Friday, August 7, 2015

2016 Elections

Just some comments, etc re: the 2016 election.

First, last night, Dr. Ben Carson referred to Saul Alinsky and his "useful idiots" idea, which is actually a quote from Lenin, although whether he said it or not is up for debate.

From Wikipedia, "useful idiot is a term for people perceived as propagandists for a cause whose goals they are not fully aware of, and who are used cynically by the leaders of the cause"

Regardless of the origins, the idea stands.

I encourage my friends, regardless of ideology, to think for themselves. Research any statistics, ideas or agendas put forth by anyone, from any political or "news" organization. Many times, the truth is far from what is put out there.

And PLEASE do not get your information from comedians. While I enjoy John Stewart, Bill Maher and John Oliver, they should not be the source of facts.

For those who think Fox News has an agenda, you are correct. But if you think MSNBC, CNN and other Main Stream Media do not, you are incorrect. Take the information fed to you by these news sources with a large grain of salt. Use it as a jumping off point for your own research on a topic, but do not take anything from any news source as gospel.

Donald Trump said something to the effect that the US has become too PC. I totally agree. I also think he is a blowhard, but that is neither here nor there.

I, for one, would love to have a Libertarian candidate to vote for. The fact that the major outlets, including Fox, are excluding viable Libertarian candidates, is reprehensible. The two party system in the US is a complete sham and shame.

As for my Republican friends, if you are sick and tired of Democrat control over our government, then you really need to look at who can win the general election. It is a never ending source of amusement for me to see candidates from both parties go to the extreme edges of their ideology during a primary, only to come to the center for the general election, only to go towards the extreme end of their ideology after winning.

If Republicans hope to win the general election, they need to nominate the candidate with the best chance of winning, not your favorite among the "choices" you have been presented with.

In my opinion, that is Marco Rubio. He is young, Hispanic, son of immigrants and worked his way through the American Dream to get where he is. He is also articulate and thoughtful.

Ben Carson is clearly the smartest, and most "normal guy" among the group, but he is too "god said this" to win in a general election. Although many people go to a house of worship, very few actually follow all the teachings of their chosen religion.

Jeb Bush seems to be the most qualified all around, but his last name will doom him.

To my Democrat friends, does it not bother you that Hillary is basically anointed as the D candidate? I know it would bother me if my party basically handed the candidacy to a person without any real opposition.

To all my friends, please do not vote based on race, sex, hair color or any other silly thing such as that.

Finally, recognize that any time a group is addressed in a demeaning manner "Clown Car", "Guntards", "Birthers", "Bible Thumpers", recognize that this is a tactic designed to dehumanize and discredit the group before thoughts are engaged.

It is a useful tactic, as it puts the target group on the defensive and diminishes their ideas, before a conversation is had. It is also a tool used by agenda driven people to advance their own, usually opposite, agenda.

As one example, many "news" organizations are referring the the number of Republican Candidates as a "clown car". That car has a billionaire business man, several senators, a Rhodes Scholar, a brain surgeon, CEO of a multi billion dollar organization and several governors. If you were invited to an event where these people were key note speakers, I am quite sure the event would not be referred to as a clown car.

 You may notice that I did not put any demeaning terms in this list that refer to Democrat or Liberal ideology. That is truthfully because I could not think of any terms, in common use, among news outlets, that fit the bill. I am open to suggestions.

 In conclusion, please think critically, take everything from all sources with a grain of salt, and vote with your mind and not with your heart in the coming elections.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My first tractor

I have a lot of earth moving to do, and any tractor would have been a compromise, so instead, a neighbor, who owns a construction company, will be coming up to do the heavy lifting with one of his excavators. Not a mini ex, one of the big boys.

But beyond the big stuff, there is a lot of work to do on my property (15 moutain-ish acres, heavily wooded).

Pulling stumps, moving boulders, lots of leveling, smaller excavation, etc.

So I shopped smaller, and decided on a BX25D.

She was delivered Friday, when I was at work, which made for a long work day.

I already have a shopping list. Going to get spacers from Bro-tek and armor, ripper and thumb from BXpanded. Also going to pick up a lands pride grapple kit at some point.

I have never owned a tractor, but I have driven backhoes and such on occasion. I figured I needed practice, and before I start doing real work near the house, I decided to do some easy, no impact work away from the house.

My home site on a very steep hill. My driveway is about 1300 feet, and ends with in a circle, with my house at the bottom of the circle. Works fine for me and the GF, but any time there are visitors, parking has always been a challenge, as people get blocked in, etc.

So I decided to make some parking spaces. A section of my driveway, right above the circle and the house, goes cross slope. The driveway is level, but to the right is uphill and to the left is downhill.

For my first practice project, I dug up 2 parking spaces uphill and filled in three parking spaces downhill. It was a good learning experience and I am very impressed with the amount of work this little guy can do. I have extremely rocky soil. Lots of boulders and granite rock. Given that, I have plenty of rocks to make a boulder wall, which is what I did on the downhill side. I put a row of boulders at the end of the parking area, and filled in dirt behind to build up the spaces. I still need to get more boulders and more fill to get it completely done, but I am happy with what I accomplished so far.

Of course, as I was learning, I dug too deeply in spots and filled back in, didn't bring enough material, made errors dragging, blah, but it has been time well spent.

There were several boulders that Britney (That is the name of the BX. My GF named her) could not lift, but she was strong enough to push them, so I did that in several cases.

I also wanted to test the stability and ability to climb the hillside. I have 30+ degree slope for most of the property, and she handled fine up and down. I had to make a cross turn at one point, but thanks to the knowledge gained here, it was a non event, albeit slow and pucker factor inducing, plus it was on a 20 degree slope, not the 30.

I had a second task I had to perform that was unexpected. While taking out the trash, I discovered a 10' long branch laying across the driveway. Being curious as to where this came from I looked up, and saw a 50' dead tree, leaning against another, right overhead. Bad situation. But using Britney, I was able to bring the tree down with little fuss and then moved it off the road. Just a little beast of a machine.

I tried to attach photos, but was unsuccessful.

So far, I am very happy. Because of the condition of my soil the bucket and loader are already minus a good amount of paint, but this is a work machine, not a show piece, so I do not care.

Getting a grease gun today, to do the first lubing.

I burned about 8 gallons in 10 hours of run time.

Kept her at 2500 RPM for break in.

Friday, February 20, 2015

New Rider to Record holder in 3 years flat

Kate pulls off a record ride.  As many of you know, Kate pulled off the Ultimate Coast to Coast to Coast ride in July of 2014.

She rode from Key West, FL to Deadhorse Alaska (300 miles north of the arctic circle) and back, solo, in 24 days.

Bad ass doesn't cover it.

She has had some press and Rider Magazine did a nice article on her.

This is my tribute video to her bad assery.