wood shop reflecting on the ways of life. I couldn't come up with a great title and name like Mad Priest and Of Course I Could be Wrong...I suppose the ability to come up with a great name is directly linked to the ability to post interesting stuff. I got excited when I had my 2000th visitor to Sawdust Musings, many of whom I suspect are relatives. Mad Priest probably has that many or more in a day!

Back to the name thing, I think I'll go back to the name I inadvertly gave myself in the 6th grade. In preparation for Parents' Night our teacher gave us each a folded piece of cardboard with the instructions to write our name on the card so that our parents could find our desk. Being the over achiever that I am I wrote my name in large letters that nearly filled the paper. Dan The letters were so large that there was no room for my last name, all I could get on the page was a G so my name came out as DanG . Therefore, henceforth my tag will be DanG. Easy to write and doesn't take up much space. All I have left to do is figure out how to change it in my profile. Wish me luck..DanG

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

I can't believe that a week has passed since I last blogged. I have been busy with my new (kinda) job, but that isn't a very good excuse because I have spent the evenings watching TV. Not anything really good on either. I have had time to check in on Mad Priest's blog and I have to say I'm glad that the Lambeth Conference is over because I was getting tired of all the jabs at the African Bishops and the Archbishop of Canterbury. They deserved the jabs because of their stand on the issue of homosexuality, but it does get tiresome at times. Making fun of folks who disagree with you is fun especially when you are in the right, but after a while it begins to get boring. It's sometimes too easy to mock folks because they make such stupid statements, but it seldom does much to change any minds. The Republican faithful continue to think that Sarah Piglet walks on water even when it is patently obvious that she was brought aboard simply to appease the ultras and to be McCain's attack dog. He can stay aloof and let Miss Piggy make the attacks on Obama and then cry "sexism" when he fights back. She is an easy target but pointing out her failings will change no minds. I hope that the Dems do fight back and sling a little mud so that the undecided voters see that Barak Obama has a backbone. (an aside, my spell checker does not recognize Barak or Obama as words in its lexicon.)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Nostalgia

While riding my lawn mower around and around the yards today I had time to reflect on my life and those who helped shape it. Today my thoughts turned to my brothers, Emery and Bruce. Emery is the oldest of us three brothers and I am the youngest, so that puts Bruce in the middle. Bruce and Emery are closer in age and in our youth they palled with our two cousins who were near their ages and two neighbors of similar ages. Emery, Billy and Ron were the three leaders because of their age, and Emery seemed to be the overall leader because, I guess, he was a natural leader. Bruce, Chuck and Dick were the younger followers and I, almost four years younger than any of the others, was an unwanted follower. When we all lived on the east side of Bend there weren't any kids near my age and I wanted to go on the adventures my older siblings always had. I would usually whine and tell Ma and she would make them take me along on their forays to Pilot Butte or Porcupine Butte. Usually they would wait until we were well out of sight of Ma and then tell me to get lost and if I told Ma they would beat me up. So, I would follow them at a distance until they out paced me and I would find a place to play by myself until they returned from their wonderful treks into the vast sagebrush and Juniper wasteland east of East 8th Street. They would talk about throwing rocks at a big Jack Rabbit or trying to catch a lizard they had seen among the rocks. Starting in 1942, I think, there were US Army troops practicing desert warfare in our playground. Visiting the soldier's bivouacs was the one time that the bigger kids would let me come along, I think because I was a cute little snot nosed kid and the soldiers would give us chocolate bars. The day finally came, around the end of WW II, when I was allowed to go along on one of their treks. We climbed Pilot Butte! Straight up the trail! I thought I was going to die. I had to take two steps to their one and they didn't slow down for me. They would stop and let me catch up and when I did, they started out again. I knew I was going to die. They did find Jack Rabbits to throw rocks at, but the rabbit was long gone by the time I caught up with the rest of the troop. After that trip, I wasn't nearly so anxious to join the big kids forays out into the High Desert of Central Oregon. Now, of course, our vast playground is covered with homes and businesses. Porcupine butte is just a rockpile across the street from Pilot Butte Middle School and St Charles Medical Center is north-east of Pilot Butte.
Bruce and his wife live beyond Tooth Acres, the home of a Dentist in our youth and about the limit of our treks. The trail straight up Pilot Butte is still there, but I believe it is blocked off to prevent erosion of the cinder cone.

Friday, August 29, 2008



In the picture on the bottom we are going around the track in a counter-clockwise direction which tells the horse we are just warming up. When you turn around and go clock-wise the horse knows it's time to race. I am driving in the photo on the top, not racing, just heading back to the stable. Smart horse, "Shadow" did just what I told her to do.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Barak Obama

I spent the evening watching the Democratic Convention and Obama's speech. He is a good 'un, he has a bunch of great ideas and if he can get half of them done it will be great. I am a cynic about government any more because of the obvious control the lobbyists have over ALL the branches of government. It seems to me that the little guys (you and me) are of little importance to the folks in Washington except during elections. Then they kiss our a**es and promise us the sun moon and the stars which they, of course, forget all they promised. Now the Republicans are trashing Obama's speech on Larry King's show. They are complaining about the attacks on Bush and McCain. I'm going to turn them off, they are really starting to pi** me off. Vote Democratic and vote early and vote often. Let's Floridaize them!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Democratic Convention

We have watched parts of the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week and last weekend. We enjoyed Hillary's speech, she is a great speaker. I especially liked the "Do we want four more years of the past eight years?" comment. I really liked the political conventions better when they did the selection at the convention instead of in an infinity of primaries and caucuses. There was a lot more suspense over who the candidate was going to be. Now all they do is blow their horns and spew platitudes. The question of whether Hillary would support Obama after losing the nomination would not have been a problem for those of us familiar with the old style of convention. In those days the hopefuls would beat the daylights (verbally, of course) out of their opponents and then after someone had won the nomination, the losers would break their necks to get behind the winner and extol their virtues. It's called rallying behind the winner. Seldom did anyone refuse to back the nominee after he was named and then it was usually over the platform and not the candidate.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Rescue Load

