In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog:

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Sunday, April 28, 2024


Jimmy Carter was a terrible President. His meddling, ridiculous foreign policy, and thinking doing an interview with Playboy magazine were just the highlights of his inability to lead the United States. The economy was in shambles, fuel was rationed, the oil industry lost hundreds of thousands of jobs, and to finance anything, you had to be willing to take on double digit interest rates. 

Compared to Biden, Carter was the best President ever. Biden is not only a thug, his family is too, and to add insult to injury, the thugs that pull his strings are doing the best they can to hide the fact Biden had fallen into senility that would put most people into managed care. We should be laughing at the comedy. Instead, we hold our breath and wait. I don't like waiting, and would love to see Biden, his staff, his handlers, and anyone else connected to this administration frog-walked into jail. I could use the huge laugh of watching such of an event.


Friday, April 26, 2024

New Arrivals

 Earlier in the week, my wife noticed two new ducks in the pond. A little research revealed they're Black- bellied Whistling-ducks. I've seen them about 40 miles to the south, but only in one spot. From what I know, they're not real common in our area, but their numbers are increasing, and I'm thinking they are looking for new foraging areas. 

This morning revealed six, which makes me think there are more about, but some are still too shy to land. We'll find out in the next few days, but I have a feeling those here will stay for the food thrown to the geese. Hopefully, we don't end up with so many we have to chase them away.


Thursday, April 25, 2024


Boxing is an interesting sport, although some don't call it a sport. People sit in the audience, trainers are at the corners, two fighters duke it out, and eventually one is considered better at boxing. Meanwhile, wagers are placed, the rule makers guarantee nobody feels cheated, and another bout is planned. 

That's where we are. The rule makers are making the rules, spectators gather, wagers are placed, and the next bout is planned. Who are the fighters? All of us. People are purposefully turned against each other, the promoters are promoting their contender, bets are being placed, and those that plan the events sit in comfort, while amassing more riches and power. The only thing not for sure is when the bell will ring for the first round. 

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Maybe They Should Be Sent Away

With all the support for Ukraine, and even waving their flag in Congress, we should honor their choices, provide 80 pound packs, give them a gun, and send them to Ukraine to help. We can do without them, they can take the place of U.S. money, and if they fail in their task, it won't be because we wasted more money on global manipulation.

Thursday, April 18, 2024


Through general consensus, two pine trees were felled today. The weren't really that big at only about 30 feet with trunks around 12 inches in diameter, but after cutting them into pieces, and stacking them in a pile for burning, I've determined I will have some sore muscles tomorrow morning. The oak trees they were shading will enjoy the extra sunlight.

Monday, April 15, 2024

It Took Some Practice and Paying Attention

For some reason, and probably because I could, laying out project sites became my task. Whether it was setting string line for forms, or plotting topographical information for earthwork, if I didn't know how to accomplish the task, I had to learn. 

Old school craftsmen I worked with had a method of squaring by using a 3,4,5 system of measuring. One didn't feel comfortable with anything but doubling the numbers, which I understood, but I think he probably couldn't comprehend any multiple of the numbers would work. Still, his other skills were invaluable with building projects. Simple things, such as always laying out tile, or flooring from the centerline were things I didn't know, but when applied, led to the understanding how the final aesthetics required the method to insure an even border, or correctly centered. 

Setting long straight lines presented some problems. Regardless of the distance, if there were two points to work from, a long string line could allow setting intermediate points, but very long distance could be inaccurate due to deflection by the wind. After the company I worked for allowed me to buy a meridian transit, the feature of being able to tilt the telescope allowed me to use a helper, while I sighted their location, and fine tuning the location of a stake, or mark on paving. I didn't trust the feature for turning angles, unless it was only for a ball-park location. I relied on two measuring tapes for that location, and had to watch helpers like a hawk to guarantee they were holding the tape in the right location. I failed to do that one time, several anchor bolts were poured in the wrong place, and the butt-chewing wasn't nearly as tough as my own feeling of disgust. 

When after years of using poor-boy methods for layout, the company I worked for finally bought a total station. The flexibility of the instrument was liberating. I could set some fixed points far away from the work, which allowed recreating points inside the project if they were disturbed. The software bought for plotting the points allowed the creation of unknown points, which could be downloaded into the total station for use in the field. Instead of spending a long time using string lines, and measuring tapes for layout, I could establish points with one helper. 

When I first started construction, TxDot, which was then called Texas Highway Department, had a survey crew in most every district office. Their job was to establish stakes for the contractors, which could be everything from offset points, to establishing the right of way. They, at that time, used transits, long survey chains, and a lot of walking to complete their task. When they had free time, they worked sections of the highway to check the location, and elevations, of permanent markers established around the district. The long process could mean long journeys on foot to establish temporary bench marks, arriving at the survey marker, and then doing the same back to where they started. The task involved what is called a level-loop. All the grade shots during the traverse were placed in a field book, and when the loop was finished, if a discrepancy was found, the loop might have had to be completed again to determine the cause of the error. Today, such a loop can be performed my one person with GPS or a remote controlled total station.

Over time, TxDot moved away from having a field party, and contractors became responsible. With a large lay-off during the seventies, many members of the field parties were hired by contractors, and stayed, instead of returning when the state wanted to hire them back during better financial times. That led to my opportunity to work with them, learn invaluable skills, and increase my knowledge.

With technology today, the old methods are becoming forgotten. GPS allows accurate measuring without understanding the methodology, and those doing the layout work probably would be lost if they had to accomplish the same task with a transit, a survey chain and a pocket calculator. It's like many things which may never be necessary again, but if they do become necessary, there will be few around to teach the methods.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Lawnmower Observation

I've owned, and operated, lawnmowers for decades. During that time, I've worked on many of them, and the repairs included just about everything, including rebuilding an engine. Over time, I've noticed the newer engines last longer than the older engines. Whether it's because they're built better, or the newer oils are much better, is something I don't know, but in the past, the engines would usually present problems long before the decks did. 

