Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fort Worth Stock Show 2009

I know the State Fair of Texas gets more press, and more visitors, but for my money it can't compare to the much smaller Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. We go almost every year.

Usually, the State Fair is early enough in the fall that you still sweat like a pig, the neighborhood it's in leans heavily toward the "hood" side, and it's so huge it takes all day just to walk around and get to the stuff you want to see. The lines are long, the prices are high, and I usually am glad to be leaving.

The Fort Worth Stock show, however, is more my style. We don't like the midway rides (although FWSSR has that too), but we love the livestock areas.


fwssr ram



There are three or four barns filled to the brim with livestock waiting to be judged in one of the many livestock shows. Most of the animals have been raised by young kids, and are being exhibited as part of FFA (Future Farmers of America) or 4-H groups.


fwssr rooster



We also like the commercial exhibit areas. We're into western themed stuff, and there's plenty there. From cowhide couches to antler lamps, there's plenty to look at. Some of it is high priced, but most of it is beautiful - and I get all sorts of ideas for things to make myself.


fwssr tack



We went today, and got there around 9 am. The weather today was really cold, compared to the balmy, spring-like weather we've had most of this week. That's ok, though, since cool weather is more fitting for a livestock show. We looked around unil around noon, then drove the few blocks from the fair ground to a place called Fred's Texas Cafe... AWESOME Texas diner style burgers and fries. We'll definitely go back again next time we're in the area.

We didn't go to the rodeo, because we couldn't work it out to fit our schedule. It's a very good rodeo, though, if you have a chance to attend. Another rodeo that's well worth your while, when it's not stockshow season, is the weekly rodeo in the actual historic stockyards just a couple of yards north of the fairgrounds. They have a rodeo pretty much every Saturday night.



fwssr cow calf



Friday, January 23, 2009

Plenty of A-Hole to go around.

This is a local story, that apparently has made national sports news through out most of the US.

You can read it if you like, but here's the jist:

The Organization TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parachial Schools) maintains a sports league for it's member schools. They play games and have tournaments and championships just like UIL schools - only they are for the kids who attend private and parochial schools.

On January 13, the girls basketball teams from Covenant School and Dallas Academy (which teaches kids with learning disabilities) met on the court to play a scheduled game. The result?

100-0 in favor of Covenant School.

There's been a ton of hoopla in the press about the obvious run up of the score in this game, and the wonderful, positive attitudes by the girls from Dallas Academy. They never quit. They didn't have to seek counseling. They weren't all given trophies because "they tried". They were allowed to fail and experience the fact that everything won't be handed to you on a silver platter.

That's a lesson that is missing from the upbringing of a lot of modern youth.

Most of the venom has been directed at the coach of Covenant School. I won't disagree with that. By all the reports I've heard, he kept his first string in the entire game and played aggressive ball well beyond what was necessary to get a win. The girls from Covenant School shouldn't have had make things ridiculously easy for Dallas Academy, but they didn't have to grind them into dust on the court either.

Serious ass-holery.

In my opinion, the coach of Covenant missed a great opportunity to teach his girls that when you are better, faster, and stronger, you will often win in life. However, the "better" person will temper their efforts with compassion, and think about the consequences of their actions. Be a winner and do your best, but don't be a dick about it.

Equally, I think the admins and sports department staff at Dallas Academy have fucked up. This team hasn't won a game in four years!!! What kind of sadistic bastard would keep putting those girls out there to deal with the disapointment and humiliation every week, with clearly no hope of winning? I understand wanting to teach the kids that nothing comes easy, but Jesus Christ.... I think they pretty much learned that lesson a year or two ago.

This isn't UIL competition. NONE of these kids are going to go on to become professional athletes - even from the "good" teams. So, I would imagine that the goal of the athletic departments is to allow the kids to have some fun, get some physical activity, and learn principals of teamwork and sportsmanship. Don't those sound like reasonable goals in these circumstances?

By these measures, both schools failed.

Covenant School gets an F, because their coach is an asshole.

