August 29, 2007

From the 2007 "John Edwards Mystery Tour"

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards told a labor group he would ask Americans to make a big sacrifice: their sport utility vehicles... Edwards says Americans should be asked to drive more fuel efficient vehicles. He says he would ask them to give up SUVs.

We are all numb to the hypocrisy factor in Mr Edwards by now so for him to ask me to give up the Ram Tough Dodge 4X4 climate heating heathen is to be expected, but it gets better.

Edwards got a standing ovation when he said weapons and equipment used by America's military needs to be made in the United States. He says "tanks and ammunition for M16 rifles are being made in other countries."

Having spent the last four years in Iowa has made the guy a little cornfused.

From Global Security "The Lima Army Tank Plant (LATP) manufactures the M-1 Abrams tank. The Tank Plant is a government-owned, contractor-operated (GOCO) facility, run presently by General Dynamics...The Lima facility is also projected to produce 465 Heavy Assault Bridges...Production of a new light-armored military vehicle should increase the work force at the Lima Army Tank Plant by the end of 2001, and employment levels should exceed 600 workers.

No John, that isn't Lima as in Peru, it is in fact Lima as in OHIO.

General Dynamics and others also are involved in supplying the ammunition needs of the military.
"The military is in no danger of running out because it gets the overwhelming majority of its ammunition from a dedicated plant outside Kansas City." (MyWayNews)

August 28, 2007

Pepper Jack Update

As I mentioned previously, we are now the owners of a deaf Jack Russel Terrier. As you can see from the picture Pepper has settled in and made herself right at home. She is a lovable little pup, constantly under foot and has started to show some of the intelligence of the Jack Russel. We hung a bell on the back door and in a matter of days she was ringing it with regularity to go outside. I would say we are having a 90% success rate in the house breaking department. She is very tolerant of our daughter (unless chewing up every toy that is left at her level is some display of passive aggresive behavior) and she is submissive to our big dog. So far so good.

Back To School

Back to School... It's time to leave the summer fun behind and hit the books. School began on Monday and the adjustments to the U will be interesting. Most notable is the size. Where I had became comfortable dashing a hundred yards between classes at Tall Corn College and Technical Institute, distances are now measured in blocks. Class sizes that were in the low thirties are now measured in hundreds. Today there were few students on campus as I made my way from parking to my first class at 8:30. By 9:30 the place had come alive and from the air it must look like thousands of ants scurrying helter skelter from one hole to another. From a park bench along the banks of the Iowa River you can see the towers at the University Hospital (pictured), I doubt that they are ivory but the Gothic architecture certainly leaves that impression.

August 27, 2007

Flotsam and Jetsam: Nature Running Wild

Note to Al, Its the ungulates stupid.
Norway's Moose Population in Trouble for Belching.
"Norwegian newspapers, citing research from Norway's technical university, said a motorist would have to drive 13,000 kilometers in a car to emit as much CO2 as a moose does in a year."

With four million moose worldwide this is a serious threat, and that doesn't even count the moose's cousin the elk. Something must be done. As former Alaska Governor Wally Hickle once said. "We just can't let nature run wild!" World's Costliest Ham Triggers Pork Envy

This story has been floating around the Internet for some time evidently and finally found its way to may inbox.
From the San Francisco Chronicle: Daring rescue of whale off Farallones; "Humpback nuzzled her saviors in thanks after they untangled her from crab lines," diver says. Anthropomorphism perhaps?

Cool Science: "Scientists hail ‘frozen smoke’ as material that will change world"

August 24, 2007

Michael Vick's Punishment

As Michael Vick moves closer to accepting a plea bargain that will salvage his multi million dollar income, the dogs that he used and abused are moving closer to getting the needle. The judge in this case should step in and save these animals.

As reparation, Michael Vick should be required to maintain these animals for the rest of their natural lives. He should be required to build a kennel facility akin to a doggy Hilton, staffed by Vick and a full time staff of animal care professionals. Paid for by Vick, personally writing a check on a monthly basis, underwriting all expenses of the operation. The youngest of the dogs should live a life of luxury for the next ten or twelve years and every time he cleans up a kennel he can reminisce about his glory days as dog fight promoter.

