What oh What was I thinking  

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Ok, So I'm a huge fan of the written word. I love reading, books, magazines, blogs, shampoo bottles, you name it. Lately I have been on overdrive. I've read about 18-20 books this last month, which is a bunch even for me.

So I had finished a L'Amour book and I was feeling like maybe a little change of pace would be good. There I am looking through some Dean Koontz and what do you know in the middle of them was my copy of The Stand by Stephen King. Now I didn't remember putting that book in the pile of Koontz stuff, but figured what the heck. I grabbed it up and settled into the recliner for a relaxing evening of some good reading.

As I was headed into the living room though, I got to thinking how much I really enjoyed the movie. Me and my thinking, so I figured what the heck I'll just watch the movie first and then start on the book. One problem with that......The movie is 4 sections and it is about 6 hours and 36 minutes long. Well what could I do? The movie was already put into the DVD player so I figured what the heck I'll just watch the first part then start reading the book and sorta go back and forth.

Well that was about 2 1/2 hours ago and I don't think that the book will get opened until the movie is done now. My problem is that I really shouldn't stay up for another 3 1/2 to 4 hours to finish watching it. Well I have never been accused of being the sharpest tool in the shed so on I plod.

I just started noticing some of the differences between the book and the movie. One of the big ones for me is getting around the whole Dana issue. In the movie she doesn't have a real history before she goes to spy. In the book though she is rescued after she was taken and used as a slave/whore. Then there is Larry's mom. In the movie she is this little frail woman, but in the book she is a large buxom woman. I wonder how King felt about them altering those somewhat minor characters.

Every movie based on a Stephen King book has him making a cameo in there somewhere. Sorta reminds me of Clive Cussler and his books. All of his Dirk Pitt books have him making an appearance in there somewhere. Wonder if that's ego or just good ol' plain fun.

So now I'm really in conflict. I have the dang book open and I'm reading while I try and watch the movie at the same time, and I'm getting confused cause the book and the movie don't really match up for the most part.

I have a feeling this will be a long night, but of course I didn't help it much by taking this break to post how dumb I am for trying to watch a movie while reading it's story.

BUT.....for anybody who hasn't ever read the book or seen the movie. I would say read the book first and if you are into the whole good vs. evil, heaven and hell scenario. Then by all means get the movie as well. it's long but it's great for a weekend afternoon if you are just in that lazy mood and wanna just pig out on popcorn and soda and not do much else.

Stu Redman is a great character by far my favorite
but you will meet a lot of characters in this book
Randall Flag
Mother Abigail
Ralph, Larry, Tom (another great character), Harold, Nadine...Gah I will get carried away and name everybody, but those are the biggies...oops and Fran....I'm sure I'm missing someone, but anyway pick it up and give it a try it's a pretty awesome book.

How low can we go?  

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I don't follow much in the way of actors and producers or any of the movie industry for that matter, but this whole Roman Polanski thing just has me sick. 

For those that don't know Polanski was convicted of rape about 30 years ago.  He raped a 13 year old girl after getting her drunk and giving her some pill i think it was a lude.  Anyway he was convicted and before he could serve his true sentence he fled the country for France.  He has lived there comfortably all this time continuing to make movies and has become somewhat of a celebrity of France.

Well he was recently in Switzerland and was arrested on this outstanding warrant and is being held there pending extradition to the U.S.   The French Govt. and a number of hollywood elite (and not so elite) are demanding his immediate release.  Many of his supporters are stating that he has been punished enough because he hasn't been able to make movies in the U.S. for all these years because of this. 

I'm sorry but I have to disagree.  This guy is a pervert.  He was 44 years old when he got a 13 year old drunk and stoned then raped and sodomized her.  Sorry this guy doesn't deserve any breaks.  What he deserves is prison time.  He deserves to be publicly humiliated.  He deserves to have all that money he made taken away from him.  He also deserves all those bleeding hearts that are supporting him.

Why do these people think that because they make a movie (or star in one for that matter), it gives them the right to live outside the law?  Since when did becoming an actor or a producer/director give you special allowances.  These people get paid a ton of money, the last thing I want is their opinion about a matter of law.  I get so disgusted when I think of somebody with the nerve to defend this behavior. 

