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Showing posts from May, 2008

My Birdseye View of Baytown

Last Monday my brother TJ Bustem and I drove down to the Memorial Day service at Bicentennial Park and listened to Army veteran George Rincon and others as they honored our fallen military brothers. PFC Wesley Riggs was left off the list by accident, but was remembered and honored. TJ Bustem and I attended the dedication of the memorial to him where it resides in Beach City. My hat is still off to this soldier hero and his family.

This was my first attendance at our Memorial Day service, but not my last and I talked with a number of folks and photographed the event and later published the photos on We were moved to tears as we sang about our freedom and once again pledged allegiance to the flag of our great country. One young MROTC member in particular cried and I told them it was perfectly fine and to let the tears flow. As the photographs show, everyone was visibly moved and solemn and all should attend this memorial service in the future. It is another fine examp…

Do You Hate Gas Prices? Blame Yourself

It seems that nothing can stop the galloping gas prices. Blame the stubborn Congress that refuses to allow the drilling in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Alaska. Blame the vicious Arabs who keep the price at an artificially high level by greedily stocking their resources in their own countries. But first and foremost blame yourself.

If we are to believe the latest news, Brazil may soon become one of the world leading oil exporters. In April, the Associated Press informed that researchers had found an underground deposit of some 33 billion barrels of oil, three times as much as the country had possessed until then. Only last year, a national company discovered some 8 billion barrels in another location hidden deeply under the seabed. Unlike Arab states, Brazil plans to export most of the oil in order to hold down the skyrocketing gas prices.

It would be a mistake, however, to hope that we will again pay $2 per gallon. Financial experts predict that unless the world major oil exporters sign…

Should the government make us drive 38mpg cars?

I firmly believe Americans should make an adjustment to their lifestyles and leave the government out of it. In other words, if Detroit wants to sell a 6500 pound ten-cylinder Hemi vehicle which gets 6 mpg, then I think that is just fine and if someone wants to own and drive and pay for that sucker, go ahead. This would become the rich mans vehicle, like the 427 Cobra of my early youth.

However, if Americans take responsibiltiy for their own actions and realize if they keep buying these vehicles, Detroit will keep making them and the opposite is true too. We have to have a paradigm shift. Our obsession with horse power should be relegated to those who can truly afford it instead of every Tom, Dick or Harry with a line of credit.

If we Americans demand a better product by NOT buying these poor mileage vehicles, then Detroit will get the message and make a product that will get the mpg we will settle for. They make and sell these gas-guzzlers because we continue to buy them, not because t…

A good 5-cent cigar

This past Thursday while I was seated in the Control Room with my fellow Operators, the normally rambling and desultory conversation became animated and yes - ugly. It regularly turns ugly, as Operators by natural selection tend to be rather assertive. This does not mean our words were hostile, just highly opinionated and…righteous, as we all like to believe we have a good eye on whatever it is we are discussing, especially if it is about sports and politics.

As a side note, I don't do sports or offer an opinion on sports figures, so I usually stay out of anything resembling inside info when sports are discussed and I guess this appears a bit odd, but that's just the way it is. I appreciate sports and realize they are an important form of entertainment for many, but to me there are other things more significant than memorizing statistics and obsessing over the particular physical talents of a jock (literally or figuratively – you decide what I mean).

This particular day the conv…

What in the world is going on?

I tuned in to the Glenn Beck Show Friday afternoon to watch an interview with William Shatner, the actor who is currently on Boston Legal, but is known to many as Captain Kirk, of the Starship Enterprise. What an interesting man! I don’t know what his appeal is exactly, but he definitely appeals to many and from multiple generations.

Glenn Beck is just as entertaining to me, so I figured this would be interesting. It was for the most part. Glenn’s usual delivery is basically scripted and as fine of a performance as Hollywood or New York can generate, albeit appearing to be spontaneous and maybe some of it is, so the interview, which wasn’t scripted jumped around a bit.

Mr. Shatner is 77 years young (it appears) and as Glenn Beck put it, gaining steam. He looks to be in his 60’s and is full of piss and vinegar, to shamelessly use a phrase that best describes him - blame Grampa from John Steinbeck's, The Grapes of Wrath for the vulgar sounding expression, if you must.

Mr. Shatner is co…

Caregivers are God’s Gift to Mankind

For the last week, I’ve been under a doctor’s care for bronchitis, which as everyone knows is simply the inflammation of the membranes lining the bronchial tubes. It came over me in about 24 hours and rapidly made it almost impossible to breath. The asthma-like symptoms of bronchitis are alarming and debilitating. Any activity at all leaves a person gasping for air and for the first time in my life I am using an asthma inhaler. I suspect the underlying cause in all of this discomfort is this year’s heavy pollen count.

About the time this malady struck, I witnessed my little doggie convulsing in the side yard. I let her out to chase a cat and being fourteen years old; my doggie has a poor track record of success, so the cat is never in danger (as if cats actually fear most dogs). After a couple of minutes I called her in and that is when I observed her distress.

As all pet lovers know, seeing your baby convulsing is as traumatic as all get out, if I can use that old Southern saying. …

Kolaches and Doughnuts Anyone? – Part Two!

Last week I promised to reveal a system to reverse the ravages of time on our dumpy and fat-dimpled bodies and help us double our weight loss and I am going to deliver as promised.The plan starts with simply reducing our intake of food each day by 500 calories and since a pound of yucky yellow fat weighs in at 3500 calories, we can lose a pound a week simply by this reduction.If we are faithful and do not make up for the loss through food rewards, we can lose 4 real pounds of fat in one month.This one strategy alone can possibly knock 50 pounds off of us in one year!Oh, if it were only that elementary.Simple math aside, our bodies have the wondrous and disappointing ability to sense weight loss as a form of starvation and hence, resists weight loss.Reduce our food and we automatically slow down and burn less energy.We get tired easily and give up.So this is one good reason dieting alone is doomed to fail in the long run and the sad conclusion of all this suffering is usually weight ga…