Enough has been written about the psychopathic hip hop gangster sub culture that Vick is a part of. Comedian Bill Cosby has pointed out the absurdity of the inner city lifestyle for some time now. But neither Cosby or any of the leaders of the black community are offering any concrete solutions to transform the primitive mindset that leads to people like Vick.

Update: I just read that Vick will not have to admit to wrongdoing when he makes his plea. This wouldnt happen if D.A. Jack McCoy were there. Every scumbag makes an alocution when Jack and the babe are on the case.

August 23, 2007

History Channel special “9/11 Conspiracies: Fact or Fiction.”

"I'd like to be able to say that everything we're saying is backed up by fact."

-Dylan Avery- “Loose Change.”

I just finished watching the History Channel special “9/11 Conspiracies: Fact or Fiction.” and what surprises me most is the angry vehemence of the people that are so certain that they know, “The Truth”.
I have met a variety of these people over the years. Those that believed that the “X Files” was a documentary, each one sure that they knew the truth about, (insert your favorite conspiracy here.) and if I wasn’t so blind I would see it too. But those believers were generally loners or passed their little discoveries about the truth around their tight knit little community. The internet has changed all that and has made it possible for everyone to be a historian and develop a narrative of what happened on that September morning.

What they fail to realize is they are not historians. Historians compile evidence from primary sources in its complete and original context in a logical manner to reach conclusions that are verifiable by others to build a narrative of events. The Truthers, on the other hand build a narrative and then fill it with whatever evidence best fits. Mr. Avery illustrates this when during the re-edit for Loose Change 2. “We took the good parts from “Loose Change” then we put in some other things” Avery says chuckling.

As another of the Truthers put it "There is in my opinion, substantial evidence, that suggests..." This type of logic is rampant in a philosophy that is selling opinions packaged as proof by people that are not even qualified to decifer what the evidence is telling them.

The show did an excellent job of point by point refuting each argument using experts and witnesses. It also gave good insight into how and why these beliefs are formed. Catch it on the repeats Sat and Sun.

· Video. If you don’t have two hours, you can watch Penn and Teller debunk some of the loonier loons of the Truth Movement.
· Skeptic Magazine

August 22, 2007

A Little Outrage Please.

USA Today; "Drunken driving deaths up in 22 states".

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released data showing there were 13,470 deaths in 2006 involving drivers and motorcycle operators with blood alcohol levels of .08 or higher, which is the legal limit for adults throughout the country. The number was down slightly from 2005, when 13,582 people died in crashes involving legally drunk drivers...Among states, Arizona, Kansas and Texas had the greatest increases in number of drunken driving deaths last year. But Utah, Kansas and Iowa had the largest percentage increases compared with 2005.

At the same time there are some that are pushing to lower the drinking age back to 18.

Over the strong objection of federal safety officials, a quiet movement to lower the legal drinking age to 18 is taking root as advocates argue that teenagers who are allowed to vote and fight for their country should also be able to enjoy a beer or two.

If that isn't like deja-vu all over again. Those are the same recycled arguments that were used in the 1970's. At the height of an unpopular war, not only couldn't you drink at 18 but you could be drafted into the military and you didn't even have the power to vote the bastards out of office. In 1971 the 26th Amendment to the Constitution granting the right to vote at 18 was passed. By 1973 the draft was ended and states around the country began to lower the drinking age. In Iowa it was done incrementally, first lowered to 19 then the following year to 18. Although at 16 I didn't know anyone 21 that would buy us alcohol it wasn't hard to find a willing accomplice that was 19. By 17 me and most of my high school class were getting into several local bars no questions asked.
Then a funny thing happened, somebody noticed that teenagers were killing themselves in disproportionate numbers compared to the rest of the drunk population. Common sense prevailed and the age was raised to 21 although some would argue the change was coerced by the feds.

I would agree that if you are old enough to fight for your country you should be able to have a beer. But only if you are actually willing to fight, therefore those possessing a military ID should be able to purchase alcohol, but lets not go back to the 70's. There also needs to be a renewed zero tolerance for DUI.
Why 21?

August 21, 2007

Flotsam and Jetsam: Survivor

It is recommended that you fill your bathtub in case of an emergency so that you and yours have a ready supply of emergency water. Heaven forbid you actually have to use it. This product removes the yuck factor.

