Wednesday, July 29, 2015

PP in Trouble

My father and I went to make arrangements for my mother's funeral last December. One of the stories I find myself telling is that my father wrote a check as a deposit on that day. Then, on the night of Mom's wake, one of the first things Dad did was to seek out the business office so that he could write a second check for the balance of the funeral expenses. When this happened, I was somewhat mystified about why Dad was doing what he was doing. It wasn't until I was telling this story to my co-worker, Matthew, and hearing his perspective did it make any sense. Matthew's perspective was that Dad was trying to control what he could control. What I find myself saying is that Dad couldn't control that he was at the funeral home and that his wife of 50+ years had passed away, but he could control that he had an outstanding balance on his bill and he could control when and how it was to be paid. In a strange way, the actions of Dad and Matthew's interpretation of the situation has become tenets, or guiding principles, for how I've been trying to live my life since Mom died. I am trying my best to focus on what I can control and to let go of the things in life that I cannot control. For example, I can control my reaction to other people's words and deeds. I cannot control the weather or how long I am going to live. Sure, I can do some things to assist me in living longer. I am unlikely to douse myself with gasoline and run around with matches today - I can control that. I cannot control if a car is going to strike me down as I cross a street or if a bolt of lightning is going to core my body.

That all said, I find myself somewhat divided about how to deal with Planned Parenthood. On one hand, from reading this article and this article, it seems that life is not being considered to be precious. I've read a list of businesses, including Pepsi and Coca-Cola, that are in some way tied to Planned Parenthood and, in the same article, it suggested that I not patronize those businesses. Well, I just drank two 20 oz Mountain Dew Live Wire bottles and yes, Pepsi bottles Mountain Dew. Perhaps the obvious choice is to simply stop drinking Mountain Dew because my consumption in some minor way impacts the ability of Planned Parenthood to perform their services. But it's really difficult to fathom my world without Mountain Dew. Or a Coke, like I had at Tony Roma's (a restaurant in Dubuque) last night with my cheeseburger. My challenge for today is to find a way to be stronger and to take personal responsibility for my actions and how those actions impact the causes I believe in.

JP in IL

Upcoming tour dates for Judas Priest include a single stop in the Midwest: Peoria, IL.

Why, of course - it's a 3 hour drive to Peoria, IL, from home - and - it's on a Tuesday night. I don't think I can swing attending.

Here's Matthew's cover of a Judas Priest classic.


This is a snapshot of a moment in time when there were 16 GOP candidates.

They need to lock these 16 people in a room with no assistants and figure out a compromise as to who is going to run for president. All they are doing, right now, is trying to get attention. Hell, Mike Huckabee compared the Iran nuclear deal - which I haven't formulated much of an opinion about on this blog - to sending Jews to the oven! I really wish the GOP would stop pushing each other down to avoid drowning in this overcrowded field. All they are doing is creating material that MSNBC and liberal websites - comes to mind - can easily mock and rally behind.

And I think I'm right. This is from my Fox News First newsletter:


If Donald Trump can lead his closest rival in New Hampshire’s Republican primary by a 2-to-1 margin even after mocking local favorite John McCain’s five years as a prisoner of war, it’s time for Republicans to drop the idea that Trump will burn out or be blown away.

The new Monmouth University poll – which was in the field starting the day Trump made his POW dig – shows the brash businessman with nearly a quarter of the vote, doubling up establishment frontrunner Jeb Bush. And for those who think that the nasty words of Trump’s lawyer about spousal rape or Trump’s history of dealings with the Mafia will undo the candidate, they’re still missing the point.

While there may be some who like the idea of a businessman in the White House, the core of Trump’s support seems to be among those chiefly interested in his power to smash the system – as a destroyer in chief.

You don’t care too much about the policy views or personal life of the guy you hire to bulldoze a building, just so long as he can put it asunder. Republicans have tried hitting Trump for serial flip-floppery, crassness and a lack of qualifications. The collective response from nearly one in five Republicans nationally: So’s yer mom! They don’t want Trump to make Washington work. They want him to burn the place down.

And guess what? That percentage of the party isn’t shrinking. Far from it.

So while candidates, particularly Rick Perry, are going after Trump with barrels blazing they’re not slowing him down. Why? The ironic truth is that the guy with the biggest ego in the field is the one with the campaign that’s really not about him.

