Friday, September 26, 2008

Blame it on Bush?

I hear CONSTANTLY how our current financial mess is the fault of the media's favorite whipping boy, President Bush. Surely it has to be his fault... isn't everything?

Take a moment and watch the Fox News clip below and you'll begin to realize that not only is the current problem NOT President Bush's fault, but he actually tried on several occasions to push through legislation that may have avoided the mess. John McCain as well weighed in, warning that a problem was brewing that we needed to address immediately.

They were both defeated in their efforts by whom?.... Evil foreign powers? Crazy alien visitors from another world?

Close.

I almost think its funny that Barney "I'm a big douchebag" Frank is shown on video claiming that everything is rosey with Fannie and Freddie, while today he's been all over the screaming that the Republicans are at fault for all this mess. I say "almost" because the $700 billion bailout we're gonna get stuck with as a result of Democratic "feel good" policies makes everything pretty Un-funny right now.



Its also important to note that Obama is nowhere to be seen before this became an emergency issue. He's positive he has all the answers now... but he didn't even see it coming
? Hmmm......

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ketch poles

Just so no one thinks Animal Control is all Puppies and Kittens, here's a primary tool of my trade:

ketchpole

This is a "ketch pole", or hard leash. The knicks and tears you see in the protective sleeve are all bite marks from dogs that would have otherwise bitten me. Used incorrectly, you can kill an animal with this. However, used correctly, this tool makes the difference between me safely handling an animal and my being crippled, or worse. Used correctly, it keeps the animal and the handler safe.

There are people in the Animal Welfare Industry that call for the outlawing of tools like my ketch pole. They think its uneccessary to use them. They claim that you can safely handle all animals with soft leashes and a pleasing tone of voice.

Bullshit idiots.

7 am call from police dispatch on Wednesday morning. Two Rottweilers running loose a block from a school had dragged down a 10 year old boy, bitten him, and were trying to get to a bicyclist after the boys father fended them off with a shovel long enough to get the boy inside the house. I responded, alone, to the scene. No police officers, no backup. Just me. When I pulled onto the street, the dogs were doing their best to attack a van that was trying to drive down the street.

Think I'm getting out of my truck with a soft cloth leash and some baby talk?

I don't think so.

I resolved the situation safely, btw. Although it was most definitely a "sphincter moment".

And now... yes, I do get to play with cute kittens, too.

kitten

Place on the Food Chain

Sigh....

I discovered something startling when I started working in Animal Control. Its a fact that I learned quickly, was surprised to discover, and that still baffles me to this day - 14 years later. If anything, its gotten WORSE over the years.

An amazing number of people are completely helpless.

People call me for things that I never, in my wildest imagination, would ever consider calling someone in city government to take care of. Its ridiculous. I've had people call me and complain that a squirrel is on their fence and keeps "looking" at them through the window of their house. People have called our office because birds pooped on their car in the parking lot at the mall. I drove all the way across town several years ago, on completely iced over roads, because a 250 lb man was cowering on top of a chair in his kitchen with a baseball bat - because there was a 3 inch long mediteranean gecko (like in the Geico commercials) in his house.

An incredible number of people are totally undeserving of their place at the top of the food chain.


This week, a message was left on our voicemail. Woman's voice:

"Hello... I need someone to call me ASAP. We have a serious problem here. Some kind of animal has escaped from the zoo and we think it might be poisonous.. We're at *********. Please, please hurry, 'cuz we need help now. Please call me at ********* . I don't know what this is but its very dangerous and we need help ASAP" (apparently she really likes that phrase).
I called her back and was able to calm her down enough to learn that it was a spider. Now normally we don't respond to insects. We're Animal Control, no Pest Control. However, she described it as HUGE and having "fangs the size of your finger".

Hmm..... I did see a news story the other day about the possiblilty of "camel spiders" stowing away in the baggage of returning servicemen. Those things can be nasty bastards. So, going against my better judgement, I drove to the ladies home.

