Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Take Three!

Okay, when did reindeer pornography become so popular? I sure didn’t get the memo, and if it is popular why am I not getting a cut of the action since my reindeer seem to be the best at it in our neighborhood? In fact I think my two reindeer are the only light up, mechanical, Christmas deer in the whole neighborhood that fornicate!

For those that haven’t followed my blogs over the years this is the third time in two Christmas seasons that my reindeer have mounted each other. The first time I have to admit I thought it was pretty funny…good one. The second time, hey, I got a picture out of it since I forgot to take one the first time around so okay I’ll give it to them. But a third time…really…a third time? I mean come on don’t you have anything better to do with you time then mess with some light up, lawn, Christmas deer that were put out for a five year old’s enjoyment of the season?

Mary Ellen and I have given up and the deer have come down. We bought a little Christmas snowman and penguin to put out with the light up Christmas presents and the few lights we have on the shrubs. I now must get on my knees and ask forgiveness from my wife for the first blog I wrote on this topic as now I sound old too. The game is not over however as next year I want to figure out how to attach my reindeer to the roof of the house. If I can do that I’ll also put up a sign that reads, “Merry Christmas and try to mount my deer again “expletive!”

- Woman, You Sound Old!

- Someone Call 911 our Deer have been Violated Again

Monday, December 14, 2009

War of 1812: The Battle of Mississinewa

December 18th will be the 197th anniversary of The Battle of Mississinewa which took place in Grant County Indiana. I actually stumbled on this battle through a Facebook post of a reenactment that was taking place on the actual Battlefiled (this reenactment is the largest one held on the War of 1812). I am planning on going up to the battlefield to get some pictures, hopefully sooner as opposed to later, but at least wanted to mention the anniversary now.

The battle was fought between the United States and what was thought to be mainly Miami Indians who were backed by the British along the Mississinewa River. The US’s force of 600 men was made up of largely militia and the 19th Infantry Regiment of the US army. The objective of the army was to destroy the Indian town and villages along the Mississinewa River. General William Henry Harrison thought the town and villages would be staging areas for future operations against Harrison’s supply lines. In reality this exposition was likely reprisals against the Miami for joining with Tecumseh and the British.

The US force left Greenville, OH on December 14th where they marched through the nigh of the 16th and 17th and reached the first village. There were a few warriors in the village who escaped across the river and the army took around 42 prisoners. The infantry stayed and garded the prisoners while the dragoons march two more miles and destroyed two more villages. The camp was set up at the first village and was attacked by the Indians just before dawn on the 18th. The US force was able to hold them off, but over 100 of their horses were killed which seemed to be intentional as the Indians most likely wanted to stop the advance. That afternoon the army started its difficult march back to Greeneville and finally made it on December 24th.

While Harrison spun the exposition as a success none of the major objectives were really completed as the main town of Mississinewa was still twenty miles from their camp on the 18th. The army was crippled badly as about half were suffering from frostbite. The Indians still occupied the main town, and most of their food stores were saved.

If you would like a more in depth account Murray Holliday published a small book (pamphlet) of the exposition for the Grant County Historical Society called The Battle of the Missinssinea, 1812. I was able to get this book through and inter library loan with the Hamilton County Library. Murray also wrote and article that I found online at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ingrant/missbat1.htm. A Keith Raynor also wrote and article titled The Battle of Mississinewa that can be found on the web here http://www.warof1812.ca/mississa.htm.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin Patch 2009

This past Saturday we took are usual annual trip to the pumpkin patch with Liam. This year he kept complaining that he just wanted to stay home and play because he thought the pumpkin patch was boring. We however told him that we were making him go and making him have fun.

After trying a different patch last year and being disappointed we decided to return to Tutltle’s who still had a wonderful selection of nice pumpkins. After complaining that he didn’t want to go Liam had a wonderful time, and my mother went as well. We got a pumpkin for each of us, and Liam wanted to get a pumpkin for Aunt Angie and Uncle Jason too. All in all another great fall trip to the pumpkin patch, and now we’ll see if Liam will scoop out the pumpkin innards this year when we carve ;)


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Love My Cat But...

