Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


Ooo...a debate preview!

One of my friends on the facebook machine posted this picture, and it's a pretty accurate preview of what the presidential debates are going to look like.  The best part is, that as a Libertarian, it really doesn't matter to me which color is doing the 'yipping' and which is doing the 'noping'. 

Because people aren't gazelle....

A heart-warming story out of Everett about a burglar who is going to get what he deserves, with interest.

Burglary suspect shot in leg at Everett business

So...the hero of our story, a 76-year old businessman, gets in to work at about 9:15, and finds this dumb goat, age 30, looting the place.  He produces a handgun, and tells the bad guy to stay put until the police show up.  Our would be burglar thinks to himself that there is no way a gentleman in his mid-70's can get the drop on him, so he tries throwing a computer monitor at the mature individual.  In the ensuing struggle, the bad guy gets shot in the leg, and decides that running away is a good option, where he was promptly picked up by the police.

What a perfect example of why law-abiding citizen's need to carry firearms.  If Samuel Colt hadn't made all men equal, this punk would have been right...chances are he would have had the physical advantage against a 76-year old, and things in this story would have ended very badly.  Like gazelle, the old and weak would have to live in constant fear of being preyed upon. Instead, the good guy won, and the bad guy's going to the hospital for a bit, and then jail for not long enough. 

Too bad the bullet didn't shatter his femur...but at least this guy learned if people aren't gazelle, he sure as hell isn't a lion...

Then the Republic is doomed...

While flipping through the channels this morning, I flipped to HLN for my daily dose of the high aesthetic(but little mental)appeal Robin Meade, but had to settle for my daily dose of the high aesthetic appeal Susan Hendriks, which is pretty okay too.  If what she had to say is true though...I wish Ragnarok would just start this afternoon so we could try to start again and do things right the next time.

Via HLN, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter, we have a report that 'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo' had better ratings than the Republican National Convention in the key 18-49 demographic. 

Now, if you dig into the article, you see that things might not be all THAT bad...what the stats really mean is that because the RNC was on like 6 or 7 stations, Honey Boo Boo had better ratings than any ONE channel did for the RNC, the RNC beat it handily when you combine all the different stations. 

However...before you think to yourself that the wheezing you hear isn't the last, rattling breath of The Republic, consider this: there were still 3,000,000 people willing to sacrifice a half-hour long piece of their very SOUL to watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Wednesday night. 

I realize that there might be a few of you out there who are blessed to not know what Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is...and I envy you.  HCHBB is a horrible mind rotting, soul destroying spin off the already mind rotting, soul destroying Toddlers and Tiaras on TLC.  If you are further blessed to not know what Toddlers and Tiaras is, I envy you like John Doe envied Brad Pitt in 'Seven'.

Long and short of it, T&T is a show that follows sad parents(mostly moms, but a few dads) who are entering their young children(18-months to 6 years) in 'Beauty Pagents'...living vicariously through their kids whether the kids want it or not.  It's horrify...so much so that I will not even link to clips of the show.  Now...taking it one step further, HCHBB follows the life of one sad, depressing family who enters their daughter in these competitions, while trying to show just how 'redneck' they are as the desperately cling to their 15-minutes. 

Meanwhile I'm going to go watch a few more shows about fantasy football...


The Surgeon General tried to warn him.

Sooner or later, people will learn their lesson about cigarettes:

Man asking for cigarettes arrested for harassment

Well, other than the crazy guy running around shirtless, it sounds like everyone else did the right thing in this story.  I think being confronted by a crazy shirtless guy who wants to beat you up for not giving him a cigarette is a perfectly valid reason for drawing your pistol.  The good part is that the story doesn't make a big deal about it...nothing about brandishing charges or anything.

Also, good on the responding officers who didn't just drop the guy when he came running out with a shiney object in his hands shouting 'freeze'...that would have to be a tough situation to show restraint in. 



Zero Tolerance, thy name is Idiocy.

Grand Island Preschooler Asked to Change the Sign for His Name in School

So...the kids first name is Hunter(which happens to be my oldest daughter's middle name, so I'm very partial too it).  To make his name in sign lanquage, you have to make a symbol that looks slightly like the conventional 'shoot 'em up' motion.  And that violates Grand Islands 'Weapon's in Schools' policy...

I'm not big on spurious litigation, but in this case, if the school district is stupid enough to move forward with this, I hope they nail them to the wall.


Guardian of the Zucchini

Had to work some OT last night, so I didn't get a chance to harvest anything out of the garden.  When I came home to day, I started rifling through the zucchini bushes and found this good girl looking out for things:

The only thing I had on me was my cell phone camera, so National Geographic WON'T be calling...its' a good size mantis too...close to three inches long.


Might not be a goblin, but...

Was reading about a home shooting that happened this weekend in Vancouver, Washington.  From the sound of the details, it sounds like the guy might have been more drunk nuisance than legitimate threat, but...I really don't blame the homeowner in this situation. 

If someone is stumbling around your home at 2:15 in the morning, and forces his way through your locked bedroom door...well, shooting him seems to be a prudent course of action.  Just because you can't see a gun doesn't mean it's not a waist band or holster. 

A 42-year-old Missouri man is dead after he allegedly forced his way into a Vancouver home early Saturday morning and was shot by a homeowner, according to the Clark County Sheriff's Office.

The homeowners were alerted by their dog barking sometime before 2:16 a.m. and realized somebody was in their home, according to Sgt. Kevin Allais. Law enforcement officers believe Christopher Jon Billings, 42 of Kansas City, Mo., entered the home through an unsecured door. The homeowners then locked their bedroom door, according to Allais, and Billings allegedly forced his way into the bedroom. The resident, armed with a handgun, shot and killed the intruder, Allais said.

The homeowner then called 911 to report the shooting, according to a release. The shooting occurred on the
3700 block of Northeast 54th Ave. in Vancouver.

Vancouver police and Washington State Patrol troopers were already in the area searching for Billings in response to a call from a nearby trooper.

The trooper, in the midst of processing a suspected DUI driver a half block from where the shooting occurred, saw a man whom police believe was Billings, "stumbling down the sidewalk mumbling incoherently," according to a release.

The trooper instructed the man to stay away from the traffic stop, Allais said, and the officer was concerned the man would stumble into traffic on State Route 500 and be struck by a vehicle. He called in for backup from other officers to respond to the area because the man appeared to pose a danger to himself.

Vancouver police and trooper learned of the shooting as they were conducting a search for Billings and heard the gunshots, Allais said.

Both Vancouver Police and Clark County Sheriff's Office's Major Crimes Units are investigating the shooting. The Homeowner was not identified.

Andrew Theen


Another lesson in attention to detail

A few weeks ago, looking to expand my supply of rechargeable batteries, I picked up a very expensive 4 pack of Energizer Advanced Lithium batteries.  Yesterday, the finally gave out, so I threw them on the charger overnight. 