This is what I found:

spider

This is a Garden Spider. Completely harmless to people, and a beneficial eater of other pesky flying bugs. No finger-long fangs, no dangerous behavior, its not "HUGE". Yet, three fully grown women refused to open the door of the house and instead huddled behind their kitchen window watching the spider in horror.

Because of a bug, that any of them could have easily stepped on.

They refused to let me leave it under the eave of their house, and I knew if I did just leave it they would get someone else to spray it with pesticide or smash it. So, I scooped it up and moved it to a field nearby.

I'm thinking there will be a definite correlation between posts tagged with "idiots" and ones tagged with "Animal Control".

Amish Auction Video

I FINALLY think I've found a software that will allow me to edit video's from our new digital recorder. It was making me nuts that I could shoot video, upload it to my Windows computer, watch the raw footage in Windows Media Player...


but NOT edit the raw video in Windows movie maker... what's up with that?


Anyhow, here's a short clip from the Amish School Auction. The weather was so nasty that I didn't shoot much video. This is a definite "must see", if like this sort of thing as much as we do.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Clarita Amish School Auction

With hurricane Ike dragging rain up our way, we decided to make a run north and visit the Clarita, Oklahoma Amish School Auction. There's a small community of Amish people that live in the rural area north west of Durant Oklahoma. Several years ago, they held an auction and craft sale to raise money for their school.

It really took off, and they average over 10,000 attendees most years. This year, I would imagine that attendance was a little off - but there were still a ton of people there and lots to see. My only complaint is that it alternated between drizzling and downright raining the whole time we were there. Didn't bother me much, comfort-wise, but it played hell on me being able to take as many pictures as I wanted too.

They auction antiques, quilts, farm equipment, livestock.... the works.

pony in harness 2

They have a pancake breakfast at 6 am every year, and the first auction starts at 8 am. There are several large tents for the auctions, and several large and small tents for people there just selling antiques and crafts outright.

concentration

The Amish are an interesting group of people. There was a long period in my life when such a lifestyle would have been considered "heaven". Much of it still would, but I'm afraid I've grown too accustomed to high-speed internet, motorcycles, and other vices to give it all up now :)

They had lots of baked goods for sale, including bread, cakes, and cookies. They also had two tents with large antique engine powered ice cream freezers.

ice cream dual freezers

The ice cream was DELICIOUS!!!

ice cream dishing

We had a great time, in spite of the awful weather. They have this every year, and we're planning to go back next year. We'll get there early and stay a bit later next time.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Girl Friday September 12, 2008 - Vintage Cowgirls

Rocking it REALLY old school this Friday, for the Girl Friday post. Vintage photos of women from the library of Congress archives. These Ladies were more than capable of taking care of themselves:

1909jpg

1902jpg

1910jpg

revolvergirl1912jpg

These pictures are from the Library of Congress Archive, which you can search and download from online. As I've stated before, I can get lost looking through stuff like this and waste a whole day before I'm done. It can be addicting, being a voyeur of the past.

History, as taught in school, was always boring to me. Important dates, famous people, governments of foreign countries.... all very unapproachable and unrelateable. What do I have in common with the Czar of Russia? Not damned much, that's what.

These types of pictures, on the other hand, offer a glimpse of the lives of people just like you and me. How they lived, what they thought, who they loved. That's what draws me... the thought that these people are long, long, gone. Most of what they knew and the people who loved them are long gone as well. When I see their pictures, though, a piece of them is immortal and lives on. Guess that's why I find really old cemeteries almost too interesting to resist poking around in. Same principle.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lipstick on a Pig & Mountains out of Molehills

A friend of mine asked me today, what I thought about the endless media frenzy over the recent comment by Obama in a speech. You know the one.

Here's my take, and what I have to say to every Republican pundit and commentator that continues to try and make this an "issue":

Holy Shit!!! - Quit blowing things out of proportion, and stretching SO f-ing hard to find something to be outraged over. Jesus H. Christ, do you not realize how STUPID and weak that makes you look?

