Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Stranded Clan

It is our hope that you all have a Merry Christmas, and thanks to each of you that stop by.

And a little Christmas re-gifting from last year:



By Des Moines artist Roxi Copland

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Adventures with pollsters

During the run up to the 1996 presidential caucuses, I had so many pollsters call that I gave up and just started a list and each time one called, I supported the next candidate on the list. When I got to the bottom of the list, I started all over again.

A few years ago I started messing with them. Asking me questions about a gubernatorial race one year:
Pollster: What's the most important issue? Is it the economy? Unemployment? Abortion? Blah, blah?

Me: None of those.

Pollster: What is your most important issue?

Me: Does a condidate running for office know and understand our state motto.

Pollster: That's intersting.

Me: Do you know what Iowa's state motto is?

Pollster: No.

Me: "Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain"

Pollster: That's a very good question to ask.

I've asked candidates that question, and surprise, most don't even know what our motto is.
This caucus season, we've been averaging 3 polls a night and last night was one of those lengthy multiple question polls that appeared to have been commissioned by Newt Romney but I'm not positive.

Many of the questions were just stupid but one stood out: "Which one of the candidates will get more done as president?" "Get more done?" My reply: They'll all get things done and most of what any of them get done will be to make things worse. Besides, they can't get anything done without Congress and don't get me started about "Executive Orders."

We settled that it was an invalid question and I refused to answer it.

One question was asked if I supported the position that a president had the authority to reject a Supreme Court ruling?
Me: The people have the right to reject court rulings and laws through jury nullification.

Pollster: But the question was regarding the president.

Me: Okay, if it was good enough for Andrew Jackson, when he told the court to enforce its own ruling, then I guess I can see the point.

Pollster: Do you support the president having the authority?

Me: (Thinking in my mind about separation of powers and the House of Representatives has the power of impeachment of judges) The constitutionality of a law should not rest solely on 9 black robed elitists.

Pollster: But about the president?

Me: Hmmm, okay. Yes I can agree on this point.
I just can't give them straight answers.

When asked if I described myself on a scale of liberal vs conservative, I replied that I was libertarian (small "l"). But he didn't have a space to put that in. Was I a Tea Partier? A Born-Again Christian?

What was my most important issue? The Bill of Rights and the Constitutional principle of Original Intent. He didn't have a space for that one.

He made the mistake of asking what I thought about Gingrich and a few moments later he begged me to slow down because his typing skills wasn't good enough to keep up.

After about 15 minutes we were done and I asked who commissioned the poll (as I always do) and he replied that he didn't know who commissioned it but from the way the questions were phrased...

I told him I had a good idea who as I wasn't a political neophyte, to which he laughed and I told him that the next poll he works on should have better questions. He agreed that this was not one of the better set that he's worked with. He said good night and I wished him a Merry Christmas.

On my next pollster call, I can now support the next one on my candidate list.

But Cain isn't on the running anymore.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Baling hay in December?

It's the middle of December and I baled hay this past weekend. No - not really. But I pulled a bale of hay from the tractor on Sunday.

Well, it seemed like it was a bale after finding field mice had invaded the space between the radiator and grill on the Farmall H.

Cute things, with their big brown eyes staring at me and my pest repellent spray I doused them with in order to drive them from their abode. I really didn't want to take the grill off without getting them out of there.

The nest of grass and fur was packed about half-way up the radiator. After I cleaned things out, I discovered the radiator really needing a proper cleaning. Years of dust had clogged about 20% of the radiator.

Another job needing done.

Monday, December 19, 2011

More on Bloom

I could have written "Moron Bloom" but this guy's response works:
A fellow UI professor left this on Bloom’s Facebook page: “I always thought you were a huge (expletive) ... but your Atlantic piece sunk my opinion of you further -- and I didn't think it could get that low. Go (expletive) yourself, you smug, self important jerk.”

A moderate call from a former student: As Caucus Day Approaches, A Debate Over Us Iowa Hicks


The title may as well have been "Bloom's not that bad of a guy, you should forgive and blah, blah."

As I wrote before, there are plenty of lanes heading out of the state, he should be in one of them.

Others are taking the high road, like making money:


Or, by making fun of the intellectually challenged professor:


Any way you look at it, the welcome mat has been pulled in.

My personal theory is that he's never fully embraced the citizens of the state and this has been an anthropological exercise with him being here. He can take the high road and gain instant liberal street cred if he leaves. He can claim he was forced out and if the fellow U of I professor quoted above is any indication, he's probably not well loved anyway.

If he wants out, let him.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Is This Hell? No, It's Iowa

Is This Hell? No, It's Iowa

[ed note: Found! In a dumpster behind Hamburg Inn, the first draft of University of Iowa professor Stephen G. Bloom's anthropology dissertation for Atlantic magazine explaining the bizarre cultural mores of the primative Aborigines who pay his salary.]

Iowahawk gives his unique perspective on the latest blather from a snobbish elite professor.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ron Paul's foreign policy

What we have today is because we've relied on "experts" to conduct foreign policy based on economic reasons instead of truly security reasons. Why are we still "protecting" Japan and Germany (Western Europe by extension)? If anyone wishes to invade France, they can keep them.

My objections to Dr Paul is dissipating because of information like this, because I thoroughly believe our government has wasted some of our best and brightest in useless conflicts because of someone's dumb-assed foreign policy.



We're not called the Great Satan for nothing.

Via David Codrea's War on Guns

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Another elitist snob professor shoots his mouth off

University of Iowa journalism professor, Stephen Bloom, has been in the state of Iowa for awhile and doesn't really care for us:
"Those who stay in rural Iowa are often the elderly waiting to die, those too timid (or lacking in educated [sic]) to peer around the bend for better opportunities, an assortment of waste-toids and meth addicts with pale skin and rotted teeth, or those who quixotically believe, like Little Orphan Annie, that "The sun'll come out tomorrow."

How 'schizophrenic' Iowans should respond to Atlantic Monthly article
I'm trying to figure out where I fit in with his descriptions of citizens. I'm not quite in the elderly category yet, so I guess I'm not ready to die, I have a job so I would assume that doesn't make me a "waste-toid." I'm not a meth addict, although I am of the caucasian persuasion and do visit my dentist regularly. As any of my regular readers would agree that I'm not an optimist, so I guess he would assign me as either timid (if we ever meet face-to-face, that would fall apart) or lack in "educated" (okay, I don't have a fancy-assed college advanced degree like perfesser Bloom.)

I'm not an educated boob like he is. Well, I'm damn proud of that.

Apparently he's okay with sucking off of taxpayer's teats while drawing a salary at Iowa. After being here since 1993, you would think he might actually learn something about the state before writing an Atlantic article, Observations from 20 Years of Iowa Life

Living in the insulated Socialist Republic of Johnson County, he made the observation:
"When Obama spoke of those clinging to guns and religion, he was talking about the Iowa hamlets that will shape the contours of the GOP contest."
Great, condescending tripe from an overpaid university professor. (After almost 20 years, you think he would be more than just a professor?)