But keep Trump in perspective. However long his reign as frontrunner lasts, it is bound to end. And it is not as likely to be from another candidate’s shots or a self-inflicted wound, as it is from the tyranny of fractions.

Republicans have opted to compress their nominating process this cycle. Candidates have been barred from participating in any debates until next week, when some network is kicking things off in Cleveland. Four years ago, the candidates were gearing up for their third debate at this time. As a result of this long period of vamping, candidate after candidate has gotten into the race. This compressed-primary strategy may look very different at the end of a process designed to produce a well-funded and unifying nominee, but in these dog days, the GOP is feeling the grind.

Plus with an open seat, lots of qualified candidates and a beatable Democrat dogging through a phony primary, there are lots of interested individuals. And since there’s seemingly little difference between being a top-tier contender at 6 points and a small-fry with 2 points, many have taken the plunge. In most years, people ask why they should run for president. This year the question seems to be “Why not?”

As a consequence of such a divided political pie, Trump can be the big man with relatively small wedge compared to previous years. But as the process kicks into gear and candidates drop out and constituencies coalesce, 18 percent won’t be enough to claim bragging rights. And with Trump trumping, party pressure will grow for long-shots to get out of the race to give real contenders a chance.

And that may be how the Trump saga ends: Once he is overtaken by other candidates, the wrecking crew that’s backing Trump now may have to accept the fact that he will never get to swing the ball on Pennsylvania Avenue. They will then either move on from politics this cycle or accept a more practical contractor for their planned demolition.

Jeb chides Huck, Huck doesn’t care - Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush took Mike Huckabee to task for comparing President Obama to a Nazi over the Iran nuke deal. Bush said, “The use of that kind of language is just wrong…This is not the way we’re going to win elections and that’s not how we’re going to solve problems. So, unfortunate remark — not quite sure why he felt compelled to say it.” Huckabee, for his part, has shown no sign of backing down.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Three Decades plus 1

Metallica's "Ride the Lightning" album was released 31 years ago today. After all these years, it's awesome that "Creeping Death" gets played in concert.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


For the very first time *EVER* in our many years of camping in Elkader, I am sitting in our camper and connected to the Internet on a laptop and not my cell phone via our family's data plan. For $10, I now have a single access code that I can use on a single device. I chose to use it on my laptop with the idea that using data is an option, if I need it.

Today, we're going to the Sweet Corn Days parade downtown - actually, in 13 minutes. Traditionally, and I see no reason to not do it today, I visit the Elkader Public Library Book Sale. Two years ago, I purchased the PC towers and flat screen monitors that are in the den. One year ago, I took the printer / copier / scanner that they had marked as "free" home with me. I ended up purchasing a cable in Prairie Du Chien, WI, but the actual piece of hardware was free. Now, I have a second printer / copier / scanner in the den because when work decided to change to an Open Office layout, I was told there wouldn't be room for it on my new desk and that I could take it home, if I wanted.

Uh, YEAH!!!

Anyways, it's time to go see what I can get today at the book sale....and watch the parade as well.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


More like this, please.

Fleshing this out a bit, I like that a prominent liberal (Maddow) and a prominent conservative (Santorum) had a debate, face-to-face, about what they agree and disagree about in the world. I really think that if people would get in the same room, there would be a lot less "hating" from Ls to Cs and from Cs to Ls.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Monday, July 20, 2015


After reading the first few pages of "Aftermath" on the Entertainment Weekly website, I'm unimpressed with the writing style. I didn't begin reading the published words from the novel that provides the missing pieces in the Star Wars Universe between "Return of the Jedi" and "The Force Awakens" to be grand literature. I purposely set aside my tendency to be snobby when I read writing. As a former English major, sometimes it's difficult to do and sometimes I fail, but I don't think it was even a factor as I read the words. The writing style is so choppy, so void of details about what the speaker sees, hears, and touches. In science fiction writing, especially the Star Wars Universe, details are the essence of what causes debates among fans of the film series and the novels that have been published over the years concerning the characters that are also in the films as well as characters that are only in the novels. My purpose is to not go into depth about what I read because there's no specific paragraph or collection of paragraphs that gave me this impression. Go read it yourself.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

All Sorts of Change

Another Reason to Enjoy Human Beingness

Dondre Alexander was one of a trio of powerhouse players at Iowa City West. His inability to go along with the rules of his high school and his inability to stay in college are well documented. In this article about his recent success in the Prime Time League, I just learned that he had to leave college recently due to his inability to not violate team rules. While his college coach has taken the high road and has declined to talk about what happened, the article mentions that Alexander stated his violation was "connected to numerous violations in his dorm room." The article then sadly points out that the violations caused him to leave campus one week before his finals."