This morning, I went to take the charger down, so I could plug in the coffee pot, and I was surprised by how warm the charger was. 

Oh, that's because what I thought were RECHARGEABLE Advanced Lithium Batteries, were NOT rechargeable.

I mean, they look a little bit like the rechargeable ones...but, wow...kind of a major mistake. 

Even worse, I feel stupid for paying what I paid for them in the first place...

The horror!

So, about 3:45 yesterday afternoon, there was some time of accident that caused us to lose both cable and the internet...for 18 hours!!!!!!! 

Without those 'conviences of modern life' to distract us, we were actually able to accomplish some of the 'boring silly things' that we've been putting off, like rearranging our canning jars to take advantage of some wire shelves we bought, so we can have room for the peaches later this week, and apples in a few weeks. 

I am going to have to keep an eye on these shelves though..one of the wire ones looked like it might want to sag a bit.  The wise, preemptive thing to do is probably pick up a wooden dowel and stuff it in there as an extra support in the middle.
Waking up this morning to find the power still out, I had no excuse not to whip up a batch of Craisen Chocolate Chip Scones for breakfast. 

With no TV to distract her, younger one jumped in to help also...she likes cracking the eggs, but I'm the who has to stick my thumb in there to pry them apart.  I even tried to make a 'teaching moment' out of it, trying to tell her how is you need 3/4s of a cup of cream, you can be more accurate if you use a 1 cup measuring cup instead of a 2 cup measuring cup.

They tasted pretty okay.


Beggining of the end of an era...

Just saw on the news feeds that Neil Armstrong has passed away at the age of 82. 

I wasn't around when Mr. Armstrong took his 'One small step'...but being born in the 70's, I'm a child of the space age, and Mr. Armstrong will go down in history with the likes of Columbus. 

I can't believe that he ever thought when he died we would have less of a space program NOW than we did back then, and that American Astronauts would have to bum a ride to space on other countries rockets. 

Rest in Peace, Mr. Armstrong.  You deserve all the praise that will be heaped on your memory in the days ahead. 

Three strikes...he should be out.

Nothing like an aggravating story to get the blood boiling early on a Saturday.

Earlier this month, a 20-year old man, one Sir Stephen-Daniel Hunt of Seattle, had visitors, male and female, in his apartment.  The fact that the male and female were boyfriend and girlfriend didn't stop Mr. Hunt from throwing the girl to the ground and attempting to rape her right in front of her boyfriend. 

Now, if the boyfriend had responded(correctly) by dismembering Mr. Hunt, this story would have a happy ending.  Instead, he did stop the act, and the police were called.  Mr. Hunt was arrested, questioned, and then released by the bleeding heart legal system in King County.

HOURS later, Mr. Hunt was knocking on the door of a female acquaintance, asking her to have sex with him.  She said No.  After that, Mr. Hunt decided the problem must be he wasn't naked enough...so he stripped down, knocked on the door again, forced his way in, and commenced to pillow smothering and raping.  Sometime after that, Mr. Hunt was again collected by police, who decided maybe a real investigation was in order.

During that investigation, another female came forward and said she and several others had been spending the night at Mr. Hunts place, 'when she awoke to find Hunt on top of her attempting to remove her pants. The woman said Hunt’s genitals were exposed at the time.'

She screamed, and things were broken up.  She didn't report it because Mr. Hunt apologized, and she forgave him since he said he was high at the time.  This brings out a whole fresh amount of rage on my part...but I'm trying hard to not get angry at a potential victim, even though by her inaction two other women were since put through heck.

One might finally think after three sexual assaults(the third unfortunately successful) this guy would be locked up and someone would have forgotten where the key way, and you would only be half right.  He is still in jail...but he's got bail set at $500,000, meaning his family could post bail, and he could sexually assault woman #4 HOURS after getting out of jail...AGAIN.

So, if you were wondering the going rate to be able to rape someone, the answer in King County is $500K. 

When, oh, WHEN!!!! are we as a society going to figure out sexual offenders aren't like 'other' criminals.  There is no 'rehabilitation', and as a tax-payer I am OFFENDED that money that could go to schools is going to lifetime monitoring of 'sex offenders'(once again, statutory rape does not a sex offender make in my book)...

I will gladly volunteer my time and services to dispose of this creep for the good people of King County. 


Don't want to be a back-seat driver, but...

I'm going to anyway. 

There is a story in the Kitsap about a police officer who Tasered a guy earlier this week while said guy was using a 'baby as a human shield'. (Their choice of alarmist headline, not mine).

Reading through the story, I'm not 100% certain the police officer made the same decision that I would have...but it's tough not knowing everything that might have been going on.

First of all, what kind of parole violation was this guy on the hook for?  Something violent? 

Second, the story says he had a 'small child in tow', and that he picked up the 1-year old in an attempt to use "the child as a shield"...or maybe he just wanted to move faster than the child could walk. 

Finally, the officer used the Taser again, at which time the 30-year-old "released the child carefully to the ground and lay face down"...which I need to call B.S. on...I've seen plenty of videos of people being Tasered, and not one of them looked like they could carefully release a child to the ground.  It would be more like 'drop the child to the ground while trying not to soil yourself'. 
I'm just not sure I would Taser someone holding a 1-year old for having a parole violation unless I felt there was an imminent risk to someone's health.

Now, if it turns out he was high on the meth from that pipe they found on him, I take it all back...

Too much of a good thing.

Beer is Good.

Bacon is Good.

Maple Bars are good.

Bacon Maple Bars from Voodoo Doughnuts are REALLY good.  Had one back in April last year, and the only thing I liked more was their Memphis Fritter(banana, peanut butter and chocolate). 

However...Rogue Ales Bacon Maple Ale is not what I would call good. 

I'm a pretty big fan of Scotch Ales and Smoked Porters...and I liked the first few sips...it had a smokieness to it...but then, something that didn't quite taste like maple.  And the smoke wasn't really a bacony smoke. 

In short, I didn't really like it.  In fact, I comitted quite a beer foul...I didn't even finish the bottle...I just didn't think it was worth the calories. 

Some experiments just aren't needed. 


Lots of work, little reward...

Much like we keep hearing about 'peak oil', I recently survived 'peak cherry tomatoes'.  For most of the past two weeks, we were getting 30-40 cherry tomatoes a day out of the garden, and getting them used was challenging.  Some of them went in the dehydrator, some went in the freezer, and some got made into salsa, and some went into work to be given other homes. 

And some of them were still sitting on the counter...staring at me...questioning my dedication to use what we were growing. 

Time to experiment!  Observe...my first attempt at canning my own tomato sauce!