Its OBVIOUSLY a commonly used phrase; McCain has used it himself.

Its OBVIOUSLY NOT meant as a slam at Palin, in the context it was used in the speech (have you even LISTENED to the speech in context?)

It WAS a pretty stupid comment, but as many speeches as candidates make during a campaign - with millions of people just waiting for a chance to leap on any misstep - its only a matter of time before McCain makes a similar error in judgement when choosing his words. Wanna take any bets on how people will react now that he's setting the tone of pettiness?

I mean, COME ON, folks! There are plenty of reasons for me not to vote for Obama. I don't need anyone to make any up:

In spite of mountains of evidence to the contrary, he believes that increased gun control will curb crime.

In spite of recent supreme court rulings and generations of interpretations favoring individual rights to keep and bear arms, he thinks he knows better and will do what he can to take that right away.

In spite of the failure of socialized medicine everywhere its been tried, he still wants us to move that direction in America.

Even though the government is the least efficient, often most inept, administrator on the planet - he wants to put that same government in charge of your healthcare.

Think you pay enough taxes?,... not according to Senator Obama.

I don't think you negotiate with terrorists.. PERIOD. Unless, of course, that negotiation is to determine exactly where they would like to be buried.

The list goes on and on.

If you keep fanning these imaginary flames, you're right up there with the f-ing inbreds that insist on calling Obama, "Barak HUSSEIN Obama", every time they use his name, circulate pictures of him without his hand over his heart, and forward those annoying God Damned emails about his "Muslim Faith", swearing in on the Koran, refusing to pledge allegiance, or the million of other internet rumors circulating around the web.

I'd like to think that I've taken the time to examine the issues and pick the candidate that most closely reflects the path I think we should follow. I'm not a Christian - so the antics of the "religious right" usually rub me the wrong way. I don't agree with the hardcore anti-abortion stance of the republican base - but I don't believe abortion should be as cavalier an option as many liberals would make it (and often have made it). No candidate fits perfectly, but I've looked at the issues and come down on the side that fits better than the other.

PLEASE stop it with the faux outrage over what amounts to nothing, and focus on the REAL facts of how the candidates differ.

Squirrel... YUM!!!

I promise you.. I'm not just loafing around today and surfing the internet, although it might look that way with the numerous link-style posts I'm making today :) I just find myself stumbling across interesesting stuff when I log on and off during the day.

Check out this video, of a lovely lady named Heidi Wilson and her son. Its a cooking show style segment that feature Ms. Wilson and her son hunting a squirrel, and then cooking it up into a "squirrel salad sandwich".

I LOVE THIS VIDEO!!!!

Where I found the link, if was obviously posted in a attempt to make fun of Ms. Wilson - and anyone else who would be "backward" enough to eat a squirrel. Oddly enough, though, the comments on the website were overwhelmingly positive, which I think kick's ass! Squirrel is wonderfully delicious, if you cook it right. The times I've spent in the woods hunting them as a kid, and later as an adult with my Wife, are some of the best I've known.

Here's the video.... I'm going squirrel hunting this year, for sure!

1921 Cleveland Motorcycle

From the wonderful on-line archive over at Shorpy. Here's a Cleveland Motorcycle, circa 1921. This old bike is complete with a sidecar arangement that doubles as a mobile advertisement for Klim, which was a powdered milk product that was extremely popular in the day.

Back in the twenties, refridgeration could still be problematic. Fresh milk was delivered daily to many homes, but it paid to have powdered milk on hand in case of unexpected needs. Ads for Klim are quite common in many of the grocery store photos over at
Shorpy.


1921 cleveland klim

Windmill Failure

I'm a huge fan of wind power as an alternative energy source. Its not a perfect source and its not the holy grail that will save us from oil dependency, but it has definite possibilities. There's a couple of large windmills in my area. One provides power for a Walmart store, and the other is very close to my home and is a "functional scupture" at a park. I provides power to pump water through the pond system and irrigates trees/landscaping.