Dallas Academy gets an F, because they put their girls through this mess over and over, and are only now making plans that would allow their girls to play at levels closer to their own.

Update:

The coach of Covenant was eventually fired. Lots of folks thought that step was going too far. However, he wasn't fired for running up the score. He got fired because after his bossess publically apologized for the scoring run-up, he proceeded to blab all over the internet about not agreeing with the decision and saying he wasn't sorry.

Given that, his firing was completely justified, IMO.

Making America Less Safe

Is it change that I can believe in?

Only if believing that my country is less safe counts.

Only two days into his term, President Obama signed an order this week following through on his campaign promise to close the detention center at Gitmo. He also halted the trials of several terrorists. There were no specific details provided regarding exactly what he intends to do with the 245 "suspected" enemy combatants and terrorists there when the base closes a year from now.

I would be a lot more comfortable with his decision, if it appeared some sort of thought and planning had gone into it before hand.

They are currently considering transferring the remaining prisoners to prisons in California, Colorado, Kansas, and South Carolina. Once in the US, they could be subject to more stringent rules regarding their detention terms and "civil rights".

Remember that when you read this NY Times article about a former Gitmo Detainee that was released, and now is 2nd in Command of Al-Queda in Yemen.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Range Day 01/21/09

It was an unbelievably beautiful day today, so I did what every good American should do from time to time...

I played hookey from work :)

I spent the morning at the Gun Range, and had a blast (no pun intended). I started out on the rifle range, and shot my K31:

k31a

I shot her with iron sights at 50 yards. Even with the sun blazing into my eyes, I felt like I shot really well (for me) today. Here's my best group, but most of the other's were similar.



















The quarter is there for size comparison.... At 50 yards, you can barely see the target without a scope. Not bad for a 60 year old military surplus rifle being shot by someone with 44 year old eyes :)

I'm not a naturally good rifle shot. I grew up hunting small game with a shotgun, so I was late coming to rifle shooting. I'm gradually improving, though. I plan to move to the 100 yard range when I'm completely satisfied with my performance at 50 yards. Probably make the leap this spring, if things keep progressing.
I moved on to the pistol range, to try out my new Cimarron Thunderer:
thunderer
I'll remind you, as I've confessed before, I am horrible with a double action revolver. I had high hopes for the single action Thunderer, though, and I wasn't dissapointed. I was shooting at 21 feet, two handed. Here's my best of the day:


















That's not outstanding, but it's pretty damned good for me. With some practice, I'll get as good with this gun as I am with my Beretta.




Sunday, January 18, 2009

Faces from the Past

I was browsing the Library of Congress Archive online tonight, searching for specific old pictures for an art-type project that I'm planning. I don't need much of an excuse to search through the old pictures online, and it's easy for me to get lost looking at all the interesting stuff there.

That's why I like
Shorpy so much, since the webmaster is so great at seeking out the best of what is there. There are times, though, when I like to search on my own. You never know what you'll find.

This time, I was looking for pictures of the old west. Maybe some native American pictures, or maybe something from a rodeo or Wild West Show. What I found was a series of pictures taken of the Sioux participants in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show...

buffalo bill 1899

William F. Cody, aka Buffalo Bill, was quite a character. His adventures in the frontier days of the American West are the things of legend. Even if half the stories aren't true, his life was still amazing. He helped frame the world's vision of what the American Western Culture was all about. Kings and Queens in Europe attended his shows as the Wild West Circus toured the world.

1911 william cody

Equally amazing, were the performers in the Wild West Shows. Quite a few of the performers, and argueably the biggest draw for the crowds, were the Sioux Indians.

1900 charging thunder sioux

This is Charging Thunder.

In 1900, photographer Gertrude Käsebier photographed Charging Thunder and the other Sioux members of Buffalo Bill's Circus. The images she caught are wonderful.

This is Joe Black Fox.

joe black fox 1900

Look at his eyes.... the way he holds his hand. There was a lot going on in that head. This was a quick witted person that didnt' miss much.

Contrast that with the serious melancholy in the eyes of Plenty Wounds:

plenty wounds 1900

You can sense the pride remaining in a warrior of a people whose way of life is rapidly being eaten up by the never ending hordes moving west.