I love my cat Jake, but he is a little special and probably one of the world’s most annoying creatures. Some things he just can’t help like his bum knee that causes him not to be able to jump like a normal cat or the fact he is just so obese that he cannot reach around to clean himself. I could get into several other issues Jake has but I might save those for another blog.

This morning my cat decides to announce his presence at 4:30 AM (as he does most mornings at this time) with what I like to referrer to as his meow scream that reverberates through the hallway and bedroom. After several practice jumps he finally lands on the bed and walks over me with his 16 pound body in order to get me to turn so he can lay his fat ass down next to me. Today he decides to get up from his spot around 5:00 AM and walk over me to the night stand where he knocked over the lamp while licking the radio. After I chased him off he stopped at the waste basket that had an old plastic wrapper of some kind that he wants to lick as well. Finally after I threw the pillow at him he left the room where I got a few moments of peace before I got up to brush my teeth. Jake then starts howling at me so I will put him on the bathroom sink for his morning drink.

I do really love my cat but wouldn’t you know I get the dirty, filthy cat with behavioral problems while Mary gets the OCD cat that over grooms and has attention issues due to Liam. Now I know cats all have their quirks but I really feel that we got a couple of overly quirky cats which makes for an interesting household if you ask me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ten Wonderful Years

This past 18th of September I have been married to my wife for ten years. I really cannot believe it when I say it ten years is a long time, but it has been seventeen years since we first started dated at the end of our freshmen year of high school. I mean what can I truly say that will do this justice, we have practically grown up together and when I think about it probably not many couples can say that.

Mary Ellen is truly my soul mate and I could not possible list all the wonderful things she does for me. I just want to let her know that I love her very much and here is to many more happy years together!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Liam's Fifth Birthday

This has been a really long week and Liam got to celebrate his birthday off and on all the way through. Since I had to work his official birthday we let him open most of his presents on Monday. He has really got the whole tearing it into pieces down as there are little clouds of confetti that fly through the air when he opens the gifts. We then had a little get together at my parent’s house were he got a new bike from my parents that he can actually fit on, along with a lot of toys for Aunt Angie and Uncle Jason.

On Tuesday Mary took the day of so he could stay home on his actual birthday so he could play with his new toys. We then took him out for breadsticks and pizza (mainly the breadsticks) for dinner because breadsticks are probably one of his most favorite foods besides cookies.

Saturday the 12th was his official party at the house and he had lots of guests. He had some of his favorite people to play with; Charles, Taylor, Aidan and Brayden so he had a ball. He got lots of great gifts from everyone and did a great job of blowing out his candles.

All I can say is daddy is going to have to learn how to transform a whole bunch of new transformers, and since I still have problems with some of his old ones this will be a challenge. Liam is growing up way to quick and I cannot believe that he is five already. I sure do wish time would slow down just a little bit because trying to take it in is really difficult. We are both worn out, but it defiantly was a good time and worth it.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Cataract Falls & First Family Picnic

Well it is official we had our fist family picnic on the 22nd of August and used the picnic basket Mary and I received for a wedding gift too. Needless to say we have never used it the ten years that we have been married so it was about time to put it to use. Laim had never seen a real waterfall before and since he has seen pictures from my Smokey Mountain trip, has a Thomas the train waterfall track and movie we took him to Cataract Falls. He had been asking about what they were so this gave him the opportunity to see one first hand.

Ready for a road trip and feeling relaxed to be with my family we all got in the car when the inevitable “how much longer” rose out of the back seat. This would have been fine except we had only just backed out of the driveway when he started in. Though he did not like the long drive to the park once we were there Liam did seem to have a good time. There was a covered bridge, many waterfalls and even a little play area for kids. We got the picnic basket out and had a very enjoyable meal, and Liam was ecstatic because we had packed his cookie. I was able to spend some time taking pictures along with just taking in the beauty of it all. After lunch we went down to the lower falls for a couple more pictures then called it a day.

