Thursday, March 31, 2005

Gun Control

I was raised around guns. My Dad, both Grandfathers, and my Uncle Sonny all had a hand in teaching me how to hunt and fish.

While I don't hunt anymore, not from lack of desire, but from lack of convienent local and game. I am still a strong supporter of individuals rights to own firearms.

I am constantly amazed at the thickheadedness of the gun control crowd. I just don't understand how they can think that passing laws to control gun ownership will stop criminals from committing crimes with guns. Criminals by the very act of committing a crime demonstrate that the do not respect and are willing to break the law.

Some gun control nuts claim that limiting the ownership of guns will keep them out of the hands of criminals. Right! That theory has worked so well with illegal drugs....

So if you have had your fill of the gun control crowd and you'd like a safe, legal and fun way of slapping them around a bit without getting yourself arrested try this:

Click Here

Local Newspapers

The local newspaper here in Ridgecrest calls itself The Daily Independent. I have been a subscriber to the print version of this paper for almost 20 years now and I can tell you for sure that the newspaper has no clue about the meaning of the word - daily. Our "daily" paper is delivered to the house on tuesday through Friday and on Sunday. Well I don't know what calendar they have down there at the newspaper office the but one on my wall has seven days in each week. They used to deliver Monday through Friday. When they added the Sunday paper, they dropped Monday's. But that makes perfect sense. Everyone knows that nothing ever happens between Sunday morning and Tuesday evening.

The paper recently hired a new managing editor. She has to be an improvement over the previous one. The old editor was a big supporter of our local Charter School. He did his best to promote the Charter School by running down the private schools in town. I guess he figured that since the parents of children in the private schools didn't want our children in the public schools we would look to the Charter School if he made the private schools look bad enough.

The new editor mostly has increased the font size of the print. Added more white space around the pictures and articles. The number of pages of each paper hasn't really increased. So the amount of content has decreased.

I will probably never link to articles in the paper. After a few days they are moved to a subscription site. Since I pay for paper version I don't feel like paying for the electronic version.

All nonlocal news is just Associated Press reprints. There is some local news. The new editor has done a better job about covering local sports. She has also been fairer about coverage of all the different school's events.

The most amusing part of the paper is the letters to the editor. Lately they have taken to publishing a lot of letters from people who don't live in Ridgecrest. Several haven't even been Californians or even from the US.

Many people use the Letters to the Editor as thier personal soapbox to try and convince everyone else in town to come over to their way thinking on things like abortion, politics, religion. I will never write a letter to the editor like that because I can do my pontificating here. It does have the drawback that my words aren't delivered directly to everyones doorstep. But at least no one will throw their back out bending over to pick my blog up out of the bushes in thier front yard.

The two other papers in town are The Swap Sheet - a free classified advertisement paper that used to be printed on green paper, hense it's nickname - The Green Sheet. A few years ago they changed over to white newsprint, but kept the green cover sheet because that was the name most everyone knew the paper by.

Then there is The News Review. A weekly paper that is delivered to every house in town. They ask for a $2.00 monthly donation, but still deliver the paper even if you don't pay. The News Review is strickly local news. When my father comes to visit it is the only paper he reads.

Rest in Peace Terri Shiavo

I have refrained from commenting thus far on the Terri Schiavo situation. Emotions about this womans plight are running pretty high in our house. My dear wife is just horrified about what happened to this woman. Chaos is sick and tired of everyone on TV talking about it. Noise and Destruction don't seem to understand anything except that whenever the talking head on the TV mentions it - Mommy gets angry. I am torn between shock and frustration that we could have sitting judges in our court system that could repeatedly order such an inhumane end for another human being. I am also stunned that no one in the court system in Florida can recognize Michael Schiavo for the lying cheating bastard that he is.

Michael Schiavo has spent thousands of dollars in court to maintain his control over his wife just so he could have her murdered. The hypocracy of Michael Schaivo claiming that this is what Terri wanted is ludacris. Did Terri also want her husband to start living with another woman and father two children by her while still married to her? This walking scrap of pond scum doesn't care what Terri wanted, he is only interested in what he wanted. He wanted to kill his wife. If Michael Schiavo had even one scrap of human decency in his worm ridden soul he would have just divorced his wife, signed custody of her over to her parents and walked away. But this slithering waste of carbon and oxygen wouldn't do that. Instead he parades through the courts demanding the right to kill her. Then he has the nerve to stand up in front of the TV cameras and complain about all the people who are trying to stop him from committing murder.

A brief note to all you right to die nuts out there - I agree with you. A human being should have the right to choose to allow their life to end with dignity. My godfather passed away a couple years ago. He had cancer and elected not to treat it. With the help of his children, grandchildren and Hospice Care he died on his own terms. Near the end the cancer shut down his ability to eat and drink. But his loved ones never stopped trying to give him what little sustenance he could consume. I was with him a couple days before he passed and while I can't understand his decision not to fight his cancer I can respect it. I don't know if it was the cancer or dehydration that killed my Godfather. But I know that even had he been able to continue eating and drinking the cancer was going to kill him. That's the end he had accepted. But even at the end when he was incapable of providing sustenance for himself his family would hold his head and slowly dribble water into his mouth. Then they would hold him while most of it came back up. As long as he could talk he would thank them for that. Here was a man who was resigned to death. He refused all medical treatments for his condition yet he was thankful for each ounce of water they gave him. Near the end he was given morphine for the pain so his end was at least pain free, for him. For the rest of us, it hurt like hell.

