Political ‘correctness’ run amuk — again

A woman thinks enough of America to immigrate here, is offended by the flying of the American flag, so the employer chooses to instead offend the patriotic employee by ordering the flag down. Huh?

McLucas, a supervisor at Kindred Hospital in Mansfield, Texas, had displayed the 3-by-5-foot flag in the office she shares with the hospital’s three other supervisors. McLucas said one of her colleagues, a woman who immigrated to the United States from Africa 14 years ago, complained about the flag to upper management, and the hospital decided to take down the flag.

“I was told that as long as my flag offended one person, it would be taken down,” McLucas said.

via Texan Woman Told to Remove ‘Offensive’ American Flag From Office – Local News | News Articles | National News | US News – FOXNews.com.

That is political correctness gone totally crazy, as so often it does any more. The woman from African needs to either do as the Americans do when in America, or go back home to Africa. And the supervisor who initially ordered the flag down should book a ticket with her.

This is just plain silly. This is America. This is where we used to honor the flag on almost any occasion by flying or otherwise displaying it. I think it started with the silliness of such molly-coddling as giving all the children a trophy or ribbon in contests so their sensitive psychies would not be harmed. Let’s face it: there are winners and losers in any game, including the game of life. Overly sensitive people should be encouraged to become stronger, to face adversity, and to become a winner at whatever their talent is. Get prepared for the travails of life.

And now, any time one person is “offended” by almost anything at all, overly sensitive employers fall over themselves to give a trophy — in this case the removal of the symbol of freedom and liberty around the world — thus molly-coddling one more underdeveloped psyche.

And kudos to Mrs. McLucas and her family, and thanks for helping defend the freedom of the hospital to be silly.

Disclosure: political correctness was harmed in the making of this blog entry.

Grandma still drives

This is far too cute not to preserve.


Grandma is eighty-eight years old and still drives her own car. She writes:

Dear Grand-daughter,

The other day I went up to our local Chris tian book store and saw a  ‘Honk if you love Jesus’ bumper sticker ..

I was feeling particularly sassy that day because I had just come from a thrilling choir performance, followed by a thunderous prayer meeting.

So, I bought the sticker and put it on my bumper.

Boy, am I glad I did; what an uplifting experience that followed.

I was stopped at a red light at a busy intersection, just lost in
thought about the Lord and how good He is, and I didn’t notice that the light had changed.

It  is a good thing someone else loves Jesus because if he hadn’t
honked,  I’d never have noticed.

I found that lots of people love Jesus!

While I was sitting there, the guy behind started honking like  crazy,
and then he leaned out of his window and screamed, ‘For the love of God!’

‘Go! Go! Go! Jesus Christ, GO!’

What an exuberant cheerleader he was for Jesus!

Everyone started honking!

I just leaned out my window and started waving and smiling at all those loving people.

I even honked my horn a few times to share in the love!

There must have been a man from Florida back there because I heard him yelling something about a sunny beach.

I saw another guy waving in a funny way with only his middle finger
stuck up in the  air.

I asked my young teenage grandson in the back seat what that meant.

He said it was probably a Hawaiian good luck sign or something.

Well, I have never met anyone from Hawaii , so I leaned out the window and gave him the good luck sign right back.

My grandson burst out laughing.

Why even he was enjoying this religious experience!!

A couple of the people were so caught up in the joy of the moment that they got out of their cars and started walking towards me.

I bet they wanted to pray or ask what church I attended, but this is
when I noticed the light had changed.

So, grinning, I waved at all my brothers and sisters, and drove on
through  the intersection.

I noticed that I was the only car that got through the intersection
before the light changed again and felt kind of sad that I had to leave them after all the love we had shared.

So I slowed the car down, leaned out the window and gave them all the Hawaiian good luck sign one last time as I drove away… Praise the Lord for such wonderful folks!!

Will write again soon,

Love,  Grandma

Good news from science: Mars Phoenix anniversary

In the midst of news about a flailing economy, war continuing against terrorists around the world, and now new threats from N. Korea we need now more than ever to celebrate the many successes of this great country. We just celebrated another Memorial Day and one of the things that our country — defended by the brave — does well is science. The one year anniversay of the Mars Phoenix landed just passed. There is a Twitter page with lots of info, including repeat tweets of the events of a year ago.

