My Electric Bill

Electricity is something that we can't live without, at least in the modern world.  Our electric bill each month is predicated on the amount we use.

To be honest, I have really never taken a close look at my bill.  I receive it in the mail and pay it.  This month, for some reason, I studied it and just couldn't believe all the extra charges!  It's disgusting and hilarious at the same time!

Take a look at my November invoice, exactly as it appeared.

Basic service charge..............................................................$6.96
Delivery service charge.........................................................$22.24
Environmental benefits surcharge............................................$3.71
Federal environmental improvement surcharge..........................$0.14
Competition rules compliance charge.......................................$0.30
System benefits charge..........................................................$1.66
Power supply adjustment........................................................$4.80
Meter reading.........................................................................$1.82
Generation of electricity on peak............................................$39.73
Generation of electricity off peak..............................................$8.52
Transmission and ancillary services.........................................$4.67
Transmission cost adjustment.................................................$2.03
Interim rate surcharge.............................................................$2.03
Regulatory assessment..........................................................$0.28
State sales tax......................................................................$6.08
County sales tax....................................................................$0.76
City sales tax.........................................................................$3.58
Franchise fee.........................................................................$2.13
Total charges for electricity services................................$118.94

It looks to me as the actual charge for electricity was $48.25, but let everybody get their fingers in it and the total is increased by 2.5 times!

At the rate things are moving along in Congress, it's bound to get worse.  The funny thing is that in November neither the air conditioner nor the furnace ran.

I am happy about one thing though, that we are able to afford to pay the bill, at least for now!

The Joy of Camping

There were years when we said "Why would anyone buy an RV, pull it somewhere and sit around?"  Now we laugh at those thoughts because our camper has opened a whole new world for us.  There are two ways to camp. 

One is to park in an RV resort with full hookups.  You have city water, electricity, cable TV, and sewer hookup.  The other is to camp in the wilderness where you are self contained.  We carry 120 gallons of water which is plenty for two people for about 10 days.  A 5,500 watt generator furnishes electricity when needed for the microwave or TV, otherwise two 12 volt batteries carry the load for normal use.

We dry camp a lot.  In the summer we travel to Northern Arizona where the temps are cooler and in the winter wilderness camping is only an hour away.  The photo above was from a recent stay north of Wickenburg.  We are always with friends.  We spend the day riding our all terrain vehicle in the mountains and the evenings sitting around the campfire.  Whether it's only for the weekend or for a longer time, we always have a great time!  You might say, "That's not camping because you have all the comforts of home," and that's true.  But we didn't start with this rig, we started with a tent, then a smaller camper, and now this one.  Compared to the tent, I'll take this any day!  We really look forward to each trip and love our RV!

October Adventure

I spent most of my life in the Quad Cities which is located on the Mississippi River about 150 miles West of Chicago. We moved to Phoenix in 1996 to enjoy the last years of our parents and to live in the year round sunshine. It's always fun to visit your home town, and that's what we did for the entire month of October. I have family there and in Milwaukee so it was fun being with them and seeing tons of old friends.

One of the trip's highlights was appearing on the local NBC station. As a guest on the Paula Sands Live show we talked about technology and promoted a computer seminar that I gave to the Quad Cities Computer Society. You can watch that TV interview here and see the QCS write-up here.  If you watch the TV interview, promise that you won't call me the Goodyear Blimp!  I'm really not that plump.

One thing I don't miss about the Midwest is the nasty weather.  It rained almost the entire time we were there and only experienced a few nice days.  But of course we remember the fun more than the weather.


A few months ago I signed up for a Facebook account and gave it a try.  That try lasted only 24 hours because what I experienced with limited friends was very trivial.

After reading on the net how popular Facebook is and that possibly it could replace email in the near future, I thought maybe I missed something. 
So, I reactivated my account, added more friends, and gave it another try.  After a couple of weeks I still was amazed at the trivialality of the whole experience.  People making comments like "I just finished a bowl of potato soup," or "I just fed my cat."  Maybe it's my age, but I'm just not enthused about the whole thing.  It's like everyone is back in the third grade again.

I do enjoy the photos that friends post or something important that they might say, but "I just fed my cat?"

I don't find the interface to be that user friendly, and I don't like people pestering you to "be your friend" when maybe you don't want their chatter on your page.