Thoughts on the Park:

Thought I would add a few thoughts on the park in general. I really liked the upper falls and all of the rock formations which made for several sub-falls. It was very scenic and I really love the sound of rushing water. The covered bridge they have on the property was pretty cool and makes for a great picture. You can read more about the bridge here if you would like. The lower falls while nice lacked the more scenic view of the upper falls, but is well worth the short trip down the road so you can say that you were there.

Now I now the “pit toilets” or what I like to refer to as “outhouses” are pretty bad, but there is nothing like watching men in the wide open taking a leak out in the general public. If you feel the need to skip out on the parks “facilities” I under stand, just head off the beaten trail to do it. I really liked the redneck with his 16oz beer taking a wiz right next to the waterfall, really come on.

When my grandfather was alive he had a little piece of property in Spencer, Indiana which we had to pass through Cloverdale in order to get there and all that time I never knew the falls were just a short jaunt away. I cannot believe it took me this long to discover Cataract Falls. Below I have some links if anyone is interesting in heading down on a trip of their own. I have also posted a couple of pictures in the “Al’s Selects” on my website, the rest I’ll upload with the August pictures. I also have some pictures up on my Facebook page for all those who visit me there.

Cataract Falls Links:
> http://www.cataractfalls.com/
> http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2960.htm

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

SPOILER NOTICE: There are spoilers in this write up, so if you have not seen the movie yet and want to remain surprised I would avoid reading this for now.

I figured I might as well write a review for this movie since I have already seen it four times. Now mind you I had to watch it once to preview it for Liam and then the other three times Liam wanted to go of course I didn’t put up any arguments. Thought I might also give some brief feelings on the whole transformer genre past and present.

The major plot of this movie is that Sam (who is now going to college) gets information transferred to him from a piece of the Allspark that gives clues to where The Matrix of Leadership can be found. The Fallen is actually a transformer who was one of the original primes fell to evil and became the first Decepticon. The Fallen is looking for the Matrix to use it for powering a machine that will create energon by destroying the Sun. While protecting Sam Optimus Prime dies so it is up to Sam to find the Matrix in order to bring Optimus back to life.

I know a lot of people really didn’t like this movie or the first one, but I didn’t mind it at all and thought it was enjoyable. If you go back and watch the original cartoons you really have the same basic plot over and over again which is the Decepticons are trying in some way to steel energy from Earth in order to take over the universe. So the plot really doesn’t bother me all that much. What I don’t really like about the movie is other then Optimus, Bumblebee, and Megatron there is really not much character development with the Transformers. You cannot get that emotionally attached, because there is just nothing there. I was very happy that they gave you some more of the old Megatron and Starscream infighting, it really added to the much lacking character development and gave you a sense of the old series.

I thought the fight sequences from this movie far exceeded the first in both visual and emotional sense. I still think they move too fast, but that seems to be how directors are doing action scenes as a whole nowadays. The second movie also had the transformers losing parts and spiting lubricates, oil or what have you. I’m still not sure how I feel about this but I know that they added it to give you more of a sense that the transformers feel. A fairly comical part was when Optimus ripped off Starscream’s arm then beat him with it and then after the fight Megatron beats Starscream with it as well. Of course the best fight scene was at the end when Optimus comes back and lets Megatron and the Fallen have it.

The whole transformer genre I think has grown especially the toys. The toys look a whole lot better now, but you almost need a PHD in engineering to transform them. Some of Liam’s takes me forever to change them from robot to vehicle modes. While I miss the original cartoon, I have to say I really like Transformers Animated on the Cartoon Network. When I first saw pictures and a little bit of the story I really didn’t think that I would enjoy it, but I was wrong. The story and plot are good and the character development far exceeds both the original series and the movies. What I don’t like is Optimus is not the overall Autobot leader, he is smaller then Megatron and Peter Cullen is not doing the voice.