Some may consider the placement of a feeding tube in a person’s stomach to be a heroic effort to maintain their life. I consider it a means of providing the basic essentials for life - air, water and sustenance. It would have been far more humane for the courts to order Terri's air supply removed than her food and water. Just tape off her mouth and nose. She only suffers a few minutes instead of weeks. I'm sorry but removing the feeding tube may have been allowing a natural course of events to occur. But when the court ruled that no one was allowed to feed Terri by hand. They were ordering her to be put to death. A slow drawn out agonizing death. Now for all those quacks in the media that say dying of starvation and dehydration is painless - it that is true, why was Terri given a morphine drip. If she needed the morphine drip for pain, then all the arguements that she can't feel pain were false.

Charles Lehardy over at blogs about what he call the Schiavo Protocol:

"...the Schiavo Protocol will arrogantly permit the killing of vulnerable men, women and children. Passive euthanasia—the denial of food and water—will lead inevitably to active euthanasia: assisted suicide and "mercy killing." Those who cannot walk the plank will be pushed off the boat."

Unfortunately I see a great potential in my fellow human beings to live down to Charles' prediction. Through our history mankind has demonstrated an unboundless capacity for cruelty and evil. While we like to think that we are becoming an enlightened society. We still have a long way to go, and it is going to be a rough trip.

I hope that Michael Schiavo and the Florida Courts are a wake up call for the American People to pay attention to how we are dealing with situations like Terri's. Terri Schiavo was the victim here. John Hawkins at Right Wing News has a pretty good recap of the history of Terri Schiavo's situation. John has tried to be fair and unbiased in his information collection. But like the rest of us mere mortals, it's hard to not let your own personal bias to creep into anything you write. Me I don't care about trying to be fair. I'm just writing what I think.

Final thoughts:
  • Terri was the victim of a cheating husband's desire to end her life once she stood in the way of his collecting malpractice money.
  • She was also the victim of a court system that was willing to believe that a man who has been openly inconsistent in the treatment of his wife and who has blatently violated his wedding vows is a better person to care for Terri than her parents are.
  • I think Congress and the President should not have gotten involved to the degree they did.
  • I think the court system needs to be overhauled. I'm not a legal expert, but I see something very wrong with a system that will repeatedly order an American Citizen to be starved to death without fully reviewing all the facts. They only looked at what some other myopic judge had to say.
  • Enjoy the rest of your life Michael Schiavo, your afterlife is going to be hell.
  • Rest in peace Terri Schiavo.

One final note to anyone who may complain that I may be overly critical of Michael Schiavo, especially since I don't know him and don't know all the particulars of his situation - You can't base a judgement of a human being on what they say while standing in front of a bunch of media cameras. Look at the documented history of his actions and behavior. Then if you still think that I'm being unfair, then ask yourself would you trust Michael Schiavo to speak for you if you were unable to speak for yourself?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Glenn Reynolds and others are Razorblogging over at

So I'll throw my two cents worth in also.

I use a modern cartridge style blade, canister gel cream and scrape my face in the shower. I started shaving with an electric. But when I sported a beard for about 5 years it was awkward trimming and shaving just my neck with the electric. So I started using a disposable blade. When I lost the beard, I kept shaving with the blades because they were easier on the parts of my poor face that hadn't seen the light of day for 5 years. The electric really chewed up my then tender face.

Now, 20 years later the blade shaving is just become a habit. I still have the old electric that I keep around for trimming my ears. You see, at a certain age your hair gets confused. Instead of growing out of your head, it starts growing out other spots on your body. If I could get all the hair I got growing out my ears, nose, face and shoulders to start growing out the top of my head I wouldn't have to wear a hat everytime I leave the house.

But this is all just nonsense, because if my wife and kids didn't object so strongly I would probably be furry again. The only thing worse than having to get out of bed in the morning is scraping your face after you're up.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Moving to Ridgecrest

OK, the last time I saw Ridgecrest was during my July job interview. Now it is November 1985 and I have just moved here. The weather is just fantastic. 75-85 during the day, and a little chilly in the evenings. I lived with my best friends the first week in town while I secured semi-permanent lodging for myself. I managed to find a place the day before the moving truck with all my stuff in it was due to arrive. But it wasn't easy.

The Naval Warfare Center where I was going to work had been hiring a lot of young engineers. Ronald Reagan was building up the military and that included weapons research. So this little town had been undergoing quite a bit of growth. In the four months since my interview they had doubled the number of stop lights in town.

