Way More Than Dirt

•October 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

While Matt and Steph are going to the Holland Center in Omaha tonight to celebrate their anniversary (it is their 11th anniversary on the 18th), Jane and I will be consorting with a world renowned zoologist, rock star, mathematician, computer whiz, philosopher, comedian, pediatrician, and basketball player. We don’t call it babysitting Henry, we call it the highlight of our week.
Sprint car driver Tim Kaeding will be heading to Australia to race this winter. Yes I do envy him. I am afraid I will never make it to Melbourne, Florida so Melbourne in Australia is highly unlikely. Kaeding is the defending champion of the Grand Annual Sprint Car Classic held at Premier Speedway in Warranambol. As I have stated in the past, I would travel halfway around the world to watch a sprint car race-just not 50 miles.
From Matt:
“When FOX showcases the first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series telecast on the broadcast channel since 2009 on Saturday, viewers will see talent pay homage to long-time colleague Steve Byrnes. As part of the company’s collaboration with Stand up To Cancer, the NASCAR on FOX on-air crew will wear special ribbon pins in support of head-and-neck cancer awareness. Byrnes last week took a medical leave of absence to focus on his health and family after receiving news he has suffered a recurrence of cancer.”
http://www.DirtonDirt.com now has an App for Android users. You can watch videos, get results, and check schedules. The highways of Nebraska just became a little more dangerous-not from me, I don’t even have a smart phone, rather from someone who already spends way too much time messing with his. Actually, that last sentence could apply to several people who recently raced at Slideways Karting in Knoxville.
You can also read blogs on the DOD App, just not TROTD-I am a blue collar blogger, not a big name purveyor of dirt like the DOD bloggers.
I have no idea where this is coming from, but I may be the only person of a certain age that did not love Lucy, and was sickened by Leave It to Beaver. I didn’t like Roy Rogers either. Captain Kangaroo-nope. Does anyone remember Highway Patrol? No Tony, I don’t mean the guys who pull over you and Matt on a regular basis. I did like the Adventures of Superman and the Untouchables. Back in the days before cable TV, one of the Omaha stations showed reruns of the Untouchables late at night. I would get off work-night invoice at Hormel-at midnight and go home and watch Elliott Ness battle the bad guys. I even moved our black and white TV into our tiny bedroom in the trailer-yup, Jane and I lived in a trailer for nearly three years when we were first married-so I could lay in bed and watch. Sherlock Holmes was another late night rerun. Loved it.
Yeah, Wagon Train was OK. Ozzie and Harriett-liked Ricky, didn’t much like Dave. Bull Winkle, Rin Tin Tin, Death Valley Days, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. I hated Candid Camera-I always thought someone ought to punch out Allen Funt. Of course I liked American Bandstand. I always wanted Michael Anthony to stop by 82 South Somers in Fremont and make our family rich (The Millionaire). Davy Crockett, but thank goodness I never got a “coonskin” cap. Jackie Gleason-his variety show and The Honeymooners. Circus Boy-featuring Mickey Dolenz, later of The Monkees.
Oh it’s a long, long while from May to December. And today you got way more than just dirt. Thanks for stopping by.

The Rant of a Middle Class Moderate

•November 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I am middle class and a moderate.  Does that put me on one or two lists of endangered species? 

Unlike tea brains, I don’t want to take back “my” country.  It has never been mine to take back.  It is our country.  There are several hundred million people with dreams different from my dreams.  Those people have a right to strive to reach their goals-whether they are black, white, red, brown, or purple, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist.

Some of my ancestors came from Germany in the late 1880’s.  Others were Germans who came from Odessa, Russia-the story may be apocryphal, but I have been told they moved to Russia to escape being forced into some German baron’s military schemes, so I claim draft-dodgers in my family tree, which infuriates some family members.

Guess which language my great grandparents spoke at home.  It wasn’t English.  They attended a German Baptist Church.  The services were conducted in-you guessed it, German.  My beloved grandmother spoke English with a German accent.  So, I don’t have a serious problem if some first generation Latino immigrants speak Spanish.

Today at lunch I saw a bumper sticker that read “Jesus was not a white man.” Well, given he came from the Middle East, that is not a far-fetched idea.  I would suggest it really doesn’t change anything, yet some members of my family would never allow Jesus to be what they would describe as a “towel head.” Amazing.

I think it is a national shame that we are afraid of and belittle those who are a different race, color, or creed. 

For those who say deporting all illegal immigrants will solve problems ranging from crowded schools to crime to healthcare, aren’t you assuming that once deported these people will never return to the U.S.? The electronic fence is a total failure, and I doubt the tall fence being built will keep out someone really determined to come to this country.  So is stationing tens of thousands of troops along our border the way to go?  Maybe it would be less costly to throw out the racist attitudes and let these people work toward becoming citizens, make that tax paying citizens.

