Thursday, December 29, 2005

PHOTO OF THE DAY 12.29.2005

Waiting for more snow

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Political Comment

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies." ... Groucho Marx

I bought several copies of the hardback book, "Do As I Say (Not As I Do), Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy" by Peter Schweizer, with the full intention of sending a copy to each of my liberal children. (I kept hearing in the background of my mind, the cowboy song, "Don't Let Your Children Grow Up To Be Liberals ... ahh ... I mean Cowboys." Oops ... Freudian slip!)

As the Christmas mailing time approached and passed, the books stayed glued to the kitchen counter. Some force was preventing me from sending the books. I handed one to Patrick, when he was here Christmas Eve, but it was left behind.

A couple of days ago, I was talking to my daughter, Courtney, and I mentioned the book and that I might send her one. She posed the question, couldn't a similar book be written about Conservatives, too? I had to admit that was certainly a true statement. If that is true, and it is, then why was this book written? Obvious: To make money. Do you think a book entitled, "All the great things Conservatives Say," would sell? Of course not! So maybe there is a book titled, "All The Lies Conservatives Tell Us." I'm sure it would sell well.

Bottom Line: Anyone who has been alive in this world for more than a couple of decades, most likely has several of the "Not As I Do" or "All The Lies ... " stories that can be dug up about them and, with great fanfare, flung to the public like meat to a hungry cougar.

Now here's the point I'm leading to: The more I listen to TV News, whether it's Fox, CNN, CSPAN or Katie Couric, the not-too-subtle hook is to stir up controversy. Know why newspapers overwhelmingly report "bad news?" It's because no one would buy the paper to read about what a great birthday party George W Bush had. But, if George W Bush had a slip of the tongue and said something foolish, it would be all over the front page. Example: A Rhodes Scholar, by the name of Dan Quale, misspelled potato ... and it was the talk of the nation for months. In fact, it was probably a major contributing factor to his political demise.

We now have one of the most virulently polarized political societies. It doesn't matter if it's a person-on-the-street, a major network news outlet or even the used-to-be-prestigious New York Times: Each "point of news outlet" now has a locked-in-concrete political view. The heck with trying to further well being or reporting true facts, what is now important, it seems to me, is a hard-sell on whatever their slant is. The "facts" are what they rationalize them to be. The result: The whole country is "choosing up sides." This is not good: No one will listen to other points of view because the assumption, which is probably true, is that the opposing points are probably a "slanted pack of lies."

It's always been my point of view that if you introduce a problem, you better be ready to introduce a solution. Here's mine: STOP listening to TV news ... and try to understand that the other good citizens of this USA are just as vitally interested in the survival of the country and our way of life, too.

Remember the words of Courtney: "Can't they say the same thing about Conservatives/Liberals, too?"

Let's all take a deep breath and step back from the talking-heads and try to ask ourselves, what would we have done in the same situation, knowing the same "facts" that were available at that time. (And I'm NOT referring to the invasion of Iraq!) And another one of my favorite questions: Does it pass the Smell Test? Apply that to every situation.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, December 26, 2005

A Short Conversation ...

Last Thursday, I spotted what I believed was a cougar, slinking across our backyard. (See blog: Friday, December 23, 2005, "Go Cougars!") Subsequently, I phoned the Washington State Department of Fish and Game (DFG), in Spokane, to report the sighting and to determine if there was any risk, with a cougar running loose. After some discussion, the DFG Officer told me that he thought it was a full-grown adult bobcat and not a cougar. Today, I combed the backyard for animal tracks. I found a few and compared them to images of real cougar tracks, which I found on the Internet. They were a very close match, so this morning, I picked up the phone and dialed the cell phone number for the DFG Officer I had previously spoken to.

The conversation went something like this:

Phone ringing ...

DFG: "Hello ... ?" (Sounded like I had just awaken him.)

RD: "Hi, This is Roger, from Pullman ... Is this the person I spoke to a few days ago about the cougar sighting?'

DFG: (pause) "Ah ... yes it is."

RD: "Today I discovered some tracks in our backyard that look very much like cougar tracks that I found on the Internet. Do you have an email address? I would like to send them to you to look at."

DFG: "Yes, I have an email address ... send them and we'll look at them. I'll give you the address later."

DFG: "To be certain, you should put out some live bait."