But about housing. There was very little available. There were no apartment buildings to speak of. I had rented a small house in Amarillo and had gotten to like it. I liked having a yard and a place to myself. So I prefered to find a small house here to rent. Unfortunately there weren't too many to choose from. I looked at one place on Norma Street that is the older section of town. The house was about 1000 sq. feet. Really small. However the landlord was really suspicous of a single guy who wanted a two bedroom house. He just wouldn't accept my explaination that I have 4 rooms full of furniture on it's way. I need one bedroom to sleep in and one for an office and storage. He grilled me so long on my hidden agenda, I decided that living in a house owned by this guy would be much more hastle than it would be worth. I had visions of living next door to Gladys Kravits.

The second place available was a four bedroom house on 5 acres out in the county. While too big for my needs it was a nice place. But the owner wanted about $900 a month rent. I had been paying $300 in Amarillo and most places here were going for $400 to $600. When I asked about why so high, he replied "Hey you'll be able to afford it. By the time you move three to four other people in here, it will be cheap. I tried to explain that I wasn't going to be looking for a room-mate, he flat out called me a liar and refused to rent me the house.

So two whackos down, one to go. I finally rented half a duplex in what was called Cimmaron Gardens. This was a neighborhood made up of 40 year old military housing that had been fixed up. That means they painted them.

It wasn't a very good neighborhood and the water had a funny odor. But the management company seem fairly normal. Besides it was the only option I had left. My friends were willing to let me stay with them longer, but we had no place to put my stuff. So I rented a place in Slimeron Gardens - barely.

I had to pay my first, last and damage deposit with a cashiers check. No problem! When I left Amarillo I had closed out my bank accounts and brought the balance with me in the form of American Express Travelers Checks. Good Anywhere! Right?

Well not in Ridgcrest CA in the 1980s.

I started at the NWC Credit Union where I planned on banking. They would not cash my travelers checks unless I had an account with them. They would not let me open an account with them until I was employed by the base. I tried to explain that I was going to start working on the base the next monday. They told me to come back on Tuesday and bring my new base ID.

All the other banks in town would not convert the travelers checks into a cashiers check unless I opened an account, and then there would be a 5 day hold on the money before I could touch it. Well I didn't have 5 days, I had 5 hours before the moving truck showed up.

Finally I ended up at Monument Savings. They refused me also, but did let me talk to a vice president of the company. I told him my prediciment and he started to refuse me. Then he noticed my name on the travelers checks. He asked if I was from Missouri. I told him no, and to the best of my knowledge none of my family was either. He scratched his chin and finally decided that the Cordes's that he knew in Missouri were pretty decent folks so he would trust me. He cashed my travelers checks.

This was not an isolated problem two years later I was eating dinner at Arbys that had just opened up. A Navy Captain was at the counter trying to cash an American Express Travelers check to get some dinner. They wouldn't take it. He was getting frustrated, he claimed his travelers checks had been refused everywhere he had tried to eat in town for 2 days and he was now out of cash.

I butted into the conversation, asked him for some ID, then had him sign two of his travelers checks over to me then gave him the last $40 that I had in my pocket. When I left the Captain was berating the manager about why the businesses in this town can't show the same helpfullness to their potential customers as a total stranger could.

Then next day I stopped into the bank to deposit my travelers checks and was told there was no trouble but that I wouldn't be able to withdraw that $40 for at least 5 days. So deposited them into savings and walked outside and used my ATM card to get $40 out of my checking account.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

To hat or not to hat?

Growing up I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. Both my grandfathers were raised in the era when a man wore a tie to work and never left the house without a hat on his head. Well I grew up hating hats. Both grandpas would make me wear a hat much of the time. I detested them. The hats, not the grandpas. They also taught me to take my hat off when I went indoors, to tip the hat when being introduced to a lady, etc.

Well I lost both my granfathers before I was 20. I'm sure that they are both disappointed that I don't wear a tie to work. Heck I don't even wear a tie to church. I wear ties to funerals and weddings. The few times I've dressing in a tie it's frightened my children so I try to avoid it. When my niece got married last summer I tried to get out of the tie. But she wouldn't have it, so I wore my Winnie the Pooh tie. That will teach her.

But now to my hat problem. Over the years I have lost not only my grandparents, but my hair. So now here I am, a bald guy living in the desert where the sun shines over 300 days a year. So adding the pain of sunburning your head to the factor that I had a brief bout with skin cancer on my head 3 years ago I've turned into my grandpas. I don't leave the house without a hat on my head.

I don't really like baseball caps. They just don't look good on me. Plus they don't protect my face or neck. So I wear hats, not caps. I have a variety of hats for different seasons and occasions. And in honor of my grandfathers, I try to follow the rules. I take my hat off when I walk indoors.

So this brings me to this mornings problem. I never wear my hat in church. The Sanctuary it indoors. But what should I do on Easter Sunday when services are held outdoors. I wear my hat to the church. But should I take it off when the service starts? If I do, will I be sitting in the rising sun, and again, put the exposed crown of my head at risk from the sun again? I don't know. Well this morning I took the hat off when the service started and left it off until the service was over. But this year I was shaded from the sun by a tree in the courtyard. Last Easter however I took my hat off and we were sitting in the sun. By the time services ended my head was starting to turn pink. Something I'm supposed to avoid.

