Monday, October 30, 2006

A Real Fire

Well, Fall is here and Winter isn't far behind. Here in the High Desert of Eastern Oregon it can get pretty cold at night. Thank Cascade Natural Gas we have heat on demand. When we first bought our home, one of its selling points was a floor to ceiling fireplace that opened into the living room and the dining room. I immediately saw an Irish Setter asleep in front of a crackling fire and me in my smoking jacket with my pipe surveying my kingdom. We bought the house on that vision and even though the renter whom we displaced said the fireplace smoked I couldn't wait until Fall so I could fire it up. My wife got to try it out shortly after we moved in in June. Early summer was cold and rainy that year and she found out that the floor furnace that was intended to be the primary source of heat didn't work. I was at summer school in Eugene and she was trying to keep herself and the kids warm. We talked on the phone, but no fire was forthcoming in our beautiful fireplace. I made it back home the next weekend and got it to work. It seemed that it smoked for the renters because they hadn't opened the damper and the only wood we had was soaked from the unnatural June rains. I found some dry wood and showed my wife how to start a fire and all was well. Actually she didn't need it any more because Summer turned on with a vengeance. The Irish Setter came a year later and he did make a great picture lying in front of the fire.

That was over thirty years ago and we still enjoy the fireplace. I have cut and hauled innumerable cords of firewood and enjoyed its warmth often. This year we bought a cord of wood from some ladies who cut and sell wood for extra income and I have officially retired my chain saw. As I sit here typing at the dining room table we have a nice Juniper fire going in the fireplace. By now, our primary heat source is a gas furnace, but the fire has a warming effect. The flames, the crackling, and the glowing embers give an indescribable feeling. Thank heavens we live in a rural area and there are no burning restrictions. I can't imagine living in an area where you can only use your fireplace on certain days. A gas log just doesn't cut it.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Googling my Blog

Like many others (I hope!) I Google myself from time to time, not that I have an ego problem or anything like that. It is interesting to see how many other people have your name and are doing something noteworthy, or should I say Googleworthy. Plus, you sometimes find some real interesting web sites. Anyway, I finally did find my name on page 68 or so and that was good because it confirmed something I had done last year. I signed a letter requesting that evolution be taught as a science in schools, and lo and behold, there I was with thousands of other clergy supporting evolution.

Then I Googled my blog, Rural Rantings , and to my dismay the first hit was Rural Rantings by Wild Woman or some such name. I then went through about 20 pages of rural and rantings in one form or another and didn't find my Blog, on a Google site no less. I was crushed. I know that no one reads these rambling rantings, but I thought Google would at least acknowledge that it existed. What a blow to my ego. I am sufficiently chastised. I shall go and ego no more. Mea Culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


I'm getting tired of the political campaigns. To look at the ads on TV not one of the candidates is worth a penny. If you believe the ads we have a choice between a liar and a cheat. I can't tell what a single one of the candidates stands for. They are all against taxes and they'll make sure that our area will get all the money our liar (or cheat) can get into the budget. They'll also lower taxes so we won't have to pay for anything! What a wonderful world we live in, we can get everything for nothing! P.T. Barnum was right, there is a sucker born every minute, and he is us. We need to get back to real campaigning with debates and fistfights and duels and the like. I can't say what I would do if elected, but I hope that I could keep some of the honor and trust that my folks taught me. Washington does seem to change people, I suppose they have to go along to get along.

The polarization of our nation concerns me. It seems that both major parties do their best to continue the rift. True politics is the art of compromise, not backbiting and backstabbing. It's hard to work a compromise with a person you have just called a lying sonofabitch. Those elected need to understand that they represent us all, not just those who voted for the winner.
I don't mind paying taxes, but I want everybody to pay their fair share. I want good roads and good schools and public libraries and parks and public swimming pools and police and fire and the list is nearly endless. My Dad taught me that you never get something for nothing, you have to pay your dues. I don't see why people don't understand that. You can make a good argument for all those things I mentioned and even though you may not use some of those things, their existence makes this a better place to live. Pay your dues folks, you can't take it with you and your kids will just blow it. Enjoy life, enjoy the gifts God and the government give you.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Power to the People