As you may have read, we have had a trucker stranded in St George, Utah for the past 3 weeks with a blown engine in his truck and later an appendectomy. One of our other truckers is in Utah 400 miles from St George and he has decided to "rescue" our stranded driver and bring him and his trailer "home" to Vale. The rescue hero has also agreed to take the first driver's son with him back to Wisconsin and sell him one of his trucks. Give three cheers for "BD" for going above and beyond and reaching out to help "BJ". I'm hoping for a great load for BD to get him home for Labor Day. His response to my question asking why he was being so generous to a guy he has never met was, "It may be me who needs help next time." You are a great human being BD and I'm proud to know you.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Eastern Freeways

I learn a lot of geography in my disguise as a truck dispatcher, often the hard way. Today I called one of my truckers and told him of the great load I had gotten him down in Kentucky. He groaned and told me that the freeways in the Appalachian Mountains were terrible, they were crooked and had lots of steep hills. He begged me to get him no more loads in those Eastern mountains. Even though we both live in the intermountain west, he told me that we had few roads to compare with some of the Kentucky and
West Virginia freeways. The only road that he felt was as bad as those Smokey Mountain roads was the old Whitebird Hill on US 95 in Northern Idaho . That road had 10 or 12 switchbacks going across a barren hill side. I told him I would look at the map better when I got him loads back east. I don't think he believed me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Olympics

We have been watching the Olympics from China almost exclusively in the evening. I stay up too late watching and then spend the next day yawning. I was just getting used to getting up early for work and now these Olympic Games are screwing up my sleep patterns. First I lose my after lunch nap and now I have get to bed before the end of the TV showings. I really enjoy watching the best athletes in the world compete at their best. I do wish they would show more of some of the minor sports and cut down on the Beach Volleyball. I know that there is a huge following for women's beach volleyball, but I would love to see the wrestling and boxing. Jean and I also score the Olympics' TV commercials. The one with Hank the Budweiser Clydesdale gets straight 10s from us. I am also impressed with the venues that the Chinese have constructed for the Games. They have really raised the bar for future Olympic hosts. Well the apparatus finals in gymnastics is coming on so I've got to finish this post.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Birthdays

Saturday our daughter turned 48 which cannot be possible since my love and I are both under 50. I generally feel about 35-37 until I look in the mirror. Even looking at the mirror often fails to disabuse me of the notion that I am a slim, early middle aged man at the peak of my physical prowess. I find that people of my age group who spend time bemoaning the fact that they are aging really are aging. I know that I am fast approaching my three score and ten and I welcome its arrival, but the fact is that I don't feel my age. I have little aches and pains, but then I've always had little aches and pains that do nothing to make me feel old. I guess that what I am saying is that age is a state of mind. I really do feel great, I refuse to let those aches and pains that multiply with age affect the way I feel about myself.

I recently took on a full time job as a truck dispatcher and I am having the time of my life. The learning curve is steep but I am invigorated by it all. I often told my students that learning was a lifelong task and that when you quit learning you quit living. I sincerely believe that and realize that for the past three of four years I have been coasting. I've been dispatching for a month now and I hardly miss my after lunch naps. I am still readjusting my life and have yet to find a way to get my exercise done each day, but that will come soon. Life is good!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Internet Protocol

I belong to a insulator collecting group called ICON (insulator collectors on the net) and the guy who started it is the web master for the Icon list-serve. For some who are on the net all the time it is sort of a chat room but for most of us the web master lists all of the messages received in a digest. I suspect that the majority of us who read the digest are old farts like me with too much time on their hands. It blows me away that the ICON group can't go a week without someone getting pissed off for some reason or another. We just completed one such drama and another one has popped up. One of the group posted a picture of a tremendously obese man sitting nude at a computer. The photo is a side shot so no "private" parts are shown. The webmaster politely asked the poster of the photo to remove it because (a) it is not insulator related and (b) it is in questionable taste. The poster replied that if he had to take his picture down then he would remove all his photos and quit ICON. Then the fight was on! Battle lines were drawn and the words began to fly. Instead of a group of adults you would think we were a bunch of 8th graders. I'm embarrassed to belong and have thought about quitting and giving my reasons for leaving, but if I did it now there would be another battle over were they 8th graders or 9th graders.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Free Cycle

I think I misspelled it but allow me to introduce you to Freecycle. This is a neat site where people get together electronically to give stuff they no longer want or need to those who do. Freecycle sites are built around particular communities. I belong to the Ontario, Oregon site as do people from the communities around Ontario. If you are interested just Google freecycle and look for your community. The way it works is if you have something you no longer want you sign on to your freecycle site and leave a message describing what you want to give away. On the other hand, if you need something, leave a message explaining your needs. In either case you can have the people who want what you have listed contact you and make arrangements to have it picked up. For instance, several years ago Jean and I made a horrible mistake on a color we picked for a bedroom. We got home and put a little paint on the walls and realized it was not what we wanted at all. To make matters worse we tried mixing in a quart of white to tone it down. Even worse, now we had a princess pink/lavender that we could never use. Being a pack rat I didn't have the heart to throw it away, so I stored it in the shop. Lo and behold, yesterday a lady asked on freecycle for pink paint for her 9 year old daughter's bedroom. I contacted her and we made arrangements for her to pick up the paint. Two families were happy, we got rid of the paint and another family has a happy little girl with a soon to be princess pink bedroom.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

He's Back!!!

Imagine my elation when I discovered that "The Opinionated Old Fart" is back blogging. I had just discovered him at the end of 2006 when he retired from blogging. After reading some of his posts, I decided that I, too, could have a blog. He was my inspiration for blogging. It didn't take me long to realize that I could have a daily blog or I could have a life. I decided that I could write whenever the muse overcame me and have a life when it didn't. You don't get a lot of readers when you blog sporadically, but I found that I didn't have much to rant about. People tend to get tired of reading tirades unless you can do it amusingly. I found that I wasn't very humorous, a severe blow to my ego. I had always thought I was a real card, but I guess that I was shuffled too much. I haven't had much time for writing lately, but I was inspired by the return of "Old Fart" so here I am. He still has the wit that makes his blog so readable. Old Fart, you don't know me, but welcome home.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Small Town Life

We just got home from an open house held for our retiring Mail Carrier. Yes, we only have one letter carrier who delivers mail to all the households in our little town. He was born and raised here, and, except for time in Vietnam and a couple of years as a civilian working for the Air Force, he has lived in Vale. Tim carried the mail here for 31 years and was well liked by all his people. He checked in on the shut-ins each day as he delivered their mail and watched the places of folks who were out of town on vacation.