I am a Democrat living in Nebraska.  That means many of the people I work with, many of my friends are Republicans.  Yet we get along.  We have differences but are able to work around them. Is that such a difficult concept for members of Congress to understand? 

Is asking our elected officials to lead us more than they are capable of giving?  Is asking them to govern more than citizens have a right to expect?  Forget about asking-we need to demand that they set aside political differences and work to make our country the best in the world.  We don’t need two more years of gridlock.  We don’t need two more months of gridlock.  We need solutions now. 

The tea baggers got together and had some election night success in 2010. I don’t think their views are those of the majority of Americans. Maybe it is time for moderates to unite.  For middle of the road Democrats and Republicans to come together and simply say we have had enough.  Either work together for the good of the country or your days feeding at the public trough are going to end next election.  Forget the petty politics of revenge or you can join us in the public sector struggling to make ends meet. There are many more people in the middle than at either end of the spectrum.  It is past time we caucused and show our strength. 

Thanks for stopping by and listening to my rant.

A Far Better Use Of Our $$$$$

•November 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The following came from Kim Roberson at Insider Racing News. I am saddened that such a worthy cause suffers while America just spent $3 billion on political campaigns.  No, not saddened, I am embarrassed.  More than embarrassed, I am ashamed.  With all the millions Karl Rove and His Billionaire Boys Club forked out to foist their self-serving sound bytes on an American public that doesn’t seem to want to think anymore, do you think they might have a million or two in petty cash to give to causes such as Victory Junction Gang Camp that do make America a better place?  We all know the answer to that. For shame America.

Thanks to Kim for the following, and thank you for stopping by.

When my “real job” sent me to Kansas City for the month of October and early November, I was excited about the trip. Not just because there is great steak and BBQ out here, but a strong tie to NASCAR as well.

There is, of course the Kansas Speedway, which will welcome not just one but two races beginning in 2011. There is also a plan for a second Victory Junction Gang Camp to open its doors somewhere in the region.

The big question is when. And unfortunately, that answer is a bit in the air right now.

This week I took a little time out to speak with Kyle Brenner, the Director of Development at Victory Junction Gang Camp Kansas. When I called, he was running around Kansas City with Patti Petty, wife of Kyle Petty and co-founder of the original VJGC in North Carolina. They were on the hunt for a piece of land that would fit the camp, but also wouldn’t break the non-profit’s bank account.

“The Unified Government (of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas) was donating the land (they were originally going to build the camp on) but it fell through,” explained Brenner. “So now we are looking for land that will meet our needs and is conducive to our budget.”

The camp can’t be built on just any piece of land. The original VJGC in North Carolina is on 70 acres of relatively flat land, surrounded by farms and more land. Brenner originally said they had 100 acres in NC, but he was corrected by Patti, who said “Nope, we have 70 acres” from the passenger’s seat of the car they were in. ‘We need 80 here” Kyle went on to explain. “40 to build on and another 40 as buffer and parking for visitors, volunteers, and employees who also come to the camp.” That buffer is for the safety of the campers, who are often seriously ill or require wheelchairs to get around the facility. It gives them separation from the noise and chaos of the outside world, and allows them to have as much fun and make as much noise as they want to while partaking in the activities provided each day.

The crew wants to have the land cleared and the first building up by the time NASCAR comes back to town in June, but time is running short to meet that goal. They will need to take ownership of the land, clear and level the land, and then begin building — all in just over six months time.

The camp has been in the works for just over two years. It was a common comment that the camp in North Carolina was just too far away to safely transport children with medical needs across the country from the west coast and Midwest. So a search was done, and it was decided that the Kansas City area would be a great “mid-way” point to build a second camp that would provide the same experience for children in the Western United States as was being provide to children on the east coast.

A ground breaking was held, and it seemed like the project was set to go full speed ahead. Until the most important thing fell through.

A deal couldn’t be worked out with the original property.

At the same time, fundraising efforts were hitting roadblocks because of the recession.

“We host 120 children a week for 14 weeks over the summer,” Kyle explained. “You multiply that times two for the volunteers and full time staff, so about 300 people. And most of the full time staff lives on the property year round. That is a lot of people to feed and house.” And to feed and house them, money has to be available to cover the medical expenses as well.

“You name it, we need it,” he said.

