Friday, November 21, 2008

News You Can Drink To

Dr. Pepper CEOs are still living in the 80s too.

From the Houston Chronicle:

Guns N’ Roses delivered and so will Dr Pepper
Nov. 20, 2008

LOS ANGELES — Dr Pepper is making good on its promise of free soda now that the release of Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy is a reality.

The soft-drink maker said in March that it would give a free soda to everyone in America if the album dropped in 2008. Chinese Democracy, infamously delayed since recording began in 1994, goes on sale Sunday.

“We never thought this day would come,” Tony Jacobs, Dr Pepper’s vice president of marketing, said in a statement. “But now that it’s here, all we can say is: The Dr Pepper’s on us.”

Beginning Sunday at 12:01 a.m., coupons for a free 20-ounce soda will be available for 24 hours on Dr Pepper’s Web site. They’ll be honored until Feb. 28.

Dr Pepper is owned by Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc.

Last thought: I hear the bell ringing. I think I'll run out and get one!

Update: I wasn't able to get through the system to get my coupon! Boo hoo!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Reading List

I just started reading Texas Women on the Cattle Trails. Yes, I'm a little weird. I read non-fiction instead of just fiction. In high school just glancing at the non-fiction section would give me the heebie-jeebies. Why would anybody voluntarily read a boring book? Why did the book stores even stock them? Did people actually buy, take them home, and read them more than once????

Shortly after I got married, I found myself wandering the non-fiction at the public library. I rarely go back to fiction stories as I'm always halfway through the story when the author decides to throw in something nasty to ruin a good story. Bleh. If it's gonna be dirty, real life is the way to go then!

The first story in the book is about Kate Malone Medlin. She was born in Kentucky but got to Texas as fast as she could, age 7 to be exact. She grew up in Denton County and was apparently quite a lovely lady.

In 1855 Kate, at seventeen, had attracted the interest of a local German, who asked to marry her. When Kate's mother, Polly, refused the offer, the infuriated man shot Polly and mortally wounded her. Kate's father rushed to his wife's defense, wrestled the gun from the man, and beat him over the head with the gun, breaking the man's neck and killing him.

She later married Jarrett Medlin and they had three kids with another on the way when the civil war was going on. Jarrett left to join the Confederacy and the pay just wasn't enough, or wasn't there at all, and all the mothers of the time just had to make do.

The war was hard on the women of the county, who were kept busy spinning and weaving their "own dresses; they looked awefully coarse and ugly, as many of us had never woven any cloth, much less worn such shoddy looking goods. "
Kate's husband died of measles and exposure during the war and she was a widow with four children. Her extended family decided to drive cattle to California to make a buck and she, not having any other family, decided to join them. That simple, totally based on need decision, for her family's survival, is what had her lined up in a wagon on the morning of April 15, 1868 to cross the wilds of the American West.

"Once out into the frontier of Texas amid the cattle range, we stayed there long enough to gather enough stock to bring with us, which took until the 3rd of May. Then we started for California with our string of seven wagons."

Did you know that's how the Texas cattle drives got their cattle? Yup, they just walked out and gathered them from the plains. Oops- you might have just learned something from a non-fiction book!

Driving 1800 head of cattle can cause some problems. One of the problems was a three day stretch of land with no watering holes at all. The horses and oxen stock were kept watered but not the cattle. After three days of traveling the cattle got their first whiff of water and went mad trying to get it. The herders tried to stop them because the water was bad; many drank anyway, dieing so fast they they didn't even crawl out of the water holes. When they finally reached the Pecos river, the animals pushed other off of cliffs and into quicksand to get to the river. Half of their herd died from water troubles.

Their leadership, the man elected captain, was also very poor.

Having selected a captain and given him decision-making authority on the trail, they set off heading west to California. As they neared the cutoff for the fort where they had planned to get provisions and ammunitions, the captain, expressing assurance for their safety, decided not to go to the fort but rather to continue on to find sufficient grass and water for the livestock. Hall Medlin, Kate, and the others went along with the captain and thus were not equipped with the needed guns, ammunition, and food for the ordeals that lay ahead.

Oh yeah, you need guns and hands. Why?

"So we started to our doom and I felt as though we were going into trouble as we had heard that the Indians had taken a large herd of cattle only three days before. This, our Captain did not believe, but I did, as we could see find beef cattle along the roadside. The Indians had secured them from the train ahead and had let them scatter out on the range to feed."
And, yes, the Indians came. "INDIANS!"
"I quickly placed my children and my sister's children in my wagon and put my feather beds around them, as I had heard that bullets would not go through feathers."

