Thursday, February 28, 2008

Smoking ban proposal

So, our Legislature is now debating the merits of a statewide smoking ban in all public places, except limosines and casinos. The first go-round of this bill was suppose to allow cities or counties to make the decision whether to disallow smoking in these places, but it's apparent that some folks in the House think that decision should be taken away from us.

Here's my spin on it: Smokers stink as bad as if they spent a couple hours in a hog confinement. They reek, and their odor preceeds them everywhere they go. They probably don't realize it, but they stink.

That being said, if they want to smoke, and if a business chooses to allow them to smoke in their confines, then that's their choice.

I don't allow smoking in my office by basically not putting out any ashtrays. I think smokers get the hint. Take it outside, folks.

However, down the street, our local restaurant's non-smoking area consists basically of one booth in the corner. About every other table has an ashtray at it. In fact, the waitresses smoke, and they have a particular table where they can park their cigarettes in between serving their customers.

Guess what - I still eat there. OK, it's the only restaurant in town, but I realize that when I walk out of there I will smell a bit of smoke.

The ads being run by the Dept. of Public Health are misleading. The people who appear on them say they make good money bartending or waiting tables, but that they don't want to be exposed to second-hand smoke. Then why are they in this business? It's called an occupational hazard.

Steve Deace brought up this point: The bartender complains of enhaling second hand smoke, but the irony is that he's serving alcohol to patrons who may potentially get drunk and drive, beat up their wife or children, or make poor decisions that can lead to disease or unwanted pregnancy. Who's causing who to have poorer health?

So, while I am not in favor of people smoking, and think that it's a stinky dirty habit, I'll still support a business' choice to allow smoking or not. It's not government's business to determine this for us. If we must have a ban, at least allow it to be determined on a city-by-city or county-by-county basis. It still provides some "power to the people" rather than it be dictated on high to us.

I will say this: Our state representative Kurt Swaim, a Democrat from Bloomfield, voted against the bill. Good for him to go against the blue grain.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Have we hit the commercialization ceiling?

I was browsing across today when I found this:

A truckload of 10,000 15th anniversary Reservoir Dogs shot glasses.
The starting price is $100. Trucking will be more than the price, as it's $2.25/mile from California to here in The South of Iowa.
This is called over-commercialization, people.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The last few days...

...have made me wonder why I live in Iowa and not in somewhere it doesn't freeze.

Yes, this is the obligatory February complaint post.

Wednesday I tried to get the feed truck to start. Sure, it would turn over, but no firing. The fuel had gelled up. So, I try it again yesterday. Still no luck. I had poured some fuel supplement into the tank, left the truck plugged in so the block was nice and toasty, and used copious amounts of starter fluid to try and get it to fire. Nothing. Took the fuel filter off, poured a little supplement in it, and finally got it to run. Awesome.

Next step was to load some DDGS from the bulk tank via the belt conveyor into the truck. Except the rain we had on Monday had frozen the belt in place. Went to the house and got 3 gallons of hot water to pour on the butt end of the conveyor to thaw it out. Even got the cutting torch out to heat the water. I finally got up on top of the truck, where the head of the conveyor was, and attempted to move the belt backwards. In doing so, it gave the belt a "running chance" to get over it's problem. After a couple times of this, it finally took off. Super, now I can load the truck. Only an hour and a half behind schedule.

Loaded the feed, went to town and weighed, and then off to my first customer an hour away. When I started to unload, I noticed that the auger system did not work very quickly. Unfortunately, my hydraulic system on the feed truck leaks, and it must have lost enough fluid to make things slow. So, after unloading what I could, I headed back to town, got some more hydraulic fluid from the oil plant, poured it in to the tank, and off I went to my next customers. The new oil did the trick.

So, because I delivered all of my DDGS, I needed more. Today I decided to take the semi truck north to Lincolnway Energy to take corn up and DDGS back. The semi truck also had not moved since last Saturday. It probably would have been wise to have moved it, even an inch, but I wasn't thinking that far ahead.

I spent about an hour and a half trying to get the rear axles of the trailer to come loose. It took 4 gallons of hot water this time, and even then I had to use the tractor and chain to move it. The brakes may have been frozen as well. Semi trucks and ice/snow do not mix well. I got over to my Dad's where I was to get the corn. Fortunately, he had sanded down the approach to the bin, so I was able to get up to it very easily.

However, we had gotten snow and ice inside the bin, and as the corn moved down to the unloading auger, so did the ice chunks, blocking the corn. Dad had a length of PVC pipe, so I used it to poke at the corn to break up the ice. However, twice I got the pipe down into the auger below and stopped the entire unloading process. This meant stopping the motor before the belts burned up, opening up the bottom clean out door, removing the corn from the clean out area with a scoop, and then running the auger system again to make sure it didn't plug up.

