Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Strawberry Season!

Yes, it is that time of year again. It is not as if I generally keep up on blogging to well anyways, but I can almost guarantee that I won't be around for the next three weeks. Strawberry season is starting up come Thursday, June 18th. We work at a strawberry patch just outside of Menomonie, Wisconsin. Red Cedar Valley Farms produces some of the best berries in the midwest, and we are glad to be a part of helping get them out to people.

Basically, if you want to see me in the next three weeks, your best bet will be to visit the farm and see me there. The picking is great, the berries are fantastic, the rows are clean and the personel, well, you get me. Best of all, did I mention that you can eat all you like while you pick your pail? Hey, and perhaps if you come during a quiet spell, you may even get me to pick a handful or two for you!

We are open from 6:30AM until 6:00PM every day (weather permitting), Monday-Saturday until the end of the season. Of course if you are driving a distance you can always call ahead just to make sure we're open, (715) 235-94111, and talk to my friendly sister. The season is short, so you'd better be ready to catch it! Come pick your strawberries in Menomonie, visit Red Cedar Valley Farms for the juciest, sweetest, finest berries in the Mid-west!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Does gun control work?

The old maxim goes, "If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have them." And this is so true. Take a look at his worthwhile video. It gives a well documented approach to this volatile issue. Notice the concern of the criminals, no it isn't a concern for the gun laws, it is a concern for the citizens carrying their own guns!

I have over 50 hours of riding with law enforcement officers, and the consensus is almost unanimous, they would prefer the average law-abiding citizen to carry a gun. They realize that they often only arrive on the scene of a crime to document it, to late to prevent it.

How many of you have heard of the shooting at the Appalachian School of Law? Can you see the media bias?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Best family dog

As most of you know, I am a dog enthusiast. If you haven't already guessed it by the title of my blog, I do have a slight predjudice for a certain breed as well. I had originally intended this as a comment on another blog post, but due to the ammount of info involved, I thought it better to write a full post. Feel free to comment about your experience as well!

I would rate the Chesapeake Bay Retriever as the best family dog. It is superb with kids, and very loyal. (this is speaking of a large dog, not of miniature breeds. I don't have much experience with miniatures)

I have seen some Labs that are ok, but generally they are far to hyper, and tend to be unaware of their size, knocking over children with their exuberance. Chessie's, on the other hand, have an uncanny knack for noticing kids, and though thoroughly enjoying their company, will refrain from even wagging their tail when a small person is around. They are extremely easy going, and will allow a child to do virtually anything to them. This is an accepted character trait of the breed, but as with any dog, the most important determining factor on whether they are a good family dog, depends on their socialization when they are young. Even the best breed, if unsocialized, I could not recommend.

Golden Retrievers, I would consider better still, than a Lab. They have some of the same drawbacks of over-exuberance, but generally aren't as bad. Realize with the more popular breeds (Labs, Golden's, German Shepherds, Cocker Spaniels, etc.), there are really two strains to the breed (sometimes more), the original hunting dog (or guard dog) and the companion dog. They will both be registered the same way with the AKC, but their temperaments are vastly different. This is due to over-breeding. Golden's have really degraded from the over-breeding, so try and get a "hunting" dog, with true hunting bloodlines. They are often the better dog, even if you aren't using them for hunting. Labs on the other hand, have generally gotten more friendly, and laid back, from the breeding, although some strains have gotten a bit hyper as well. Try and meet both parents any time you are choosing a dog. 

American Pit Bulls, in spite of their reputation, are also generally a good family dog. Although careful breeding has made them a pretty friendly dog, they also can be unaware of their size at times. 

Old English Mastiff, a huge dog, is a good breed with children. Again, though, this massive dog doesn't recognize its own size all the time. St. Bernard's are also in this same category, although they are often more prone to being hyper than a Mastiff, making them an even less suitable dog. 

Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs are also a very large dog, but tend to be aware of their size. They like children, and are very careful around them. They are another breed that will abuse from a child. Their greatest downfall is sometimes they are overly protective. There have even been rare instances when they will "protect" the child from the parents when discipline is needed! In spite of their protective nature, they are generally quite accepting of new children, though adults they are quite wary of. Of course, unless you know the dog very well, it is never advised to leave a child unattended with a large breed. In spite of all good intentions, their play may sometimes get a little rough. Be carefully with the Burmese Mountain Dog, a Greater Swiss look-alike. They are overly rambunctious, and not very good with kids. Border Collie's are normally not bad with kids, but don't have the time of day for them either. They are not very gentle, but rarely have a desire to cause injury either. They are less intimidating to a child, but do not have the general disposition to be a great family dog. They are far to timid, and have a tendency to nip, if you don't train it out of them. 

German Shepherds, I haven't had a lot of experience with. From any reasearch I have done, and from my small experiences, they can be an ok family dog, but don't normally take to it naturally. I would consider them too much of a guard dog to place them in any position as a good family dog. 

I am sure I may have forgotten a breed or two, and there are always aberrations to any breed standard, but this is my experience from personal encounters and research. Of course, many mutts are better than any breed, but this is all on an individual basis. There is no way to standardize a mutt. Generally look for one that is a mix of two "good" breeds, or one that is primarily a "good" breed.

I don't feel I have enough experience with small breeds to give any opinions there. Strange as it sounds, I trust many large breeds more with children than small breeds. Small breeds tend to have more of a tendency to nip, which may be "cute" to an adult, but with children can cause injury. Pomeranians, Cocker Spaniels, and most any Toy Breed, are considered good, but I can't give a personal opinion.

Again, I would love you hear your input! Feel free to agree or disagree.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More government waste!