We have no moral compass anymore.  It just seems to be whatever makes you feel good, is the order of the day.  There was a kid in Chicago that got beat to death by a bunch of other high school kids.  That got about 10 minutes of news time.  Yet they want to dedicate the last 2 days to whether or not the olympics will be held in Chicago.  Is that really more important than a young boys life? 

Are we that far gone that we have decided that it's ok to allow our kids to be raped and killed.  We are teaching young women that it's ok to get an abortion cause it will keep them from ruining their lives.  We want to legalize yet another addictive substance so we can make more money. 

The whole pot issue just makes me laugh.  I hear people that are all for it saying.  "It's stupid that it's illegal, it's no worse than smoking or drinking."  Guess what smoking and drinking  is BAD!  Why do we continue to marginalize these types of things?  Our habits and behaviors are our own fault.  But that doesn't give us the right to continue passing on bad habit after bad habit.  I want my kids to be better than me, not the same as me.  

I was always taught that a parents role was to take what I learned and use that to help my children get the next step above me.  Help them to avoid some of the mistakes I have made.  Now all I hear is that I can't spank my kid, cause it is bad for him emotionally.  I can't yell at my kid cause it's bad for him emotionally.  I shouldn't take things away from my kid cause it's bad for him emotionally.  I am sorry but my 8 year old son is not going to respond to a calm discussion on the hazards of staying up to late.  On the other hand if he doesn't get his psp for a week cause he stayed up after I told him to go to bed, or if I shout "GET YOUR BUTT IN BED RIGHT NOW!"  That tends to stick with him. 

How about if we get back to teaching our kids what is right and what is wrong.  Let's lead by example and let them see that it's ok to help somebody out without expecting something in return.  Let's let them know that sometimes you have to do something just because "I SAID SO".  I don't give my kids an explanation for every decision I make.  That is the same as me asking my boss to explain himself everytime he makes a decision concerning my job.  That's not the way the real world works, and the sooner we prepare our children to be good citzens the sooner we will see things change.  Help out your neighbor, (yes even if you are a mom in Michigan).

Respect goes a long way, I think it's time we all started learning what it means again.  Maybe we should actually start to show a little of it from time to time.  For my part, I try my best to let my kids know that Please and Thank you are still words we use when asking for something and when given something.  "Bless You" is still acceptable after somebody sneezes.  "After you" is still what you say when you get to an entrance of a store at the same time as somebody else.  Little courtesies that seem to be forgotten nowadays need to be remembered, maybe more than ever. 

Political correctness needs to be thrown by the wayside.  We should speak to somebody the way we want to be spoken to, not because we don't want to be considered biggots, but because it's just the right thing to do.  The time for all of this is now, cause I don't think we can afford to go any lower than right now.

Nothing Like a Good Book  

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Well I couldn't help but snatch up another L'Amour book this weekend. I can't seem to put them down lately. I have always been an avid reader, but I manage from time to time to jump around and sample different styles of writing. Regardless of what I read, I have found that I much prefer fiction with a hint of truth or historical fact thrown in, just to give it that feeling of realism.

Before my big L'Amour rebirth, I was completely caught up with Clive Cussler. I think that Dirk Pitt is a wonderful leading character, and his lavish tastes mixed with his obvious chivalrous demeanor, and no nonsense approach to justice and sense of fair play make him a definite hero even with his faults (womanizing and drinking a bit too much).

I found myself digging into only Dirk Pitt novels though. I couldn't really dig into other novels if they didn't have Mr. Pitt and of course Al and Rudi and Admiral Sandecker. You almost feel as if you know them by the time you finish your first Dirk Pitt novel. Of course that is what drew me to Louis L'Amour novels. His characters are definite old west attitude, where a woman was treated with respect and a mans word was everything. Disputes were settled by a good ol' fist fight or a quick draw. Simpler time, but much more openly violent. Nonetheless, Dirk Pitt would have fit right into any of those western novels that I am so caught up in.

