This year's Darwin Awards - H/T My Underwood Typewriter

1. When his .38 caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.
And Now, The Honorable Mentions:
2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat cutting machine and after a little shopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and he also lost a finger. The chef’s claim was approved.
3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.
4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn’t discovered for 3 days.
5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.
6.. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer… $15. [If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?]
7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he’d just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.
8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, “Yes, officer, that’s her. That’s the lady I stole the purse from.”
9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 5 A.M., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn’t open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren’t available for breakfast… The frustrated gunman walked away. [*A 5-STAR STUPIDITY AWARD WINNER]
10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street by sucking on a hose, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline, but he plugged his siphon hose into the motor home’s sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges saying that it was the best laugh he’d ever had and the perp had been punished enough!
In the interest of bettering mankind, please share these with friends and family…. unless of course one of these individuals by chance is a distant relative or long lost friend. In that case, be glad they are distant and hope they remain lost.
They walk among us, they can reproduce.






Morning's Light

This morning's view from the porch.  Our thermometer read -6 degrees F this morning.  As I was leaving to go to my daughter's hockey game, I saw this view and had to take a moment to soak it in, then get my camera and shoot it. Some things never grow tiring.


Happy Thanksgiving

From this site about comes this information about today's Thanksgiving holiday.

This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America's national day of Thanksgiving. During his administration, President Lincoln issued many orders similar to this. For example, on November 28, 1861, he ordered government departments closed for a local day of thanksgiving.
Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on September 28, 1863, urging him to have the "day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival." She explained, "You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution."
Prior to this, each state scheduled its own Thanksgiving holiday at different times, mainly in New England and other Northern states. President Lincoln responded to Mrs. Hale's request immediately, unlike several of his predecessors, who ignored her petitions altogether. In her letter to Lincoln she mentioned that she had been advocating a national thanksgiving date for 15 years as the editor of Godey's Lady's Book. George Washington was the first president to proclaim a day of thanksgiving, issuing his request on October 3, 1789, exactly 74 years before Lincoln's.
The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise." According to an April 1, 1864, letter from John Nicolay, one of President Lincoln's secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. On October 3, 1863, fellow Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary how he complimented Seward on his work. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops.

By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

So, on that note, have a Happy Thanksgiving and may we all have more to be thankful for this time next year.



On today, 11/22/2013, the 50th anniversary of John Kennedy's assassination, reflect not only on the tragedy, but that Lee Harvey Oswald, a communist who lived in SOviet Russia for a short while and who was a supporter of Castro, would probably have felt at home in toady's democrat party.


Farewell My Friend

The last time I saw Dave, I took this photo of him and his dad leaving St. Elias Hospital in Anchorage.  Dave came to work as a mechanical piping designer at the engineering firm I was working at, about 2002.  Being next to each other, we got acquainted and became work place friends.  Every morning we would go out and get a cup of coffee together. 
Dave was a character.  His dad, (in the photo) was a hard working & hard drinking longshoremen. Dave also had a younger brother I never met, who was a deck boss on a Bering Sea crabber.  Dave projected a rough persona, a hard rocking, Dodge pickup driving, ex-linebacker red-neck hard ass.  But at his core was a really good hearted and decent person. More sensitive than he let on.
I think that sensitivity was not a good thing for him in his circumstances growing up. He told me a few things about his upbringing, which was rough. But we usually talked about work, current events and mundane things.

He told me stories that made us both howl with laughter.  He told me all through his youth, his dad & uncles would tell them that they were part Cherokee.  They would huddle around campfires during youthful summer nights and listen to the adults tell stories about their Indian heritage.  He said an aunt of his did some research and had verified it. She had cadged a thousand or so from his dad and who knows how much from other relatives and produced some dubious paperwork stating they were part of the Cherokee tribe.  They even received official tribal membership cards and numbers. The paperwork claimed to be official and from the Cherokee Tribal Acrchives in North Bend, Oregon.  Everyone bought into it and the matter was settled in their minds. But not in Dave’s. 

