Saturday, December 30, 2006

So Long Saddam

At the very early hours of this morning Saddam Hussein was led to a gallows by three hooded men who carried out an Iraqi Court of Law’s order for his execution.

This event has been gloated over by some, and lamented by others. I intend to do neither. If I still lived in Texas Saddam would have been on my short list of “people who just need killin’. “

The one part of this whole affair that I am pleased with is the quickness of his execution. Here in America we have people who have been living on death row for over 20 years while they repeatedly appeal their convictions. As a proponent of the death penalty I definitely like a system of laws that doesn’t think that a conviction and a death sentence means that the taxpayers should continue to support the convicted felon until they die of old age.

My only regret over Saddam’s execution is that he could only be punished once for the hundreds of thousands of people that he so badly used, abused and murdered for three decades. But since executing him more than once would be inhuman, it’s really too bad that they couldn’t find a couple Kurdish women to be his executioners.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Holiday Movie Night

Three years ago we started a new family Christmas holiday tradition. We all gathered together along with a couple of my daughter’s friends and did nothing all day but watch movies. That first year we watched all three extended director’s cut Lord of the Rings movies. Last year we watched all seven Star Wars movies.

This year the family decided to have a Treasure Hunters movie marathon. We started with all three Indiana Jones movies. From there we moved on to The Mummy, Sahara and National Treasure. Valley of the Kings should be starting just about the time I post this. We will finish up with Stewart Granger’s version of King Solomon’s Mine, if everyone else can stay awake that long.

During the day I followed another family post-Christmas tradition – homemade turkey vegetable noodle soup. Several years ago my children and I discovered that the best part of having turkey is making soup with the carcass. So while we were watching movies, I boiled down the carcass of our Christmas turkey to make stock. Then I cleaned the remaining meat off the carcass, scooped all the bones out of the stock. Added a Wyler’s Chicken Noodle Soup Starter, some bullion cubes, a bag of mixed frozen vegetables, salt, pepper and dried onion flakes. Let the whole large cast iron pot full of fixins simmer for several hours until the smell was driving us nuts. Then added some egg noodles and we all enjoyed a delicious dinner of soup and a movie.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Ambush

I have wanted to occasionally include some videos on this site. For Christmas I got a copy of Adobe Premier video editing software so I can get the video from my camcorder to the computer. So for my first video I'm going to show you what happens when my son opens one of his Christmas presents and discovers the nerf rifle he had been wanting for months.

This was the moment that my son discovered that his old man wasn't dumb enough to arm one member of the family without giving the others a means of defending themselves.

Christmas Dinner

Fried Turkey
Hickory Smoked Ham
Oyster Dressing
Mashed Potatoes
Grandma’s Christmas Jello Salad
Green Bean Casserole
Pumpkin Pie
Candy Cane Cheesecake

I discovered a new treat yesterday while cooking. I had the ham in the smoker and had just put the turkey in the fryer. I dumped what my kids had taken to calling the “icky innards” (gizzard, liver and heart) of the turkey into the smoker with the ham. It was about an hour later when I discovered that I like hickory smoked turkey heart much better than just baked turkey heart.

Christmas Dinner was a quiet affair for us this year. This was the first time in 17 years that Christmas dinner was just the five of us. We almost always have guests over. But this year it was just my dear wife, the three kids and I. We did discover one small benefit to having just the five of us for dinner. No one dressed up. We spent the day in sweats or jeans. It was nice lounging around and cooking in casual clothes, but I think I would trade that for having some family or friends around.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from David, my Dear Wife, Chaos, Noise and Destruction.

family christmas

This picture is from my favorite artist, John C. Green, who is from my home town of Madison SD. I have five of his prints hanging in our family room. The one above, called family Christmas was a gift from my mother the year she discovered she had cancer. John has an online studio here. If you like scenes of South Dakota farm country, pheasants and hunting dogs, John is your guy.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Lights

After dinner this evening the whole family loaded into the van with our cups of hot chocolate to drive around town and look at the Christmas lights. There are a few neighborhoods that are standard places to visit for beautiful Christmas light displays. The rest of the evening we drive aimlessly around looking down streets displays of lights.

Our favorite spots are a collection of three houses on Kinnett St. These neighbors decorate together, the lights spread from one house to the other. There is a house on Alene Street, one on Vicki Court and one on Beth lane that we love to stop by. The house on Beth Lane is always a challenge. We are never sure where this short street is at. We rarely come upon it from the same direction two years in a row.