I sincerely hope the attitude of Dondre Alexander translates into action that makes him successful in life.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

More Trailers

It's not laziness that is preventing me from embedding 16 trailers when they are already on this page. I call it not filling the Internet up with redundancy.

Words are Weapons

On the way to work, I heard this Seether tune. I regret not traveling up to Waterloo to see them in January.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Justice's Dawn

These are some of the video / trailers that were released at the 2015 edition of Comic Con:
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

For Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the following video was released that shows footage from behind the scenes:

The Walking Dead season 6 looks tremendously awesome!

The spinoff series, Fear the Walking Dead, looks tremendously awesome as well! August 23, 2015 cannot come soon enough!!!

Pop Evil Bandwagon

I'm really enjoying the band Pop Evil. They are not a new band, but it feels like I'm late to the party.


Yesterday AM, I was up early writing in my 10 year project. The journal project is where I have assigned a month/year combination to a section in one of 24 200 page spiral notebooks. Currently, I'm writing in Volume X, section 03. I began writing on page 55 of 82 @ 6:15 AM and wrote 7 pages. When we got back from the wedding in Marion (details below), I wrote another 3 pages. While I typically begin a section on the first of the month and finish it on the last day of the month, I wrote some long essays in the June section to the extent that I began this current section on 6/23/15. As we are on vacation the last week in July and spending it in Elkader, I had already decided I wanted to finish the July section by Thursday, July 23, so that when we leave home, I can bring the August volume with me. I'm now revising that idea. Because I'm on page 66, with 16 pages remaining in this section, the new plan is to be able to begin the August 2015 section on Friday, July 17, which is the first day of a three day weekend in Elkader.

Also, yesterday, I've seen deer before at the campground in Elkader. As I was writing in the aforementioned journal, I looked out the window and saw this guy.

Then, I opened a second blind that was covering the other window. I think the deer was looking into my soul.

Then a second one appeared and went into the woods.

Then, I showered and got dressed. Karen and I went to the wedding of BSS and LeAnn at Squaw Creek in Marion. This is the only picture I took.

We sat with my former co-workers at Quintrex - Deb (former manager), Phil and his wife Liz. When Liz worked at QDS in Customer Support years ago, I used to pepper our internal documentation with the word "automagically" and while we were eating, she said that she had seen that word somewhere and began to chuckle about it. I admit I had kind of forgot about how I used to use that word. It was my sarcastic dig at the adjective "automatically" being used to describe the functionality in the systems I documented. There is nothing "automatic" about software, in my mind, because a developer wrote the code to do whatever the software does. It may automate manual tasks, such as when you enter a zip code and the city & state are completed, sure. My point, though, is that's performing a task that you would have to do manually. Maybe it's splitting hairs.

Anyways, it was a good conversation. I heard a little about the current scuttle at QDS. As I listened, I couldn't help but think about how the situations I heard being described sounded vaguely familiar. I'm not going to go into detail here because it doesn't really matter what I heard about in that conversation. My point is that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

So, now with the recap of yesterday complete, right now, at this moment, it's 7:35 AM on Sunday, July 12, 2015. I'm sitting in Lou & Jean's sunroom in Balltown. We came from Elkader yesterday in order to see the Balltown fireworks. Among many highlights, I finally got to climb up the TV antenna onto Lou & Jean's roof. Alex had been launching bottle rockets and one of them was carried by the wind onto the roof. Attempts to spray water onto the roof in order to get it to roll down were unsuccessful so up I went. Alex had tried to climb up but got to the roof level and doubted his ability to complete the task.

I took some video of last night:


Last year, I took a lot more videos and a lot more pictures, but I don't think I've watched that video or looked at those pictures. Ever. Thus, I decided I wasn't going to take as much video or take as many pictures.