Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the month “November, 2012”

Rocky Mountain High

Although it was long ago, I have been to law school.  Back when I attended, among the first things we learned was that federal law preempts state law.

Knowing that, I am uncertain how Colorado’s new law which legalizes marijuana can exist as long as marijuana is illegal under federal law, being deemed a “controlled substance.”

Contrary to what some of you might believe, I was not around during Prohibition, when alcoholic beverages were illegal.  Studying history teaches us that Prohibition did not work well and was repealed.  Maybe Congress will change federal law to legalize marijuana.  However, until that happens, we have a conflict between the federal government and the states of Colorado and Washington, which have each legalized marijuana.

Imagine if Colorado and Washington had, during Prohibition, legalized alcoholic beverages.  Al Capone could have moved his headquarters from Chicago to Denver and stayed out of trouble.  How do you think that would have worked out?

I have heard that the U.S. Attorney for Colorado is meeting with the Colorado Attorney General.  It appears that there is something to discuss in order to work things out.  I don’t get it.  I don’t know know what there is to talk about.  Maybe they were each absent from law school on the day that federal preemption was discussed.

I wish they had talked to me or my Constitutional Law professor before they went to the trouble of putting on the ballot the question of legalizing marijuana.  Guess what I would have advised and guess how I voted.

Besides the legal issues, I remember Mama warning me, in the words of Three Dog Night — “That ain’t the way to have fun, Son.”  Mom is upset with Colorado and I can tell you with certainty borne of much experience, when Mom is not happy, no one can be happy.  They (everyone in Colorado and Washington) will rue the day this unconstitutional marijuana law was passed by the electorate.  We are in big trouble with Mom and that, friends, is big trouble indeed.  Mom preempts even federal law.

My Delayed But Inevitable Entry Into The Cowboy Hall of Fame

Many of you dear readers have undoubtedly wondered when I would be admitted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame.

You might have criticized the nominating committee.  You might have felt the process was unfairly rigged.   In defense of the committee, I want to remind you that Peyton Manning is not yet in the National Football League Hall of Fame.  The reason is that Peyton is still playing.  When his career is finished, there is a waiting period for eligibility before his admission into the NFL Hall of Fame will be voted upon.  I believe that his induction is inevitable.  He must be patient, as was I concerning the Cowboy Hall of Fame.

My career as a cowboy is not concluded.  Nevertheless, the waiting period since I won a competitive event has been sufficient for eligibility.  If I make a comeback, it will just be icing on the cake.

Last Friday, I was pleased to get there, finally, as captured in the photo below, taken in Fort Worth, Texas, at the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, located in the historic Stockyards.

I would have gone inside too, if only I had the $5 for the admission ticket.  I think next I will see if I can get into the NFL Hall of Fame, then the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Heck, I have never taken performance-enhancing drugs.  I better start saving up for the price of admission.

Name Change

I’ve been thinking about changing my name to Peyton Manning.  I like Peyton Manning.  I admire Peyton Manning.  Everyone does.  If I share his name, maybe everyone will like me.  People will return my calls.  Who wouldn’t return a call from Peyton Manning?

Of course, folks will be disappointed when they have to talk to me instead of the Bronco quarterback.  That is why I need to practice imitating his voice and manner of speaking in order to keep up the ruse. 

Don’t ask me for tickets to the game.  However, I will be glad to come talk to your Optimist Club.  I’ll tell you a little something about my life and have a free lunch.

Right to Choose

Dylan Klebold’s mother admitted that when she learned he was one of the Columbine shooters, she prayed he would kill himself . He did it.

The Craigslist killer also killed himself, but he did it while in prison, after conviction for murder.

James Holmes, the alleged Aurora theatre shooter, has not been convicted yet, but he is in jail and, reportedly, has attempted suicide.

Should he be prevented from commiting suicide? Would you look the other way if you were on the jail staff? Wouldn’t it be ironic if the jailers would be disciplined for letting the killer kill himself?