I'm in the process of planning small scale wind powered generator that will eventuall provide energy to my outdoor lighting in my yard. Won't save me a ton of money, but I enjoy tinkering with stuff like that so I'll get enjoyment out of it.

I just hope my home made windmill fares better than the one in the video below... I didn't shoot the video, I just found it on youtube. I'm just glad I was no where near when the mill met its end.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Injured Hawk

I don't think I've ever mentioned here what I do for a living....

That's probably because I prefer not to think about it while I'm off duty. Its healthier that way. My job tends to get inside your head after you've done it a while.

Still... I'm probably passing up opportunities for things to write about if I avoid the subject all together. So, why not?

I'm an Animal Control Officer, which is a fancy name for "dog catcher" - though I'd be careful who you use that term around. Its kind of like using the "N" word around a black person. I can call someone I work with a "dog catcher", but if you were to do so you just might find yourself in need of a dentist.

I work in the north Texas area, and have been doing this for the past 14 years, or so. At this point, for me, Animal Control can be summed up thusly: 75% boredom, 24% irritation, and 1% shear ball crawling terror. I work 12 hour shifts, with rotating on-call duty (which is part of the reason this blog is only updated a couple of times a week, if that).

Today was a pretty typical day. Ran a lot of calls. A couple of the high/low points:

Protective custody impound of cats from a house with a deceased person in it. Dealing with a skunk that had fallen down into an eight foot deep pier hole at a construction site. Loose cattle on the roadway. Dealing with an injured red tailed hawk.

The hawk was my favorite. Dove hunting is allowed in some areas of the town where I work. It would seem that some asshole got bored with just shooting doves, and decided to take a shot at a red tailed hawk. Red Tails are plentiful in this area. The Ass-hat was a bad enough shot that he only hit the bird with one pellet. Here's the bird after I got it to a local wildlife center:
hawk2

The picture shows one of the workers examining the bird for injuries. We could only find the one entry wound in the leg, but that was enough to keep the bird from flying. Here's another pic of the upset bird in a holding cage.
hawk

This nature center is a centralized spot where different rehab specialists can stop by daily and collect the various wildlife that needs help.

Absolutely zero chance of catching the retard that shot the bird. I love to hunt, and 99.9% of hunters are responsible and ethical in their behavior - but there's always some jerk that has to screw things up for everyone.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Demotivators

Ok... short attention span. I'm currently hooked on making "demotivators". If you've never seen them, demotivators are the posters that parody the motivational posters you seen in offices that are supposed to inspire workers.

Here's a couple that I made using pictures that I had on my hard drive, and the generator at AutoMotivator

change

shorpy

guncontrol

Friday, September 5, 2008

Motivator

biker chick

Once upon a time...

As I've noted before, I cook a lot. Some of the stuff I make comes from recipe books, some from the internet (allrecipes.com is my favorite online source), and some things I just make up out of my head based on successes/failures I've had in the past.

The recipes that I have written down have been really disorganized over the past few years. At one time, I had a massive recipe file saved on my computer. The stuff there came from every source you can imagine and I had it organized and set up in a searchable format so that I could find anything really quickly.

Did I mention that I'm the worst person in the world when it comes to backing up stuff that I have on the computer?

Yeah... My computer shit the bed, and took all my recipes with it. I've gradually been rebuilding the recipes that I still need ingredients/instructions for, but they've been all on scraps of paper, torn out of magazines, or jotted down on cards.

Well, I finally decided to get organized. I bought an old dovetailed recipe box off ebay for a couple of dollars and refinished it. Its beautiful oak, but someone along the line had set a can of something on top and there's an extremely dark black ring on the top. Can't get it out and I don't want to sand the thin wood of the top down.

My solution, an old Royal Baking Company Cookbook, circa 1911.

cookbook

I've collected this, and a couple of other, cookbooks over the years when I've come across them. They're really interesting to read and the covers are awesome vintage goodness. I know its easy to romanticize an era. Especially when you didn't have to put up with all the "bad" stuff that came along with it (Polio, anyone?).