I just got back from a weeks vacation on the Northern Oregon Coast. We had a great time with my wife's sister and her husband. The weather was great (just a light Oregon "mist" on a couple of days) three sunny days with no wind. We saw all sorts of neat "tourist" stuff and marvelled at the access to the Oregon beaches. Thanks to Oswald West, Tom McCall, and later Governors, the beaches in Oregon are state property and property owners cannot restrict access to the beach. Consequently, everyone can walk on the beach and enjoy the wonders that the ocean provides. Contrast that to our visit to the Connecticutt shore a few years ago. We were given a "pass" to a "public" beach by our motel and told that that would be the only place we could get to the ocean. (actually Long Island Sound) All the other beaches were restricted and available only to the land owners. I can now understand why public beaches are so crowded! There just aren't that many open beaches available back there.
In Oregon, beachfront property owners are prohibited from doing anything to the beach that will change the site. That's why there aren't any of those ugly concrete barriers on the beaches of Oregon. If you want to build right on the beachfront you take your chances with mother nature. That stops folks from building huge eyesores right at the edge of the beach. Most property owners use a setback to protect their homes from winter waves and we don't have too many folks losing their homes every winter as other areas do. Thanks Os and Tom for a great vacation.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Living in Fear

Heard on the news today about an airplane crashing into a high rise apartment building on the Upper East Side of Manhatten. The reporter talked about the panic in the streets when the small airplane exploded into a ball of fire on impact. The reporter surmised that the people were afraid of another terrorist attack ala 9/11. It was later reported that the crash was really an accident and no terrorism was suspected, rather a student pilot who lost track of where they were and hit the building. How sad it is to think that someone's tragic accident becomes an object of fear for the people who witness it. This time it wouldn't have made a difference, but what happens when onlookers are frozen with fear of a terrorist act and don't act to help the accident victim? The president and his cronies have created a climate of fear in this country that has almost paralyzed us. The object of a terrorist is to strike fear in the mind of the populous. Thanks to GW they have succeeded. FDR said it best, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." It is not healthy to live in a constant state of fear, especially when there isn't much that we can do to stop a committed terrorist who is willing to give his life for his cause. If you want to be afraid of something, worry about getting struck by lightening, the odds on that happening are better and you can do something to avoid it. Better yet, read "Brave New World" or "1984" or "Animal Farm" and see how would be dictators use fear to achieve their goals. The comparison with the current regime is downright spooky.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Old Age

I just saw 'The Guardian" with my wife. Kevin Costner plays an over the hill rescue swimmer for the U.S. Coast Guard who tells the equally over the hill bartender/singer (female) "it's hell to get old". Her reply is great. She says and I can't quite quote, "it's great getting older, I've seen thousands of sunsets, drunk a lot of great drinks, sung a lot of songs, screwed my share of guys and I wouldn't give up a thing. It's been a great ride and I can't wait to see what happens next." That's my kind of woman. I turn 67 in a few days and it has been a wonderful trip and I'm sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens next. I compare each sunset with the thousands I've seen and rate them. God does a wonderful job of painting the sky each evening, every sunset is different and not one is boring. Of course, I'm somewhat biased, we have a fantastic horizon here and most of our sunsets are spectacular. The rest are just stupendous. I wouldn't give up a second of my life to re-live, even the tough times. Not much of a rant, but I do get tired of folks complaining about growing old. If you consider the alternative, growing old is fantastic, it means we're still alive and ready for something new. Bring on the old age!!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Voter ID

The next step in controlling the masses is now under consideration in Washington. Voters will be required to present picture ID in order to vote. It seems to me that once you register by providing proper ID that you have proved your bona fides. One letter to the editor in the Oregonian said that picture ID would prevent illegal immigrants from voting. HOW? If they have good enough ID to register they will have good enough ID to vote. This is however good way for the government to control who votes. If they don't want you to vote, all they have to do is say your ID is suspect.
While I look like a Republican, (old and fat) my leftist ideas (feed the hungry, clothe the naked, protect the vulnerable, etc.) are well known in the community so it would be easy for the powers that be to prevent my voting, since my driver's license photo doesn't look much like me. (thinner with a mustache) For a party that claims to want to reduce government the current regime is acting more and more like big brother.