Usually “the right to choose” is used in the context of a woman choosing whether to have an abortion, which choice involves the life of another, the baby.  The choices of the men listed above involve whether to continue their own lives after ending the lives of others.

I am not going to write a deep theological or ethical or even legal thesis on this subject. I was just thinking about these three killers (I mean two killers and one accused alleged killer).

For the same reason that Mrs. Klebold prayed for her son to shoot himself, which was probably not for punishment but so he would be spared the legal process in which Mr. Holmes is involved, it might not be malicious for us to allow him that way out of the justice system. He knows whether he is guilty. Maybe he should be allowed the right to choose “to be or not to be.” That is the question.

General Math

I have been reading about the Generals who have been investigated recently.  One has exchanged 20,000 – 30,000 emails with a woman (not his wife).  This occurred during a two year period.  Wow!

I don’t know how long were the emails nor how fast are the correspondents as typists.  Let me made an estimate.  Let us assume two minutes per email.  Multiply two minutes times 30,000.  That would be 60,000 minutes.  Over two years, dividing 60,000 by 730 days ought to be how many minutes per day.  I calculate that to be over 82 minutes per day, every day.  What if the emails take four minutes to compose?  That would be 164 minutes per day.

So, I’m guessing around an hour and a half to two and a half hours per day.  I doubt it is less.  It could be much more time spent, but let us say two hours per day as an average.  And that is with a friend who is not his wife.  Of course, he spends much more time corresponding with his wife, but what if it is equal time?  Then he is writing to two women four hours per day.  He might have other friends and family members to keep in touch with.  Maybe that takes another hour per day.

He ought to take time to eat, sleep and exercise too.  And for prayer and devotions maybe.

In his spare time, isn’t General Allen supposed to be commanding our troops in Afghanistan?    My what a guy!

Just sayin’….

Pioneer Spirit

There are folks in these United States who are unwilling or unable to camp when the weather temperature is below freezing.  They are commonly referred to as wimps.

There are other folks, who courageously brave the elements to camp, even when the temperature is below freezing, yea, even when in the teens.  They are commonly referred to as Americans Who Epitomize the Pioneer Spirit Which Made This Country Great.

Miss Sugar falls into the latter category.  And I went along with her, though not necessarily courageously.  Call me compliant.

RV campers are the successors to the old Conestoga Wagons of the pioneers who traveled the Oregon Trail and such.  Both modes of transport provide a sleeping compartment on wheels, pulled by horses, oxen, or Ford F250 pickup trucks. 

Some might point out the advancements in technology, such as insulation, electric and propane heat, to compare modern campers like Miss Sugar to the pioneers of the 1800s and conclude that Miss Sugar is not as tough as the original pioneers of the covered wagons.  I assure you, they would be wrong. 

In light of recent tragic events, including Hurricane Sandy, I hasten to clarify that I am writing about those of us who voluntarily camp for recreation, not about people who have lost their homes and are  camping in the cold not by choice, nor about people who are without homes on a permanent basis and have to contend with finding shelter from the cold.  We call these unfortunate people our brothers and sisters in need.

Jesus said that whatsoever we do “for the least of these” to provide for people in need, we are doing for Him.

That too is the American Way.  Wimps are welcome to participate.


I met a very special young lady today.  It quickly became obvious that she is not part of the general public.  I just don’t know why.

My middle-aged wife and I pulled into the parking lot for the boarding kennel, parking in the space closest to the front door.  As we stood there with a dog on a leash, fixing to open the gate, a twenty-something woman and her dog hurried in front of us and went in.  Sugar and I looked at each other, checking to see whether we were invisible.  She was not, nor was Rover.  Sugar assured me that I was completely visible as well.

Judging by her attire, the woman who cut in front of us did not appear to be on her way to work because she was not yet dressed.  She still was wearing bedroom slippers and sweat pants.  I noticed attractively-tattooed ankles showing between the slippers and bottoms of her pants. 