While throwing out a few facts, he would get a D in geography:
On the state's eastern edge lies the Mississippi River, dotted with towns with splendid names like Keokuk, Toolesboro, Fruitland, Muscatine, Montpelier, Buffalo, Sabula, Davenport, Dubuque, and Guttenberg. Each once was a booming city on the swollen banks of the river that long ago opened the middle of America to expansion, civilization, abundance, and prosperity.
Fruitland is south of Muscatine on the bottom ground about 3 miles from the Mississippi River and Toolsboro is on the bluff overlooking the Iowa River. I ought to know, I grew up around there.
“Good journalism isn’t just reporting,” Bloom said. “It’s making observations, making sense out of the world — even if readers might not agree with those observations.”
Maybe if Bloom had made some accurate observations, maybe he'd actually understand us natives. But I doubt that the New York transplant is capable of getting beyond his stereotypes even after being here almost two decades.

If he doesn't like us, I know that the bridges over the Mississippi also have an east-bound lane.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The War on Agriculture, part two

Reflecting on my previous post on the child labor regulations from the Department of Labor and their impact on the "traditional" family farms, I remember my experiences of hard work, long hours and the trials and tribulations growing up.

My first chore was at age 5 when I was tasked to gather eggs. I didn't wear a mask digging around in the straw and battling possessive hens. And at age 8, my job was to feed and water the feeder calves. I bet I didn't weigh 60 lbs when I lugged the corn and milo mix while fighting the calves to get to the feed bunk.

At 14 my dad put me in charge of 20 acres. What and when to plant and we cultivated back then, too. I paid enough attention that I knew about crop rotation and Dad agreed with my decisions. I didn't run the combine in the fall, but everything else was up to me, including the expenses. And a profit was made that year that was shared with Dad because the real world worked that way.

I later came to realize that I benefited greatly from my work experiences as a young-un. These new rules, while exempting "family farms" (for now) would have prevented that type of work, if those rules had been in place then.

Lauren Ritchie shared her experiences growing up as she explains in her commentary. One thing I didn't think of:
Theoretically, kids could continue to do whatever they want on farms owned by their parents. Some 1.3 million young people under 20 live on farms in the United States.

But nearly all "family farms" are incorporated today, just as most small businesses are, which would put them back under these proposed rules.
Exactly. These rules will hit almost every farm in the US, maybe not at first, but selective enforcement would compel everyone else to fall in line.

She continues:
A press release stated: "The Department is committed to helping youth enjoy positive and challenging work experiences — both in agricultural and nonagricultural employment — that are so important to their development and transition to adulthood."

One safety advocate called the proposal "timid." My word would be "clueless."

This is not a case of banning thoughtless 13-year-olds from racing Jet Skis on public waterways packed with partygoers on the Fourth of July. That's called common sense. Rather, these rules would apply to what legal activities parents choose to allow their children to participate in while on private property. There is no risk to the general public.
For some reason the Labor Department and a whole lot of nanny-state interventionists, would rather a kid waste their time playing video games than learning about responsibility, resourcefulness, and a damn fine work ethic.


Wipe that smile off your face, kid. Don't you know you're being exploited?

Regarding the regulations, Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City:
"Some of these things are downright silly."

Under the federal definition, "employment" doesn't necessarily include cash compensation, Lankford said.

"It varies greatly. For instance, if a grandfather owned a farm and his grandchildren came to work there, they wouldn't be exempted under the rule. Their own kids on their own family farm would be exempted, but their grandkids would not," he said.
Leaving wide open the interpretation of the regulations up to some bureaucrat has worked out so well for every other federal and state agency, hasn't it?

Two things that angered me on this:

One - the feds thinking they have the authority to do this under the Interstate Commerce clause.

Two - I'm angry at myself for not knowing about this ahead of time. According to the last link, only 4000 comments were taken. There should have been 100 times that many but no one knew about this. Or at the very least, they thought this will only apply to the Big Ag operations and not them.

It might but I'm not going to bet on it.

Remember, we are all Kulaks now.
The government, the planners, the leaders who directed the robbery, even the government employees themselves "knew better than the peasants how they should live, and what they should sow and when they should plough."

Page 168, "Death by Gun Control", Zelman and Stevens

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The War on Agriculture

Growing up on a small farm introduced me to several hazardous situations and my puny 98 lbs wasn't much against a 1200 lb steer. When I drove the Allis Chalmers C at age 5 while my dad threw hay to the calves, I had to jump off the seat to push in the clutch and brake pedals. Probably not the safest task given to me, but I did okay and didn't drive through a gate or ran over anyone.

But new proposed rules regarding child labor in agriculture may change the landscape of farming. (Comments ended Dec 1st)

While these rules would not apply to non-paid labor on the family farm (at least not now) they do apply if a kid hires out to work for a neighbor or family member. I baled hay for neighbors in junior high and I still have all my limbs intact.
The Labor Department can only regulate employer-employee relationships, so the proposed rules shouldn't affect 4-H, FFA or other educational programs, said Michael Hancock, assistant administrator for policy at the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division. And, they may not keep children from helping on their grandparents' or uncle's farms if they aren't paid. (emphasis mine)

Proposed child labor laws would limit hazardous work by minors on farms
"Shouldn't" and "May not" are clues to what is really intended.

Busybodies like Barbara Marlenga, a described "research scientist" but looks like her only function is to publish studies like: "North American guidelines for children's agricultural tasks: five-year assessment and priorities for the future." is quoted: "Youths who work in other industries — the child labor laws are much stricter," Marlenga said. "Why would we have unequal protection?"

Sounds like someone my dad would have run off the homestead.

Point is given that farming is a dangerous enterprise and I've seen the results of carelessness, but no one is advocating sweat shop like labor for kids. Even my dad wasn't that bad. But proposing safety rails if a 16 year-old is 6 feet in the air? That's maybe four bales of hay and don't even think about working in the loft.

According to the article, child agriculture accidents fell by more than half from 1998 to 2009, so what's the problem? After looking at a letter signed by "more than 25 public-health and workplace safety experts" sent to a governmental busybody who oversees new rules in the Department of Labor, one name stood out: Michael J. Wright of the United Steel Workers.

If fewer young people are employed in agriculture, the end result would be that adults would have to be hired. You can't organize children into labor unions. Little Johnny has no interest in Big Labor, he's trying to earn money for a car.

The rest of the letter signers look to be academics who I would bet have never set foot on a farm operation, let alone operate any machinery.

These guys make it sound as though children fresh out of diapers are running a sickle mower for 10 hours a day.

This link http://humantrafficking.change.org/blog/view/report_child_labor_on_american_farms makes it sound like farmers are involved in nefarious human trafficking.

Human Rights Watch interviewed 58 under-18 workers (out of a few hundred thousand possible) and came up the the cute-sounding "Fields of Peril" report. At a 102 pages I'm still sifting through it, but with subject titles of: "Work with Dangerous Machinery, Equipment, and Tools", "Pressure to Work Fast, Sick, and Injured", and "Extreme Temperatures: Heat and Cold" makes me think that these namby girls don't know what hard work is. Through my short reading, many of the issues they cite are regarding large ag operations and migrant workers, those that are already regulated. The desire to throw down more regulations when the current regulations are violated, seems asinine to me.

Those of us who know would say that farming is a 24-7 life. If you have a cow suffering through a breach-birth, your head cold doesn't mean squat when you risk losing a source of your income. At 20 below you better make sure those animals are watered and fed before you are.

At least it was when I grew up. And like many others, I suffered through the heat in summer and freezing my toes and ears in winter. And I hated that at the time. But I'm glad I did it because it taught me what work is and gave me a set of skills that has benefited me and my family ever since.

The problem I see is that these adults wish for a utopian life for youth and don't understand the benefits that physical labor brings to a child's life. No one is advocating slave-labor with children in chains in the hot sun, but I never knew anyone who died cutting corn from a soybean field in July.