Tim is a strong supporter of all the community activities, but he is an especially strong supporter of high school athletics. He has been a truly dedicated mail carrier. He has been known to stop and shovel the sidewalk of the elderly so they can get out on those snowy days.

So we went to his open house along with a large number of the people on his mail route. This may sound strange, but that's what we do in our little town, we support our local heroes and Tim is one of them. Thanks Tim McPheeters you served us well.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I was buzzing around the blogosphere and ran into this little thing.












click here to learn more

Vale Rodeo

Our little town has a long history of celebrating the Fourth of July in a big way. I talked about the parade in my last post and now I will talk about the rodeo. I'm not exactly sure, but I believe that Vale has had a 4th of July Rodeo for over 90 years. It has something for everybody, a Pro Rodeo for those folks who spend their summer going to rodeos and try to make a living out of it and amateur events for the local cowboys and cowgirls. Fuel prices have put a real crimp in the Pro's plans, especially if they compete in events that require they bring their trained horses. They have big pickups, often diesel, and pull a 4 or 6 horse trailer often with a small living space for them in the front of the trailer. With diesel prices soaring it often takes more money to fill the tank than they have won at the rodeo!
A long standing event of the Vale 4th of July Rodeo is the Suicide Race. Contestants race on horseback from the top of the butte down to the flat ground where the town and rodeo ground sit, across an asphalt highway, across the Malheur River, over the dike protecting the town and into the rodeo arena to finish. Twenty years ago an animal rights group protested the treatment of the horses in the race and demanded they be allowed to monitor the treatment of the horses. The Rodeo Board welcomed the attention, it made the national news and was free advertising. After the finish of the race the monitors declared that there was no mistreatment of the horses, but that some human rights group might monitor the treatment of the riders because of the punishment they took in the 5 minute race! I have taught most of the winners over the past 40 years and I've always thought it strange that they showed no sign of mental illness in the classroom, but anyone who would race down that steep hill (over 1000 vertical feet in less than a mile) MUST be crazy! People love it and they line the course to watch. Oh yes, I almost forgot, the race is started with a dynamite blast from the top of the hill. You see the smoke of the explosion several seconds before you hear the blast. In years past the explosives expert who started the race with a blast would also wake the entire town at 6 AM on the fourth with another blast in his yard. No one complained.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fourth of July -- Late

Yesterday was the 4th of July in our little town and it opened 4 days of celebration for all. They hold a rodeo for 4 days over the 4th. It is held at night because it is often very hot during the day. We live almost a mile from the rodeo grounds but we can usually hear the rodeo announcer through our open windows. This year they have a new announcer and we can't hear him, he isn't nearly as loud as the former announcer. Thank you, Lord. We also have a big parade on the Fourth and it always starts in front of our house. This year they reversed the route and it ended in front of our house. I kind of liked it this way, the horses were pooped out, literally! In years past we would have a lot of horse manure in the street. It only takes a day or two for the odor to become quite noxious. The parade was great and several of the floats brought a tear to my eye because they memorialized a friend who died a little over a year ago. She was well loved by the community for her many civic activities. Her husband was the Grand Marshall and I'm sure she was right beside Tom in the horse drawn carriage. So, a belated Fourth and a belated farewell to Rosemary, we all miss you.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Trucking

If you have been reading my posts you will know that I am learning to dispatch long haul truckers with their loads. Today was my first being on my own, but I did have moral support from my bosses. Tomorrow I will be working without a net. I will be all alone at my computer. I have only one truck that I will find a load for in the morning. Then I will work on loads after the weekend.

There is never a dull moment in a trucking company...Monday, while we were trying to get a truck out of Moses Lake, Washington with an over size load, things came undone. the boss got a call saying that one of our steadiest drivers was in jail in Texas. It is illegal to carry a gun in a commercial truck even if you have a concealed weapon permit and it seems that when he opened his door the gun was in plain sight and some of the workers at the plant got nervous and called the cops. They came forthwith and placed our driver under arrest and hauled him off to the poky. They placed a 48 hour hold on him and he got out on bail last night. He still has to appear in court for the final adjudication in the matter. Needless to say, we screwed up on the permits we were trying to get.

Pray for me.

Monday, June 23, 2008

49 Years


Friday was our 49th anniversary, something I find amazing. We were both too young,(she 18, me 19) we couldn't afford it, (she just out of high school, me an unemployed college student), and a wedding would ultimately result in my leaving college. She did only go a short time, but I finished college and later got my master's degree. She did child care for a number of years and then became a self taught bookkeeper, a job she has always loved. We have both been active in our church and in community affairs. We have 2 great kids who are each great in their fields of endeavor, and I think that each is doing what they enjoy in their area of work. We are both healthy relatively speaking. As I reflect on the past 49 years, I think they have been very good years. and they just keep getting better. Thanks Jean, I wouldn't change a thing...Here's to 49 more.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tired not Retired

This has been a busy week for me. Jean found out Sunday that the guy who was dispatching for the trucking company was leaving. He has a wealth of knowledge of the trucking business and felt he couldn't refuse a salary twice his current amount. I volunteered to learn the dispatching business and fill in until the right dispatcher was found. Alan has been great as a teacher. He allowed me one day to observe, one day to learn the software, and then put me to work with him acting as back-up. I know that I won't live long enough to amass the knowledge that Alan has, but I think that by the time he leaves I'll be able to get by. I just got used to staying up late and getting up at 7 and then a good nap after lunch. This morning we were up and working by 7 AM. I'm going to have to get to bed earlier, or I won't last another week.

