Some say the world will end with fire.

Others say with ice.

From what I've tasted of desire

I hold with those that favor fire.

But if I had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate,

To say that for destruction ice,

Is also great and would suffice.

Robert Frost


"Good things come to those who wait, but, only the things LEFT by those who hustle." - Unknown (at least by me)

"Life is wonderful, without it you are dead." - Hy "Pete" Peterson - Park City and Kenecott Miner

"Don't worry about those people in your past---there is a reason they are not in your present." - Unknown

"Life's tough - it's even tougher if you're stupid." - John Wayne

"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary!" - Vince Lombardi

"If you aren’t living on the edge, you’re probably taking up too much space.” ~ Attributed to Jim Whittaker by Doug ‘Swani’ Swantner, Alaska Smokejumper and Air Attack Base Manager (Ret.)

About Me

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I am married and have seven children and twenty grandchildren. I retired January 1, 2010 after working 39+ years for the Forest Service...NEW CHAPTER IN MY LIFE HAS BEGUN!

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Friday we went on a road trip - the only thing planned on the entire trip was that I had to be in a town 5 hours North of us at 12:00 noon for a retirement lucheeon - PIZZA PARTY. It was a hoot. It was a great trip and we left home early - mainly because I woke up very early and couldn't go back to sleep. We got there at 10:30 so I went shopping for a gag gift to give my friend that was retiring. I got what I figured was the best gift I could get for him. I got him a bunch of police toys for kids like hand cuffs, a batton, a badge, a radio, and a gun. I got all of that so he could impersonate a cop if he wanted to. He has been a cop for over 20 of his 30 year career. When I gave the toys to him I told stories that each toy reminded me of when we worked together. I didn't make them sound bad as they were but in our time together we dealt with some really scary things. He is one of the people in my life that if I called for help - he'd be there - no matter what help I needed or asked for - he'd be there. I would (and have) trust my life to him in any situation we were involved in. It was good seeing his wife too and I haven't seen their child since he was two days old so I said a few things to him too. I ruffled his hair pretty good and his mother told Inklings he would hate that. But - He didn't and we visited a few minutes and later he went with me and his dad to get some things and we laughed a bit more about our friendship. I think he was awed that me and his dad did those things together. He was very respectful and very interested in what I had to say. Maybe I helped his folks a little because they are having some trouble with him right now.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


T'day I got a clean bill of health from all the tests the Doctor gave me last week. The blood glucose is moderately high, the cholesterol is below 200, I do not have prostrate cancer, and as of tonight at 1800 it is official. I DO NOT - REPEAT DO NOT - HAVE COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder). I have told the Doctor several times that my lungs are fine and the only place I have any remaining problems associated with 40 years of smoking is in my bronchial tubes and on my vocal cords. The diagnosis and the breathing test I took last week confirms it - I am clean and my lungs are clear - I still have to stay on the prescriptions he has me on because they help with the swelling in the bronchial tubes but it is a good feeling to get that diagnosis out of my files.

OK so it is two years, five months, thirteen days, eighteen hours, forty five minutes and 25 seconds since I quit smoking (but who's counting?) and I have finally cleaned out my lungs. The doctor told me that it was very likely that I would be completely clear by two years - I was pretty disappointed when that didn't happen but guess I am ok with it now.

When I went in for the breathing test the technician asked me why I was there and I told him I thought I had been mis-diagnosed - he said well when we are through here we'll let your doctor know and he can decide. We went through the test and my oxygen saturation was 103, I breathed in 5 times more air when told to inhale deeply and breathed out 25 percent more air when told to breath out than I did in the normal breathing mode. They tested me also after a treatment of albuterol - which is supposed to help a lot - and every single response was worse than before I was treated. As I was getting ready to leave the technician said "You may be right." TURNS OUT I WAS RIGHT AND HAVE BEEN RIGHT FOR SEVERAL MONTHS.