So it's easy enough for me to jump back and forth between the two. Don't get me wrong I read other forms of writing also, if for no other reason than to give me some perspective. I have dug into many Stephen King novels. My favorite single book of all time is The Stand. Definitely into a little Dean Koontz from time to time as well. Strange Highways, had me feeling the jitters for a couple weeks. Tom Clancy...you bet Clear and Present Danger is right up there with the rest of the great books. I also have a soft spot for some of the more classical books as well. Swiss Family Robinson, Journey to the Center of the Earth and Robinson Crusoe are three of my "love to reread" books.

So I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I managed a few L'Amour books this weekend. In all fairness they weren't exactly huge books or anything. They usually consist of about 200 pages.
To Tame a Land was the latest reread for me, and managed that one in about 3 hours. I just couldn't put the dang thing down. Rye Tyler, is just a great leading character. Mr L'Amour makes the landscape just come out in your mind as clear as if you are watching it on a screen in your living room. This book got me thinking about some of my other favorite characters. I saw a lot of similarities between Rye Tyler and Bendigo Shafter. They were both forced to grow up fast with a gun in hand. They both had to take responsibility above and beyond what they should have and they both persevered. Maybe not in the exact same manner, but nonetheless, they both are a sort of coming of age story in my opinion. Only it's old west style.

I hear a lot of people talking about not having any heroes anymore. Well to those people I say pick up a L'Amour book anytime you are in need of a big lift in spirits (well maybe not Hondo). You will most likely be able to identify with at least one of the characters in his book at some level. I even find myself feeling sorry for the bad guy from time to time, just because Louis did such a great job of giving the perspective of the "other guy" so well.

For a little bit more PG13 you might wanna try the Clive Cussler novels. Of course for the R you can pick up any Dean Koontz book and get a great dose of insomnia. The point I guess I'm trying to make is just read. Whatever you like to read. It doesn't really matter, just pick up a book and enjoy it.

It always manages to take me back to a happy time in my life. I find myself sometimes back in my fourth grade class. If we were well behaved we got time in the reading tub. Which was a regular old fashioned bathtub that our teacher had brought into the class and added a bunch of pillows to. It was an awesome experience for those of us that really enjoyed reading it was better than a 20 dollar bill.

So the next time you have an extra 20 minutes, pick up a book and give it a try. You might find that 20 minutes turning into 30 or 45 and if you are like me, you will feel a ton better after you have had a little time with a good book.

It's not a bad trade off, I'll take Louis L'amour over desperate housewives any day.

Lovin' My Weekends  


So it was miserable hot today. I didn't really want to get up from my chair. The air conditioner was blasting and I had the fan pointed just the right direction. My 3rd book of the weekend was in my hand (I've been rereading Louis L'Amour). My wife wanted all of us to get cleaned up and "go for a drive".

Well I pretended like that sounded like a pretty good idea. The boys got cleaned up and so did I. Off we went for our little drive through the countryside. The kids weren't all that excited about it. Well mostly Cameron, my middle son wasn't all that excited about it. Ethan, who is 8 and still excited by seeing horses and cattle out in the hills, thought that it was pretty cool.

We decided to drive up through a little town not far from here by the name of Raymond. Now there isn't much to speak of in Raymond, except for the mountain of granite that makes Raymond continue to live. We didn't see the Raymond Granite facility, just sorta slipped through town, with a quick stop at The General Store for a soda and snack.

Then the drive continued on up further into the hills. We decided to take the back road to a small town by the name of Coarsegold. It is a slight grade up the hill when you take the back roads, so it was a rather pleasant drive.

From Coarsegold it was a little further on and soon we were in Oakhurst. Now this is the biggest of the three towns we visited and we decided to stop in for a little ice cream treat and a couple minutes to relax in this little rustic town. The kids were lovin' the ice cream and I had to admit that this trip wasn't nearly as terrible as I thought it would be.

Well after about 45 minutes at the ice cream shop we decided to get back on the road. I figured we were going home, but the wife wanted to go to a lake that is only a few miles further up the road. So off we headed towards Bass Lake.

We drove up to Bass Lake taking the high road, which turned out to be a bad idea, since the kids and wife decided they wanted to stop and walk around at the lake. So after turning around, we drove back up the road to find the road leading right down to the water. We took the little drive through the "residential" area of Bass Lake, which is essentially a bunch of lake homes and a few nice large houses, that are called cabins. There was a little outdoor mall working, but as we got there sorta late they were on the tail end and were sorta shutting down. So we got down to the water and taking a few cookies with us, proceeded to give the geese and ducks a few treats.