It's not spaghetti sauce...it's 100% tomato sauce.  Adding things like onion and pepper and zucchini and carrots would effect the acidity of the sauce, requiring pressure canning instead of Water Bath Canning...so, I took the easy was out, just to keep the cherry tomatoes from going bad.  Now we can use that as a base for
A lot of spaghetti/tomato sauce recipes call for you to peel the tomatoes...but I couldn't imagine doing that with a few pounds of cherry tomatoes.  Instead I cut them in half and squeezed the seeds out of them, then tossed them in the food processor...for a while.  I then poured them through a strainer to get rid of the few stubborn pieces of skin that were left.  I dumped the product into a sauce pan until I was happy with the thickness of it, and canned them up, adding a little lemon juice to get the acidity right.
But boy, did it take A LOT of cutting and squishing out seeds to make two and a half pints of tomato sauce.  It was only slightly more annoying than having to pit cherries...


Prepper Poop-out.

I'm a serial re-reader.  In my mind, there isn't a book worth reading that isn't worth reading 6 or 67 times...and my wife is the same way.  Over the last week she re-read 'One Second After' by William Forstchen.  If you haven't read it, it's a pretty good book about an EMP type TEOTWAWKI scenario. 

For some reason, while reading the book during my morning meditation before heading to work, I was struck by a sudden feeling that I was totally fooling myself.  That despite our last year of getting into canning, and stocking up on food in 5 gallon buckets, and building supplies in 'barter bins'...none of it was going to matter.  Oh sure...we have pint after pint of jam and fruit, and we have cans and vacuum sealed rice...and guns...

But there is soooooo much we DON'T have...and so many gaps and holes still to fill.  I only have one propane tank...and with first snow only 3 months away, we only have a few fire logs...let alone wood that can be measured in cords.

I got myself downright depressed. 

When I got home after work, I talked about my feelings a bit with my wife.  She agreed with me...but also pointed out how much better off we were than a year ago, when we were better off the year before.  We might not be ready for the comet or EMP pulse to hit us....but we are in good shape for an ice storm, or an earthquake.  More realistically, we are set up okay for the upcoming rise in food prices due to the drought. 

She made me feel a little bit better...which is reason number 3,417 that I married her.


Prank Call, Prank Call

A few weeks ago, I ran around the hills and wheat fields north of Pomeroy to do some deer scouting.  The week afterwards, I made a few phone calls to land owners, and as the clock ticks down on hunting season(5 weeks!!!!!) I decided the time had come to make a 2nd round of them. 

Who made the 1st round cut vs. being relegated to the 2nd round?  Well...very scientific...the first calls went to the folks with easy to pronounce names.

On call number 3, things went bad.  After butchering the last name and being corrected, I then finally got the point across to the nice lady who answered the phone that I was looking for Charles. 

'Oh...but Charles passed away back in February'.


All I had to go off was a name written on the state supplied 'Hunting by Written Permission' sign, of who knows what vintage. 

What can you do at that point?  Well...having already torn open any scab there might be, I asked who currently controls the permission for hunting, and was told that gentleman was out harvesting, and would be until after 10:30 this evening. 

Kind of makes you rethink the whole 'farmer' thing. 

Pop, Pop, Pop...the sweet sound of success.

Last evening, my wife trapped herself in the kitchen for about 3 hours for some serious canning.  Actually, things went pretty fast, because she(and I) took care a lot of the work up front.  The apricots and peaches were peeled, cooked and pureed in advance, so for the jams she just combined what she wanted with some frozen strawberries, and reheated/blended away.  The butters are a little tougher, because you actually need to boil them, and then simmer for a while, and then do a 'mound' test with it on a plate.

I helped by keeping the kids occupied, and jumping into the kitchen in between batches to wash a bunch of stuff by hand, so we could reuse the same pot/spoons for each batch of jam.  I offered to help more, but my wife has a bit of a system, so sometimes helping is staying out of the way. 

It was all worth it though:

Let's see...we have 9 half-pints of Spiced Peach/Strawberry Jam, 10 half's of Peach/Apricot/Strawberry Jam, and then 6 pints of Peach/Apricot Butter.

Not only does all this stuff taste really good, but since my wife has started canning last summer, I don't think we've bought a single jar of 'store jelly'. 


As promised...

The Hubbard squash pie was a success.  Since I had to buy a full pint of heavy cream, and my recipe only called for 1/2 cup, I decided to make whipped cream instead of using Cool Whip.  I'm not sure my girls have ever had homemade whipped cream, but they seemed to approve.

Now, for the 100% truth, if I didn't know it wasn't pumpkin, I wouldn't have been able to guess that.  I would have been able to guess that it wasn't canned pumpkin pie though...not as overly sweet as a pie made with 'pumpkin pie filling' can sometimes be.

I will certainly put this on the list for a Thanksgiving pie...

Before, and After

With no real plans for my Sunday, I decided the time had come to tackle doing something with the Hubbard Squash I pulled out of my garden earlier this week. 

The first part is getting it taken apart.  With a big Hubbard that has been through the field curing and hardening process, the usually involves placing the squash inside a clean paper bag, and dropping it.  You can then use a man-style knife of hammer to get into smaller pieces.  Once it is suitably sized, you then make the seeds go away and place the chunks, skin sized down, on a foiled lined baking sheet.  Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for an hour or so...or until you can start flaking the flesh from the skin.

Remove the roasted squash from the oven, and let it cool until you can begin scooping out the meat.  As a point of reference, I ended up with just over 4 pounds of cooked flesh from a 13.5 pound squash...but I was pretty merciless in what I disposed of as skin.  As you can tell from the picture, the green goes in a fair bit...and I got rid of anything that wasn't a golden orange. 

So then, what do you do with 4+ pounds of squash?  Well, I fed it into the food processor in 1 pound batches until it's smooth.  Two of those went into the freezer.  1 batch will be for dinner tonight(just mix in some butter and Cinnamon sugar...maybe a splash of orange juice if you are feeling daring).  The final pound?

Everything I've read on the Internet says that Hubbard squash is an ideal pumpkin substitute. 

The smell was heavenly...looking forward to trying it out tonight after dinner.  If it's good, rest assured I will be back to brag. 

Pucker up.

Back on July 13th, I laid on my first batch of zucchini pickles.  I've complained before about the lack of instant gratification with pickles, since most recipes say give it 4-6 weeks before trying them.  Well, I am finally in that window, so with burgers and pasta salad on the menu for dinner, I threw a jar of the pickles in the fridge, just because I like a cold pickle better than a room temperature pickle.

First impression was 'wow...it tastes just like a pickle'!  2nd impression was 'Wow...that's a little strong.'

The initial flavor was just what one would expect from your standard dill cucumber pickle you buy at the store...but at the end, it kicked you a bit. My wife said 'It goes in smooth, but then, when you think you've swallowed it, you get a little extra tart at the back of your mouth.' 

I had to agree with her.  To make these pickles I used the Ball Kosher Dill 'flex-batch' mix.  The jar that I opened was the last jar that I filled that night, so it was only about 2/3rds full of pickles of different shapes/size...some spears, and some slices.  I felt the slices were perfect...especially piles on my burger.  The spears...I mean, they were good...but it was a strong New York Deli type dill...and on my second spear, I thought I could taste something a little 'different'.  Not bad...just enough of a flavor that you could tell it wasn't cucumber.