I'll stick with it longer this time though, but I just won't check in every minute like some people do.

Tantrums, and Apologies......

Have you noticed lately all the outbursts, temper tantrums, and hostility in our society? Political name calling and fist shaking, celebrity fiascoes, sporting event fighting, and of course violent crime. The funny thing about a lot of these outbursts is that we are getting almost instant apologies. So what's triggering all this?

In my opinion I think it's the unrest of our Country. The average American is feeling frustrated. As much as I love technology I believe that it is partly to blame because information dissemination happens instantly and sometimes it manifests itself into overload.

I have found that shutting off the TV for a day or two helps. We do a lot of camping in our RV, and that helps to get away and just relax and I find that having faith in God is very soothing.

What's your opinion?  I have recently added the ability for you to comment on postings.

An Illinois Reader Answers my last Post.

I found your pruning analogy very interesting, but honestly feel it's too late. I believe the reason for all the dead branches is an infestation that is so pervasive that it will eventually kill all the trees.

If we don't do something now we will loose the whole forest. My feeling is that we set the the whole forest on fire; burn them all down without discrimination, Oak, Maple, Elm or Pine. They have been there too long and many are so rotten to the core they have no chance of growth.

Now all we have to do is replant to our specifications, only planting trees that are able to flourish in the light of day!

Good point of view, and a forest fire is just what might happen if things don't shape up!

Pruning the Waste.....

Last week we camped in the beautiful Coconino National Forest in the incredible state of Arizona. This forest consists of almost 2 million acres of wilderness, mountains, lakes, and streams. Our campsite was "out of the way," rather private, and not known by many who frequent that particular area.

On our first day there, while sipping a cup of coffee, I noticed that all the pine trees had lots of dead limbs. (First photo) Since we were there a couple days ahead of our friends, I decided to start trimming. Before I knew it I had cleaned up 43 trees in the immediate area. Suddenly our campsite had a new clean look (Second photo) and it felt good.

The next day I decided to trim the trees up the narrow dirt road that led to our campsite, and in the end the count was 152 clean looking pine trees. I was exhausted with sore muscles, but proud of the accomplishment. It was a small achievement, but it made a difference.

Now, and I mean now, the same thing must be done to our Country. We must prune the dead branches! We must prune mad spending; we must prune mad people in Congress who are advocating mad spending! America is waking up and it's not about politics anymore. It's not about Democrats or Republicans. It's not about race or religion, it's about you and me, the people of America who want our Country back, and YOU can make a difference.

Speak up and be bold. Ask your elected Senators and Congressmen "Are you doing the right thing?

There is going to be big changes in the coming weeks; you just watch the branches fall! America needs a clean look again because we are a proud people and if you don't want to do it NOW Congress, then you'll get pruned in the 2010 election. Don't let the current situation snowball any further.

I'm not saying these things in hatred, I'm just standing up with millions of others who are thinking the same thing. I've never in my life been so concerned about our future as I am today.

Will you stand up? Will you help prune the waste? Will you pray for America?

Is a Computer Masculine or Feminine?

A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.
'House' for instance, is feminine: 'la casa.'
'Pencil,' however, is masculine: 'el lapiz.'
A student asked, 'What gender is 'computer'?'

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether 'computer' should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men's group decided that 'computer' should definitely be of the feminine gender ('la computadora'), because:

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;
2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;
3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be masculine ('el computador'), because:

1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;
3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

The women won.

America IS Standing Up!

Sunday afternoon, with camera in hand, Diane and I decided to drive a few miles from our home to Westgate. That's the location of the 2008 Super Bowl and the Glendale Arena which last night featured Sean Hannity's 2009 Freedom Concert. Since it was sold out we decided to go there and just hang around outside to be a part of the occasion. I shot a few pictures, especially of people with patriotic shirts. The photo here is 3 pictures combined into the one.

I thought, by chance, could there be tickets still available, so I wandered to the a ticket window and inquired. It pays to ask and we ended up being a part of this wonderful event that lasted almost four hours! Hannity played host and his talented line-up included Lee Greenwood, Rich Little, Charlie Daniels, John Voight, Michael W. Smith, Oliver North, and Billy Ray Cyrus.

This was an extremely refreshing experience as thousands of people were polite, well mannered, and enthusiastic! Of course the main stream media wasn't there because there were no fist fights or angry mobs, just good people who wish President Reagan was back in office!