I am ecstatic - I DON'T HAVE COPD - can't get much better than that!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Dr. Psycho asked me yesterday if I was going to blog (rave on) about the bailout and AIG giving all those bonuses. I wasn't even thinking of doing so but since he asked I have thought about it a lot---so if you don't like what you read blame it on Dr. Psycho.

AIG got over $170 billion in funds for helping (just AIG) get past their bad insured loans in a law that was passed before the current $700+ billion package that is supposed to stimulate the economy. Now everyone is mad that they gave out I believe $243 million (or 1.43% of the $170 billion bailout) in performance bonuses. OK I believe the performance bonuses were unwarranted and I don't see how they can say the people deserved them or earned them by taking the company into bankruptcy - and the only reason they didn't go bankrupt is because they were bailed out with the first $170 billion. But that is just my $0.02.

OK HERE IS THE RAVE. Why did they get in the position financially they were in? Because CONGRESS passed a bunch of laws that made it very easy to borrow (and even pressured banks to lend) more money than you could ever pay back (from banks insured by AIG - not from AIG). Thus hundreds of thousands of people borrowed this money for their dream houses that were much more house than they could afford - others refinanced and bought a lot of other stuff with the money they borrowed - you know so they could have the good life. Then things took a turn for the worse in the market (brought on somewhat by the price of gas - or at least triggered by the ungodly rise in fuel prices).

So here is our insurer of all these bad debts (AIG) looking like they are going into bankruptcy because they can't pay all the insurance claims - hence CONGRESS once again passes a bunch of new laws that gave them the first $170 billion so they don't go under and take the rest of the banks in the United States under with them. Whose fault is it that they are in this situation at this time? I believe it is the CONGRESS of the United States that tried to make everything possible to everybody that is truly to blame for this situation.

Then there is a determination made that there is a much larger need to bailout not only AIG - which already has the first part of the money ($170 billion) - but all of the other banks that were forced by the lending acts CONGRESS passed to make risky loans to people that had more credit on the books than they could ever pay back. And this just kept going and going and going like the energizer bunny. Then the day of reckoning arrived. Mortgages went unpaid, foreclosures were eminent, all those people that were spread too thin were going to lose everything CONGRESS had made possible for them to get. Because of the bad loans other banks began to lose their standing and things just continued to deteriorate from there.

CONGRESS rapidly passed a new stimulus package for an additional $700+ billion to bail out the rest of the failing banking industry and bolster the rest of the economy. These funds are being passed around with no holds barred to stimulate the economy and get us back to the good life we had a couple of years ago.

AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN - JUST AIN'T. I have been a working stiff for 50 years now and I can tell you that in all of that time I have never seen CONGRESS pass a law that fixed anything. In fact I have said for many years that a CONGRESSIONAL solution is never a correct solution. NEVER. NEVER! NEVER!!!

So what about the bonuses? I don't think that it is ethical for the companies to give the bonuses to the people (or for the people to take them for that matter) that brought them close to bankruptcy. However, they did in fact follow the laws of our country and the bank policies and in fact were even pressured to make the loans that got the banks into the financial situation that brought them into the failure. They met the numbers in their contracts that qualified them for the bonus and the amount of the bonus so they probably earned the bonus even though there was no money there to pay it to them. Then CONGRESS stepped in and gave then a hell of a lot of money (I can't even fathom what $170 Billion dollars looks like). They took care of the bad loans and gave their employees the bonuses. I personally don't think that is right but I didn't sign the contracts with the employees of AIG so it is left to their ethics to pay or not to pay and to accept it or not to accept it.

Then along comes CONGRESS and says oops they shouldn't be able to pay their employees bonuses out of this money so they pass a law taking 90% of the bonus in taxes. Is that legitimate? I doubt it - only the courts will be able to determine this - it looks like an ex-pos-facto situation to me. You can't prosecute someone for violation of a law that wasn't passed until after the crime was committed. I doubt you can tax money that was awarded (note I didn't say earned) before the tax law was passed.

HENCE MY BELIEF THAT A CONGRESSIONAL SOLUTION WILL NEVER BE A CORRECT SOLUTION. The second bailout bill was 1071 pages long for nearly $800 billion or nearly $743 million per page - AND CONGRESS COULDN'T EVEN BRING THEMSELVES TO READ THE BILL.