So after wading through this post, here is the interpretation: under-18 agriculture laborers are slaves and farm operations are trafficking in slave labor, big operations are violating current regulations and therefore more regulations that apply to all are needed and finally, bed-wetting academics and labor advocates know more about the welfare of youth that the parents.

If these people had their way when I was a kid, my life would have been filled with gumdrops and sunshine while riding unicorns across bubble wrap fields where no one ever suffered a skinned knee or bruised elbow. Right.

Just because these idiots are wimps they mean to scrape a whole segment of youth out of a lifestyle and out of employment.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Iowa Gun Shows for December, 2011

Dec 16-18, Des Moines, Adventureland Park

Dec 30-Jan 1, Waterloo, McElroy Auditorium
*** I get this list from the link below and other searches and I can't guarantee the accuracy of the list. If anyone notices a show that needs to be corrected or added, please let me know in the comments.

For more details go to Iowa Gun Shows

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Professor Hoplophobe

Iowa State Professor, Warren J. Blumenfeld, laments the fact that businesses engage in firearm promotions to generate sales. Reiterating the tired CDC gun death numbers while ignoring firearms used for protection, he wishes for a utopian society where guns are no more.

With a traditional gratuitous swipe at Sara Palin (Ha Ha), he reminds us that grizzly bears protect their young without firearms.

What he doesn't realize is that firearms protect us from grizzlys.

Who's Warren Blumenfeld? He's an Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Iowa State University.

In this paper, he equates traditional Christian denominations that believe that homosexuality a sin, with the infamous Fred Phelps. By the same token, I should equate his embracing of the homosexual "lifestyle" with the freak-show parades of San Fransisco.

Same logic applies.

He seems to think that protecting our borders is racism while calling La Raza a civil rights organization. Being a "well educated" major university professor, you think he would catch the irony there.

And he's a big supporter of the Weather Underground terrorist, Bill Ayers, as he and many others in academia (I assume) think the poor man was vilified during Obama's campaign in 2008. I guess trying to blow up the Pentagon or murdering police officers was a career stepping stone, not criminal actions.

Hmmm.

At least I'm not alone in my thoughts of the good professor, as Don Paulin gives his opinion in the LeMars paper after Blumenfeld issued his support of the "occupy" protestors in Des Moines.

I almost feel sorry for him except that my tax money goes to paying his salary at one of Iowa's public universities.

Here's a thought... If the taxpayers of Iowa start "occupying" the public universities in an effort to bring fiscal and logical sanity to higher education, do you think the good professor would give his support?

I doubt it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The end to Badger Guns

The final chapter is unfolding for Badger Guns as the current owner is giving up his license. It appears that he's run into difficulty with the ATF in renewing it.

The Journal Sentinel gets a few more pokes with a stick mentioning that the owner can sell his personal firearm collection at a gun show without a background check. Just like anyone else is able to. The paper harps on any gun law they don't agree with as being a "loophole". They also speculate on who the next owner would be (if any) at the store location. Maybe they'll just pack up and leave as the paper and Milwaukee politicians hope for.

But in a second article the JS reports that Badger Guns' license was revoked while again complaining about the laws in place.
A spokesman with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives made clear the license held by Adam Allan is not being surrendered.

"The federal firearms license issued to Badger Guns Inc. was revoked by ATF for a willful violation of the Gun Control Act," Robert Schmidt said late Wednesday.

Congress has passed special laws that prohibit the ATF from releasing much information about revocations.
And not to miss out on another dig, the paper implies of the wrongdoing.
But according to an ATF document, "Violations commonly cited in revocation cases include failure to account for firearms, failure to verify and document purchaser eligibility, failure to maintain records requisite for successful firearms tracing, and failure to report multiple sales of handguns."
No evidence, only speculation.

Badger Guns was never prosecuted for violating any of the current gun laws, but the store was cited as the source of guns that were used to shoot two Milwaukee police officers (current lawsuit pending). The guns were purchased legally and then obtained by the criminal(s) involved in the shooting. I've written since day one, that if the store was complicit in allowing criminals to obtain firearms, they should be prosecuted. If true, the owners should be in jail.

After reviewing the whole "Fast and Furious" debacle, it would seem the ATF doesn't care for the competition. See David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh for more information.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Deer season

It's open season at Camp Stranded to prevent more of this:



I spit a curse on them all...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

An obligatory holiday wishes to you all. I hope everyone travels safely if they are on the road or in the air and have a safe return from whence you came.

Thanksgiving is traditionally spend with family and friends.

I will be enjoying the traditional family gathering full of insults, putdowns and humiliations.

Good times.

And thank you to all of my readers for stopping by once in a while.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mauser Medic

From pure neglect on my part for not noticing sooner, Mausers, Medicine, & Motorcycles added a link back to this humble location.

As a member of Iowa's National Guard, MauserMedic has served most recently in the Afghan theater and I thank him for his service and welcome home.

Sometimes irreverent and always entertaining, his postings of Ugly Gun Sundays depict the kluge creations and downright butchery that some people come up with.

Your site is added to the Iowa blog list, sir.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Face the Nation?

Face the Ass.

Bob Schieffer makes a complete ass of himself when he argues with Congressman Ron Paul on his "Face the Nation" program. Watch the video.

I rarely watch these programs, but I did this time for some reason. What should have been an interview turned into an argument when Schieffer didn't like the answers. Argue and then say, "Let's move on."

Fine job, Bob.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Out of steam - Dust Settling Edition

My tractor wouldn't start today because this guy declared a jihad on electricity a while back. It was out of juice.

Since mid October I've been engaged in an upgrade process for our main records system. From the user's perspective, it's a few hours of interruption, but from my end, it's days of preparation, planning and testing, culminating in a marathon (25+ hours) upgrade process that rarely goes well. I've not had one upgrade with this system that went smooth.

All that prep work and the vendor doesn't inform us of several changed requirements for our environment, nor a systematic change in their folder structure. This results in our scrambling to figure out the problem and then correct it.

"It's a fun experience," he said with dripping sarcasm.

I've had little time for politics, news, Camp Stranded. It's a bit frustrating.

But...



Just as this small flower sprouted from the clay on the pond, it reminds me that life sometimes gives another chance. The next couple of weeks are going to be "interesting" from the Stranded perspective.

But not less busy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Former news-babe wins special election

In a move that backfired on Gov. Branstad, former news speaker, Liz Mathis, won the special election for District 18.

Branstad appointed the previous state senator, Swati Dandekar to the Iowa Utilities Board, giving the Republican leaning district an opportunity to move out of Democrat hands. If successful, it would have resulted in a 25-25 tie and the little dictator, Gronstal, would lose power.

A brilliant move by Democrats to nominate a well-known local news "reporter" with instant name recognition and a big friendly smile. Follow the plan to ignore specifics and don't do anything stupid and she would win.

That worked.

Let the gridlock continue... please.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hiatus reflections

If readers think I was wallowing in self pity during my previous post, please understand... that's my schtick.

I'm known as the Rodney Dangerfield of IT.

When things break or when something's wrong and they need it figured out, I get the call. I have a knack for identifying what's not running right (debugging) and although I may not have the tools, resources or permissions within a vendor's code, I have been able to steer the vendors in the right direction.

And with the work ethic instilled in me by my father, I'm also known to keep at a problem until a solution is found and keep at a project until it is finished. I've put in more than one 24 hour stretch over the past two years. In fact, way more than the Mrs. cares.

