Sunday, May 31, 2009

Things to do while you are driving to and from Boulder


It takes me about two hours to drive to Boulder on Sunday morning to see my wife in the nursing home and, of course, it takes about two hours to drive back. I normally leave around 7 am in the morning and come back home to Breckenridge around 5 pm. I set the VCR to record CBS Sunday Morning (my favorite show) and then to record 60 minutes at 6 pm if I don't make it back in time.

The four hour round trip drive might just be the most productive time of my week. I listen to all of my favorite radios shows on National Public Radio and tune in my favorite Spanish language programs to find out what the rest of the world is saying about the news. Of course I listen to the BBC news on the hour and half hour. That is probably the purist form of news you can get. No emotion. Totally stoic. No opinion or spin. Nice.

Someone killed an Abortion Doctor in Kansas while he was attending church. There was a previous attempt on his life a few years ago that obviously failed. General Motors will probably declare bankruptcy tomorrow (Monday). That makes two of the big three now gone. All of the talk was how they would reorganize and come back stronger. Fiat is having some heartburn over buying Chrysler. The GM bondholders are balking at losing most of their investment. 70% of GM will be owned by the US and Canadian Governments. I still think that we should let both fail on their lack of merits and go on with life as we know it. We should not spend that kind of money to put the companies on life support. Notice that Ford has not had the same problems and has not asked for money.

It is almost time to watch 60 minutes. Maybe there will be something positive on that program that will calm me down.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Your tax dollars at work


A news report on line this morning from Channel 7 in Denver. Do you find this acceptable? I don't. 25% don't graduate from high school in Colorado. What a shame.

DENVER -- The Colorado Department of Education says the statewide high school graduation rate is down, but so is the dropout rate.

The department said 73.9 percent of students -- or 46,291 students -- graduated in the class of 2008, the latest figure available. That's down from 75 percent in 2007.

The dropout rate improved to 3.8 percent, from 4.4 percent in 2006-07. Education Commissioner Dwight Jones said the number of dropouts fell by more than 2,500.

The state reports graduation rates by tracking students from ninth to 12th grades and accounting for transfers.

The graduation rate for the class of 2008 was 81.6 percent for white students, 57.5 percent for Native Americans, 82.8 percent for Asians and 64.1 percent for blacks.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Weapon of choice


I will end the week on an up beat note. This is a tune by Fatboy Slim called Weapon of Choice and a video of Christopher Walken doing a dance routine with special effects. It is one of my favorites as well as a favorite of my most elderly son Eric. Make sure you get your feet ready to tap. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZLidy7pIQ8

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I get so confused at times


I get so confused. For the past 24 hours General Motors is reported to have decided to declare bankruptcy this coming Monday. This was brought about by the General Motors Bond holders being unwilling to accept 4 cents on the dollar for their investment.

Then this morning they are reporting that the bond holders had agreed with the consideration of larger bond options in the future. Discretion is the better part of valor. But stay tuned because as my friend Yogi used to say, "It ain't over until it is over."

Something else that confuses me. General Motors decided to dump Saturn and Oldsmobile and Hummer as a bad deal. The makes will cease to exist. In the meantime Saturn is running ads saying that if you buy a new Saturn and lose your job they will make the car payments for you for a while. General Motors is now saying the same thing but they will not make the payments but send you a check for $250 a month for several months. It is so bad that they can't even give the cars away.

One other thing in this deal is that General Motors is shutting down all of their production for several months in order to sell existing inventory at their plants and at their dealers.

Being the flaming liberal that I am I keep thinking about the workers and what happens to them. They will all be out of work for months and maybe forever. We need to keep thinking about them and all of the leaders of the union and General Motors can go to hell for what they have wrought.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Win some, lose some


You win some and you lose some. We get a highly qualified woman of Hispanic decent nominated for the Supreme Court of the United States of America and the California Supreme Court continues to push us back to the stone ages with their same sex marriage decision.

Why, in the most democratic country in the world, can't everyone enjoy the same rights and privileges? Why, when many states are moving to enable same sex couples to marry, so some states move to restrict basic civil rights?

It has nothing to do with Adam and Eve or Adam and Steve but is has to do with very narrow thinking that was in place when the law prohibited blacks from voting or attending the same schools as whites.

People must take off their critical and judgemental blinders and look at our nation with a world vision when it comes to civil rights and social justice.

Maybe our new Supreme Court justice will agree with the 80% of the population that is open minded and stop agreeing with the 20% who are not.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dirty Vegas


Sometimes it is nice to take a break from trying to solve the issues of the world. I have three or four favorite songs that can easily be found on Youtube. This one is by Dirty Vegas and is about a man who lost his love. Each year for many years he returns to a place in front of a diner to dance hoping his one true love will return. As in real life she does not but he keeps dancing regardless. You might remember the tune was also an ad for the Mitsubishi Eclipse. When a tune keeps rolling around in your head for years I think it is called an ear worm or ear wig. One of those. Listen to the end and read the comments from the onlookers and then ask yourself if you would wait forever for your true love. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oqmhVNk3Hg

Monday, May 25, 2009

The mouse that roared again


Timing is everything in life. The North Koreans have timing down pat. They blew up their second nuclear weapon on Memorial Day in the United States. A day when most businesses are closed. The stock market is closed. There is no news beyond Memorial Day ceremonies. A slow news day. The North Koreans get the front page for a day.

So the Mouse that Roared roars again. BBC World News this morning is only talking about how this will bring the major nations of the world to the table to talk about Nuclear Nation status for North Korea and putting them in line for massive foreign aid.

Have a great Memorial Day. Remember the day is about men and women who died defending our country. It is not about a Mattress Sale.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Kids and more kids


One hundred ninety nine young people graduated yesterday from Summit High School. When the new school opened a few years ago there were around one hundred graduating and now it has nearly doubled.

I remember the local pundits complaining that the new school was too big and would never be filled. How terribly wrong they were.

The reason people come to the high country is not because of economic opportunity or a great school or new found wealth. They come for the views. They come because of the natural beauty of this wonderful place. (In the summer. Ask me again in March.)

As long as the mountains are still there and even when the trees are sparse from the beetle kill, people will continue to come. They will come and bring their kids. They will come and have more kids. The kids will go to school and end up graduating. Maybe we need an even bigger high school.

By the way the number of babies being born at our new hospital is huge. Good place to live and a good place to have kids. I remember one of the County Commissioners opposing the new Birthing Center at the old Summit Medical Center because we would never use the facility. Another case of wrong thinking.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

From President Obama


“This Memorial Day weekend, Americans will gather on lawns and porches, fire up the grill, and enjoy the company of family, friends and neighbors," he said. "But this is not only a time for celebration. It is also a time to reflect on what this holiday is all about; to pay tribute to our fallen heroes; and to remember the servicemen and women who cannot be with us this year because they are standing post far from home –- in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world.”

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dandelions


Looking out of my window on the world I have been seeing it rain for the past couple of days which followed my working on the yard for about a week. My challenge was the dandelions that had been left to grow unhindered for at least the past 15 years. I thought that I had them under control until it started to rain and now there are hundreds more popping up all over the place.

If I just shift my mindset I can imagine that they are, in fact, beautiful yellow flowers growing in the now lush well watered grass.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Stinking thinking


I don't know how many of you may have read the book, "The Secret." I can save you a couple of bucks. It basically says that what you say is what you will get. Where your head is ends up being where you will go. Of course there is more to all of this but that is the gist of the story of "The Secret."

Using that theory if you ignore that the biggest state in the United States is now bankrupt then everything is ok. Using that theory if you just keep saying and thinking that the economy is ok then it is ok.

What a marvelous idea.

Put on a happy face and magically your house payment will be made each month. Keep saying that your car payment is made and magically you look at your bank statement and there it is, a paid car payment.

If only this was all true. I do agree that if you think bad thoughts bad karma will follow but that is just plain stinking thinking to quote my old friend Zig Ziglar. He also suggests a regular, "Check up from the neck up."

I like the one day at a time attitude. Each day when I get up I keep in mind that I have an entire new day to either be productive or wallow in pity. To have a pity party. Most days I am productive.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Something wrong with this picture


The news this morning was about how the voters in California turned down the budget measures that would keep schools open and another State Department measure to provide billions to open schools in Pakistan. There is something wrong with this picture.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Es tiempo por fiesta en Mexico


I read recently that the three largest sources of income for the country of Mexico are: Oil revenues, money sent home by workers living in other countries and tourism.

Mexican oil reserves are reduced every day with no new sources being found. Mexican workers living and working in other countries are not working due to the economy and are moving back to Mexico. The tourism industry is as bad as it has ever been because of the Flu Epidemic.

A friend told me several years ago that he could not understand why I enjoyed going to Mexico. He told me he would never go to Mexico because it was full of Mexicans. Heaven forbid. Imagine that? Not one of my more intelligent or well informed friends.