(I'm thinking ... huh ... live bait? What ... A chicken ... a dog ...?)

RD: "OK, you mean put something out and watch it?"

DFG: "Yes"

DFG: "Do you have a hottub?

DFG: "Another little known fact about cougars is that they love hottubs."

RD: "Hottubs?"

DFG: "Yes, they love the smell. Leave the cover open."

RD: "They love hottubs? You're kidding ... ? My hottub is right next to my house."

DFG: "That's OK ... It's true ... they love hottubs."

(I'm thinking this is crazy ... Cougars love hottubs? I'm visualizing me sitting in the hottub tonight and a cougar sneaks up and jumps in with me! I'm dumbfounded! This hottub revelation is almost unbelievable, but it's coming from the Department of Fish and Game! I dialed his phone number! I'm trying to assimilate this ...)

DFG: "And what's more, put out some cheese and wine ..."

(Only at this point, I start to smell a rat and suddenly I think I recognize the voice ... but I dialed the Washington State Department of Fish and Game ... didn't I?)

RD: "B R Y A N !!!!!"

RD: "What phone number is this? I dialed a 509 phone number ... you don't have a 509 number! How did you answer this phone number?"

(Waves of laughter)

RD: "OK ... I see what happened! Your cell phone number is right next to the DFG number and I mistakenly dialed your number, instead if the DFG Officer."

RD: "You got me good! I sure bit on that one!"

(More laughter .... )

PHOTO OF THE DAY 12.26.2005

Dawn, the day after Christmas.
Captured by the "live camera."

Sunday, December 25, 2005

PHOTO OF THE DAY 12.25.2005

The Song Is Gone, But The Memory Lingers On

Friday, December 23, 2005

Go Cougars!

Ah ... I mean: Go Away Cougars!

Yesterday, as I was sitting in the office room and gazing across our back yard, what did I see, but eight tiny reindeer?

NO - I Didn't! I saw a cougar slinking across the grass, not 25 yards from the house! I grabbed the camera and tried to get a photo, but the cougar had locked on to some target and was away in a flash. (This photo is a "stock shot.")

No wonder we have not seen any deer for quite some time! As it turns out, the main meal for cougars is white-tail deer. According to my Internet research, a cougar will kill one deer a week. As long as there is plenty for the cougar to eat, they will not bother people. (Dogs, cats, rabbits, however - Watch Out!)

The Dept. of Fish and Game states that many cougars are probably living near people, but they don't know it because the cougars are so stealthy. That's good to know ... but, try to convince Jacquie!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Here Today - Gone Tomorrow

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Silent Night

With parents back in California, we rest and relax, remembering the joy of just a few hours past.

After a short recovery nap from our 3AM alarm clock awakening, we rent a pay-for-view movie to pass the time. (OK, if you must know: "Herbie - Reloaded.") Unexpectedly, a knock on the door and one of our neighbors appears with a tin of beautifully decorated, homemade cookies. A card inside reads: " ... hope you enjoy your first winter here on Union Flat."

We do.

The spirit is here, like not experienced in Disneyesque California.

We feed the deer, the pheasants and probably more than a few mice.

All is well, tonight, on Union Flat.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


R J Ranch
December 17, 2005

Can Christmas be far away?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


R J Ranch
December 14, 2005

NO FOG TODAY ... but it's 14 degrees

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


December 13, 2005


(See sidebar: "LIVE PHOTOS")

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Jed & Elly May leave Laguna Hills ... nee Beverly Hills

December 9, 2005

With our truck loaded with:

Float assemblies for two helicopters
Personal flight gear
Several large ceramic figurines
Two large cases of new canvases for Jacquie's painting classes
Four cases of "Two-Buck Chuck."
Two computers ... one new one!
Six suitcases for the R&J D's
Two suitcases for Jacquie's parents
... and Four adults

1243 miles and two days later, we arrived at the R J Ranch, tired, but with a smile on everyone's face. (Did you know that you can actually get tired of listening to Christmas music, via XM Satellite Radio?)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

What Irony

December 3, 2005

"What irony," as Patrick said, "The first big snowstorm in two years and you are in California."

My reply: "Somebody has to do it." (I'm attending an ACN International Convention in Anaheim and also getting my commercial Helicopter rating ... Hopefully.)

QUIZ: Guess where Jacquie is ... And guess where Roger is?

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