So far we have seen billions of dollars wasted this year, with no results. Obama is trying hard to use publicity and politics to waste some more money! He is dumping money on to more failed science, namely Embryonic Stem Cell Reasearch (ESCR). Here is Citizen Link's take on the story: 

If embryonic stem-cell research — which always requires the destruction of young human embryos — is so promising, where are the private investors? Overall, private-sector investors steer clear of ESCR because it's financially risky and scientifically unproven. Obama is demanding taxpayers pour their hard-earned dollars into risky investments and go where most venture capitalists and drug companies fear to tread.

Despite millions and millions of dollars spent on embryonic stem-cell research, it has failed to provide a single cure, anywhere in the world. Without significant advances, it looks like this is just the latest government bailout of a morally bankrupt and financially failing industry.

The fact is that embryonic stem cells are economically deprived because they are scientifically bankrupt. Over the last 10 years, we've heard many claims about the potential for cures. But with each passing year we've heard the grandiose promise of cures grow fainter — and patients' hope fade even more. 

The real promise for treating disease has been in the unsung heroes: non-embryonic stem cells. Otherwise known as adult stem cells, these ethical cells are providing treatments and cures for more than 70 diseases and conditions. Heart disease, spinal-cord injuries, cancer, genetic disorders, diabetes, Parkinson's, and many other diseases are being treated with adult stem cells.  Around the world, scientists and patients are energized not only by the promise, but the real-life results they see from adult stem cells.

Does the list of diseases that adult stem cells are treating look familiar?  It should.  It includes the same diseases the president said embryonic stem cells might some day cure. If Obama was really concerned, as he said, about making "decisions based on facts, not ideology," we would have seen a different decision this week — one that directed Congress to continue funding research that's helping patients.

A little-known detail of Obama's executive order is that he overturned a second Bush policy that directed the National Institutes of Health to encourage the pursuit of ethical alternatives to embryonic stem cells. This 2007 order provided the incentive for scientists to pursue new forms of stem-cell research — research like iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells, which are ordinary body cells that can be reprogrammed to behave like embryonic stem cells. Many scientists have moved away from embryonic stem cells and started investing their time and money into iPS cells.

The Obama policy will use our tax dollars to fund life-destroying, archaic research that's been left in the dust in favor of ethical treatments that have already provided hope and successful treatments for patients.

Read the whole article here.

Remember to check out my "News I Note" on the sidebar. I haven't been posting much on my blog recently, but I have been keeping my news feed up. I use the feed to post news articles that catch my attention, sometimes adding my own comments. 

Thursday, January 08, 2009

True Christian Spirit!

I have to take my hat off to Coach Hogan at Grapefine Faith Christian School

Speaking of football, as a kid growing up in a small town, I remember the excitement that preceded our high school’s home football games. I recall the sense of “oneness” within our community as all the store owners would display “spirit” banners and posters that said “Go Broncos” or “Beat Bonneville” in their windows urging support for “our team” on Friday night. It seemed the whole town would turn out for the game. I dreamed of what it would be like to be one of the players on the field with the whole town cheering you on. And, I experienced it.

High school football is big in America.

But I suppose there is no place where it is bigger than in Texas. Friday nights there are legend.

The fans scream; the stands are packed; cheerleaders with pom-poms jump and sway to the beat of the school band; parents yell encouragement (mostly); mom’s turn their eyes away when their little boys are crunched by the “bullies on the other team who didn’t really have to hit him that hard, did he?” and everybody joins in the chants and stomps their feet on the metal stands until you are sure they will collapse.

This is the frenzy of Texas high school football.

However, there is a football team in Texas that is a little different. When they play on Friday night, their stands are pretty much empty, no band, no cheerleaders, no mass of parents or townsfolk wearing the school colors and waving banners and flags. They take the field without anyone cheering them on. When they get a first down, there is no deafening surge from the stands. When they score a touchdown, which rarely happens, there is no wild celebration behind them…only the individual shouts of satisfaction that come from the 14 players and their coach and the 20 or so people that are sitting on their side of the field. All of it seems hollow and muffled in contrast to the tidal wave of roars and drums and chants that come from the opposing side.

They are the Tornadoes of the Gainesville State School, a fenced, maximum-security facility of the Texas Youth Commission. The young men who go to Gainesville State are there because they have made some major mistakes in their lives. But the players who are on the team are there because they have worked hard and have disciplined themselves to meet the “criteria” that gives them the privilege to leave the facility and play football on Friday nights—always an away game for them—always a home game for their opponents—and almost always a loss. They don’t have a weight program or training equipment or high-paid coaches and assistants. They don’t have a large pool of players to draw from. The school has 275 boys, but many are too old or too young or can’t or don’t meet the “criteria” to play. And they don’t have the support of a town and a mass of parents and family and reporters and bands and cheerleaders.

That is, until November 7th. Something changed. They played Grapevine Faith Christian School.

The way the Gainesville coach, Mark Williams, recounted it for me, it went something like this: Earlier in the week, he had received a call from Faith Christian coach, Kris Hogan, asking him if it would be okay if Faith formed a “spirit” line for his team when they ran on the field. Mark said, “Sure, that would be a real encouragement to the kids.” He thought that the line would consist of a couple of the JV cheerleaders, but when they took the field, there were a hundred people in it and it stretched to the 40-yard line, filled with Faith parents, fans and varsity cheerleaders, complete with a banner at the end for them to burst through that read “Go Tornadoes!”. And then, those parents and fans sat in the stands behind the Gainesville players and when the Tornadoes broke the huddle and went up to the line they could hear people cheering for them, by name. When they got a first down, “their” fans erupted...

Isn't this exemplary! Read the whole article from Del Tacket and also ESPN's story on this. Can you imagine the impact this had on not only the lives of all these young men, but also on the lives of their guards, their parents, and the rest of the world, as they look on!

HT: Dr. Dell Tackett: Truth Observed.