These two traits, while highly valued, aren't always rewarded by my current employer. With my belief in the Laws of Reciprocity, that can be frustrating to say the least.

But then I get a short query asking where I've been and if I and the clan are okay. It took me awhile to realize that that person is going through a battle of their own. My problems seem petty compared to someone who recently went under the knife and recovered, and currently going through repeated visits to hospital to continue the battle. And I'm certain will win these upcoming rounds as well.

Here's to Bea and her speedy recovery. A tough spirit can bend but never break.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Iowa gun shows for November, 2011

Nov 4-6 Des Moines, Adventureland Park

Nov 11-13 Cedar Rapids, Hawkeye Downs

Nov 12-13 Storm Lake, National Guard Armory

Nov 18-20 Ottumwa, Bridgeview Center

Nov 25-27 Des Moines, Iowa State Fairgrounds
*** I get this list from the link below and other searches and I can't guarantee the accuracy of the list. If anyone notices a show that needs to be corrected or added, please let me know in the comments.

For more details go to Iowa Gun Shows

Monday, October 31, 2011

Out of Steam, 10/31/11

As the old steam engine above, Between Two Rivers has been on hiatus for over a month now.

Not really self-imposed as much as a victim of circumstance. Or as I like to call: "Living the Stranded Lifestyle." In other words, work like a dog and get rewarded... with more work. Pavlov kind of missed the mark and should have studied my employer instead.

As almost 12+ hours of work nearly each day with a couple of overnight server issues thrown in just to make things "interesting," everything has been coming up Stranded. Leaving me with little time for completing any of my projects, both at home and at the camp.

I mentioned to correspondent, Bea, coming home to a computer has been a struggle to come up with anything except throw up another steam engine pic. Posting daily steam engines would certainly be boring to a non-railfan and I'm running out of CB&Q pics as well.

My lack of postings reflected Iowa politics until our governor decided to appoint a Democrat Senator to a state board of dubious necessity. Now a special election between an unknown (to me) and a former news-babe from local KCRG News, will set the balance of power over the next session. Lots of money flowing in state-wide and the local TV stations are busy.

Another item I missed covering is that a state committee of people decided we aren't paying enough gas taxes and our license fees are too low. Apparently a majority of Iowans (none of whom I have heard from) agree, with the Farm Bureau weighing in favor. I'm sure no taxpayer money was used for committee purposes, otherwise we could have used that money for the roads.

Occupy Cedar Rapids drew massive support of 9 people the other day in the downtown area chanting, "Blah, blah, something, something... the people." At least that's what I heard as they "marched" across the street as I waited for the light to change. Maybe they can combine with the peace protestors that hang out on the Second Avenue bridge on Friday evenings to double their numbers. That is, if they are separate members of each group. Nevertheless, good luck keeping warm in the coming weeks. Iowa's winters tend to put a damper on camping out unless your heart is really in it.

Who am I kidding, who gives a rip when you call for a protest and only 9 show up? Good job occupying, guys. Arlo Guthrie would be proud.

With apologies to my few regular readers as to my absence, I will try to post more as time permits. Besides, the silly season of Iowa politics is nearly upon us: the new session at the statehouse and, of course, the caucuses. Iowa's mother's milk for a revenue generating scheme upon the American voters.

To be fair, traditionally, the Iowa voters trend similar to the national voting percentages in presidential elections. So it makes some sense to make Iowa important. It won't matter once the National Popular Vote get their way and abolish the Electoral College and Iowa becomes irrelevant. As well as Montana, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Alaska... Basically any state that currently has less 10 electors.

This idea of a popular vote for a president has been endorsed by our former governor Chester Culver. The first sitting governor in Iowa in decades that lost a reelection. Yeah, that political genius.

If what I've posted so far sounded bitter, an incoherent rambling of a senile middle-aged balding man from Iowa, then please accept my apologies again.

That's just part of the current Stranded Lifestyle that's between two rivers. With any luck we might be seeing a change soon. But not after another network upgrade and a major vendor application upgrade the weekend of the 12th. That one involves the traditional 30+ hour stretch of work that I'm looking forward to experience again.

Yep, the Stranded Lifestyle. (I'm thinking of copyrighting that)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall planting season

Stranded's Tree Farm


We've transplanted some of our hard maple starts this past weekend. These came from our two maples at the homestead that were planted through a cooperative agreement with our electric company about 15 years ago. From a humble 8 feet, they're now +/-30 ft and very nicely shaped. (The homestead trees, not the transplants.)

I planted them as taught by my dad: fill the hole with water and let it soak away, then plant the tree and strip all but a few leaves off. I surrounded the trees with a cage in an attempt to keep deer out. We'll see how well my efforts play out down the road.

I also planted a couple of hackberry volunteers that came from my neighbor's tree. Not a favorite for homeowners, but my dad made a few pieces from it's lumber and they turned out well. In the spring, I pulled one out of the ground and planted it and it's doing well in it's new environment, so a couple more should do okay.

I've got several more transplants that I could take down, but I don't have the area cleared off and ready.

Running out of steam...

Monday, September 26, 2011

ATF agent threatens to sic a private investigator on Grassley

To dig up some dirt apparently.

For all of my disagreements with the Senator, I would never think he had any dirt on him. (Harkin, on the other hand...) I believe Senator Grassley to be an honorable man despite his occupation as a US Senator.

Gun dealer Andre Howard recorded conversations with ATF agent Hope McAllister and they reveal the extend the ATF agent would go if she had the means to do so.
EXCERPT 3

Agent: That's kind of what my suggestion but nobody thought that was funny like if I were a P.I. I'd put him on Grassley, I'm sure there's a lot would go away. Actually my one suggestion was just tell him in a registered Republican. I'm sure if he knew that everything would be fine, they didn't like that either.
Grassley may have some skeletons in the closet like this photo:


But I highly doubt he has anything that would rival the Clintons or any of the Kennedys. I don't they fully know many of the members of the Senate, although they pegged Leahy pretty well.

They have a good understanding of the situation in the Senate. Since the Republicans are in the minority, Grassley is powerless to do any real investigations. He can't call for hearings and is limited on any subpena power.

Simon Conway of WHO radio interviewed Senator Grassley last week on this very subject. (Start at 9:09) I apologize but the embed doesn't want to work for me.

It would seem that Chuck isn't going to let "Fast and Furious"\"Gunwalker" go away.

ATF is in the gun smuggling business??

And here I thought they were supposed to be preventing crime or something like that. Mike Vanderboegh reports:
Official ATF documents and sources in both Arizona and Washington D.C. confirm that in at least two instances in 2010, agents of the United States government purchased Kalashnikov-pattern semi-automatic pistols directly from licensed federal firearms dealers with taxpayer money and delivered those weapons directly into the hands of cartel smugglers.
I guess I was wrong.

So there is evidence that those in our government facilitated the smuggling of guns into a criminal gang and now what are they going to do about it?

My guess is continue to circle the wagons.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Van Buren County Tea Party

I've been catching up on emails instead of working today and read one from Randy from Southeast Iowa. He's involved in county and local politics and I found several interviews of the local school board candidates that was posted on his blog, Van Buren County Tea Party.

From his email
We have started a local Tea Party group with the intent of taking on our local governments and their foolish use of our money.
Here's a shout of encouragement, Randy and I apologize for not getting to this sooner.

*Of note: My brother taught elementary school at Douds in the early 80's.