It is fun to take on a challenge and make it. My brain is sure getting a workout. Do you have some freight you want moved? Call me at Schatzie Trucklines, Inc.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hunting with Pa

After I wrote my bit about my father for Father's Day I called up some stuff about how my dad hunted before and after he lost his leg. Apparently Pa was the meat gatherer for a fair portion of the mill workers families during the Depression. According to Pa he had killed 149 deer prior to WW II. That would be over a period of 10 to 12 years. I guess folks would tell him they were out of meat and a few days later he would deliver a dressed out deer. He once told me that he usually shot barren does and avoided those with fawns. After the war Pa lost his leg well above the knee in a logging accident and was fitted with an artificial leg that was held on by straps and a waist belt. He soon found that he couldn't walk on rough ground with his prosthesis because the toe would hook on brush and rocks and the knee wouldn't lock and he would fall on his face. Some guys in the Carpentry Class at OTI built him a peg leg to wear while hunting. Unfortunately the peg would sink into soft sandy soil and occasionally sink into a gopher hole and go clear to the basket for his stump. When that occurred he would have to unstrap the leg, balance on his good leg and pull the peg leg out of the ground. My brothers and I became Pa's gun bearers and he switched to clamp on crutches for hunting. As we aged and got old enough to hunt by ourselves the next son would take over the job of gun bearer. I recall that when it became my turn to pack Pa's gun I was really excited. I knew that he would teach me how to hunt. And he did. The hard part was after he had made a kill I got to pack the deer to the road, and failing that, go find one of my older brothers to help with the pack. After we had all become hunters on our own Pa continued to hunt by himself. He rigged a sling for and old model 94 Winchester 30 30 and wrapped 50 ft of rope around his waist. When he made a kill he would tie the rope to the deer's hind legs and walk to the end of the rope and pull the deer to him. Then repeat the process over and over until he reached the road. When I moved to Vale, a pheasant hunting mecca, he and Ma came over to visit and go hunting birds. We put him on the end of a corn field and drove the birds to him. When I came out of the corn he pointed out where the birds had fallen. He said that he could have gotten more except that every time he fired the shotgun recoil would knock him over. He was standing on his one good leg and the crutches were hanging from him forearms as he swung on the bird. He didn't miss a shot. His last deer hunt was a year or two before he died. My brothers and I were all married and living far from home, so he hooked up with a local rancher to hunt on his ground. They put him on a stand and drove the deer toward him from horse back. The only problem was that the deer didn't go where the riders thought they would and they went down the other side of the canyon. No problem, he killed both of the bucks that he saw. The rancher paced off the distances of the shots...one was 450 yards and the other was 600 yards. Pa was a pretty good shot.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

My father has been dead for 40 years, but I still have vivid memories of him. Some are good, and some are bad, for he was, as we all are, human. I have long ago forgiven him for what were the bad times for me. I loved my dad, but I don't ever remember telling him so. That wasn't done in my family, emotions were, for the most part, held in. When emotion did show its face, it was generally anger, and I am sorry for that. I wish I could have said, "I love you, Pa", certainly more than I did, if ever. My brothers and I are better at showing our emotions to one another, but not much. I fortunately married into a family that was good at telling each other they cared, and I think my wife was the best. So, our children are very open about telling us that they love us. It's interesting that we know that the love is there, but it feels so good to hear it said. There never was a time that I felt that Pa didn't love me even though I didn't hear him say it. I got many things from my dad, his love of working with wood, his liberal politics, his sense of fair play, how to hunt and shoot, how to fish, how to build things, how to stand up for the little guy, honesty (except following the fish and game laws). I would have to say that I reared my own kids much the same as my dad did for me. I know that after he lost a leg in a logging accident he was always in pain, and so he self medicated with beer. That changed him and the family too, in ways that we probably never realized. I can still remember going on a road trip listening to Pa sing some of the old cowboy songs or recite a Robert Service poem. According to my oldest brother, Pa had a voice similar to Gene Austin. And, he was a fool for his grandchildren. Happy Father's Day, Pa. Love, Dan

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

People Will Say We're In Love

This video is a little strange, uses new shots from the present time, but the music is great. I may drive some of you crazy with my new found music machine, but it's the only way to hear some of the great oldies. I even found some Red Sovine tear jerkers.

I Love You Tube

When I was much younger I had an album titled "Powerhouse Dance Party" by Grady Martin and the Slew Foot Five. I wore it out playing it and have never been able to find a modern (CD) copy. Found this today on You Tube. I am so happy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Somewhere Over The Rainbow -- IZ

I thought no one could surpass Judy Garland on this song, but IZ made it his own song. Here are both Judy and IZ, you decide.




Monday, June 9, 2008

This is for Emery

Here's one for you Bro! Enjoy!

Ella



I'm trying this out to see if I can embed an Ella Fitzgerald video here.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

November Elections

Well, the Democrats have finally come up with a probable nominee for President. Now we all have to get together and support Barak Obama in his bid to become the first Black President. I heard on PBS this past winter a black man quoting his mother who said "it will be harder for a female to be elected than a Black man". It looks as though she was right. Now I hope that the Democrats don't screw it up and lose to McCain. When that long list of possible Demo candidates came out last fall I thought at the time that I hoped that someone other than Hillary or Obama was nominated because I felt that they were both unelectable. I still have that fear, it seems that they both have a lot to attack, and attack the Republicans will. I think that maybe I was wrong. There seems to be a lot of support for Obama and Hillary. I have been getting e-mails asking me to get behind Obama and get him elected. I'll do what I can, but I don't see many folks in Malheur County voting for a man of color for president.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Fall

Summer was pretty short this year. Sunday, June 1, was the last day of summer. Fall set in on Monday and is still around, but I suspect winter will soon be here. The weather folks are talking about snow in the mountains this weekend, so fall is on the way out. Hopefully, we will have a couple of more summers before November.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Logging in Oregon

I have become a follower of "Ax Men" on the History Channel. It is a reality show following 4 logging outfits in the Northwest corner of Oregon. They are logging in the Coast Range Mountains which aren't terribly high, but are very steep. This is the land of the clear cut, made necessary by the method used and the steepness of the terrain. The TV narrator tries to talk it up as very dangerous and it seems that sometimes they ask the loggers to do things that aren't done much (if ever) any more, such as topping a tree. In the old days they did pick a big tall tree at the top of the mountain and top it to use as a spar tree. Today's loggers use movable spar trees called yarders, but they had a guy climb a tree and top it like they did in the past. I suspect that the TV crews do a lot to make the job dangerous. I do know that danger lurks in logging, my dad lost a leg logging in the coast range in 1946.

