Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the month “April, 2013”



The dogs were lounging on the deck.  I was inside the house, working in my study, which is on the opposite side of the house.  I was on the phone, leaving my number with the receptionist at Bronco headquarters, casually inquiring for the tenth time about when to expect John Fox to call to congratulate me about getting picked in the NFL draft.  I had to cut it short with the Bronco call when my cell phone buzzed and Miss Sugar’s face appeared.  She is a priority, so I jeopardized my NFL career by taking her call.

As we chatted, I walked around the house.  I looked at the deck.  The dogs were not there.  I looked down by the river.  The dogs were not there.  I did not mention to Sugar that I was panicking because I did not want to alarm her.  I thought I would likely find the dogs before her return.

After ending the call, I went to the barn.  The horses greeted me.  No dogs were in sight.

I walked about a mile along the river, where there are trees.  I called and called for Beau and Sadie.  Neither came.

I went back to the house, hoping they beat me back.  I decided to call Sugar.  I confessed that I had lost our beloved Sadie and the other dog, Beau.  She instructed me to look for them along the river.  I told her that I had done that before calling her.  I had also driven along the road.  She told be to go back to walk where I already had.  So I did.  For the second time I walked about a mile out and another mile back.  That is two miles twice.  On my bum knees.

I drove to the highway, a mile away.  No dogs on the road.  No corpses in the highway.

I parked the truck and climbed over a locked gate where the ditch rider for the irrigation company can drive along the irrigation ditch through our neighbor’s ranch.  I walked another two miles or more, calling every few seconds the names of each dog.  “Sadie, come sweetie.  Here Sadie.  Beau, get your sorry tail back here.”  Over and over.  I was getting hoarse and thirsty.

Sugar was back home.  How did I know?  She called me on my cell.  By then I was by the lake, far from the road.  There were ducks on the lake.  I had also scared up a mallard by the river.  Surely, this is where I would go if I was a bird dog running away from home.

Sugar said, “Ray came over with our dogs in the back of his pickup.  He said they followed him when he was walking along the river with some company who wanted to see the place.  The dogs went along for the hike and then went home with him.”

Ray lives on the other side of Deadman’s Butte on a big ranch adjacent to us.  We can’t see their house, but they are our nearest neighbors.

“So,” Sugar said, “you can come back now.  They are safe.”

“I will be home in about an hour.  I have to walk back from the lake.”

“Do you want me to drive over to get you?” Sugar offered.

“You can’t drive here.  The gate to the ditch road is locked.”

She said, “Let me ask Ray if there is a way to drive there.”

“No.  Don’t ask.  I already know there isn’t.”

“Ray said you will have to walk out of there.”

So I walked back, like I thought and like Ray affirmed.

I figger I walked about ten miles altogether looking for those precious pets.

Labs are “people dogs” they say.  They are very friendly.  Today they were too friendly.

I’m thinking of trading them in on some mean guard dogs.

They consented to being dog-napped, so I can’t blame Ray.  At least he brought them back.

I suppose that is a good thing.  Isn’t it?


Stinky Fish

swimmingbeauSugar had a great idea.  It was to take the dogs up to Red Feather Lakes, by the Roosevelt National Forest, which is just a few miles up the road from us.  It was a beautiful day on Saturday.  Sugar packed a lunch and we took off with Sadie and Beau.

We selected a spot that any sporting dog would appreciate.  Sadie and Beau are Yellow Labs.  They qualify as sporting dogs and indeed they do like lakes.  I am the one who might not.  I used to enjoy such recreational experiences until Beau came into our lives.

We did not have the place to ourselves.  There were two fishermen who had the gall to fish where we were bringing our dogs.  They had arrived before us even.  How rude.

Sugar and I politely put our dogs on leashes.  We put them on leashes but I did not keep Beau on a leash.  I wanted to, but I failed.

Beau, enthralled by the trees and the lake and the sound of ducks and whatever smells he smelled, pulled hard on the leash.  I am a big guy.  He is a big guy.  Something had to give.  What gave out was the metal ring on his collar, which was, I thought, designed as the place on the collar on which to affix the leash.  The dang thing broke.