Still.... its comforting for me to look at stuff like this and think about "the good old days", you know?

I scanned the above picture, and resized it so that it will fit perfectly on the top of the box. Decoupage was a really common practice back in the days when this old cookbook, and the box its going on for that matter, were brand new. So I think its a fitting way for me to cover up the flaw.

I'll post pics when I've done the deed :)

Girl Friday September 5, 2008 - Sarah Palin

I can't help myself.... After hearing John McCain's speach last night, combined with his pick of Sarah Palin as running mate, I'm actually EXCITED about the potential for a presidential election for the first time since Ronald Reagan.

So.., the Girl Friday today is Governor Sarah Palin :)








Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thursday morn...

FINALLY.... Summer loosens its death grip just a little bit. Damn, but it felt nice outside this morning. Went for a walk, and then did yard work all morning. Check this out:

hyacinth bean vine

This is a Hyacinth Bean vine. I grew several in this spot last year, because they help shade the deck from the evening sun and have beautiful spikes of flowers most of the summer. I never got around to planting them again this year. The plant you see above is from a single bean seed, that came from last year's plants. It managed to sprout and grow into this huge, amazing vine. here's what the flowers look like:

hyacinth bean flowers

hiacynth

You can even eat the beans that the vine makes, but I've never done so.

I know Texas still has plenty of heat left to torture me with... but its nice to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Opening Day

Had a seriously evil sinus headache last night.... you know, the kind that hurts so bad that you want to throw up? I took WAY too much sinus medicine and finally gave up and went to bed around 9 pm to sleep it off. When the weather fronts move through and the pressure changes, that's pretty much the only way for me to get through it.

Felt fine this morning, though. For the first time in a LOOOOONNGGG time, I don't have to work on Labor day. The Wife is off too, so I decided to go for a walk at a nearby park this morning while she was sleeping in. I struck out on my walk just as the sun was coming up. In the distance, you could hear what sounded just like fireworks booming in the distance.

I had forgotten that Sept. 1 is opening day of Dove Season in this part of Texas. I've never been much for dove hunting, myself.

Don't get me wrong. I love the way they taste and I enjoy many other types of hunting.... its just hard for me to get in the hunting mood when its still so hot that the sweat gets in your eyes and the gun gets slippery in your hands. Its like trying to watch a football game when its still 98 degrees outside. Just ain't right.

Warm weather= fishing
Cool weather= hunting

But... that's just me. I did smile listening to the stacatto of the shotgun blasts pelting in the distance, though. I can imagine how the scene looks in my head. I used to dove hunt with some really good wingshots, and I'm not too bad myself. I think we still only averaged one dove per 3 or 4 shotgun shells, though.

Don't laugh.... dove are hard little buggers to hit :)

Sidenote....:

I'm usually not a very political person, at least outwardly. I try to make an informed decision about issues and I financially support individuals and organizations that share my values and beliefs. With the upcoming presidential election, I had found myself in a unique situation. I "liked" Obama as an individual. I found him very inspirational. I truly wanted to be able to back him politically.... but I just couldn't. His views on many issues (2nd amendment rights and healthcare, just to name two) are just too divergent from my own for me to get behind him.

That left me with the choice to vote for McCain. Not because I particularly liked McCain that much, but because I could NOT see myself allowing Obama to take the reins of the highest office.

That makes for less than enthusiastic support, you know?

Now, with the addition of Sarah Palin to the Republican Ticket.... I'm starting to feel a bit better about things. I still have a lot of research to do on her history and background, but from what I see so far I'm liking her ALOT.... A Really lot. So much so, that I'm thinking about going the whole "bumpersticker and yard sign" lot. I've never bothered in an election before now.

She seems strong in areas that McCain seemed a little wishy-washy and bendable. Likewise, I think McCain obviously has the experience that she lacks. What I need to determine now is if she has the common sense and steadiness to rely on the right people for advice and guidance should something ever happen to McCain.

We'll see......