This year after finding Beth Lane and enjoying the yard full of animated Christmas figurines we were driving out of the neighborhood and I asked my dear wife to check the cross street names. She was unable to see the first street name, but as we drove along the block she pointed to a large building and said its right past the Jehovah’s Witnesses Temple. We were both making a mental note of that for next year when my son spoke up from the back seat asking “What are Jamocha’s?”

We both asked “What?” and he repeated “What are jamocha witnesses?” The whole van was rocking in laughter for several blocks after that. Finally we managed to calm ourselves down enough to explain what we had said and where his error had been. However I don’t think my dear wife and I will ever see the Jehovah’s walking the sidewalks again with their Watchtower magazines without thinking of Jamocha Shakes from Arby’s or Baskin Robbins’s Jamocha ice cream. I’m afraid that for our family they will forever from this night forth be Jamocha’s Witnesses.

We ended our evening with a stroll down Victoria Ct. Victoria court is a short cul-de-sac that most of the houses decorate with lights. All the houses string lights across the street from one roof top to the opposite house. Most people drive the cul-de-sac but we have always preferred to park and walk. We have so few neighborhoods in town that all the houses will decorate and driving through this short one makes the enjoyment pass to quickly.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Inner Peace

I am passing this on to you because it definitely works, and we could all use a little more calmness in our lives. By following simple advice heard on the Dr. Phil show, you too can find inner peace. Dr Phil proclaimed, "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you have started and have never finished."

So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished, and before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream, a bottle of Kaluha, a package of Oreo's, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos and a box of chocolates.

You have no idea how freaking good I feel. Please pass this on to those whom you think might be in need of inner peace.

- via an email from a friend -

Monday, December 18, 2006

SAC/PTG Christmas Party

Tonight we hosted a Christmas Party in our house for the members of the School Advisory Council and the PTG officers. When I took over as President of the School Advisory Council 5 years ago I started having the other members of the council over for a Christmas party and a kick off BBQ at the beginning of each school year. I just always find it easier to work with people or get through difficult times when we have gotten to know one another in an informal get together.

The party was pretty simple. Sandwiches and Christmas treats and desserts was our dinner fare. We spent a couple hours just visiting and talking about our lives, families and the school.

Our Christmas party has never gotten full attendance by all seven members of the council and the five PTG officers. Counting spouses and children we usually managed to get about twelve people to show up. It makes for a small intimate party. I would like to get everyone involved. But finding a day at this time of the year when everyone is available for a couple hours in the evening is difficult. I even had to miss the end of the party when I had to leave to pick my daughter up from her volleyball practice. When we got home, everyone else had left.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Sagebrush Shortline Christmas Ride

This evening the whole family went up the hill to take a ride on the Sagebrush Short Line Railroad. Over the last few years a Christmas train ride has become an unusual christmas tradition for our family.

This year the lines were really long. It was warmer than usual even though the wind was blowing. I think they had a pretty good out of town envolvement. There were a lot of trailers and motorhomes parked up there. There were several trains running. Most of them were gasoline powered. When we first got into line to wait for a turn to ride they had three coal fired steam powered locomotives running together. I was hoping to get a chance to ride on them, but by the time we got to the front of the line, they had taken them offline for maintenance.

We took our train ride and the family vetoed my suggestion of getting back into line for another ride. So we loaded up the van and drove around the south side of town looking at Christmas lights.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

New Blogger

I have converted this blog over to the new blogger software.

So far it seems to work. I have been tweaking the template. I made lots of little changes to a standard template in the old blogger. In order to add some of the new features of the new version I had to lose most of my changes. I'm slowly trying to get them all back in again.

If anything doesn't seem to be working please let me know.

Update - Senator Tim Johnson

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader is reporting:

Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota, who was hospitalized Wednesday after suffering stroke-like symptoms, is recovering this morning from an overnight operation to address bleeding in his brain.

Admiral John Eisold, the attending doctor of the United States Capitol, issued a statement this morning that said the senator is recovering “without complication” from surgery for a condition called congenital arteriovenous malformation.

“He underwent successful surgery to evacuate the blood and stabilize the malformation,” Eisold said.

Johnson is in critical condition at George Washington University Hospital. Eisold said it was too soon to say if more surgery is needed and what the long-term outlook of Johnson’s health is.

Once again my prayers and best wishes to Senator Johnson and his family, and hopes for a quick and full recovery.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Senator Tim Johnson

According to The Hill, Democratic Senator Tim Johnson from South Dakota was taken to the hospital today suffering from an apparent stroke.