Here's one of my favorites, just because of the oddity of it.

holy frog big turnips 1900

These two fellas are identified as "Holy Frog" and "Big Turnips". I'm not sure which is which... or if they maybe weren't just having a little fun at the photographers expense. Judging by the expression on the face of the guy on the right, I wouldn't put it past them ;)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

King Tut



Went to the Dallas Museum of Art today, and viewed the King Tut Exhibit. My In-laws are members of the museum, so we scored tickets and parking at a reasonable price.

Two impressions from the experience:

1. It is unbelievable how detailed and exquisitly beautiful these pieces are. It speaks to the skill of the artisans, and the sophisticated society that they had that would allow artists like this devote so much time to learning and developing their art. This isn't the work of people that struggled every day just to fee themselves.

2. While standing in line to get in, I watched the "security" guards searching people as they came in. I had learned in advance that they had 30.06 signs posted. For those of you that don't know 30.06 is the code reference for the law that describes the legal signage required to keep Concealed Handgun licensees from carrying inside a building. I knew about the posting in advance, so I was sans pistol - as was my wife.

The "search" consisted of them completely ignoring men, while glancing VERY briefly into the open purse of any lady that walked in. I could have easily broken the law by carrying in my normal manner. My wife, as well, could have carried her gun undetected since she doesn't keep it in the main compartment of her purse.

But... we didn't. Because we obey the law.

It is a perfect example of the folley of "gun control laws". By prohibiting carry by licensed individuals - individuals that have had more detailed background checks than any other visitor to the museum - the only thing these people accomplish is banning the law abiding people. Anyone planning to enter with a gun for illegal purposes would just walk right in with it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Platitudes

As you climb higher on the organizational chart at most places where I've worked, you get further and further away from anyone who has the slightest clue as to what, how, or why anything is actually done at the "working level".

City government is no different. A couple of levels above me, the "boss" is fond of ignoring problems and concerns in the department. Instead of addressing them, he randomly emails little inspirational stories. The boss a level up from him is even worse, as he inflicts the methodology of the latest self-help management book he's read on all of us below.

It wouldn't be so bad if they actually used some of the ideas and suggestions that come out of these regular exercises in futility. Instead, we go through all the motions and they are normally on to the next fad before the dust settles from the current one.

Anyway, I ended up running a call the other day involving a skunk who had tried to get to the goodies inside a dumpster by crawling through the much-too-small drainage hole. Apparently, Stinky spent a little too much time Imagining his Goals, and not quite enough actual planning the details of how to reach them.

It reminded me of the useless "feel good" crap that they sprinkle down on the "unwashed massess" (ie. me), from time to time.

I couldn't resist making a demotivator out of it:

platitude skunk

Cimarron Thunder

Finally got a day off to go pick up my new gun. Before that, though, I had to make another trip to the dentist.

I was under the impression that this dentist visit was going to be quick and painless. Last time, I had a tooth extracted and it's neighbors ground down in preparation for a bridge. This time I was due to get an impression made for the actual permanent bridge.

I knew I was in for it when she started right in with the novacaine injections. An hour and a half more grinding, fitting, and gumline preparations. Once again, I feel like I've been hit in the face with a lead pipe. Didn't even score any pain killers this time. Luckily, I still have some left from the last visit - but still.

I made the drive out to Kaufman, to pickup the gun after staggering out of the dentist office/torture chamber. I had planned to stop off at the shooting range on the way home, but I'm just not up to it in this cold with my jaw and teeth hurting. She sure is pretty, though :)

thunder

She's a single action revolver made by Uberti for Cimarron. It's a "Thunderer", chambered for the .357 caliber. Case colored frame and hammer. The rest is blued, with smooth Bird's Head grips. It's inspired by the double action Colt Thunderer, which began production in 1877, but its a single action. I chose the .357 magnum caliber so that I would have to option to shoot either 38 special, or .357 magnum.

