Thursday, July 31, 2008

If Elected, I Will Not Serve

As reported Tuesday on the news the groundswell of people backing me as as a candidate for president is rapidly increasing. Although I am pleased to learn that many people believe I would make a good president, I must regretfully bow out of the race.

Frankly, being president does not fit in with my life plan at this time. And, truthfully, I don't think my political platform will be popular with many of the citizens of our great county as it is based on the premise that the government does not owe you (as a citizen) a damn thing except that which is stated in the Constitution. Anything else the government provides beyond that is a gift and/or privilege. To give you an idea of just how that would change things for you as a citizen below are ten of the changes I would make if I was president of the United States.

1. Flat tax rate- everyone would pay an amount equal to 10% of their salary each year.

2. No more "Corporate Welfare" or government bailouts for businesses.

3. Spend more on developing renewable energy sources and projects.

4. Universal health care structured so more focus is put on prevent medicine.

5. Decriminalize marijuana and treat drug addiction as a heath issue and not a criminal one.

6. Revamp the social security system. Raise the age when people can collect and implement a income cap for receiving payouts.

7. Revamp the welfare system. Something along the lines of the old Civilian Conservation Corp will be devised. Anyone applying for welfare over the age of 17 and able to work will work on government projects or be given training that will help them to find a job in the public sector.

8. Bring all American troops home. We can no longer afford to be the policemen of the world. That job will be turned over to the U.N.

9. Revamp the foreign aid program. Help will no longer be tied to U.S. political or economical concerns.

10. The right to vote is the cornerstone of any democracy. In the 2004 presidential election only 64% of all Americans of voting age took the time to vote. This is shameful. In order to give people more of an incentive to exercise this important constitutional right any form of government support (i.e. social security, heath care, welfare) will only be given to registered voters who have voted in the preceding congressional or presidential election.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Signs Of The Apocalypse

Today's weather forecast for Goodland, KS:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Time To Be Born And A Time To Die

-Ecclesiastes 3:2

Dying has been on my mind quite a bit these last thirty-four days. That is because the angel of death has made visits to people I know and, for several days, was in a holding pattern about 10,000 feet above my own house. As you know my next door neighbor's son died on Father's Day. What I have not written about is the two other deaths that have occurred since then. Within a week of each other my husband's cousin and another neighbor of ours died. Both were young, my husband's cousin fifty-one years old and my neighbor thirty-nine.

Four years ago my husband's cousin developed some sort of infection in his spinal cord and almost die. He did not die at that time but he was left a quadriplegic. One morning last month his wife went into his bedroom to wake him and found him dead. A week before this he had let it be know that he no longer wanted to live and from that moment his will to do so evaporated. The neighbor was killed on his way home from another town at 2:00 AM in the morning. He became distracted and let his truck wander toward the edge of the road and over-corrected. This caused the truck to roll several times and, since he was not wearing a seat belt, he was thrown from the vehicle. Both men left children behind and both men's deaths brought pain and anguish to their families and friends.

Both of these death so closed to Cody's kicked the pilings out from under my belief that the world is always safe and predictable. Deep down I know it is not, I mean, how could I not know with the upbringing I had? My conceit was believing that since I was now in charge of my life the world could not, not be safe and predictable. Now, I don't mean "not safe" as in there are terrorists out there but "not safe" as in people die young from illness and from accidents all the time. We all know this but sometimes we get trapped in "this shouldn't have happened." I spent several days telling myself that none of these deaths were fair and that they really should not have happened. By saying this to myself I wasn't really facing the fact that they did. By not accepting I was also heaping more anguish and anger on top of the anguish and anger I was already feeling. I can grieve and I can accept at the same time.

I thought I had reached that point in my thinking until ten days ago. That was when our older dog Kate stopped eating and we had what seemed like an uncountable number of dark days were we thought she was going to die. I did not want her to die and I was having a hard time accepting that she might. A trip to the vet, a change in dog food and feeding schedule, a new medicine, and then, finally, an improvement brought us back to the light. Even though Kate is doing better I still worry about her. She turned fourteen earlier this month so my fear is not that unreasonable.

This morning when I woke up she was lying very still in her bed; I wasn't sure she was even alive. I looked closely but could not tell if she was breathing and I reached down and laid my hand on her side. She was cold and I could not feel her chest rise and fall. I quickly got out of bed and crouched beside her gently shaking her- no reaction. I thought, "Oh, no," picked up a front paw and shook that. She stirred and then lifted her head and turned to look at me. In a split second I had gone from dismay to acceptance to relief to gratefulness and I wondered how that could be. Ten days before my biggest fear was that she would die, something I did not want to face. Now, when I thought she had, I accept it almost instantaneously?

It reminded me of another day years ago when I was still living in Denver and heard the civil defense sirens start wailing on a non-test day. At first I wondered what was going on and then I thought it must be real and that nuclear bombs would soon be falling out of the sky. I remember going through the same feeling of dismay at the thought of dying and then that calming feeling of acceptance. Death was coming and it was all right with me. Why? Was it because I was not afraid of death? Or was it because I realized there was nothing I could to to stop it? Or was it that I was not afraid of death because I knew there was nothing I could do to stop it?

What about Kate, is it her death that I fear or the change it represents? Is that what all the anguish that I feel surrounding death is about, fear of change? I have to think about this some more.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

These Bears Got It Better Than A Millionaire

That's because they're smarter than the average bear.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I'm From Colorado

Making the e-mail rounds.

A winter statistic:

You're from Colorado if:

-You'll eat ice cream in the winter.

-When the weather report says it's going to be 65 degrees, you shave your legs and wear a skirt.