Several conservative bloggers and many news agencies are babbling endlessly over the balance of power in the Senate implications if Senator Johnson is unable to fulfill his term of office.

But since I’m not an elected political official I can put politics and cheap shots aside and wish Senator Johnson a speedy and full recovery. He seemed to be a pretty level headed guy who was often willing to vote his conscious and not the party line on many issues. More importantly he is a fellow South Dakota boy.

Stem Cell Research

Normally I support any sort of scientific research that may better or extend our lives. I have no problem with scientists working on cloning. I would love to know that if I got sick and the only cure was a liver transplant that we had the capability to take a sample of my liver, adjust the DNA of the sample to fix the problem with my liver, then grow me a new one which could then be transplanted into me with little danger of rejection because it was my liver. Mind you I don’t think we ever need to explore trying to clone a whole human being, just replacement parts. If doctors could grow me a new set of knees and ankles with intact ligaments and cartiledge I would start working a second job today in order to save enough money for the procedure.

However I have not gotten on board with supporting embryonic stem cell research. I see just too much risk of nefarious deeds being perpetrated against a class of humans who can’t defend themselves.

I am all in favor of adult stem cell research. It was medical advances in adult stem cell treatments that allowed my mother another 5 years of life once she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

Now there is a news story circulating around that

Healthy new-born babies may have been killed in Ukraine to feed a flourishing international trade in stem cells, evidence obtained by the BBC suggests.

Mind you this is an news story from a single news agency and we all know how reliable the media has been in its reporting the last few years.

But true or not, the fear of this is the kind of story that keeps anti embryonic stem cell folks awake at night.

For those of you who will hate me for denying your god given right to harvest body parts from unborn children I have this one web site for you to read:

Do No Harm:
The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics

One of the most telling pages on this site is the list of the Benefits of Stem Cells to Human Patients comparing successful treatments using Adult Stem Cells v. successful treatments using Embryonic Stem Cells:

With Adult Stem Cells

1. Brain Cancer
2. Retinoblastoma
3. Ovarian Cancer
4. Skin Cancer: Merkel Cell Carcinoma
5. Testicular Cancer
6. Tumors abdominal organs Lymphoma
7. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
8. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
9. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
10. Acute Myelogenous Leukemia
11. Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
12. Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia
13. Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia
14. Cancer of the lymph nodes: Angioimmunoblastic Lymphadenopathy
15. Multiple Myeloma
16. Myelodysplasia
17. Breast Cancer
18. Neuroblastoma
19. Renal Cell Carcinoma
20. Various Solid Tumors
21. Soft Tissue Sarcoma
22. Ewing’s Sarcoma
23. Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia
24. Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis
25. POEMS syndrome
26. Myelofibrosis
Auto-Immune Diseases
27. Systemic Lupus
28. Sjogren’s Syndrome
29. Myasthenia
30. Autoimmune Cytopenia
31. Scleromyxedema
32. Scleroderma
33. Crohn’s Disease
34. Behcet’s Disease
35. Rheumatoid Arthritis
36. Juvenile Arthritis
37. Multiple Sclerosis
38. Polychondritis
39. Systemic Vasculitis
40. Alopecia Universalis
41. Buerger’s Disease
42. Acute Heart Damage
43. Chronic Coronary Artery Disease
44. Corneal regeneration
45. Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Syndrome
46. X-linked Lymphoproliferative Syndrome
47. X-linked Hyper immunoglobulin M Syndrome
Neural Degenerative Diseases and Injuries
48. Parkinson’s Disease
49. Spinal Cord Injury
50. Stroke Damage
Anemias and Other Blood Conditions
51. Sickle Cell Anemia
52. Sideroblastic Anemia
53. Aplastic Anemia
54. Red Cell Aplasia
55. Amegakaryocytic Thrombocytopenia
56. Thalassemia
57. Primary Amyloidosis
58. Diamond Blackfan Anemia
59. Fanconi’s Anemia
60. Chronic Epstein-Barr Infection
Wounds and Injuries
61. Limb Gangrene
62. Surface Wound Healing
63. Jawbone Replacement
64. Skull Bone Repair
Other Metabolic Disorders
65. Hurler’s Syndrome
66. Osteogenesis Imperfecta
67. Krabbe Leukodystrophy
68. Osteopetrosis
69. Cerebral X-Linked Adrenoleukodystrophy
Liver Disease
70. Chronic Liver Failure
71. Liver Cirrhosis
Bladder Disease
72. End-Stage Bladder Disease

Using Embryonic Stem Cells

That’s right folks there has not been one single successful treatment for a human illness using embryonic stem cells. Yet two years ago the deluded liberal idiots of California passed a bill to spend 200 million dollars per year of taxpayer’s money supporting embryonic stem cell research.