I'll post some range comments, when I get a chance to shoot her.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Off the Beaten Path 1/10/2009

Finally had time to sit down and jot some notes regarding our backroads trip this past weekend. For the pictures that follow, you can click them to go to my flickr page where you can see each picture larger, and maybe find more shots from the trip – if you’re interest.

We started our day by making the long haul to Stephenville, which is about 2 hours from our house. I had wanted to check out a flea market that is housed inside a giant old chicken house (barn). That spot turned out to be more garage sale stuff than anything I’m interested in, so we quickly turned north up Highway 281.

Stopped a couple of times along the way, and eventually turned onto Interstate 20. Interstates are really boring to me, so thankfully it wasn't long before we exited onto highway 193, where we discovered this odd place:

trolly diner

At some point someone put their dreams into this roadside eatery/service station. The old rail car built into one side is certainly unique. I would have thought it would do some good business, being right out in view of a busy highway between Dallas/Ft. Worth and Abilene. Doesn’t look like the high traffic made a positive difference, though.

Maybe the first indication that things were doomed was the fact that they spelled “Trolley” wrong.

We pushed our way along 193, through Gordon and Mingus – with not much to see beyond pleasant country side, and the melancholy decay of small towns. I kind of like that. At least its more interesting to look at than the sameness of the major highways.

Just outside Mingus, my Wife spotted something odd back off the road. Concentrating on the road before me, I had missed it completely. We turned around and went back to find this:

hobiton

Across a grassy field, and built into the side of a small hill, was a door. In the spring and summer, I’m sure the opening is completely obscured by brush. Only now, with things being more bare, is it somewhat visible from the roadway. There was enough of a shoulder for me to park the truck, and zero “no trespassing” signs in view. No houses are in sight, and there was no gate/fence.

As all true explorers know – the absence of prohibition is almost an invitation to visit :)

I hopped out of the truck and took off across the grassy span between the road and the doorway, camera in hand. As I got closer, I still couldn’t see inside. It was way too dark in contrast to the bright sun outside. At some point, someone had broken in the front door – the padlock of which was still attached to the hasp.

hobiton 2

This is what I saw inside.

hobiton 3

It was remarkably clean inside. No debris, no trash, not even any leaves. There was a small opening in the roof near the door, though which I could see sky. The back appeared to have a fireplace or hearth of some sort, that was bricked in at some point in its life.

I couldn’t find any indication of the purpose of the little room. Habitation? Storage? Who knows…..

Our next stop was a really pleasant surprise. In Mingus, you jog over from 193 to 108 and head toward Strawn. Strawn isn’t much bigger than Mingus, but is home to a terrific café:

marys straun

I had read about Mary’s Café on the internet, and it had been our destination for lunch/supper from the start. We would have stopped anyway, once we saw the number of cars and trucks parked around it. As any Off the Beaten Path traveler knows: In Texas, the number of pickup trucks parked in front of a café is a direct indicator of how good the place is.

We got to Mary’s around 1:30 pm, and there were still at least 20 trucks parked around it :)

How was the food? We both ordered the “medium” chicken fried steak, which was easily 50% larger than most restaurant’s chicken fried steak. The Cream gravy was served “on the side”, and a huge baked potato filled in the rest of the platter the meal arrived on. I easily have to place the quality of the meal in the top 3 chicken fried steaks I’ve eaten… and I’ve eaten A LOT of CFS in my life.

After eating as much as humanly possible, we continued our trip by leaving Strawn on Highway 16, turning onto Highway 180, and continuing on toward Palo Pinto. There were several photo ops along the way, and we found this in Palo Pinto itself:

phonebooth

It’s obviously old, but also obviously non-native. How an old British Telephone booth found its way to Palo Pinto, Texas is beyond me. What’s even more interesting is that it has a functioning phone inside! That’s extremely rare in this neck of the woods. Payphones in general have gone the way of the Wooly Mammoth, and phone booths are even more rare.

Its in front of the Palo Pinto Café:

palopintocafe

Which had a cool neon sign, but a suspicious lack of vehicles parked anywhere near it.

The rest of the trip was kind of rushed, as we needed to get back home. We breezed through Mineral Wells and Weatherford, just long enough to determine that we definitely are going back to explore more thoroughly. One of the interesting spots we'll go back to is the Baker Hotel, which was built in 1929. It’s since been abandoned (1972) and fallen into disrepair. There are rumors that the hotel is haunted. I’ve heard that people have broken into the old girl and explored or vandalized it in the past. It looks like the entrances are pretty well secured now, though, so hopefully that crap will stop.

Here’s a shot of Cactus growing out of the gutter on one side:

baker cactus

And here’s a shot of the back, which will give you a better idea of the massive size of this old decaying beauty.

baker hotel back


All in all, it was a really pleasant way to spend a Saturday.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Squirrel Refuges



Dear Residents of Oklahoma,

I realize this apology is coming a little late, but the following shenanigans have only recently been brought to my attention. During September of 2008, it would appear that some of our Texas Crazies managed sneak across the border for the purposes of mingling with the native Crazies in your state – the result of which is described in the
article quoted below:

“The SPCA of Texas is bringing approximately 175-200 squirrels rescued in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike to the SPCA of Texas' Perry Animal Care Center at 8411 Stacy Rd./FM 720 in McKinney today, Wednesday, September 24, between noon and 1 p.m.

The WildCare Foundation, a wildlife rehabilitation group from Noble, Oklahoma, will then pick up all of the baby squirrels from the Perry Animal Care Center for transport to their facility.”

Ok, I’ll admit I’m a sucker for cute baby animals. But seriously, folks. Organizing a rescue and transport effort for 200 squirrels? Is there a squirrel shortage that I’ve somehow managed to avoid hearing about? Are bushy tails now on the endangered species list?

Any idea of how much cash and effort goes into something like this? Transporting, bottle/syring feeding, and hand rearing 200 squirrels to adulthood?

A. Big. Ass. Crapload.

Yes, I realize that it’s all money donated by “animal lovers” who think they’re doing the right thing. Yes, I agree that if the SPCA can get people to volunteer their time and money on such efforts – then more power to them.

However, I also have to right to jeer and point out the ridiculousness of the escapade for my own amusement. They're SQUIRRELS, people. They're cute and entertaining, at times, but they also do property damage and cause house fires from chewing attic wiring, in places where they are overpopulated - and there's LOTS of those places, now that we've removed many of their natural predators.

Thousands of people displaced. Businesses destroyed, homes leveled, and entire city almost wiped out.

But My Gawd, we have to save the squirrels!

So, my friends in Oklahoma, please accept this apology from the bottom of my heart. As way of recompense, please accept the following video that I found on YouTube. It is my sincere hope that you might find something therein that will help you properly welcome your 200 new furry friends.

Yours,
Paladin

Racism

Read an interesting article this morning. It's a "study" that purports to show that there is a difference in how we say we feel about racism, and in how we actually behave. No big surprise there. Political correctness, if given as much power as we give it, will always make people give lip service to an idea long before they actually embrace it with their heart.

If I think you're going to look down on me, or berate me, for expressing a certain opinion out loud, I might express an entirely different opinion publicly. It doesn't necessarily follow that I will actually change the way I feel inside - that doesn't happen until my perspective actually changes based on my actual experiences.

Anyway, what I found interesting about the article is that they focused solely on "non-black" subjects. Here's the gist:

"Here's the scene: Researchers in Toronto recruited 120 non-black York University students for what purported to be a psychology study.

A participant was directed to a room where two actors posing as fellow participants — one black, one white — waited. The black person said he needed to retrieve a cell phone and left, gently bumping the white person's leg on the way out. The white actor then did one of three things:

1. Nothing.

2. Said, "I hate when black people do that."

3. Or used the N-word.


Then a researcher entered and said the "psychology study" was starting and that the student should pick one of the two others as a partner for the testing.

Half the participants just read about that scene, and half actually experienced it."

Then the researchers asked the "non-black" subject to pick a partner for the psychological experiment. A large percentage of the subjects said they would not pick the racists white person as a partner. However, in actual practice 2/3 of the subjects actually picked the "racist" white lab partner.

