Post 779: afternoon at the museum…and thoughts on a cousin

I spent the afternoon at the Sallows Military Museum yesterday, Wednesday, my usual day for volunteering there. Several people came in, which always is encouraging, and some were from out of town. Nice!

Some volunteers put 1000-piece puzzles together. The conference table works fine for that!

Some volunteers put 1000-piece puzzles together. The conference table works fine for that.

I used some of the time to read my cousin Sharon’s 2015 Special Beef Issue, a masterpiece of journalism and local history, if this proud cousin says so himself! Sharon is something else — a dynamo, a hard-working, intelligent, and thorough historian/journalist for this part of the Nebraska Sandhills. Though many people help on the annual beef paper, it largely is the work and effort of my cousin and a staff of one.

Fifty-six pages

Fifty-six pages. Sharon Outdid herself…again!

I turned to the editorial page of Sharon’s annual beef paper and got something like confirmation of why she missed decorating graves here this year:

“Sass and Sentiments”, Sharon’s lead editorial each issue.

Yeah, take a closer look at what she wrote in this week’s special edition “Sass and Sentiments”:

“…work hard — like ’till you drop…!‘”

Sharon sticks with a job till it’s done, which often enough is long after she should hand it over to someone else to finish.

She’s something else, my cousin Sharon! She views documenting the history of Grant County as a holy quest, something she must do, will do till she draws her last breath. She’s a Thomas. We’re stubborn as hell that way!



A fly got in the house yesterday, and the boys are having great fun trying to catch it. I’m fighting the urge to get out the swatter and end its miserable existence as long as the cats show interest. (Andy just about caught it a moment ago by the fountain!.Now he’s poised to pounce again. Good kitty!)


Post 593: NIMBY, the Nebraska Sandhills

By one vote in the US Senate yesterday, the Keystone XL pipeline bill failed to pass. I don’t kid myself. Of the three ways of transporting this sludge across the Sandhills — truck, railroad, or pipeline — the pipeline is the “safest”.

The people charged with representing Nebraska’s interests in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate support the pipeline and voted for it. The current Governor of Nebraska and the Unicameral, ostensibly “nonpartisan”, but actually very Republican, support it.

The ones who don’t want it are the ones who live where this pipeline threatens to take productive pasture out of use and poses a threat of spills to damage the Ogallala Aquifer, that vast underground lake of water thickest under most of the state of Nebraska.

Western Hemisphere's largest stabilized sandbox, kitties' delight!

Western Hemisphere’s largest area of stabilized sand dunes, a great ranching country.

NIMBYU: “Not In My Backyard”.  Cattle country. Proud, hard-working conservative people with an almost religious connection to the land live there. Cowboys, if you will. Ranchers. People who put three Representatives and two Senators in Congress to vote for a pipeline they can’t imagine spoiling their paradise.

For the time being, the pipeline is a pipedream, but this November Nebraskans repeated their standard practice of putting the same old people back in Congress, with one exception for the fellow representing the 2nd District. He misspoke and pissed some people off. Amazing, but that district is largely in the urban east. Four conservative Republicans and one Democrat will represent the state in the next Congress.

What about the 3rd Congressional District, the largely rural, agricultural part of the state, the part where the Sandhills are? Yes, by a wide margin– 75.39% to his opponent’s 24.61% of votes cast — Representative Adrian Smith won re-election. NIMBY. People vote by habit, not by any rational process I can discern. People don’t want the pipeline to spoil the Sandhills and the aquifer, which are the source of their income, but they put characters like Smith back in Congress.

The sky dominates the plains...and mice can't hide no matter how hard they try!

Those bumps beyond the field of corn are the start of the Nebraska Sandhills, east of Alliance. The Ogallala Aquifer provides irrigation water that makes growing corn possible in what was once characterized as “The Great American Desert”

As much as I hate to take this attitude, because I definitely don’t support the pipeline or the transport of this sludge across the Ogallala Aquifer states, but the people of the states and places most affected by this pipeline vote scarlet red Republican: They put the people who support this travesty in the seats of power, and they and their progeny will reap the whirlwind.

I’m almost two-thirds of a century old, so will be dead soon enough. Though it is in remission, I have a disease that has the potential to kill me well before the 90+ years that both parents lived. I chose not to have children, so none of my own are threatened. As far as I’m, concerned, I can no longer respect nor be concerned about the fate of the people of the Sandhills because they largely haven’t the sense to support politicians who respect their way of life and the land on which they live and work.

Besides, any spill plumes will spread east toward Lincoln, NIMBY.



Dougy vs. the newspaper

I never know what kind of show to expect from the boys. Today Dougy decided to take on a newspaper on the light stand by my chair. (“My chair” because neither cat likes to lounge in it…!)

Most newspapers I read are on the Internet, but I still get a “hard copy” of my cousin Sharon Wheelock’s weekly, the Grant County News. It is that newspaper Dougy shamelessly attacked. I’m glad it is an old issue, one I left there as a buffer to coffee and water drips when I put a mug or glass down on the stand.

The bad part about making cat videos is naughty behavior oftentimes is the best for video. So, when I should be encouraging Dougy or Andy to cool it, I’m grabbing my camera instead.

If people didn’t encourage me with positive comments on my videos, I wouldn’t make them. It’s your fault Dougy and Andy are naughty boys, then! Ha!