"The WaterBOB™ is a water containment system that holds up to 100 gallons of fresh drinking water in any standard bathtub in the event of an emergency. Constructed of heavy duty food grade plastic, the waterBOB™ keeps water fresh and clean for drinking, cooking, washing and flushing. Water stored in an open bathtub, with dirt, soap film and exposure to debris will spoil and become useless."

Its all fun and games until someone looses an eye.

August 19, 2007

Flotsam and Jetsam

'Hundreds pose naked on shrinking Swiss glacier'
"Glaciers are sensitive to climate change and have been receding since the start of the industrial age but the pace of shrinkage has accelerated in recent years."
I'll bet that when your standing naked on a glacier the ice isn't the only thing that is experiencing shrinkage. BRRRR!

'We have broken speed of light' "A pair of German physicists claim to have broken the speed of light - an achievement that would undermine our entire understanding of space and time."

I have written in the past for the need to be prepared. Whether for a natural disaster, terrorist event, or for the evacuation when the local reactor melts down. The people at Popular Mechanics have assembled a comprehensive survival check list. PDF

Wearing your anatomy on your skin: the anatomy tattoo gallery

Chet Culver for President?

From the Chicago Trib. "What a relief. Iowa Gov. Chet Culver appears to have calmed a looming war between the states. The dispute has nothing to do with slavery, tariffs or interstate commerce. It concerns which states get to brag about being "first" in some fashion or other in the presidential nominating calendar...Fortunately, the idea of caucusing with Santa underwhelmed Culver, a Democrat displaying White House-quality leadership in a moment of national crisis."

Lets come back to reality for a moment. Chet Culver is by no means the next Harold Hughes. The list of accomplishments that Culver can claim since taking office this year are pretty thin as I mentioned here. The push to kill the states "Right to Work" law fortunately found underwhelming support and went down to defeat and despite his campaign promises not to make a deal with the touch play operators the state recently agreed to pay "Kum and Go" $1.6 million. Culver of course was quick to distance himself from the decision, setting a precedent for the remainder of the pending suits and adding credence to Jim Nussles campaign accusation that an agreement had been made between Culver and the operators.
If this is the Tribs idea of White House quality leadership they have set the bar pretty low. I would just ask the Trib to refrain from linking the terms Culver and President in the same article for the same reason a zoo asks "please don't feed the animals".

August 18, 2007

The Americans with No Abilities Act.

Humour at its best, from Maggies Farm.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: AMERICANS WITH NO ABILITIES ACT (AWNAA) - A CONGRESSIONAL ACT. WASHINGTON, DC (AP). Congress is considering sweeping legislation, which provides new benefits for many Americans. AWNAA is being hailed as a major legislation by advocates of the millions of Americans who lack any real skills, ambition, common sense, reliability, or the ability to work effectively with others.

Finally relief for the likes of me and my ilk.

August 17, 2007

News From the North Country

The Anchorage Daily News has a large collection of reader submitted photographs, like the one here, highlighting the beauty of Alaska. Makes a guy a little home sick. This shot is overlooking Kachamack Bay with the end of the Homer Spit jutting into the bay.

The Air Force has deployed its first F22 Raptors to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage this week replacing the bases F15 Eagles. Story Here.

For the critics of this advanced fighter I would contend that the world will continue to be a dangerous place for the foreseeable future. With threats from powers old and new.
It makes Congressman Kucinich's idea of "strength through peace" seem more than silly in this dangerous world.

August 16, 2007

Harking Bringing Home the Bacon: Part II

After I reported on the earmarks Senator Harkin attached to the 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill (Senator Harkin, Bringing Home the Bacon), which included several million for the Senators constituents outside of Iowa and the even more troubling $500,000 for the political group 'The National Council of LaRaza', I contacted the senator for an explanation. Surprisingly, I received a reply from the Senator. Obviously just a form letter but I will post it in part none the less.