> http://www.transformersmovie.com/
> http://www.hasbro.com/transformers/en_US/

Monday, July 27, 2009

Liam's First Swimming Lesson

On July 21st Liam had his first official swim lesson over at the YMCA, and after starting out a little nervous with out his mommy or daddy in the water he did a great job. He is in a kiddy pool so he can actually touch the bottom, which he likes and doesn’t need to where his float suit. I do feel a little bad for him because he got stuck in a group with all girls, but hey nothing like a group of girls at the pool to help find a few prospects.

During the part of the lesson where she was having the kids go under water Liam answered the question wrong and got a little surprise. The teacher asked him if he had been under water before, and he answer yes which was true. What he failed to mention was that he didn’t want to go under water and the next thing he knew after grabbing his nose was being submerged and coming up coughing. After getting over the initial shock and cleaning the water out of his eyes I gave him a thumbs up which seemed to pacify him for the moment.

They played a game where she would get them to jump in the water however none of them would just jump in, instead they all had to take her hands. I do have to say that we need to work on his jumping ability, because all the little girls seems to be able to get a bigger splash then he did. He seemed to do better at the second lesson, especially with going under the water which was good to see, but he still needs work on that jump.

Saturday we got him some goggles and took him over to the Y on Sunday while Mary Ellen worked out. With the goggles he actually decided he wanted to go under water and kept doing it the whole time we were there. After her workout was over Mary got in with us and we worked on his jumping, and now he will actually jump in without taking a hold of our hands. It does look like he is having fun and it is good to see him doing some organized activity with others his age.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Moon Beams

All the way through grade school to college I have always followed the space program, not as much of late but I still keep a keen eye to news coming out of NASA. As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of humans walking on the moon I can’t help to think, what the hell happened? We have been spinning our wheels in space ever since and I just don’t like it.

I know it is hard to justify the big expense especially when we are in hard economic times, but look at the excitement and technological advances we made during that push to the moon. Humans are built for adventure and exploration and something has got in our way. Greed, wars, politics and a general lack of a common purpose has been staring us in the face and we have been so busy listing to our iPods, surfing the Internet or just caught up in our own financial struggles we have ignored the obstacle. I say it is time to break out it is time for us as a human race to find that inner adventurous spirit and do something that is positive.

Let us dream to explore once more. Let us sore to new adventures. Let us do what we need to do in order to advance our race, and put our petty differences aside and strive for a common goal. It could start with space and spread into other areas; environment, religious understanding, peace, who knows but we have to start somewhere and space/science is a good common ground.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Vacation & Father's Day

I was lucky enough to get a whole weeks vacation from June 15th thought the 19th which was badly needed. The best part was taking Liam to King's Island and the Great Wolf Lodge over in Cincinnati, Ohio for the first time. He wouldn’t get on the bumper cars after talking about them for the whole week before, so I got worried at first that this might not have been a good idea. He did get on this helicopter ride with Charles and then he rode the guided cars and had fun on those.

Before he could really see the Fairy Odd coaster (that used to be the Beastie for us older King’s Island people) we got him in line. As we took off he started holding his ears because he thought it was too loud, and then we got to the hill. Liam eyes got big when we started going up, and I though for a moment that he was going to freak out, but then we went down the hill and up the next I looked down and he was smiling while still holding his ears. He then turned to me and said, “Daddy this is awesome”! He then rode it three or four more times that day.

Great Wolf Lodge was pretty cool, we got a room with that had bunk beds set up to look like a little cabin. The indoor water park was really fund as well with lots of slides and a wave pool. We tried taking Liam down some of the slides, but he wasn’t really into it, but after we got back home he told us that he liked it. He defiantly wants to go back to both places epically King’s Island.