They got more than they bargained for when the December hurricane? hit the very area where they were logging. The show did a great job of showing the devastation in and around Vernonia, which suffered heavy flooding. I am somewhat familiar with the area and until this show didn't see much footage of the flooding since we live 400 miles to the east in the desert. This was the second 100 year flood in the past 12 years for that area, and many people were wiped out. We spend a lot of time praying for the victims of natural disasters around the world. I suppose that Global Warming has nothing to do with that. yeah, sure.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Springtime in Malheur Country

This spring weather has been rather cool here this year. It reminds me of the spring of 1969 when we moved into our new (to us) home. It was cool and rainy right up to the Fourth of July. Poor Jean, the oil furnace in the house didn't work and she couldn't get a fire going in the fireplace. I was off to the University of Oregon working on my Master's Degree while she stayed home with the kids. She called me one day and asked if it would work if she put gasoline on the wood in the fireplace to get it started. I told her not to do that and came home the next weekend to see if I could get the fireplace to work. It only needed some dry wood and the damper open and it worked fine. Of course, the weather turned hot and she didn't need the fireplace. This year isn't quite as cold as that year, and of course, we have a gas furnace and a well insulated house so we don't have any worries about the cool weather.

At least this spring the wind blew so hard that all the Elm seeds came off the trees in one day and blew away. There are little snow drifts of Elm seeds against the fences and buildings. Generally we have those pesky little seeds blowing around for weeks.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008




You Passed 8th Grade US History





Ted Kennedy

I heard that Senator Ted Kennedy has been diagnosed with brain cancer today on NPR. Senator Kennedy has served in the Senate for nearly 46 years. While he has been guilty of some indiscretions over the years, his has been a powerful voice for the Democrats and for the country. He has been reviled by the Republicans over the years for his stands for the people of the country, but he has continued to work tirelessly for his beliefs. If he has to leave the Senate, he will be sorely missed. His ability to work with the opposition to attain the best possible outcome will be hard to replace. So, thanks Ted, you did your best.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Democratic Party

I heard something on NPR today that made my blood run cold. As a life long Democrat I was shocked to hear the Junior Senator from Virginia describe himself as a Reagan Democrat! Senator Jim Webb was elected to the Senate in 2006, and apparently is being touted as a Vice President for the Democratic nominee for President. He was on the cover of Parade magazine last Sunday and Teri Gross was interviewing him today. When that happens you know that his candidacy is being run up the flagpole. But a Reagan Democrat! Never! Ronald Reagan did more damage to the Democratic Party than Nixon did to the Republicans. If the Democrats even think about having a Reagan Democrat (whatever in the hell that is), then the party has given up. We will have one party, with the only difference being what they believe about abortion. My Republican friends say they are Republicans because they want a smaller government. They have bought into the lie that Republicans mean less government. We have lost more civil rights during the reign of King George II than the penultimate Democrat FDR ever thought about. People have also bought into the lie that the Democrats are the tax and spend liberals, while the Republicans are fiscally conservative and reduce taxes. Reagan and Bush II increased the national debt a thousand times more than FDR did while fighting a world war and a depression at the same time. They did decrease taxes, for the wealthy, while building up a debt that our grandchildren will have difficulty paying. Reagan has been celebrated for the fall of communist Russia, but that happened only because they went bankrupt before we did. Now King George II has sold the US to China. We will be the next to fall, and our grandkids will be speaking Chinese and there will be a Republican puppet in the White House.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Spring has Sprung

For the first time this year, the temperature has reached 90. I was able to wear shorts for the 5th time this year, two of them in February. This has been a weird weather year. Not as much snow as some years in the past, nor did as cold as earlier years. When we were living in the duplex (early 60's)with single paned windows and no insulation the temp hit 30 below 0 on a regular basis. The windows were often coated with a thick glaze of ice, on the inside. We only got to 2 below this winter and people were complaining about the bitter cold. Compared to the last 10 years it was colder and snowier this year, but was still above the overall average. I did hear some say that this winter proved that Global Warming was a made up crisis. Funny that King George II could recognize a made up crisis. It's because of all the nooculeyar bombs used in Iraq Dubya.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Energy Conservation

There has been a lot said about leaving your computer on all the time and wasting energy. It seems like they are saying that leaving computers on is wasting enough energy to power 50000 homes. I'm having trouble with that, the power draw of a computer and peripherals turned on probably draws less than 5 amps total. 5 amps at 110 volts isn't very many watts, certainly less than a 20 watt fluorescent light left on all night. I'm wondering if this is another ploy by King George II to take pressure off the Iraq war. Remember when he said that we should unplug all the cell phone chargers to save energy? I totaled all the energy used when charging and it came to less that 5 watts. Leakage from an unconnected charger really can't be very much, but it shifted the focus from MWD to energy savings. This from the guy who refused to sign the Kyoto Protocols.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Rising Prices

If you have been to the store lately, you will agree that gasoline is not the only thing that is increasing in price. In my dumber days, last year, I opined that perhaps we should have $4/ gallon gasoline. My reasoning was that the owners of gas hogs would get the idea and get rid of them and buy a gas friendly vehicle. That was when I was before my brains came in. Those who own gas hogs can afford the higher gas prices, and although they may complain about the price, they will pay it. As usual, the ones who take it in the shorts are those with low incomes and fixed incomes. Now, they have to choose between food, fuel, and medicine. The high fuel prices also lead to higher prices for all consumer goods. The truckers who drive for my wife's company are now paying $.85 per mile for fuel alone. Add to that insurance, taxes, license plates and truck payments. Some shippers are offering only $1/mile for their freight. Those truckers who have to take such loads are losing money. Remember when they tried to sell us on diesel powered vehicles? The price was lower than gas and you got better mileage. Now, diesel is running about $.50/gal higher than gas. That boost in prices is reflected in the rise in consumer prices. Gee, why don't we give the wealthy another tax cut.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Gasoline Prices

I had a crazy thought the other day. I got to thinking about the fact that gasoline prices are going up because the price of crude oil is going up on the commodities market. I'm not very well versed in the whys and wherefores of the market, but as I understand it a buyer will bid on a commodity, in this case crude oil, for delivery at some future date. Then the folks who need the commodity will pay the bidders the price and take delivery of the commodity (oil) and put it to use, i.e. refine it. The original buyers may not even see the oil or actually have it in their possession, rather they have a piece of paper that says they own it. If the value has decreased, then they must make up the shortfall when they sell it. All well and good, but this is what puzzles me. Most of the crude oil available for refining comes from the companies that drilled for it and pumped it out of the ground. Those companies are the oil companies in partnership with the countries where the oil is found. So, does this mean that the oil companies sell the crude oil on the commodities market to some broker and then buy it back from him at a later date? If the oil company owns the oil to begin with why would they sell it only to buy it back at a later date? Or are they the brokers too? Do they sell it to themselves and then buy it back from themselves in order to refine it? Just asking...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Flag Wavers

