Archive for December, 2010


Friday, December 31st, 2010

One day out of every year something magical happens. I get my way for the entire day. This is not to imply that I don’t get my way the other 364 days per year, but rather on this day, Jenny truly exercises even more patience and willingness to let me push the limits. It’s clearly insanity but she’s got this notion that the birthday boy can ask for anything and get it because it’s his “special day”. And who am I to argue with this tradition implanted in her head by her parents (many thanks to her parents for this one!). This is a picture of me taking full advantage of my “special day”.

Thanks to Anne and Doug for the picture (which I touched up with some quotes) and for the wonderful time snowmobiling.  snowmobiling.jpg

Venison and bear scat cookies

Monday, December 27th, 2010

While we don’t hunt or fish, we were able to pass out cookies with an Idaho flavor for Christmas. Venison and bear scat cookies.


Merry Christmas

Idaho – License to try new things.

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Non-Idaho family/friends will think I’m nuts (correction – more nuts). Idaho friends have probably been doing this for years and will think nothing of it.

I’m not a doctor, I don’t even play one on TV. However, I do live in Idaho and that seems to give license to do things that one might not do elsewhere. Yesterday, while scraping ice off the car I slipped, fell and a rock cut a fairly deep cut on my hand. I knew we were going to be late for church. Nurse Jenny’s diagnosis – emergency room, now – dry heave. But after the $500 expense of my last visit to the ER, I couldn’t justify the cost when you consider how many tanks of gas that would put into an ATV. A good cleaning with hydrogen peroxide, three butterfly bandages later and we were back on the road. About mid-service I realized that the bleeding wasn’t exactly “under control”.  Ah, good thing I’d brought more bandages just in case.

A $30 trip to Walmart and our medicine cabinet was restocked. I also bought a tube of super glue. We’ve all heard the stories about how ER doctors simply glue wounds shut now-a-days. What do you know, it works great.


Saved $470. Got a big “sympathy” bandage. Learned a new skill. Priceless.

Net Neutrality

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Please take time to read this. It WILL effect your life. I seldom use this forum as a soap box but sometimes I’m asked by enough people that it’s just easier to document it and send people here for info.

Is Net Neutrality a good thing or a bad thing? 
If you look at everything through the lens of what the internet is, and would it easily could be, you’ll see why it can be good for consumers whether or not we have net neutrality. The following explains net neutrality in it’s simplest terms and will show you that there’s something much better than either debating net neutrality.

Net Neutrality Defined So My Mom Can Understand It.

Currently, everyone’s connection to the internet is treated equally by your internet service provider or ISP (cable/phone/DSL/wireless). This unbiased treatment of the data traversing their network is called Net Neutrality. ISPs are restricted from discriminating between different types of content that they like and don’t like. You get your information unfiltered and everything at the same speed. That “sounds” like a good thing.

ISPs on the other hand think it is bad because they feel that since the data is traversing their network, they should have the right to have more control over it. Now, if you love large publicly owned corporations because they always do things in your best interest, then you should agree with them. In the most reasonable implementation, they want to prevent abuse by restricting abuse by a small percentage of people who horde much more than their fair share of data. Given that toe in the door, they can then take the whole concept a lot further.

For example, if you like downloading movies from (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) or like to listen to music (Pandora, your favorite radio station) which in many cases comes at no extra charge, ISPs don’t want to charge “you” for this, they want to charge the source. The result is that these once inexpensive and free services are now going to come back at you and require you to pay them to get their data to you over your ISPs network. In short, your price for free just went up. And how many different sources of information do you access on the internet at no extra charge. This “sounds” like a bad thing.

I’ve done my best to describe the two sides. In our current paradigm (mom, that means way of thinking), net neutrality or not sucks for consumers (Sorry mom, that’s the mildest word I can use to state my opinion).

Let The Government Choose

The government is involved at the behest of the debate between consumers and ISPs on this whole issue. Unable to keep it’s nose out of the tent, the FCC is happy to do it’s part. After all, this is an opportunity for them to help consumers? No. Big Corporations? No. Themselves? Bingo. Let’s not leave out Uncle Sam. It doesn’t matter what the result is, you get to enjoy paying taxes for a brand new commission to govern over net neutrality or not neutrality. Think phone bill with all the extra local, state and federal taxes now added to your internet bills.

If that’s not bad enough, now the government is going to have an influence on what is and what is not acceptable “content” and “fairness”. As if Washington doesn’t have enough to take sides on in the name of keeping their jobs by giving the appearance of representing the people at the expense of freedom. This will be a political football for whomever is in power. And the governed just keep getting governed.

Is this a liberal/conservative debate? No, it’s consumer vs ISPs and government. There are many complaints from both sides about why this is so bad.
A Much Better Proposal. No Pitchforks Required.