So what is the protocol for wearing a hat in outdoor events where normally wearing a hat would be rude? But on the other hand should I put myself at risk to meet a society expectation, especially since men who wear hats are so rare these days, no one else is likely to know the rules anyway.

Since my grandpas aren't around to advise me I guess just off the top of my head, I'll keep making it up as I go along.

Sunrise Services

I grew up going to sunrise services on Easter Sunday. So I naturally inflict the same torture on my kids. Roll them out of bed in the dark and off to church by about 6 AM. I figure we have to do this to offset the fact that I make them go to Midnight Services on Christmas Eve. Actually these are twice a year lessons on why it's not so bad to have to go to 8 AM church on regular Sundays.

Sunrise service is held outdoors on the church patio. At the start of the service we sing praises and hold a small parade towards the sunrise. However two years ago home depot built a store about one half mile east of the church. So now we stand in the church parking lot and sing praises as the sun rises over the Home Depot.

Living in Ridgecrest gives us the opportunity to have Sunrise Easter Service outside. This morning it was only 50 degrees. While this is a little cool to be sitting on a metal chair on the Church patio. It's tolerable. Growing up in South Dakota we never had Easter Services outside. Heck most years we were thrilled if there was no snow on the ground on Easter Sunday. This morning temperatures in South Dakota are trending around 35 degrees. A tad to chilly to be hold services outside.

Easter is not always a nice spring morning here. The first outdoor sunrise service we had about several years ago it was beautiful on Saturday, temps in the 70s. Sunday morning the temperature was about 37 degrees and the wind was blowing about 20 mph. We toughed it out, but didn't try outdoor services again for a few years.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

NASA Challenge

So NASA is jumping into the the space prize game.

Nasa Centenial Challenge Presentation

Unfortunately they are being very exculusionary. They specifically state that participation is limited to U.S. Citizens who are not federal employees. Well I work with a whole bunch of very imaginative engineers and scientists who would probably love to spend a fair share of their weekends and evenings trying to solve NASA's problems. Unfortunately because we choose to spend our work day being good engineers and scientists for the U.S. Navy we won't be allowed to help solve NASA's troubles.

I understand that as federal employees that we have to avoid any appearances of improprieties. I would expect to be able to show that all my research was done on my own time and with my own equipment. But I guess NASA is more interested policy than results.

I wonder if Dr. Bennett's SELENE project will be able to get involved in any of this?

Thanks to Glenn Reynolds the The Instapundit for the tip on a contest that I'm not allowed to enter.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday. We didn't go to church. I went to a Good Friday service about 18 years ago and have never gone to another one since. It was the most depressing, soul wrenching experience of my life.

My dear wife maintains that it is a Cajun tradition to plant your garden on Good Friday. She says her grandmother told her that, and that her college roommate's Dad always planted his garden on Good Friday.

So in order to instill in my children some sense of their Cajun heritage we worked in the yard this afternoon. Well, some of us worked in the yard. Chaos and Noise only lasted about 15 minutes. Destruction and his Mommy raked up all the decorative bark on one side of the gazebo and planted purple iceplant in its place.

I moved everything from one side of the patio around the corner of the house. Two BBqs, a storage unit full of stuff, two propane burners, lots of miscellaneous cooking supplies and about 70 cement pavers. All this stuff is being located into the area of the backyard that will become the outdoor kitchen. The area under the new patio roof where it was located is going to be a ground level wooden deck.

I got the deck area cleared, measured and a basic list of materials put together. So tomorrow I get to make trip to the big boys toy store - Home Depot. Then it will be home and back to work.

Unfortunately I jumped all over an opportunity this afternoon to be a bad Daddy. Destruction, my dear wife and I spent about 6 hours working in the yard while Chaos and Noise sat in the house and played games or watched TV. Then just as we were finishing up for the afternoon the two of them wandered out and asked what they could do to help. Well it's not much of an excuse, but I was tired, dirty and thirsty and just wasn't in the mood to deal with two kids who wanted to relax all afternoon then show up at the end of the work, put in about 5 minutes of effort, and then spend the rest of the day complaining about how tired they were.

This is not the first time they have done this! So in a short curt manner I let both of them know that sitting in the house relaxing all afternoon while everyone else worked and then showing up the last 5 minutes and wanting to help was total BS.

They both stomped angrily back into the house and pouted for a while. Well I felt like a heel, but sooner or later they have to get the idea that when we say the family is working in the yard, we mean all the family. Not just the ones who aren't afraid of breaking a sweat, or getting a little dirty.

Sure their mother or I could have gone in and made them come out and work. But they already knew we wanted them out there. In cases like this we try to give the kids some leeway to make their own decisions. We tell them what we would like them to do. Then they have to decide if they want to do it or not. But they also have to learn the decisions they make might upset some people and that just being cute isn't going to get them by all the time. Sometimes people are going to be upset or dissapointed with the decisions they make. They need to learn that their decisions have consequences, and in this case the consequence was an angry Daddy.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

First Impressions of Ridgecrest

OK I called this Ridgecrest Blog without a lot of justification other than I live in Ridgecrest.