As my wife and I were driving back from Canyon City today, she made a comment about those who wave the flag at every opportunity. Her question (& mine) is how many of those who claim to be so patriotic and support King George II in all his endeavors do you suppose cheat on their taxes? While we're talking about flag wavers, can't somebody please teach them about flag etiquette. I see so many American flags flying all the time, rain, snow, daytime, night time, and in some many states of disrepair that I just want to shake their owners. If they are so damned patriotic at least learn how the flag is to be treated. I put mine up for Flag Day and the 4th of July and other holidays that seem to call for a respectful display of our country's colors and put it away the rest of the time.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Elections

Being a dyed in the wool Democrat I am counting on a Dem victory this fall. So, you can imagine my consternation when I heard that the latest polls show a dead even race between McCain and either Clinton or Obama. I can see 2004 all over again. If the Democrats manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory this year I think I will give up the Democratic Party and form my own. I think it should be called the Liberal Christian Democrats. Let people know that we're still out here and we are mad as hell and we ain't gonna take it any more. I will call for universal health care with all medical care professionals working for the government at a fair but honest wage. Say what you will about socialized medicine, it works! We will also call for an end to corporate welfare and special tax breaks for the wealthy. I could go on but I think you get the picture. When one Democratic candidate calls another a liberal as though it were something bad, we have lost the party. Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson must be spinning in their graves. I also resent the religious right thinking that they have a hold on righteousness. They are the Pharisees, thinking that their brand of piousness is the only one. We liberals believe that all are created equal and that our charge is to see that all(any color,any race, any creed, any sexual orientation, indeed all) receive fair treatment.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Making Sawdust

I've been building a linen closet for my neighbor. It's 7 ft. tall, 4 ft. wide and 18 inches deep. Her first choice was to build it out of Birch plywood, but when she found the Birch costs $68 a sheet she decided that Fir plywood would be just as good. Good choice because the plan calls for 4 sheets of 3/4 inch plywood and 1 sheet of 1/4 inch ply. I hope she likes it when it's finished. It is really heavy, just like the wardrobe I made Char for Christmas. It'll take 3 strong men and a boy to pack it into her house. I have the carcase finished, now comes the face frame. I really like face frame construction and use it whenever I can. I just got a 23/32 in. router bit that works great for cutting dados for the shelves. Since 3/4 plywood is really 23/32's, the dados make a nice tight joint. A heck of a lot easier than using the dado blade on the table saw, especially with a 1/2 sheet of 3/4 ply. I haven't decided on any moulding for it, I guess I'll have to check with her to see what she wants.

As you can see, I've stopped writing about problems of the Church. I just can't expend that much energy on a subject over which I have no control. I'll let the Church leadership handle the problems. For myself, I would just as soon leave the Anglican Communion and let them continue to be homophobic. I wonder if they would turn over their child to the law if the child turned out to be Gay, or maybe they would just call in the neighbors to participate in a old fashioned stoning.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring Break

I taught high school math and science for over 40 years and our family life was fashioned around the school calendar. For years, spring break was anxiously awaited by children and parents alike. When the kids were still at home we often traveled out of town with a school group on a sports trip or a club trip to someplace across the state. After our kids were grown and out on their own, our spring break trips were to visit them. For a number of years we went to Phoenix, AZ to see the kids. For a year or two both of them lived in Phoenix. It was quite nice to leave our still cold and winter like weather and head to the Valley of the Sun. The strange thing about our Spring Break travels was that no matter where we went, the weather was bad, while the weather at home was good. If we stayed at home the opposite was true, miserable at home, great everywhere else. I've been out of education for 6 years and our schedule is no longer tied to school events. But, the pattern still holds true, if we stay home spring break the weather is bad. If we travel, the weather is bad. Not sure what to make of that.

SSSSSSSSTTT! ZOT! (Voice from the clouds) I don't know Dan, sometimes you just piss me off!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Keep on Writing

I continue to find myself at a loss for words. In oral discussion I seldom find myself without anything to say. Like most clergy I talk too much. It's funny that back when I was a layperson heavily involved in the Church I used to rant about the clergy monopolizing discussion. Now I are one! The strange thing is that the laity defer to us folks in the funny collars. They seem to think that putting on the collar somehow brings wisdom. My experience is that we are just as confused as everybody else. If you don't believe me just listen to some clergy discussing some theological point. As the old saying goes, "Opinions are are like a**holes, everybody has one."

Another stereotype about clergy is one I first heard from Charlie Congleton, the "Mayor" of Paulina, Oregon. Charlie wasn't much for religion of any type and he said. "Did you ever see a skinny preacher? They get fat on the congregation's money!" Guess what? Since I was ordained I have gained 50+ pounds, even though I have always been non-stipendiary. I guess I have to live up to the stereotype. Oh, Charlie Congleton owned a small farm (his words)(14,000 deeded acres) just outside of Paulina, pop 35. Used to go to every Democratic National Convention and have a ball. I worked for Charlie two summers on his ranch bucking bales of hay when I was in High School. But that's another story.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter

Jean and I went to Canyon City for Easter services. We had a great time, I got to do my third baptism at St. Thomas since I started going up there a year ago. We had a packed house, 67 bodies stuffed into that little church is quite a sight. I wonder what the first time visitors thought of the priest though. I enlisted the older brother of the baptizee as my acolyte to hold my prayer book as we did the actual baptism. As we were moving into position for the ceremony, he accidentally knocked the pitcher of water for the font over onto the carpet in front of the altar. That posed a problem since there is no running water in the church. I had to send next door to the parish house for more water. The rest of the baptism went fine except that little Ryland did not like to have cold water poured on his head and he screamed bloody murder. Interestly enough, when I told him I was sorry, he stopped crying.