Kate was all ready to grab a gun and start firing at the Indians but the men had other plans for them. Oh, you're probably thinking, "They had them loading the guns while they fired."
Kate grabbed her old Enfield rifle, but the men told the women to make bullets for their few weapons. ... The women melted lead and then poured the hot metal into the molds and, after a quick cooling, passed the bullets to the men, who were reloading as fast as possible.
After the fight, the women went ahead to town while the men tried to gather what was left of their cattle. For two weeks, they had to beg for food but were told they were lucky to be alive.

Along the way, a relative died from complications of a pulled back. He was trying to lift a wagon out of the mud. Kate's daughter Sarah was also hurt.

One day Kate's daughter Sarah was walking by the side of the wagon. While attempting to climb back inside, she fell underneath the front wheel, which ran her over, breaking her leg and thigh. Hall Medlin had to sell one yoke of oxen, worth $25, to pay for a doctor in Yuma to set her thighbone.

See, doctors have always been expensive.

They did make it to California but the trip was a "financial disaster." They were lucky and happy to be alive and life continued. I did find this note very interesting.
Kate, as was common at the time, married her late husband's older brother, Marion.
Though I know re-marrying into the same family has it's roots in the Bible, I had no idea that it been continued in the American West. If you already have kids though, it makes perfect sense. As modern day divorced women can tell you, it's hard to find a man that cares for somebody else's kids. But with family, a bond between the man and children has already formed, and often a friendship bond between the widow and members of his family.
Final thought from Kate concerning her journey:

"I tell you, the women of California don't know what hard work is. We women of Texas had worked both indoors and outdoors when needed, which was often during the Civil War."

Last thought: Don't you suddenly feel inspired to go buy this from Busted Tees?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Favorite Political Online Places

I don't take the newspaper and I don't pay for cable. I get most of my news from bloggers and news sites online now. Here are my favorite bloggers from this past political season, in no particular order.


Gateway Pundit: Once I got my connection fixed and could download videos, I completely fell in love with this video blogger. A girl? A guy? I don't even know. Gateway Pundit is from St. Louis and has new content on the website all day long. Short video clips are an awesome addition.

Michelle Malkin: Ms. Malkin has been a mainstay in the blogging business for a couple of years now. She writes newspaper columns, is a commentator for political shows, and has even done some cable news hosting. Her posting are always informative and right on target. She also runs Hot Air, a video blog.

Right Wing News: RWN is run by John Hawkins but this political season he branched out and now has many other bloggers on his site. The commentary is always posted fresh in the morning for everybody to read. His blogging has turned a pretty nickel and now he gets paid for writing some political columns at Townhall. He also runs Conservative Grapevine, a compilation of news and blog articles for you peruse each day.

There's also Powerline and Instapundit, two awesome groups.


For commentary other than just blogs, I head over to Townhall and Human Events and get your head full of Hugh Hewitt, Ann Coulter, Thomas Sowell, and John Stossel. My dad saw Human Events up on my computer and spent the whole afternoon catching up on articles by Michael Reagan.

My other favorite is Spengler from the Asian Times. He's very much an international character and has a completely different perspective of how American decisions effect the rest of the world. He makes me go "hmmm". :)

News Sites

When I say I'm a Republican, people automatically assume I'm spending my evenings plugged into the Fox News Channel. Sorry to disappoint! I do love their online news site and will catch up on some politcal commentary every once in a while. I also frequent CNN but I really don't like their site, news seems scarce and it has too much video. This political season I also found myself going to the British sites for American news! Yes, I could find more commentary, diverse opinions, and even articles about good things happening in American over at the Daily Mail and Telegraph!

What are your favorites? Do you even read news online?

Updated: I fixed all the url links. I have no idea why blogger decided to add "" in front of every url I listed. Somebody at Google has been messing with a perfectly good script.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Some parents DO get it right

From Fox News:

A 6-year-old Arizona boy was grounded by his mother after he was hit by a police car while riding his bike, reported.

Recently released surveillance video of the Nov. 2 accident shows Jason Justice and his sister Jessica riding their bikes through an apartment complex parking lot. When the Phoenix police car slowly approaches the two, Jessica veers away while Jason continues straight ahead, ultimately getting hit and pushed a short distance by the car.


Justice said her son is grounded until he gets his bike fixed and starts wearing a helmet.

It's nice to see people take responsibility for their children instead of suing others.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Old Article, Good Read

From City Journal:

How I Joined Teach for America—and Got Sued for $20 Million
by Joshua Kaplowitz

An idealistic new Yale grad learns up close and personal just how bad inner-city schools can be—and why.

It was May 2000, and the guy at Al Gore’s polling firm seemed baffled. A Yale political-science major, I’d already walked away from a high-paying consulting job a few weeks earlier, and now I was walking away from a job working on a presidential campaign to do . . . what?