The tour started August 1st in Houston, then Dallas, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Jackson, New Jersey, Cincinnati, and Atlanta. If you live near the last 3 cities you may still have a chance to be a part of this most patriotic event.

Here is a photo I took of Sean singing with the Charlie Daniels band. (Click for large view)

Town Hall meetings are taking place this month, while Congress is in recess, and people are speaking out against the current direction of our Nation. We will not stand for socialism!

Will someone explain to me why is it that liberals can say anything, but if an opposing view is expressed, Palosi says it is "Un-American" and the President tells us to "shut-up?" Wow!

America IS Standing Up and bringing pride of Country back into reality! Thank you American's who want your Country back and thank-you Sean Hannity!

Stand up America - Epilog

Politics and the direction of our Country is a hot button today. Never in my lifetime do I remember family break-ups because of politics. In America's history we have had good and bad Presidents but the political discussions have never been this deep. I personally know people who have lost all communication with friends and family members because they so violently disagreed on the last election, and that is sad.

The majority of comments I received from the posting below were very positive. A couple of people wrote to me and said "Take me off your email list!" Gordon from California wrote "Don't send me anymore of that right wing Fox News Crap." A fellow named Ron writes, "You need to get your head out of your a_ _. Be informed not opinionated." Another person who calls himself "Space Cadet" wrote, "Sounds like the RNC (Republican National Committee) talking paper issued two days ago, I read facts not fiction." Bill from Phoenix, writes in part, "Your bully pulpit cannot stand up to the bright lights of rational thought and discourse." What?

As I mentioned, positive reactions to the last blog entry far outweighed the negatives. Carolyn from Tucson, Arizona wrote, "We need you in Washington, DC! Thanks for your insight" Jim from Florida wrote, "I have forwarded your email to many friends. Wake-up America!" Beth Ann also from Florida wrote, "I couldn't agree with you more! Can I place a link on my Facebook page?" Teri writes, "As Bill O'Reilly would say, You Sir, are a Patriot!" Bob from Atlanta (a former ABC TV news person) said, "I am very concerned. Not even in the 60's have I heard so much open talk about rebellion on the Internet, talk radio and everywhere. I am very concerned about the condition of our Country, and both sides are to blame."

Perhaps one of the more interesting comments came from a couple who lived in communist Hungary and escaped to the United States. They state, "We made it to this wonderful country, where we are enjoying freedom and a good life." Their message was long, but in short stated that they don't want to see the good life and freedom taken away.

My last blog post may have seemed harsh, and it was. I meant it as a wake up call. As Bob mentioned "both sides are to blame." I replied to some of the negative emails and asked them if they could point out one statement that they disagreed with, but I have had no answers. They don't want to listen because they are ill informed and don't want to hear the truth. Intelligent people don't call you a nasty name just because you don't agree with their philosophy. Kate from Mountain Center, California stated that "California has not declared bankruptcy. Wherever did you get that idea?" Alright Kate I will retract the word "declared" but we all know your state is floundering financially and writing IOU's. The fact is that a lot of us think our Nation will follow, simply because you can't spend more than you make! That's what America is doing right now to the tune of Trillions! You can't fix the economy by spending money you don't have; that's just plain common sense.

I have one more retraction and that was the word "suicide" in my reference to page 425 of the currently proposed health care bill. I quoted the former New York Lieutenant Governor, Betsy McCaughey who recently was a guest on former Senator Fred Thompson's radio show. I wrote the blog entry two days before I actually got my hands on the bill and was able to read it myself. Stating facts takes a lot of research and the bottom line is that I'm asking Congress to read every page of any proposed bill before acting on it. It simply is not fair for President Obama to expect the health reform bill to be passed in 10 days when most of Congress don't even know what it says! We elected Senators and Congressmen to represent us, and we expect them to do just that! If you would like to study the bill you can do it here. (Thanks to a Cyber News reader from Illinois who forwarded the link, and wrote to both Ill senators.) I also wrote to my Arizona Senator, John McCain, asking him and his constituents to vote no on this bill.

So, what's the application? I am not a right wing extremist. I'm just a guy like most of you who wants to preserve our freedom and the basic principles of which our Country was founded. I don't believe in a Government who wants to own and manage everything. I don't care whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent, Black, White, Indian, Asian, Hispanic, Christian, or atheist, we are all in this together.