Sunday (not so) funnies, 9/25/11


The original from Getty Images:

(Click for source)

From Pajama Media:
Unless this is some kind of hoax of unparalleled proportions, the gaffe-tastic photo of Obama idiotically waving his hand in a group shot of world leaders, blocking the face of one of them (Tsakhia Elbegdorj, the president of Mongolia, as far as I can tell), really is an authentic photo, and is worthy of Internet infamy.
Another bloke has the idea of issuing an apology on Obama's behalf (since the administration has not issued one as yet).

Sorry, I won't go that far...

From this lack of respect for a foreign leader and his earlier bowing to monarchs who behead their own citizens for converting from Islam, I wonder where his instructors are regarding foreign policy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

CR man defends his home

A Cedar Rapids man defends himself and his family when an armed intruder attempts to break into his home. Shots were exchanged and no one was hurt.

Gunshots Exchanged During Cedar Rapids Break-in Attempt

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Camp Stranded Discoveries

On each work time to Camp Stranded, we make the time to cut brush, weeds or general cleanup. This is outside of my goals for what we want to accomplish there, although part of my overall plan. Because of the lack of a good brush mower (still in the works) we've had to rely on good old fashioned sweat, blood and toil. (After cutting a knuckle, the bleeding looked like I lost a finger last weekend.)

Using a corn knife I starting cutting back the mulberry trees, horse weeds and ragweed from around a 5 foot pine and discovered a few foot tall maples. A little later and after plenty of hacking, I found another foot tall pine and a couple of 3 foot walnut trees. Another pine was found hiding close to a 6 foot tall maple and after clearing several hundred square feet of weeds and tall grass, we had a nice collection of 10 pines, ranging from about a foot to about 6 feet tall. None of these I expected to have.

Sure, it's not like winning the lottery as it maybe is closer to finding change in the couch cushions, but this is a positive for the place. I thought we only had one pine and each discovery motivated me to keep hacking away to find another one. I'm not 100% sure of the species but they ain't ditch cedars.*

If I had pulled a brush mower over this spot, as I intended to do, I would have mowed them over and lost them and I would have tangled up the wire cages in the blades. In order to preserve some of these smaller trees, I'm going to have to swing a sickle. The wire cages will be used for the next plantings of sugar maples that I started from seed.

I won't mind the work if we find hidden treasures like these.

* I call them ditch cedars because these little cedar trees are growing throughout rural southeast Iowa's ditches. I've got quite a few growing among my other trees and I'd like to keep them for songbird habitat, although snakes are known to climb up to get at the nests. My brother encouraged me to get rid of them, but I'm not in a hurry.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Simple gestures mean the most...

After another day among several of banging my head in frustration, imagine coming home to a thank you card from Sam's Mom, Bea. She had been recuperating after major surgery and the Stranded household sent their get well wishes and sent a set of DVDs after Sam mentioned her preference for old westerns.

It brightened up my week to receive a note of appreciation and I wanted to publicly acknowledge her kindness back to me.

And yes, my wife picked out the card because I'm not good at those sort of things and she does enjoy Guideposts.

It warms my curmudgeon heart.

Thank you and we're still pulling for your speedy recovery.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Seventy times seven

In Mathew 18:21-23, Peter asks Jesus how many times must he forgive someone who sins against him, the reply being, "Seventy times seven," depending on your version of the Bible.

Today, I received an email asking that we forgive those who trespassed against us 10 years ago. Being the contrarian that I am, I had to question this thought. Why must we forgive?

I'm not questioning the teachings of Christ but the application for this instance. At no time did He suggest that the restitution laws proscribed in the Old Testament were abandoned, nor is there any indication that earthly judgement was ignored.

As the email sender happened to be a spiritual leader of sorts, my first thought was that of a shepherd tending his flock. One night when he wasn't on a diligent watch, wolves crept in and stole several of the sheep. In retrospect, the shepherd forgave the wolves for they were hungry and needed to feed their young.

The following week, a few more sheep were taken by the wolves and the shepherd forgave them that night as well. A few nights later, more sheep were taken and the shepherd again forgave the wolves.

This went on for weeks and the numbers of the wolves grew. They were feeding very well on the shepherd's flock and their litters of wolf cubs were quite large. Other wolves in neighboring hills came down and joined the first pack. By now, more and more sheep were eaten until all were gone.

The shepherd, now without sheep, could not rightly be called a shepherd now that his flock was gone but he could rest because he had given the wolves all the forgiveness that he could. He had no hard feelings because they had a right to eat, didn't they?

This passage on forgiveness and "turn the other cheek" are used by peacenik apologists and I don't think they understand their meanings. If some dirtbag broke in your house, raped your spouse, and then shot your kids, you're supposed to just let it happen, turn the other cheek by offering up the neighbors and then forgive the guy?

Really?

Under Old Testament Jewish law, if a man did not protect his family, it was considered a sin. If a king did not prepare his country to repel invaders, judgment was upon him.

Our political leaders are delegated with the power to form our armed forces, who are sheep dogs among us. And God bless every one of them. The shepherds would be the politicians and when all they are interested in is fleecing the flock, there are plenty of wolves waiting to take advantage of that.

If I remember correctly, Jesus' indignation was towards the Pharisees, or the shepherds of the time, and not towards the sheep. I think our leadership will be judged and found wanting as they ignored the signs, we were not prepared, they've placed our armed forces in an impossible position, and in the end we, as a people, have paid with our freedoms.

All because our shepherds lacked the diligence to tend the flock.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Trial date set for Jeffrey McAdam's accused murderer

October 18th, in Iowa County.

The judge has already thrown out damaging statements from Peter Riggs, the man accused of murdering Jeffrey McAdam at an Iowa County rest stop last year. It's possible the discovery of the murder weapon could be thrown out as well since the deputy searched Riggs' car without permission.
The court also heard arguments regarding the defense’s motion to suppress the weapon police believe was used in the killing because it was illegally seized. Baumgartner said she would take the arguments under advisement and rule later.

Peter Persaud, Riggs’ attorney, argued deputies who arrested Riggs in Johnson County after the shooting didn’t have probable cause to search his vehicle, where they found two .9 mm pistols, a stun gun and a double bladed martial arts knife.
Because of this testimony from Johnson County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dan Quiles:
Persaud asked Quiles if he asked Riggs if he had a permit to carry a concealed weapon or if they asked for consent to search his car.

Quiles said no.
Without consent...

Because the judge threw out previous statements by Riggs to the Johnson County deputies, the defense attorney is arguing other statements should be dismissed as well:
Persaud also argued any statements made by Riggs during his transport from Johnson County to Iowa County for the McAdam slaying should also be suppressed because Riggs earlier invoked his rights to remain silent with Johnson County authorities. A few hours later an Iowa County deputy read Riggs his miranda[sic] rights and continued questioning him.
I don't claim to know the details from these hearings and I wasn't present during the 30 minute car ride that took place, but it doesn't look good for a conviction if statements or the murder weapon can't be admitted into evidence.

If they turn him loose though, I don't think he'd make it out of the county.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday's (not so) funnies, 9/7/11

Yesterday's Beetle Bailey comics:


Number One Son pointed this out from the CR Gazette.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day Reprise

As I so often do on Labor Day, I celebrate by working. This year was spent on Camp Stranded as we finished the roof on the shed.

I understand this begs the question of, "What the hell have you been wasting your time on?" And, "You should have been finished with that by now, you lazy bum."