I’m all in favor of continued scientific experimentation using parts of the human body to cure human illnesses. Just so long as the donor of those parts has the ability to look the doctor straight in the eyes and say “Sure, you can have some of my stem cells for your research.”

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Mandate from the People?

Yeah, I know that the election was a month ago. I haven’t written much about it. I didn’t have much trouble accepting the fact that the Democrats will take over control of the House and the Senate when they reconvene in January. I’m even resigned to inevitability of higher taxes, more entitlements, open borders, a cut and run philosophy in the Global War on Terror and an all out effort to put liberal activist judges on the bench as American spirals down into the cesspool that is Nancy Pelosi’s vision of America. I comfort myself with the thought that maybe two years of trying to get a grab on the porcelain as we spiral downward will convince voters and candidates that the elections in 2008 must have different results.

What I am already sick and tired of is the blatant hypocrisy of our politicians and the antique media outlets. I have had my fill of hearing Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid demand a bipartisan atmosphere in Washington. Where was their talk of bipartisanship the last 6 years when they have been filibustering, obstructing and interfering with the day to day business of Congress? They demand bipartisanship when they are in charge, but when they are not in charge they whine and cry like spoiled children who when forced to share their toys chose to grab a critical part of the game and go pout in the corner with it so no one else can play either.

I am sick and tired of the Democrats thinking that they took over control of Congress the day after the election. But mostly I’m sick and tired of the Republicans treating them like they are already in charge. Our president started out kiss democratic butts the day after the election. Congress reconvened right after the election and the Republicans who should still be in charge until the winter break caved on every issue in favor of the Democratic vision.

Finally what peeves me the most is the unflagging belief by both parties and the media that the last election represented a Mandate from the People of the United States.

Why is it when Republicans won the last two close elections we became a divided nation? But when Democrats win this last close election it is seen as a mandate from the people?

A quick synopsis of several congressional races around the country showed that Democrats had to defeat incumbent Republicans in 15 total seats to take control of the House of Representatives. The Republicans actually lost 29 seats. But it only took 15 to swing control of all Congressional Committees from the Republicans to the Democrats. As shown below 15 of the seats Republicans lost were very close races that would certainly make them anything but a mandate from the people kind of election.

Arizona District 05 – Mitchell (D) defeats Hayworth (R) 73,762 to 67,830 Margin – 5932 votes
California District 11 – McNerney (D) defeats Pombo (R) 88,835 to 78,223 – Margin – 10,612 votes
Connecticut District 2 - Courtney (D) defeats Simmons (R) 121,148 to 121,165. Margin – 83 votes
Florida District 16 - Mahoney (D) defeats Negron (R) 115,832 to 111,415 Margin – 4417 votes
Florida District: 22 - Klein (D) defeats Shaw (R) 108,688 to 100,663 Margin – 8085 votes
Georgia District 08 - Marshal (D) defeats Collins (R) 80,614 to 78,881 Margin – 1723 votes
Georgia District 12 – Barrow (D) defeats Burns (R) 71,651 to 70,787 Margin – 864 votes
Indiana District 09 – Hill (D) defeats Sodrel (R) 110,185 to 100,503 Margin – 9682 votes
Iowa District 02 – Loebsack (D) defeats Leach (R) 107,097 to 101,386 Margin – 5711 votes
Kansas District 02 – Boyda (D) defeats Ryun (R) 111,759 to 104,128 – Margin – 7631 votes
Kentucky District 03 – Yarmuth (D) defeats Northup (R) 122,425 to 116,535 – Margin – 5890 votes
New Hampshire District 01 - Shea-Porter (D) defeats Bradley (R) 100,899 to 94,869 – Margin 6030 votes
New York District 19 – Hall (D) defeats Kelly (R) 94,524 to 90,269 – Margin – 4255 votes
Pennsylvania District 08 – Murphy (D) defeats Fitzpatrick (R) 125,667 to 124,146 Margin – 1521 votes
Wisconsin District 08 – Kagen (D) defeats Gard (R) 141,598 to 134,990 Margin – 6608 votes

Total Margin of Victory in these 15 Congressional seats was 79,044 votes. There were 68,057,591 votes cast in congressional races nationwide. That means that 0.116 percent of the voters determined control of the House of Representatives. In what universe other that the delusional one that our Democratic leaders and the mainstream media live in does little more than one tenth of one percent constitute a mandate from the people.

