Category Archives: Environment

Swamp Buggy

When mom and dad were over here in West Palm Beach a few weeks back, we went out to the South Florida Shooting Sports gun club where I am a member for some shooting. We took the whole family because Lily just loves to go out and watch me shoot. An incredible storm came up out of nowhere, so the shooting didn’t last long. We even were hailed on.

My buddy Jeff, the owner/operator of the club, had arranged a swamp buggy tour of the nearby 3,000 acre wild game ranch. Being right after a storm, the animals were out tending to whatever they saw fit to do. My two girls had an awesome time checking out the wild goats, blackbuck, red deer, fallow deer, sika deer, and water buffalo. We even saw a bobcat and a pheasant couple. It was really unreal.

I wasn’t familiar with swamp buggies before I moved to Florida, and just assumed everyone went around in airboats. Texas obviously has large vehicles that are very capable for off-roading, but this thing is more equivalent to a mini monster truck or a logging skidder. This isn’t the best photo, but it should give you a glimpse of the beast. My dad is about 6’0″ to give you some perspective.

The Ride of Our Lives

What is RAGBRAI?

“What is RAGBRAI” is a question worth answering. I will be riding it at the end of next July. Wikipedia says one thing and the RAGBRAI web site says another, but let me give you my version.

It’s buses and buses and buses of people. It’s the craziest costumes you will hopefully ever see. It’s bike baptisms and Catholic worship. It’s trailers of Iowa corn on a stick, it’s having your picture made with a chicken. It’s Lance Armstrong struggling, it’s feisty grandmas to greet you in their town. It’s innovative bikes and innovative people. It’s mixing and mingling. It’s independence and teamwork. It’s getting down the road and not looking back. It’s a make shift water slide or it’s a make shift slip in slide, but not both. It’s time with friends, time alone, and time with old guys who get fat in winter. It is tent camps, and the towns you go through along the way. It’s a special memory you can’t forget.
And, you are invited. Here is even a RAGBRAI for Dummies to get you started. Get a bike and let’s go!

One Bold Take on the Virginia Tech Shootings

We don’t yet know the stories of heroism or bravery which happened today at Virginia Tech during the shootings. We may never know. In that classroom full of kids, there may not have been any brave souls who ventured to take on the lone shooter without a weapon of their own. There may *have* been. We simply don’t know.

In addition to today, two local events here and here have made me re-think personal safety and my ideas of preparedness for an attack. Please don’t get me wrong, this post is not some boast that looks down my nose at the victims of these tragedies. I can not say with any surety what I would do in these same situations. I would like to think I can put myself in a position to at-least cause harm to the other party, if not be able to come out unscathed. But again, who knows what we would do were we to face a violent attack by someone intent on ending our life, freedom, or dignity.

One thing I can say today is that I am glad I bought that gun I mentioned over this past weekend. I am glad because without an equivalent method of force to what an attacker will bring, I don’t seem to stand a chance… even at my 260 lb. weight and 6’4″ frame. I am just a bigger, slower target than the next guy. I am glad also that I got mine now, before another gun-prohibition is introduced by the democrat-controlled congress who themselves seem to be determined to reduce or remove my Constitutional, 2nd Amendment right “to keep and bear Arms“. I am glad I live in a country where most of the population are reasonable people that understand the vehicle or device utilized in a massacre like todays isn’t the object which kills people, but the depraved and desperate individuals using those things to do ungodly things are at fault.

What if just one of those 30 college students had a gun with them at the time of the shooting today? Would anything have been different? If any two students had carried a pistol concealed to class, and they knew how to use them, surely things would have been a lot different. Unless those two students are both in the first 8-14 persons killed (unlikely), at-least one of them should be able to get a shot off that wounds the coward enough to have other students jump on him and get the gun away from him. Or, maybe it gives the other students the bravery they need to hurl books at the satanist. Or maybe another student picks up the pistol another student falls dead to the ground holding in order to do their part to end the brutality. Again, we don’t know the circumstances of today, but more guns in the hands of the good-guys couldn’t have hurt on this sad Monday.

I am not afraid to say that if I knew I had a good chance of dieing by doing nothing, I would much rather have a gun that gives me a chance of living by doing something… even if it means a few of my best-attempted shots are errant and kill other individuals who in this kind of attack are likely to become victims anyway. That is a hard, gross problem to consider. But my perspective is the more sane, humane, trained, and willing people who have guns on their persons, the fewer lives that will be lost in all kinds of violent crimes. In all states that allow it, concealed handguns deter/lower violent crime. In the events of today, all we could have hoped for with students who concealed carry would have been a quicker end to something destined to be a tragedy regardless.

God help us all. We need it.

Hover Mower – My kind of work!