Take a look at this photo — actual photo of Phoenix with its chute deployed during landing.

Image: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona  Via http://www.uahirise.org/phoenix-descent.php (accessed 5/26/09) — High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment.

Watch the landing video from JPL Mission Control during Phoenix landing on Mars, inter-cut with landing animation.

Yes, I too wonder about the massive dollars we spend on space science but it’s not something you can turn off and on at will when the economy tanks.

Tom Cruise doesn’t know our National Anthem!

Oh my gosh. I’m watching the PBS.org National Memorial Day Concert (fantastic show, as always) and right there is Tom Cruise standing next to — would you believe — Gen. Colin Powell.  The anthem is being sung and as the camera pans across Cruise, you can clearly, plainly, undeniably, see that he can’t even mouth the words! Disgusting is too simple a word. This episode says a lot about the current state of our society.

What Does Your Facebook Profile Say About You? – The Big Shift – HarvardBusiness.org

Professionals on Facebook … huh? Of course!  And should the professional have a mix of personal and professional info? Perhaps (says this article) and “of course” (I say). The following piece supports this proposition.

Why does it make sense to reveal our personal selves to social media sites? It may be that boundary breakers posting a mix of personal and professional information online are making a connection between what they share of themselves and their effectiveness as managers. Sharing personal information further humanizes people whose roles may otherwise make them seem remote or inaccessible. This effect extends beyond senior managers to peer relationships deeper in the organization. Seeing a more rounded person can’t help but extend and develop professional relationships, furthering the trust that’s crucial to collaborative knowledge creation–the lifeblood of innovation.

via What Does Your Facebook Profile Say About You? – The Big Shift – HarvardBusiness.org.

Fishing on the Caddo, May 2009

Work sure gets in the way of fun, but not this weekend! Memorial Day weekend with some reunion prep work at Jones Valley and two wonderful days fishing on the Caddo River with Cousin Larry. Friday was all work including a lot of weed-eating and assembling a cart for the riding mower — that would be the cart with no instructions for the jillion pieces. Our combined heads prevailed nevertheless. The day was polished off with a meal prepared by Larry’s mom and sister.

Saturday was a fishing day. We did the short trip, Caddo Gap (Manford Road, where the swinging bridge is) to the Narrows. Caddo River Day 1 The start was a little shaky at the bridge due to some huge trees that had washed up against the bridge structure. We had to haul our worthy craft around the fallen timber.  The next day would have us starting upstream from there and hoping that a kind soul with a chain saw had come along the way.

We caught quite a few fish including this nice brownie. First good fish

I caught maybe a dozen that day, with larry catching quite a few more. Mostly bream but with a few Brownies thrown in.  The day was topped off with a couple of Shiner Bock and another fine meal from Larry’s family. My refrigerator in the camper remains full.

Here is a good example of one of the many finely-colored Bream we caught. The colors really did not come out well, but you get the idea.

BreamAll in all it was a pretty productive couple of miles on this gentle stretch of the Caddo. The water was high enough to have some fun in the rapids and not have to paddle to make time down the river.

Then came Day 2. I started the day with a hike up the mountain to “Igor’s” cabin — not the real name, but you get the drift. Spooky. But with a very nice pond just below it.

Four casts = four fish. In 45 minutes or less I caught 15 fish including this gorgeous slab crappie. crappie

It was the most exciting 45 minutes of fishing I’ve experienced!  Toss a lure, pull in a fish, take it off the hook. Repeat.  The photo doesn’t do it justice — darn phone camera.

Then the river. We launched at 9:57 and would make the 8.5 miles in just over 6 hours. For the first 5 miles we fished a lot.I bagged 23 fish total including 6 bass (1 largemouth, 1 smallmouth, 2 Rock Bass, 3 Brownies). Fantastic day. Rained the whole way but we were prepared. The route was Norman at the Hwy 27 bridge back to Arrowhead.

Day 2 on the Caddo
Day 2 on the Caddo

In fact, as I write this (about 5:30 Sunday) it is pouring down rain. The drops on the camper roof are steadily thumping and popping and a cool breeze is wafting through the open windows.

Among the fish caught was this one Nice little largemouthwhich was the only largemouth of the day.  He was a real fighter. In fact, most of the fish we caught really performed, tail-walking and all, even the little bream.

