Politics


politics
As most of you that read my blogs already know, I am a Democrat and I really don’t have too much time for the current President for many reasons. I don’t plan on going into them here but would like to comment on the American way of how Politics are run.

Being from the old country where a stiff upper lip and a gentleman’s word really meant something, at least back in the day. I was there long enough to vote in several elections and apart from flyers stuck on every pole and the occasional Town Hall Meeting, most of the aspiring politicians knocked on doors to get their message out. Of course, I am talking of the time period when TV was comparatively new and the BBC who stood for no nonsense or advertising on their programs and was at the time, the only TV and Radio available. Later on, ITV, an independent and commercialized station came on the air giving the general population a choice of watching the riffraff shows on ITV or the very British and straight laced shows on BBC.

The point is that I cannot remember for the life of me ever contributing to any of the aspiring MP’s (Member of Parliament) in their quest for election. I’m sure they must have held some sort of fundraisers if only to pay for the printing of the above mentioned flyers. Whether they got elected or re-elected certainly did not hinge on the amount of money they had raised which brings me to the point of this blog. By the way, I have no idea what English Politics is like nowadays. It could be as bad as the American Way for all I know.

As like most people, my inbox is bombarded with emails from the different would be politicians all asking me to vote for them and “oh by the way, It would be really great if you could chip in yet another dollar or ten as my opponent is currently beating us in raising funds”. Now I am not averse to making the occasional contribution understanding the need to cover some of the outlandish expenses that running for any office seems to generate but I have to admit that I am really sick and tired of every email requesting such funds. They all start with, “My Opponent is outspending me by…”

When I look at the vast amount of funds that it takes to run for most political office on the National and State level, the mind boggles. It seems that it doesn’t matter what message you are trying to get out, unless you plaster it all over the media, your chances of success are very limited. Gone are the days when a persons personality and the ability to appeal to the general public would get them into office. Now it is based on whatever the spin doctors can get out there.

There is something majorly wrong with the American Election System when Politicians are already bought and in the pockets of the various groups and organizations and lobbyists from the first minute they take office. What chance does Democracy have for the average Joe when the almighty buck rules the day and that many working class Americans pay the price either indirectly or otherwise.

One thing I do know is that nowadays when I read an email requesting money for a political cause or get something in the mail, I just ignore them. I have figured out that I can’t change things for the better as the system is now too corrupt so I might as well keep my money in my pocket, vote for my candidates of choice when the time comes and hope that somewhere and some when, the country will wake up and the average Joe will realize that he is being made a complete and utter fool, used for someone else’s benefit.

Maybe I should become a Politician and get me some of the cash…

Written May 31, 2018

Sitting and Waiting


Today it is raining but the forecast is that it will clear up this afternoon. That is good as I really need to get outside to continue work on my latest project which is to install permanent electricity to three of the ponds.

The first pond that I built more than 30 years ago was around 2500 gallons and actually looked very nice with a patio that surrounded the entire pond. It developed a leak and even by letting the entire pond drain down to nothing, I was still unable to locate it to make a repair. By then I was hooked on Ponding and I decided to rebuild the pond and at the same time, enlarge the entire thing. The end result is a 5000 gallon pond. I did this one right and it has a permanent electrical supply to it.

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5000 Gallon Pond

I spent the next 30 years messing around building other ponds and streams sometimes even rebuilding because of a change of heart or of different ideas. Because of my restlessness and having a very hard to please attitude, I never installed permanent electricity to any of the 3 other ponds for good reason. For example, the middle pond was actually 2 ponds in the shape of an “L” with water from the top pond filtering down to the bottom pond and then recirculating back to the top pond.
Double Pond 1-2

The original “L” shaped pond

The smaller of the two ponds in this system developed a leak so I decided to separate them into two ponds which meant installing a Sanyo skimmer and another pump on the upper pond. I completely rebuilt the lower pond and installed a new liner and increased the depth to almost 4 feet. It too has its own skimmer box and pump. The electricity to drive the pumps was supplied by lead chords and temporary outlets and worked very well and I kept telling myself that as soon as I was satisfied with the ponds themselves, I would change the setup to something more permanent. Besides, I lived alone with no desire for any sort of company other than my dogs and reasoned that I would be careful as I worked the yard.

I had other water feature that I had built, one in the shape of a “Y” with two streams running into a small pond. This one actually worked pretty well but again, only had temporary electricity to drive the pumps. In a fit of madness, I decided to enlarge the pond at the end of the streams which eventually led to me taking out one stream completely along with the small pond. The end result was a 6000 gallon large pond, quite a bit larger than the 1000 gallon pond it replaced. I kept the one small stream and it still runs very nicely. Throughout all of this building and rebuilding, the electricity to drive the pumps was all supplied through the same system as outlined above, lead chords and temporary outlets.
New Pond 2 5-3-2014

The New 6000 Gallon Pond

Human Nature being what it is and with everything running smoothly, I moved onto other things and although the thought would cross my mind very occasionally, I never seriously considered doing much about the electric supply to the ponds. Things were working fine so why mess with it. Besides, I had plenty of other things to do that seemed to be more important and anyway, I was not in the mood to dig trenches and bury conduit.