So what/where is Ridgecrest California?

If you want the almanac description of Ridgecrest you can find it here. This link will tell you that the population according to the 2000 census is 24,927 people as well as all sorts of demographic and climatic information. But those are just numbers. So I'll try and tell you a little about what it means to live in Ridgecrest. Since I have lived here almost 20 years, relating my impressions will take a while, so I'll split it up over several posts. First up - Always make a good first impression.

I first came to Ridgecrst in July of 1985 for a job interview. I landed at Los Angeles International Airport at 10 PM. I picked up my rental car, pulled out onto the 405 and headed north. My driving directions were concise - 405 north to the 14. Take 14 north to Mojave. Turn right in Mojave (still on the 14) and continue north. Exit east on the 178 and there's Ridgecrest.

Initially the drive was fantastic. Even the nightly LA traffic on the 405 didn't bother me. I got to see signs and exits for places that I had only seen in the movies or on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The most exciting part of the drive was to see that they really was a Slauson Exit. I was tempted to take it and look for the cutoff that Carson always talked about.

Three plus hours later I was driving north on Highway 14. Mojave was 30 miles behind me and I was convinced that I had to have taken a wrong turn. There was nothing out there! I had decided to give myself 10 more miles and if I didn't see some human habitation I was turning around. I had learned to drive in Wyoming where you can drive for an hour on the interstate and never see another car. But for some reason driving into the middle of the California desert un-nerved me.

Finally cresting the hill north of Red Rock Canyon I spotted off in the distance what appeared to be a fairly good sized community.

Well perceptions can be deceiving. That good sized community turned out to be a small town. Now being a small town is not a bad thing. I was born in a town of 5000. Until I moved to Amarillo TX after graduating from college, I had never lived in a town with a population bigger than 50,000. I had gotten the feeling that Amarillo with it's over 100,000 people was just too big. That plus my disillusion with my job there, is what had led me to start looking for a change. Hense my trip to Ridgecrest.

I drove down Hwy 178 and into Inyokern Ca. My first thought was "Damn, this place looked a lot bigger from up on the highway." Suddenly realizing that I wasn't in Ridgecrest yet I continued on. As I drove into Ridgecrest there was nothing to the north of me, and only occasional buildings on the south. Eventually I drove up to the front gate of what was then called the Naval Warfare Center - China Lake. The guard there gave me directions to my friends house where I was going to stay.

I finally arrived at my best friend's house at about 3 AM. I stepped out of the car and was surprised to find that it was about 75 degrees outside. I remember thinking "Wow, this is kind of nice."

Late the next morning I was awakened by my then three year old "niece" who couldn't wait to show her "Unka Dave" around her backyard. So I dressed quickly and followed her out the patio door.

The house I walked through was dark and cool. The patio I stepped out onto was quite the opposite. My entry into the raw, midmorning, mid-July, Ridgecrest climate felt a lot like being tossed into an oven to check the doneness of a batch of cookies.


10 AM and and it was already 107 degrees. I thought I was going to die. I tried to inhale deeply and I almost chocked on the air. I could feel the moisture being sucked out of my lungs as I struggled to inhale. I've lived in dry climates before, or so I thought. The air here wasn't dry, it was parched. The air felt so dry and hot that I imagined that it was abrading my throat as it passed in and out.

Standing there in awe that anyone could survive in this environment, my friend walked out the door and told me "Come on in and get some breakfast. Then Dave's going to give you the tour of the town before it gets hot."

Tour de California?

California to stage major cycling race

Cool! I wonder what it will take to get a stage to end/begin here in Ridgecrest. They could come into town on the 14. a relatively flat desert road with some rolling hills and red rock canyon to climb out of. They could leave town on the 178. Scenic road with lots of hills especially at the beginning, or vica versa.

Or come down out of the north from Mammoth area. Leave town again down 395 toward Riverside.

There have been rumors about a tour like this for years. So I guess I'll believe it when I see it. So I guess I'll try to not get my hopes up too early.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


It's Wednesday. Hump Day. The Middle of the Week. The one evening a week that my dear wife and kids announce that they have had enough of me and that I need to get out of their hair for awhile. So I take off every wednesday night and escape to the peace and quiet of the bowling alley.

It is late in the season. We only have about 4 weeks of bowling left. My team is in second place. Unfortunately there is a lot of points between us and first place. Almost too many to reasonably expect to make up the spread. Oh well, second place is better than last place, and we've finished there a couple times the last few years.

My night started out pretty good. I slopped my way into a 212 in the first game. I hit a nice streak to start the second game and finished up with a respectable 222. The wheels really came off the third game. I had to punch out (three strikes) the tenth frame just to bowl a pitiful 169.

Overall, for a guy with a 184 average. I'll take a 600 series any night.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A Conversation with the Terminally Stupid

I pulled into the Dell Taco drive thru this evening because Chaos called and asked me to kill tacos for dinner on the way home from work. I knew from past hunting experiences that the largest pod of wild tacos in town hangs out near the Del Taco drive thru. Especially on Taco tuesday when they are 3 for 99 cents.

