Saturday, September 29, 2007

Gene Autry

I've been reminded by Conservative Cowboy that today marks the 100th birthday of Gene Autry. You can follow this link to his post about him.

Here are the words to:

Back in the Saddle Again

I`m back in the saddle again
Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the lowly gypsum weed
Back in the saddle again

Ridin` the range once more
Totin` my old .44
Where you sleep out every night
And the only law is right
Back in the saddle again

Rockin` to and fro
Back in the saddle again
I go my way
Back in the saddle again

Friday, September 28, 2007

Do, Doing, Done!

When there is more to do
Of the things you must do
Than you can possibly get done,
How do you do
All the things you must do
In order to ever get done?

It seems there are seasons
For the tasks of this world
That come and go as the spring.
There will be weeks on end
Where the pressure is low
And you don't get wound up about anything.

Then along comes a stretch
Where it all hits the fan
And it seems there's no end in sight;
Everything will pile up
And you can't get it all done
Though you try with all of your might.

So, what do you do
When there is more to do
Than you can possibly get done?
Do you just do what you can
And hope for the best
And leave the rest undone?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

U.S. Government Blog

I've found a new government site that is interesting and may be useful. It is called U.S. Government Blog. Check it out. As they build a reservoir of articles, a site search will lead you to related posts.


I am in the midst of preparing for a hectic travel schedule next month. It begins Monday when I travel to Missouri to do a series of meetings with one of our large customers. We will be calling on some of their key customers as well as conducting evening informational meetings for their customers and prospective customers. I look forward to the trip because it will help to cement the relationship with our customer as well as potentially generate new business through the meetings.

Later in the month I will be travelling to Georgia for the Sunbelt Exposition. It is a large agricultural trade show in Moultrie. This will be my first trip to this particular trade show. I will be working with our top supplier. I look forward to the trip because it is an area of the country where the potential is high, but our customer base is small. Hopefully it will help to create new opportunities for us in the Southeast.

After returning from that trip I will be heading to San Antonio for a few days to the annual meeting of the Texas Cattle Feeders. It is a good place to network with customers and hopefully to build some new relationships. Besides, any excuse for a trip to San Antonio....

It promises to be an interesting month. It is also our busiest time of year because of seasonal factors in the industry. Fortunately I have good people in our various locations that don't require close supervision. It makes it easier to get away for extended periods. Besides, in this age of cell phones, laptops, etc., the office goes with me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Search for Words

As the pre-dawn light
Rose behind me
I watched the pearlescent orb
Slowly evolve into a buttery
Disk blushing with rising pinkness
That intensified to red
And then magenta
As it met the mists
Of the horizon
Where it sank
Into the blue violet haze
Only to emerge briefly
As a faded grayish ghost of itself
Before being eaten
By the earth itself.

So went my morning commute.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Civics Quiz

Follow this link to a great Civics Quiz that I saw a few days ago and didn't have time to mess with but found again on The GeoScience Blog. It will challenge you. I don't know whether I should be proud of my 85% score or apalled. The Mean Senior Score at Harvard was 69.56%. They had the best of any college in the country. I don't think we're getting our money's worth from America's colleges and universities.

A Dangerous Place

"The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

Above is my Google Quote for the day. I thought it was appropriate and timely considering all of the stuff going on in the world. However, when you get right down to it, the world probably isn't any more dangerous today than it was a hundred, or even a thousand years ago. The threats have just changed a bit. Instead of Mongol hoards or bubonic plague, we have Jihadi Terrorists and Ebola -- well really, the disease side of the equation is under much better control. There is AIDS, but it is primarily limited to those whose behavior is risky or perverted. All the old diseases are still around for the most part, but there are medicines to treat them. There is some concern about drug resistance, but proper usage generally will do the trick anyway.

