Saturday, June 7, 2008

Life and Death

Well, it has been more stressful than I expected since my last post. To make a long story short, my mother died on May 7th. She had been through some ups and downs and it seems to me that she just finally gave up. At the age of 96, I suppose she had the right. Cowgirl Betty managed to come visit before Mom died, and that was great for both Mom and ol' Tex. The ol' Heifer was there for me and Mom.. She really let me shed some of the stress of Mom's last days. That wasn't easy for her, but it sure helped me.

Next came the funeral arrangements and all of that. I know that everyone goes through this eventually, but it seems like it is all unique when it happens to your family. That part is over, and now we are starting to deal with the estate, such as it is. Mom didn't have much, but I can't seem to get up the gumption to go through her stuff and decide what to do with it. I have to do this, though.... it just isn't going to go away.

Life goes on, however, and the support and caring of Betty, Hun, the Heifer and numerous friends and relatives makes me realize (once again) just how precious these people are. In a way, you feel alone because that relationship between a son and mother is a distinct relationship. On the other hand, the expressions of sympathy and concern make you feel very connected and very loved; and that you don't have to bear this alone.

Good bye, Mom... I love you and will miss you.

To everyone else, thanks for your thoughts.

To the Heifer and Betty; thanks for being there ... I love you so much.


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Life's Little Catastrophies

The Ol' Codger ain't been none too pleasant to be 'round lately. Just before leaving on a trip to see Cowgirl Betty, me and the Heifer get the call that my Ma, Betty's Gramma had a fall. Turns out she broke her hip and had to go see the doc for some fixin'. Well, it was a long and stressful ordeal. I been as tight as a piano wire tuned to high "C". Ma is gettin' better though. She now wants me to fix her every desire and spend every spare minute with her. Accordin' to Ma, them girls that takes care of her are just kinda mean. She's talkin' 'bout them CNA's. I think that stands for Cranky Nasty Antropods. Anyhow, she don't like the home, don't like the food, an wants me to fix it all some how......She's back!

Heifer went on to meet up with the girl while I stayed behind to tend to medical matters, surgeon consultations and so forth. So, on top of everything else, I didn't get to see Betty & Hun.
They're a great pair and I sorely miss the chance to chew the fat with them.

Don't mind me. I'm just sufferin' a little post-traumatic, hip replacement, over-demanding mama syndrome. (PTHRODMS - pronounce THROD-ums).

Hang loose,

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Doldrums - Winter/Spring - Colorado

Well, it's that time of year again. Colorado weather teases us into believing that winter is over and then bashes us with another day of cold and a couple of inches of snow. It is the time of year that ol' Tex sort of gets confused and develops a glazed look in the eyes.

This ain't just because of the oscillations in the weather. I still have to work, and work has been hectic of late. I seem to be going at full speed for 9 or 10 hours a day without no stopping for grub. When I finally get home and stable ol' Olga (my trusty steed), I'm finding it takes a little while to wind down. A glass of bourbon helps, although sometimes a "How was your day?" from my sweetie causes blood pressure to rise while I recall the day's frustrations, setbacks and absurdities. It will be alright. It will let up. It will let up. Please!

Still, hope springs eternal. We anxiously await this weekend's transition to daylight savings time. I sure do enjoy having daylight when I get home. Just hope the extra hour of daylight don't burn up the crops.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Politics and Promises

Since we are now in the campaign season. It is time for me to bestow some country wisdom on you young'uns. And here it is in a nutshell. Promises is crap!

Just ask yourself what could happen if these soapbox philosophers are successful in fulfilling their promises. What we will get is an experiment void of clinical trial. I have thunk on this a bit and here is the breakdown.

When there is some perceived social problem, government will try to solve the problem as far as the solution betters the candidate’s chances of election. But many of these issues are complicated as a banker's bookkeepin' and the “ideas” offered ain't guaranteed to produce the desired results. The law of unintended consequences takes hold and that means that things can go wrong, and the smartest of us will figure a way to make hay out of it. Politicians are all too willing to experiment with our community and our sacred institutions. The casual use of experimentation has risks. And, it is common knowledge that any politic worth his salt knows these risks and how to play them to his benefit.

Risk Factors:
Risk Factor #1: Can the experiment be undone if results are undesirable?

  • The primary reason that an experiment may not be undoable is that the outcome benefits some group other, intended or not. And, once a benefit is bestowed by government, it gains a following and that knot gets harder to untie. If it needs undoing, then government would be taking away a "god given" (government bestowed) right.
  • It is more detrimental to a candidate’s approval to propose removal a benefit than it is to fail to bestow one. Besides the candidate can always claim that he/she "tried" to do the right thing, but the other party was in the hip pocket of the (liberals / conservatives / radicals / rednecks / business) and too stubborn to go along.

Risk Factor #2: Does the experiment affect small or large portions of the population?

  • The larger the group affected, the greater the consequences of failure or success. Still, one could be strung up either way. But would you rather hang as a senator or a common citizen.

Risk Factor #3: What is the length of the experiment (time passage between implementation of experimental condition to evaluation of results)?

  • If successful or unsuccessful, will results be understood? If the time required to determine if the experiment worked is long enough, the candidate can avoid being judged on whether the idea was a good one. Therefore, the candidate can avoid the consequences of half-baked ideas.
  • What is the measure of success? If the test of the experiment is based on fuzzy definitions of success, then it is easier to deflect criticism. "They was expecting something completely different that what we intended!" The "we" here includes all those who benefited from the experiment whether that was the original intent or not.


Tis better for candidates to promote government actions which promise to benefit large numers of constituents, will take decades to produce results and which can have multiple definitions of success.