MMTDTW: (Moron Manning the Drive Thru Window): May I take your order please.
Me: I'd like 12 hard tacos and 6 soft tacos.
MMTDTW: Is that 6 soft and 12 hard tacos?
Me: Yes
MMTDTW: How many hard tacos did you say?
Me: 12
MMTDTW: Did you say 12?
Me: Yes. 12, like in a dozen.
MMTDTW: OK that will be $9.49.
Me: I don't think that's right. While thinking - 18 tacos (on tuesday) has been $6.37 for over a year now.
MMTDTW: No! it's $9.49. Please drive around.
Me - tired of talking to a box with a fried fish taco sign on it, drives around.
Me - waiting patiently for my turn at the window.
MMTDTW: (setting three bags of tacos down on the counter) That will be $9.49.
Me: I don't think that's right.
MMTDTW: That will be $9.49.
Me: No. That's about what 18 tacos would cost regularly. Tonight is tuesday, they are 3 for a buck.
MMTDTW: (turning to look at the computer screen) You ordered 12 hard tacos and 6 soft tacos, that comes to $9.49.
Me: Yes, Now read to me exactly what it says on your computer screen there.
MMTDTW: (sighing and rolling her eyes) 14 hard tacos and 6 soft tacos.
Me: I didn't order 14 hard tacos I ordered 12.
MMTDTW: (looking genuinely shocked) Really?
Me: (resisting the urge to bring BBQed moron home to my children) Yes, really. I ordered 12 hard tacos and 6 soft tacos - 7 times.
MMTDTW: (pushing buttons on the cash register) Well you don't have to get snippy. That will be $6.37.
I say nothing while handing over the fiver, buck, quarter, dime and two pennies that I had in my hand and glaring as loud as I could.
The MMTDTW hands me the 3 bags without taking anything out of them (like the 13th and 14th tacos).
I take my hard won trophies home to feed my starving brood.

At home I relate the story to my dear wife. That's when she counts the number of tacos in the bags. There is 12 hard tacos and 6 soft tacos. The receipt on the bag says 14 hard tacos and 6 soft tacos and the total due is $9.31.

My dear wife tells me that I should call the number on the receipt and complain. I'm not sure where I would even start.

Democrats want to circumvent the Constitution

Thanks to RadioBlogger We have a transcript of last Thursday's ralley sponsored by where California's Democratic Senator Barbara boxer had this to say:

"Why would we give lifetime appointments to people who earn up to $200,000 a year, with absolutely a great retirement system, and all the things all Americans wish for, with absolutely no check and balance except that one confirmation vote. So we're saying we think you ought to get nine votes over the 51 required. That isn't too much to ask for such a super important position. There ought to be a super vote. Don't you think so? It's the only check and balance on these people. They're in for life. They don't stand for election like we do, which is scary."

No Senator I don't think so, and neither did the framers of the Constitution. Senator, why don't you stagger over and wrench that tattered copy of the U.S. Constitution out of Senator (Grand Dragon) Byrd's pocket and check out Article II. Section 2. Clause 2:

"Article. II.
Section. 2.
Clause 2: He (the president) shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments."

If all those big words confuse you Senator let me point out a couple of particulars there. First the only vote mentioned in that clause that requires a super majority vote is the Presidents ability to make treaties. All the other appointments listed there: Ambassadors, Ministers, Consuls, Judges, and other Officers require only the Advice and Consent of the Senate. That means a simple majority Senator.

But then you already knew that didn't you? Since you just admited that there is only a 51 vote requirement. If you and the rest of the Senate Minority want to change the Constitution to require a super-majority vote for Judges - than change the Constitution. Stop trying to circumvent it for your own political agenda. Article V will tell you how to legally enact the changes you are trying to impose now. And trust me Article V does not mention the word filibuster.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Miami Dolphins

I have been a Miami Dolphins fan since 1972. This last year I even got the Directv NFL Sunday ticket so I could see more than one game a year. Just my luck - they stunk - all season.

Now I see this: Ricky Williams speaks with Nick Saban.

Ricky Williams has been trouble since the day he entered the NFL. He's a magnificently talented runningback who is also a real headcase. I other words he's a pot smoking, undependable, quiter. I can't believe that Nick Saban is even talking to the guy. What in the world has Williams ever done to make Saban think that Ricky won't quit on the team again, or end up doing time.

Nick. Just use the courts to get back the 8.6 million Ricky owes the Dolphins, then if the 49ers draft Alex Smith (Utah QB) with the first pick, grab Ronnie Brown (Auburn RB) and just make Ricky Williams an Ugly footnote in Dolphins history. If Smith is still available at number 2, take him. Then use the next 3 rounds to fortify the O-line. Then take the 8.6 million Ricky owes you and offer it to Mike Shanahan to pick a running back for you in the 5th or 6th round.

Finally if you do draft a QB, don't start him until next year. Give him a year to learn from Gus Frerotte.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday. Barely. It will only be today for another 20 minutes so I have to type fast.