I wondered why she acted as if she was entitled to cut in front of us.  Perhaps she is not from around these parts.  Back where I come from, Planet Earth, folks are taught at an early age, approximately two years of age, to take turns, play nice, and say please. 

The woman I described  must not have been taught those things by her parents or teachers or anyone else, nor did she pick them up on her own during the first three decades of her life.

In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis writes about the universality of moral law, using as an example that if one sits in the chair of someone who has left the room but returns, the taker of the chair commonly says something like, “I’m sorry.  I did not know that you were sitting here.”  Or, “I’m sorry.  I did not know that you were coming back.”  The recognition that an apology is necessary proves the common belief that it is wrong to take another’s seat absent an exception to the rule. 

It seems that the special person we encountered was absent from charm school on the day the class discussed that book, and on the day they studied Emily Post, and on the day they taught T he Golden Rule.   She just was not taught how to fit in with those of us in The General Public.  Poor thing!  No one told her she ain’t special.  It is an important lesson to learn.

Be Prepared

A woman should not hitchhike alone.  It can be dangerous.

I knew that.  I hated the thought of Miss Sugar out on the highway in Wyoming’s strong November wind.

It was that wind which diminished the fuel efficiency of our Ford F250 pickup.  That and pulling the RV trailer.  I should have calculated those factors when deciding to try to make it to Laramie.

There is a 45 mile stretch with no service stations between our northern Colorado ranch and Laramie, Wyoming.  In hindsight, I regretted not filling up the truck before we left.  Sure they sell diesel less than a mile from our place, but it is cheaper to buy it in Wyoming.  Less tax.  Plus, it would be inefficient to backtrack nearly 8/10th of a mile out of our way just to fill up for peace of mind.  One must have confidence, living without fear. 

I thought we could make it, so imagine my alarm when the fuel gauge showed empty while we were still 20 miles from Laramie.

Twenty miles is too far to travel on an empty tank.  It is also too far to walk.  Fifteen, even ten miles are too far to walk.  Going there and back doubles the distance.  I doubted she could make it back before nightfall.  Not with her bum knee.

I was worried about Sugar’s bum knee.  Walking that far wouldn’t help it none.  In a bad accident last year, one of her injuries was a torn posterior cruciate ligament.  Since then, she has been unable to run.  She even walks much slower.  Nevertheless, the choice was clear as to which of us should go for fuel.  Obviously, I was needed to protect the RV.  I have a gun and she does not.

Sugar’s mother, Italian father, and two brothers might not agree with that choice, but we’d all have a good laugh about this at Thanksgiving as long as Sugar was safe.  No harm, no foul.  Right?  As long as she could get back safely….

I would hate it if anything happened to my beloved wife.  I imagined that someone would give her a ride.  Hopefully, it would be a kind soul and not some badman or badmen.   It was a risk, sure, but that diesel engine can’t run without fuel.  Surely, someone would give her a ride back too.   Even a couple gallons gets heavy after a few miles of carrying it.

Sugar would hate it if anything happened to our new used RV.  She has worked so hard to get it ready for the trip.  Some of you have read about our prior disappointments when we had to cancel our maiden voyage.  She had so looked forward to this weekend.

So, knowing she would hate it if anything happened to the RV, I vowed to protect it.  I was thankful that the RV itself has heat and a warm bed because it could take a long time for my wife to return with the fuel.  Maybe time enough for a movie since it is equipped with the DVD and TV.  It is important to be comfortable while worrying about a loved one.

I am a lucky man to be married to such a trooper.  She is quite a gal.  I made a mental note to get Sugar some Mace for the future.  Like I always say, “Be prepared.”

I love her so much that it hurts me to disappoint her.  That is why I was wise to not let her know when I noticed the fuel gauge showed empty while we still had those twenty miles to go.  I did not tell her of my worried thoughts above.  And that is why I was relieved when, miraculously, we made it to a service station in Laramie.  No harm, no foul.

What she don’t know won’t hurt her, or me.

