A Challenge For Bakers

Monday is the day the agency I work for makes ...

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This special recipe for chocolate chip cookies is for the bakers in the world.  This flavorful cookie guarantees to make you the hit of any small town. The assembly of the recipe will present a challenge to even the most experienced baker, i.e. unless you cook for large groups. I discovered the recipe while touring on a vacation in Charleston, South Carolina. The ingredients are simple, and easily accessible from any grocery store.

These cookies will make your taste buds jump for joy. They will bring you satisfaction for  a long time, and they freeze well too. The chocolate speckled wafers make a wonderful treat for great grandfathers who served in the Navy during WWII. No doubt, the taste will awaken a memory cell tucked deep within the recesses of  a sailor’s brain.

If you decide to bake up a batch using this recipe, send me a few dozen, I love them

The Wabbits Ally With Radical Terrorists

Today is opening day of a new chapter in the Wabbit War. Last year (2010), Grumpa Joe (GJ) battled the Wabbits, and by late August they disappeared from the garden. However, GJ uncovered large amounts of evidence to suggest the Wabbits will return again soon.  Throughout the winter there has been an abundance of snow, and the level of Wabbit tracks in the snow was telling. In addition, early this spring GJ uncovered evidence that the Wabbits devastated his prize Viburnum shrub by clipping all the lower stems, and leaving the naked center branch looking like a torch. Piles of Wabbit scat encircle the Viburnum.

The tulips, a Wabbit favorite, are just beginning to open. Grumpa Joe sits at the window awaiting the first Wabbit attack hoping to prevent needless tulip decapitations.

Late last summer, a new enemy joined the Wabbit Wars; Cirsium arvense(Canadian thistle). This new enemy employs radical terrorist techniques. He attacks by popping up in the middle of a dense lawn or flower bed. By the time he is sighted he has sent combatant runners  spreading around the yard to establish more sleeper cells. The mower is one of the primary forces GJ used to combat them in the lawn. The whirling blade whacks the Cirsium; wounding, but also infuriating him. The warrior returns stronger than before. During his recovery he dispatches several young roots burrowing underground to establish new cells. Within a week, the cells begin to pop up along a line extending from the wounded warrior.

In the flower beds, the Cirsium arvense terrorists work under cover of foliage to grow and strengthen. By the time GJ spies evidence of their presence, they are fully established and towering over the flowers held hostage to hide their activity. They send copious numbers of sleeper cells running in many directions. They sleep underground until ready to attack then spring up everywhere within ten feet of origin.

Several times, GJ attacked them with the digger tool, and even a spade. Pulling  out runners, and following them to new cells. Often, he pulled up two feet of roots with green shoots that had sprouted along the runner. If a single small piece of the root breaks off during removal, it survives to become a new sleeper cell. The Cirsium reestablishes itself, and within a week new sleeper cells are terrorizing the flower bed.

Grumpa Joe attended a late fall conference of Master Gardener Generals to discuss the Cirsium terrorists. The generals instructed GJ to rid the Cirsium arvense with the dreaded garden nemesis; Roundup. In the early spring, GJ would have to drench the fresh young shoots with this chemical killer of broad leaf vegetation. The chemical works by absorbing into the foliage and traveling into the root system.

This afternoon at 13:00 hours, Grumpa Joe dressed in full chemical battle garb. He loaded his sprayer with the prescribed ratio of concentrate and water. He pumped the tank sixty times to pressurize the nozzle, and forged into battle. By 14:30 hours all visible Cirsium terrorists were drenched in chemical.

By 13:00 hours tomorrow, Grumpa Joe will know if his attack affected the Cirsium army.  He will sorrow over the many innocent garden plants he has killed. What he will not know is this; has he merely sent the Cirsium arvense Terrorists underground to form new sleeper cells?

A New Playbook For Reporters

Finally, some of the press is beginning to learn that Obama puts his pants on the same way they do. He doesn’t magically, snap his fingers or wiggle his nose and clothing appears on his body. He is mortal.