Thursday, March 19, 2009


This has been an interesting week. My second daughter had surgery over the weekend that took over 8 hours to complete so she was pretty sick and sore. My oldest son and his wife got full custody of their kids back from DCFS through the courts. My spouse went North to help my daughter, I went south to represent our family in court. Both efforts were successful depending on how you spell success.

On Tuesday I went to the Doctor to see if things are getting any better with my Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) that has been diagnosed (and I believe the diagnosis is incorrect). I don't know if this was successful or not but the Doctor told me he couldn't believe how clear my lungs sounded and wanted to know if there was anything else that I needed checked. I talked to him about the phone calls I get from the insurance company every month and the questions they keep on asking. He ordered a breathing test at the hospital, to answer the questions asked by the insurance c ompany, from which he will determine how bad my breathing really is (I keep telling him it is only in the bronchial tubes and not in the lungs at all). At the hospital I told the technician what was ordered and why. I also told him I thought the diasgnosis was incorrect. He ran the tests and the results haven't been delivered to the doctor yet but several things I could read from the test were: I have over 500 percent additional breathing capacity than I use when breathing normally; I can expel 25 percent more air from my lungs than I expel when breathing normally - good or bad (?) I don't know but it looks pretty good to me; my oxygen saturation level is at 103% - which I do know is very high and very good - I have never seen anyone else tested that came in at over 98% - and I see a lot of these tests in fire camp; they gave me a breathing treatment with albuterol and then retested all the parameters - every single test came back worse after the treatment and they should have improved significantly with the medication if I have COPD; as I was leaving the Technician muttered "you in fact may be right." I stopped to get the results today but they haven't yet been delivered. I keep telling the Doctor that the only place I have trouble is from my vocal cords to the root of my tongue - I think he believes me now.

He gave me a pretty thorough physical and ordered blood work for prostrate cancer screening and other things like glucose levels and cholesterol. The cancer test was negative. The glucose level in my blood was elevated so I have to have that checked again in six months. My blood pressure was good (120/78) so he said I could take the baby aspirin a day to satisfy the people in my insurance company that keep asking me about that if I wanted to but that I didn't really need to. My colesterol levels are elevated. I can't give you the numbers because they didn't show on the test result sheets I got back but he recommended medication so I will take it for a while - unless it makes me light headed like it has several of my co-workers - then I will flush it and never take it again.

How does all of this add up to out of the fire?

When the judge made the decision to give full custody back to my oldest son and his wife I decided that I have had enough work in my life and am going to get out and enjoy the rest of it - if that is possible - I cannot see things ever getting any better than they are right now. Nothing, not the work situation nor my health so January 2, 2010 is the end of my career. THE END of a very long career. Thirty nine years of which I probably really enjoyed somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty seven and a half years (and maybe a little more than that). I have dearly loved my job and don't appologize for what I have done but I have, in fact, had enough.


Sunday, March 15, 2009


The courts have issued an arrest warrant for Lindsay Lohan for what appears to be violations of the terms of her probation. She has plead guilty twice to DUI and once to driving under the influence of drugs. So what is the arrest warrant for? Nobody seems to know but for all three violations she has spent a total of 84 hours in jail - I wonder if this is fair and equitable treatment of people.

Charles Barkley set a good example recently in dealing with DUI charges (he also didn't lose his job as as commentator for basketball at which he is really good). He plead guilty to a DUI charge in Phoenix and saved the courts a lot of money in convicting him. Yeah he was guilty but it still costs to prove it (a lot). He spent three days last week in Maricopa Counties Tent City facility. Not even a jail but an arrangement that is meant to make criminals think about crime before they go back into this facility. Wonder if he had to wear the PINK underwear that the facility is famous for? I think the Sheriff of Maricopa County is one of the best law enforcement officials in the country---wanna debate that? Drop a note in remarks and I'll be happy to respond.