I guess God did not like the idea of Sugar walking along the highway.  After all, she is one of his favorites.

Fountain of Youth

It is not often that I am the youngest person present at a gathering of the general public, but at the Saratoga Springs, Wyoming hot springs known as Hobo Pool, I was. 

As I entered the hot pool area, there were two older men with Santa-like beards, both in length and whiteness.  Maybe that is why it is called Hobo Pool.  They looked the part. 

Shortly after I lowered my lithe, youthful body into the supposedly healing waters, three more men, one bald and two white-haired ones, joined us at the pool.  They all knew each other.  I was the odd man out.  Eventually, however, I made friends with them.

One got out of the pocket of his robe a thermometer and pronounced that the temperature of the pool was 107.9 degrees, which is a good conversation starter.  I learned that that they all come almost every day.  I learned about the underground hot springs piped into the pool.  I learned about the history of the Indians discovering it near the North Platte River.  I learned about the source of the name, Hobo Pool, due to the railroad tracks going by, and hobos being aware of the free spa experience in that bend of the river.  I learned that these hot natural springs full of minerals and smelling of sulfur seemed to offer health benefits.   My bald friend said that he moved to Saratoga eleven years ago and used the pool every day.  He said he had not been ill since, whereas previously he had often been sick.  It sounded like the biblical Pool of Bethesda. or the pool at Lourdes. 

I then witnessed proof of the healing power of the pool.  None of the men were wearing glasses, yet when Miss Sugar appeared,  they all gave every indication that their vision was clear. 

You see, Miss Sugar had forgotten to pack her swimsuit, unlike me.  After I paid the admission fee for myself, Miss Sugar explained her predicament to the gatekeeper.  He actually waived the admission fee for her and allowed her in for free, which offended my sense of fairness.  “Hey, Sugar,” I said, “can’t you read?”  “The sign says no nude bathing.” 

My new friends turned on me.  To a man, they vehemently declared that they did not mind and voted to waive the rule.  Rules are made to be broken, according to them. 

I, an attorney, disagreed.  I strongly felt that she should have paid the fee like the rest of us, so I paid the guy.

What was Miss Sugar trying to pull?  A fee is a fee. 

P.S.  Most of what I write about is totally true.  Miss Sugar has asked me to confess that the part I wrote about her, above, is not exactly accurate.  The part about her forgetting her suit is true.  The part about her coming to the pool anyway is not true.  I was just funnin’ about.  But, seriously, did you just want to read about me and five old guys sitting in a hot springs pool?

P.P.S.  There is no admission fee.  It is open every hour of every day for free.  Check it out.

P.P.P.S.  There IS a sign that says, “No alcohol.  No profanity.  No nude swimming.”  That about covers it.  So, don’t forget your swimsuit, forget the booze though, and watch your mouth.

Deliver Us From Evil

Last night, Halloween, we watched The Exorcist on TV.  I had seen the original at a movie theater in 1973.  Miss Sugar had missed it.  I’m guessing her parents did not let her see it.  (Now you are wondering whether she was a teenager or a grade schooler.  I know but I’m not telling.)

Maybe they should have.  As devout Catholics, they might have enjoyed that the two heroes in the story were both priests.  One, a Harvard-educated Jesuit psychiatrist, who at first doubted the possession of the little girl, and the other, an older priest who had performed exorcisms before and believed in the presence of evil.

What I had forgotten in the intervening 39 years since my first viewing (when I was a newborn baby), was the power of prayer.  The older priest, Father Marin, started out with The Lord’s Prayer when confronting the evil possessing the child.  He also invoked the precious name of Jesus Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the sovereignty of God the Father in COMMANDING Satan and the other evil spirits to leave the young girl.  He spoke with authority as a servant of his master, the Most High King.  He trusted in the Lord to use him and Father Karras to deliver the girl from evil. 

Evil is not usually so visible as in this Hollywood production.  Still, it was inspiring to me to be reminded that our powerful God indeed delivers us from evil.

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