Patti Petty is in town this week and next, driving with Kyle Brenner from place to place, looking for land and money to help them in their effort. They are speaking at Children’s Mercy Life Conference at Children’s Mercy Hospital (“Victory Junction: Keeping Adam Petty’s Dream Alive”), and taking part in a “Toys for Tots” toy drive this weekend. Next week, they are appearing at a local Town Hall meeting, followed by a trip to a Kiwanis fundraiser at a Culvers in Village West in Kansas City, Kansas, Thursday evening from 5-8 pm. (The Kiwanis have pledged to build a building at the new camp.) They will be meeting with members of the Unified Government, and the Mayor of Kansas City this week as well.

They are looking to host a gala in February (2011), and a marathon at the Kansas Speedway in May.

Anything they can do to help raise awareness, raise money, and get the project rolling, they want to make it happen.

When I asked Kyle how he got involved with the VJGC, he commented, “I was with the Pettys in North Carolina. I worked with the excavation of the original camp. I saw the other camp (built) from start to finish.”

He is also friends with Austin Petty, and worked with Austin as a camp counselor at a Boggy Creek camp (associated with Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall camps) in Orlando. He stayed on with the Pettys at the original camp, and two months ago was asked to come out to Kansas City to spearhead the effort to make this camp a reality.

It has been a huge undertaking, but he is optimistic that they will have children in attendance for the first time in the summer of 2013. “It will take us two years to get the camp up and running,” he said as they pulled in for a quick bite to eat between meetings.

Those two years won’t start, however, until they first get that piece of land to build that first building on.

If you want to find a way to help the Victory Junction Gang Camp- Midwest, please reach out to Kyle and let him know how you want to help. You can e-mail him at kbrenner@victoryjunction.org, or call him at 616-293-9301.

If you want to know more about Victory Junction Gang Camp, either in North Carolina or Kansas, you can visit http://www.victoryjunction.org.

An Election Rant

•November 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I voted today, but as I marked my ballot I was wondering why I bothered.  I am beyond disgusted with both parties and truthfully wouldn’t mind if every current member of Congress was voted out.  I would love to see a candidate run on the promise of bipartisanship, but know such a candidate would never get the support of his own party.

Our country is in desperate need of leadership and all we get is politicians.  Spending two years dismantling what one side did the past two years takes our country nowhere, but that seems to be our immediate future. We need people with bold ideas to solve job, healthcare, social security, education, infrastructure, homeless, immigrant, and defense problems our country faces-people with the courage to do something about these problems, people who understand that for the good of our country we have to be willing to work with those who disagree with us.  Instead we get demagogues.

I can’t ever remember feeling more discouraged about the future of our country.  Whether the Democrats maintain control of Congress the Republicans gain control, or one party controls the Senate and the other the House, really doesn’t matter. We get more of the same. I think the country is at a crossroads, and politicians are more worried about currying favor with those they believe can keep them in power than in guiding our country out of its doldrums.

We don’t need sound bytes, photo ops, and hate ads, but politicians have so little respect for the public, this is what they give us. I would say I don’t like the direction my country is headed, except if you look at the hundreds of politicians standing at the crossroads, you see most with their heads or thumbs up their butts, not having a clue what the country needs, just wanting to settle political scores.

As Eric Clapton said: “I’m standing at the crossroads, believe I’m sinking down.” John Boehner is no statesman, Rand Paul is no leader, and Sharon Angle is simply clueless.  I wonder how far we are going to sink by the next election.

Sorry for the rant.  I do appreciate you stopping by.

A Puppy Smarter Than The Rand Paul “Stomper”

•October 29, 2010 • 1 Comment

The Rand Paul “stomper” is demanding an apology from the “stompee.”  Apparently he stomped on her head only because she didn’t stay down like he told her to.  Can you say redneck?  Of course this is Kentucky-the land that brought us Senator Jim Bunning is about to give us Rand Paul.  Amazing.

Actually, rather than talk about the morass that Campaign 2010 has become, I prefer to talk about my grand-puppy Sophie.  Sophie was born four years ago today at Cedarwinds Kennel near Crofton, Nebraska.  Google it and click on “silky terriers” to see some of the cutest puppies around. 

My daughter had been pestering us for years to get a dog, and after my son and daughter in-law got Kahlua, another silky terrier and a diva to the utmost, we could no longer come up with good enough reasons to tell Amanda no.  Amanda and I drove the 100 or so miles to the kennel and brought Sophie home on December 23, 2006. 

It seems like she has been around forever, though part of me thinks it seems like just yesterday we held this tiny puppy for the first time.  Sophie makes quite a living off of being cute, and her soulful eyes have captured our hearts.  Basically the house is now Sophie’s and she is gracious enough to let us remain living there. 

