He’s Back

Let the world know he’s back.  Back from an exciting summer, back from a road trip of many turns and stops along the way, back from long days and steamy nights.

I know, I know.  I’ve been away for some time.  Missing in action.  Off the net.  Gone with no forwarding address.  Actually, I went on a trip and got sidelined with some things that kept me very busy and very distracted.  But now, the super moon has set, the hurricane is weakening and turning south and those damn hot summer days are shifting into fall.  I have a stable internet connection and life is good.

What a road trip, I was out with my best buddy.  We had, and are having, a great time.

roadtrip photo 1

Pokey and I get along in the way that most likely only dog lovers understand.  It is just sort of automatic.  We go everywhere together – and we plan on sharing some of our adventures on this blog.  We’ve got a lot in common.  We both love to eat – meat.  We are both sort of obstinate – maybe even butt headed.  We are both hunters – Pokey chases squirrels and I chase after excitement and exotic things.


Pokey is a real inspector.  He keeps an eye on our surroundings at all times.  No one can sneak up on Pokey.  This is his riding position when we are moving less than 30 MPH.  When we go to cruising speed, it’s windows up and he looks through the glass.

hanging out

Sometimes we just have to hang out.  Even then we are thinking about that next adventure – or maybe where to find to find some really fine meat.


Pissed Off And Mad About It

The layman’s anthem – Pissed Off And Mad About It.  We are.  Amen.  No kidding.

We’ve all seen it.  We’ve all felt it.  We hear it day in and day out.  Seems that EVERYONE these days is constantly angry – as in pissed off and mad about it.  We ain’t taking no shit. We’re going to bite before the other party has a chance to bite us.  To hell with right or wrong – we are all going to act like politicians and aren’t they just one fine bunch of human beings.

Well, the Texas Hippie Coalition (God bless them all – and they are all fine human beings) wrote what is certainly the anthem of the American layman today.  They wrote this song back in ’08 so they were well ahead of their time.

Play it loud.  Play it often.  Send this song to your elected representatives and share with them the wonderful feelings that stir in our souls.  They should go to church this Sunday and thank God that tar and feathers aren’t as easy to come by as they were in the earlier history of our country (just kidding, probably, no really, well, we’ll see).

crowd disagrees

These days we need referees from the WWF to moderate our town meetings.  And if you happen to attend a “political” event it starts to smell an awful lot like the two minutes of hate some guy named Orwell wrote about.  To see some really neat stuff, follow President Trump on twitter.  We all know how some of his tweets seem other worldly.  But, take a look at the tweets that follow each and every one of his.  It is sad that human beings can even think such thoughts.

Better days are ahead.  We get to trick-or-treat on Halloween and Santa Claus will make all things right for us this Christmas.  But in the mean time we are Pissed Off And Mad About It.


Congressional Baseball Shooting

The Congressional baseball shooting is an event that will drive us to train harder, be more vigilant and to stand as one.

America United

I pause with my fellow Americans to pray for the full recovery of those members of Congress and the Congressional staff that were wounded while playing baseball this morning.  I also join everyone in thanking the security officers who stepped up to the call and stopped what could have gone on to be an even more sad and reprehensible event.

This is a very sobering event.  Any shooting causes one to take note and reflect.  Mass shooting really drive thoughts.  Today’s Congressional baseball shooting is frightening for reasons beyond its being a mass shooting event.

We spend billions to track and check and block those who seek to hurt our nation.  We endure long lines at security checkpoints and who knows what is actually monitored on our phones and on the internet.  The shooter at the ball field today was not a radicalized someone-from-over-there.  He was one of us.  We don’t know much about him – yet – and with him being dead there will be much inference in figuring out what happened.  He was active in politics and he was openly angry.  Millions of Americans are active in politics and many of them are angry.  How do we reduce the risk that today’s madness is ever repeated.

Maybe it is time for our political spectrum to become more civilized.  We saw fisticuffs at political rallies last year.  Candidates and commentators are quick to move to very damning words.  Debates are rancorous and bitter.  There is a constant stream of unsubstantiated and vicious accusations – you’ve heard them; lying, breaking the law, leaking, treason.  The words are too hot and used too quickly.  Social media is a fountain of mud slinging and negativism – set up in a medium where it is like spraying gasoline on a fire.

We validate our actions by watching the actions of our leaders.  If our leaders actions are outrageous – we the people will eventually see the outrageous as acceptible.  If our leaders are gentlepeople – kind, courteous, even tempered, deliberate – the followers will likely be gentlemen and gentlewomen too.  We are, after all, speaking of the actions of “statesmen”.

America is a great country.  Americans are a great people.  We can speak softly and carry a big stick and stand very proud.  God bless America.

Other places to read about the Congressional Baseball Shooting

Alexandria Shooting: CNN

President Trump Appeals For Unity: LA Times

Happy Independence Day 2016

Happy Fourth of July to all Americans.  This is my favorite holiday – hands down.  Today we celebrate standing as individuals and as a nation on our own two feet and declaring independence.  We will have rousing parades, excellent cook-outs, and some amazing fireworks displays.  Our celebrations reveal much about us as a people.  We don’t bow to anyone, we don’t dip our flag, we don’t go looking for fights.  When called upon, we complete our commitments and we are almost always on the side of an underdog seeking freedoms like those we have. 

