Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
And the flag that always waves atop the Iwo Jima monument:
Or the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier? A monument honoring a nameless soul who died fighting for what he believed in:
And now, some of my antecedents, (which I don't often show in public!) What many on here may not realize is that I served in this nation's Armed Forces, when I was a member of the US Army:
I also did a short stint in the Navy, when I served aboard the U.S.S. Martini:
And, in my younger days, I was a cowboy who fought in the wild, wild west:
Just so nobody thinks I'm making light of anything, I want you to know that I was proud to have served this country while I was in the Army. I felt that I was helping, in a tiny way, to preserve the freedoms that we have known and loved for over 200 years. Freedoms for which others have died to protect. So, it saddens me when I see something like what I saw this past Monday. I was out Christmas shopping (thank goodness we still have some freedom to worship the way we want to....) with my sister-in-law, when an Indiana State Trooper pulled me over in the Toys R Us parking lot. The offense I was potentially guilty of? Not wearing my seat belt! How insignificant can you get? Now, a short bit later, we were almost ran down while crossing the road on foot by an angry woman in an SUV. Where were the police to help save my life in that instance? They were nowhere to be seen. I'll tell you why. They're not interested in saving our lives. They're busy earning all that overtime pay, which the United States Government grants to states if they will enforce the seat belt law.
It would seem to me that in the "Land of the Free," we would have the right to decide for ourselves whether or not to wear seat belts. Isn't that the very essence of freedom? Not to have some tyrannical power telling us every little thing that we can and can't do in our ordinary lives? Our government has become exactly what we were running away from when we formed the United States in the 1776. Are you sick and tired of seeing freedom after freedom of yours being taken away by some law that they say is ostensibly designed to help keep you "safe?" Know this - the United States Government or your state governments are not interested in saving your lives. They couldn't care less if you should live or die. They just do what they're told to do so that the tax money or the grant money will keep coming in. Remember that little phrase you learned in high school? That our form of government was "of the people, by the people and for the people?" That means that you and I are the boss. I think it's high time we start exercising our executive powers and tell them we don't want any more new laws that are designed to "protect" us. And, it's high time we tell them to reverse a few that are on the books already because they're not actually worth the paper they're printed on. In a free society, we have the right to decide matters that affect our own lives. So, all those laws saying it's illegal to smoke in a bar, but it's not bad enough to just outlaw cigarettes, should be repealed. If smoking is so harmful to people's health, why aren't they just outlawed? I'll tell you why. The government gets too much tax money from the sale of cigarettes. Doesn't that sound hypocritical to you? Oh, they don't care whether you die from smoking, they just want their money. And they don't care whether or not you die in an automobile accident. If they did, they would be going after the people that cause the accidents, the wreckless drivers, instead of the helpless victims of potential accidents. If they actively pursued the causes of most automobile accidents, the drivers that are the ones that kill and maim regularly, it would be much safer for ordinary people to drive these roads in America. Don't let them tell you that seat belts save lives and that it's the only reason they force you to wear them by passing laws to such effect. Studies have proven that the mandantory wearing of seat belts has not resulted in a decrease in traffic fatalities. There are also studies which prove cracking down on wreckless drivers improves traffic safety. I mean, that one is obvious to me, as it should be to you.
So, are you going to continue taking whatever the United States Government force feeds down your throat in the name of safety? I'm not! I am an American and I have the freedom to decide for myself how to live my life and to keep it safe. And I'm going to do everything I can to prove it in the coming year. The first thing is to try and get rid of that ridiculous seat belt law which hasn't saved any more lives than before it was "the law of the land." That's got to go. It's time for every good American to take back control of their own life. You have that right guaranteed to you in the Constitution, you know. And if you value your freedom and want to be able to have selection in where you shop, stop going to Wal-Mart or there won't be any other stores left and they can then charge whatever they want. There goes your bargains. You've already lost the selection that Wal-Mart used to offer, so that's no longer an attraction for them.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
As part of the entertainment, they had flown Santa down from the North Pole for a special afternoon appearance. I don't know how he found the time to come down to my little town, in what must surely be his busiest time of the year, but there he was, posing for pictures and ho ho ho-ing:
Santa even brought his guitar and performed instrumental Christmas songs. Now, Santa doesn't particularly sponsor one product over another, but he did use a Rogue acoustic guitar and a Peavey sound system that sounded pretty good. And don't let the beard fool you - he had a harmonica concealed under there and used it to perform the melodies of the songs he played. Who knew the man had such a wide variety of skills? Santa was really jammin':
ALERT! - shameless The Ten Commandments reference - ALERT! They also had a room where they displayed their miniature award-winning carts. The walls were filled with ribbons and trophies and there were tiny recreations, which were all usuable, of stagecoaches, sleighs, silkies, royal coaches, buckboards, fire wagons, and scads I don't even know what to call. But, the most amazing thing was they had two chariots! You'll all remember how much of a role chariots played in my all-time favorite movie! Of course, these were Roman-type chariots instead of Egyptian, but they were chariots none-the-less:
All in all, it was quite an entertaining little foray only a mile or two outside of the city limits. I might have to go back next year to see the camels even though my brother's wife won't be staying with me! Before I go, though, one last random image of Charlie the Camel:
Monday, December 15, 2008
The first car I ever bought, back when I was 17 years old and still in high school, was a huge, mile long 1967 Cadillac Fleetwood. They made less than 3500 of this model and had I only known it was so rare, I probably would still have it today. But, nevertheless, I have always had a fondness for Cadillacs, so I wanted to make the Hot Wheels Cadillac V-16 Concept car above look classy. I posed it on the big city streets like they use in the current crop of Cadillac commercials on television.