Father’s day was a good time because we made Liam wear his Tony Hawk shirt and put product in his hair. This all started at our last barber trip well he keep trying to push my hair down, so I told him if he did it one more time I would make him wear product with his hair up. For all those who don’t know Liam says he hates product and absolutely hates for his hair to be up, he likes it straight down. Needless to say we were able to get a picture before he rubbed it all out of his hair, and he looks really good with it done. We’ll see maybe we can get him to start doing it more, but I doubt it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My 2009 Smoky Mountain Trip

All I can say is just wow! This trip was one of my favorite of all times and now I can only think about going back for more. Greg and I left on a raining Thursday, but once we got to Knoxville, TN it started to clear and we got good weather to put up our tent and cook our first meal. The campsite in the park was great with running water in the background and trees upon trees. The only problem with the campsite is the fact that there are not any showers.

On our first full day there we decided to tackle the rugged Chimney Tops Trail which is quite a hike up a mountain. The view is just great with all the running water coming down from the top, green trees and the rock filled trail itself. The round trip of this trail is just over five miles but the going is fairly slow with the grade and tough terrain. When you hit a tree that has a lot of it roots sticking out of ground you have made it to the pre-summit then you are just a rock climb away from the top. Greg and I made it most of the way up, but we had our large hiking boots on and felt it was not a good idea to go all the way since we could not feel the rock with our feet.

The following day was pretty busy because we tracked more distance but the trails were not as tough as the Chimney Tops. We hit the Laurel Falls which is just simple beauty. Even though the grade is steep the trail is paved all the way to the falls so it is pretty easy going. The falls itself are sixty feet high and as the water comes down it branches off on each side to give you a really calming view. Next, since we were so sore from the Chimney Tops hike, we decided to skip the Rainbow Falls and just hit the Grotto Falls. This is another popular trail but it is not paved and takes a bit longer to get to the falls. It is in the Mt. Le Conte area so it is pretty steep. You can actually walk behind this twenty five foot falls and feel the cool water as it comes down the mountain. Finally we had some time to kill before the end of our second day so we decided to drive up the Clingmans Dome Road and hike the very, very steep half mile trail to reach the summit of the tallest mountain in the park and on the Appalachian trail. It has an observation tower at the top and the view is just outstanding. Someday I would really like to hike my way to the top to be able to say that I actually climbed it.

Finally it was time to leave, and leaving was awful due to the fact we had to pack up and take down the tent in the pouring rain. Next time Greg and I will have to do some research on where to buy Yuengling Premium as we found copious quantities of Yuengling Larger, Larger Light & Black and Tan. Greg had his taste buds set for Premium and was pretty bumped about not getting any. I also need to remember to take my bag with all my clothes it so I don’t have to make a Wal-Mart trip!

Visit my website to find pictures and YouTube video links:
My Smoky Mountain 2009 Trip

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hot Dog Bun

Well we had another food breakthrough with Liam getting him initiated to boyhood. Last night Mary Ellen and Liam were having hot dogs with Liam having his cut up on the plate and Mary Ellen eating hers in a bun. So Liam looks up and says “What is that?” Mary replied “a hot dog bun.” His next question was, “Well what is it for?” I told him it was like bread for a sandwich so you can eat the hot dog with your fingers, and he really seemed to like that idea. Then he wanted a bite of his mother’s hot dog with the bun and proclaimed "this is good."

After a few more bites of his mother's hot dog he decided that he liked it so much that he wanted one of his own. This was of course as he was just about finished with the one he had on his plate, and Mary and I never thought he would finish it but we gave it to him anyway. Well, the boy inhaled the whole thing and told us that he never wanted a hot dog again unless it came with a bun. So now once we get rid of the warm milk when he first wakes up in the morning I think we can graduate him to full fledged boy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Folk Music Review: Levon Helm

Continuing my journey through folk music I come to a man many of you probably heard in his earlier years with The Band, Levon Helm. The Band had such hits as “The Weight,” “The Night They Drove Dixie Down,” “Up On Cripple Creek,” and more. A think a lot of Southern Rock, which is what you would categories The Band as, has some roots in folk music just without all of the strings.

