Not where I’d like to be…

I had plans for this weekend. In fact I had too many plans for this weekend. Three different plans in fact.


This weekend is the NRA’s Annual Meeting. I’m an Endowment Life member. My wife and I went to the NRA’s past meetings in Nashville and St. Louis. I met a number of internet friends who I had never before met face-to-face. I looked forward to seeing them again.

This weekend is also the Dayton Hamvention. The premier Hamfest in the nation. I’ve been a Ham radio operator since 1972, forty-four years. I had never been to Dayton and I wanted to go while I could.

The MO GOP State Convention is also this weekend in Branson, Missouri. I am a delegate. I had looked forward to voting for Cruz delegates. That was not to be.

In addition, my wife is a Professor at a local Bible College. Their graduation is this weekend with graduation practice and a dinner scheduled for this evening. She’s obligated to be there as one of the leading professors.

Obviously, triage is needed. First the MO GOP Convention is moot now that Cruz has suspended his campaign. I’ve no wish to be forced to vote for that vile, lying specimen of questionable humanity. The platform battle is a waste of time as well. I’ve never seen any of the platform proposals ever evolve into legislation.

I don’t fly. The TSA can kiss my…butt. If I can’t drive there, I’m not going. Louisville, the site of this year’s NRA convention, is a day’s drive. So is Dayton if I have an early enough start. Both start today. I could have made either if I had left KC yesterday.

Unfortunately, I had minor surgery yesterday. I had an infected cyst removed from my left shoulder leaving a golf ball sized hole in my back packed with material to help clean out the remaining infection and to promote healing.

I can’t change the bandage by myself and I can’t see asking a travel-mate to help with such a personal task if my wife can’t accompany me. She can’t.

So. I’m staying home. None of my earlier plans came to fruition. No NRA trip, No Hamvention visit. No GOP State convention.

And, to end a less than stellar week, my Samsung tablet quit unexpectedly yesterday. I had nearly 1,000 ebooks on it. Fortunately, I had backed up my photos and music on the tablet earlier this week. I have copies of my ebooks offline on another server. Nothing was really lost but it will be a pain to move everything to another tablet. I never realized how much I depended on that tablet until it quit.

I suppose it’s just as well I stayed home this weekend. My new tablet, another Samsung, arrives tomorrow. I know now what I’ll be doing all weekend.

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft agley.

Survived the weekend…

It was busy! I’ve been looking forward to this last weekend for some time. I mentioned a couple of months ago that my ham radio bug has returned in full force. The connection to this last weekend was the Ararat Shrine Hambash. When I was first licensed, it seemed as if there was a Hamfest every month somewhere in the area. Now there are only three or four a year.

Be that as it may, I had a reason to go to the Hambash. I’d hoped to be able to take my Extra class test. Unfortunately, I was too late and there were too many already testing. I really didn’t expect to pass; I just wanted to see the differences in the testing process. It has been over forty years since my last Ham test.

I took my General/Advanced class tests at the Kansas City FCC office. A ham friend who was also the FCC Engineer-in-Charge, WØAT, administered the written tests. He gave me the General class written test first. Passed. Then the Advanced Class written test. Passed. Then the Extra Class written test. Passed.

The code test was next. Thirteen word-per-minutes test: passed. That made me at least an Advanced class. The Eighteen word-per-minute code test was next. Failed. Only 17wpm. In 1972, you have to get X number of consecutive letters/numbers/punctuation, correct. I was a few letters short for an Extra class ticket. Life and work then intervened and I never went back to retest the code.

I didn’t get to test Saturday. I really wasn’t prepared but I thought, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,”…and perhaps I’d get enough correct answers on the written test to pass. Technology and Ham Radio has changed in forty years. I needn’t be bothered to remember my old tube-technology on the current test.

Regardless, it was an interesting Hamfest and the hall was filled, elbow-to-elbow, with people. One vendor had come from Minnesota. I saw a lot of old ham gear of the same models I once owned and operated–Heathkits, two models of Heathkit HF amplifiers (I built one back in the ’70s,) early Kenwood transceivers, it brought back a lot of memories.

Next on my schedule was to rush home amidst driving rain like an upended bucket to get Mrs. Crucis (why does it always rain on hamfests?). We were off to our Grandson’s birthday. He was fifteen this weekend. Time must pass faster as we get older.

Friendsofthe NRA-2015-2Later in the afternoon we were off again. This time it was to the Heart of America Friends of the NRA dinner. I had been to the one in Harrisonville, MO, last year and met many personal friends there. This time my wife came along. Like the last NRA dinner, we met some personal friends and sat with them.

Other than dropping our ticket stubs into the jar for door prizes, we didn’t buy any raffle tickets. I supposed I could have afforded to drop $20 on the top item, a prized Henry lever-action in 44-40. On the other hand, being on a fixed income places restraints on our ‘disposable’ income. In other words, we spend our money carefully. I’d rather spend that disposable income with friends. (And, truth be told, renovating my ham station is not going to be cheap.)