My only negative with the pickles(I don't consider the strong flavor a negative, just something to be noted), is that the 'crisp' wasn't quite right.  It was slightly lacking in that 'snap' that Vlassic has convinced us a pickle is supposed to have.  I've seen that Ball makes 'Pickle Crisp Granuales' that you can add to your jar, so maybe I'll try that next time, and see if I can notice the difference. 


Millions of peaches, peaches for me!

We are in the heart of peach picking season here in South Eastern Washington, and yesterday my wife and kids made the first of what will be several trips to the local u-pick orchard.  The peaches ready right now are Diamond Princess, which are fine for jams and such, but are not supposed to hold up to canning as 'just peaches'.  The ones my wife prefers for that are Elberta peaches, which will be ready in about 10-14 days. 

So, for now, we get to practice.  All she brought home was about 17 pounds, which we have already pealed and sliced up.  About 2/3rds of them went in the dehydrator, and the rest are in the crockpot, cooking down until she feels like pureeing them.  She will them combine them with some frozen strawberries, and some more with previously pureeing and frozen nectarines to make some jam and butter.

In between that, she found 5 pounds of ground turkey on the 'use it now' discount shelf at Fred Meyers, marked down to under $2.00 a pound...so in between helping her(she peeled, I sliced) I browned up that 5 pounds of turkey, which is now frozen in 4 13-ounce zip lock baggies in the freezer.  With schooling, Girl Scouts, and soccer starting up again soon, it doesn't hurt to have a few bags of ready to go protein in the freezer...thawing and adding some seasoning is quicker than having to start from scratch. 

Now, I'm getting ready to start on dinner while my wife is chopping some tomatoes and peppers for salsa.  Despite what seems like extreme tomato production in the garden, we had to buy 2 pounds at the local food co-op today to get to the 6 pounds called for for her recipe. 

And yes...the whole time I was playing with peaches earlier today, this song was pinging around in my head:

And, yes, the whole time I've been playing with peaches

You Evil, Heinous Violator...

Looking to be a good dad, Paulo Nunes-Ueno installed a sand-box for his kids at the end of the drive way, in the wide strip of grass between the side walk and the street.  It seems a pretty good use of the space...some if his neighbors installed nice looking raised flower beds and gardens, which would be my choice, but, I can see as a father why a sandbox would make sense too. 

The only problem is, it violates a Seattle statute on how close 'play structures' can be to the street, and some jack-ass went and lodged an 'anonymous complaint' with the city.  Now Mr. Nunes-Ueno is being told to move it, or face a $500 a day fine

I can kind of understand the thought process behind a rule like this...the closer a 'play structure' is to the street, the more chance kids end up in the street, and the more chance a driver taking a short cut through a residential area actually has to pay attention to driving. 

That doesn't mean I wouldn't want to take the anonymous complainer out behind the woodshed and beat them with an axe handle for about 10 minutes.  There are very few situations where I am okay with 'anonymous complainers'...and this ain't one of them.  If you feel this sandbox REALLY represents a threat to the public safety, then stand behind it with your name, and take the public ridicule you deserve for being a jack-ass. 

The only good news is that Mr. Nunes-Ueno doesn't have to pay the fines while he challenges the rule. 

If he does lose, he should just tell the city 'it's not a sandbox, it's a giant litterbox, and the kids aren't playing, they are just cleaning the almond roca out of it.' 

Three Wrongs and a Right.

I was reading an article yesterday about how given the lack of 'gun control' action on a national level, Democratic lawmakers in three large states are pushing to take action on their own.  The only funny part is that when I asked my wife(who is not quite as in to the politics side of gun ownership as I am) to name what three states she thought might be gaining traction in new gun control laws, she nailed it: Her answer was California, New York, and then either Illinois or Massachusetts.  The article was talking about the first three, and while I'm certain there are gun control efforts in Massachusetts, 'large states' was the focus of the article.

So, how are they gonna save us?  Illinois Governor Pat Quinn wants to enact a California style 'assault weapons ban'.  Two New York Senators have proposed legislation that would limit you to one gun purchase a month, require background checks for ALL gun sales, a firearms safety course for all gun owners(which I'm sure won't be free) and limit you to the purchase of 500 rounds of ammo in a 30 day period.  California Senator Leland Yee(who is running for Mayor of San Francisco) is trying to close the 'bullet button' loophole.  From my understanding, you can't have a magazine that detaches without a tool in California...gun owners/makers have gotten around this by installing a recessed 'bullet button' on AR's so technically you are using a tool to get your magazine out.  He wants to totally do away with detachable magazines.

The scariest part of this story is a quote from Senator Yee:

"California sets the pace for the country. If there's no action in Congress, we better do something here and hope it catches fire in other states,"

Ugg.  Hey...if anyone is setting the pace for the country, I'd much rather have it be Colorado than California.  The University of Colorado announced yesterday that it would start allowing firearms in their off campus University owned housing.  Now granted, this is a result of a court ruling...but the University isn't fighting it, and is also allowing carry of firearms on campus at anything other than a 'large, ticketed event'.

Where I'm sure the police will protect you. 


When she's right, she's right.

Over on the Range, Brigid hits a little close to home with The Anatomy of the Average Blog. 

I feel her pain...things got a little hectic at work the last few days resulting in me having to work some late, unplanned OT Thursday and Friday(supposed to be our Friday off this week.  By the time I made it home, I was a shell of pityfull self-loathing, and there was little room left in that shell for the motivation to blog. 

Or the motivation to do much of anything.  At one point I was planning on heading out early Friday morning to head up into the hills west of Naches to do some scouting.  Elk season is really only like 7 weeks away...and that time is going to go fast.  One of the big problems is summer is making one last grasp....it's supposed to be 103 tomorrow, and even in the hills it's into the mid 80's which is 30-40 degrees different than it will be by early October.  I'm not sure getting into the woods now will tell me much...and I can't carry a gun for grouse, squirrel, cougar or bear until September 1st...so I might as well wait until then to do some scouting.

Gonna settle in to watch some How I Met Your Mother with my wife...we only have about 17 episodes left to finish watching on Netflix before we are all caught up.


Asute observation, young one.

Earlier this evening, I swapped to my local NBC affiliate a few minutes early for Jeopardy.  As my daughter and I say on the couch, watching the last few minutes of 'Wheel of Fortune', my oldest daughter looked up at me and asked:

'Daddy...these people aren't as smart as the one on Jeopardy, are they?'

I think she might get along A-Okay in the world. 

I know it's not winter yet, but...

I couldn't wait any longer to harvest one of my Hubbard squash. 

Most of the stuff I've read about winter squash tells you to leave them on the vine until the vine dies, and then allow them to cure a few additional days outside.  That sounds great...if you want to allow the squash to fully cure so you can put it in the garage or another cool place throughout the whole winter. 