Both valid comments and with spending the last several weeks catching up on work, fighting with getting the right materials from a "local" big box store (since the closure of our home-town lumber yard) and saving my wife's dog from the vet, I've been interrupted a few times.

Oh, and then the adventure that started out with replacing a wax ring on the toilet that turned into replumbing my upstairs bathroom. Next is a new floor...

But now I have a roof over the newly acquired Farmall H:

Camp Stranded Shelter #1 (built without union labor)

Since my mower deal fell through as I was looking for a tractor (kind of a cart-before-the-horse kind of thing, which to get first), I sat on upon my new metal roof and looked upon an impressive field of horse weeds, burdock and foxtails and questioned my purchase of 20 acres of work.

But I also contemplated upon a family with each member contributing effort during our first construction of an amateur shelter. Yeah, it took longer than I wanted, but the next one will be better and built with experienced team effort. And I watched my wife take her first tour of the treeline without me but with her faithful dog at her side. The same dog we nearly put down because the vet gave up on him a few weeks ago.

As we were screwing the roof down, the turkey buzzards glided just 80-100 feet overhead and later hummingbirds came to visit as we took a break. The hummingbirds were a welcomed surprise and we will definitely encourage their return. Blue herons stopped at the pond for a brief rest before flying southeast of us as they spread their wings just above the mature trees in the corner. All this reminds me of the variety of nature in Iowa as we paused to watch the menagerie.

As the last screw on the last metal sheet was turned only half-way, my battery died on the drill. Perhaps a metaphor of the life of a short balding fellow from Iowa (he just never quite gets the job done). But a ratchet wrench works in a pitch, as I was taught to be prepared, bring a backup and always cover your ass.

And there were others at work yesterday as David Codrea reported of another ATF gunrunning fiasco, this time in Indiana. It makes me wonder why we even have the NICS check at all. If it wasn't for David and Mike Vanderboegh I wonder if we would have heard about the gunwalking into Mexico by the ATF.

To little Jimmy Hoffa Junior and to Joe Biden who opened their mouths yesterday, there are more of us than there are of you... This country was built by hard-working Americans, free and unionized, and not by loud-mouthed freeloaders who grabbed power for their own benefit. I'd bet that neither of these two bums ever worked a day in their lives. Calluses are for regular folk.

So Jimmy and Joe, shut the $%@#$% up. This SOB has to get back to work.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

And now for something different...

I missed my two-year blogiversary and thought I'd go for change. I don't know if I'll keep it, but I think it adds a little more balance to the page.

And my world must balance.

I think I'll invite myself over...

This whole kerfunkle over Obama's speech to Congress about jobs or something is similar to if I invited myself over to Sam's house for dinner. Now Sam's a polite guy and offers up a day that's works out better for him, after all, it is his house. But I object because my son has a band concert that evening and I like a big dinner. It could be that I run out of time to finish the peach cobbler for desert and I'd miss the first stanza. My buddies at the local gossip page at the paper run a story about the dust-up and everyone takes sides. Both of us are accused of being unreasonable although the paper never seems to take Sam's side.

The above scenario didn't happen because I'm not quite that big of an ass. But really, is it any different?

Just because a president demands an audience with Congress, it's still their house and why would they be under any obligation to accommodate any president and not pick fights with the ones I disagree with.

President Tee-Time could have done the polite thing and ask to address Congress and he and Boehner could have worked something out between rounds.

Besides, is anybody really going to care whether the fresh-from-vacation president speaks from the Oval Office or from the podium while blocking Biden from reading from the teleprompter?

Not that Biden can read all the big words anyway...

Gun show billboards taken down

Because we don't want anyone to have the means to protect themselves, do we?

In a crime-filled neighborhood, a couple of billboards went up advertising an upcoming gun show. Of course someone gets their panties in a twist and the company caves.
"This urban core where citizens go to sleep hearing gunshots -- we do not need to have that image in these neighborhoods," Clark said.[James Clark of Better Family Life]
So now, locals may not know that a gun show in the area is a place where one might purchase a firearm for protection in that same crime-filled neighborhood.

Seeing how juveniles and felons can't purchase a firearm legally, what's the big deal?

And the gun show promoter is RK Shows out of Manchester, IA. Not "Arcade Shows" as the article reports.

Journalists...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Iowa gun shows for Sept, 2011

A slow summer and I missed Boone, IA in August(sorry). Here's the ones for September:
Sept 9-11 Cedar Rapids, Hawkeye Downs

Sept 17-18, Westphalia, Vol. Fire Dept.

Sept 23-25 Des Moines, Iowa State Fairgrounds
*** I get this list from the link below and other searches and I can't guarantee the accuracy of the list. If anyone notices a show that needs to be corrected or added, please let me know in the comments.

For more details go to Iowa Gun Shows

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mourning Dove season begins today

And a copious amount of lead shot (now that it is allowed) will be saturating the fields and pastures of Iowa.

Fire for effect, boys. Make Sarah Brady cry.


An undated view of the battleship USS Iowa (BB-61) firing its Mark 7 16-inch/50-caliber guns off the starboard side during a fire power demonstration. Official U.S. Navy Photo (PH1Hilton)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Two more days...

Until toxic lead covers the entire state of Iowa during the mourning dove season.

OMG it's Leadageddon!!!

At least that's what I hear.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Boswell puff piece

How the not-so-enthusiastic-on-gun-rights representative's family was protected with the use of a gun.
The Boswell homestead, with its rolling hayfields, braying cattle and buggy-driving Amish neighbors, seems particularly far from affairs of state or worries of the world. But at 10:45 that Saturday night, trouble intruded.
Who writes this drivel?

After hearing a commotion in his Lamoni home, Boswell
...bounded down the hallway toward the front door. He had lost weight recently, after stomach surgery; the silver-haired combat veteran was less hulking, but swifter.
Swift as a puma, I bet.

Our good friend Ben has a different take on Rep Boswell as he points out a D- rating from Gun Owners of America and Boswell's support of trigger locks.

I'm glad that the representative and his family survived the intrusion into their home that night and that the punk is probably going to enjoy some justice.

But Ben put it best, "Luckily for Boswell, the Second Amendment protects hypocrites too."

The Des Moines Register discovers "Fast and Furious"

Now that Senator Grassley has been fighting with the Justice Dept for months John Carlson finally recognizes the efforts to get to the bottom of the "GunWalker" fiasco at the ATF.

John Carlson: How Chuck Grassley is causing discomfort for the Obama administration

It is a good overview of the Fast and Furious debacle and the investigation into the administration, but this is an opinion piece and little substance beyond a couple of quotes.
“I won’t let this drop, because I don’t give up,” said Grassley, who is frustrated by the Justice Department’s repeated dodging of questions from congressional investigators.
I've been critical of Grassley in the past and will probably continue, if for nothing else, he's been in Washington too long. But I have to give him kudos for efforts to get to the bottom of this.

I think he should give a little more credence into the theory that guns were allowed to walk to Mexico as an overall agenda for tighter gun restrictions in the US. That fits the meme.

Keep up the good work, Senator.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Last measure of devotion

Navy Seal, Jon Tumilson, who perished in the rocket attack near Kabul, Afghanistan, was laid to rest last week. His lab, Hawkeye, walked to the casket, let out a sigh and laid down near his fallen master.
Tumilson’s Labrador retriever, Hawkeye, was photographed lying by Tumilson’s casket in a heart-wrenching image taken at the funeral service in Tumilson’s hometown of Rockford, Iowa, earlier this week. Hawkeye walked up to the casket at the beginning of the service and then dropped down with a heaving sigh as about 1,500 mourners witnessed a dog accompanying his master until the end, reported CBS.
A dog's devotion that was expressed in a final moment of closure.