Things went pretty after that until we started the Eucharist. That's when we discovered we didn't have enough wafers in the pyx and I had to send someone into the sacristy for more wafers. Then, after The Great Thanksgiving, as I was proceeding to the altar rail about 20 wafers slid onto the floor. My Chalice Bearer asked, "what do we do now?" I said, "pick them up." which she did and placed them on the edge of the altar. On one of my last trips back to the end of the rail, I stealthily placed them on the paten and then distributed them with the others. That way we had enough to go around. I suggested that in the future they have 2 paten when we expect a crowd. Things finished up fine, and some said they would be back. Probably one of the funniest shows in that little town.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The "Dirty" Word in Politics

I had a brief talk with my oldest brother today at the funeral of his father in law. The father in law was 97. My brother asked me who I was going to vote for in the Oregon primary. When told him I was leaning towards Hilary, he responded by saying that he was off Hilary since she had accused Obama of being a liberal. That got me to thinking about one of my pet peeves about the Democrats. They have allowed the conservatives to make liberal a pejorative term. Democrats act as though being liberal is bad! Liberal is good, and until the conservatives (which used to be a pejorative term, remember Barry Goldwater?)started acting as though progressives were the spawn of the devil, it stood for much that is good about our country. Liberals were responsible for civil rights legislation, women's suffrage, Social Security, anti-trust laws, fair working conditions and many other pieces of legislation that benefited the people of the country. Now the Dems seem to be falling all over themselves trying to be moderate. To hell with that! No wonder they have trouble getting the labor vote, they're busy courting the big bucks of the corporations. US "liberals" are so far to the right of English conservatives that it's laughable. So, Barak, instead of trying to refute Hilary, embrace liberalism. Try it, you'll like it!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

How Democratic Are You




You Are 64% Democrat



You have a good deal of donkey running through your blood, and you're proud to be liberal.

You don't fit every Democrat stereotype, but you definitely belong in the Democrat party.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Andy Rooney

I have been reading a book by Andy Rooney titled "Common Nonsense". I picked it up because I usually enjoy his bit on 60 Minutes, although I admit I haven't watched 60 Minutes for some time. I'm finding it hard reading because he is so negative. I'll admit that I have changed quite a bit in the past 20 years (thanks to my wife) and don't find sarcasm very funny any more. In our family when I was young, sarcasm was an art form used by all in the family. I liked to think that I was pretty good at it too. Now, I try to not use sarcasm because it is hurtful to the person it's used on. Andy Rooney is a master of sarcasm and negativity, and now I don't think he's very funny at all. I guess we get kinder as we age, just as we become more conservative. Well, I guess I'm not more conservative than I was. I'm still a yellow dog Democrat.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Episcopal Life

We received our copy of Episcopal Life yesterday and it seems that the people of San Joaquin are rebuilding their Diocese after the damage wrought by ex-Bishop Schofield. The folks they talked to seem to be very positive and ready to go. I think it would be interesting to know how many of the lay people followed their "leaders" in the move to the Southern Cone. It seems to me that real progress in a diocese begins at the grass roots and not from the top down. It seems to me that at General Convention the Lay Deputies are often the ones who make change happen. When the Presiding Bishop listens to the Senior House and follows their lead then real change occurs. When the people in the pews see a need for change and buy into it the Church becomes a better church.

Mind you, I am not saying that Clergy are not important, but how many times have you seen a program put forward by the Priest or the Diocese die an agonizing death? With all its pomp and hierarchy we still need people to carry out our programs.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I'm in the Thousands

My visit counter has finally reached 1000! Woohoo! Just 99 thousand more and I'll be in the big time. I won't hold my breath though. I'm not sure but I think my visits to the site get counted too, so I am probably really at 500. No, I'll claim a thousand. When I think about it I have given sermons to about the same number of people in the same amount of time. (about a year) Well, I'll leave you with a picture of Eastern Oregon.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Earmarks

I just watched Bill Moyer's Journal on PBS and was especially saddened by the piece on Congressional "earmarks". Earmarks are special spending amendments attached to spending bills that give money to specific contractors by our elected officials. According to Bill only 13 of the 535 members of Congress do NOT attach special earmarks for special interests. The fact that the recipients of these earmarks are loyal contributors to the campaigns of the members of Congress who write the spending bills seems particularly egregious. The few examples that Moyers reported on were for federal purchases of materials that were not usable or not wanted by the specific branch for which they were purchased. The legislators defended their actions by saying that the government spending was an important boost to the economy of the legislator's district.

I have often felt that the lure of power and influence always overcomes the best intentions of our elected officials. It becomes too easy to say "every body's doing it and we need to get our piece of the pie for our district". The system is so large and so well entrenched that I fear it will only get worse. The millions spent by lobbyists grease every body's hands and those who resist soon find that they must go along to get along. We always hear complaints about $6000 toilet seats in airplanes but seldom hear about the billions spent by the government for a powerful congress person's earmarks. People complain about the money spent on welfare but are unaware of the welfare payments handed out special interests. Earmarks in the defense budget alone are more that the entire federal welfare budget. The next time you hear a businessman complain about the welfare cheats ask him how he feels about earmarks for his particular industry. They all get money.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Profile

Well, after trying for months I finally have my picture posted in my profile. I don't have many pictures of myself because I am usually the one taking the pictures. Like most people I am not very pleased with my picture, it shows what I really look like and not what I think I look like. Reality is sometimes a bitter pill to swallow. I don't like my voice much either, it's not at all what I hear. I guess there's not much I can do about my picture or voice, I have to live with what God and my stomach gave me. Well, at least small children don't run from me screaming.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Blogosphere

It's hard to believe that it's been a year since I started Musing in the Sawdust, but it's been fun and really harder than I expected. I ran out of rants fairly early on, and I now find it difficult to get indignant about much of anything. I suppose that my senior citizen status has helped me to realize that it doesn't do a whole lot of good to rant and rave about perceived injustices. I find that reading other blogs makes me realize that I need to be a better writer if I want to have a readership. I have already decided that it would probably be foolish to try to publish my autobiography, as interesting as I feel it is. I guess you had to be there to see the humor in the stuff I've written about in my memoirs.