Dear Scott:

Thank you for contacting me. I am always glad to hear from you. I appreciate your interest in important health, education, and workforce programs funded by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education, which I Chair. As you may know, the Fiscal Year 2008 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations bill, S. 1710, was approved by the full Senate Appropriations Committee and will soon be considered by the full Senate. I have long believed that budgets are about priorities. The President's proposed budget cuts represent the wrong priorities for America. I believe the Labor, HHS, and Education bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee represents the right priorities for our nation.The President's budget would have slashed funding for important health and education programs. My Senate bill...

The Senator then spent several hundred words describing all the great the things that were included in the legislation. None of which included the earmarks attached to the bill or an explanation of the specific spending that I inquired about.

...Please rest assured that I will continue to work for a final Labor, HHS, and Education spending bill that protects and respects the interests and values of Iowans. If I can be of any more assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. Again, thanks for sharing your views with me. Please don't hesitate to let me know how you feel on any issue that concerns you.


Tom Harkin
United States Senator

I am left with that feeling that I have just had smoke blown up the backside. I will be contacting the good Senator and will hopefully get a better more personally directed explanation of my inquiry

August 14, 2007

Flotsam and Jetsam

A picture in need of a caption:
1. Look, up in the sky....
2. Feel the city breakin', And ev'rybody shakin', And we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive.Ah, ha, ha, ha,

There are those that scan Google earth for interesting and unusual features on old mother earth. Who knew? This image is near Alberta Canada and is eerily similar to the face that NASA recorded on Mars.Face recognition is one of the most remarkable accomplishments of the human mind. Besides the task of identifying people we meet it also allows our imaginations to see faces in the clouds and the occasional Jesus in a tortilla. But most importantly it saves us that recognition ritual performed by the canine species.

Swimming in the Shallows:
For Sale, Barry Bonds rookie card.
Thx Steve

An interactive global display of terrorist events at Global Incident

Letter from Vets for Freedom

From: Joel A. Arends
National Field Director
Vets for Freedom

Help us support Senator Grassley by attending a town hall meeting that he is holding in Cherokee on August 23 from 9:30 to 10:30 at the Cherokee County Courthouse:
Below is what is doing to him. Let's show the Senator that we have hometown heroes who support our troops and the mission by showing up and thanking the Senator for his voting record. Let's not allow out of state liberal interest groups to one up us this most important of issues!

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) might differ with the anti-war activists who have been shadowing him as he criss-crosses Iowa over the August recess, but that didn't stop him from breaking bread with them, or at least a few hamburger buns.
Part of the job of field workers for the anti-war campaign "Iraq Summer" is to tail Members of Congress who support the war, showing up at public appearances to record them and ask questions about their pro-war stance. Sponsored by a coalition called Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, the campaign is aimed at "turning up the heat" on Members who have opposed a timetable for troop withdrawal.
Two workers in Iowa were doing just that on Aug. 7, bird-dogging Grassley as he worked his way across the state, hitting six (whew!) town hall meetings in one day. About three meetings into the day, the Senator had become accustomed to seeing Liam Gallagher and John Slaight shadowing him around. According to Jeremy Funk, spokesman for Americans United for Change, one of the groups in the coalition, the amiable Senator finally turned to the two fellows during a stop in Leon, Iowa, and asked if they planned on trailing him to the last stop of the day, a town hall in Mount Ayr.
When they answered in the affirmative, Grassley surprised the two by suggesting not that they leave him alone, but that they all go out for burgers afterward, according to Funk. Grassley made good on his word, and the unlikely party adjourned to Sue's Roadside Cafe in Mount Ayr, where they dived into the joint's famous (mmkay) burgers and had a cordial, down-home conversation about Iraq,Funk said.
The only-in-Iowa moment amazed Gallagher and Slaight, and according to Funk, it showed they were able to get their message across civilly.
"I think he figured that ... if you can't beat 'em, join 'em... for burgers.

August 13, 2007

Earmark reforms

One mans pork is another mans deep fried tenderloin with ketchup, mustard, pickles and onions. The Club for Growth has compiled a record of congressional votes on 50 anti-pork amendments." Of of the fifty amendments submited only one passed in spite of Democrats pledging to clean up Washington.
Some highlights from the report:
  • Sixteen congressmen scored a perfect 100%, voting for all 50 anti-pork
    amendments. They are all Republicans.

  • The average Republican score was 43%. The average Democratic score was 2%.

