Sunday, June 29, 2008

You Could Have Heard A Pin Drop

I got this from my daughter. I'm not sure of the source but, I Like It!

When in England at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building' by George Bush. He answered by saying, 'Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.
You could have heard a pin drop.
Then there was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American. During a break one of the French engineers came back into the room saying 'Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intend to do, bomb them?' A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: 'Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?'
You could have heard a pin drop
A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies.
At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French Admiral suddenly complained that, 'whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English.' He then asked, 'Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?'
Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied'Maybe it's because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German.'
You could have heard a pin drop.
A group of Americans, retired teachers, recently went to France on a tour. Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on. 'You have been to France before, monsieur?' the customs officer asked sarcastically. Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously. 'Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.' The American said, 'The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it.' 'Impossible. Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France!' The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained. 'Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in '44 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find any Frenchmen to show it to.'
You could have heard a pin drop
What Is A Veteran?
A 'Veteran' -- whether active duty, discharged, retired, or reserve -- is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America,' for an amount of 'up to, and including his life.'
That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country today, who no longer understand that fact.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Coming Soon! San Diego Comic Con !

The SDCC is next month on the week of my birthday. Phoo! I will be here in ND and not there. Someday soon I'd like to attend again. My brother Stephen and I were minor members of the original staff when the con began many, many years ago.

We've met some great people through the years, though I haven't attended one for probably 25 or more years. Most memorable for me were, Kirk Allyn - the origninal Superman from the movie serials way before my time, Bob Clampett - who created many of the Warners Bros cartoon characters as well as Beany and Cecil, Harlan Ellison - one of my favorite sf writers, and topping the list was the Con's good friend and mentor, Ray Bradbury! And I only attended a few of the cons, wow! This was the first place I saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the outtakes from the original King Cong in reverse! Also I'll never forget Richard Corbin's Neverwhere - the debut of his Den character.

I have no idea who all will be there but if you like comics and sf and fantasy and movies about any of this stuff, you would like this. There are still amny cons i think around, but the SDCC has grown into the premier convention around.

I had the dvd of the movie Serenity which was the culmination of a tv series called Firefly. On the dvd was a feature about how the staff had attended the SDCC and found out that there was a lot more support for their cancelled show than they knew. This prompted them to make the movie.

I'm listing a link so you can check it out for yourself. Keep the Faith (as Stan Lee would say)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Counter Culture Hero Dies

George Carlin, one of my favorite comedians has passed away at the age of 71. Complaining of chest pains, he went to the doctor and later died. Carlin had a history of heart problems. I always admired him though lately I agreed with him less and less. He always looked for a different take on things in life and made me search my beliefs deeper. I will miss him. Does anyone remember him as the conductor on Shining Time Station?

My prayers go our for his family. We will miss him.

Friday, June 20, 2008

My Fences (Apologies to Garth Brooks)

I spent a few hours today and expanded the second horse fence that is in a tree break. The nags have eaten all the ground cover which is what I wanted them to do. I extended the area another 100 ft roughly doubling the size of the area. The first picture above shows where the old line was. The second shows some really happy horses up to their bellys in fresh hay. (We're sittin' in tall grass now, Jeb). When we put them over there, it didn't take Ally and Whiskey long to realize they could go there. Ringo, always the chicken, took awhile to get it figured out.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

We will never forget

Today is the 2nd anniversary of our son's death in Iraq. We must never forget the brave soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Nor should we forget there are many people in the world who would like to see our very way of life erased from this world. We must continue to protect this country and our allies.