Sophie loves to run and play, and includes “belly rub” among the words she definitely understands.  She loves her mom, her Uncle Matt, and her cousin Kahlua, and most morning chills with grandma before grandma leaves for work.  She tolerates grandpa, though less so since I quit feeding her table scraps.  Most of us she loves doggie daycare, and loudly announces her presence when she arrives: “Bark, bark, yap.  Sophie is here, let the party begin.”

Apparently Sophie is getting a new bed and some treats for her birthday.  Gee, that is better than I got for my birthday in September.  Well, she is a lot nicer.

Happy Birthday Sophie.  And thank you for stopping by.

A Review of Karl Rove and His Billionaire Boys Club, including their opening act, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

•October 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

An old definition of pornography was “lacking any redeeming social value.”  If that is the case, network TV has become the biggest purveyor of porn in the U.S.  We are bombarded with porn, night after night after night.  Explain myself?  Well, does anyone care to try to explain just what the redeeming social value of political attack ads might be? Exactly what do these ads contribute to the well-being of society?  They are full of half-truths and outright lies, and I do not understand why anyone with half of a brain would be influenced by them.  Oh, now I see. Make your decision, no thinking required.

Neither side in campaign 2010 should feel anything but shame over how out of hand political ads have become.  Though I live in Nebraska, Iowa is a mere 30 miles away, meaning Omaha TV stations provide me with a double dose of drivel.  I can’t begin to tell you how sick I am of ads mentioning “Obamacare,” and picturing Nancy Pelosi, though she is running for office in a district 1,500 miles from here.  I am tired of both sides accusing the other of “gutter politics,” though both sides are usually right.  Thank you Lord for remote controls.

I have never decided on what candidate to vote for (or against) because of a TV ad.  I would like to think there are many other people who can say the same.  Still, Karl Rove and his Billionaire Boys Club, with opening act U.S. Chamber of Commerce are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on this slock.  The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee countered the big bucks bashers with smaller donations from 68,000 people in the last week.  All so we can continue to elect candidates who refuse to work with the opposition to come up with ways to make our country a better, safer place to live.  Both parties need to plead guilty to gridlock.

Tea Party members have my utter disdain.  They are willing to give until it hurts to candidates that want to lessen their tax bill.  OK, here is what you are doing tea baggers-instead of giving tax dollars that might help house the homeless, feed the hungry, make our shore safer, or improve are now 30th ranked health care system, you are helping TV stations make bigger profits, maybe donating more than you pay in taxes.  Utterly, ridiculously stupid.

In the past these ads would disappear until the next campaign.  Now we don’t just get ads from candidates and their supporters, we are inundated with special interest ads, more of the same old lies and half-truths.  One thing I may have in common with the Tea Party despots (what would you call Rand Paul’s supporters who physically attacked someone who opposed this radical right winger?)-is I do long for something from the past.  I long for the days when candidate’s views were discussed in newspapers not presented as 30 second sound bytes on TV, and people would engage their brains to decide who the right candidate to represent them was and what issues to support.

I am afraid of what we are becoming as a nation.

Thanks for stopping by.

2010 Campaign-Politics of Fear, Politics of Lies

•October 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The only thing that makes me madder than receiving 2-3 money seeking emails from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee everyday is to learn that my donations of $50 a month are trumped by the millions Karl Rove can dial up with a few phone calls to fat cats or insurance companies.  This election is being bought by Republicans, and I cannot picture anything more wrong in an election than to have the outcome so influenced by a handful of special interest groups.  I wonder if this is what our forefathers had in mind 234 years ago.  Maybe it was since most of them were among the privileged class, and they also astutely envisioned assault rifles in the hands of those who want them is a good thing.

I wish that every politician who uses the word “Obamacare” would get a clue.  I guess having our children turned down for coverage by insurance companies because of existing conditions is a good thing.  Maybe we can drop even further down the list of countries when it comes to health care.  We aren’t even close to being first now. The other day a Facebook friend mentioned she supported health reform, and some insane “friend” of hers came on and posted that was what Al-Qaeda terrorists wanted us to think.  Say what?  How did he discern that?  Where did he get this information?  This is the scary part of Rove’s misinformation campaign-some people choose no other source for information than such ads, and they believe them.

I am terribly frustrated and frightened about the direction our country is headed.  I feel there is nothing I can do about it. I greatly fear the politics of mistrust, and hate.  Do people have that short of a memory?  People, the party that brought is the G.W. Bush years are who you want to put back in power; the same people with tired ideas that didn’t work then and aren’t going to work now either.  Tea baggers complain about the federal government spending leading us to ruin, yet turn from reason when the fact that hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent on television ads by their so called supporters.

This is sad.