The banquet hall was packed. I don’t know the exact count of people. There were Kansas and Missouri politicos present, a few local PD Chiefs and retired LEOs and many, many NRA members and their families.

The most welcome was the Johnson County 4-H Shooting Team. The team was a collection of boys and girls who were the Kansas state champions. The banquet was designed to be family friendly and there were many more than a few kids present with their parents. When the auction started, two of the items were designed to be for, “Kids-only.” One item was a large watergun. The other was a semi-auto nerf gun. The 4-H kids helped show the auction items throughout the evening. I think they had more fun than the older attendees.

Ted Nugent Stars and Stripes Guitar

Ted Nugent Stars and Stripes Guitar

The top auction item was a Ted Nugent, numbered and autographed, Red-White-and Blue, Stars and Stripes Gibson guitar. It sold for $2500 if I remember correctly.

It was a fun night. Mrs. Crucis won a door prize, a bouquet of flowers. I, on the other hand, won nothing. That was OK, too. Frankly, I don’t think I’d have room to mount some of the prizes.

The weekend is over. This coming weekend is busy, too. Friday is the Cass County Lincoln Day celebration. I’ll be bringing one of the silent auction items like I did last year. I’ll let you guess which it is if you come. Come and be welcome. Tickets are $30 at the door.

Cass County Lincoln Day

Friday, April 24, 2015, 6:00pm, Peculiar, MO, Lions Club.

Guest speakers: State Senator Ed Emery, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler.

No post today.

I’ve errands and appointments today and don’t have the prep time for a post. See y’all tomorrow.

Repost: Life is Risk

I’m at loose ends this morning. There are a number of topics that I could opine over but none strikes my interest. The NorKs apparently have finally created a working nuke after numerous fizzles. Iran is thought to be six months away from building their first nuke. The likelihood of a theater-level nuclear exchange, the risk of war within five years has just increased—greatly increased while the idiots in Washington blow on the embers of a future war.

Life is risk.

That thought drove me to this old post from 2010. I wrote it three years ago today. It’s a life lesson. A lesson those in DC never learned.

Life is Risk

Mrs. Crucis had lunch with her cousin today. That allowed me to escape and spend some time at one of my favorite greasy spoons. While I was eating, one of the waitresses came over to talk a bit.

I’ll call her Tanya. Tanya isn’t the brightest bulb on the string. She dropped out of high school “because it was too hard.” She’s married and has two kids. One is her 11 year-old son, Sonny. (You can see I’m very original making up names.)

Tanya sat down across from me and said, “I’m mad!” It seems her son and some friends had built a bicycle track completed with jumps and potholes in a vacant lot. They were racing. Sonny jumped a ridge and on landing, his front wheel dug in. Sonny’s face met handle bars. His nose was broken and the bone just below his nose containing his front upper teeth was broken and caved in. Sonny will require surgery for a complete recovery.

Tanya wasn’t mad at Sonny. Nor was she mad at his friends for building the track. She wasn’t mad at the bicycle manufacturer. No, she was mad at the bicycle helmet manufacturer. She felt they should have made the helmet with a full-face shield.

She continued in this mode a bit while I finished lunch. I don’t like being in these positions. I’m a private person. I like eating lunch alone with a book for company. But Tanya wanted to talk and I’m a patient listener. I finally had enough. I asked her, “Do you think Sonny will be bicycle jumping again?”

“No,” she replied, “he doesn’t want to race anymore.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Well, he doesn’t want to get hurt again,” she said.

I was hesitant to ask my next question, but sometimes I just have an urge.” “Tanya,” I said. “If he did have a full-face shield on his helmet and hadn’t gotten hurt or only bruised, would he have continued to bike-jump? Maybe getting hurt worse the next time?”

She thought on that for a bit and finally said, “Yeah, he would.”

“He learned a lesson, didn’t he?”


“Consider this. Yes, it was painful and he’ll have to have surgery to fix everything. It’ll be expensive. But, he’ll know better next time.”


“So, isn’t it better that he learns that lesson now rather than sometime later—maybe in more dangerous circumstances? Maybe when driving a car?”

“But he’s my baby!”

At this point she was almost at tears. We continued talking for awhile longer. I explained that she couldn’t protect her kids every moment of the day. Growing up means learning skills, learning how to live, and learning what is dangerous. If she protects him too much, he’ll never learn what is dangerous and what isn’t.

I think she understood some of that. Life is not without risk nor consequences. Freedom is freedom to learn. Freedom is also the ability to grow and plan, to risk and if necessary, to suffer the consequences. Risk is also the means to succeed because without risk, success will never occur.

Tanya is a good parent. Like all parents, she doesn’t want her children to come to harm. Life, isn’t, unfortunately, without risk and the potential for harm. Risk can be good and the process of growing into maturity is learning the ability to weigh risk. Weigh the effort, the potential rewards, weigh the cost and the possible loss and consequences.