Bin Laden said years ago that "America will destroy itself from within." In order for America to prosper we must all do our part and be responsible for our own actions. We must be willing to study what's going on around us and determine if it's the right course for all of us. We must remember that there ain't no free lunch. Someone has to pay. If we go out for dinner I might be inclined to pay for yours, but I sure don't want the Government telling me that I have to!

As I mentioned below, I have worked everyday of my life since the age of 12 to provide for me and my family and I don't believe I should pay for the support of someone who is too lazy to get a job. If we help someone in need it should be on a voluntary basis, not because the Government demands it. That is socialism and is a system that has never worked.

I also mentioned below "What happened to majority rules?" Why do we cater to one person who wants to take God from the equation, when 90% of our Nation believes in God?

It's time to "Stand up America!"

Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond whether you agreed with me or not!

Stand up America!

When Obama was elected President I said I would give him a chance and study his proposals to change America.

Obama is our President, and I respect the office that he holds, but I don't respect him now after only a short time. There are too many bad things happening, and I am afraid for our Country!

America is steering away from capitalism and is headed down the wrong path. Most of Obama's proposals are socialistic; he wants the government to run everything. After only 6 months in office America is "on the hook" for 24 TRILLION Dollars! He has spent more money than all Presidents combined!

California has declared bankruptcy and there are those who say if this craziness continues that America will be bankrupt by the end of this year!

You can't spend more than you make! If you can't afford the house you live in, would you expect me to pay for it? That's what happened! People over-extended themselves by purchasing homes that they couldn't afford and we are bailing them out! Talk about bail-out, the Government now owns General Motors!

Obama initiated our great stimulus to the tune of almost a TRILLION dollars, and today no one knows where the money is being spent. The state of Florida spent 3.4 million dollars to build a 13 foot tunnel under Highway 27 so turtles could cross the road! Yes, you heard me right...A TURTLE TUNNEL! That was our stimulus package in action! Have we gone crazy?

Almost every Obama appointee has a jaded background. The newly appointed IRS director cheated on his income tax!

Right now America is more absorbed in the life of Michael Jackson than what’s going on in Washington!

Social Security is going broke, but the office of social security last week had almost a million dollar staff party at the Biltmore here in Phoenix! Hello testing, is anybody home?

Obama is traveling abroad and telling our enemies that America is arrogant! Obama closed down Gitmo and freed the terrorists that were responsible for September 11, 2001.

Obama is letting Mexicans flood our country and we are paying their bills! Obama believes we shouldn't exploit our own energy sources and stay under the big hands of the Arabs.

This great Nation of ours was founded on free enterprise and "In God We Trust." Do you know that Obama has stated that "We are no longer a Christian Nation?"

I love my Country and I love God and don't want either one of them taken away from me. In plain words.....Obama scares the hell out of me! If we don't put more conservative common sense people in Congress in the 2010 election, I think we are done! What has happened to the characteristics of integrity, discipline, responsibility and honesty?

Socialism, communism, fascism, whatever you want to call it, that's where we are headed, AND IT HAS TO STOP.

Today even liberal CNN is saying we are in trouble. Everything that Obama said on the campaign trail he has reversed; he talks out of both sides of his mouth. And, both sides of his mouth don't work unless he has teleprompters.

Right now Congress is faced with a health reform bill that Obama wants passed in the next 10 days before the recess. It's 1,200 pages long and no one has read it! The Cap and Trade bill before Congress is over 1,500 pages long with amendments being added in the middle of the night. Again no one has read this bill and it's full of pork barrel spending! Obama has admitted that he doesn't even know what's in these bills.

Through former Senator Fred Thompson’s radio show I do know what’s on page 425 of the health bill. Now you’re not going to believe this because it’s so absurd, but here is what it says. “The Federal Government will require everyone who is on Social Security to undergo a counseling session every 5 years with the objective being that they will explain to them how to end their own life earlier.” THEY ARE GOING TO PUSH SUICIDE to cut medicare spending! Don’t believe me? Listen for yourself!