As we celebrate our Independence, the world looks on.  Every country has its holidays with unique celebrations.  But how many of these holidays are watched from afar like our Independence Day.  And what other country seems to have a 1-800-Dial-USA hotline that is always open and somehow always responds.  Having an independent nation filled with free men and women generates a power that is unique in this world.  That we use this power to help others without any expectation of homage, tribute, or servitude demonstrates our humanity. 

So, on this day enjoy hot dogs, burgers, and steaks.  Watch the parades and fireworks displays.  The finale will be grand but please remember this day is about independence and freedom.  We are truly blessed in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Happy Veterans Day

Happy Veterans Day! And thank you to all the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardsmen who answered the call of duty.  Serving in the armed forces of the United States is an experience that is unique in our world.  We have the best equipped and trained fighting force on the planet.  To be sure there are still duty rosters, and weekend duty, and frequent moves and additional duties but when it is mission time we know that the best individuals are deploying with the best equipment and they know how to use it.

There are two groups that must also be recognized on this day.

Most of those warriors out there have families.  Sometimes the family moves with them and sometimes the warrior deploys and leaves the family back home.  So the family is either uprooted and starts over or manages the separation by keeping up a long distance relationship.  Either of these is hard but it gets done over and over and over.

Behind all those soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardsmen is an unseen army of contractors, tradesmen, designers, engineers, farmers and a host of others who produce all the uniforms, boots, radios, vision equipment, meals, vehicles, shelters, weapons, drones and on and on.  Without this magnificent tail our tooth would soon stall.

Comfort Zone

There is no life in the Comfort Zone.

Zip. Nada. Nothing. The Comfort Zone is boring, stifling, exhausting.

In the Comfort Zone, you can be a good drone day in and day out.  You can help others.  You can keep the home fires burning.  You can set a good example.  But you probably won’t be all that you can be.  Not even in the Army.

Exiting the Comfort Zone doesn’t mean you step instantly into the Twilight Zone.  There are many, many places and many, many things to do in what I’ll call the Thrill Zone.  Experience the thrill of helping a young child learn to tie their shoes or multiply by 6s.  Experience the thrill of helping a stranded driver fix a flat.  Experience the thrill of taking an elderly neighbor shopping.  Living in the Thrill Zone you are still keeping the home fires burning and you are setting a good example – and believe me, others are watching.

safe harbor

This fortune cookie wit about ships is nice but just for a moment, think about the maps used by Columbus and Magellan and all those early explorers.  They are sooo different from our GPS registered maps today – and they are flat wrong (pun intended).  The great explorers did great things with lousy maps.  That sort of proves that you don’t need to wait for a perfect plan before starting.

Get out of the Comfort Zone.  And do it now.

Let Them Speak

Once again we see that when management takes action it doesn’t have to make sense.

The Honor Students at Oxon Hill High School in Prince Georges County made a display to show what social justice meant to them.  That display was put in the school lobby until the school board pulled it because some found it offensive.

Maybe the school board would also censure the evening news.  Almost every night I see a video (shot from a cell phone) of some police office beating, stomping or shooting someone.  Almost always that someone is black and almost always it looks like the officers are raving lunatics who have no understanding of measured use of force.

Oxon Hill 01

In this display I see pride and patriotism.  More importantly it raises the question that the honor students might have been sharing: Just what the hell is going on?  We should be able to trust our policemen – all of them.  But if you follow the news, with a new case of abuse of power almost every week, I am persuaded to not trust any of them.

We can’t have a society where the population doesn’t trust the law enforcement elements.  This must be fixed.  But sweeping it under the rug – like the Prince Georges County management has done – is not a solution.

Read more:


Daily Caller News Foundation



Pokégenic – (po-ké-gen-ic) adj.  1. Attractive as a subject for photography.  2. Unable to be caught in a boring photo. 3. Presenting an image of being simultaneously wise, demur, alert, caring, and nonchalant.

Poké 01

Poké loves to travel – especially when he gets to ride shotgun.

pk 02

I think, therefor I am – you don’t get to read my mind and I’m not talking.

pk 03

I can jump twice my height and do a back flip from a standing start – Poké style.

Poké 04

Road trip.


Milestone – 100,000 Views

A milestone is a significant event in life or history.  At the School Of Hard Rocks we are celebrating the passing of a milestone.  Our video “Cleaning Pennies In A Rock Tumbler” has racked up over 100,000 views.  We cleaned lots of pennies using this method and have been pleased that others find the video interesting.

Cleaning Pennies In A Rock Tumbler

We are setting up for another series of runs.  This time the cleaned pennies will be used in some projects we have been noodling on for quite a while.  When we finish we will post the results.

And remember – when you are polishing rocks, the surface is finished when it looks the same wet or dry.

Cool iPhone 5 Domino Cascade

An iPhone domino cascade.  Who doesn’t love a domino cascade?  Each domino falling on its neighbor, falling on its neighbor and on and on.  Now imagine 10,000 iPhones all set up on their bases and then lauching into an iPhone cascade.  Then to ice the cake these iPhones have NFC (Near Field Communication) so they can pass information from one to the next just by proximity.  Cool, huh?

10,000 iPhone 5 Domino Cascade