Went to church with the kiddios this morning. They enjoyed the palm leaves. But weren't sure what to do with them as we left the church so Noise and Destruction put their's back into the pile for the late service. Chaos was still carrying her's around so I stuck it into the scrunchy holding back her hair.

When she got out of sunday school an hour later it was still there.

Destruction and I planted four Bradford flowering pear trees in the back yard this afternoon. We replaced an old flowering plum and a pear tree which had died. We also added one near the gazzebo. We put the fourth one in a pot on the patio. I don't have a place in mind for it yet. But we have a mulberry that may not survive the year. So if the mulberry doesn't make it, I'll replace it next year with the potted tree.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Advanced Civ Game

Well I spent the day goofing off. But its OK. It was overcast and rainy all day so I wouldn't have been able to do much in the yard anyway.

I spent the day playing Advanced Civilization with some friends. I had a great time. Won the game by several hundred points.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

First Volleyball Game

Well my team of 10 to 12 year old girls played their first volleyball game this evening. I was worried. During our one and only practice they were struggling. Serves were not clearing the net and their passing was almost nonexistant.

According to league rules if a beginning player is struggling serving from the back line they may serve from a closer line. I pointed out my four new players who during our one practice (last monday) were incapable of getting the ball to the net from the backline. The referee allowed them to serve from the forward line. Which balanced well with the four players from the other team who would also be serving from the forward line.

Well these four girls really made me look bad. They were awsome serving from the forward line. Especially since the other teams weaker players didn't get any of their serves over. Instead of just barely getting their serves over the net my girls were pounding them into the back row.

After we handily won the first two games of the best of three match the ref made me move all four back to the endline and made them serve from there for the third (practice) match. I got some small bit of redemption when they failed all their serve attempts from there. So next Monday I have to figure out how to get them to serve the same way they did from the forward line, only doing it from the back line. There is only a 3 foot difference in the lines and during the game their serves were all clearing the net by more than 3 feet.

But at least they have the potential. I'm not sure who was the most excited, me or the girls. They were thrilled with winning. I was thrilled to see a team of eight girls who are all excited about improving their volleyball skills.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Ridgecrest Blog FAQ

Q. Why are you writing this?
A. Why are you reading it? My reasons for this blog can be found here.

Q. Can I comment on your site?
A. You can, just click on the comments link at the end of each post. Please keep your comments germain to the topic at hand or at least amusing if they aren't. Any abuse of the comment system by spammers etc will result in the comments being turned off. There is also an e-mail address at the top of the right column. Just type it into the To: space on your e-mail client without spaces and use the @ symbol for the word 'at' and a period '.' for the word 'dot'. Write your message and click send. You'll be sending me e-mail. Now, while I will probably read your e-mail I make no promises about responding to it.

Q. I object to something your wrote and want you to stop it.
A. If you object to, or are insulted by something I've written here, then don't read anything else. You have the right and freedom to never click on a link to my site again. What I write here on this site stays right here on this site. It is not 'pushed' or forced on anyone. If you want to read what I have written you have to make a concious attempt to open this site and look at it. So if you find something here that you object to, then it is your fault for opening and reading this site.

Q. What makes you think that anyone would want to read this mindless drivel that you are spewing here?
A. I don't know. Why are you here reading it? I'm not writing this for you. I'm writing it for me. If someone else besides me finds some enjoyment from it - great. If you find it boring and mindless then I'm sorry you chose to waste your time here being bored.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

My Children

I guess I should introduce my children. Since I'll probably be talking about them a lot here.

19 years ago I was fortunate enough to marry the most beautiful woman ever - My dear wife. After three years of wedded bliss we decided to add a little spice into our lives. So we had a child. We planned, prepared, studied and did everything we could to get ready to be parents. We didn't have a clue.

Our first child was born just before Halloween. This should have been a foreshadowing of the horror to come. But like the teenagers in the slasher flicks who ignore all the warning signs of their impending doom. We went ahead, three years later and decided to have one more child. We ended up with twins.

So here we are now - a family of five. My wife spent several years working out the details of feeding, changing, holding and cuddling a single and twins. I'm still working on the logistics of housing them all in our house, transporting them all in our cars, and trying to figure out how to pay for groceries and educations.

So let me introduce my children - Chaos, Noise, and Destruction.

Chaos is a beautiful 15 year old who is a sophomore at Burroughs High School. She likes sewing, crafts, music, volleyball, basketball and french fries dipped in chocolate shake. She plays volleyball on the varsity team and is a very good student. She is also the main reason why I'm a volleyball coach. She is called Chaos because she can enter a room where her siblings are peacefully playing and within seconds chaos ensues.

Noise is also a beautiful child. She is 11 now and has a twin brother. She likes, dolls, snacks, school, playing the clarinet, singing, watching TV and talking. Just this year she has tried her hand at playing volleyball. Noise believes that a minute without talking or singing was a indeed wasted minute. As she has gotten older Noise has expanded her repetoire of sonic entertainment to include humming, clicking, clacking, pounding, banging, shouting, and just good old fashioned dropping things. As a 5th grader she sings in the school choir and plays clarinet in the band.