You know, I guess most of the problems are related to human behavior. Dictators, terrorists, criminal and drug gangs, perversions, hunger for power, greed, and similar behaviors cause most of human suffering. There are natural disasters, but they generally affect those who ignore the risk -- such as building in a flood plain, living in Hurricane Alley, or on the slope of a volcano, or in earthquake prone areas. It almost all comes down to the human animal and our own cruelty or stupidity. If that could be fixed, this old world would be pretty safe.

Maybe Einstein was right, we just need to step up and do something about all the evil people in this world. But, if we decide to eliminate them doesn't that make us just like them? Here it would be easy to tip into the realm of moral relativism. Who determines what is right and wrong? -- what is evil and what is good? I personally think that anyone who disagrees with me is wrong, but then I find myself disagreeing with myself. Is there a single standard for good and evil? Some might say that what is generally accepted by the majority of people is the standard for good, or correct behavior. I guess that makes abortion good. I don't think so! We must look beyond the human animal for a standard.

That brings us to God. The next question is whose God? Is it Jehovah God of the Christian and Jewish scripture, is it Allah of the Muslims, or is it some other god that is accepted by another group of people? Who determines which god sets the standard?

I ask you the question: How do we determine what is good and what is evil?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Vanity, Visits, Vexations, Values

As I sift through the news
I see the same old stories
Over and over again.
Sometimes the names have been changed
But certainly not to protect the innocent.
It's just like the book of Ecclesiastes
Where it says
There is nothing new under the sun,
It is all vanity.

Even the stories about a country's president,
Who in this post will remain nameless,
That is stirring such a fuss by visiting this country
As a member of the U.N. is not all that new.
What frustrates me is how
We play into his hands
By creating a media firestorm over the visit.
All he wants is the spotlight
So that he can tell his oppressed people
How he was such a threat
To the great and powerful U.S.

The same tired faces
Continue to grace the covers
Of so-called news magazines
That focus on their latest scandals or causes
But ignore the real news that continues
Unabated across the globe.
Is it just that people would prefer
To stick their head in the sand
Rather than face the reality
Of war and starvation and genocide
And Oppression that never seems to end?

What pursuits are worth of our treasure?
Where should we invest our time?
What is truly important?
What values are being taught to our children?
Should we care that people are starving in the Sudan?
Does it really matter that a foreign "leader"
Wants to use our media driven culture to stir controversy?
Should we "hole-up" on our shores
And ignore the craziness, or
Should we export that about us which is good
To the rest of the world?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I'd Offer a Penny for Your Thoughts if I Could...

I would be interested in the thoughts of anyone who would care to comment on the subject of Global Warming.

1) Do you think Global Warming is really happening?

2) If so, is it caused by man's activities?

3) If so, is there anything we can do to stop it?

4) If so, do you expect catastrophic results?

5) Do you think Global Warming is just a racket made up by Al Gore and other crazies?

6) Do you know what the Kyoto Protocol is?

7) Should the U.S. sign the Kyoto Protocol?

8) Are bio-fuels better than fossil fuels?

Just curious. Any comments would be appreciated.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Who Are You When You're Alone?

Who are you
When you are alone?
Are you the same person
That you are when with others?

Do you step
Into a different world
Where you sing
At the top of your voice?

Or do you sink
Into a "woe-is-me"
Attitude of self-pity
Because you are alone?

Do you indulge yourself?
Do you read?
Do you watch TV?
Do you work on some project?
Do you brood?
Do you pout?
Do you do anything at all?
Do you just sit and blog?

Who are you
When you are alone?
Why are you not the same
Around others?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

We Never

We never grow
Unless we stretch
Ourselves to do
That which
We've never done before.

We never see
Until we look
Beyond our
Own little world
Into the world of another.

We never hear
Until we stop
Thinking about
What we will say
And truly listen to others.