I was left holding a limp leash.  Beau was free at last, free at last, and thankful that he was free at last.

Remember the fishermen?  So did Beau.  I don’t know why he felt welcome to swim out to them, 100-200 yards away.  The lake is large.  Beau had options.  He selected the option of bothering the fishermen.  They probably thought I let Beau loose on purpose, which of course was a wrong assumption.

I shouted my apology.  I called to my dog.  I walked out onto a penisula, far from Sugar and the still captive Sadie.

Beau met me on the “penisula” sticking out into the lake.  It was rocky walking.  And Beau allowed me to come up to him and loop the leash around his neck, like a choke collar, since the metal ring was broken.

Wasn’t that obedient of Beau?  You might think that only because you do not know the rest of the story.

The rest of the story is that I caught him as he was investigating a stinky dead fish.

You might think that Miss Sugar was happy that I retrieved our Retriever.  She wasn’t.

NFL Draft and My Political Campaign

I’ve had to suspend my pre-campaign for the Senate while I await that special call from the Broncos.  Readers of previous blogs back during the NFL Combine will recall that I am the perfect size for an NFL linebacker and that I have hinted very strongly that I am only interested in signing with the Broncos as the only team within commuting distance.

I started waiting on Friday.  Someone told me that the NFL draft is over.  That is obviously incorrect because I have not yet been notified that I was drafted.  I am still waiting.

There must be some terrible mix-up.  I assume they misplaced my contact information and are really embarrassed, so I have been somewhat pro-active.  I left a few messages for John Elway, John Fox, and Pat Bowlen, the owner.  That way they have my cell phone, office phone and email.

There is a risk that I will damage my negotiating position if I appear too eager, yet I want to get the ball rolling regarding my contract.

I know what is going on.  They are probably calling my agent.  He knows how to get a hold of me.  Maybe.  At least he has my number.  I wonder why he has not returned my last fifty calls.

Pre-Campaign Publicity

My pre-campaign staff for my run for a seat in the U.S. Senate has recommended that I write a book about my political views because that has served other political candidates well.

Barack Obama wrote The Audacity of Hope before running for President.  Look how that turned out.

Adolph Hitler wrote Mein Kampf before running for Nazi Dictator.  He attracted a devoted following.

So I wanted to emulate their success with something catchy.  Mein Arrogance of Seeking Power is descriptive, but my wife pointed out that Senator William Fulbright already wrote a book called The Arrogance of Power and my title is too close to his.

I need some help.  Will some of you readers willing to serve as volunteers on the pre-campaign publicity committee please make some suggestions.  I am also looking for ghost-writers.  Also, let me know if you have skills with photo-shopping.  I need to look real good.

Pre-Campaign Identity Strategy

The response across the nation to my pre-announcement of my candidacy for the U.S. Senate has been even more greatly underwhelming than anticipated.   Apparently, the Senate has plenty of white males already.  It might be advisable to emphasize diversity within my gene pool.

One of my grandfathers used to say that he was “mixed as the dogs in the streets.”  With fewer dogs in the streets due to leash laws, as well as the greater use of spay and neuter clinics, that saying probably lost some of its impact. Shucks, that was gonna bring me some street cred.

I do have two grandparents born to Swedish immigrants, so I could emphasize a strong Viking heritage.  The new TV series called The Vikings might have  helped in popularizing Vikings, yet I am not certain that will translate into electability.  I need more of an American identity.

Colorado is a western state.  We elected a former Senator named Ben Nighthorse Campbell.  I like Senator Campbell and even met him at a cafe when he was on his way to a meeting and asked me for directions after I introduced myself.

Former University of Colorado  Professor Ward Churchill did not run for office as far as I know, but he knew how to get attention.  Professor Churchill not only offended lots of folks by his comments about 911 being the fault of Americans rather than terrorists, but he also turned out to be a poser about being Native American.  I might have more Indian blood than him.  My gramma, who lived in Chickasha, Oklahoma, claimed to be part-Indian before it was so popular that Professor Churchill wanted to join the Native American club.  I don’t think Gramma knew about the scholarships or she might have gone further than the eighth grade.