Here is a Hot Wheels 1957 Thunderbird. I own a Ford Thunderbird, so I thought this one would look good on the track as well.
This one is a Hot Wheels casting of an Airport Rescue vehicle. Where else would you find one but on some airport runway somewhere? Hopefully no flights were landing when the picture was taken.
I have also taken to buying 2 or 3 identical models of cars I really like so that I can have one for my collection and at least one to customize. Pictured above is a Hot Wheels 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback. I have several of them and this is one that I drilled apart, stripped the paint and repainted it in gloss black. For a hot car such as this, I figured it would look good making a pass down the quarter-mile dragstrip. Hence it's blurred wheels as it sped past me.
And lastly, a set of Hot Wheels that were released in 2003 called the Wild Wave Series. You had to buy each one separately and when you had all five, you had the complete set. Since they featured a surf theme, complete with surfboards, what better place to photograph them than at the beach? Here they are all posed by the shore, with their boards drying in the sun. It looks like their owners just finished surfing and have went to the hamburger stand for some food. This was the first scenic picture I took of my cars and the pleasure of coming up with a theme and a picture for the cars continues to grow. I have lots of fun trying to think of a theme for certain cars and the next one I have in mind will feature a military Jeep flying over a sand dune on it's way through the desert. If you want to see more of my cars, you can check out the Hot Wheels Wiki, the Matchbox Cars Wiki and a wiki I started myself, the Maisto Diecast Wiki. These are all interactive sites where anybody can add and change content. It's a great place to hang out and study the cars or add new information and pictures of vehicles not already represented there. So, be sure to check those places out sometime!
And remember, you can find all kinds of 1:64 scale diecast cars and trucks like I do at lots of places other than Wal-Mart.
Friday, November 14, 2008
I hope it's not available for sale at Wal-Mart, by the way.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Doesn't the above image just make your mouth water? Chances are, if you're like me and like good food, it will. It's an image of my homemade Beef Stew. I love to eat, so therefore I have to cook. And cooking is so much more fun when you make exciting dishes like Beef Stew or other recipes that take a lot of skill. In today's post, I thought I'd show a few recipes that I have cooked and enjoyed. Some of them are my own creations, so if you see anything that looks good, don't hesitate to ask for the recipe.
Here is a Golden Puff Batter recipe that I got from sister. I use it to make homemade chicken nuggets or chicken planks. Tastee! I could eat my weight in them.
Here, of course, is a nice Lasanga that I made Thursday night. Love that Italian food.
Pizza is usually credited as an American dish, but it really goes back to the ancient Etruscans, in Northern Italy. It is my favorite food because you can have it so many ways. I make my own crust and sauce. It's better that way.
Who doesn't like a good Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich?
Here is a lovely creation called a Mediterranean Beefsteak Sandwich. Quite nice tasting, actually. With a hint of Italy.
Here is a Stuffed Chicken Breast recipe that I created and it always goes over well when I serve it for guests. It's got stuffing and bacon on the inside, as well as mushrooms.
Now, here's a dish that I'm proud to have created! I call it Cornholios. It's made using flour tortilla shells and other ingredients, and boy is it spicy!
A more traditional Spanish recipe, Chicken Enchiladas. I grew up only a few hours away from Mexico in Southern Arizona, so I acquired a taste for Spanish food at a young age. The spicier it is, the better I like it!
I have apple trees in my backyard, so what could be better than fresh Apple Cobbler when they're in season? I just go in the back, pick an armload of apples off the tree and voila! A dessert that tastes great with melted vanilla ice cream on top.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Update: I went back a few days later and got a couple shots when the sun was lower in the afternoon sky. Here is what those looked like: