Just rambling thoughts about anything that happens to be on my mind and that usually isn't much!
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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Time travel messes up my wristwatch

It’s that time of the year again, when we "fall back." Who came up with the idea of "daylight savings time"? It was a politician of course. Cause you and I both know, it doesn’t save any time, just messes things up for a couple weeks. But a politicians main job is to mess things up and make it sound better than it is!

I have done a little research on "time". First of all you have to understand that "time" was actually an invention of man to begin with. First into seasons, then into lunar cycles and finally into days. There were a lot of problems with the earlier attempts because the cycles are not 100% divisible into those units. After all, it is just over 365 of our 24-hour days to make one revolution around the sun. Thus leap year, except on years divided by 100. But then there is the matter of the every 400 years when we do retain the leap year. Confused yet?

I am sure the Creator of the ages, looks down in amusement at the only creation he made who concerns itself with "time and money". All the other creations eat when hungry, sleep when tired and in general do what is to be done in its season. But man, scurries around trying to fit his schedule into short blocks of "time" …. Of which there usually isn’t enough! But I digress……

I found it interesting to note that Standard Time (ST) wasn’t even "invented" until the late 19th century (1883) with the advancing use of railroads! Before that, everything went on local time, usually set by the position of the sun. And then this standard didn’t become law until the 20th century (1918).

This is all well and good, but then comes along some one who wants to sleep longer in the morning and still have more daylight in the evening. Instead of adjusting his biological clock, he messes up everyone’s by passing a law to change the WHOLE system. Does that make any sense? Daylight Savings Time (DST) was used by Roosevelt in wartime, but was not popular because we were still an agrarian nation (meaning of course, you got up at sun-up and went to bed at sundown). But people moved to town and in 1966, Johnson passed the Uniform Time Act.

Resetting clocks was no big problem back then because they were all mechanical. But a few short years after that the transistor was invented which opened the door to digital EVERYTHING.

Did you happen to save the instructions when you bought your last wristwatch on how to change the time? I didn’t! So I spent the first 3 hours of my "saved time" trying to figure out how to make my wristwatch fall back ONE hour without changing all the other settings for day of the week and date. I was finally able to get it set back an hour with the correct day of week and date but somehow got the "mode" changed. So now I am operating on 24-hour military time. It is now 17:24 o’clock.

I vow next year to have two wristwatches; one set for DST and another set for ST. That way, instead of resetting my clock, I’ll just change watches!

Please, if you happen to know how to reset the mode on one of these things, please send me some instructions!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Ignore the headlines in the Burden paper

This is going to be a little tough to explain …. But keep these facts in mind.

  • We are partially moved which means part of our clothes are in Oswego and part in Burden.
  • This is the first cold morning of fall.
  • A cat and coon fight requires immediate attention.

When I first got up this morning, I dug through my drawers looking for a pair of sweats. Finding none I opted for a pair of shorts and then I turned up the thermostat just to take the chill off the house. It was dang chilly! Then I sit down and started sipping my hot coffee in hopes of getting rid of my goose bumps!

Then I heard a big commotion out in the alley. A cat screaming and growling. Fearing for my cat’s welfare I peered out the window and seen Salem face to face with a big boar coon! Now Salem is a big cat, but no where close to a match for a coon.

So being the “concerned pet owner” that I am I decided to run the coon off. Well, it’s cold remember and all my stuff is in the closet in Oswego, so I grab the wife’s robe and slip on her fluffy house slippers. Now her robe isn’t one of them real gaudy women’s things …… but definitely feminine in design.

Anyway, now covered to prevent hypothermia, I set out to rescue Salem. As I round the corner of the house, the coon starts going on down the ally. Salem, being the territorial feline that he is, gives chase and tackles the coon. Again more squalls, snarls and screams that could wake the dead.

I break into a run to again scare off the coon. He scares and Salem again gives pursuit. By now we are five blocks from the house and I am getting tired of running so I holler a little myself. I honestly hadn’t noticed I was that loud, but somebody must have alerted the city marshal of a possible prowler.

Just as I come to the street, (figuring that walking home on the street is better than the alley) the marshal drives alongside and stops me right under a street light! At first his look was one of concern but as he recognized me, it turned to laughter. A snicker or a smile would have sufficed but the rolling HAW HAW’s woke more people that Salem and I did. If that marshal says one word about this down at the coffee shop, I swear I’ll never vote for him again!

And someday soon I am gonna take ole Salem to the pound and get me a dog!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Cowboys and Heroes

The other day I was walking across the street in Longton, Kansas headed to Marci’s Café to eat dinner when a car pulled up with New York plates. This little boy jumped out and hollered, "look mom! A real cowboy!" Now I have to admit, I sort of sucked the ole belly in and sort of strutted the rest of the way across the street as "mom" hushed her son and told him not to point and stare.

Now I noticed as I was reading the menu that the family had also entered Marci’s Café and had selected a booth opposite me. The young boy was eagerly trying to see around his mother, much to her embarrassment. Mom was "hushing" him and threatening him to settle down.

Well, as I set there and ate, my mind begin to wonder back to my youth and all my "cowboy heroes". There was Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger, Rowdy Yates, Hoss Cartwright and his brothers, Matt Dillon and Festus in the days of my early youth. These guys were always on the "right", stood up for the down trodden, defended the defenseless and were great shots! (they always shot the gun out of the perpetrators hand with out blowing him to smithereens!) They had an impact on my upbringing that lives with me today.

And then later in my youth I begin to admire other great cowboys such as John Wayne in the movies. He was always on the "right" in movies like "Big Jake", "McClintock", "El Dorado", "True Grit" and many more. Never afraid to face adversity head on, even against tremendous odds. There was Jimmy Stewart, Glenn Ford, James Garner and many other famous actors who portrayed cowboys in famous roles.

And there were some actors who had actually been cowboys in real life such as Ben Johnson from Pawhuska, OK and Slim Pickens from Bakersville, CA. Still later, but still young, I watched as Freckles Brown (at the age of 49) rode a bull at the San Angelo Fat Stock Show where I was in college, one of the all time great bull riders. All of these men had played roles in forming my attitude and fortitude.

Other great "unknown" cowboys had played a role in my personality formation such as Oscar and Tot Keplinger, Red Redford, Russell Whitman and many more. Cowboys had always been my heroes and very important in my life.

Well my dinner nearly over the family got up to leave. The young boy with mom in close pursuit, headed toward my table. "You are real cowboy?" he asked. But before I could answer that I was merely a feed salesman, he added, "You must REALLY be old to have lived back when there was just horses to ride!"

Well with my ego blown to smithereens, I finished my dinner and limped back to my car to spend the rest of the day thinking how I ALMOST had been a hero.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Warden's morning coffee

I sit here this morning, the aroma of coffee brewing tickling my sinuses. I anxiously await that first sip of the dark life giving elixir. The smell of coffee always awakens memories of my childhood.

My maternal grandpa used to “saucer” his coffee. (That’s how I learned to slurp!) Grandma had one of them Pyrex percolators that set on the stove burner. I loved watching how that worked! You could watch as the water worked up through the stem and flowed back down through the grounds to the urn. Then when the water turned just the right color, she would remove it from the flame and pour grandpa his morning drink.

My paternal granddad always carried a thermos of it where ever he went. And I can still remember on fishing trips, him taking off that stainless steel cup from the thermos and pouring it full, steam rising in the cool morning. Him sitting there sipping as he watched his fishing poles.

Mom and dad always had a pot brewing of a morning. Mom made the best coffee I ever drank. And it was made in a Westinghouse stainless steel percolator Dad had gotten somewhere. They always had it for breakfast and any evening if we had company! I wonder what ever happened to percolators?

I remember when I was in high school, several of us boys would go hunting or fishing. We always packed the “Cains” so we could have “Cowboy coffee” on our trip. We would go out and camp on the Pecos River. The next morning we would get a can of river water, bring to a boil on the campfire and stir in a handful of Cains coffee grounds. It always smelled so good! But tasted HORRIBLE!

However we drank it like MEN! We would sit there on a log, staring at the fire and lie about how good the coffee was this morning. We sure didn’t want to admit that the “Cowboy coffee” tasted somewhere between battery acid and road tar. And you sipped REAL SLOW cause you were hoping that someone else would finish off the coffee before you got done. (It was unacceptable to turn down a second cup if available!)

I did a little research this morning on coffee. Did you realize coffee was first found by some Arab goat herder? Really blew my fantasy! I thought some Juan or Pepe or Pedro from Brazil would get the honors! Click here to read the facts.

Well, my coffee just got done and I took my first sip of the warden’s morning coffee. Dang, I do wonder where that woman gets Pecos River water to make her coffee!!!! Or maybe I need to find her a Westinghouse or Pyrex percolator! She needs some help for sure on making coffee!

Friday, October 7, 2005

Interpreting and Communications

Lately I have been listening to the political discussions concerning the new Supreme Court nominee. Some believe she maybe too much of a liberal, others too much of a conservative on how she interprets the US Constitution. A document written 200 years ago and still is "interpreted" different ways today! There are religious battles all the time over interpreting the Bible! Lawyers make their living over misunderstanding of the law.

Have you ever really thought about "communicating"? About what it takes to truly understand what someone has said or written?

I honestly do worry of what YOU (the reader) understands about what I have written in my little stories! (I have to admit though, I don’t loose much sleep over it!) But I do want YOU to really know Frannie, Waydene and Anita. I want you to understand what it is like to sit in the Stockman Café or the Schoolhouse Café. I want you to KNOW Orbin Stevens. Actually most of all I want sympathy for putting up with the warden all these years!

As a "trained feed salesman", I must carefully select my words to make sure the rancher understands what I say. I don’t want him thinking that my feed will cause his calves to gain 14 lbs. a day (well actually I do want him THINKING that. I just don’t want him trying to prove I said it in a court of law!)

Same thing goes for the warden. What is said and what is heard can be totally different! Let’s take these two statements:
"Your beauty would make time stand still."
"Your face could stop a clock."

Basically, those two sentences say the same thing, but let me tell ya, they get different results with the warden!

Another example, take last night for instance. The warden says, "Will you take out the trash?"
Naturally I said "Yes," but added, "in a minute."

Now the word, "minute" can be a specific measured amount of time or a relative one. The warden understood the specific, I meant the relative. This caused miscommunications! (And a fight)

And the other day while trying on some old dresses, the warden asks, "Does this dress make me look fat?"

Now you would think that after 33 years I wouldn’t even GO THERE, but being the good communicator that I am, I answered truthfully. "Not too bad."

What I meant, "It doesn’t fit you like it did when you were 22 years old."
What she heard, "My God woman, you’re as big as a barn!"

I mean WHY ask the question, if you don’t want the answer? But what the heck, our couch is a queen sized hide-a-bed anyway!

I sure hope you have understood what I meant.


Sunday, October 2, 2005

A morning person

I just love getting up early and enjoying the early morning hours. I love watching the sun come up, listening to the birds as they wake up and I love sipping my coffee real slow. However, my wife (the warden) is NOT a morning person! I have tried for 33 years to "coax" her out of bed early, but with out success.

For instance, when we were first married. We lived in this little house with no insulation. (The only warm spot was standing right in front of the heater on a cold day.) But anyway, one cold Saturday morning it was time to get up. I stuck my nose out from under the covers and breathed a puff of white vapor into the bedroom. Now any intelligent person would know that laying under several blankets and quilts will keep you warm and increase the desire to slumber .... right? So the best way to wake up is to remove the desire to slumber....right? Made sense to me! So in one full sweep, I removed all the covers off the bed. The instant reaction should have been recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records! (By the way, it took two weeks and several stitches for the claw marks to heal)

I have also tried waking her with music! Now as a kid, our alarm was waking up to the Smokey Dacus morning show. (for those of you who are unaware, Smokey Dacus was once a drummer for the Bob Wills band). But I figured that the warden would much rather hear my melodious voice, filled with love and joy. However her critique of my baritone version of "There's Sunshine in My Soul" sounded pretty much like a sailor in a bar fight. I didn't know she even KNEW some of them words!

When we were out on the farm, I got an alarm clock that sounded like a rooster crowing from my mother. Now what is more "rural" that waking up to a rooster crowing? So I tucked it away at the head of the bed. The clock does still work, but after that first morning you have to wiggle the little liquid crystal screen to display the numbers and use duct tape to hold the batteries in.

I have tried other approaches with no avail: Cold wash rags (warm ones don't work either), a high lumen spot light, dropping silver ware in a stainless steel bowl, salted coffee delivered right to the bed!

If you have any suggestions to help with my dilemma, they would be most appreciated!