  • Rep. David Obey (D-WI) did not vote for his own amendment to strike all
    earmarks in the Labor-HHS appropriations bill. Rep. Obey scored an embarrassing 0% overall.

  • 105 congressmen scored an embarrassing 0%, voting against every single

  • The Pork Hall of Shame includes 81 Democrats and 24 Republicans.

  • The Democratic Freshmen scored an abysmal average score of 2%. Their
    Republican counterparts scored an average score of 78%.

So no matter how you may feel about earmarks this is how our Iowa Representatives have voted on recent earmark reform legislation.

Bruce Brailey (D) 43/50 83%

Leonard Bosswell (D) 43/47 91%

Dave Loebsack (D) 1/50 2%

Tom Latham (R) 2/50 4%

Steve King (R) 43/47 91%
Overall not a bad record for the Iowa delegation but congressmen Latham and Loebsack got some splainin to do.

Weather Ramblings.

The thermometer mounted on the garage has a portrait of a moose on the face, more appropriate to Alaska than Iowa and because it faces the morning sun the dial has been pegged out so many times that the indicated temperature is about 20 degrees above actual. So in keeping with the use of heat indexes and wind chill factors I have termed this discrepancy the moose factor. How the present Iowa temperature would feel to an Alaskan moose stuck in the flat-lands.
There has been the usual carping about the weather this week as the temperatures have hovered in the 90's. Those that tend to whine the loudest expierience it for only a short dash between the air conditioned car to the air conditioned building and back again.
Perhaps I have grown callous to the weather whining having lived in Alaska where if you waited for perfect weather you would never do anything. I don't mean to downplay the actual dangers associated with severe weather, but our definition of extreme, on both ends of the thermometer, has been expanded as we have become so averse to any sort of discomfort or danger in our lives. We have replaced common sense and vigilance with fear and paranoia and want to go through life at optimum conditions (sunny and 70) and in a cocoon of safety.
I can recall as a kid spending sweltering summer nights camped in the back yard, even when the late evening thunderstorms rumbled through. Parents would never allow such behavior now. Our local TV is preempted by competing meteorologists that are whipped into a frenzy at the first sign of a towering cumulus and sirens urge us into our basements even when our skies are blue and actual weather events are miles and miles away. In winter, school cancellations begin with the first forecast of snow and in my last two winters here I have not yet witnessed a snowfall that would have prevented the buses or the teachers from getting to school. Heaven forbid a trek to the bus stop in the snow.
So we all complain about the one thing that we cannot control, but more importantly we fear it. Fear it’s too hot, fear it’s too cold, fear it might rain or snow, or worst of all many have bought into the fear that mother earth has a fever.

August 11, 2007

Revenge of the Nerd

"A Navy man who got mad when someone mocked him as a "nerd" over the Internet climbed into his car and drove 1,300 miles from Virginia to Texas to teach the other guy a lesson. As he made his way toward Texas, Fire Controlman 2nd Class Petty Officer Russell Tavares posted photos online showing the welcome signs at several states' borders, as if to prove to his Internet friends that he meant business. When he finally arrived, Tavares burned the guy's trailer down."

I chuckled at this as I got an image of a CSI episode, where this guy live blogs his way cross country, while his friends submit suggestions for getting revenge on his nemisis. Of course when he arrives in Vegas things go tragically wrong. If this should show up on CBS next fall I want a piece of the residuals.
Full Story.

August 10, 2007

New Wind Farm Planned for Iowa

Wind energy continues to grow in the back yards of western Iowa farmers and is becoming an additional cash source to those lucky enough to land an easement agreement with wind turbine operators. In a report on Radio Iowa, Invenergy development manager Ben Hach says "They start off by paying a minimum of $5,000 per turbine for the first year, compounded by two-percent each year, along with a construction bonus of $2,000 per turbine. The power generated by the turbines would be fed into lines owned by MidAmerican Energy."

By contrast, as this humorous video reports, the landowners of Nantucket aren't willing to pitch in and put a few of the renewable energy generators in their back yard.

August 09, 2007

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich was on CSPAN last night speaking at the National Press Club in Washington discussing the present state of the American election process.
Especially critical of this years early campaign and endless debates Gingrich remarked, "These aren't debates, this is a cross between 'The Bachelor,' 'American Idol' and 'Who's Smarter than a Fifth-Grader.'"