Jeremiah will always be my hero. I miss him very much. I want to relate a story about us. He came home on Thanksgiving 2005 and told me he wanted to get a tattoo. The thing was, he wanted me to get it too. I had never even considered getting a tattoo before. He designed one and the next day we went to Magoo's in Grand Forks and got the job done. The tattoo is a chess piece-a knight- his favorite piece. on the base are the words "No Guts - No Glory" This is a phrase my mother used to say to us kids. I used to say it to Jeremiah and Alexander as a tool to push them when they had to do some task that they didn't want to do. It wasn't that big to me, just fun with the boys, but it made a big impression on Jeremiah and he wanted it included. I was very moved. Now I have a reminder that I'll never misplace and have with me every day.

here are a couple of announcements from that time:

DoD Identifies Army Casualty
June 17, 2006 The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Spc. Jeremiah S. Santos, 21, of Minot, N.D., died in Baghdad, Iraq, on June 15 of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during combat operations. Santos was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

June 19, 2006 Hoeven Statement On The Death Of Spc. Jeremiah S. Santos In Iraq
BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. John Hoeven today issued the following statement in response to the death of Spc. Jeremiah S. Santos of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division of Fort Hood, Texas. Jeremy died in combat in Iraq on June 15:
“Mikey and I, and all North Dakotans, are deeply saddened by the death of Spc. Jeremiah Santos, who gave his life in the service of his country in Iraq. We extend our sympathy to his family and friends, and we will keep them in our prayers.
“Jeremiah’s warmth touched many people, especially at his church and school, and his love of country inspired pride in all who knew him. He was a son of North Dakota and a true American hero. We pledge never to forget his sacrifice or the sacrifice of his family in these difficult times.”

GrandForks Herald -- BISMARCK, N.D. - Spc. Jeremiah Santos got applause when he spoke to his church congregation this spring about his military service Iraq. On Sunday, church members in Devils Lake were mourning his death.
Santos, 21, who lived in Devils Lake and Minot, died in Baghdad on Thursday in a roadside bomb attack, Army officials said. A roadside bomb detonated near his Humvee during combat, the military said Saturday in a statement. The Rev. Bruce Dick, of the Bethel Evangelical Free Church, said Santos addressed the congregation in March, while home on leave from Iraq. "Jeremiah really loved serving his country, and told us he was proud of what he did - and he made no apologies for being there," Dick said. "He said he loved the people there." Dick said Santos' speech drew applause from the congregation of about 175 people. On Sunday, the mood had changed with the news of his death. "We shed a lot of tears," Dick said. Santos also had talked with a youth group at the church, while home on leave this spring. "Even our children are aware of who he is," Dick said. The war has brought a U.S. death toll of about 2,500. "Until now, the number 2,500 had just become a number to us but now we have a face and a name," Dick said. "It has touched us here and we will never look at that number the same." Dick described Santos as "self-confident, strong and very determined." Dick said Santos had turned his life around before joining the military. "Jeremiah had come through some tough times - he made some bad choices as a kid and had come out that," Dick said. "Everybody was proud of him." Santos left school and attended the Quentin Burdick Job Corps Center in Minot, Devils Lake Principal Ryan Hanson said. He earned a GED, and graduated in the facility maintenance program at the Job Corps Center in January 2004, officials there said. He also attended a semester of classes at Minot State University. "He was a great boy who became a very strong man," McGlone said. "He believed in what he was doing and had strong faith in God." Santos was assigned to the 2nd Battalion of 8th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division of Fort Hood, Texas, officials said. Laurie McGlone, Santos' mother, has been working as a temporary nurse in American Samoa. Patrick McGlone said she was notified there of her son's death. She was en route to the United States on Sunday, he said. Santos' father, Shannon Santos, lives in San Diego. Dick said a funeral was planned in San Diego, and a memorial service also was slated for Devils Lake, although details were not final, he said. Santos was the 13th U.S. service member with North Dakota ties who was reported killed while on duty in Iraq. Two other solders were killed this month in Afghanistan.

Take a minute out of your Father's Day, today, and remember my son with me. Thank You.

Happy Birthday Old Glory

Today is flag day! The U.S. Flag is 231 years old. Salute one today and remember what it means to be an American.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Horse or Hay disposal unit?