Here’s a good shot of the river with my kayak in the foreground.

Kayak on the Caddo

And below that is a good shot of Larry and his giant canoe. Can’t believe how well he managed that 17′ canoe. Larry in canoe

The last picture is at the takeout the first day. Larry - end of day 1We exited at the Arrowhead lodge/canoe rental place run by “John.” And no, that’s not a fish Larry is wrangling there but a towel drying his feet — and likely massaging them a bit too as he had forgotten his wading shoes!

Speaking of wading shoes — my new felt-bottom waders and waterproof socks performed perfectly. No slipping on rocks and feet stayed DRY!

It’s almost 6 and the rain continues to pour down as I write. I love the sounds here. This morning, just before daylight, a whippoorwill broke the still of the cool night air. Before long he was joined by another and they serenaded me for a bit. Also in the morning, up at “that” cabin and pond, the bull frogs were in fine voice and at times I was certain that I was totally surrounded by them and that they would be pouncing upon me any minute — made me feel right guilty about all the frog’s legs I’ve eaten!

Headed home tomorrow, back to reality.

Home sweet old home

Where we once lived. Remember when your home was your best investment? My, how those times have changed !! No, there is no real point to this blog other than nostalgia. Jennifer and I made that our home for 5+ years but I don’t miss the 14 mile round trip to Marble on those honey-do errands.
img00021 20090517 1145

College jocks who bail early: bad. Caution: rant zone.

Caution <rant mode on>. College athletes on scholarship who leave early for the pros really tick me off.  It’s not fair to a LOT of people, and it’s purely selfish.

For every athlete who got a scholarship there was another who did not. The scholarship athlete is then depended on by:   teammates (especially if he’s good enough to go pro early), fans, the entire program for his sport, and in the case of Division I football, the entire athletic program and school.  He has used school (and for a state school public) money to live and play on.  He has been afforded a privileged life and status on campus.

And then he leaves.  All of the above are cheated.  He gets big bucks.  I propose he should pay back, immediately out of his signing bonus, not only his entire four year scholarship (including the year he did not use) plus the cost of three more.

I understand the athlete’s decision:  go pro as soon as able or stay in college and run the risk of getting hurt, but remain loyal to the deal he made.  Should he (A) run for the money now, or (B) keep his word?  It’s that simple, in my simple mind, and I know which is the right answer.

<rant mode off>

Have a nice life.

Kayak paddling, a whole new meaning

In preparation for the June 6 Great Castell Kayak Race it seemed like a good idea to float it once to get the lay of the land … so to speak. So Robert Henley, his son Jared, and I embarked with Jennifer along to shuttle us. She opted not to paddle and would hang out in the camper and read while we paddled.

Into the Llano River we went where U.S.  87 crossed the river and immediately we were struck by the beauty of the largely pristine landscape. The river is wide there and it had a nice flow so we were pumped! We had dutifully checked the river gauges, both the one right there at the highway river crossing which showed a stage of about 1.2 feet, and the one at Llano which showed about 1.4 feet. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife article on Texas Rivers “…when the river is on a 1 to 2 foot rise, excellent conditions exist for recreational usage.” So we were good to go!

It’s a beautiful river Llano River Scenerywith many wide spots, sometimes narrowing down to as little as 30 feet wide. But for the main part it is a shallow and wide river, heavily punctuated with rocks and boulders of granite and dolomite. Did I mention rocks and boulders? Oh yes, plenty of those.

There are several more photos on Flickr if you want to browse a bit more.

There are rapids. Some of these were Class II, mostly Class I — assuming I understand the classification scheme. There were several with sharp drops of 2-4 feet, always punctuated with rocks.

There was one nice little rapid where I was able to pull up and get a little video. We had just taken a little break

Break timeThe movie is a bit shaky, but you can get the idea. This was a fairly simple one in spite of the rocks. Did I mention the river has a lot of rocks?

You can view it on my Flickr page.

The bridge to Castell is 12 miles. The TPWD site mentioned above indicates recreational quality flow if 1-2 feet of flood stage exists. We were looking at a stage about in the middle of that bracket so were anticipating no problem. Boy were we ever wrong!