In a recent interview by a Texas reporter, Obama was visibly upset by the audacity of the reporter’s method. The guy used the O’Reilly technique of asking a question in the middle of Obama’s standard answers. WFAA Reporter Brad Watson from the Dallas-Fort Worth area held his ground and continued to press for answers Obama was not prepared to answer. Later, Obama chastised the man for interrupting him.

During the 2008 campaign, Obama and his minions controlled the message to the press by feeding them snippets of the campaign script. The press loved it because they didn’t have to use any brain power to think of questions to ask. Could it be that a new generation of reporters, has grown up with the internet and have trained themselves to obtain answers by cutting and pasting with a few button pushes? Have reporters forgotten that direct questions provide real answers? Joe the Plumber was the only one who ever asked Obama a direct question during the 2008 campaign that he answered extemporaneously, and we learned a lot from that response.

A few brave reporters have written a new playbook, and I fully expect to see more courageous writers enter the game. By challenging the president and his administration with serious questions, and insisting the questions not be responded to with pre-rehearsed answers we will begin to see the true Obama emerge as a man who wants to rule the world at our expense.

A Freshman Class Turns Into a Career

Pens Pencils

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DRAFTING

The pre-engineering curriculum at Mendel included Mechanical Drawing.  My drawing skills were pretty fair by then, and I became familiar with the tools by watching my brother Bill use a T-Square and a compass. The first day of class it became obvious I had to begin from scratch.   Each student received a package of drawing tools that included a small board, T-square, 2 triangles, protractor, compass, a triangular scale, some pencils, a brush, and a Pink Pearl eraser.

Printing the alphabet became the first assignment, but before starting, I learned how to use masking tape to fasten paper to the board.  Mr. Allen, the teacher, showed me how to properly use a T-Square, and to draw parallel guide lines for the letters.

Pencils suddenly became a science.  There are many grades of pencils. I learned to identify the softness of lead by the code number and letter printed on the end, ranging from very hard, to very soft.  For instance, a 4H lead is very hard and will make a very fine gray line, and an HB is very soft and black.  Pressing hard on a pointy 4H pencil  to make a heavy line will cut the paper.  Soft leads like “HB” make blacker, wider lines that look good, but smear easily, and smudge the paper.  A dirty drawing brought a reduced grade.  Neatness was essential to survive the class.

During my years of employment, I learned that machine drawings are larger and more complicated. They smudge easier because of the amount of lead on the paper.  The smudged lead makes the background gray resulting in a poor blue print copy. A print machine requires light to pass through the drawing paper everywhere except where there is a line. If the background around the lines is smudged and dark gray, the copy will show blue lines on a dark blue background. The quality is lousy. The most easily read prints consist up of sharp blue lines on a white background.

It seemed like weeks before we actually began to put a pencil to the paper. That is when I learned to print letters using prescribed strokes. First came large capital letters. When Mr. Allen felt I had mastered those, he started me on lower case. I learned to print letters between guide lines upright, slanted, large, and small before progressing to lower case. It must have been four classes before we finally got to draw something real; a two-inch square.

Mr. Allen referred to every drawing as a plate. Each plate required a border, a title block, and finally the object.  The title block needed space for the plate title, the date, our name, and class number.  Each time we turned in a plate, he graded the quality of printing, line sharpness, and neatness. He subtracted points if lines defining a corner did not meet by touch.  Conversely, he subtracted points if the corner lines crossed.  In modern Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs, the computer will not recognize lines that are not connected to form a geometric solid model or wire frame.  The lines appear on the screen, but the surface is not fully defined until the lines connect by five decimal places.

I loved the drawing class, and still love all aspects of it till this day.  I loved making the plates and using two views to create a third.  I really like making 3D solids views using a vanishing point perspective.