In 2007 Levon Helm released a new solo album called dirt farmer that has a very strong folk base to it. In an interview I saw on Amazon.Com I believe he talked a little bit about the album and how a lot of these songs were sung as a child on the farm. With great string guitar playing and Levon’s rough voice this album really seems to take you back in time. The melodies and blending of instruments with the back ground vocals gives one a sense of sitting out in a field late at night with your buddies drinking beer. I also love Levon’s story telling in his songs you really do feel like you know these people and are going through their trials and tribulations with them.

My favorite song on this album is called “Train Robbery” and I guess my drawl to it is again history. I love railroad songs and this is a railroad song about Jesse James’ gang robbing the train. Some other good tunes on this one are “Calvary,” “Anna Lee,” and “The Blind Child.”

In my next installment I will continue my tour of folk music with a modern, up and coming string band out of Tennessee.

Levon Helm's Official Site:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Folk Music Review: 2nd South Carolina String Band

Call me a throwback, un-hip, un-cool, etc. but I really enjoy good old fashion folk music. While I’m not an officisianado on folk music I thought it would be fun to at least give my layman’s perspective on some of the folk bands I listen to. I’ll break this out into four blogs so each band will get their own segment and not make this too terribly long.

I’m going to start this series with probably the least known of the bands the 2nd South Carolina String Band. They are a Civil War reenactment group that performs music from the period as authentically as possible. Since I am a big history buff especially when it comes to the American Civil War I really enjoy this group and listen to it quite a bit. I currently only have one of their albums “Hard Road” that has a good balance of both Union and Confederate favorites. The last time that Greg and I went to Gettysburg back in September of 2007 we would sit around the campfire at night, drinking beer and listen to this music which really added to the atmosphere.

Battle Cry of Freedom is an excellent rendition that still will get your heart pumping for the Union with its strong banjo and the other strings that really brings the chorus to life. Then you add the patriotic lyrics on top of that and you get a great song. They also do a rousing version of When Johnny Comes Marching Home that will get you pumping your fist in unison with the music. For all you rebels out there the band does a superb job with the Bonnie Blue Flag. Then you also get a lot of the old school folk standards such as; Buffalo Gals, Oh! Susanna, Ring de Banjo and more.

2nd South Carolina String Band Official Web Page:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Scales’ Farm Cabins

This past weekend Mary Ellen and I finally just had to get away and leave the little one behind. We have only had one date night since the move up to Fishers and thought it was just time for some one on one time. So around 2:00 on Friday the 20th I left work and met the wife at my parents house were she dropped off Liam and we headed down to the Bloomington area where we were going to spend a couple of nights in a secluded cabin.

Kenny and Karen Scales built two log cabins, which was a five year project, on their 131 acre farm. Most of the material used to build the two cabins came off the farm. We drove to the very bottom of the hill were there was a little retention pond with trees and a field. It really was very scenic and the cabin itself was just beautiful with a wrap around porch and a huge stone fireplace that you walked behind to get to the upstairs loft. We met Kenny a very nice man with a long white beard who gave us and a tour but who also was a little hard of hearing. Mary and I felt like we were yelling at him when we talked which was a little comical.

We had a very relaxing weekend with nothing much to do except to watch the fire or movies, listen to music and drink. We stayed in and I cooked both nights and a beautiful light snow came in on Saturday morning which just added to the atmosphere. Finally it was time to leave Sunday morning and we de-iced the car and packed our stuff. Mary Ellen and I sat down and were just about to pull out when we looked at each other and began to wonder if our four cylinder front wheel drive Ford could make it up this steep, snow covered hill we came down on Friday afternoon.

I crossed my fingers then grabbed the steering wheel and took off. We got several feet before we slid back down the hill when Mary suggested that I turn the steering wheel from side to side to try to get some additional traction. So while pressing the accelerator and turning the wheel from left to right we slowly climbed part of the hill. To make matters worse some ice got caught in Mary’s door so she could not shut it all the way or open it and the “passage door ajar” beep kept going off. The smell of something burning along with Mary’s panic that we might slide off the side of the hill added to the situation.