Well the boys just absolutely loved that, they enjoyed having those big ol' geese come right up to them, brave as can be looking for cookies. My little boy even managed a slight battle wound, when one particularly zealous bird decided to taste the "hand that fed him". My son sorta pulled back his hand like he was shot, but other than a bit of embarrassment he was fine.

Well we hung out there for good little while and the kids threw off their flip flops and walked around in the water just throwing rocks and having a good old time. My wife was dutifully taking pictures and the kids were willing models.

The sun was starting to dip a little, so we decided that it was time to head back. The ride back was the front road not the back way, and it was actually a not so bad ride home. All in all it was a good Sunday for this family, and I have a feeling that this might be a pretty common occurence in the weeks and months to come.

It's funny how many things I manage to accomplish when I don't sit here vegetating in front of my computer or dulling my brain watching too much television. I forgot how nice it was to enjoy a little bit of nature. I am always so busy getting there that sometimes I forget to just enjoy the ride. My wife managed to get me to slow down and look at the little journey today, and not worry so much about the destination.

For that she gets a big THANK YOU.....

Cant' We All Just Get Along  

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I just don't get it. I have never considered myself driven by much in the way of race. I live in a predominately Hispanic community, mostly Mexican. We are a farming town (or were). It was pretty common to have more friends that were brown skinned than white. We didn't think much of it, but there were some parents that made funny looks or made comments that we didn't understand. We learned later what the comments meant. Being called a cracker or white bread was not a big deal to me, mostly cause I didn't know it was supposed to be insulting at the time.

As I got older, and developed friendships from a greater area than just school. I still normally hung out with mostly Mexican or at least half Mexican friends. Don't get me wrong I had white friends as well, and even a couple of black friends, although there weren't many black families around my little slice of the world.

I joined the military and was told that there was no longer black white brown or yellow. We were all green. Dark green or light green, but green all the same. I wasn't taught to look at a skin color to decide if somebody would like me or for that matter if I would like them. I was taught that people that shared my interests, had my values, or hung tough to their loyalties would be the people that I would want to look for as friends. Not if they had the right skin color.

My kids don't look at color when deciding friendship, my parents told me not to, and my children will teach their children not to. Yet I wonder if that is the right way to go anymore. I am hearing more and more that if I'm conservative, I must have a deep seated racist side. I have been told that I might not even be aware of it, but that I was raised to be afraid of people that are different than me and that don't share my ideals.

I didn't realize that somebody else had such a good grasp of my life and my standards. It's good to know that there are those that are out there offering their generalization of society though. It especially comforting to know that they have taken it upon themselves to tell me what a hateful person I am, and how I will probably never really understand the true issues that face our country.

Well be that as it may, I think that I will continue on living my life the way I have. I think I'll continue to befriend people that have similar interests, that are of like values, maybe somebody that makes me laugh, or offers an ear when I'm upset. I think that I will continue to try and judge people for what they do, and not for what skin color they happen to be born with.

I have Italian grandparents, and German/Irish grandparents, but I don't think that people are generally judging me by that, so why should I judge someone else because they have grandparents from somewhere else? It's all silly and it's gone from unsettling to irritating, to downright annoying.

We now have the Congressional Black Caucus, the Democratic Hispanic Caucus, and the Republican Hispanic Conference. For a country that is supposedly working past racial division, that certainly does seem to be pretty divisive. I don't know I guess I am just a crazy cracker after all to think that huh?

To those of you that are prone to judging by color, and being offended by those same comments. Here is a bit of advice. Toughen your skin a little bit. Words are just that words, and yes they can be powerful when used certain ways, but they only have as much power as we give them. I don't remember who said it, but the saying went. "The man who looks for racism is sure to find it." I guess that makes me sexist for using that quote because I didn't mention women, children or farm animals huh? Everything can be taken the wrong way and anybody can get offended by nothing more than a misunderstanding by one person.

I might not have agreed with anything else Rodney King had to say, but I have to give him credit for that one little quote. "Can't we all just get along?"