Again, disappointing, but not surprising.

What I would love to see, though, is this study done, using black subjects. It focuses solely on the perceived racism of "non-black" subjects. There's already an incorrect perception among the political correctness Nazis that only white people can be racist. If you even hint that a black, or other non-white, person harbors racist ideas.... you are doubly branded as racist and fool.


I'd bet cold hard cash that the results would be similar, if not even more pronounced. After all, if you tend to see every white person as someone "out to get you" then I would imagine that you'd be even more likely to pair up with someone perceived as the "same" as you.

Don't ya think?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Great Trip

I won't have time to write about today's trip until later next week, but it was pretty cool. Here's a teaser:

We found a mysterious hobbit-like dwelling hidden in a hillside.

hobiton

And we visited a Haunted Abandoned Hotel:

baker hotel side

And that's not all! I'll have more pics and some tales from the road near then end of next week so check back.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Lost Art of Letters

We don't have HBO, Cinemax, or any of the "premium movie" channels. I don't know what our "package" is called, but we get all the usual channels (discovery, food network, sci-fi, etc) - just none of the movie channels. Whenever we look at what's playing, its usually crap 0r movies we've already seen. We do use Netflix pretty heavily instead, and have been pretty pleased with it.

The Sopranos didn't do anything for me when we tried it out on DVD. Neither did Deadwood. I REALLY wanted to like Deadwood - but the constant (and I mean CONSTANT) use of harsh profanity was too distracting. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a prude. I can cuss up a storm, and may even hold the record for the most individual uses of "The F-Word" in a single sentence.

But its not the norm of my usual conversation, and I like to think I use profanity as seasoning to my general vocabulary. You may put salt on your eggs, but you don't dump it all over everything. The Dialogue in Deadwood seemed like it was penned by a 14 year old boy who just discovered that he can cuss without getting a bar of soap stuffed in his mouth. It was pretty ridiculous.

But I digress..... the reason for the above meander is that we rented, via Netflix, the mini-series John Adams that was produced and aired by HBO. It was really good, overall. The camera angles were a little distractingly "artsy" at times (ie. leaning to one side? wtf?), however it was a really good glimpse into early American History. It was interesting to see what was probably a more accurate portrayal of our founding fathers than we are usually afforded in school.

They weren't angels, any more than you and I are. They were just extraordinary men who had the vision and tenacity to forge a nation. Even though they didn't see eye to eye most of the time on every single detail (sound familiar?).

Near the end of his life, John Adams had fallen out of friendship with Thomas Jefferson. Politics had come between them. They reconciled in their twilight years, however, and began a relationship via letters that continued until they both passed away. I was fascinated by Jefferson's Polygraph, a reproduction of which is pictured below:

It was an ingenious device that allowed the user to write a letter, while simultaneously producing an exact copy. You hold one pen and write with it. The other pen makes the same movements that you do and writes along with you on another piece of paper. Its very similar to a Pantograph.

Part of me wishes to go back to the days of thoughtful, letter writing. It would be nice to look forward to getting a letter in the mail. I've long been in love with Victorian (and earlier) writing tools. Email isn't anywhere near as intimate and enjoyable as hand writing a letter to someone, or reading the same when it arrives for you.

I know, I know.... email is faster. One can also argue that its virtually free, since it doesn't cost extra beyond your regular Internet service. But it completely lacks the style, class, and romance associated with actually putting pen to paper.

Wouldn't it be nice to open the mailbox and find something besides junk mail and bills?

I may just have to seek out a penpal. Problem is, most adult men my age wouldn't care to participate (I'm assuming). Carrying on a letter writing relationship with a woman that isn't my Wife is just begging for trouble. Don't even consider writing to a young person. I don't want to end up in a sting operation on TV.....

Hmm.... this may take some thinking.

Pull of the Road

I had hoped that a new gun that I ordered would have arrived at the FFL by today, but alas it looks like its not meant to be. Since I don't have to make a run out there, and having completed most of the items on my "to do" list for this weekend yesterday, I found myself with some free time this morning.