All of the problems explained above can be resolved in one sentence that everyone can understand. (Begin Solution) Net Neutrality wouldn’t be an issue if high speed internet access providers were required to wholesale (share) their network to other providers (End Solution). Then you can select your high speed provider just like you could select your long distance company. That’s it. If you like company X because they’re won’t charge you to listen to CNN and FOX over the internet, you can pick them. This is one area where you can be pro-choice and not have to fight about it. The alternative is less choice at more expense.

Most of America has only once source of high speed internet access at your house. When I was a kid we had only one source for phone service. Slowly that opened up with choices of local companies and even long distance providers. With choices, you can select the provider the best suits your needs for service or price or both. Choice is good for consumers and it weeds own bad service providers. Did Bell Telephone collapse when it was broken up or did it eventually become AT&T? Yes, even the corporations can win. And the government, they can go back to finding other creative ways to involve themselves in our pocketbooks.

My advice, tell the government to to require ISPs to wholesale (share) their networks so they can no longer act as monopolies and let the people decide.

Thank you for your time.

The Daily Wanna-Bee does it again

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Hey, the local school kids received their own dictionaries from a local Elks club. What a wonderful gift. Here they are featured in the Daily Bee newspaper with the headline “Armed with knowledge”. They sure are.


I only wish the Daily Bee editors were armed with either knowledge, a dictionary or even spell check. Click the image below to read the text below the picture.


Side note: This is what happens when you try to put a piece of paper down on the floor to take pictures.


Doing Winter

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Surviving winter here is easy. Staying sane while surviving requires a few coping skills. After a record snow in November (25″ in less than 2 weeks), December is just rainy and melting. I don’t think that will last. We did get some snow shoeing in earlier this month though. So far we haven’t planted our faces in the snow. We’re good for about 30 minutes before we have to stop, drop and die of exhaustion. The deal is that if needed, the survivor can cannibalize the other until spring when they can walk back to the house. (Note to self: BBQ sauce)


Old neighborhood shot for the family

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

If you’re not family, this post will bore you to death. So don’t bother reading on.

Hey family, when I went back to Illinois in November I was able take a quick trip down memory lane. I thought you’d enjoy looking at these and telling someone the many stories that go along with each picture.

wooddale-gilberthouse-01.jpg wooddale-gilberthouse-02.jpg

Wood Dale House today. I used to jump over those two pine trees. The one on the right used to resemble Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree because of all the times we plowed into it. Hey, check out that fancy front door. Remember the stupid screen door that never latched that Gino would use as an exit. I see they never replaced the two pillars on the front overhang. Remember how those things use to dangle there and Dad would always be trying to anchor them to the ground only to have them dislocated by one of us swinging on it. Note: The lamp post is gone.
wooddale-wisnewski.jpg wooddale-varga.jpg

The Wisnewski’s and Varga’s house. Check out the size of the willow in the Varga’s yard.  Not much has changed there. Even the cracks in the driveway are the same. Wisnewski’s house is missing the bushes and the statues. Otherwise, it looks the same.


Ray, this one’s for you. Your favorite neighbor appears to still be living there. Note that they never took out the extra pad on the driveway we needed for all the extra cars.  I think those hedges were put in there just for you Ray. The two maples are from the roadway. And look the current occupants of our old house still can’t hit the driveway and all the lawn is killed by the street, just like old times.


This is kind of sad. The old Jewel Osco.  It just doesn’t have the same friendly feel. But if we lived there, Mom would surely find the prices appealing. We have a Ben Franklin here in Idaho and in fact, Jenny and I were in there today. No one cent candy or that store manager with the cleffed lip. Remember him?

That’s all for now. Go ahead and share amongst your significant others.

The Mill Hill, A Kid’s Perspective

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

“The Mill Hill” is an overpass that goes over interstate 90 in Wood Dale, Illinois (where the world really is flat). It was the biggest hill in the area where I grew up and it was huge. I prided myself in being able to ride my bike over it without having to stop. In fact, I could race up it and would coast all the way down the other side, exhausted. It was the biggest obstacle between the house I grew up in and my grandmother’s house two miles away. But her pancakes and hugs were worth the trip. I recently went back to my childhood neighborhood and snapped this picture of the behemoth.


Somehow the hill looked amazingly puny. My yard from the bottom to the top is a few times higher than this thing. My guess is that with all the traffic riding over it, year after year, it’s been packed down to this little bump in the road that you see here. That, or the fact that, now that we live in the mountains, this really is a puny bump in the road. I can’t get over how small that hill has become, and yet back in the day, it merited a name that struck fear in the hearts of bike riders everywhere.

P.S. Did I really use the phrase “back in the day”? Clearly a sign of old age.

What do you call a person who lies?

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

“Read my lips. No new taxes.” “I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.” I can’t count the number of times President Bush junior’s lies were brought to my attention by my liberal friends. As if my conservative values mean that I walk lock step with every republican in office. Yawn. “If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not a single dime,” President Obama said.
The consequence for irresponsible voters is an electorate that is encouraged by Americans to enslave Americans. What do you call a person who lies? The answer for this generation is – Mr. President.