Toolmonger.com, which is fast becoming one of my favorite leisure sites, has the Hover Mower review:

The HoverMower floats effortlessly on a cushion of air; Without any wheels it mows in any direction following the contour of the land. It hovers with ease on lake banks, slopes, wet grounds, sand and retaining walls. It cuts and mulches tall, wet grass for a clean professional look. The new 4-cycle engine is light and specially designed for continuous incline operation.

Now, that sounds like my kind of mower. I like riding lawn mowers, but they normally have grass clipping hovermower.jpgcollection bags that you have to get off and empty… which requires sweat. The nice thing about this is that a little girl (mine in fact) could use it at a fairly young age… though I might suggest some kind of guard around the outside edge. I think I will introduce my neighbors to child labor in a few years. We’ll call it allowance money!

On Mercenary Killings and the Love of Hunting

If you know me, you know it is time for the beard. The beard is the annual signal to friends and family that it is now hunting season. This is that time of year when men, women, and children all over the US prepare to hunt the warm-blooded beauty of God’s creation, the white-tailed deer. For real hunters, which I would arbitrarily define as someone who thinks about hunting at-least weekly, hunting isn’t only a hobby, a pastime, or a sport, but a lifestyle choice.

Let’s face it, hunting isn’t popular. The vast majority of the American population look down their noses at this timeless tradition. Some of my own family (not blood related) are content to pay others to kill their meat for them. The defense is often that the animal is raised specifically for their consumption. As though this reasoning can wipe the blood from under the finger-nails of their hired mercenaries. Oh no, this reasoning will not stand. At the turn of the century there were not a hundredth of the number of white-tail deer that there are today. You see, hunting has made the white-tail deer population grow. Through improving habitat, self-selecting mature animals to kill, supporting state and federal agencies with their license fees, and through spending their money on the sport, hunters have enabled white-tail deer to flourish both directly and indirectly. In a very real sense, deer are raised specifically for the hunter’s pleasure and consumption.

I could make this post four or five times longer than this with all the reasons why hunting is good for our environment and our nation, but I will hold off. I won’t bring up things like the fact our best snipers learned to shoot and kill when hunting as youth. I won’t bring up the fact that overpopulation of deer can ruin our environment in the absence of a serious predator, or that deer herds contract massive epidemics when over-population occurs. I will leave out the fact that prior to 250 years ago, if you weren’t hunting or hiring those who did, you didn’t eat much meat in this country. I won’t focus now on the reality that a cleanly placed shot by a hunter on large game is a way of honoring these animals and that the alternative method of gathering meat for the family is much more cruel and unclean.

I am going to leave that out, and instead show you a picture of the crossbow I got a really sweet deal on a few weeks ago. crossbow.jpgThis crossbow will help me honor the following commandment by God about his economy and have a lot of fun in the process:

Genesis 1 (NASB)
V.27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. 31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

What’s Happening: Spitzer Spots Building Blocks of Life in Supernova Remnant

Compare This:

What’s Happening: Spitzer Spots Building Blocks of Life in Supernova Remnant
Using infrared telescopes, Dwek and his colleagues detected silicate dust created by the star from before it exploded. This dust survived the intense radiation from the explosion. Nearly 20 years onward, the supernova shock wave blasting through the debris that was shed by the star prior to its fiery death is now sweeping up this dust, making the material “visible” to infrared detectors.

Dust — chemical particles and crystals finer than beach sand — is both a frustration and a fascination for astronomers. Dust can obscure observations of distant stars. Yet dust is the stuff from which all solid bodies are formed. This is why dust research, as bland as it sounds, is one of the most important topics in astronomy and astrobiology.

Dust is made in stars and hurled into space by stellar winds and supernovae, and it is found everywhere in the universe. But little is known about its origin and the processes that affect it.

With This From The Net Bible:

Geneses 2:5 Now no shrub of the field had yet grown on the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. 2:6 Springs would well up from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground. The Lord God formed the man from the soil of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Found everywhere in the universe… described thousands of years ago in the Bible, yet the origin is still questioned. Mind-blowing.

What makes me sick

What makes me sick are oil company executives who justify their criminal profits by saying America has it good compared to other countries and that high fuel prices help curb demand. In the movie Failure to Launch How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days there is a really cute part where the two stars are playing a game that requires one party to determine if the other party is lying or not. If they believe the party to be lying they say B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T. Seriously though, these oil companies are full of liers and I am saying Bullshit (forgive me Lord) right now about this horrific approach of winning our confidence.

In other news, ethanol (moonshine basically) is made of corn, sugarcane, beets, wood pulp, switchgrass (prairie grass), and other crops which are high in starch. Maybe the oil companies should realize they are in the business of providing customers fuel for our cars and not in the business of buying and selling black stuff. Sure you have 100 years of investment in your business models which require you to greedily cause wars and corrupt our leaders, but a little investment in the farms of America would go a long way to winning over some customer evangelists who care more about our national economy than they do a pennies difference at the pump. So, to all the oil companies out there… get off your high horses and realize American consumers, while materialistic, are educated consumers. This includes you Senor Bush.