Then, a couple of mornings ago, I came out to check on the ponds and everything was very quiet except for the 5000 gallon pond, the one with permanent electricity, that was running just fine. I wandered over to the other ponds and both the “L” shape and the 6000 gallon pond were very still. None of the pumps were working. Luckily, the system can be down for a few hours before any problems are likely to develop in the form of oxygen deprivation and less dangerous but just as frustrating, muddy water. As it is still early Spring, temperatures would not be high enough to really cause oxygen deprivation problems.

I traced the lead chords as they snaked from pond to pond and quickly discovered that the very first chord was scorched where it connected to the next chord. Even as I watched, the next junction suddenly burst into flames. At least I knew where the problems were located and went to work in temporarily replacing the burnt out lead chords with different ones so as to keep the pumps running while I planned out the new permanent power supply.

As luck would have it, years ago, I had installed an outlet by the back porch directly from the Main Junction Box which also happened to be the one that the temporary supply is plugged into. I figured that I could come from that one and then run the wire through conduit to the first of the GFCI outlet boxes that I planned to install. I have two metal boxes that contain two GFCI outlets in each box that I acquired over the years. Bit of an overkill as a single GFCI would protect all of the outlets downline from it but as I happened to have the boxes, why not use them.

So, with a plan in mind, I went to Home Depot and purchased the necessary supplies and to start work on the project. This is actually a three phase project the first of which is to install the conduit from the supply to the location of the first outlet box about 45 feet away. The second phase will be to run the conduit to the second of the outlet boxes another 50 feet further along. The last phase will be to complete the run another 25 feet to the last of the boxes.

I started work on Phase 1 which entailed digging a trench to bury the conduit. This is the hard part of the project mainly because I hate digging and it takes more of a mind set to actually start the work than to do the work. I managed to convince myself that as hot as it was, I needed to get after it. The digging was pretty easy but it did entail swinging a pickaxe to break up the ground, something I haven’t done in years.

The next part of Phase 1 of the project was to lay out the conduit and then pull the cable through each piece before gluing the conduit together. The whole thing was placed into the trench and covered over, with sufficient conduit and cable exposed at each end to make the connections. And that is where we are today and it has just come on to rain again. It doesn’t look like I will be working outside today, darn it…

Look for part two of this thrilling instalment of DIY.

Written 5/20/2018

Politics


politicsI find that I
as time goes by
grow weary of politics
and all of the dirty tricks
that the man in charge
who by and large
likes to pull
because he is a fool
a wealthy man
in this land
a one percenter
a climate change hater
whose only goal
to get others to follow
to turn America white
and to put out the lights
on all who have the American Dream
and send them back to countries unseen
to make the rich richer
and to make it clearer
that the man on the street
whoever you meet
whose voice is not heard
without any words
can no longer prosper
or even foster
with no money to spend
and who at the end
will vote out the problem
that won’t be forgotten
as the list grows long
what will be his song
and who will he blame
and I wonder what names
he will call his successor
as he tweets his final letter
when the impeachments comes
and he turns to his chums
for help and support
and they will have thought
thanks for the money for our wealth
now it is time for stealth
your on your own Donald old friend
for Jail is where you will probably end
half the country will certainly rejoice
and will speak together with one voice
you are not above the law they will say
and  must pay the piper as today is the day…
Here’s Hoping…

Written 4/9/2018

My Friend


I had a friend come and stay
with me just the other day
which really caught me by surprise
when the phone rang and his voice disguised
trying desperately hard to sound like a Yank
with his British accent it really stank
“George”, I said, “What are you doing here”?
as I heard his voice full of good cheer
He said, “I’m staying just up the street
maybe tomorrow we can meet
I can fill you in on the reason why
I left old England and said goodbye
for the second time in my life
leaving behind without any strife.
I stayed over there almost a year
living with friends which became very clear
was not working out the way that it should
as I could not settle or do anything good
the weather was wet with the usual rain
with little sun and no tan to gain
and I could not find a team
to coach, which really was my dream
so I hopped on a plane and made the short trip
from England to Texas the best place to hit
where I hope to pick up my former life
and maybe even find me a wife
so that I can settle down
no more to roam as I have come back home”.

I met with George the following day
and as he had no place to stay
brought him back to live with me
if only temporarily
until he can find that team to coach
he has a few leads and he has spoke
to one of his friends whom we met
at the fields, where else, who told George to “Get
his bag and to come home with me
to San Antonio and we shall see
about that team and a place to stay”
as they left to go on their way.
I hope things work out for my old friend
and that he lives his dream until the end
as growing old is both our way
always looking to see the following day
living our lives and chasing our dreams
our minds filled with improbable schemes.