Destruction is an 11 year old boy who with his sister is in the fifth grade. He likes legos, bionicles, puzzles, soccer, cookies, basketball, cuddling with his mommy and tools that cut or tear. He has a natural affinity for any device that can cut, slice, chop or disassemble. We do slightly worry about the boy because so far the little voice in his head that says "Cut this with the scissors" is showing a remarkable lack of good judgment. You have to keep an eye of destruction because once his cutting gets up a head of steam, its hard to put the brakes on again. Lately Destruction has been bucking for a name change. But then the boy in him will come roaring back out and we leave it as is. Lately his destructive tendencies have been redirected from objects to himself. Yep, he is definitely a boy.

This posting was last updated on June 4, 2008

Monday, March 14, 2005

It's Official - I'm Too Old For This

I had to disrupt my birthday celebration of doing nothing by getting out of the house this evening for a while to go coach a volleyball practice. It was the first practice for my city league team. Eight little girls ranging from 10 to 12 years old. Four of them have never played volleyball before. Oh boy......

I started from scratch with all of them. I had one hour to try and teach them, passing serving, some court play, the basic rules, some sportsmanship issues, pass out shirts, pass out schedules and walk them through sample pregame, game and postgame situations.

We finished the practice and I think the only person in the gym I didn't confuse was my daughter who has been through this with me before. Now I just have to wait until Thursday evening to see if anything I said stuck.

I did get one thing out of this practice. I'm really getting too old to try and keep up with these young kids.

Crap, I got older....

I slept in this morning, hoping to forstall the inevitable. Eventually I dragged my sorry old rear end out of bed and faced the reality that I am indeed another year older.

Actually it took a whole year to get this way. But it seems like it happened overnight.

So in an attempt to revive an old habit of mine, I chose not to go to work on my birthday. I figure if I have to age a year in a single day at least I should enjoy the day. So I have a busy day of napping, movies, and computer games planned. If the wind lets up I may go out later and dig some holes in the ground. (for planting trees)

The Desert Flowers are Back

Coreopsis along Hwy 395

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Almost an Ace

I spent this afternoon trying to get my family out of LA and back home to the sticks. While driving north on the I-15 in pretty heavy traffic I noticed a commotion behind me. Glancing in the rear view mirror I watched an older battered green volvo stationwagon weave it's way through the traffic. This rolling accident was traveling about 10 mph faster than any other car on the road at that moment. I think it had that new random lane change feature. Because the driver was wildly swerving around cars.

As this swerving dent rolled past us I noticed several bumper stickers all plastered all over the back of the vehicle. Among the plethora of "My child was student of the month..." stickers was a decal on the rear window depicting a family of four. There was four white silhouettes showing a mother, father, and two children. I pointed to the decal and told my wife, look honey, she only needs one more to make "Ace".

Good thing I was driving or we'd have been in the ditch. Life tip to remember, don't tell jokes to my wife while she is driving, she closes her eyes when she laughs.

Back from La-LA Land

We just got back from La-La Land. Otherwise known as Los Angeles. OK, more specifically we were in Anaheim, which is in Orange County. Now people who live in Orange County are always quick to tell you that they are not LA. Well I got news for them. It's all one big, crowded, smelly city to us rural folks. Lots of traffic, lots of people, lots of smog, lots of stuff that remind us why we don't live there.

So if I hate LA so much why go down there? To visit people who don't live there either of course. An old high school and college friend and his family are spending thier spring break at Disneyland. So we ran down and spent the evening with them. We figured that after several hours with my family, a fantasy land filled with giant mice, would seem normal.

The trip was uneventful, at least as far as bad things happening. We had a nice, if short visit. We finally got home after several hours on the freeway at speeds ranging between zero and seventy-five miles per hour. The highlight of the trip home was lunch at Popeye's Fried Chicken. If you've never had Popeye's you have never had chicken. Order it spicy and don't forget the biscuits. They are to die for.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Why Blogging?

Why do I have a blog?

Well there are several answers to that question. But the main reasons are:
  1. I'm a creative genius, who's just exploding with undirected potential, looking for a release to express myself. (you should be laughing at me right now)
  2. Hey it's this or finish that last do-it-yourself project I started.
  3. I need to practice my typing and speeling spelling skills
  4. I'm hoping that this will count as writing letters to my mother.
  5. I've tried complaining to my family and they won't listen. So I'm going to complain to the internet instead.
  6. Working late into the night with the lights on pisses off the cockroaches.
  7. I've been reading several blogs for about two years. And while reading a blog doesn't make me blogger. It did make we want to give it a shot.
  8. There are a lot of things I want to write down. Some so I won't forget them, some so my children won't forget them, and some just because.

So here goes......

First Post

Welcome to my first attempt at blogging. I've titled the blog Ridgecrest Blog. But that's just because I needed a title and I live in Ridgecrest CA. I don't intend to limit my blogging to just comments about the city of Ridgecrest. But until a better title comes along, or my writing finds a niche to fill, Ridgecrest Blog will have to do.