On the subject of Native American vs. Indian, isn’t it telling that the American Indian Movement (AIM) organization named itself what it did?  Also, the proud Oglala Sioux at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation have not changed their sign.


Will Rogers is one of my heroes.  I wish he was still around to be my campaign chairman.

Back to the drawing board……….  I am working on “branding” my campaign identity.  How does the electorate feel about cowboys?

As I do this strategic planning, based on Will Rogers and Gramma, I have decided to open up my campaign staff to Okies, despite my Texan wife’s prejudices.

Okie dokey!

Taxing Sin — Win Win

Yesterday I pre-announced my pre-candidacy for the U.S. Senate, launching my pre-campaign.   Today I will start taking applications for pre-campaign volunteers.  For those interested, I am pleased to assure you that you are pre-approved.

Although I am (almost) running for a Senate seat in Colorado, I invite Americans from across the continent to hop on my bandwagon.  (Texas is “a whole other country.”  Nevertheless, even Texans are welcome to pre-campaign for me.  My wife is a former Texan so I’m pretty tolerant.  She is not, however, affiliated with Oklahoma, so that is where I draw the line.)

So, unless you are from Oklahoma, please keep reading about my exciting pre-campaign ideas.

Here in Colorado, we recently legalized marijuana despite it being illegal under federal law.    Apparently Colorado and Washington are so special that they can ignore federal law, which is, after all, intended merely for the general public, not everyone nor every state.  Maybe it is Colorado that is a whole other country.  Washington too.

During the campaign to amend Colorado’s state constitution to allow marijuana, an argument was frequently made that if stores can sell marijuana, the sales can be taxed, bringing increased revenue to the state, not to mention tourism dollars from drug-motivated tourists.

That got me to thinking about other taxes that Coloradans are presently missing out on.  Sure, we tax cigarettes and alcohol already.  We also sell lottery tickets.  We have gambling districts in Central City and Blackhawk, where casinos are allowed.  Why stop there?

Colorado is not as progressive as Nevada when it comes to prostitution.  Isn’t that something we could tax?  Wouldn’t that bring in more tourists, that niche interested in sex outside of marriage?

Are you paying attention, Oklahoma?  The Bible Belt is missing out.  Sin is a big moneymaker!

As a lawmaker in the U.S. Senate, I could show the way to the backward states and sponsor federal legislation to legalize drugs and prostitution, as well as gambling, on a national basis.  Also, I know how to overcome the objections of goody two-shoes types who want to impose their morals on folks unshackled by such things.

Back where I come from, Colorado, we have figgered that out.  My unoriginal idea for selling this legislation is to make it a win/win situation.  Since everyone should care about our children, the future of America, I say we use the new tax on prostitution to fund education.  The fine religious people who might not approve of prostitution will see the light when they realize that promoting prostitution helps our schools.

We have a diversity of values in America, but can’t we come together and agree on the importance of education?  Do it for the children!

Why stop at marijuana?  There is a lot of money in cocaine, heroin and meth.  I would tie taxes on each to popular causes.  I realize that all this will be debated on the floor of the Senate.  I would just be one voice among 100 Senators.  However, wait until my future colleagues get a load of this:  I suggest cocaine revenue goes to cancer research, maybe heroin taxes should be used to fund National Parks, and meth taxes could go to something like paying for the military.  Do you have a problem with healthcare, national parks or the military?  If so, I question your patriotism.  As a Senator, I will tell the F.B.I. to look into such citizens.  Maybe make ’em register as non-compliant.  Certainly, take their guns.

My pre-campaign values diversity.  I’m okay.  You’re okay.  And, let’s be open-minded and say that drug dealers and prostitutes are okay too.   Well, they are okay as long as they pay taxes.

Please support my pre-campaign by liking me on facebook.