Dave did his own research and even called the actual Cherokee tribal offices in Oklahoma.  The numbers and paperwork were bogus, but the aunt who had foisted this scam on his family was now dead.  His image of her getting over on them, was her laughing from the grave like the old woman in the tub in room 237, in the Shining. 
Dave liked his vodka.  A lot. At first it didn’t affect his work. He was a tough son of a bitch. But as the years rolled on, I began to notice what I call ‘slippage’.  I’ve seen it a before in alcoholics who are stepping up to the varsity drinking team.  A mistaken memory of an event you were present at, or missed pickups on design drawings.  Little things at first. Then the coming in late, or not at all. The smell of alcohol oozing out from his skin. The puffy weight gain.

Dave finally lost his job.   I had moved on by then, to another firm.  We kept in touch via e-mail, telephone, and the occasional lunch.  I was busy, a family and job, a house, a life.  I received a call from a mutual friend who said that Dave was in the ICU at a local hospital.  I went to see him in the ICU. He was in a coma. When I first walked in, I was walking down the corridor looking in rooms as I walked by, trying to find him.  I saw a yellowish and waxy looking old man, propped up in a hospital bed with hoses sticking out of everywhere.  I walked past looking for Dave when a nurse asked me who I was trying to find. I told her and she pointed me back to the room where I had seen the waxy yellowish old man.  I walked in and took a hard look.  Here was a guy who was younger than me by ten years, but who looked like a concentration camp inmate on life support.  What I saw brought tears to my eyes.

I and others frequently went to see him.  After about a week, he came out of his coma.  Everyone, including the doctors thought he was going to die, but here he was talking to us.  He spent almost a month in that ICU.  He slowly got better.  Eventually he was moved out to a regular room.  One doctor even told him that he hoped Dave appreciated the gift he had been given because they gave him a ten percent chance of leaving the hospital alive when he came in. 
He did leave the hospital alive though. The photo above was taken the day he and his dad walked out of there and went back down south, to Oregon.  I kept in touch though e-mail and the occasional phone call.  He was doing better and slowly getting his life back together.  I was busy with my life.  The river of time ever flowing on.  I wanted to fly down next year, rent a car and drive to southern Oregon to visit him.

 Today at work, I got another call, from the same mutual friend who had told me a few years back that Dave was in the hospital.  Dave had died.  Dave had been drinking again.  He didn’t know if he been back on the drink for a while, or if he had just started back on that night, but his brother came over in the morning and found him dead. Given how ravaged his body had been before, I suspect it wouldn’t take much at all to put his system into a tailspin.

I know a lot of people personally and professionally, but I have very few friends.  Despite the distance, I considered Dave a friend.  Though we were vastly different in many ways, and in most circumstances would not have gotten to know each other, we did. He was at this core a good person. That’s more than many more accomplished people can claim.

I especially remember one winter night when my daughter was small and my wife called me in distress because her car had broken down on the road. She got it off to the side, but was stuck several miles from home with our young daughter and it was dark and cold. I called Dave. No question. He showed up with his truck. I had the tow straps and we got that car safely to my garage so I could fix it.  When the chips were down, he was the one person I called and he came through, like I friends do. 
Tonight I sit here typing this and wishing I had been a better friend.  Time and age accumulate silently, like snow falling in the woods. I was busy with my life and all of the other petty and mundane daily concerns that steal the time of day and cloud our vision.  There are lots of reasons to put off that e-mail, or call, or visit, but life is short and there’s only one shot.  Tend to what’s important.

Dave, I wish you peace and rest and I pray to God that you find the peace that was denied you in this life.  And I promise, I’ll be down to visit. Too late, I know, but better late than never.  Goodbye friend.





Down Hill

I tried to upload this directly to this web-site, but was unsuccessful.  So here you go.
Made with a GoPro Hero 3, Black edition. It was mounted on my handlebars.  Anyway, enjoy.



From Hatcher's Pass


Leaving Anchorage

Leaving Anchorage by tpeters2600
Leaving Anchorage, a photo by tpeters2600 on Flickr.

For some reason I have yet to discover, I cannot upload photos to my blog directly from my computer.
So, for the time being, I will have to upload them from my Flickr account. 