I do have a rant though. A bill recently adopted by the State of Oregon gives same sex couples most of the rights enjoyed by married heterosexuals. It is called a Domestic Partnership here in Oregon, but it's much the same as the Civil Union in Vermont. Couples need to register with their County Clerk to be covered by the legislation and would need to do much the same as a divorce to dissolve their union. It is a great step forward in a state that passed a referendum by over 65% that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. In the February 10th Sunday Oregonian there was an Op-Ed piece written by Marylin Shannon, a former Republican Legislator, claiming that the will of the people had been thwarted by this new Bill. She complained that Domestic Partners were being given special rights, hospital visitation, shared health insurance, in general all those rights given married couples. She then ended her piece by saying that she was upset that she had lost so many of her rights, as though giving others the same rights as she has diminishes her own. In my humble opinion, she did lose some rights; the "right" to denounce others as immoral, the "right" to encourage hate crimes against LGBT persons, the "right" to set herself up as judge and jury against those who may be different from her...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday

I have spent more time than I care to admit in watching the results from "Super Tuesday" voting. It is somewhat amusing to hear the pundits talking about the various candidates. I have this feeling that they don't know much about the voting public. It is nice to think that maybe the voters can make their own decisions without being swayed by the news people. The pundits talk endlessly about all sorts of stuff and say nothing. What a waste of time!

I am surprised (sorta) that Huckabee is doing so well. He has proposed an amendment to the Constitution stating that this is a Christian country and advocates doing away with the income tax and putting a 10% federal sales tax in place. It is unbelievable that so many people would be in favor of either proposal. I guess the next thing would be requiring teaching creationism in all public schools.

I just hope that whomever the Democrats nominate is someone who can win the general election. Then we won't have to worry about an American Theocracy that could be just as restrictive as the Afghan Taliban.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Reagan :Legacy

I see that the Republican candidates for president all claim to be cut in the Reagan mold. They seem to think that is a good thing. Considering that Reagan doubled the national debt trying to follow a discredited economic theory (supply side economics, the trickle down theory). GW is trying to follow in Ronnie's footsteps and has doubled the national debt again. When are people going to understand that you can't cut taxes and increase spending and have a balanced budget. We can't support a major war effort and cut taxes. You can't have both ways. At least the "Tax and spend" Democrats are honest about it. You want to buy something, you have to pay for it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Exercising Restraint

I haven't thought of a title for this yet, it's just random thoughts running through my feeble brain while struggling on the exercise machine in my shop. I need the exercise to keep from getting so fat that I can't walk, but after over two years of using it, it still takes a certain amount of will power to get to it. I exercise before breakfast so that I don't have problems with food in my stomach. I'm not sure if a full stomach intrudes on exercise or not, but I do know that when I was able to jog I could not do it on a full stomach. One of my problems with the exercise is that I haven't lost any weight. I am still just as heavy as I ever was. I suspect that much of the problem is due to the fact that I have an incurable sweet tooth. Try as I might, I cannot keep myself from eating sweets, especially chocolate. I tell myself that I can't live forever and that I ought to be able to enjoy what I have left. That's pi** poor reasoning. When I take the time to really think about it, I am sure that my love affair with sweets is sinful. I indulge myself without thought of others and that's not good for anyone especially one who calls himself a Priest. I was taught that a good Episcopalian exercised moderation in all things, and that includes food.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Endorsements

It seems to be the latest fad for celebrities. Each of the presidential candidates has their very own celebrity to endorse them. Barbra Streisand is one of the biggies and this time she's endorsing Hillary. Not to be outdone, Obama now has an even bigger biggie, (no pun intended)Oprah!. I'm not sure who Edwards has attracted, but I'm sure he has at least one. Then, there's Mike Huckabee who has garnered two semi biggies, Rick Flair and Chuck Norris. To quote my wife, "what's a Rick Flair?" I would say Huckabee's two don't equal Clinton's one. I know that many other Hollywood (and elsewhere) celebrities have endorsed one candidate or another, I just lost track. Just what does an endorsement from a pro wrestler count for? Do all of the wrestling fans feel compelled to vote for his pick? Does everyone who enjoyed the movie "Hello Dolly" (all ten of us)have to vote the Clinton ticket? It would be interesting for some graduate student to do their thesis on how much an endorsement helps. After all, it is a tried and true advertising gimmick. How many of us got started smoking Marlboros to be like the Marlboro Man?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Civility

I read a number of Blogs and belong to one group that maintains a list serve for the group. I suspect that others have noticed the lack of civility on the part of some posters, be they blog comments or comments on the list serve. I am continually amazed by the rudeness of many of the writers. I guess it is because the writers are anonymous and will never confront the person they are slamming in the flesh. It seems to me to be the older posters and perhaps some of the religious right who are guilty of such blatant rudeness. On the list serve group that I read, (I rarely post) last week one of the members wrote about the good deal he got on some objects at a rummage sale to benefit a person who needed to make their home wheelchair accessible. The items were marked with a low price and when he went to pay for them the cashier noted that they were way under priced and asked the buyer if he would be willing to pay a more reasonable price for them. He said in his post that he refused to citing the lack of research as to the real cost. He said that it was their bad luck and his good fortune and they were SOL. He seemed to be bragging about his buy and that hit a nerve. He was called every name in the book by the other posters based solely on his story. While I am normally a peaceable person, I fear that were someone to call me some of the things this guy was called they would have a fight on their hands. And, while youth and ability are useful in a fight, old age and treachery wins out every time.

I also think that some of this lack of civility can be traced to our politicians and church members. We seem to be so polarized today that it has become nearly impossible to discuss differences in a calm and rational way. If I don't have the same politics as you, I am a traitor to our country and our "American" way of life. If my faith community is different from yours you feel that you have the right to call me a heretic. In another blog, the author blames most of the harm done to Gays on the church establishment because of the things the church has said about homosexuals. While that may be a little simplistic, I think he's on the right track. When the church says that homosexuality is a sin and that homosexuals will burn in hell, it gives all the haters license to persecute homosexuals. The same has been true about many of the minority groups in our society. At one time or another the church has slandered Blacks, Women, Jews, Hispanics, Catholics (or Protestants) and many other minorities. And after all, if the church says its so, it must be so.

It's time for us all to remember to love our neighbor as ourself. And watch our mouth!

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Oregon Trail


This is a picture of the Oregon Trail taken near Farewell Bend on the Snake River near the Oregon - Idaho border. What you see in the picture is a swale in the ground which is the path that most of the wagons followed as they moved from Vale, Oregon to their last look at the Snake River before going overland to the Columbia River. This site is about 35 miles from Vale and the Malheur River and crossed the high desert country between the Malheur and the Snake. The water between these two rivers is scarce and alkaline, which made the two to three day trek hard on both the animals and the pioneers. There are a number of known graves in this part of the trail, people who just couldn't make it.