The "Roads of Texas" atlas has really been calling me lately. Its been too long (last spring?) since the Wife and I hit the Texas backroads to explore. I drug the well used map book from it's spot on the shelf and thumbed my way to the Stephenville area, while I perched myself before the computer.

Texas is a big state. Long ago, we explored most (if not all) of the backroad places near our home. We love jumping on the bike, or climbing in the truck, and heading out to an area that we've never been in before to see what there is to see. Photography is a hobby of both my Wife and myself. We like taking pictures of old stuff, mostly. Or animals/nature. I'm more of a rural decay guy, and She is more of a Western/Victorian Americana girl. The picture you see in my blog title above of the Farmall Tractor was taken on the last such trip that we took, which was south of the Stephenville, Texas area.

As we passed through Stephenville on our way home the last time, I made a mental note that we would return to the area and explore the roads to the north the next time we got the traveling itch.

Tomorrow, it's itch scratchin' time :)

Generally, since it takes a couple of hours to even get out into the region we want to explore, I look at the trusty Roads of Texas map and pick out the names of counties and small towns that are in the area. The I search for pictures on Flickr. You'd be surprised what you'll find. I can generally get an idea if a region/area is worth exploring by the pictures I find online. If I like what I see, there's ALWAYS more to see once we get out there. It's a nice time-saver.

The internet also allows me to search out some out of the way diner or cafe for us to eat at. This time it'll probably be Mary's Cafe in Strawn, which is apparently all the rage among Chicken Fried Steak lovers....

I have a looooong day lined out for us tomorrow, and I'm sure there'll be lots of pictures and stories to share later next week.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Racer X

Found this interesting picture while browsing the Library of Congress Sight online. The title of the picture states that he's the winner of a 100 mile race in Norton, Kansas in 1914. I love the look of pride and sheer joy on his face...

Racer X

Shoot and Score

Sigh.....

You know, sometimes no matter what you do it seems like the forces of stoopid are counter-acting your every move. I work in a field that is about as stereotyped and "looked down on" as any you can think of. "Dog Catcher" is the punchline of so many jokes, I couldn't even begin to list them all. I've conducted myself as a compassionate professional for the 14 years that I've been in the business. I have a college degree.

Doesn't matter when some other retard mucks things up and get in the newspaper as a result.

I was emailed this article, by a friend in the Animal Control Biz. You can read the whole thing if you want, but this excerpt will give you the gist of it.


Basically, a Woman...

....was shot by a 22-caliber rifle, just a few feet away from her 5 month old grand-daughter. "The baby was right here and my mom was right here about to reach down and pick her up and it hit her in the leg," says Ferguson .

Deputies say an animal control officer shot her and that he was after a stray dog. Ferguson says the dog had been roaming the neighborhood for some time. "He set traps for about 2 weeks straight and couldn't catch him and next thing I know he came back and said he was gonna try to euthanize him, shoot him with a rifle," he says of the officer's attempts, "Everybody said the dog was dangerous to the community around here, but it ain't never tried nothing with us.

Deputies are still investigating the incident, but so far say it looks like an accident.

"I really thought he was done shooting after he hit the dog twice, but after the third shot, my sister freaked out. Karen freaked out and was screaming saying, 'My mom just got shot," and I freaked out, 'You just shot my mom," remembers Ferguson .

Yeah.... nice job, Dumb Ass. And the Animal Worker wasn't even a dumb kid... he was a 49 year old, grown ass man. I think it's entirely possible that every single person mentioned in the story above is actually related to every other person through multiple generations.

My favorite quote?:

"If you go to the store or something, they start pointing at you and all kind of crazy stuff, I guess it's crazy cause a dogcatcher shot your mom," says David Ferguson, of how people react to the family now.

I'm thinking of checking with my manager about putting this poster on the front page of our department's website:



(That's me and my Swiss K31 Mil-surp rifle, by the way, with a St. Marie Graphics scope mount. Clamps on, so no drill/tap is necessary)