By the time we dealt with that and the ice, I had to leave for Lincolnway before it closed for the day (a 2 hour drive), and I only had about 1/3 of a truckload on. I had to get the DDGS, no matter what, so I headed up with what I had.

The trip up and back was uneventful, other than trying to maneuver a 40 ton truck in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Altoona.

So, do NORMAL people have to deal with stuff like this on a daily basis, too?

This winter has just plain sucked. I won't recall the number of times I've gotten stuck, nearly gotten stuck, had to get the cutting torch out to heat things up, use hot water in other situations, tromp through knee high snow drifts, etc.

Sorry to complain - I guess I should be happy to have the opportunity to do all of these things, and I am. I probably come off like some Mr. Howell Blue-Blood complaining that his Rolls Royce's rear seat has a smudge on it.

Nonetheless, I am looking forward to spring/summer. Not for the thawing, as this will make things quite wet for a while. But, when the warm breezes come up from the south, the grass greens, the trees start to bud, and the baby calves romp in the fresh pasture, I'll know why I endured this place called Iowa.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Thoughts on this presidential campaign...

So, I will admit - my man Huckabee is probably not going to win the nomination of the Republicans this year. I know, understatment of the year.

And thus, we've got McCain going up against Hillary or Obama.

GW Bush recently endorsed McCain, and so did Romney. That doesn't make me feel any better about Juan McCain. Getting the endorsement of blue bloods in my opinion is like getting the support of representatives of NAMBLA. OK, not quite, but you get the picture.

So, we're down to it - either a president that will guarantee us more wars, less jobs, and more amnesty, or a president that will turn us into the People's Socialist Republic.

More regulation, more control, more debt, less economic growth, less stature in the escense, less of what made us great as a Nation.

I don't feel good about where our country is headed. We are headed for disaster, and our "leaders" keep right on the same path. Sure, I'd like to be optimistic, and I think there can be positives in the near future, but over all, we are going to have to deal with things sooner than later before our economy goes over the abyss.

When do we say "enough is enough" and start taking this country back? When we decide that giving up our cushy lifestyles to defend our remaining values for our children's future and benefit?

Are we willing to confront the nature of the beast, to right the wrongs of Washington and Des Moines and make this a free county yet again? Or, do we sit on our duffs and watch the parade of global socialism go by?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Clean sweepin'

The wife and I are doing a "clean sweep" on the basement. On the agenda tonight was the stuff in the corner that we had transferred from our home in Huxley 4 years ago and did not unpack. Yeah, that stuff...

So, much to my surprise I found my old cassette tapes. Warrant. Guns N' Roses. Nirvana. Van Halen. John Mellencamp. Kentucky Headhunters. Garth Brooks.

What was I to do? These tapes were the "soundtrack to my life" in the early 90's...if I had one. I couldn't throw out my old friends! Why, they were there for all those wonderful old memories, like cruising Humeston, driving an older floormate to Save U More for beer, and entertaining friends in my dorm room. Even that long drive from Ames back to Garden Grove in the old Ranger was eased by my mix tape of grunge rock.

But, I decided that I really had no need for these any more. A) I have some of them on CD, and I don't even listen to them all that often. B) I didn't like all the songs anyway, and C) my current vehicle (the pickup truck) doesn't even have a cassette deck in it. Sure, the feed truck does, but am I going to be blasting "She's my cherry pie, cool drink a water such a sweet surprise" as I pull into an Amish's farmyard? Don't think so.

We also determined that we are not a museum. No one will want to see our crap, let alone want to buy them in the future. My father-in-law used to collect TV Guides with the idea that they may be valuable in the future. I think the most value they had was when they ignited and let off their latent energy in the form of heat and light.

So, I decided to toss my once celebrated collection of cassette tapes. They are en route to the burnpile. So long Garth, bye bye Axl, catch ya later Headhunters. The cassette liners may burn, but the memories will live on.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A little too much guitar?

I found this searching through Ebay:

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Jericho widget

Sunday, February 03, 2008

She's back in jail

Back in August I posted my findings from a quick search of the Polk County Inmate Database. Well, it appears our subject has found her way back into the custody of the authorities.

Book Date 1/29/2008 10:10 PM
DOB 10/13/1979
Height 5' 03"
Weight 164
Race White
Sex Female
Eyes Blue
Hair Brown
Holding LocationMain Jail

Looks like she's being held on bonds of $40,000 for parole violations. Anyone want to help her out by buying a box of peaches for Peaches?