Well, when push came to shove, I didn’t want to devote my life to helping the rich get richer or crunching numbers to see what views were most popular for the vice president to adopt. This wasn’t what my 17 years of education were for.

My doctor parents had drummed into me that education was the key to every door, the one thing they couldn’t take away from my ancestors during pogroms and persecutions. They had also filled me with a strong sense of social justice. I couldn’t help feeling guilty dismay when I thought of the millions of kids who’d never even tasted the great teaching—not to mention the supportive family—I’d enjoyed for my entire life.

I told the Al Gore guy, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Weird as he might have thought it, I had decided to teach in an inner-city school

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Boys Prove Themselves the Ultimate Sport Nuts

It started as a simple fundraiser for their new gym, but the two teams wound up setting a new Guiness World Record for the longest basketball marathon.

From The Reporter

School more important than world record, says coach
By Paula Schlueter Ross

It's official: "The longest basketball marathon is 77 hours, 7 minutes, 7 seconds, set by students of Heartland Lutheran High School in their gymnasium, Nebraska, United States, from 4 to 7 July 2008." So reads the certificate from Guinness World Records, received in August by Coach Lloyd Wagnitz on behalf of the LCMS high school in Grand Island, Neb. Wagnitz plans to officially present the award to the school during its first basketball game of the year Dec. 4.

The "Basketball Extravaganza 77," as it was called, also was designed to raise money for the school's new building, which houses classrooms and its first-ever gym. Players accepted donations from sponsors, with a goal of raising $27,000. As of Oct. 21, the fund was still growing and totaled more than $62,000.


Playing basketball for a little over three days straight wasn't an easy feat, he admits. After 10 hours of continuous basketball, the two dozen players - ages 15 to 23 -- wanted to keep going, even though their coach wasn't so sure they should. "I saw in their eyes that they were starting to question if they could do it," Wagnitz told Reporter. But he "continued to encourage the players, said a prayer, and pressed on,"
even though he was "sick with grief" and "guilt" for hours, and even "broke down in tears" to a parent, who assured the coach that the boys really wanted to keep playing.

Wagnitz says "God had His hand in this event all the way" and also credits the players, who "were willing to do whatever it took" to help the school raise needed funds. The "Basketball Extravaganza 77" Web site at features photos and testimonies from the players, including Brett, a former Heartland Lutheran Red Hornet, who said he played "to honor all of my teachers, family, and friends that supported me when I was enrolled at Heartland Lutheran High School. They all encouraged me to be the best I could [be]. By playing this game we are raising money to save the school so more kids can attend and have a great experience. This is a great thing God is doing with this school and I want it to continue." The Web site and quotes from players "tell everyone that the main purpose was our school, not the record," acknowledged Wagnitz, whose life has changed dramatically as a result of the "Extravaganza."

The final score was 7,641 to 7,212 with the alumni taking the win. Will the students demand a re-match?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Reading List

Trinity Schools has released a new reading list for 7th through 12th graders. Now, I don't know anything about Trinity but the depth and breadth of material that they cover is truly awe-inspiring. Their students will read and study these titles, not just recommend them to parents.

Reading List Linky

Ninth Grade
Documents in American history
The Federalist Papers (selections)
Selections from the writings of Thomas Jefferson
Selections from the Lincoln-Douglas debates
Crane, The Red Badge of Courage
Thoreau, Walden; Civil Disobedience
Twain, Huckleberry Finn
Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave
Cather, My Antonia
Sinclair, The Jungle
Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
Short stories of Crane, Cather, O'Connor
Wilder, Our Town
American poetry

Of the whole list, I've read seven. I own two others on the list but haven't finished the.

If The Shoe Fits pt2


Let’s start with the helmet. This one is easily the most likely to wind up tangled in debate. We won’t get into laws or which standard is better in this go-‘round. So, what makes a good helmet? It has been said, “If you have a $10 head, wear a $10 helmet.” I agree, to a point. You don’t need a very expensive helmet to get decent protection for your head. DOT is the minimum standard. Snell is a higher standard in the States. CE or ECE, I would say, is the European counterpart to Snell: a higher standard in an effort to produce the best protection. Oh yeah, in case you hadn’t picked up on it, I’m talking full-face helmets with a visor. Half and three-quarter helmets look cool but severely compromise protection and are for idiots and performers.

Flashy graphics are flashy and have no part on what will protect your head in a crash, so we’ll pretend we want something plain, a solid color. Graphics can add a substantial amount to the cost of a helmet. But image being everything that it is means that some will pick a helmet that isn’t right for them because it looks cool. Get over it! The first important thing to consider is comfort/fit. These go together because comfort won’t help if the fit is wrong. A comfortable helmet that does not fit properly will not provide ideal crash protection.