We never lead
Until we leave
The beaten path
Of other's steps
And strike out on our own.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Talkers and Doers

There are talkers
And there are doers.
Talkers are full
Of stories about
What they've done,
How they would have
Done it differently,
How poorly someone else
Did the job,
And all the things
They plan on doing.
Doers quietly go about
Doing the things
That need to be done
With little or no fanfare
And rarely a thanks.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Random Comments

It has been a few days since I posted. It seems that it has just been one thing on top of another that kept me from it. Probably the biggest issue has been Internet access issues here at home. We had a major lightening storm the other night that must have killed my wireless router. It took a while to narrow the problem to the router because the satellite signal must first go through an IDU. To make the story a little shorter, we're hooked directly to the IDU now which means that until I replace the wireless router, I can't use my laptop at home. So, it's wait in line for computer time. Homework always takes precedence.

We had the grand baby here this weekend. She spent Friday night and all day Saturday with us. It was nice to get to keep her. Her parents needed a break. She does take a lot of time though. It was difficult to get anything done while she was here. I understand why a "break" was in order! Maybe I'm just getting old. That's the advantage of grand kids -- you can send 'em home.

Work was crazy today. We are experiencing our "fall run." Fall is when large numbers of cattle are moving about the country. When they move is when our services are in greatest demand. Today we had one of the highest volume days we've had since our company was formed. That's a good thing, but cuts into blogging time also.

The kitchen remodel is proceeding but experienced a couple of setbacks. Such things are to be expected -- nothing major. We are in a short waiting period though. I hope by the end of the week everything will be done except the things that we will be doing ourselves.

Tomorrow evening the in-laws will be stopping for the night as they travel back home from California. They have been to San Diego for my father-in-law's ship reunion from his Navy days. It's good that they can stop, but the house is in a bit of turmoil with the remodeling going on.

With luck Duke may get his cast off tomorrow. It has only been a couple of weeks, but the Vet said that he seems to be healing very quickly. That is the advantage of young, growing bones. I hope it does come off. He started chewing on it rather badly today. I patched it but it's good that he is scheduled for a checkup tomorrow.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Discipline, Patience, and Prayer

Have you ever watched "The Dog Whisperer" on the National Geographic Channel? I have always thought it fascinating how some people can get animals to respond so readily while the majority of folks have difficulty. He says on his show that about 90% of the problem is usually the dog's owner. They let the pet become leader of the pack rather than taking on that role themselves. The owner usually wants a loving, fun-filled, playful companion and so they act that way with their dog. They don't set boundaries or provide discipline. The dog becomes spoiled and misbehaves or develops intolerable habits. I've seen the same thing with horses. Horses can quickly become dangerous because they are so powerful.

With Duke, our new puppy, I am reminded of these things. He is very smart and pushes the boundaries continuously. He also is male, obviously, and that adds to the dominance issue. We will work through this though. I promise I haven't been praying for patience! Usually that's what happens. I'm sure you heard about the woman who kept praying for patience. God gave her twins.

Trackless Places

What is our purpose in life?

The last couple of posts elicited some interesting comments. I wasn't necessarily trying to get really "deep" with them, it was just things that have been on my mind. I guess they stem from an introspective look evaluating whether I am truly following God's purpose for my life. It really shouldn't be that difficult to determine. His word is clear.

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." __Ephesians 2:10

I really don't think it matters what career path we take as long as we follow where God leads. Now, that is the real difficulty isn't it? Knowing whether we are truly following the path that God has laid before us, or striking out on our own. I've never been good at sticking with a path. I like the trackless places -- just ask anyone who has ever gone hiking with me. Does God ever lead us into the trackless places? Maybe. But if so, we should be able to look behind and see His tracks paralleling our own.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Out of This World

My last post was about passion. Specifically, "what are you passionate about?" I ask the question because it is something that I have struggled with throughout my life. My interests are so varied that I must be careful not to "flit" from one thing to another. Focusing on that "one thing" that is a burning passion within me has been elusive.

I wonder if that is a function of personality types? Is it only certain personalities that are able to focus passionately on one or a few things? Or, is it something deeper? Is it that only those individuals who have truly found their niche in life that become passionate about it? -- those who find their true calling?