Written 4/7/2018

A New Computer, not Really?


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The weather here in Central Texas has been kind of difficult. It has warmed up a bit through the days but more often than not, it has been raining throughout most of the time. Not heavy rain but enough to keep me indoors and not out in the garden or hiking the trails where I would rather be.

At the same time, my computer which is an older model, was running out of space on the hard drive and although I moved as much stuff as I could to different drives that I have hooked up, it was getting real close to full. I thought about for a bit and came to the decision that I needed to buy a new computer as to add a bigger hard drive was going to cost me at least $400.00. I had seen computers in the Best Buy store close to me that were going for that and even a bit less so it made sense to buy new.

I talked to a salesperson after spending time reviewing my options and settled on one that had the really fast operating system and lots of storage space with all of the other bells and whistles like a touch screen and facial recognition, the latter nice but not necessary. They did not have one quite like the one I wanted but had an “open box” model almost the same which I figured was a good buy as it was saving me an additional $180.00. The total price at the end for this model was around $850.00 which was more than I was originally going to spend but did give me the faster chip and lots of memory and storage space.

I spent a couple of days setting up the new machine reinstalling most of the programs that I use and  generally had it running as I wanted it. Apart from the facial recognition and the touch screen and of course the space on the hard drive, it was no faster than my old one. It was also much slower in booting up some of which was probably due to loading newer stuff that was not on my old computer. The screen was also a bit smaller resulting in the print being smaller which was bit of a strain on my old eyes.

I thought about it for a bit and made a search for Computer Repair Specialists other than Best Buys Geek Squad where everything started at $100.00 and found an independent business located not too far from me. I called the guy up and we chatted for a while and he told me to bring my old computer over and he would take a look. Long story short, he discovered that the gentleman I had originally bought the computer from was a bit of a computer genius and had modified it by removing the disc player and installing a super fast SSD drive so in essence, I had two hard drives, one of which still had a lot of storage space. He proceeded to move as much as he could from the main drive to the secondary drive resulting in gaining almost 50% more room on the main drive. This meant that my old computer was back in business and as an additional bonus, the total charges for this service was just a little over $70.00, a far cry from the cost of the new computer or for the $400.00 for the work that the Geek Squad was going to do.

I thought about it for a bit and then spent the next two days cleaning up the new computer taking off all of my programs and information. Satisfied that it was as clean as I could get it and knowing that in order to sell it, the Geek Squad would have to format the disk to wipe it clean and reinstall whatever they needed on it. I packed it back in the box and returned it to the store within the 14 days that was allotted as the return time. Other than checking  that it wasn’t damaged, Best Buy returned my money back onto my credit card with no questions asked.

I did run into a problem on my old computer with Outlook which is my email program of choice and spent the next two days working on that. I figured out where and what Outlook was saving with my information and files and eventually with the very last try of the day, as I was pretty fed up with not getting it to work, the program did what it was supposed to do and all of the recent files came alive, all 3000 of them. Satisfied with the results, I left cleaning up the unwanted files to the next day.

The bottom line is that although my computer doesn’t have a touch screen or facial recognition, those are things I can do without. I took special note of the times I used the touch screen and it was almost zero as I preferred to use a mouse so there is no loss there. As for the facial recognition, I am well used to typing in my password at the start of the day so no biggie there either.

The moral to this story is to check out all of the options before settling on the first one you think of. Spending time on a little more research of what is available can be well worth it.

Now, I am waiting for the weather to clear up so that I can get back outdoors as I no longer have an excuse to not be out there. Besides, I need more pictures to work on and material for the new blogs to write. Maybe, the Osprey is back…

Written 3/5/2018

I Bought Me a Truck


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In a fit of madness I went to the lot
just to see what  they have got
in the way of new trucks which I am told
that my plans for the future will really involve
my car that I have had for a while
which I really like for its style
can’t do the things I have planned
like getting ready a piece of land
and hauling brush and clearing trees
a Tiny Home is what I need
and sell this house and move away
for something smaller where I can play
I will be sad to leave my friends
and the ponds I built and to this end
but the house is way too big for me
and would suit a larger family
as my needs are so very few
the space I need to live like I do
a Tiny Home in so many ways
where I can live the rest of my days
will I ever make the move
and make my Little House dreams come true
well I bought the truck so thats a start
the land comes next to play its part
water and gas and electricity too
and a septic system for the loo
hopefully by this time next year
my life will have a whole new veneer.

Two months later and things have changed
no land no little house but in exchange
I plan to buy a trailer home
to visit the Parks and be alone
to spend time away just me and the pups
and walking the trails and taking cups
of coffee or some other fine brew
under the stars with only a few
other campers doing the same
as we play the Nature Game.

Written 11/10/2017
Amended 1/21/2018