If it is too loose, the helmet may come off entirely in a crash. On a daily basis it will move around a lot in the wind and create distractions and even headaches from vibrations or the visual strain of a moving object in your face. If too tight, wearing on a daily basis may not happen because it hurts to wear it. If you can’t stand to wear the helmet, you are far less likely to wear one in the first place.

Trying on a helmet before purchasing it should take a long time. A 30-second assessment in a shop will not tell you if pressure points are there which will make your head hurt the first time you are on the bike for more than fifteen minutes. Try the prospective helmet on and wander around the shop. Take your time. Look at other stuff. Take some more time. It may be helpful to find a shop which will allow you to return a helmet. Cycle Gear is one such place. They have a 30-day return policy (check with your shop for their specific policies and details) and will allow you to swap for a better size if all is still well with the helmet.

One of my earlier helmets was Shoei RF-800. It fit like it was made using my head as the form. I loved it. But eventually the need arose to replace it and the 800 was no longer available. I went to the new-and-improved RF model and was very excited about it. It was lighter and had better ventilation than my old helmet. The price had risen a bit with time, but I managed to make the deal happen. At the time, I had a three hour one-way commute that was done two to three times a week. Six to nine hours per week, just in commute time. I had some trouble pretty quickly, but chalked it up to needing to get used to the new lid. I went almost three months before I hurt so bad after the commute, that I had to factor in recuperation time with my trips. My wife convinced me to go ahead and search for a new helmet.

I tried every model and brand in all the bike shops I could find. I kept coming back to one particular model I had never considered before because it was about three times as much as I considered to be reasonable for a helmet. I wound up getting the Shoei X-11, a high-end model that cost what I considered to be a ridiculous amount of money. It worked better than I could have dreamed because it was not only well fit to my head, eliminating any pressure points, but ventilates better than any helmet I have ever tried. I wanted a $10 helmet, but couldn't find one that fit. The X-11 and I are still together, and will stay so attached, so long as Shoei doesn't go and mess with the head-form design.

Do I think about my head as I ride? Nope. It's well fit and cared for.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

National Day of Prayer

I think that Election Day is the *official* National Day of Prayer.

A Prayer for Good Government

Eternal Lord, Ruler of all, graciously regard those who have been set in positions of authority among us that they may be guided by your Spiri, be high in purpose, wise in counsel, firm in good resolution, and unwavering in duty, that under them we may be governed quietly and peaceably; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

For Responsible Citizenship

Lord, keep this nation under your care. Bless the leaders of our land that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to the other nations of the earth. Help us provide trustworthy leaders, contribute to wise decisions for the general welfare, and thus serve you faithfully in our generation to the honor of your holy name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


Done the Deed

My sister and I packed the baby into the stroller and walked over to the school to vote. We are official!

I do love the Texas electronic voting machines. Instead of a touch screen, you use a small wheel to move the cursor from candidate to candidate. Each time you move the wheel, a small click and pause helps you place the cursor. There are separate buttons for "enter" and "cast ballot". Kudos to the people who put together this well thought out, yet simple machine.

Even if my fellow citizens choose a President that doesn't lead my nation down the straight and narrow road, I'll still lead my life as a Christian, praying for those in need and showing love to my neighbor. "They'll know you're a Christian by your love," as the song goes, not by state of affairs that surround us.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Just Tell Us The Truth

You have a choice to make this election. Do you know where the candidates stand on abortion? Do their written statements match the words coming out their mouth? This video makes it perfectly clear for the undecided Christian voter.

I think I've watched this video a dozen times! I love it! Great production, editing, symbolism, and the music is awesome. I had been studying that chapter from Deuteronomy they quote at the end for my Sunday School class and it made it even more personal to me.

The video is produced by Americas Choice Now. Go add your comments to their site if you liked it. We should definitely encourage each other.

The hat tip goes to Gateway Pundit. He's a video blogger that I now visit almost everyday. He has a comprehensive collection of all the wonderful pro-life videos and ads that have been produced this political season. This one is my favorite. I bet you could find a favorite of your own if you went there. To search his site for just pro-life related videos click here.

Last thought: You might also notice that I've added Lutherans for Life under my favorite links. Their news and commentary section is updated regularly and offers a comprehensive cross-section of life issues from around the world. The site also publishes a quarterly magazine you can get for free. Their leader, James Lamb, is an excellent writer and his essays are always pleasant, informative, and fulfilling. They offer an excellent opportunity to stay informed, fight, and pray!