We finally got half way up to where their other cabin was at, and no matter how we tried we just could not go any further so we made it to the second cabin’s drive and called the owners. They informed us that they would be on their way to see what they could do and we told the couple who was staying there the situation. After a while they decided to go for it and watching their SUV not being able to go any further then we did made me feel a little bit better.

After setting in the drive for about forty five minutes I started to hear a humming sound and soon saw Kenny coming over the hill on a red tractor with a snow plow attached to the back. He made a couple passes with the plow and then the couple in the SUV after some difficulty made it up. It was then our turn to try and after getting about twenty feet up and sliding back down again we gave it one more shot. The engine screamed, the burning smell was back and we slid back and forth but we just did make it to the top. Wiping the sweat off my brow we were finally free so I didn’t have to go into Bear Grylls/Les Stroud survival mode and we could get home to Liam.

> www.scalesfarmcabins.com

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Thoughts on Stimulus Package

It appears that a compromise has been reach between the House of Representatives and the Senate so it should be on President Obama’s desk soon. I am a firm believer that the economy needs to be stimulated and would have liked to see more job creation measures and less tax cuts but I am hopeful that this bill will do some good especially if it is in conjunction with other activates to get the banks unfrozen and tackle the housing crises. Some of the tax cuts would be helpful if it would help to keep or hire employees but if most I feel most of the tax cuts would be put into savings rather then back into the economy.

I was not very happy with the GOP and felt that the administration tried to working with them and the GOP flat refused to corporate. I am glad that the senators from Maine and Senator Specter for putting America first and politics second. What really galls me is all the spending republicans did in regards to their agenda (i.e. the two wars we have right now) and then they put up a fight over this? I guess I am tired of this coming from both parties and just want to see them work to benefit the country instead of bickering over partisan issues. I think this is going to be a long hard fight for President Obama that I don’t know if he will be able to win or not. I do think this is what the country voted for and am hopeful.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The U.S.S. Indianapolis

The U.S.S. Indianapolis left its mark in World War II history twice. It was the United States’ destroyer that delivered the first atomic bomb to the island of Tinian on July 26, 1945. With it being so close to the end of the war one would think that the Indianapolis would only become a trivia question for later generations in regards to nuclear history but just a few days later disaster struck. The U.S.S. Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese sub on July 30, 1945 in Philippine waters on its way to Leyte. The US destroyer sank quickly and 300 of its 1,196 crew went down with the ship. The remaining members of the crew endured four days in the water without food, water and most without lifeboats. To make matters worse many men lost their life to shark attacks throughout the ordeal.

The Indianapolis slipped through the cracks and was not reported missing, so it was only by chance that a plane accidentally spotted the survivors. When all was said and done only 316 men were left. The fallout came shortly after the rescue and Captain Charles Butler McVay, III was found guilty of not zigzag in a court marshal and served out the remaining of his service in obscurity. He eventually took his own life in 1968. The surviving crew members fought hard to clear the captain’s name and on October 12, 2000 they were able to get Congress to pass an amendment to exonerate him. What it failed to do was wipe the court marshal from his record.

There is a beautiful memorial that was erected for the crew in 1995 and was designated a National Memorial by Congress. The money was paid for by The U.S.S. Indianapolis (CA-35) Survivors Memorial Organization, Inc a not-for-profit Company based in Indianapolis. You can find the memorial at the North end of the Canal Walk off of Senate Ave & Walnut St. in downtown Indianapolis. The pictures in the blog are of the memorial.

If you would like to read a little more about the U.S.S. Indianapolis you can visit their web site at http://www.ussindianapolis.org/. A good book that I read was called In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors, by Doug Stanton.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Through the Lens of a Four Year Old

It is inevitable in today’s age not to have children playing with your digital camera. After all they spend countless times on the other end of the lens getting their picture taken all of the time now, so it is not hard to figure out that they would like to do the actually taking. One day several weeks ago Liam got his hands on the camera and began taking pictures needless to say when I uploaded them to the computer I about rolled out of my seat.