First of all, as has now become clear to be a trend with me, we did too much fishing at first. Every fishy spot drew us in like a black hole draws in light! This put us behind the time curve and eventually we needed to make up some time. I would correct the TPWD assessment. The river better be a a 2 foot stage before getting on it for real fun. We would up paddling, and paddling, and …. Oh, and did I mention rocks?  There were some nice rapids that we ran right through. A couple of them caused the bow of my Manta Ray 12 to dip in but it plowed right on. There were many that we could pick a line through and shoot right on. But there was a LOT of paddling. And rocks, did I mention rocks?

Most of the rapids just did not have a clean line through them. We all hung up frequently on a rock, sometimes just for a moment and could “hump” the boat over and go, some that required a bit of dragging off the rocks, and then there was …

… the dump!  I got sideways on a couple of rocks with a low gunnel upstream and the kayak totally flipped. That was my first capsize in the ‘yak in about 30-40 miles of paddling it so far. There I am, standing in the rushing stream, fully dunked to the chest. Boat is upside down now and all my tethered stuff is “flapping in the breeze”  uh, that would be in the water. Luckily, I have everything tethered. Two fishing rigs, paddle, GPS, tackle box, anchor, various ditty bags, the FRS radio, etc.

Did I mention the boat is now upside down in the rushing current? Luckily I had my genuine Cabela’s felt-sole boots on because the current was trying to knock me down and carry the boat away. OK, now it’s time to turn this sucker right side up, so, grabbing the gunnel I lift to flip it back and … ugh, no way. On the stern is my plastic milk crate full of (tethered) stuff and it makes for quite a drag and shift of weight. After several fruitless attempts to flip it I finally went to the stern, lifted it over my head, and just rotated the kayak with little more than the bow in the water. Never mind it weighs 62 pounds empty — which it was not.

I finally got underway, minus the sunscreen, Jennifer’s fancy water bottle she had loaned me, and my favorite hat.  I don’t know when or why it departed as I never noticed it gone until I was again “in the saddle” and underway again. Refreshed after my quick baptism, I paddled hard to catch up to Robert and Jared. Now cruising along with a steady stroke, and glad to be in calm water for a short bit, about 1/4 mile from the scene of the crime I spotted something floating in the water and was relieved to find Jennifer’s special water bottle happily bobbing along.

In conclusion (yes, finally) we were on the water exactly seven hours — lot’s of stopping to fish and my tump did not help the time. Of the 12 miles, we paddled 11.8 of it!  Only a few of the rapids allowed us to just steer through and let the current carry us. It was a long day but everyone stuck with it (hell, there’s no way out once you start!) and even Jared who quit having fun about two hours into the trip made a real hand.

But here’s the deal: this “race” is designed as a “survival style” event.  It’s a fund-raiser which, according to the organizers, is actively providing services for folks in our hill country who are undergoing chemo without insurance, family or financial support.  Paddling down the “survivor style race” might be considered a metaphor to the persons struggling with a much greater challenge. It also aligns with Livestrong attitude of survivorship and challenge and meets some otherwise unmet needs for survivors in our wonderful, rural Highland Lakes/Hill Country place.

The race is aligned with and benefits the Lance Armstrong Foundation “LIVESTRONG.” Some great info and photos from the 2008 event can be found here.

Here’s a great shot of the start last year — total of 110 paddlers:

Start of the 2008 Great Castell Kayak Race
Start of the 2008 Great Castell Kayak Race

Two weeks and the Caddo River in Arkansas!  Woo-hoo!

American Thinker: The Top Ten Reasons Obamanomics Won’t Work

Following is an intro to an interesting piece on “obamanomics” that includes some very thoughtful analysis.  View this without a political agenda and just ask yourself whether there is economic reality in the current federal monetary policy and what is intended as an approach to stimulate an economy perceived to be weak.

The comments following the full article are quite pithy and worth reading.

A brute inflationary monetary policy of the kind we are experiencing today can hardly avoid leading to a growth in GDP that, after all, is largely a record of consumer spending. But we cannot judge an economic policy to be “working” simply by detecting such an increase in GDP. Nor may we say policy has “succeeded” just from increases in government jobs or government-subsidized jobs. An economy’s success, properly speaking, is one that increases long-term levels of production with robust private sector employment. In short, inflation and public sector growth do not mean a policy has “worked.” As the essence of Obamanomics is easy money and government aggrandizement, ther

via American Thinker: The Top Ten Reasons Obamanomics Won’t Work.