I'm not against doing that with some of my hubbard squash...but I'm not sure I need to do that with 6 or 7 of them.  I couldn't come up with a good reason not to pull one of them out of the garden now, and give it a try over the weekend.  The one up above weighed in at about 14 pounds, which is only about 2/3rds of their possible maximum.

I'll have to see if I have the patience to allow any of them to reach that size.


Complete failure of The System

Flame On.

Man charged with another driving death after Bonney Lake incident.

So...back in November of 1999, James Gordon Southard was driving drunk.  While driving drunk he caused a car accident that resulted in the death of 37 year old Shawn Fairbanks.  At the sentencing, Dorri Fairbanks, wife of the deceased, expressed her concern that it was likely Southard would offend again after serving his 10 year prison sentence. 

I'll bet she's not happy that she was right. 

Last Saturday, Mr. Southard was driving at 5:30 PM.  His car jumped a curb, striking and killing 47-year old Gary Slick, who was just out for a walk.  Witnesses reported the truck was swerving before the accident, and officers on the scene found Southard to be 'groggy and disoriented', and in possession of methamphetamine and other drugs.

What an unnecessary loss of a life.  The worst part of all this is that when he was sentenced back in 2000, the vehicular homicide was just the straw that broke the camels back...he ended up pleading guilty to 5 Felony Charges, including previous drunken-driving related crashes. 

To me, it's not a question of how he is still driving, or even how he is out of jail...it's a question of why the flippin' SOB is still BREATHING!!!!!!  More than one Felony Level DUI which could have resulted in a death, and then he finally does kill someone, and gets 10 years!?!?!?!?!?!??!  And when he gets out of jail, he gets to drive again? 

I try not to be obscene around here, but....FUCK!

I'm mad enough about this as just a miscarriage of justice...but then I think about how 'gun violence is out of control'...and it pushes me to an even higher level of anger.  Due to our weak-ass legal system, there is a chance that someone who accidentally committed a homicide while drunk would only be sentenced to 10-years...but he wouldn't be able to legally own a gun again, so why can you still drive a car after a DUI Homicide?  Once again, that's not even taking the OTHER felonies into account!

I'm not pleased. 

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/08/14/2254895/man-charged-with-another-driving.html#storylink=mostpopular#storylink=cpy

I hope it was a good week...

If you believe the press, the apex of a submarine officers career is when he actually gets to take command of a submarine.  That tour usually last about 2.5-3 years, and while they might still get to be an Admiral, rumor is that is not as satisfying as command of a submarine. 

Other times, that tour could last a little more than a week, especially if you are a Commander Who Fakes His Own Death To Ditch His Young Mistress. 

How do you get to be a submarine commander without being smart enough to not only NOT cheat on your wife, but to not come up with something other than FAKING YOUR OWN DEATH to break up with a 23 year old? 

Way to flush a career and a marriage down the toilet.  Even if she was Katy Perry, Christina Hendricks and Kat Dennings rolled into one, I'm not sure she could be worth it. 

I'm glad there are guys like this to do dumb things so we don't always need to learn on our own. 

It's not how you die...

But rather, how you live. 

Today, a lot of folks in the Northwest got more than a little bummed out with the news that Kathi Goertzen passed away. 

Kathi has been a familiar face on Komo 4 news out of Seattle since the early 1980's, anchoring the evening news, which tends to let you into peoples lives.  She then repaid that favor, by letting people into her life during her fairly public battle with meningioma, a form of brain tumor. 

The brain tumor was near facial nerves, and could never be totally removed, resulting in a series of 9 surgeries between 1998 and 2011. She returned to TV after each surgery, pushing through all kinds of side effects such as facial paralysis, tics and fading vision, and maintained a great attitude through it all. 

She was a great example in how to live, and will be missed. 


Wedding Success

On Saturday evening, my brother got married.  As Borat would say, the wedding was a 'great success'.  Both the bride and the groom said 'I Do', which is kind of the point of the whole thing. 

As is usually the case in any large celebration where you try to save money by 'doing things yourself', there was much chaos and panic and all around 'Hair on Fire' type action going on the 128 hours before the wedding, coming to a head about 7 minutes before the band started playing 'Here Comes the Bride'. 

From there out, things were perfect.  My mom put a huge amount of effort into getting things going...and it was all worth it.  There were tears, there was cake, there was cold ziti and warm beer.  Okay, just kidding...I was in charge of the beer...it was kept on plenty of ice.

My daughters had a great time, getting to act as the dress holders and flower girls.  Their behavior was exemplary...it never gets old being told that your children are polite, well behaved, and cute. 

Our 6 year old even got to make all the other single ladies mad...she won the rugby scrum to retrieve the bouquet!

We decided NOT to participate in the whole 'garter' tradition though....


Oh...so you're kind of wasting time AND money.

In somewhat surprising news, a Walla Walla store owner who shot and killed a burglar in the street outside his store got a ruling of 'justifiable homicide' during an inquest this week. 

For the record, I don't disagree with the ruling, I'm just very pleasantly surprised by it.  Back in May, someone made the mistake of trying to break into a store at 2:30 in the morning by breaking the front window.  The bad guy was then greeted by a shotgun, at which point he decided he wasn't that interested in misbehaving.  He attempted to leave, but that didn't save him, as the store owner shot him out in the street. 

Due to the somewhat unusual nature of this story, there have been more details hitting the paper than in a normal defensive shooting.  These are gleaned from a few different articles, so you'll just have to trust me. 

We know the store owner was using a 12ga shotgun.  According to testimony, he fired 5 rounds, and each round had 26 or 27 pellets.  The bad guy was hit by 49 pellets, mostly in the back as he was going away from the store at an angle.  Further details show that range on the shots was most likely 117 feet, and that the shots were fired from inside the store, out through the broken window. 

It's got to be that last detail that is saving the store owner for now.  He didn't actually chase the guy out into the street to pursue. 

As for the shooting efficiency...26 or 27 pellets means it likely a 2 3/4inch 12ga round with #4 Buck in it.  I'm gonna use 27 rounds for my math, since that's what all the #4 I've bought before has, so a total of  135 pellets down range.  49/135 = 36.3% hit rate at 40 yards. 

That's actually better than I would have anticipated at 40 yards.  The one thing missing from the equation is what length barrel with which choke. 

It does make me feel a little better about the 4 Buck I've got for my 20ga. 

What I don't feel so good about is the fact that the findings of this inquest are non-binding.  The Walla Walla County Prosecutors office could STILL decide to press charges....soooo...why did we have this inquest?  Just so the Prosecutors Office can eliminate any criticism against themselves for whichever decision they did or didn't make? 


And we create chaos.

It's never to early to line up a babysitter. 

Thanks to Commander Zero, we have our first look at the trailer for the 'Years in the Making' remake of Red Dawn. 

Yup, after years of 'You can't make the Chinese the bad guys, they are our largest debt holder' development purgatory, everyone has finally agreed that the goofy North Koreans are okay to use as bad guys. 