Is Shaq back now that he is with the Suns---you betcha---the Suns play strategy is "Seven seconds or Shaq" - which means if they have not had a good play by the time the play clock gets to seven seconds get the ball to Shaq and he'll shoot it. He's back and in better shape than he has been in for years---He'll carry a lot of games if they get the ball to him everytime the play clock ticks down to seven seconds.

GO UTES - both the men and womens teams made it into March Madness - it is really good to have a team in there---sorry BYU didn't make it too but such is life. Hope they both make a good showing and make us proud. Wouldn't it be ironic if they got second in basketball too - it would be a great season if that happened.

WHOAAAAA---I watched the launch of Discovery tonight. It was beautiful. BEAUTIFUL. BEAUTIFUL. BEAUTIFUL. And Spectacular - but it is sad to think that they are out there in space now and there is a 12% chance they won't return unscathed---12%---that is an extremely high chance of not coming home safely. Why would anyone want to participate at that rate? I can't answer that and I participate in a dangerous job too - but mine is like 5 per 22,000. If it was 1:8 I think I would have an extremely tough time convincing Inklings that I needed to go to the callout.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST: The S&P closed up 11% for the week just passed - that's great right? Well not completely great but it does mean that since October 2007 we are UP again to the point we are only down 50%---yeah that's right we were a few points below being down 50%. My advice is don't sell until it comes back. EVEN IF THAT TAKES TEN YEARS. It is only a paper loss until you sell. If you trade out you will never recover what you lost.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Today I was driving up the road that the coal trucks roll on at fifteen second intervals - all day long. I signalled to turn left and was making the turn when I looked in my rear view mirror and to my horror I saw a coal truck about one inch off my rear bumper surrounded by smoke from the sliding tires.

I nearly died of panic. But I kept going through the turn. He missed me by no more than one inch - I am not kidding one inch. I never saw the truck as I went up the road so he wasn't all that close to me but when I started to turn he may have caught up to me on the road and may, in fact, have been trying to pass me. Guess it just wasn't my day to go because if the truck had hit me it would have gone completely over my truck from the drivers side.

Every day since Feb. 29, 2000 (the day my heart stopped beating) has been a bonus day for me but today starts another series of bonus days. I can't believe it didn't hit me---I was positive it was going to.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


This morning I was hurting from sore muscles from the clean up day at the warehouse we had Monday so I finally got out of bed and showered at 4:00. It loosened up my muscles a little but they still hurt. I tried sitting in a chair and nodding off but that didn't work so I decided to go to work early and try to catch up on some things that have been hanging fire because I have been pretty busy the last couple of weeks.

I drove to the main road from the house and turned toward work. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw what I recognized as a cop car following me. So I reached across and pulled the seat belt across my lap and buckled it. While I was doing that I guess I crossed the line on the right side of the road.

He followed me to the turn to the office and when I signalled to turn he hit me with the lights. I opened the door and waited for him to come up. He said he wanted to do a sobriety test on me. I laughed and said that will be fine but that I was just going to work early. He laughed and said he was relieved that I was just going to work early because he was just going off duty. When he saw me wander across the line he thought he was going to haveto deal with a drunk for the last half hour of his shift.

Guess we were both happy!!!!!

Monday, March 9, 2009


We went to a town North of us a couple of hours and picked up our youngest daughter for spring break. While we were there we bought a new computer and all new programs. I hate the Vista operating system. Guess when I know where to look for the buttons and can file stuff the way I want then I'll be OK but it sucks right now. Everything operates differently than our old system.

I installed Java Script last night and got up early to finish the installation and hang up the phone but decided to do this before going back to bed. Inklings tried to get on her family chat but couldn't because we didn't have Java script. It took over three hours to download the stuff so hope it helps in the future.

When I tried to transfer all my files from the old computer to this one they were all locked as read only files so I just as well have left them alone where they were.