Please stand-by, I'm having technical trouble uploading photos.


Ship Lake Pass

I visit American Digest on a regular basis. It's a very good site. I usually like what he has to say and how he says it.  Many of the links are very interesting as well.  However, today, I ran across a link that made me laugh, derisively. 
Here's a link to the specific post.

Traveling through or across America, especially its wonderful west has been a more or less permanent theme since Europeans first landed here and began their westward expansion. The classic account (in my humble opinion anyway) is Lewis & Clark's epic journey.  There are many others following in that noble tradition.

In more recent times Kerouac's "On the Road", Steinbeck's "Travel's With Charlie" come to mind. Making it seem somehow more cliche.  Searching for the soul of what they perceive to be America. Kesey's journey was written about in Tom Wolfe's "The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test" or drug addled college kids take a trip, in every sense of the word. Taking along Neal Cassady to lend a hint of working class, street frisson.

In my best Rod Serling voice.
"Fast forward to today, we have arrived, as we are reminded on a daily basis, at an age of farce.  Meet Hank Butitta, budding architect, with a freshly minted Masters of Architecture degree in hand.  For his thesis project, young Hank buys a bus. Renovates it and goes off on a journey across western America. To lend a tone of seriousness, he says, that it's in furtherance of the 'Tiny House Movement'."

 I love the blurb,  [my comments  in bold]
"As the economy recovers uncertainly and the real estate market remains tenuous, many Americans
are looking at novel, alternative ways to live and save money.  And buying a school bus is just the way to do it! (In fact, we are moving to the suburbs in lower numbers than ever before). Hank Buttita saw this trend, took the ante, raised it, and went all in. With who's money? Buying a bus and tricking it out as we see is not exactly something most grad students can afford. He doesn't pay a mortgage or rent an overpriced apartment he maybe has rich parents, or a trust fund, he does, or would pay some serious change though to heat it in the winter. Then there's that whole shower & personal hygiene thing. or succumb to the soul-withering blackhole of the post-graduate job market. No, sir. Hank bought a bus." 

 Looking at the interior, it's evident that this is not some hippy bus. At first I thought laminate floor, but then saw the striping on the floor which appears to be from a basketball court.  No, no laminate, nothing but oak will do.  I'm sure the rest of the bus is similarly done.  As I said, no hippy bus.  And gas. I'm sure the bus doesn't get thirty miles per gallon. A spendy little trip.
Along the way, we get such pearls as, "The first time I visited Portland I knew I should never live there, but I really wanted to. In Portland, I would have become complacent. There was no machine to rage against."  Rage on brother.

Even NPR got 'on the bus' so to speak.  I'm sure that just happened.And of course there's a photographer along for the ride too.  Kind of reminds me of when Sean Penn took a photographer along when he tried to rescue New Orleans after Katrina.

Somehow, I don't think Hank will be living in a small house himself, but he will design them for all of us grateful little proles.

If you have the money, and you want to buy a bus, trick it out with oak gym flooring and such, then travel across the west with friends & family when you finish school , all without a job, be my guest.  If you want to promote yourself on NPR, fine. But please, don't pretend to be doing it for some obscure so-called noble cause.

This hits me as the sort of callow self-absorbed  arrogance that someone who has spent the better part of his life in school would come up with.  I laughed when I read he was an architect.  Sooo typical.  I've spent almost my entire adult life in construction and engineering.  I've met some really good architects who were also really good people. Very few. I don't know why is it that architects so often seem to be arrogant, pompous asshats, whose smug self-absorption clouds around them like the stink from a bad fart. I guess it just attracts those type of folks. 

Maybe he'll write a book about it too.


H/T to American Digest
A little something worth a few minutes of your time, in my humble opinion anyway.


Misty Mountains

H/T Instapundit,




Sweet 16!

Happy birthday to my daughter!

The real reason Obama is so busy cynically inserting himself and thus prolonging the Trayvon Martin trajedy.



My twin passions


Ship Lake

A belated happy Independence Day.


The View From Above

A view of the Anchorage area.