I am a recipient of Social Security. I worked hard my whole life and have been gainfully employed since I was 12 years old. You took that money out of every paycheck I ever received and now in my senior years I want it back. You’re saying the Government is broke and can’t afford Social Security anymore, so you want me to commit suicide? This, quite frankly, sounds like Nazi occupied Germany!

If you haven't watched Fox News, you should, so you get both sides. Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity report the facts and the truth, but it seems that lots of Americans don’t want to hear the truth, they just want a free hand out, and there ain't no free lunch!

Many Americans feel frustrated because they don't know what to do. What has happened to "majority rules?" It's time for the majority to stand up and be counted! You want change Mr. President? You're going to see it in next year's election because some of those who voted for you are changing their minds!

God Bless America…..I want my Country back!

Comments? If you would like to comment on the above drop me an email at and I will publish them in the August edition of Cyber News.

Windows 7 - Buy before July 11th at big discount!

Microsoft announced today that you can pre-order the new Windows 7 Operating System at a greatly reduced price. This offer will expire on July 11th so you must act soon. The Premium Edition for this offer is priced at only $49 and the Professional Edition will be $99. On the official release date of October 22nd the prices will be $119 and $199. Details from CNET News.

You may pre-order at Microsoft or one of your favorite stores including Best Buy, Office Depot, Office Max, Costco, Staples, Wal-Mart and other retailers. You can upgrade directly from Vista, but you will have to do a clean install if you still are using Windows XP. You can explore the features, compare editions, and watch videos at the Microsoft link above.

Ed McMahon

Ed was known as Johnny Carson's sidekick on the Tonight Show and he passed away last night. I was lucky enough to have known Ed during my days as "Celebrity Director" for the Quad Cities Open and we even shared the same birthday. For a few years the open was called the "Ed McMahon Quad Cities Open." Ed would fly in from Hollywood and be with us for the week of the tournament. I remember one time flying to O'hare to pick up Ed and his wife. He sat up in the cockpit with me, and being an old air force pilot, I asked him if he wanted to talk to the tower which he did. The controllers got a big kick out of that.

In the photo Ed and I are talking to Tom Sullivan at the first tee. You may remember Tom from a couple of movies he was in. His book "If you could see what I hear" was made into a movie. Blind from birth Tom excelled in many sports including skydiving, and golf. As a celebrity appearing at our tournament in 1976 he also sang the National Anthem at that year's Super Bowl. Here you can watch a tribute to Tom narrated by Betty White.

So here's a toast to Ed who lived life, and to my friend Tom who is still living life to the fullest!

Being on the Board of Directors for the QCO for 10 years was one of the greatest thrills of my life, and now it's all a memory. Life is made of memories. What memory will you make this week?

A Recent Trip.

We just returned from a short trip to Provo, Utah where we visited friends. We were most impressed by the beauty of this town. It's about an 11 hour drive from Phoenix with constant changing scenery along the entire route. Out of Phoenix, along I-17, you travel through mountains and arriving in Flagstaff you're greeted by beautiful tall pine trees. Portions north of Flag look like the surface of the moon and a couple of hours later you're in Page, Az, where I have taken photos of the famous Antelope Slot Canyons. A couple of hours after Page there is Zion and Bryce National Parks. Beautiful country! We stopped at Bryce on the way home, which was our third visit, but there's always something you haven't seen before. (Photo above - Click for larger View.) Bryce is a must visit if you're traveling this part of the U.S. On our first visit we took a helicopter ride over the canyon and it was breathtaking!

Also on the way home we discovered Utah's Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park . We drove through, took a few photos, and checked out the RV campground which was very nice. There have been six movies shot at this location. We're looking forward to returning soon with our RV, ATV, and cameras. Life is good.

Air Force One

Being a retired jet pilot, I love to talk about airplanes. But let's narrow this conversation down to just one airplane in particular, Air Force One. Today our Nation is deeper in dept than at any time in our history. People are loosing their jobs, their pensions, their 401ks, and their homes.

I'm very interested in learning how our President is using Air Force One for all his little adventures, like flying to Las Vegas and Los Angeles to party with Democrats, flying to Hollywood to be on the Tonight Show, and using this giant aircraft for a low level photo shoot over New York! AF1 costs approximately $100,000 per hour and that photo session cost the taxpayers a whopping $330,000! If you want a picture of your Presidential Aircraft flying over New York Mr. President, give me the assignment and I'll do it without ever leaving my studio, and I'll give it to you for free!