Due to a great clamor for more information, here's the lowdown on my useless hay-burners. We have three horses, Alli, Ringo, and Whiskey. Alli is a girl, and the other two are geldings. (Yes, Alli is very frustrated.) We got them from a rescue place in S. Dakota and attempted to have them broke last summer. We got them back and it was next to impossible to get a halter on them much less a saddle. I tried to Ride Whiskey one day and he threw me. He bucked and hit me in the face with his head. I remember being hit and then I remember being in the air and then on the ground. I was messed up for a couple of weeks. Later, we had just gotten Ringo and Alli back and I got on Ringo. He spooked and started running full out. I deceided this was the last place I wanted to be, so I got off. Getting off a moving horse is a lot more violent then it sounds. I also almost slid into a post in the ground. Alli is the only one we've ever been on here at home without the trainers around, and someone has to hold the reins on the ground and walk with her. We are currently trying to figure out if we want to keep them and try with a different trainer or get rid of them. I feed them every day and we are great friends. I just can't ride them. At least feeding them is relatively cheap as we have 20 acres of hay field. A parrot might be more fun. You can see the other two on the Sept.17, 2007 post


Check this out!

My friend Taylor Smith sent me this article. Very interesting!

The politics of oil shale
Fortune talks to Sens. Orrin Hatch and Wayne Allard about the roadblocks to oil shale production.
By Jon Birger, senior writer
You'd think this would be oil shale's moment.
You'd think with gas prices topping $4 and consumers crying uncle, Congress would be moving fast to spur development of a domestic oil resource so vast - 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil shale in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming alone - it could eventually rival the oil fields of Saudi Arabia.
You'd think politicians would be tripping over themselves to arrange photo-ops with Harold Vinegar (whom I profiled in Fortune last November), the brilliant, Brooklyn-born chief scientist at Royal Dutch Shell whose research cracked the code on how to efficiently and cleanly convert oil shale - a rock-like fossil fuel known to geologists as kerogen - into light crude oil.
You'd think all of this, but you'd be wrong.
Last month, the U.S. Senate's Appropriations Committee voted 15-14 to kill a bill that would have ended a one-year moratorium on enacting rules for oil shale development on federal lands (which is where the best oil shale is located). Most maddening of all - at least to someone like myself not steeped in the wacky ways of Washington - the swing vote on the appropriations committee, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., voted with the majority even though she actually opposes the moratorium.
"Sen. Salazar asked me to vote no. I did so at his request," Landrieu told The Rocky Mountain News. A Landrieu staffer contacted by Fortune doesn't dispute this, but notes that Landrieu did propose a compromise which Republicans rejected.
She was speaking of U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., who has emerged as the Senate's leading oil shale opponent. Salazar inserted the aforementioned moratorium into an omnibus spending bill last December, and in May he proposed a new bill that would extend the moratorium another year.
Salazar's efforts have essentially pulled the rug out from under Shell (RDSA) and other oil companies which have invested many, many millions into oil shale research since the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which established the original framework for commercial leasing of oil shale lands. (Last year, oil shale represented Shell's single biggest R&D expenditure.)
Salazar says he's simply trying to slow things down in order to ensure environmental considerations don't get trampled in the rush to turn western Colorado into a new Prudhoe Bay. But, ironically, his bid to extend the moratorium comes at a time when his fellow Senate Democrats have been blasting Big Oil for not reinvesting enough of their profits into developing new sources of energy.
I recently spoke with Republican U.S. Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Wayne Allard of Colorado, the two lawmakers working hardest to end the oil shale moratorium. Here are some excerpts from the interviews:
Fortune: Why do you consider developing oil shale such a high priority?
Sen. Hatch: We have as much oil in oil shale in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado as the rest of the world's oil combined. Liberals and environmentalists can talk all they want about wind, solar and geothermal - all of which I'm for - but last time I checked, planes, trains, trucks, ships and cars don't run on electricity. 98% of transportation fuel right now is oil. Ethanol is the only real alternative, and we're seeing that ethanol has major limitations.
It's pathetic. Environmentalists are very happy having us dependent on foreign oil. They're unhappy with us developing our own. What they forget to say is that shipping fuel all the way from the middle east has a big greenhouse gas footprint too.