Everyone is welcome!  Well, almost everyone.  I am fixin’ to open it up to Oklahomans in the near future.  For now, hold your horses, Okies.

More Legislation — That’s the Ticket!

My career in the U.S. Senate is in its infancy.  No, it is earlier than infancy.  I am in the fetal stage of my Senate career.   In fact, those of you reading this post are witnessing American history in the making.  Let this serve as the announcement of my candidacy.

Well, maybe not exactly the formal announcement.  That might have some legal requirements or even implications.  Most importantly, I do not want to have to report contributions to my campaign just yet.  John Edwards, former Senator and former Democrat nominee for Vice President and former candidate for President taught me the importance of being careful about federal campaign finance laws.

Therefore, since I have merely pre-announced, please do not send financial contributions to my campaign until I tell you that I am ready.  It will involve an off-shore account.

At this point in the pre-campaign, let us work together to support my program of reforming America.  I have a dream.  I have a dream that one day terrorists will no longer kill innocent Americans.  I have a dream today.

As a lawmaker, I will make new laws to implement my dream.  We need to put into our criminal code additional legislation that will leave no doubt about what constitutes unacceptable behavior.  Terrorists and other criminals will think twice before breaking the law.  I have a dream that making certain things illegal will serve as a deterrent to bad people.

First, I pledge to sponsor legislation defining and, this is important, outlawing terrorist violence.

For example, flying airplanes into buildings will be against the law.  Bombs will be illegal unless the bombs have been inspected and pass a strict safety test.

Terrorists will be required to register as a terrorist.   Not just anyone will be permitted to register as a terrorist.  Each applicant will have to pass a federally administered background check.  (I kind of borrowed that idea from the gun control advocates.)

In addition, after registering in the national register of terrorists, as a means of keeping the F.B.I. informed, terrorists will be required to report any changes of address as well as inform new neighbors of the relocation of the registered terrorists.  OR ELSE! (My staff is working on some really tough penalties).

I know, let’s commission a study about implementing a law, better yet, a commandment saying something like, “Thou shalt not murder.”  That just might work!  You are welcome!

So, my fellow Americans, join me in my quest to save America from violence by supporting my candidacy.  How?  By “liking” me on Facebook.

Tomorrow I will explain how to balance the budget.

Calling It Like It Is

Suppose the 911 terrorists were Swedish women of the Lutheran faith and also the Boston Marathon bombers were Swedish Lutheran women.  Suppose all the Swedish ethnic women terrorists were over the age of 80.  And suppose the Lutheran hymnal contained songs about killing non-Lutherans.  Suppose other Lutherans explained that the offending hymns do not accurately reflect the tenets of Lutheranism.  Those hymns were, according to non-violent mainstream Lutheran scholars, written by Luther after he became senile and so the radical Swedish-American women are in the minority for focusing on those violent  anti-non-Lutheran doctrines.

In that situation, do you have a problem with the FBI keeping a close watch on Swedish-American women who are in the age group of the bombers and who are known Lutherans who congregate with other known Lutherans, especially if they post on the internet the hymns that refer to killing non-Lutherans, including a You Tube video of a lecture by a radical religion professor at Gustavus Adolphus College promoting the violent words of the hymnbook?

The Tsarnaev brothers are reported to be Islamic.  They are reported to have promoted Islamic beliefs about killing infidels.  They are alleged to have done exactly that as alleged terrorists.  Suspect 2 has even admitted the terrorist acts.

If you sing from the Jihad hymnbook, don’t be surprised if you are investigated by law enforcement.  They are not picking on you.  They are assuming that you mean what you are saying.  If what you are saying is that you want to kill me, that ain’t the way to make friends.

Our President will use the word terrorist, but not words like Islamic or Jihad.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it might be a duck.

I wonder what my mother is up to?  She fits the ethnic  and religious profile of one of the groups described above.

Canine Psychotherapy

This is yet another true story about our adventures with Beau, our Yellow Lab who came from a shelter.  I do not want our woes to discourage others from adopting pets from animal shelters.  However, I recommend inquiring about why the animal was surrendered.