In an even closer event the control of the Senate shifted from the Republicans to the Democrats on the basis of one lost senate seat. In the Virginia Senate Race - Webb (D) defeated Allen (R) 1,175,606 to 1,166,277. That is a margin of 9329 votes or 0.398 percent. Nationwide, there were 60,727,769 senate votes cast. Which means that the control of the Senate changed parties because of 0.015 percent of the voters.

79,044 votes have been declared a mandate from the people and put Nancy Pelosi a pretzel and a heart attack away from the Presidency of the United States.

So out of 300 million Americans of which less than 70 million voted, 79,044 changed the control of the House of Representatives, 9329 people changed the control of the Senate, and combined those approximately 90,000 Americans convinced the White House to change their focus from winning the War on Terror to appeasing the new Congressional Leadership.

This was not by any stretch of the imagination a Mandate from the People and I’m sick and tired of hearing the Democrats, The media and the White House call it that. It was another close election and we are still a divided nation. Nancy Pelosi needs to learn that almost half the voters in this country do NOT agree with her philosophy and her dreams of America and she does NOT have a Mandate from the People.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Laura Bush’s Dress

WCBS in New York has a news story out targeting First Lady Laura Bush because three other women showed up at the White House Christmas Party wearing the same dress as the first lady. Actually the story called it a holiday reception. Bite Me! It was a Christmas Party. It seems that this $8500 dress was so popular that three different women just had to have one. Personally I can’t see spending that kind of money on a dress but then I’m not one of the rich and beautiful people. I work for a living.

So how did the first lady handle this situation? As the hostess of the party she had the luxury of being able to go upstairs and change outfits. So she spent $8500 on a dress so it could hang in the closet. Wonderful…..

How did the media report this totally meaningless incident?

Laura Bush Can't Compete, Changes Outfit Mid-Party

First Lady Laura Bush. Oops!

Despite the fact that Mrs. Bush changed, the incident won't be forgotten any time soon.

Fox News called it a Major Fashion Faux Pas!

All this leads me to ask three questions. First off, a woman shows up at a party wearing the same dress as the hostess and it’s the hostess’s fault? Secondly did the president run upstairs and change in to jeans and a flannel shirt because another man showed up in a black tux? And finally, why is this news, why does anyone care and why the hell am I writing about it?

A Day in Infamy

I have tried several times to write something about the 65th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

There seem to be many correlations, connections or comparisons that I could make between Dec 7, 1941 and Sept 11, 2001. However the thoughts rumbling around in my head just don’t seem to make it onto the page.

I don’t personally remember Pearl Harbor or the subsequent world war. But I was raised by parents and grandparents who all lived through both. I digging through my grandparent’s stuff I have run across a plethora of WWII memorabilia - Gas rationing stamps, postcards reminding us to recycle rubber, aluminum, and steel, practically everything.

This got me to thinking about the differences in our generations. My grandparents’ generation was brutally attacked and they responded with a strong national identity and overall national sacrifice. It cost over 400,000 American lives but they went to war and defeated Germany, Japan and Italy.

My parents’ generation fought a much different world war - the cold (third?) world war. There were regional conflicts in Korea and Vietnam that we believed would have world wide impact if we did not fight. We lost over 100,000 American soldiers in those conflicts. While we got to see the downfall of the Soviet Union without an armed conflict, the wars we fought had much different results. World War II ended with costly but obvious victories for the Untied States and our allies. Korea ended with the nation split and the communist north 50 years later, testing nuclear bombs. Vietnam ended when congress denied funding for out troops, and we pulled out leaving our allies to die by the millions when the communist north over ran their country.

My generation has to fight the Global War on Terror. This was has been waged against us for over 25 years. It just took the Sept 11 attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania to jar our complacent nation into action. Now, 65 years after Pearl Harbor and 5 years after 9-11 we are positioning ourselves to once again walk away from a war without defeating our enemy. The reasons for this are many. Some people still don’t believe that we are in a war. They think that this can be handled with diplomacy and police enforcement. Some people think that holding hands and singing KumbyYa will make the world a better place. Many of our politicians on both sides of the aisle are willing to sacrifice what is good for America in order to gain what is good for themselves. Far too many Americans don’t like where or how the war is being fought or they don’t understand who we are fighting. And that is the main difference in our generations.