In that same vein I would suggest that after each debate the candidates should gather at tribal council throw one of them off the island (campain trail) until they get the number of candidates whittled down to the final two or three.
He also lamented the money needed this year and in reference to the last election cycle Gingrich said "For the most powerful nation on earth to have an election in which Swift Boat veterans versus National Guard papers becomes a major theme verges on insane," Americans would likely agree.

Gingrich is a marvelous speaker, has some unique insightful ideas for addressing the nations woes and has been mentioned as a presidential candidate. His entry would interject some welcome dialog into the debates, unfortunately his past baggage would be a problem for the republican base and every story about him would end like this one on CNN.

"Gingrich stepped down as House speaker in 1998, after Republicans lost seats amid the drive to impeach then-President Bill Clinton over allegations that he lied under oath about a sexual relationship with a White House intern.
In March, Gingrich acknowledged he was having an affair of his own around the same time. He insisted he was not a hypocrite because Clinton was not impeached for the affair -- but for lying about it.
The Senate acquitted Clinton the following year, and his wife, former first lady turned-New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, is among the current Democratic front-runners."

August 08, 2007

Flotsam and Jetsam

See how you stack up in the Al Gore Carbon Impact Game. Despite my best efforts my carbon spewing climate altering lifestyle came in at a paltry three and a half tons. The average according to the game is seven and a half. But I would reason that the bell curve of carbon emissions gets a skew to the right with outliers like Mr. Gore.

Let your dog have revenge with his very own Micheal Vick chew toy.

A Day in the Life of Oscar the Cat "... After all, no one dies on the third floor unless Oscar pays a visit and stays awhile."

Angel of Mercy or Angel of Death? You decide.

  • "Bonds Makes HR History With No. 756"....BFD!

August 07, 2007

The Newest Member of the Salmon Family

Ten years ago I was introduced to the Jack Russel Terrier breed at a friends Mat-Su Valley (Alaska) cabin and I was immediately bowled over by their brains, brawn, and brashness. This sturdy little dog would dash fearlessly back and forth in front of the snow machine until its owner would stop so he could hop on the gas tank and go for a ride.

The night the dog stayed at my place while his owner and my girlfriend went out on the town, he waited patiently at the bottom of the stairs by the front door for her return. As I passed the stairway I told him I was going to bed. He tilted his head as dogs often do whenever they are processing a word like ride or walk and dashed up the stairs and into the bedroom of a house he had never been to before. A few hours later, a minute before I heard the car pulling into the driveway, he bounded from the bed to meet his returning master at the door.

Later that year I met another Jack on a fishing boat in Cordova. This little guy had the run of the boat, and the docks evidently, and when he would come out of the cabin, the skipper would yell at him to close the door. He would rear up on his hind legs and hit the door with his front paws. He would rarely close the door completely on the first hit and in what appeared to be a game between the two, the skipper would yell "close the damn door" and the little Jack would turn around and hit the door with all his might until the job was done.

I was hooked and I soon found my Jack at a breeder in Kenai. "Yukon Jack" who the vet thought had "too big a name for such a little dog" was everything you would expect in a Jack Russell.

While going through obedience class it was obvious he had the heart of a big dog and to prove it he had to show the Labs or Shepherds in his class who was boss. It became a battle of wills between us and after finishing his intermediate class I asked the trainer what we should do next. She sympathetically asked why I wanted to continue to do this to myself. When I persisted she recommended that I try a class with a gal that trained Rottweilers.

After struggling and sweating through the first class, which Yukon found to be a target rich environment, the trainer asked if I would mind staying after class for a few minutes of private instruction. She sat her musclebound Rotty in the middle of the room and walked Yukon slowly towards a dog that could easily devour him in a single gulp. At the instant that Yukon bolted from the heel position she corrected him with a tug on the choke collar that for the first several times flipped the little guy head over heels. When it was my turn I was sure his little head would pop off his neck like a grape from the vine, but by the end of the class he was heeling in perfect form. Eventually we would develop an understanding. He would let me be the boss, when the mood suited him. We spent many great times together and Yukon eventually went on to learn to bring in the morning paper. After a time I was actually able to read it when it made it into the house.