There are myriad things that interest me. Nothing that consumes me -- although there are times that I'm sure my family would say that my work consumes me. But it doesn't really. My sense of responsibility, of duty, sometimes drives me for a period of time, but it isn't all-consuming.

There is one thing that I know that I am supposed to be passionate about and that is "living for Christ." I fear that I am often a miserable failure in that area. It is fortunate for me that He is a loving and forgiving Savior and Mediator who has already paid the price for my "failures" by His sacrifice.

I believe that we each are called for a specific purpose in life. I think we are born with a "bent" toward certain things. Sometimes you can spend 10 minutes with a child and know with a high degree of confidence what general type of career that child will eventually pursue. I wonder sometimes though if I have ever found the "purpose" for which I was born. I sometimes wonder if I made a "wrong" choice and chose the wrong career path at some point in my past. Why is it that I invariably become restless in my career? Is there something drawing me toward another path? Is it just human nature? Is it that I haven't found where I belong?

I think sometimes that I will remain restless until my days on earth are ended. What do you think?

"...As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world..." __John 15:19(in part)

Monday, September 10, 2007

What Drives You?

What are you passionate about?
Is there something that drives you?
Is there something that consumes most of your energy?
What is it that makes you want to get up in the morning?

Where is your focus?
Do you have an all-consuming fire?
What fills your thoughts?
What makes you forget sleep?

Seek to be passionate about something that is worthy of passion.
Share your passion with others.
Be a leader, a mentor, a keeper of the flame.
Live with passion.

If you would like, share what you passion is in the comments.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Silliness and Healing

Sometimes you just have to be silly. We had a luau tonight to "celebrate" the start of a new church choir year. Each section put on a skit. It included "roasting" the director compliments of the Sopranos (the section - not the mob). Of course every luau needs a roast pig - so they dressed him in a pig costume.... He was a good sport about it.

Some weeks just seem to be filled with tension. Last week was one of those weeks. Starting this one with a luau will surely make it better. Of course, we are expecting the contractor to "get serious" with the kitchen renovation this week. Last week was only the preliminaries. This week we anticipate progress. Let us hope so. Let's hope it doesn't create new tension with having to live around the mess.

Duke is adjusting well to his cast. It has been very rainy the last few days so it has been difficult to keep it clean. It has also been difficult to limit his mobility. He wants to play and the cast doesn't seem to hinder him a lot. It's almost comical to see him carrying it around -- if it wasn't sad that he has one in the first place. Me and my big foot.

Duke and his cast reminds me of a lot of people -- probably me included. We go through life carrying burdens that shouldn't be there but were acquired through some incident in our life. We try to adjust and in a way, pretend that they are not there, but they sometimes get in the way. The only time they ever really go away is when true healing occurs. With Duke, it will be when the bone mends. With people, the only true healing is through Jesus Christ. He is the great physician. He can mend broken lives.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Friday Night Lights

Star Spangled Banner,
Noisy crowd,
Team colors,
Coin toss,
Missed call,
Angry fan,
Play resumed,
Proud father,
Fearful mother,
Oblivious children,
Change of possession.
Back and forth,
First and ten,
Move the chains,
Marching bands.
Here we go again.
Fourth quarter,
Fourth and two,
Drive it home
Victory at home.
Long bus ride for the visitors.

Now how do I get out of this parking lot???

Friday, September 7, 2007

Not Me!!!

It's a sad commentary on the state of the world when I get a notification from McAfee that I need to verify my subscription in order for it to continue and I am so paranoid of creative Phishing that I was very hesitant to do it. Everything looked legitimate so I went ahead and did it. If something blows up now I will blame myself.

Shifting blame is something that I learned NOT to do a long time ago. I am responsible for what happens to me. If something blows up it was because I 1) did something wrong, 2) didn't anticipate all of the possibilities, 3) wasn't completely prepared, 4) didn't put enough preventive measures in place, 5) assigned the wrong people to the task, or 6) didn't prepare them for the task. Whatever the outcome, I am responsible.