(Photo by Tumilson’s cousin, Lisa Pembleton)

Fallen Navy SEAL remembered as adventurous, athletic

Tumilson's family has started a memorial fund and contributions can be made to Frogman 238 Memorial Fund, First Security Bank and Trust, 201 West Main Ave., Rockford, IA 50468.

My hope is that Petty Officer Tumilson's family will find comfort in these coming days.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lead shot allowed for dove hunting

The continuing controversy over lead shot apparently put Iowa in the middle of a quiet war. The naturally occurring metal is somehow a danger to the environment when it's used as a projectile from a firearm.

Okay...

The Natural Resources Commission, whom the Des Moines Pravda reports are experts in all things concerning the environment, wanted to ban lead shot for dove shooting, but they were overruled for this year's season.

Apparently the Red-gister isn't happy with lawmakers exercising their oversight of a commission that they created.
Lawmakers who blocked a lead shot ban by the Natural Resource Commission now have the option of allowing the ban to go into effect next year by taking no action on the issue during the 2012 session. They should do one better: They should ban lead shot for all hunting.

And:

Iowa lawmakers have an opportunity to take a debate that has been narrowly focused on dove hunting and use it as a springboard to enact a law that would have a long-term, positive effect on Iowa’s environment. Ban all lead shot. We know too much about the toxic effects of the substance to allow hunters to continue spraying it all over.
By using the royal "We" the editors of the Register apparently are including themselves in the "expert" category.

Biting into lead shot is no fun, but do you think steel shot would be enjoyable? Lead is a toxin in high doses. Maybe if I didn't eat wild game as a kid, I could have gone to some high-fallutin' university instead of a community college (financing had nothing to do with it, trust me).

The solution is to ban all lead ammunition because an animal could ingest it and get lead poisoning before you shoot it.

At least that's what the experts say.

Gun range - Denied

Once approved (Gun range moves forward) a gun range in Sioux Center has been shelved after a vote by the Sioux County board of Supervisors. Nevermind that Sioux Center city council unanimously voted in favor of the range and the DNR report gives it a green light.

Gun range issue tabled in Sioux County

In a classic "not in my back yard" blather, a local resident states:
"I want to see this happen. I want to see it for the citizens of this community but I don't want to see it happen at Sandy Hollow," said Aaron Bark of Sioux Center.
Many of us have limited choices on where to go to practice and the neighbors of the Sandy Hollow range had a very good opportunity to use a facility so close to their homes. A well-run range would mitigate risks for the community so long as the reasonable concerns of the community are met.

It looks like an opportunity will not come to pass.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday (not so) funnies, 8/21/11

In honor of last week's straw poll here in Iowa:






As always, click on the picture to go to the source.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm from the government and I'm here to help

It was inevitable.

Purchasing a small acreage brings a little attention apparently. The Department of Agriculture sent me a nice little letter today asking for some information about me and my wife.

It seems the county office of the Farm Services Agency wants to know a little more about me, including, but not limited to my Social Security number (which is not part of the form - the bureaucrat drew a line and wrote "SS # here.")

The parcel I purchased was part of a farming operation which included a father and two sons operating four parcels. (That they combined the other three into one parcel when I know one of those was sold off convinces me that they don't know what they're doing.)

The FSA manages several programs including CRP, the Conservation Reserve Program, where land is idled and a "farmer" gets paid. Sort of like a welfare queen from the inner city. FSA also manages minority programs, works with the Commodity Credit Corporation for money to farmers, even grants through the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Oh boy, Pennies from Heaven!

I specifically searched for ground that was not in CRP or with soon-to-be-expired contracts. Why? What the government hands you with one hand, the other hand hits you with a club and I want no part in it.

While government handouts are enticing, especially in these times where I could be fired for saying management where I work is a pile of excrement once too many times. It sure would be nice getting money for not doing anything (similar to a couple of co-workers.)

But that would make me a hypocrite wouldn't it? How could I rant against a huge pile of national debt when my hand is in the till?

But what to do with this official government letter (is Comic Sans font professional?) requesting personal information so that an agency that I cannot support will do its damnedest to get me into? I don't give a rip about their crop surveys or grant programs. They can stuff those in their poop chute.

Form FSA-155 "Request for Farm Reconstitution." "Used to list all of the assets on the farm and farmland that a farm borrower possesses when reconstituting their farm." From the Federal code:
"In order to implement agency programs and monitor farmer compliance with regulations, the agency must have records on what land is being farmed by a particular producer. This is accomplished by a determination of what land or groups of land ‘constitute’ an individual unit or farm. "
"Compliance," there's that word again.

I'll have to choose my response:
  1. Ignore it (they won't go away, you know)
  2. Tell them I don't want their "free" money, advice, or supervision (again, they won't go away)
  3. Ridicule them enough so that they wouldn't want to go near that "crazy bald a-hole", or eventually get tired of him
Number 3 is probably where I'll be going since according to the form: "Furnishing the requested information is voluntary. Failure to furnish and file the requested information will result in the denial of further monies or other program benefits as required by existing law and regulations."

Uh, Okay. What's the penalty? The feds won't let me take corn to market next year? Maybe they will add me to the list of people in the War on Farmers. From form 155:
This information maybe provided to other agencies, IRS, Department of Justice, or other State and Federal law enforcement agencies and in response to a court magistrate or administrative tribunal.
A tribunal? Cool. Since the helpful bureaucrat filled out the Farm Identifier on the form, I guess by their definition I own a farm. If I don't fill this crap out, I won't get any "free" money that I don't want anyway.

I don't see what the downside is but I guess I'll talk to the little Gruppenf├╝hrer today - maybe...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Gun ban update, 8/17/11

After the recent ban decree at our state fairgrounds, Jim over at Travis McGee Reader informed me of Woodbury County's ban. It seems that the county supervisors are afraid since they referred to the Arizona attack on Congresswoman Giffords.

Woodbury County bans guns in four buildings

After defeating a complete ban on all county property, such as parks or recreation areas, the supervisors banned weapons in the County Courthouse, law enforcement center/jail, Trosper Hoyt Building and Prairie Hills.
The resolution said the county was seeking to perform the role of protecting the "peace, safety, health, welfare, comfort and convenience of its residents" and county property.
So government entities are responsible for the "comfort and convenience" of its citizens? What the French?

I plan on moving to Sioux City so the county can buy me a Lazy Boy rocker and bigass Tee Vee.

Uh, no. I got my own comfort covered, thank you.


I thought the silly season was over since news reports of cities and counties banning weapons dried up since April, but here we go with another round of "we're in charge" passing a law or resolution because they have to do something to protect the poor citizenry from guns.

Jim graciously stated that, "The best place to track these local gun banners is over at Stranded in Iowa's place."

It's because fellow Iowans like Jim at Travis McGee Reader, Ben at Cold Hard Cashner and others have given me tips.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Don't mess with a mom

Police: Man Tries To Entice Teen, Gets Punched By Mom

Robert C. Harding (Credit: Polk County Jail/ KCCI)
"I got down to the alley and I confronted him. I said, 'Why are you staring at the kids?' and he looks at me and says, 'I want to marry the red head,' I came unglued at that point. I was like 'Dude, she's only 13 that's my daughter,'" said [Holly] Pullen.
Looks like he got served up a can of whoop-ass and deservedly so.