These days, the decks on riders just don't seem to last that long; especially if they're stamped. Replacing them seems like a good idea, until you realize the cost will probably be over a thousand dollars after you buy the accessories that need changing too, and you perform your own labor. Depending on the model, that can be at that magical point where it's so close to half the price of a new one, replacing it is a better option. 

I gave a way a fine mower a few years ago. I'd changed the deck once, but the new deck only lasted three years. Changing the deck was still an option, but the mower was old, and I foresaw other things going out, with the knowledge the stamped deck would become a problem. Still, it was frustrating, and only showed that to get long years out of a deck, paying for the most expensive riders, with a heavy welded deck, was the best option. Still, they don't last forever, but if you have a welding machine, building a new one is always an option. Well maintained, the engine will last a long, long time, and replacing belts, or pulleys is usually an easy task. 

Monday, April 8, 2024

Now That It Is Over

 We were cloudy, with light rain, all morning, which made me wonder how the eclipse would appear in cloudy skies. When the time arrived, the clouds thinned, and between some areas, the partial sun could be seen clearly. When the sun broke through, the light was as dim as a few minutes before sunset. We were close to a full eclipse. The amount of sun appeared as a thin sliver, like a fingernail clipping. 

So, it's now over, it was something to see, and will be a long time before it happens again in my area. I doubt I will be around to see it.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

It's Not What it Seems

I was reading a news report about a young woman, with many emotional, and physical, problems, who has will be euthanized to handle her problems.  I'm appalled, and wondering how officials, and psychiatrists have become so subverted to condone the action. I'll explain below how I arrived at this opinion.

Decades ago, my step-mother's sister hung herself. It was a response to severe depression and her feeling of hopelessness.  It left her parents, two sisters, her husband, and three children to deal with their emotional response. They were saddened, angered, feeling guilty, appalled, grasping for answers, and had to live their lives with their emotions. To make things worse, her son put a shotgun in his mouth, and destroyed his family decades later, when his depression led to the same conclusion. His actions reawakened the emotional responses and added his wife and child to the same. 

Years ago, after an argument, and I slept on the couch so she could have space to deal with it, my ex-wife woke me the next morning with a confession. She had allowed her depression to overrule, took a handful of Vicodin, and tried to end it all. Instead of doing the deed, it made her violently ill, and she threw them up before they were absorbed. 

How do you describe how that makes you feel? I was surprised, sad, angered, lost, feeling guilty, hopeless and devastated. If she had succeeded, I don't think the feeling could have been worse. She, through her actions, showed how selfish and cruel she could be. I knew she had emotional problems, I was trying to deal with them, and regardless of my efforts, my efforts were in vain. 

Years later, and after more years of dealing with her problems, I had to admit defeat, divorce her, and allow her to live her life the way she wanted. She died last year of health problems other than depression, which made me wonder if she had taken the path of not taking care of herself to accelerate the path to death. 

So, I don't really care what people think. Suicide is not relief. Suicide is a horrendous emotional burden placed on the people that are left behind. I'll never condone it, or consider it a good response to any problem with life. 

It's Probably Best I Didn't Make Any Plans

Weather folks are predicting clouds for the eclipse areas within driving distance for me. Preliminary thoughts were I'd drive around four hours, watch the eclipse from some rural backroad, and drive home. That would be a waste, since making a drive like that for a few minutes of dark, cloudy skies isn't really a fascinating experience. I can do that on any night in my own back yard for hours. In fact, I have done that, while enjoying a cup of coffee on my own porch.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Law Enforcement Paradox

Law enforcement is expensive. It involves the salaries of the officers, the equipment, the station and the support staff. To law abiding citizens, it is supposed to be the bulwark between crime and unbridled unrest. To the criminal, there is supposed to be a legitimate fear of arrest, and the possibility of incarceration or worse: death. Large communities have a greater need for law enforcement, while rural areas, due to the time it takes for law enforcement to respond, have the option to solve criminal problems with extreme prejudice, since the citizen's survival might depend on their actions. 

With the "catch and release" policies now prevalent in many cities, there is a paradox with law enforcement. The officers either quit, become apathetic, or become frustrated by their daily tasks. Their efforts yield no results. The safety of the public is compromised, and the criminals basically become in charge. Otherwise, there is no real law enforcement. Responding in certain ways to exposure to crimes can lead to arrest of the victim, officials are isolated by personal security, and society decays. Victims are supposed to allow the laws to prevent crime, but after getting a smile from the person that robbed them, while shopping for groceries, they realize they have no protection.

In the end, either the crime is prevented, criminals are prosecuted, and people can live in peace, or anarchy becomes prevalent. Law enforcement, in today's context, only offers a false security. It doesn't provide the service that necessitates its existence, and the money that is allocated for its use is wasted. It's not the fault of the good officers. It's the fault of those that subvert for power.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

It's Ironic

Somewhere in California, a worker that lost their job at a fast food restaurant, is ordering their favorite meal from a kiosk at another fast food restaurant that doesn't have cashiers. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Why They Do What They do

 There are people with enough money to buy governments, influence public opinion and control entire countries. Why do they do this? Because if they control the economy, can own the government, and do what they want, nobody can ruin their isolation from the unwashed masses. They will sacrifice million to control, and if you don't believe this, study some history about the numerous Communist governments and their guarantee for the few to subjugate the many. Their current efforts are on the United States.