Mechanical Drawing was my first and only “A” in freshman year.   Mr. Allen did a great job teaching the fundamentals and I eagerly learned by doing the work.  Drawing takes practice to develop skill, just as cooking or working a computer.  Without the hands-on practice, the skills are lacking. The training served me well, because I used that basic skill to make a very good living.

One of my classmates had a terrible time with drawing. After several weeks, he still lacked the ability to draw a right angle using the tee-square and a triangle. His square never was square, his printing looked infantile, and the drawings were dirty. The lines resembled those made by a crayon. It was painful to watch him struggle so hard with something that came so easy to me. I helped him as much as I could by coaching, but he failed the class, and dropped out of pre-engineering.

Many years later, one of my draftsman was similarly handicapped. The man graduated from a prominent technical school with a degree in drafting. I assigned only the most simple components for him to draw. He struggled with completion. It took days for him to finish a drawing that would have taken another draftsman a couple of hours to complete. I reviewed his work often. I finally spoke to him frankly,

“Ike, you are not qualified as a draftsman perhaps you should find another field of work.”

“I have a diploma from my school.” I paid $5000 to get it.”

“Ike, I don’t care how much tuition you paid, you are not a draftsman.”

Because Ike was the first and only black employee in our engineering department, my boss wouldn’t let me fire him. Ike had nine kids, and worked part-time as a minister. Often, when I made my rounds, and walked in on him, he was on the phone counseling one of his congregation. Eventually, I learned that Ike started a second full-time job with benefits. That became the trigger for my boss to give me the signal to let him go.

Firing a guy is not easy, but in this case, I did Ike, the company, and me a favor.

Are “We the People” Going to Stand for That?

According to my dictionary the word slavery defines a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them. When America rebelled against England  in 1776, slavery was legal. Landowners owned slaves. The founders struggled with the concept of keeping slaves while they defined the concept of “all men are created equal.”  Thomas Jefferson originally had words which included slaves in the Declaration of Independence. The southern colonies would not join the union if the declaration included slaves as equals. A long debate ensued and ultimately, the fathers concluded that a strong union of the thirteen colonies was most essential.  Jefferson wrote the last version of the Declaration of Independence as it stands today. The founders were the first to kick the  problem(slavery) down the road; thus setting a precedent for current congressional leaders to do the same with issues like Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid.

One hundred years later, Abraham Lincoln, founder of the Republican party, finally decided to end the can kicking and abolished slavery. The cost he incurred was huge both in dollars, and in human lives. He believed as did Jefferson (who was reportedly the founder of the Democrat party) that the slaves  must be included in the “all men are created equal,” phrase of the Declaration. Lincoln took a hard stand and signed the Emancipation Proclamation, ending slavery in the USA. He chose to do the right thing and not to kick the can down the road.

I suggest that everyone review the Declaration of Independence. I did, and I if I didn’t know it was the Declaration, I would swear the writer described the same issues we face in our country today. The Declaration is a call to arms and gives the rationale for doing so. Today, citizens of the USA are  divided.  Half are on the side of the government (monarchy) while the other believes in the right to govern themselves. In 1774-76 the colonists made ready for armed revolution to take their country from the King of England. Today, we see a Tea Party who believes as the colonists, i.e. we have the right and moral obligation to govern ourselves. Instead of an armed revolution Tea Party people like myself believe in peaceful use of the existing process to win back the country.

Since Lincoln’s time, our leaders in Washington have invented new philosophies for governing. Some say, that it is the role of Government to take care of the people under the “Welfare” clause of the Constitution. There is a Jefferson quote carved in stone at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington that contradicts the philosophy that we are stupid, and need to be cared for;

“I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

Thomas Jefferson believed in man’s ability to think and care for himself. We do not  need another man to  Lord over us.

Thomas Jefferson foresaw that  if left unchecked, the government would rebel against the will of the people and revert to tyranny. He truly believed as did his compatriots, that “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed . . . .”