Anyway, that's the way I look at it.

RK "Tex" Arado

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Here is a little ditty from a renowned "thought leader".

“.. ,men of high position are allowed by special acts of grace, to accommodate their reasoning to the answer they need. Logic is only required in those of lesser rank.”
John Kenneth Galbraith
The Affluent Society

I think this means that "reason" is relative to a fella's position in the universe of humanity. Sort of like the laws of relativity, the "law of privileged reasoning" should, I suppose, go something like; "the attraction between logic and reality is inversely proportioned to the distance between the reasoner and the square masses."

Ya think?

RK "Tex" Arado

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Resolution Addendum

In reading this mornin's paper, I was reminded of another popular word that I resolve not to use. Are ya ready... that word (or non-word) is "visioning". I have been to several "visioning sessions" and I think that a more appropriate label for these gatherings is either "propaganda" or "cum bai ya". (How do ya spell cum ba ya anyhow?).

Besides, what is "to vision"? If "visioning" actually has a meaning, then doesn't vision need to be a verb? Oh well, I ain't gonna ponder this no more since I have already resolved not to use the "v word" anymore.

Ride easy,
RK Tex Arado

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Rusty Resolutions

Here we are nearing the end of January, and I haven't made my new year's resolutions. This is primarily due to the fact that last year I resolved not to make any more resolutions. However, breaking the resolution is a time honored tradition, so here goes:
  • I will endeavor to stop using the word "sustainable". Realizing that this is currently the most misused and over-used word in the American vocabulary, and that nothing is truely sustainable, I will use more appropriate descriptives such as, "not really bad for the environment" and "not likely to collapse of it's own weight tomorrow" or "less deadly".
  • I will try to avoid thinking unnecessarily. It has become apparent to me that I waste a great deal of time thinking about things which have already been thought out by others, and that I can rest easily knowing that there is a large group of "thought leaders" out there doing all of the important thinking. I am still going to allow myself to "ponder" on occasion and I may even "muse" from time to time. But, there will be no thinking about things unless the "leaders" have not gotten around to thinking about them yet; which would make them decidedly unimportant subjects of thought and therefore, acceptable areas of my mental activity.
  • I will adopt a positive attitude toward the following:

nuclear power: ..dependence on foreign oil is independence is good...nuclear reactors are safe...the nuclear waste disposal problems will be solved (anyway that will be the problem of the next 127 generations and surely they will be able to find a solution or evolve into compatible creatures).

green washing: "green" is good and connotes products and practices which claim to be "sustainable" (opps! there's that word again). Claiming "greeness" is beneficial to business as people want to be as "green" as Kermit. "Green" labeled products sell better and at higher prices than regular (would these be "brown"?) products. Buying more products claiming to be "green" is good for the economy since the economy needs more stimulus, we should buy more green stuff. (Note: "green" products don't really have to be any different than "brown" products. Manufacturer's just have to say "green" three times and bow to Madison Avenue.)

the economy: the economy is OK, the declining value of the dollar makes US products more affordable abroad and therefore, increases exports. Our government (a group of thought leaders endowed with much wisdom gained from affiliation with one of two political parties), keeps the economy on track by raising or lowering interest rates and by providing stimulus packages whenever recession threatens. "Stimulus" means giving modest amounts of cash to taxpayers and reducing taxes on business. This encourages people to buy "green washed" products and improves the profits of business who can keep more of these profits due to the tax breaks. Since government cannot run on the revenues it generates, the tax breaks have to be offset by borrowing from (a) future generations or (b) foreign investors. The debt resulting from this borrowing further reduces the value of the dollar and further increases the export of US products and greater consumption of "green" stuff. This has all been thoroughly considered by government "thought leaders" and requires no further pondering.

There, I feel much better already. It is truely amazing how much improved my attitude is when I curtail non-essential thinking. I just wonder if this moratorium on thought is sustainable?

R.K. "Tex"

Monday, January 21, 2008

Drifting Thoughts

It is snowing a little and very cold outside today. Honey and I have been cooped up in the house for most of the long weekend and I'm hankerin' to get a little fresh air. Now, fresh air is not rare in Denver, but it isn't always available at lower elevations; that's below 7,000 feet.

I'm an architect by training and a bureaucrat by accident. After 15 years of practicing at Architorture, I elected to apply my skills to government work. I am proof positive that those who can't make it end up supervising those who can. There is definitely something wrong with that, but I have deluded myself into believing that 15 years of practice really wasn't a failure and that my dedication to technical excellence kept me from realizing my true potential. "True potential".... that would have something to do as being recognized as the world's greatest architect, surpassing Frank Lloyd Wright and all those other pretenders to genius.

Still, I am now wearing the golden handcuffs of a pension plan that keeps me from slipping the bonds of bureaucracy. After 17 years of "service" I am becoming more and more convinced that things just don't operate as they were intended.

My special hell is in working for a school district. In this hell, the devil is played by multiple players including the school board and the superintendent. Now all of these folks are smart and well intended, but they just never seem to stick around long enough to realize their goals. I don't know if this is because they become defeated and give up, move on to greater challenges or are just declared a "has been" when the term limits force retirement. Anyway, a large urban school system is like an ocean liner. She can't be turned in an instant. And, the "don't work" part of the system is that superintendents and board members can't seem to steer the ship long enough to aim her at the desired port. This crew is soon replaced by new sailors who see that charting a different course is the way to utopia.

We'll talk more about this later. At present, I'm cold and hungry and I'm going to go upstairs and get a bite to eat.

Ya'll be good,
R.K. "Tex" Arado