I think before we are through though this computer will be a lot better than the one I had made to order eleven years ago. I hope so.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


T.O.'s gotta go - yup he is too much of a distraction to the team - and he gives Romo too much grief about not throwing to the open man (T.O.). So Dallas let TO go. Is that a good move? Depends on what you define as good. The last three teams TO has left for the same reasons (he just isn't a team player) have not been as good without him as they were with him - yup - they have all had and continue to have worse records every year since the let him go. BUT the have had team accord - bet that pays well - almost as good as the Super Bowl.

Romo - why don't you grow up? You know damned well that TO was open way more than you threw to him. Yeah I know you are the boss - you run the field - well from my perspective as a long long long time Dallas fan - it is time you grew up. You need to take responsibility for your failures and not blame them on to your receivers. AND MY FRIEND - you will never again have as good of a season as you had with TO out there making you look good. Even when he was pissing you off he made you look like you knew how to throw the ball.....GOOD LUCK DALLAS.....I WILL TRY TO STAY A FAN.

Jeffrey Skiles, the co-pilot of the Airbus A320 that landed in the Hudson River, is returning to work. He says he needs to spend some time in the flight simulator to get his edge back but he is ready...and there is no room in the world for full time heroes. I can't wait to hear Captain Scully is back in the air too. Two great guys doing an incredible job and having a pretty big touch of luck to crash land and still have all of their passengers survive. YUP - they both said they were just doing their jobs - and incredibly well I might add.

Michael Jackson is going back on tour - but just in Europe - and he assures all his fans that this group of performances will be his last - I thought the last group were his last. Oh well, what the hell, I never was a fan and never watched his shows or bought his music so it shouldn't matter to me - but it does. It pisses me off that he can come out of HIDING for a few weeks and make enough millions to retire in style - over and over and over.....and one more over. Hope nobody shows.


I watched the third match between Mohammud Ali and Joe Frazier that took place in 1975 in Manila last Friday. It was awesome since I just blogged about how great Ali was a few weeks ago. It was a hard fought battle and the referee finally stopped it at the end of the 14th round. Frazier was too tired to answer the bell - yup he left everything in the ring - nothing left. So Mohammud won the fight by a referees decision. But if he had to answer the bell he would have had a tough time too.

The media asked him in the ring what he thought of Joe Frazier - he responded "he is the greatest boxer that the world has ever seen except for me." He sat on the stool for a while trying to get his strength back so he could go to the showers. While he was sitting there he announced to the world that he was through fighting - finished - done. He said "it is just too hard to do this at my age."

So with this match he won two of the three battles he had with Joe Frazier and they were both worse for the wear - Ali is correct though - Frazier is probably the second greatest pugalist of all time - and he beat the greatest once.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Last night I came home from work and Inklings told me my eye was very red - we went to the store and one of the guys that works with me and his wife were there. Inklings said something about my eye and he said that I must have got some hay in it while we were preparing to feed the horses yesterday in winds about 40 mph. I did get some leaves in it but they came out easily. When I got home I looked in my eye and it was really, really red. So I took out my contact lenses and put them into the cleaning solution for the night.

When I got up this morning my eye was swollen and full of gunk--I cleaned it up and went to work. I went to see the eye doctor mid-morning and he prescribed some medicine for infection. I have put in two doses now and the eye feels really itchy and dry. So I came home from work for the rest of the day and will use some of my sick leave. I'm not sick I am just miserable with an itchy eye and decided to get away from work.

When I got home I decided to figure out how much sick leave I have used in my 37 year career. In all of those years I have used a total of 364 hours of sick leave. That is 45.5 days or 1.5 days per year since I went to work in 1970. Thirteen of those days were taken off when I had a back injury in the early 1980's and seven days were used in 1975 when I had eye trouble - I just couldn't see me being at work (I really had a rotten attitude - really.rotten.).

Not all of my time counts as full time work so I have two years of work that really doesn't count. I really don't care about that because those two years do count for social security and those two years pushed me over the required 40 quarters for social security retirement---so I am qualified in two retirement systems.

So what is the point of this blog? If you figure it out you will see that I have been a very. very. very healthy person (still am mostly). It means that in the other 35 years I have taken off 25.5 days - after today it will be 25.75 days - that is a total of 0.729 days (6 hours) per year.