Obama’s speech this week to the GWU students clearly signaled his intention to stifle any effort by the people to take back their government and reverse exorbitant and  costly social programs.

Are We the People going to stand for that, or  will we allow him to lead us down the road to big government dependency and ultimately become tax-slaves to feed the monster?

I Call and Raise You a Trillion

Poker is not one of my games, but I know enough to realize a hand with a low pair will lose to a royal flush.

POTUS is currently handing out his usual campaign rhetoric about Republicans killing granny and we have to tax the rich some more. Throughout his campaign I heard his sorry story about how the Republicans only wanted to hand the voters the same old crap that doesn’t work. It seems the shoe is on his foot now. He is the one spewing the same tired old ideas that don’t work

This week Representative Paul Ryan announced a new plan for cutting spending, saving Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. At the same time his plan will cut the deficit and balance the budget.

Obama panicked when he saw the plan. The tone of his voice and agressive attack on the plan made it obvious that he feared the young congressman who proposed it. In his panic I’m sure he commanded his advisors to spend another trillion to take the plan apart line by line, word by word like he goes over the budget with his scalpel. He has to destroy this plan or he is a one term president.

My last job as a private sector worker was to create plans.  Most of the projects were to introduce a complete multi-part product line. The work included design and development of the products as well as the plastic molds, automated assembly, and automated packaging involved in production. It is not easy. The first task is to define the goal. Once we set the goal, all the plans centered on achievement. The plan usually took several groups many days, and often weeks to develop. When we finally presented it to upper management, they typically took our timeline and folded it in half. It was never good enough. Most times, however, by working the plan at a feverish pace removing every obstacle in the way of the critical path, we made the original estimate.

Planning is hard, picking on a plan is easy. In Obama’s speech to George Washington University students, he ruthlessly picked apart Paul Ryan’s “Path to American Prosperity.” For some reason, Obama cannot see prosperity as an outcome for anyone but himself. President Obama very arrogantly presented his own plan. It was his generic old campaign BS about cutting the deficit without a single suggestion for how he will do it; not a single specific. Yet, he picked apart a very detailed plan with many specifics. The details are what  make it easy for the criticizer to pick something apart.  There are thousand ways to skin a cat, and one man’s choice of a way to carry out a task may not be another’s.  Yet Obama decided to critique Ryan’s plan without offering a single  alternative. He chose instead to mis-represent the plan with blatant lies intended to scare.

What Obama and his leftist cronies fail to understand is that old guys like myself would be happy to choose their own plan for medical care, just give us the opportunity to do it. Currently, Medicare is not a choice. Medicare has been forced upon us by a government that believes it knows what is best for us, and now that same government is placing blame for the bankrupt system on the people it forced into using it. The new system, or Obama-care, is the new democrat disaster for eliminating a poor plan. With its death panels, the current Obama-care law is the plan that will kill granny, not the Ryan suggestion.

Obama and the entire Liberal world does not have a rats ass clue how to even start on a plan like the one presented this week. Obama’s rhetoric is still the same, i.e. rob from the Capitalist Fats Cats to feed government Fat Cat Bureaucracies. Oh, and trickle a speck down to the poor too.

He has never revealed his goal, except to state that he wants to transform America. Transform it to what?

We the People must insist that the President be called upon to present his specific vision and specific plan for transforming America.

Here is one last thought:  If the president finally succeeds in destroying capitalism, and every single job in America is gone, and all of us depend on the government for life sustenance, who will continue to feed the monster?

Burning Gas-Butchart Gardens

The following morning we drove out to see the Butchart Gardens. I had been there before and knew what to expect. Peggy didn’t have a clue. We stopped at the entrance kiosk and I paid the man to enter. She looked at me and said,”we’re paying forty dollars to see flowers?”

I ignored her question. We parked and walked through the gates into the garden. For the next six hours we oohed and ahhed at every turn in the path. It was cloudy, but bright. A perfect day to take photos, and I did take a few pictures.

I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I did taking them.

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