-It snows 5 inches and you don't expect school to be canceled.

-You'll wear flip flops every day of the year, regardless of temperature (Only true if you are a college student).

-You have no accent at all, but can hear other people's. And then you make fun of them.

-"Humid" is anything over 25%.

-Your sense of direction is: "Toward the mountains" and "Away from the mountains."

-You say "The Interstate" and everybody knows which one.

-You think that May is a totally normal month for a blizzard.

-You buy your flowers to set out on Mother's day, but try and hold off planting them until just before Father's day.

-You grew-up planning your Halloween costumes around your coat.

-You know what the Continental Divide is.

-You don't think Coors beer is that big a deal.

-You've been to Casa Bonita as a kid and/or as an adult more than once.

-You've gone off-roading in a vehicle that was never intended for such activities.

-You always know the elevation of where you are.

-You wake up to a beautiful 80 degree day and wonder if it's going to snow tomorrow.

-You don't care that some company renamed it, the Broncos still play at Mile High Stadium (NPR agrees).

-Every movie theater has military and student discounts.

-Everybody wears jeans to church.

-You actually know that South Park is a real place and not just a TV show.

-You know what a "trust fund hippy" is and you know its natural habitat is Boulder.

-You know you're talking to a fellow Coloradoan when they call it Elitch's, not Six Flags (This one is no longer true as Six Flags sold the park and the new owners are calling it Elitch's again).

-A bear on your front porch doesn't bother you.

-Your two favorite teams are the Broncos and whoever is beating the crap out of the Raiders.

-When people out East tell you they have mountains in their state too, you just laugh.

-When you go anywhere else on the planet you find that the air feels "sticky" and the sky is no longer blue.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

More Bears

Mama Bear

Baby Bear


(I was told the date is correct on these photos but the times are wrong.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MIA Today And Maybe Tomorrow

Last month we noticed our television was starting to malfunction with both picture and sound quality degenerating, which really should not have been a surprise to us after 12 years. Our replacement television is a HD monitor. Since we were also having problems with our satellite dish and receiver we replaced those too. And since it wasn't that much more we also upgraded our satellite system to HDTV. All of this was done because (1) HD monitors are finally cheap enough not to make you blurt out "Are they crazy?" at the price and (2) there are enough HDTV channels to make that extra expense worth it.

Let me tell you, all of this has made a huge difference in our viewing experience. First we did not realize how bad the sound had become on our old set until we got the new one. My husband has some hearing damage and he said the difference in the quality of sound was very noticeable. That I knew right from the beginning since he no longer had to turn the sound up as loud as he used to do. Second the picture quality improved quite a bit. Again we did not realize how bad it was until we got the new monitor.

Yesterday we had a "come to Jesus" moment when the HDTV satellite was installed. The sound and picture quality jumped another 5 or 6 levels. It was astounding. So astounding we spend most of last night and most of today just flipping though the HD channels. How clear is it? I watched a underwater nature show and it was not like watching TV but more like looking into a gigantic aquarium. I love it.

The bad news, I have adjusted to HD quality so quickly everything else looks smeared and blurry. This I can tell because all HD channels are being duplicated as digital quality channels and I can compare. Not even close people, not even close.

Oh God, I've turned into a HD junkie- scorning the low grade stuff. Those bastards!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Uh, That Lion?

Never mind. It may have been a dog.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Speaking Of Lions...

African lion reported roaming in El Paso County, Colorado. Be sure to read the comments at the bottom of this story.

More Better



Friday, July 11, 2008

Moose And Bear

Three summers ago I spend a weekend at a family friends house up near Walden, Co ( great photos of the area from Geoff Weatherford's blog, Paths Trails And Beyond, right here.) and wrote my bear story soon after. Well, Doc and family sent me the photos below.

Last month my husband was up helping Doc open his cabin up for the summer and while he was there they also put a motion detecting camera near the water tank Doc had set out for the animals. Here are just two of the the curious passersby who stopped to get a drink.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Doggy Pacifer

Every night Duke does this to his bed in the front room. As you can see he has a section of the bed in his mouth. Two minutes after I took this photo he was asleep. He stays asleep in this position for about ten minutes and then wakes up. Once awake he quickly trots to his bed in our bedroom, curls up and goes back to sleep.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Hooked On Phonics

This is making the e-mail rounds:

My five -year-old students are learning to read. Yesterday one of them pointed at a picture in a zoo book and said,"Look at this! It's a frickin' elephant!"

I took a deep breath then asked, "What did you call it?"

"It's a frickin' elephant! It says so on the picture!"

And so it does...

African Elephant

Monday, July 07, 2008

I Could Have Told Them That

It's now official, Pringles are not potato chips.


Potato Chips

Saturday, July 05, 2008


Two clowns died this week; Bozo and Jesse Helms.

Rest in Peace Bozo.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th Of July

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

-Emma Lazarus, 1883

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Answer: Jim Thorpe And Dwight D. Eisenhower

Question: Name two people who played against each other in a game of football.

Jim Thorpe and Dwight D. Eisenhower, who would have thought? The greatest athlete of the 20th century and the 34th president of the United States. It happened in 1912 when Jim Thorpe was a student at Carlisle Indian School and Eisenhower a student at the US Military Academy.

And the reason I know this esoteric bit of information? I am reading Carlisle vs. Army: Jim Thorpe, Dwight Eisenhower, Pop Warner, and the Forgotten Story of Football's Greatest Battle . I won't tell you much about this book, just that it is more than a sports story. It is also the story of a time, place and culture. I'm enjoying it immensely.