In Spanish it es Tiempo por fiesta en Mexico. It is time to party in Mexico.

Monday, May 18, 2009

When to keep your mouth shut


Discretion is always the better part of valor. There is a time to speak and and time to not speak. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the number three person in line of succession to the presidency gave a press conference recently where she stated that she had attended a highly secret committee meeting a few years back and that no one ever said that there was any torture being used on the terrorist prisoners.

Immediately Leon Panetta the current head of the CIA had a press conference saying that Speaker Pelosi was wrong and that she had been told that there was torture being used. Pelosi responded saying that yes she did know that there was torture being used early on but not a the meeting in question.

Then members on both sides jumped in saying that if she knew there was torture early on why didn't she do anything to stop it?

Panetta and Pelosi are both Democrats. Something about people (Democrats) eating their young. Something about being your own worst enemy.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A brown lawn again


Without the ability to water outside my lawn takes the lowest priority. Under Colorado state water law it is illegal to use water outside of your residence if you are on a well. People on town water or a water district have unlimited use of their water outside but those of use in the "county" can't water our lawns.

That is a two edged sword. One is that without water my lawn dies around the first of July so I don't have to mow it. The second one is that with a dead lawn my world in not green but brown.

This even applies to people with outside hot tubs. They can't fill them legally. You can't have a planter box on your deck outside. You can't have a flower garden. It is an outside use. It is possible to buy water from someone who goes to the water plant and fills up a truck to haul it to people who want water outside.

And yes there are water police. The Colorado State Department of Natural Resources has Water Commissioners all over just checking on how people are using their water. Water is a finite resource and every drop is allocated to someone. Some of the allocation goes to the nice fountains in Las Vegas or the big swimming pools in Arizona.

So this morning I went out for the tenth time to cut dandelions out of my grass to keep them from going to seed. I am getting ready for my two or three times I will have to mow before my lawn goes back to desert.

An old friend told me once that if Colorado was flat without any mountains it would look like the Mojave Desert in California. No water would be collected so therefore there would be no trees or other plants. Thank God for the mountains.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A matter of pay


I am a news freak and read everything I can get my hands on.

One current issue is the investigation into the Continental flight that crashed earlier this year. One thing that came out is that the pilot's annual salary was $16,000 a year and how you don't get the best people for that price.

If someone is working the Front Desk making $13 an hour their annual salary is $27,040 over $10,000 a year more than a full time airline pilot. Amazing.

$13 X 40 = $520 a week. $520 X 52 Weeks = $27,040.

That pilot killed 50 passengers.

Makes you want to rent a car next time.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Does the wing nut turn right or left?


You can't win for losing. President Obama has always been under attack from the right wing nuts which makes sense. I have read a couple of articles in the past couple of days about how he is under attack now from the left wing nuts.

I guess the left thinks that he is not far enough to the left. They can't understand why we are still in Iraq and are doing troop buildups in Afghanistan and now refusing to hand over the photos of prisoners being tortured to the ACLU.

Pretty soon Rush Limbaugh will be supporting Obama according to these kooks.

A friend complained to me recently that Obama is just too popular and that somehow that is a plot by the left leaning liberal press. I wonder what that friend would say today.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

When cometh the trash truck


Pogo would say that Friday the 13th came on Wednesday this May. We had very nice weather yesterday so I was able to ride my bike more than usual. At one point the oncoming wind speed exceeded my forward motion and I virtually stood still in my tracks. Interesting physics question? My trash container did not fare as well and ended up travelling a good distance a couple of times. After retrieving it I finally settled on putting it in my garage with the door open hoping that the trash guys would bother to look over and see it waiting to be dumped. I ended up in a state of high anxiety staring out the window for an long time. I spotted the truck at a fair distance and started walking to the garage to go get the container when the truck actually stopped and a young man hopped off and ran to my garage to get the container. I walked to the truck to bring it back and thanked him for his great eyes. Such is the life of a 67 year old man with nothing better to do. I could be robbing banks or shooting pool or stalking women in the produce section but no I spend my days watching for the weekly trash truck.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The military that can't shoot straight


After a week off and on snow in the high country we had a nice hard rain overnight that totally greened up the world. I can still see a lot of snow up high and that is a good thing for our water supplies this summer.