We have adopted three dogs from shelters –  Beau, Sadie and Rover.  Each had a different reason for being there.  We know why Sadie and Rover were there.  I described Sadie’s sad background in Sadie’s Tale.  Rover showed up on our deck during the wildfires and we took him to the Humane Society so his owners could claim him.  When no one did, we adopted him.  Both Rover and Sadie turned out to be wonderful pets.  Beau?  Not so much.

I said to my wife, Sugar, last night, after Beau committed yet another crime, “Have you ever had such a bad dog?”  She did not hesitate to say “No.”  You might think that she would take a few moments to reminisce about dogs from her childhood and decades since, analyzing the data collected from a lifetime as an animal lover.  It took one brief second for her to conclude that the answer to my question is clearly “No.”

What about Tanner?  Tanner was a wolf hybrid shepherd mix with a penchant for taking off.  But, no, he was not as much trouble as Beau.

I think the difference is that with the various dog personalities we have encountered and for the most part enjoyed, we were not victims of any misbehavior.  If Rover chased rabbits as his chief fault, he was not bothering me.  If Sadie greedily tried to eat Max’s food, it was not my food.  With Beau, we are the victims of his criminal thefts.  With Beau, it is my food, etc.

Some of you read my blog about my accidental discovery that Beau’s original owner might actually be in prison and that is why Beau was surrendered.  I kidded about Beau’s upbringing in a criminal home.  Many truths are said in jest.

I think he was neglected and had to entertain himself in a small enclosure.  I say that because when we got Beau, he had chewed off the hair on his front paws.  Another symptom was that he would go into a small shower, pushing back the curtain and sitting in the dark space where there are no windows.  That might indicate being in a small space was familiar to him.  A big ranch with room to run was not familiar.  However, he has adjusted to the ranch.  He helps me feed the horses.  He was very excited to discover the river.   I think he likes it here.

After the shower occupation, I decided that he might feel more at home in a crate, so for two months he has been put into a crate at night.  (During the day he can play outside, ride with us in the truck, or be in the house with us.)  He collected his treasures and keeps them in there.  At bedtime, Beau would go right into the crate.  Eagerly even.  Until yesterday.

In the early morning hours, I let the dogs out to go potty.  They presumably do that.  They return to the back door and I let them in.  Sadie goes back to her sofa and Beau goes back into his crate.  I go back to bed.  For the last two morning excursions, Beau did not want to go back into his crate.  Instead, he slyly grabbed a bone from inside and quickly left the room.  He jumped onto Sadie’s sofa.  Both days.  So, as a permissive owner, I allowed it.  As a distrustful owner, I hooked a leash onto his collar and tied it to the leg of a heavy aspen table.

So far so good.  It is like a child graduating from a baby crib to a big boy bed.

Maybe Beau is going to fit in after all.Image

Spring Sports in Colorado

The Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Board probably don’t want me to reveal  that the Rockies had to cancel their game due to snow on April 22.   What is good news for skiers, snowboarders and mountain resorts is bad news for baseball players, tennis players, and track team members who signed up for “spring sports.”  This year, the spring sports in Colorado are the winter sports continuing.

They said on the sports news last night that high school baseball teams throughout the state have all missed half of their games, 7 instead of 14, for this point in the season.  Such a problem hasn’t happened in 30 years, they reported.  Play-offs start in 10 days.  Oh well.  All are in the same circumstances.  That is why spring training for the Rockies is in Arizona and not Colorado.

 Last week, Colorado had lots of snow that caused road closures, school closures, business closures and even courthouse closures.  Then we had a warm weekend with temperatures in the 60s and most of the snow melted.  Now it is snowing again.  It looks exactly like the photos I posted on April 15th.  Exactly!  So you can refer to the pics on that snow day post to see what it looks like today.

Those of you who reside in other elevations and climates, maybe even other hemispheres, might not believe me or properly visualize what I am writing about.

 But I ain’t complaining.  I kinda like it.

Maybe I won’t be able to get to my office in town.  All I need is a good excuse.  And a good internet connection.

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