The original Red Dawn is one of my wife's favorite movies, and it ranks fairly high on my list also.  I'm sure that unless the initial reviews are just plain disgusting, my wife and I will find ourselves catching this one at the theaters. 

Heck...if the reviews are displeasing, we will just write it off as 'Eh, critics never like movies like this anyway!' and still go see it. 

The fact that it looks like it might be set in the Northwest instead of Colorado is intriquing. 



Sorry...it wasn't leaving on a 'Jet Plane'...it was a Bombardier Q400 turboprop.  One thing I really liked about the flight was that the wings are on top of the fusselage, so you still got a decent view even if you had a wing seat. 

Also, because it was a short hop, we didn't go super-high, so you got a decent birds eye view of stuff.  The Cascades are beautiful from any angle, but you'll have to take my word on it...my two year old 'not so smart' phone takes not very good pictures. 

Leaving, on a jet plane.

Heading out here in a bit to live out my own personal 'Planes, Trains, and Automobiles' type adventure, except in my case, it's a bus and not train.  My brother is getting married over on the western side of the state tomorrow, and my wife and mom BOTH told me I need to be there. 

We'll go into why I'm very unexcited to go some other point.  It's a long, complicated and sad story, with the end result being I feel the bride(who had her baby shower two weeks ago) would be better off just collecting money from my brother and raising the kid on her own.  I also think there is a realistic possibility(10-15%) that at some point, my mom, or I, will end up raising another child. 

Anyway...enough negativity.  I have promised I will be good, which I am going to editorialize into 'not being bad' and hope that neutral indifference is good enough.  That needs to start now.

With my wife spending the first part of the week on the coast, it made no sense for her to drive 7 hours home yesterday just for us to turn around and drive 4 hours west today.  Instead she cut the corner and went to my moms house in the Seattle 'burbs.  Likewise, it makes NO sense for me to drive my F-150 all the way to my moms, and then have us drive two vehicles back to the Tri-Cities.

The fact that I would probably end up having both girls in my truck for the whole 4-hour drive since my wife has been with them all week was not a factor in the decision to fly west, I swear.  Instead, it is really costing the same amount, OR a bit less for me to fly 45 minutes instead of driving 4 ours.

To further save money, instead of paying to park my truck at the airport for 2 days, I am going to walk to a bus stop, and take public transportation to the airport.  This will have the added benefit of saving a 40 minute side trip Sunday afternoon once we get home. 

So...win all around.  It's been right around 2 years since I last flew...and at least I'm flying the right direction.  I have to imagine making through security at a smaller airport like what we have in Pasco is less painful than going through Sea-Tac.

Hopefully, they have smaller fingers. 

At least it was a decent cat...

Dan Richards, former President of the California Fish and Game Commission, went cougar hunting back in February, and managed to bag himself a fairly decent looking cougar.  You'll notice I said 'former president' because he was removed from his position yesterday, primarily due to the controversy caused by his landing this cougar.

photo from the them there AP.
When I first read the stories about this, I was flat out mad.  I'm not big on spurious litigation, but I would have backed this guy 100% if he sued for losing his position.  But...it's a political position.  He was appointed to his position by Schwarzenegger.  While I have ZERO problem with him going to Idaho and legally hunting a cougar, a lot of folks in California do, and they raised enough of a stink that Mr. Richards saw the righting on the wall, and even voted for his own removal to make it a unanimous vote.

What I DO have a problem with, and is getting very little play in most of the stories, is that Mr. Richards had already made himself a target, because he initially didn't pay the $7,000 to go on his cougar hunt.  It wasn't until an ethics complaint was filed that he paid his own way.  I know that THAT is also politics, but it upsets me just as much as any other junket a politician goes on.  

I mean...does politics have to be dirty at EVERY level?  

Sorry...redundant question.  Maybe I'm just jealous.  I wouldn't take a free cougar hunt, but I might have a harder time turning down an outfitted elk hunt in Idaho, Wyoming or New Mexico.  Heck...or in Washington.   



Just to prove that I'm 'Fair and Balanced' and I just don't come on here to brag about my victories and how cool I am, let's talk real quick about failure. 

Back in the late spring, my wife got her hands on some heirloom tomato starts from a friend.  The garden already being full to over flowing, we put them in some pots.  They have since grown tall and leafy, and finally, about 6 weeks behind my other tomatoes, they started flowering, and now, actually growing tomatoes. 

About two days ago, I noticed a few black spots.  Not being 100% certain what kind of 'heirloom' tomatoes they are, and being aware that some heirloom tomatoes are quite 'unique', I didn't worry about them...but, now, it looks like the spots are growing, and actually turning into pitting and general nastiness. 

This isn't an isolated thing...I've got 4 plants with at least a dozen developing tomatoes that all look like that.  I'm not sure if I let it run it's course, or if I cut them off to try to force another blooming before it's too late in the season.  

Best Brownies Ever.

About two weeks ago, my wife made a pan of the Best Brownies Ever.  She wouldn't let me talk about them until she was confident she could duplicate her success.  Last week, she made a 2nd pan of the Best Brownies Ever...I mean, starting from scratch, and WAY better than anything that ever came out of a box.  She still asked me not to talk about it until SHE blogged about it first.

That never happened.  Life happened and she was too busy getting ready to head to the coast to actually blog about it.  To keep from violating the intent of stealing the thunder about her brownies, I went ahead and made a pan of them myself last night, so now I can brag about my brownies instead of her brownies...although I'll certainly give her credit for the recipe.

Yes, they are zucchini brownies, which means they are healthy, and made even healthier by the use of 1/2 cup of apple sauce in place of most of the vegetable oil(helps to use the wife's homemade apple sauce).  They are dark, and rich, and moist(not pressing the moisture out the zucchini keeps them moist for days!).  One could go as far to say they are THE perfect brownie....except for one little fact:

They aren't really brownies.  The completed texture is much closer to a cake than a brownie.  I'm not sure they would really hold up to being carried around in your hand at a party without falling apart...but, on a plate with a fork?  Perfection, and the perfect use for that occasional rogue zucchini that hides under a leaf until it is too big to be used for anything other than grating.

Recipe: pre-heat oven to 350, prep a 9 X 13 pan( I prep my pan by rubbing butter into it, then dusting the whole surface with sugar).

Dry Goods:

2 Cups of AP Flour
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 and 1/2 Cup Sugar
1  and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Wet goods:

1/2 cup apple sauce
2 table spoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini

Mix all the dry goods up and mix the wet goods up, and toss them together in a mixer, then add half a bag of chocolate chips and give it a final mix.  Pour in the pan, add a handful or two of chocolate chips to the top, and bake for about 25 minutes.

Enjoy, and thank me later.


You don't say...

I was fascinated, but not at all surprised, but this story that broke today about a study from the University of Georgia about the habits of cat's when they are let outside. 