In World War II the enemy was clear – Japan, Germany, Italy and anyone who supported them. In the cold war the enemy wasn’t quite so clear cut. The enemy was Communism which was represented by the Soviet Union and China. But in the Global War on Terror, who is our enemy. Muslims? Radical Muslims? Sure, most terror attacks against the United States were carried out by Muslims. Does that mean we declare war on all Muslims?

We went to war in Afghanistan. We overthrew the Taliban there who was supporting Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. Then we went to war in Iraq and over threw a murderous dictator there that had been funding terrorists for years. Now we are dealing with a violent insurgency in Iraq that is being inflamed by Iran and Syria. So we go after Iran and Syria also. Or do we pull out and concentrate on capturing one man, Osama Bin Laden? Do we crush the insurgency in Iraq regardless of the loss of innocent civilians? How do we tell the innocent civilians from the insurgents? How much do we spend? How long do we fight? What is victory? Can we ever defeat an enemy that will never surrender? Are we fighting a nation, a religion, an ideology, a ghost?

In browsing the blogosphere last night and this morning I ran across several dedications and memorials about Pearl Harbor. But one of the best things I read was Our Pearl Harbor By Victor Davis Hanson. Mr. Hanson does a much better job contrasting our generation with the greatest generation than I ever could. Give it a read; it’s not very long and certainly worth a mouse click and three minutes of your life.

So far the United States has encouraged its citizens to shop rather than sacrifice. The subtext is that we can defeat the terrorists and their autocratic sponsors with just a fraction of our available manpower - ensuring no real disruption in our lifestyles. That certainly wasn't the case with the Depression-era generation who fought World War II.

And after Pearl Harbor, Americans believed they had no margin of error in an elemental war for survival. Today, we are apparently convinced that we can lose ground, whether in Afghanistan or Iraq, and still not lose either the war or our civilization.

Of course, by 1945, Americans no longer feared another Pearl Harbor. Yet, we, in a far stronger and larger United States, are still not sure we won't see another Sept. 11.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Remember Who Paid For Your Freedom

I stumbled across this picture on Michelle Malkin's blog. I liked the picture and that led me to follow some of the links she provided.

winter wreaths at Arlington

Worcester Wreath Company which was founded by Morrill Worcester seems to be one of those American corporations that still understands the price that was paid for the freedom we all enjoy. I like that they not only talk about honoring our veterans but that they do something about it. Even more important is that they not only honor them with wreaths on their graves at Christmas but that they are active in teaching the next generation about the cost of freedom. That is something I think that the last couple generations have really dropped the ball on.

I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with my grandfather when I was younger. He made sure that I knew what it meant to be free, what that freedom cost, and who paid the price. Grandpa’s lessons in freedom were never in the form of lessons, lectures or speeches. He taught me to value our freedom by just being himself and showing me what was important to him.

My grandfather would drive from Rapid City to Sturgis SD every couple weeks to buy cheese. There was a place in Sturgis that made the best Colby longhorn cheese. The cheese was good enough that Grandpa was willing to drive 26 miles to get it. Between Sturgis and Rapid City is the Black Hills National Cemetery. We never drove past that cemetery without my grandfather making some positive comment about the character of the men buried there. He was never preachy, or overly patriotic. He would make just a plain common sense statement like "Field full of heroes coming up on our left."

Sometimes we would drive through the cemetery. We wouldn’t stop, he wouldn’t talk, we would just cruise nice and slow through the cemetery. On rare occasions Grandpa would stop the car, get out and wander around for a while. He would eventually stop at any one of several different headstones where he would pause briefly staring at the stone and then look at me and say something along the lines of “He was a good guy, one of the best, but he cheated at poker.” Then we would get in the car and head home.

Unfortunately I was too young to notice or care whose names were on the stones. I never looked or paid attention. But through the years I learned the lesson – these are the men who paid the price for our freedom.

My grandfather and my mother are now at rest in that field full of heroes.

So if you plan on buying live Christmas wreaths this year and you don’t have a local source for your wreaths, I would recommend the Worcester Wreath Company. You can purchase their products here.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Monday Morning Question

Q: Why do mathematicians often confuse Christmas and Halloween?

A: Because Oct 31 = Dec 25

if you think I've lost my mind, you are right. But not for this question.
Oct = octal, you know, base 8
Dec = decimal, base 10, counting with your fingers....

I stole this question from Wicked Thoughts

A follow on to this question is the statement:
There are 10 types of people.
Those who understand binary and those who don't.

Hopefully this will qualify for my geek moment of the week and I can get on with my life.