It seems that youth today are masters at "it's not my fault." Do they learn it from society or is it a natural instinct? It starts when they are babies. I thought the Family Circle cartoons were so very appropriate with the little "not me" goblin hanging around when the mother asked one of the kids, "who did it?" It stays with kids until it is "trained" out of them. Sadly, some people never lose the victim mentality.

Every corporation has a few individuals sprinkled throughout the organization that are masters at never being responsible when something doesn't go well. Of course, they never accomplish anything because that creates the opportunity for failure. But, they often rise within an organization because they never "fail" at anything. They are usually quite artful at taking credit for successes and "selling their value" to their boss. They are frequently hated by those who must answer to them. They are bureaucrats but never leaders. They should be cleaning toilets.

So, if my computer blows up because of my "verifying" my subscription it may go in the toilet.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Of Dogs and Kids and Obedience

Every dog has
A unique personality.
We now have two
And they are as different as can be.

Our chocolate lab is the older of the two
And she has a personality like a cat.
She can be aloof and jealous
Or demanding on her own terms.

Our Aussie puppy on the other hand
Is a people loving dog.
He wants to be with you constantly.
He needs lots of reassurance.

It's amazing how much
Dogs can be like children.
Perhaps that is why so many people
Treat them like babies.

I know some folks who treat their dogs
Better than they treat their kids.
Maybe it's because the dogs
Never talk back.

Dogs need a firm but loving hand.
They need to know they will be cared for.
They need to know where the boundaries are.
They need to know disobedience brings penalties.

Children need a firm but loving hand.
They need to know they will be cared for.
They need to know where the boundaries are.
They need to know disobedience brings penalties.

It seems that anymore,
Folks are not inclined
To teach their children these basic principles
But will send their dogs to obedience school to learn them.

Then when the dogs come back home
They spoil them until the dog establishes dominance.
They expect the schools to teach kids obedience
But allow them to dominate their home.

Is it our Socialist-steeped educational agenda that has caused this?
Or is it the societal inculcation of moral relativism?
Is it perhaps the capitalist focus of me and mine?
Or could it be a failure of personal responsibility?

I think it is a failure to recognize God as Creator, Sustainer, Counselor and Father. We are to model after Him.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Update on Duke

Yep, it was broken -- in 2 places. Fortunately the one on the femur was hairline and the other wasn't all the way across on the tibia. Duke is now limping around on a "quick" splint. Prognosis is for recovery in 3-4 weeks. Meanwhile, semi-confinement to reduce opportunities for stressing the breaks before they heal.

Judging from the bill I'm happy it didn't require surgery!!!

History/Government Quiz

I found this over at Hillbilly White Trash.

You Are a Smart American

You know a lot about US history, and you're opinions are probably well informed.
Congratulations on bucking stereotypes. Now go show some foreigners how smart Americans can be.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Some Days Are an Adventure

New puppy. Yep, you saw the other posts. Well, today he was going to go to work with me but that got changed -- about 2 miles from the house. I decided to take the day off and renovate the canine accommodations to accommodate the puppy. I worked my tail off.

After making a list of needed items (and checking it twice by the way) I headed to Amarillo to pick them up. It was an uneventful trip and I had no problems getting what I needed. On the way back home I took an alternate route and about 3 miles before I made it home I saw a little old lady standing anxiously beside her car on the shoulder of the road. The hood was up and the doors were open. She was looking back up the road, straining as though she was trying to see something. I pulled over to help.

It seems that her 80 year old husband had trekked down to Palo Duro Creek to try and get some water to refill their radiator that had boiled over. She was worried about him because he had been gone a long time. It was only about 150 yards down a steep embankment, through head high weeds to the creek. I couldn't see him so I headed off to find him. About the time I got to the creek, he came climbing out. No, he hadn't fallen in, he had been hunting for something to get some water in. He had a trash bag with a couple of gallons of water in it. I helped him get up the hill while I carried the water. He was fine but winded and definitely tired from his climb.