I don't know how many cat owners this would surprise.  I wouldn't be too worried about my big ol' neutered male...he's fairly satisfied with eating and sleeping.  Our kitten though...I have zero doubt she would be a stone cold killer. 

One of the times she sneaked out of the house, I gave up getting her back in by myself...I just figured either she would come back or she wouldn't.  10 minutes of trying to track her down solo was enough for me.  I was right...she was meowing at the front door within 15 minutes of me giving up.  I let her in without really looking outside.

The next morning, when I went to my truck, there was a dead pigeon on the sidewalk in front of my house.  Now...I don't know that this cute kitten tracked down and killed a pigeon in less than 15 minutes...but it was just far enough away from the house that the whole 'hitting the window' scenario seemed a little far fetched. 

I DO know that she has flat out TORE UP two toys so far...little fake feathers all over the hallway when I got home from work. 

Oooo....look, paint drying!

It's not all fun and games around here...yesterday I finally had to do something with all the cherry tomatoes that were piling up around here.  My wife brought a bunch to the coast with her, and I did the unthinkable, bringing some into work, but that still left me with roughly a gallon of them to do something with.

I decided to follow through the advice of BobG(and my amazing wife, which made it slightly more than 'advice', and dehydrate them. 

Let me tell you...cutting a gallon of cherry tomatoes in half to clean out the seeds and then placing them on the dehydrator is excitement personified.  According to the clock, it took slightly more than an hour.  It FELT like it took about two days, and was much less fun than sitting on the couch, watching my wife get the pits out of 15 pounds of cherries


40 degrees

As I alluded to yesterday in my latest edition of ‘I would SOOOO be a crazy cat person if I never got married’, my wife and kids are out of town. They are spending a few days on the Oregon coast with my step-mom and her two girls, before heading north, where I will meet them this weekend for my brother’s wedding.
While on the coast, they will do some outlet mall shopping, visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory, and maybe walk in the sand…but precious little swimming. The high temperature today in Lincoln City was predicted to be a balmy 63 degrees. That is 40 degrees colder than our expected day time high in Richland today, and 8 degrees cooler than our overnight LOW was last night.
I’m slightly jealous.
It’s amazing what a mountain range and geography can do for a climate. As the crow flies, my wife is less than 250 miles(a good 6 hour drive) from where I am, but you get across the Cascades and it’s a different world.
Distances are different out west than in the east. Despite being born in New England, I spent most of my formative years in Washington, so I didn’t always notice it. My wife though, as a born and raised Connecticut girl, noticed right away after moving here. We used to have to drive about 120 miles to visit my parents, which was just to get down and around Puget Sound. A similar drive in New England would have taken you from Groton, through Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and almost to the Maine border.
It’s one of the things I love about Washington. While I was very enamored of the area between Coeur D’Alene and Missoula, it still doesn’t give you as much overall variety as living in Washington. The ONLY thing that makes living in the Tri-cities tolerable to me is that it is only an hour and a half east or west to find myself in the tree line of either the Cascades or the Blues. With a 3 hour drive, I can make it up to the 5000 foot level on Mount Rainier, and play in the snow…even in August.
For now, since I need to work tomorrow, I’ll just have to settle for my environment destroying A/C unit.


Coming Home

With my wife and kids out of town for the week(they have headed to the Oregon coast with my Step Mom, where it's 35 degrees cooler than here), there isn't always the same eagerness to get home after a day of work on my part.  What's the use in hurrying home when no one is excited to see you?

Oh...that's right....if I don't come home, who will fill the bowls? 

At least someone is happy to see me...


Since my wife first started canning on a whim last summer, we have done a fairly good job of embracing the canning lifestyle.  Without getting all 'holier than thou' since perfection and I ARE NOT on speaking terms...I'm not sure how you can be a proper prepper without canning.  Or at least without knowing how to can.  I'm not sure it makes sense for someone like me to go buy green beans or corn on the cob, and process them into cans at home...it's probably much more economical to buy flats of cans, or #10 cans, or dehydrated corn...but it's reassuring to know that I do have the skill, and have proven it by canning things I've grown in my own garden.

One things lacking in our preparations is a lot of protein.  My wife likes to point out that beans and rice ARE a complete protein, but...well, it's just not the same as MEAT.  We have some store bought cans of tuna, and chicken, and chili...but that's about it.  After that it's up to me to provide fresh meat for the stew pot...which is fine as long as my wife doesn't ask what the meat is being added to the pot.

Unless we start canning our own meat.  Which I did today. 

It actually makes sense from more than just a 'prepper' standpoint.  Canned ground beef is much more user friendly than frozen ground beef....no thawing...just crack open a jar and heat it up for whatever use you want.  Plus, with all the Doom and Gloom about how much food prices might go up because of the drought, it's a good way of stocking up while stuff is cheap.  Today I bought 9 pounds of ground beef for $2.40 a pound at Fred Meyers.  I ended up with 7 full pints, and enough left over to stretch some re-fried beans into some tasty nachos.  

Hopefully, I am successful this hunting season, and I can use this practice to can some venison stew meat this fall. 


Survivor Type

For some reason known only to them, the folks in charge of the NBC Olympics broadcast decided to start their Sunday evening coverage with the Marathon.  The whole 26+ miles, 2 hour and 20 plus minute Marathon.

I'm not a runner...anyone who has ever seen me wouldn't be surprised by that little revelation.  Once upon a time, during wrestling season, I used to run a few miles a day.  It wasn't fast, and I didn't enjoy it..but I did because it was the best way to work up a good sweat.  If my high school had had nicer ellipticals or stair masters, I probably wouldn't have run at all.

I say all this to get it out in the open that long distance running, and the mind set necessary to succeed at long distance running is totally foreign to me.  Watching these women destroy themselves for over two hours today, I kept having flashbacks to a Stephen King short story called 'Survivor Type', which appears in his collection Skeleton Crew.  Don't worry, I'll wait for you to find it and read it before I continue.

So...'Survivor Type' follows an unfortunate ex-doctor(we know he's unfortunate because he is in a Stephen King story) who is reduced to running drugs to make ends meet.  Things go south for the doctor when he is shipwrecked on a rock-shoal of an island, with minimal supplies, and 200K worth of heroin.  The story is written as exerts from the doctors journal as things go from bad to worse.  One of the overriding themes from the book, which the doctor learned during his trauma medicine days, is that sometimes, no matter the skill of the surgeon, it all comes down to one thing:

How Badly Does the Patient Want to Live? 

That HAS to be the same way it is for these Olympic Class Marathoners....who wants to win the most?  Don't get me wrong...you have to be in good shape to make it the first 5 miles, and insane shape to make is to the 10 mile point...but as some place, the mental becomes more important than the physical. 

How else can you explain voluntarily doing something that has you falling to your knees and vomiting less than 5 feet after you pass the finish line? 

Penciled in...

Just saw a commercial on the History Channel saying that they are running the Hatfields & McCoy's Miniseries again starting Thursday, August 16th. 

