Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

This 'n that

Jay Nordlinger at NRO posts "Impromptus", Thomas Sowell posts "Notes on a Passing Scene" at Town Hall. I find that sometimes I need to cover several subjects, none of which are truly worth a full article. Hence - my "This 'n That" column, which may or may not become a regular feature of this blog.

Nice link (and the meat) of an article on Instapundit about Bill Rutan's winning of the X-prize. No one in the world should subtract one ounce of the honor those connected with this adventure have accrued. With all that's been said, however, one point stands out starkly, mainly because it's MISSING in every single story: the entire adventure used reusable parts. Not one ounce of material substance except fuel was wasted. Consider this to the millions of tons of material that NASA wasted getting John Glenn and the Mercury capsules, Gemini, Apollo, every single shuttle mission, and almost every satellite launch out of the Earth's gravity field. THAT, more than just attaining an altitude about "X" feet, may be the biggest achievement of the Rutan team.

There was a nasty article on Page 3 in my local newspaper, Gazette, this morning about two additional drugs being touted as "unsafe" - Bextra and Celebrex. I was switched from Vioxx to Bextra because of problems with Vioxx. I can't take Celebrex because it causes a host of reactions that lead to my having nosebleeds - not gentle ones, but the kind that pour out a pint or more of blood, and last half a day.

I've been shot at (several times), sat in an airliner on takeoff when the #4 engine blew, got caught in a flash flood in New Mexico, slid 400 feet down a mountain in Colorado, and have been in at least two serious traffic accidents. I'm still here. I don't think some possible side effects of a medication is going to kill me next week, and I'm 58 already. I'm willing to assume some degree of risk in order to have at least partial relief from the pain resulting from all those other things (and a couple of dozen other things, some mundane, some you wouldn't believe - including more than one that was just plain stupid). Sometimes, I think our government is way over-zealous about protecting us from the world and ourselves.

I like to read. Several of my favorite topics are science fiction, murder mysteries, and something that defies easy description - the Emily Polifax books by Dorothy Gilman. My wife and I are both bibliophiles, and our home has thousands of books. We're the type of reader that, when we find a writer we really like, we buy their books and read them over and over. We have ALL the "Cat who..." series by Lillian Jackson Braun, I own about 90% of the books of Anne McCaffrey and Robert Heinlein, along with smatterings of books from about 300 other authors. Jean collects Dick Francis books, and we've got almost a complete library of Reader's Digest Condensed Books.. Unfortunately, it's getting harder and harder to get a book that's truly a good read. Too many new authors try to write to influence the world, rather than try to entertain their readers. While it's possible to do both, the major thread of any novel should be designed for entertainment, and any 'preaching' or 'instructing' should be such an ingegral part of the book the reader almost misses it until the book is over, and the reader thinks back over what they read. As the authors that were my favorites 50 years ago are now dying out, I need to find someone (several someones - I usually read a book in about 36 hours) to take their place. It's either that or the thirty or so authors I enjoy the most need to start cranking out a book a month, without reducing the quality!

I have a pet pieve I want to bring to everyone's attention: links to news articles that require registration. It's not that I don't want people to make such links, but I would certainly appreciate knowing in advance that registration is required. I've found that a quick Google search will give me another source for the same information - sometimes the same article. I've found that, no matter how much these organizations say they'll honor your privacy, the amount of spam I have to block afterwards always goes up 20-30%.

I've memtioned before that I'm a stamp collector. I LOVE to buy stamps "in bulk" - preferably in large quantities that haven't been picked over by 200 other collectors. Part of the reason is because I've frequently filled in large numbers of holes in my collection for the equivalent of pennies. Another basic reason is the thrill of the hunt: in a really GOOD mixture, there's no telling what you'll find. The down-side is, you usually end up with tens of thousands of stamps you have absolutely no use for. I save some of them for trade, I sell some of them through a local dealer's in-store bidboard, and I send the rest to charity. My costs are relatively small, yet my collection continues to grow quite pleasantly. One of the biggest keys to its growth has been the Internet. With the Internet and email, it's possible to arrange a trade as easily with a collector in South Africa, Singapore, or Sweden as it is with one across town. I've traded stamps with, and made friends, with more than a dozen people around the world, traded hundreds of dollars worth of stamps to our mutual benefit, and learned a bit about local customs, all without leaving my home. Hobbies have always been about finding pleasure in something different. The Internet has added new dimensions, and opened new horizons, in that endeavor.


Anonymous Robin Eaton said...

Hi I sell books on ebay and had a bunch of Reader's Digest Condensed books to sell, but only one sold. This guy, said to contact,"reader'sdigestcondensedbooks"and they will buy the books for $.50 each and pay for the shipping. Your site came up when I clicked in the"reader'sdigestcondensedbooks. Maybe you can help me. I read that you have a library of reader's digest books and we would be happy to give you all we have.
email me if you are interested.

11:43 AM  

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