I keep saying that I am going to turn off my TV and stop watching the news. Somehow a magical spirit gets into my house and all of a sudden there is CNN on the TV. When I do take the time to watch it I quickly discover that there is still nothing on TV news. The White House Correspondent's Dinner has held the top slot for the past few days. President Obama has a wonderful sense of humor and a lot of class to make fun of himself in the process but, it is not news. It is comic relief. It is not important. It is no wonder that the media is in so much trouble.

The sergeant in Iraq who killed five of his friends was news. Very tragic news. I hope they list those victims as war dead and that they get every honor they can get from our nation. People who believe that the war in Iraq is nearly over are fools. There has been a lull but hundreds still die every month.

The four star general commanding our forces in Afghanistan was fired yesterday and replaced by a three star general who is an expert in insurgencies. I wonder who in the Pentagon finally woke up. The buzz is that it was a result of our Air Force killing 150 women and children in an attack last week. Reminds me of the Jimmie Breslin novel from years ago, "The Gang Who Could Not Shoot Straight." We have a military that can't shoot straight.

60 minutes on Sunday had a great piece on remote control bombers used in Iraq and Afghanistan. The pilots are ranking fighter pilots who sit at a base in the desert in Nevada. The aircraft can stay aloft for 24 hours over a target waiting for the command to shoot. No mess. No fuss. The pilot goes home that night and eats dinner with his family at home. The military is doubling the number of remote control aircraft for next year. All the time that the kids spend on their video games will help win future wars by remote control.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The in-between time


The time from when the ski areas close until the summer crowds arrive is the quiet time. I can go to the store and get right through the checkout. When I have to make that terrible left turn onto Highway 9 I do not have to wait for traffic. The ice is still on the reservoir so the fishermen and the boaters are still getting their lawns ready in Denver. It is just me and the migratory birds looking around and waiting and listening to the silence of the day.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Being indecisive


I read a couple of articles on line this morning about what a terrible Governor Bill Ritter is now that he is in his third year. He basically did not have a plan or an agenda or a philosophy for his office. He was seen as weak by the Democrats and indecisive by the Republicans. I would agree.

I did not agree with anything that Bill Owens stood for but at least he stood for something. He had a plan and he worked his plan. He got the job done.

Bill Owens was Texas born and raised. I was very surprised at how many State Representatives and State Senators were also from Texas when I was in the House of Representatives. It was almost as if the people of Texas sent them here to run for office so that they could control all of the real estate the Texans owned.

It was like the Texas mafia and they got the job done. Any self respecting Colorado Representative or Senator knew that you had to go over to the dark side and ask for the help from the Texans.

Bill Ritter has one plan. To not do anything that might be deemed controversial so that he can get elected again next year not unlike everyone else at the Capitol. It is called job security.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Just tell the truth


Democrats do not know what it means to be a Democrat. Republicans do not know what it means to be a Republican. When push comes to shove they are all Libertarians at heart. The Republicans believe that government is too big and Democrats feel that government should not interfere with personal lives. Both are Libertarian tenents.

This year at the state legislature there was a bill to make the seat belt law a primary law to allow police officers to stop someone for not wearing their seat belt. Under current law they must be stopped for something else first. If this bill had passed fifty more citizens would be alive at the end of each year. This has been proven in states with a primary seat belt law. This bill failed.

This year a hands free cell phone law was proposed and watered down and in effect defeated. That law would have made it illegal to talk on your cell phone while driving without a hands free device. Many deaths are attributed to the distraction of cell phones. A little girl was run over in Fort Collins this year by a driver who admitted to talking on her cell phone as she drove over the child.

This year a bill to eliminate the death penalty was proposed and it failed. The death penalty does not stop people from committing a crime. People who kill people never think about the penalty. Most murders are a crime of passion and are spontaneous and not premeditated. The District Attorneys opposed this bill because it would have removed a bargaining chip with suspects. What a load of crap. It the District Attorneys were doing their job they would not have to leverage a possible death penalty in plea negotiations. Shame on them.

The bottom line folks is that many in the state legislature are really Libertarians. Do not screw with someones personal life and get government out of the lives of people who want to drive without a seat belt or talk on their cell phone. They believe that it is wrong for government to legislate personal behavior up to and including leaving a death penalty on the books that does not do anything.

I just wish that they could make up their collective mind. I just wish that we could all recognize that there really is a greater good.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Brush up on your Spanish


I heard this again yesterday. By the year 2050 our white English speaking population will become a minority in the United States. That really does not bother me because it is a natural progression of globalization. We have been heading that way since day one. The United States is a country of immigrants. Even the Native American population are immigrants from parts west of here.