My wife and I TOTALLY missed this series the first time around, but heard nothing but good things about it, and several of the performances in it.  I'm looking forward to being able to catch it on TV without needing to buy the DVD. 

It's gonna be tough putting our How I Met Your Mother viewing on hold, but we'll manage somehow. 


Pop Music.

I'm not a big fan of 'pop music', and there isn't a single 'Top 40' station programmed on my car radio.  There are a few country stations, a few classic rock stations, and then a true 'mix' station, which plays music from every era, including some brandie-new stuff, meaning I am occasionally exposed to what all the cool kids are listening too.  Usually, if one of these songs, from someone like Carly Rae Cyrus Bieber comes on, I am quick to change the channel. 

However, when one of Alicia Moore's songs come on, I usually stick around to give it a listen. 

You might know Alicia Moore better as Pink, and I quite like her music.  It helps that she's on the harder side of 'pop', and more importantly, that she can actually sing.  That's a big plus when you are trying to be a successful musician.  One also can't discount the amount of snark she is able to work into her songs...not just anger, but actual snark.

Most of her songs also have the added ability to fit into the 'work out' music category...a good fast driving beat, I could put her stuff on a playlist with AC/DC and Green Day and not have it break my stride on the elliptical.  She isn't a one trick pony though...like all good rock artists, she has proved she can slow it down...her song 'Who Knew' perfectly fits into the poignant ballad category. 

Is she a little out there fashion and personality wise?  Oh sure...but when compared to Lady Gaga, Pink still seems like someone you could have a beer or two with.  She might act the part sometimes, but I think there is still a real person in there. 

Her newest song, Blow Me, has been rattling around in my head for most of the last week.  A little more electronics than guitar in this song, but I still like it...she does swear a bit if you are the type who is somewhat offended by that...


Bless their hearts.

Earlier in the week, my wife and I sat down and filled out primary ballots.  She felt it was our 'civic duty' to properly research each candidate by reading their information packages on the Benton County election website.  I was more than okay with this for the 'major' offices, but what started as our 'civic duty' quickly became a game, as we ended up reading the information for EVERYONE on the primary ballot.  My wife's reasoning was today's State Insurance Commisioner or City Council Member is tomorrow's Senator. 

I guess she has a point.

What struck me is the number of people who are obviously running because they have had enough.  Enough of trying to work from outside the system, giving speeches and writing letters to elected officials, and have decided the only way they are going to get things done is by running for office.  These folks were fairly easy to pick out based on what was usually a Single Issue Policy Statement, and fit pretty easily into two categories: Heart Breakingly Earnest, or Flat Out Hilarious, although it's uncertain if they meant to be hilarious. 

One of the first ones that tickled our fancy was Mr. Dave Sumner, running for Lt. Governor, under the flag of the Neopopulist Party. First off, that gave my wife and I an excuse to learn about the Neopopulist Party.  I'm just not sure I want an 'electro-goth and rap recording artist' to be my Lt. Governor.

Then there is Stephen Sharon, running for Commissioner of Public Lands.  At least he has strong opinions:

'The following are destroying our natural resources: The federal government and it's many agencies, multi-national corporations, lobbyists, and the politicians who are overly influenced by them.'

Yeah...he's kind of a hippy, and wants to put a 'tree-tax' in effect, which wouldn't go over good in a state like Washington where logging is still a pretty major industry.  He's kind of a text book example of how there might not be a candidate you want to vote FOR, but you can usually find one to vote AGAINST.

In the 'earnest' category, my wife really got behind Jamie Wheeler, running U.S. Congress in our district.  She was very upfront about her professional experience: Domestic Engineer 15yrs., Homeschool Mom, Tri-Cities Homeschool Support Group Coordinator for 10yrs.  I also respect that she was upfront about her qualifications:

'Jamie Wheeler is not a ladder climbing politician, but rather an American boldly exercising her Constitutional Right to run for office as the Founding Fathers had intended. She is Constitutionally Qualified Article 1 Section 2 US of the US Constitution. '

She's also all about doing away with all income taxes and replacing them with a National Retail Consumption Tax, which I can kind of get behind.  Being from the Ron Paul school, she wants to do away with the EPA, Department of Education, and Department of Energy.  Oops...that ones tough for me to get behind, since DOE kind of pays the bills at Hanford. 

Still I would have been willing to vote for her if she wasn't running against Doc Hastings, whose actually been doing a pretty good job in Congress.  I know it kind of makes me a flat out hypocrite, but as long as there are still going to be politicians in Congress making sure their constituents get what they want, I want a good one their getting mine for me...and right now that's Doc Hastings, and not a house wife who means well...


Appreciate the assistance!

This evening, while pawing through my zucchini plants to see what was ready to come in, I found a cute little triangular head looking at me.  It took me a second to realize what I was looking at...I had a cute little mantis protecting my zucchini from the raving hordes of insects wanting to do my plants harm!

I'm kind of bummed that I didn't have my cell phone in my pockets so I could take a picture.  It was a pretty bug, and I hope it sticks around...there are still plenty of bugs left in the garden...hell, I'm fine with her inviting some friends over to hang out in my tomatoes for a couple of days. 

Mmmmm....gym socks...

So, a few days ago, our next door neighbor gave us a bag full of potatoes and onions from his garden.  It was very nice of him to do that...and I highly appreciate the free potatoes.  The onions...well, a little less so.  I'm not a big onion fan.  I don't mind onion powder being added to stuff, but I don't like 'real onion'.  It's mostly a texture thing, but I'm not exactly enamored of the flavor.  Very occasionally, I will purchase a sweet onion and dice it up(almost grating it) to add to a soup or chili, out of respect for my wife.

The end result is that while we could come up with plenty of things to do with 5 pounds of potatoes, we were a bit up in the air about what to do with 5 pounds of onions.  I was all for throwing 4.5 pounds of them in the trash, but like my wife pointed out....'FREE'.

So, since I've admitted in the past I am 'okay' with using onion powder in a recipe or rub, why not make homemade onion powder.  My wife found a recipe for that...just slice them up, blanch them, and dehydrate them.  When they are dry, process them in a food processor or coffee grinder to the right consistency. 

What the recipe didn't warn you about was that the smell of dehydrating onion is MUCH different from the smell of dehydrating bananas or apricots.  I'm not saying it's a 'bad' smell....it's just much more a 'funk', like what you would expect walking into a high school locker room after August football practices...



My wife and I sat down to fill out our primary ballots today, and instead of just playing the eenie-meanie-mighty-moe game, she actually had us read what each candidate submitted for the online voters catalogue.  Rest assured, more will follow on that, because some things were quite humorous.  You gotta hand it to some of these folks who step up and decide 'I know I don't have a chance of winning, but I'm mad as hell, and I am going to DO SOMETHING, even if that means running for an office I'm not gonna win.

I think my brain melted about 2/3rds of the way through, but since I had to soldier on, the cat's did my sleeping for me.