I will show you the pictures and give you my interpretations of them as if I was Liam…enjoy!

This is my dad who keeps telling me not to put my fingers on the lens, but what does he know? I think daddy is funny and is great to play with but I don’t let him rock me at night. Why is he bent over like that?

This is one of my many blankies that I stash all over the house. It happens to be on the bar stool that I like to climb and it never fails that my daddy tells me to be careful.

These are my stairs they lead up to my bedroom and toy room which I won’t stay in by myself. The bottom step is for timeouts because my blue cutie pie eyes don’t always work.

This picture is of one of Spike’s balls. He is the robot dinosaur that my Grandma and Grandpa got me for Christmas. I tell people all the toys I want to get for Christmas and birthday presents but then I end up just playing my video games. Daddy keeps telling me that my eyes will rot out, but I don’t believe him.

Here is a picture of some of my new toys…I don’t like to put them away when I’m done.

This is the TV I get to play my video games on, but Mommy and Daddy always seem to want to watch football. When will they learn that I rule this house?

This is my lap. Don’t ask me why I took this one because I don’t know.

This is the basket that Mommy keeps all of my shoes, boots, sunglasses, hats and such. It was on my level so I took a picture of it.

Did I mention that these are MY TOYS! Keep your mitts off!

This is my Mommy. She is the greatest Mommy in the world. Isn’t she pretty? Mommy is the one who gets to rock me at night…not Daddy.

Monday, January 19, 2009

My New Drive Home

As most of you know Mary Ellen and I moved up to Fishers from New Palestine this past October, and I knew before hand that the traffic would be bad. I didn’t know that it would be this bad, and I came to find out in a very short time that these Fishers commuters are freaking nuts! I fear for my life every time I start up the car to go home.

I try and leave the office about ten minutes before five or try and wait it out until around six because the less of these nuts I encounter the better for my own sanity. When I drive I try to stay within five miles per hour of the speed limit, give plenty of space and generally try and stay out of the way of the insane people driving at breakneck speeds. My patience on the other hand is not very good so putting me out there on the same roads as these nut cases is like adding fuel to a fire.

Unfortunately because I have to get Liam or home to relieve my mother I am generally leaving at rush hour with the rest of the certifiably insane nut cases that have just gotten off work and who are all in foul moods. Most of these people ride so close that it feels like someone is performing a prostate examination the whole way home. They all bunch up together and gang up not to let people merge and if someone is able to get over there is usually honking and hand gestures to follow.

Then there is dealing with the I-465 and 69 merger where you have people coming four lanes over from left to right and right to left which absolutely gums the whole thing up. Then about a mile down the interstate all the people who went all the way over into the far left lane now want to come back over because that lane ends. People switch lanes here, then there and then back again instead of just driving. What you get is a 20 minute drive turned into an hour with frayed nerves and a bad demeanor.

I will give you one short story just to illustrate the hell I have to deal with. I spent my forty five minutes in traffic and started to head west on 116th Street because I was heading to the grocery. I was in the left lane waiting on a light but could not get up to the light because of the turn lane to get to 69 was backed up. So this lady pulls up behind me and starts blaring her horn and I could see her screaming through the rear view mirror. So I just shrug my shoulders because there is no where I can go until the turn lane starts to move. This woman does not let up, and at this point I have had it so the light turns green everyone moves except for me. I raise up my hand extend the middle finger and enjoy myself as the woman goes into all sorts of gyrations and horn blowing. After a few moments of enjoyment I move on my way.

That was just one of my many encounters with traffic I have been enjoying since my move. These people are mean, aggressive, and will try your patience so if you are headed up to Fishers during rush hour I would suggest relaxing music and some sort of mantra to get you through.

Leave some comments of your traffic nightmares.

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