We got the water into his radiator and everything seemed to check out but I suggested and he agreed, that he needed a mechanic to look it over. So I led him into town to a mechanic. Everything seemed to be fine when I left him.

So, back to my canine accommodation renovation project. It took all day. About 4:00 I realized that I needed one more item to complete things, so I headed into town to get what I needed. Of course it wasn't to be found, so I headed toward Amarillo.

About a mile north of the Canyon city limits, in heavy traffic northbound to Amarillo, a deer decided to cross the highway. I saw it coming across the southbound lanes and slowed. It bounded over the concrete divider just in front of me and right into the grill of the SUV that was travelling in the right-hand lane. A high school kid was driving. The glass flew, his grill flew, his hood flew up in front of his windshield, the deer flew -- in fact, I thought it was going to land in the back of my pickup. He made it to the side of the road and I pulled over to see how he was. He was shaken up but OK. Another vehicle stopped and checked on him while I called 911. The local police were there in less than 5 minutes followed a few minutes later by a firetruck and emergency vehicle. A little overkill on the response but impressive anyway. The local police officer was concerned about touching the deer without gloves so I drug the little 4-point buck in the velvet out of the highway while he watched. They just took my name and phone number and I headed on to Amarillo to get my part.

Dark-thirty and project virtually completed. One minor detail that must wait until daylight. Tired and worn out, I took young Duke (new puppy) out for his evening stroll and relief. I was leading him on a leash. He decided to run circles around me. I tripped and stepped on his leg. Tomorrow he goes for his cast. I felt sick. Just the thing to top off this day of adventure.
For those of you who seem to be interested:
This is Cocoa, our chocolate Labrador Retriever.

This is Duke, our new Australian Shepherd.

Now, aren't y'all impressed.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day of Labor and....

Labor Day. I've never celebrated it but always took it off when offered. Our industry (agriculture) is not known for taking Labor Day as a holiday. Animals still need to be fed, fields need to be plowed, biological cycles continue unabated. Since I'm the "boss" of an agri-business it was my decision to work today. The phone started ringing before 8:00 a.m. with customers asking, "are y'all open today?" It turned into a rather busy day.

Tomorrow the kitchen renovation begins. We just finished unloading cabinets and clearing things out because tomorrow the demolition team comes. Well, that might be a little overstated. We're not totally re-doing everything -- just counter tops, sink and fixtures and some appliances. We will keep the cabinets and the tile on the floor. We will be re-painting and putting in a new back splash but not moving any walls or anything like that. I guess that means we will be eating out for the next week or so. My wife will like that but I'm spoiled to her good cooking. I definitely prefer it.

We also had a new addition to the family today. A tri-colored Australian Shepherd pup. He is "The Duke." No, he won't be a working dog. He will be a family dog. I'm not sure how well he will get along with our chocolate lab. She definitely put the "dominant" female whup on him. It didn't seem to phase him though. He seems pretty sharp.

I did spend a little time working on my other blog, Common Sense Agriculture, Conservation and Energy, today. I "begged onto" a few blog rolls and added a few links. It's an interesting challenge to introduce a new blog. How do you "politely" introduce it to folks? How do you generate traffic? How do you find other bloggers who are likely to be interested in it?

The new blogger tool with links in the profile for common interests is helpful. I've used it to hunt for other sites that list agriculture as their profession on the site profile. I've not found many sites that are truly agricultural in nature though -- at least not blogs. There are many, many agriculture related websites, just not that many bloggers. Of course, I'd be happy if I was proven wrong.

The Common Sense blog is where I am posting articles that I have written that our local newspaper is publishing. But, since they are only using one article per week, I am trying to post other items of interest during the rest of the time. The articles that get published will have "published" in the labels. Since they are going on the Agriculture Page of the newspaper, they will all be agriculture related.

Well, so much for the rambling this evening. I need to do some research.