How in good conscience, can you and your wife fly to New York on Friday May 29th for dinner and a play, at tax payers expense, when our country is going down the tubes? You promised we were in for change, and now I believe it.

Memorial Day Weekend

We pulled our RV to Northern Arizona and camped in the wilderness with friends over the holiday. Where we camp is in the Coconino National Forest and it's beautiful with its tall pine trees and beautiful blue skies.

I took this picture as we rode our ATV along Rim Road which is a few thousand feet over the lower terrain. The only problem with this six day outing is that it rained everyday. The weather is totally different than it is in Phoenix. Despite the rain, it took us away from triple digit temperatures in the valley.

I hope you had a good holiday weekend.

Desert Botanical Gardens - Phoenix

Early Monday morning Diane and I went to the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. We had been there before, but this time they were featuring Dale Chihuly's Glass Exhibition that has been featured around the world. I took over 200 pictures and you can see a few of them on my Photo Site.

It takes 5 semi trucks and weeks of work to set up the exhibit. Displays in a couple of pictures you will see are huge and have to be put together and taken apart piece by piece, and then packed up. Very interesting to say the least.

You can learn more about Dale Chihuly at,


Fireproof is a movie that came out in September of 2008. If you are married it's a must see, no matter what your age. Hollywood has always tried to make us believe that marriage is a fairytale and that couples live in utopia. Of course we know that's not true and that marriage takes work to stay healthy and happy.

You can visit the movie website to read all about it, then go to your favorite movie store and rent the DVD.

This movie is so powerful that it is being used as a study guide in churches across America including ours. You will enjoy it!

My Passion for Studios

All of my adult life I have wanted a technology studio in my home. In my first house in Davenport, Iowa I built one in the basement and it was pretty primitive. That was before personal computers so it consisted of music. In my second home in Davenport I built a recording studio. During the time we spent there I was on the radio and loved music. This is a photo of my third studio which consisted of music, video editing, and computers which was in Moline, Illiniois. I was very proud of that room. We had some great memories of karaoke parties where I would pass out several microphones and everyone would sing. (We sounded like real stars after a couple of drinks!)

I've actually had six tech rooms and this is a photo of one in our second house in Phoenix. We loved this home as it was beautiful and on the golf course, but we were only there a couple of years because we had more golf balls in the back yard than a driving range. Everyday was like an Easter egg hunt so we moved, but I loved that room!

This is my "Man Cave" in our present residence. It's not as complicated as the first photo, but you can do everything now with computers. Everyone who visits the studio asks "Why so many monitors?" Actually I use three in my everyday computing. The one on the left is Diane's, the 5th one is a TV and the 6th one is used to work on client's computers. Spending as much time as I do computing, I've often thought how I ever got along with just one screen. (Click on photos for larger view.)

In God We Trust

In God We Trust.

Write it on the back, front, or both, of your envelopes even your bills and emails. Some people are even having rubber stamps made.

You may have heard in the news that a couple of post offices in Texas have been forced to take down posters that say "In God We Trust," the law, they say, is being violated.

We must take back our nation from all the people who think that anything that offends them should be removed.

It's been reported that 86% of Americans believe in God. Therefore, we have a very hard time understanding why there's such a commotion about using the term "In God We Trust." Could it be that we just need to take action and tell the 14% to sit down and shut up?

Be bold and stand up for what you think. The reason bad things are happening in our society is that the majority of good people are sitting back and letting it happen. Stand up America! Watch this video.

Playing with Graphics.

This is what you do if you have some idol time and you're a computer nerd.

This started as a picture that I took of a sliced strawberry on a plate. You would think that this wouldn't be time consuming, but it was as many layers were added with different objects and some special effects. Now I must get back to some serious stuff!

I don't like Heights!

Tuesday we had a day of fun exploring a mountainous area called "Bull Dog Canyon" north of Apache Junction, Arizona. We trailered our ATV a couple of hours from our home and set out to explore the area with another couple.

Our first experience was to drive up the side of a mountain, park near the top, then hike the rest of the way. In this photo we are enjoying the fabulous view, but not thrilled with the feeling in my stomach! There's two things in this world that give me that queasy feeling; heights, and the dentist sticking a needle into my gums!