Fortune: Any hope of changing Sen. Salazar's mind? After all, he says he's not opposed to oil shale production in principle.
Sen. Allard: His mind seems pretty set. His argument is, if we delay this, it gives us an opportunity to phase it in gradually. But he's got it turned around. We need the rules and regulations in place first. When the oil companies go to bid on their leases, they need have some idea what their royalties might be and what their remediation requirements might be [for restoring the land at spent drilling sites].
Fortune: Have you talked to Shell about this?
Sen. Allard: We have, and they've indicated a great deal of frustration. They've put it this way: Look, we can't continue to invest millions and millions of dollars in this kind of research without seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.
Fortune: Sen. Salazar insists he just wants to take things more slowly.
Sen. Hatch: Sen. Salazar and the Colorado governor [Democrat Bill Ritter] say they don't want it to happen too fast. Well, the existing law that I sponsored [which became part of the 2005 energy act] makes it abundantly clear that each governor gets to decide how quickly developments should move forward in their respective states. [Salazar and Ritter] know that. What they're really doing is making sure that the governor of Utah and the governor of Wyoming never gets to make that decision for themselves.
Fortune: One of Sen. Salazar's environmental concerns involves water and the big draw on local water supplies required for oil shale production. Based on my reporting in western Colorado last year, this seems like a legitimate concern. What's your take on this?
Sen. Hatch: Let's compare it to ethanol. Corn needs about 1,000 barrels of water for the energy equivalent of a barrel of oil. That's a crazy amount of water, but it's worked out alright so far because corn is grown in rainy areas, for the most part. But if you want to increase the amount of ethanol, you're going to have to go to irrigation, and then there will be major water limits on how much we can afford to grow.
On the other hand, the Department of Energy estimates that oil shale will require three barrels of water for every barrel of oil.
Fortune: Of course, water is a lot scarcer in western Colorado than it is in Iowa.
Sen Hatch: It is, but remember the oil companies are going to use and recycle the water. And while we're on the environmental impact, let's talk about land use and wildlife habitat. One acre of corn produces the equivalent of 5 to 7 barrels of oil. One acre of oil shale produces 100,000 to 1 million barrels.
Fortune: With gasoline at $4, why this isn't this more of a front-and-center issue for consumers and voters?
Sen. Hatch: I'm generally the last guy to lambaste the media, but generally you do not hear these facts. We're sending $600 billion annually to enemies of our country. If one acre of oil shale produces 1 million barrels of oil, that's 1 million barrels that we would not be importing from Russia and the Middle East. People are going to go berserk when they find out that all along we had the capacity, within our own borders, to alleviate our dependency in an environmentally friendly way.
Ironically, the local governments in Colorado's oil shale areas do support oil shale development, but it's being stopped by the ski-resort elites. A couple months ago, an article came out about how the city of Aspen was being besieged with building applications equating to about $2 million in development a day. Now if those nice, rich people in Aspen really cared about the environment, they might save an acre or two of those beautiful forests they're building on and support some oil-shale development in the not-so-nearby and not-so-beautiful oil shale areas of Colorado.
Fortune: Has oil shale development always been a partisan issue or is this something new?
Sen. Allard: It is something new. The issue with the Democrats now is they want to cut off any source of carbon. And there are those in the Senate who believe the more expensive you make gasoline, the less driving people do and you force conservation by making driving so expensive people can't afford it.
First Published: June 6, 2008: 2:14 PM EDT

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Check out this great contemporary artist

Alfredo Santos is just now starting to get some recognition for his contributions to the world of art. He does many types of art. Most notably pictures made from wood chips. Also the is this great 4-piece mural depicting the history of California that covers the walls of the cafeteria at San Quentin. Did I mention he is the Grandfather of my two boys, Jeremiah and Alexander? Here are a couple of websites that deal with his art. You should visit them.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

New Month! New Post! Old Face!

! My brother just joined the bloggosphere!

Visit him and leave a note.

The kids are flying to San Diego this morning for an extended vacation. They plan to take his grandfather to Mexico City. How cool is that? We just celebrated Laurie's "29th" birthday! Lots going on I'll try to get it down here later. Right now it's 4:13 am and I have to get ready for work and that long drive to Forks.

More later!