I fear that the forces behind the Nanny State have forgotten these lessons—if they ever knew them at all.

Another light posting day

Sometimes life catches up. I’ve mentioned that we’re having new siding installed on our house.  The crew has been working since last week. The north and south sides are done except for some cleanup—caulking and painting over the nailheads.  We’re over the top and on the downslope. The project should be finished in a few more days.

However, and there’s always a however, we need to buy some items not covered in the contract, some metal trim around the garage doors and some new shutters for the front windows.  The old trim and shutters could not be saved when they were removed.  It was recognized that may be an issue.

Today will be busy, going to Lowe’s and other places to buy these items and more.


Last night, Mrs. Crucis and I attended our local ‘Pub Central Committee Christmas party. About half the crowd, maybe more, were office holders and/or candidates for office.  Sarah Steelman was in town for media interviews and fund raisers.  She was one of the attendees.  Two candidates running for Sect’y of State were there. One of the candidates sat at our table.

After the dinner, each candidate and office holder was given a few moments to speak.  Some took the offer, others didn’t.

One thing I noticed and it disturbed me.  The candidates that spoke were all elegant and accomplished speakers.  Only one stated why he was running, what his position was on some current issues and what he planned to do if he won the office.

Only one candidate told us why he was running.

That’s telling of the state of the ‘Pub party in Missouri.  Truthfully, I was a bit disappointed. I expected more.

Today is our daughter’s and son-in-law’s 16th wedding anniversary.  Congratulations!  It seems like yesterday that I escorted her down the aisle. 


Have a great weekend. There’s only a week left ’til Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Thumpin’ and Bangin’

Today and tomorrow are going to be busy here at the Court.  Mrs. Crucis has an appointment later this morning with her Ophthalmologist, a followup appointment really after her cataract surgery last week.  And—roofers are replacing our roof.

We had a severe thunderstorm come through here last summer with large hail.  Everyone up and down our street had damage and have been replacing their roofs over the summer.  I didn’t see any damage and with no leaks appearing, I didn’t think we had any damage.

I was wrong.

After the insurance adjuster looked at it, we’re getting a new roof.  The house is fifteen years old and it’s the original roof.  The new roof ‘should’ last thirty years. We’ll see.

The supplier arrived at 7:30am to drop off the shingles. The roofing crew arrived at 8am.

Bangin’ and thumpin’.


Tomorrow will be busy as well. Mrs. Crucis has two medical appointments and I have a followup about my—hopefully, recent illness.  

I’m not completely over it. I still have sleep issues and zero appetite.  I went out to grab a quick lunch yesterday. On the way, the thought of food made me nauseous.  I turned around and went back home.

Maybe I’ll think of something later to put into the queue for tomorrow.  Or…maybe not. 

Addendum:  Saw this by Lisa Benson and had to pass it along. 

Scanning headlines

I’m a news junkie.  I admit it.  So is Mrs. Crucis.  She may be worse than I am.  Maybe. Anyway, I was following my habit of looking at Drudge this morning when I saw these headlines.

The school bus company has a policy that bars unplanned stops for passengers.  When the detectives asked to be taken to the local precinct station, he complied. The bus contained one student and one matron.  The detectives were stranded in high water during a severe hail and rainstorm and needed to get to their station.  Like any good Samaritan, the bus drive gave them a lift.

And got fired.

There’s something wrong when an employee gets fired for assisting others in life-threatening situations.  In some states, it is against the law if you don’t provide assistance.

Here’s another headline.

When life is hard, when you fail the tests of life, remove the tests.  
Unfortunately, life will still test you.  Life is not fair, nor does Life care if you aren’t prepared. Life comes to all, ready or not.
Does anyone now doubt that the public school system, government education is worthless? I note that more and more often, parents are abandoning public schools and sending their children to private and parochial schools that still have and maintain standards—and not just educational standards either.  The school where my G’kids attend requires uniforms.  They also teach the Bible, Latin and Greek.  The school’s goal is to provide a classical education while maintaining high learning standards as well.
Next, is a headline that screams jealousy.
The woman in question, with a PhD in Statistics, used her mathematical skills to help win a lottery so say her detractors.  
I was required to take a Junior level class in Statistics as a requirement for graduation in college.  Statistics does not predict outcome.  All it does is provide probability.  There’s a big difference. Supposedly, the Lottery numbers are chosen at random.  If that was the case, Statistics would provide no aid in winning the Lottery.  So, either the Lottery numbers aren’t random or the woman was magnificently lucky.  The Texas lottery investigated the woman and could find nothing.  They congratulated her on her “luck.”  Personally, I fail to see how she could have gamed scratch-off tickets.
In either case, I congratulate her.  For those who are upset this woman may have used her skills to win or just because she won four times, Life is not fair.  Live with it. 
Now, y’all have a good day.  Ignore the immediate news coming out of the morass in Washington for a day.  Obama and the dems will still be screwing the country tomorrow.