Sadly though, Yukon was never able to come to terms with the arrival of our daughter. In spite of the suggestions about introducing a Jack to a baby, Yukon was obsessed with the squealing wiggling tyke that to him was just a little varmint that he and his kind are bred to do battle with. By the time she started gaining her own mobility it was obvious that one of them had go. That was about three years ago and Priscilla, our lab chow mix has been our only canine companion until this past week end.

The woman that lets me live with her has been pining of late for a puppy or a baby and the later is not bloody likely. So last week-end we scoured the countryside for a new Jack Russel.

Finding that special pup would not be easy. It had to be unique, a term I can't explain but I know it when I see it, and it had to possess some of the same qualities that I admired in Yukon. Some breeders we visited were legitimate dog lovers and others merely trying to make a buck. But none were as lowly as the farm we visited just outside of Rowley, Iowa where we eventually found our pup. Living in flea infested squalor, we would have taken all four of the pups huddled in the big wooden crate if we had let our emotions get out of hand. Instead we chose a unique little pup with what appears to be the blue merle markings of an Australian Shepherd and piercing blue eyes that look like agates.

It was shortly after arriving home and getting the poor thing a flea bath and a dose of worm medicine that my wife picked up on the fact that the little pup is deaf. I knew that some purebreds, Jacks included, have a propensity for genetic deafness but standing in that dank little shed the clues to the affliction, the white coat, blue eyes, and white albino like nose, never crossed my mind. My first reaction was to take her back to the farm but the wife wasn't about to the let the old guy wring its neck. We would keep her. On Monday the vet gave her shots and a clean bill of health and wished us luck in our endeavor to raise a deaf pup. After investigating the situation we have discovered that this is not unheard of and there are techniques for handling her problem.

I'm sure there will be challenges ahead with Pepper Jack, but it can be no worse than those I had with my little pal Yukon.

Yukon and Silla. Waiting to make the first move.

  • Two charged in South Carolina Bomb Scare.
  • TSA Reports Suspicious Incidents at U.S. Airports. The four seizures were described this way:
    San Diego, July 7.... Checked baggage containing two ice packs covered in duct tape. The ice packs had clay inside them rather than the normal blue gel.
    Milwaukee, June 4. A U.S. person's carry on baggage contained wire coil wrapped around a possible initiator, an electrical switch, batteries, three tubes and two blocks of cheese. Houston, Nov. 8, 2006. A U.S. person's checked baggage contained a plastic bag with a 9-volt battery, wires, a block of brown clay-like minerals and pipes.
    Baltimore, Sept. 16, 2006. A couple's checked baggage contained a plastic bag with a block of processed cheese taped to another plastic bag holding a cellular phone charger.

The TSA did not disclose who possessed these mysterious devices. Wiring up a couple hunks of sharp cheddar is probably as dangerous as the gentleman that was found a couple months ago with wires protruding from his ass, but the fact remains that a fifth column is present here.

  • Its difficult to determine in this story if the perpetrators were Muslim terrorists or just thugs that are Muslim. In any case, seven were arrested after killing a local newsman that was investigating their activities.

August 05, 2007

It's Good to be Home Again

Just a short post to report that the Salmon Family Vacation is over and that we had a wonderful time.
As reported last week the plan was to be on the road at the crack o dawn. With the truck loaded with supplies and the Coachman secured to the bumper we eased the craft from the hanger at 0h 700 hours and prepared for take off. In one of Bill Engvalls "Here's your sign moments we stopped at the neighborhood gas, food, and beverage establishments for ice. The gentleman at the counter asked "Are you heading out?" " No sir," I replied " we always like to stock up on 50 lbs of ice just before we get home." Here's your sign.
We made our way east through the rolling Iowa farmlands, across the Mississippi and into the madness of the Chicago tollway system. In a matter of hours we had reached our destination just outside Michigan City, Indiana, on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Our friends from Michigan arrived a few hours later and we spent a wonderful week dining, touring, and sitting around the campfire late into the evening, making smores and chatting away the hours.
A good time was had by all and of course a few tears were shed when we finally had to say goodbye.