Going to the Fair? Don't be carrying a weapon

The Iowa State Fair is the place to be so long as you leave your carry gun at home or locked in your car outside of the gates. They are prohibited this year after the riots (outside of the gates) at last year's fair.
Iowa State Patrol Capt. Gary Nieuwsma says the permits do not apply at the fairgrounds.

"The State Fair is a place where guns and knives are prohibited," he said.
Interesting thought is that the DNR holds their annual gun auction on the fairgrounds and a gun show is held there several times a year.

I guess it's okay to carry during these events but not at the annual state fair after a couple of dozen people were stabbed last year?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Out of steam, 8/12/11


Server issues this week, an anticipated storage upgrade this weekend, and the general lack of sleep the past few days leads to being out of steam.

I'm with Midwest Chick that a new job might be in order.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Life, interrupted

The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men
Gang aft agley,
An'lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!
Oh, the Scottish language...

Robert Burns' poem of To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough reminds me that, although Time may be linear, Life is not. All of one's plans or schemes can be snatched away or, if we are lucky, only interrupted for a brief time.

We struggled this week to save a member of our family. Our 7-year-old dog, Buckeye, who obeys me but adores my wife, was very nearly taken from us. An over-prescribed corticosteroid caused ulcers in his stomach to bleed and forced a vibrant and active border collie\spaniel\mutt mix into severe distress. To the point that advice was given that no one wants to hear of "putting him down."

Anemic and with platelet counts of nearly zero, he struggled with every breath and had little energy to fight. The vet didn't think he would last more than a day or two.

My wife brought him home so the boys could say their goodbyes and scheduled a return to the vet for the next day, but something from my Scot\Irish\mutt heritage reminded me that no one in our family goes gentle into that good night. And Buck still had light in his eyes.

I know more now than a week ago of corticosteroids and their effects on dogs and I failed him for not preventing this. But we weren't going to fail him now. A protein rich diet along with Pepcid and Maalox to reduce the stomach acid. And lots and lots of water.

This got him through a very rough night and his color began returning within 24 hours. On the second day, we added a light vegetable puree mix of carrots and beans into his food. By the end of day two, his breathing was easier and his bloody stools were negligible but by no means can we, as amateurs, know what's going on. That's why we rely on professionals because they're supposed to know what they're doing.

By the end of day three he was sleeping in one of his favorite positions: on his back, wedged between the arm rest and the seat cushion on the couch, next to my wife. On the fourth day he ran to the door when my wife spoke the words, "Walk?" But only for short walks until his strength returns. His breathing at rest was finally good but he gets out of breath during his short walks.

Veterinarians are now on my list of professions that I'm skeptical of taking their advice. Like lawyers, doctors or mechanics, when you find a good one, hang onto them.

Corticosteroids can kill dogs, especially in high doses and taken without an antacid. He was taking them with food, but there seems to be a tolerance level that once reached, it's like a dam breaking. Throwing up blood is a bad sign and often can be too late. We should have been giving him an antacid and a much lower dose, but we, the amateurs, didn't know this last week.

He was being treated for a severe rash and to help relieve the itching that accompanies "hot spots." But now we're looking at more natural remedies for dogs.

Following advice from several sites, including pets.webmd.com, it looks like another couple of weeks of Maalox before his stomach is in good shape.

And it looks like we'll be getting a new vet.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hey RAGBRAI'ers...


Get off my lawn.

After tolerating your behavior through the years, I've had enough.

While trying to go to work one year, we had them hang onto the truck because they were so tired. The stupidity of riding your bike across both lanes. Broken bottles, trash and beer cans thrown in the streets. Three years ago I found used condoms and dirty panties in my neighbor's back yard while mowing.

Take that crap somewhere else.

So to the guy who parked in front of my house today, and I tell you that I'll be mowing my grass, you shouldn't be surprised when I tell you to get out when I come around the corner and to see your crap piled in my yard and your bikes leaning against my maple trees.

And to the woman who said all I needed to do was ask for them to leave, no I don't. None of you asked to use my property for a rest area or my trees as a bike stand.

My property may not be much and will never win a Better Homes and Gardens award, but it's all I got.

Respect it and the homeowner.

Only then will the respect be reciprocated.

Sweatin' to the oldies

Old memories, that is...


Tamping the dirt back into the post holes reminded me of when we built fence at my grandfather's farm in Henry county when I was in my early teens. He had a knack for tamping all of the dirt back into the hole regardless of the size of the post. Using a hedge pole, he tamped so well that most of the time we could have put more dirt in.

I'm not that good.

The cicadas calling and red-wing blackbirds song bring back a flood of memories from that farm and the summers I spent there building fence, cultivating or baling hay. I also worked for a neighbor of his and I miss that character.

Nostalgia lane has been interrupted with my work Blackberry chirping at me with another request (even though I'm supposed to have time off) and I've been tempted to throw it into the pond. But then I would have missed my boss thanking a coworker for something I found and a few other curious happenings in my absence.

With the progress we made this week (albeit slow), I recalled the one compliment that my father shared with me. He told me I would have made a good farmer.

Even as a part-time farmer, I hope I can be a good one.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Morning news drive-by

If we all paid attention to just "Good Morning America," we'd know that a British singer dying earlier this week is more important news than the ATF facilitating guns into Mexico.

Just a thought.

For coverage of the ATF Gunwalker "perfect storm of idiocy" go to:
War on Guns
National Gun Rights Examiner
Sipsey Street Irregulars

Iowahawk has a few ideas of what will happen after the default

Among his ideas:
Beltway policy experts begin living by own wits; after 45 minutes there are no survivors.

Sesame Street descends into Mad Maxian anarchy; Oscar the Grouch fashions shivs out the letter J and the number 4
Find more at Default, Dear Brutus, Is Not In Our Stars, But In Ourselves

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I must be crazy (or stupid)

I hadn't had an official time off from my work since I started there in May of 2009. All that changed this week (sort of) as I decided to take a few days off for a "vacation." (I still answer emails and log in to do requests.)

Did we go to Disneyland? - No

The Riviera or a Caribbean cruise? Nope

This Iowa boy decided to put some work into Camp Stranded and build a small storage shed. The crazy part being that I picked the hottest time of the year to do this which has turned into a corn-belt weight reduction plan. Better than Jenny Craig!

Tools of the trade.

Nothing fancy since I've don't have the skill set of a professional carpenter and nothing big since I don't have the tools required.

But a couple of mistakes: being an inch and a half longer than I first measured and I had to dig a hole twice. But it wouldn't be a Certified Stranded-In-Iowa fiasco without something going wrong.

Progress has been slow, what with the heat, humidity and general lack of knowledge of what I'm doing. That's really hampering productivity.

A positive since we started working on the acreage has been the Tick Twisters recommended by True Blue Sam. These things work because DEET doesn't repel them all.

One thing that has been nagging at me is whether we did the right thing getting this piece of ground. Equipment issues, can we afford it, etc...

But when my son and I stood over-looking the pond and felt the cool breeze while we watch swallows skim the water feeding off insects, for that brief moment in time, I think of nothing. No work, economy, statehouse bills... I'm at that point in time appreciating the variety of nature while trying to identify the different bird calls or remembering the name of a particular weed species. (Funny how I used to know that stuff long ago.)

That's when I become re-convinced that it we did something right.