In the year 2050 I will be 108 if I am still alive. I am sure that after 80 years of studying Spanish I might be able to conjugate most of the verbs.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Don't let Muffy become lunch


The ink was hardly dry on my last e mail when I got a note from a neighbor asking that I remind people about the threats of bears, coyotes and fox.

Bears are coming out of hibernation about now and when that happens they wander around looking for lunch which is what I normally do after having a nap. They will eat just about anything but they really like trash. Please store your trash in your garage or in a secure shed. Do not leave it in the containers next to your garage as the bears will most certainly get into it. Also there are ways to secure your trash with locks and cables.

In addition to the bears, when your trash is dumped by an animal and then the wind blows it ends up from one end of the subdivision to the other. That is a pain in the butt for the person at the end of the subdivision to clean up.

I have had fox for the past few weeks in my back yard early in the morning. They are trying to dig into the Vole holes in my yard which is not a bad thing for them to do but a fox will also kill a small dog or cat so please do not leave your pets out unattended. The same goes for the appetite of Coyotes.

As we warm up there are many more things for Bears, Coyotes and Fox to eat but that does not mean they will not get your kitty or puppy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Quinto de Mayo


Today is Cinco de Mayo. Literally the Five of May and not the Fifth of May. The Fifth of May in Spanish is Quinto de Mayo. Strange. It is the day that some Mexicans in the 1860s overthrew the government of France in Mexico. Yes, France. The really strange thing is that no one in Mexico celebrates the day. The Mexican Independence day is actually in September. In France as well as Mexico and many Latin countries there was a revolution every third Tuesday so it got to the point where people began to ignore the holiday. If they paid attention to each of them there was be an Independence day just about every day of the year. Anyway, have a great quinto and don't celebrate too much.

Monday, May 4, 2009

And the pigs are angry


Just heard on NPR that a pig farmer from Washington state came home from a vacation in Mexico and actually gave the flu virus to his herd of pigs. The orginal premise is still true. You can't get swine flu from pork but this latest thing puts a new spin on things. Man making pigs sick. I would describe it as the pigs being the host for the virus before but now man is the host to give the virus to pigs. Strange.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

No one gets out of here alive


It is snowing again this morning. Maybe it I would stop talking about how it is snowing it might stop snowing?

Scary stuff in Dallas yesterday. With all of the digital stuff out there something like the dome falling down gets covered fifty different ways. I watched several renditions this morning. One coach has a broken back but most got out uninjured.

They say it was a microburst. Back in 1984 a storm quickly came up over Lake Dillon and a microburst capsized a small sailboat with three on board. Two were rescued but one young man has never been found. His baseball cap floated to the dam and was found by a searcher.

Make sure you have everything in order folks because you never know when it might happen. That is coming from a fellow who was the Summit County Coroner for eight years. As the famous T shirt says, "No one gets out of here alive."

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Let it snow


Thirty-one degrees this morning with a skiff of new snow in the Blue River Valley and some more new up high. Must be May.

The late Howard Giberson a long time rancher in the Frisco area was reputed to have kept a daily weather log for most of his life. Allegedly he recorded snow every calendar day of the year. Every day without exception.

As a politician I have marched in the Fourth of July Parade many times in the snow.

Summit County has been reported to be the generator of more water per acre than any place in the United States. Of course that water is not rain for the most part but snow. Even the snow on May 2. Let it snow. Let it snow.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Do pigs fly?


I was just listening to the news and apparently this latest flu strain includes several components. Of course one is Swine Flu (Pigs) and the other one is Avian Flu (Birds). Does this mean that pigs fly?

What you feared the most will not come to pass


With the report that Justice David Souter of New Hampshire will step down at the end of this term just sent shudders through the right wing conservative Republican ranks. Oh my God. The end of the world has now happened.

Wrong. Justice Souter was appointed by King George the First a Republican. Justice Suter immediately started moving to the left but never went beyond moderate on the court. He followed the usual pattern of justices moving to the middle.

The exceptions remain Scalia and Thomas who will never move to the left unless we could move the clock back to 1776.

The buzz with my friends in Washington is that Obama will appoint a second woman to the court to finally replace O'Conner who, by the way was appointed by Reagan, moved to the center also.

It is amazing that "what you have feared the most did not come to pass." (From Job in the Old Testament in case you wondered.)

Calm down and get back to worrying about Swine Flu and the Economy.