After almost crawling on my hands and knees back to the Quad, we descended and then had a great time the rest of the day riding on pretty safe trails and enjoying mother nature.

A Great Photo is Sometimes Unexpected!

Occasionally a very nice photo comes when least expected. We were invited to a friend's house for dinner and during desert this adorable little girl climbed up in grandma's lap. I was sitting across the table and pulled my compact camera from my pocket to capture this moment in time.

Sometimes the conditions are just right, the lighting, the pose, and the emotions of the subjects.

It's those times when you take a lucky shot with a camera that are memorable, just like remembering that great shot on the golf course.

A Fun Week!

A week ago today was my birthday and Diane hosted a surprise party for me at a local restaurant, and that was fun!

The next day we left for 5 days with our RV and friends to camp in the mountains north of Wickenburg, Arizona.

We saw this Diamondback Rattlesnake on the trail while riding our ATV, but he was not very happy to see us. They can be anywhere from 3 to 7 feet long, are very defensive, will stand their ground, are lightening fast and their bite can kill you! This bad boy is ready to strike, but I'm not as close to him as it looks because that's what a zoom lens is for! (Click the photo for larger view.)

I've Been Scammed!

This is a photo of my famous bottle of Acai Berry Tablets that I ordered on the Internet. Acai berry has been touted by Oprah and other TV stars as the miracle food. Consequently, companies have sprouted up selling Acai berry tablets that are supposed to help you loose weight and detox your system. I understand that this is a good product, BUT BUYER BEWARE! There are ads all over the Internet that will send you a free bottle of 60 tablets if you just pay the shipping charges which in my case was $3.95. I gave them my credit card number and I received my bottle of tablets. That was about 30 days ago, and since then my credit card has been billed several times for a total of $184! I called my bank and they gave me the number for this company which is FWM Laboratories in Hollywood, Florida. They claimed that I had signed up for a subscription for these pills which I informed them that I never did any such thing and that I wanted a total refund on all monies except for the $3.95. They said I would hear from them via email within the next 3 or 4 business days so we'll see what happens.
In the meantime I want you to know about this. If you type "Acai Berry Scams" into Google you will immediately see what I'm talking about. So shame on me as I preach and preach about personal security and scams in Cyber News and then get caught myself!
A couple of months ago my friend Spike O'Dell retired from WGN Radio in Chicago where he was the morning personality. He was an institution before that in the Quad Cities where he sparkled on WQUA, KSTT, and KIIK radio.

Another Chicago radio personality who was known throughout the world was the late Paul Harvey who passed away just a few days ago. He was truly an American icon and I remember listening to him way back in the 50s.
After Paul's death the new WGN morning man called Spike at his retirement home in Nashville and they had the following conversation which I thought you would enjoy.

Back from a fun trip!

We just returned from a jam packed fun trip. We took our RV and another couple to San Diego and parked at an RV resort. The next day we boarded a cruise ship for 4 days of heavy eating with a stop at Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico. I say "heavy eating" because they serve food all hours of the day and night, it's included in the price, and it's hard not to sample everything!

I took this photo of Jonathan Livingston Seagull from the top deck of the ship. I haven't had a lot of experience photographing birds in flight and it takes some practice. You have to follow it and shoot a little ahead to keep it in the frame.

After the cruise we spent a day at the San Diego Zoo where I got some good shots of its residents, including this big boy. The gorillas were really fun to watch, especially the young ones who liked to play like kids. Two of them spent some time boxing which was really funny.

After the zoo, we drove to Imperial Beach where we enjoyed a walk along the water's edge. There's something about the feeling of sand on your bare feet, the sound of the waves and the beauty of a sunset to put you in another world. I must have taken 50 sunset shots, but I liked this one because of the bird walking in the foreground.

Dinner with a glass of wine at a Greek restaurant next to the ocean rounded out our day. (Click photos for larger view.)

Now it's back to reality, but that's not all that bad because my week consists of 6 Saturdays and one Sunday!

Your Role in our new Government

In February's edition of Cyber News I talked about becoming engaged with the policies of our new government. I referenced the White House web site and quoted President Obama's wish for a "Transparent Administration."

I have stated openly that I did not vote for Obama but since he is in office my idea is to stay positive for America. We must strive to become one people, one voice, one Nation.

If you don't like his policies, directives or appointments then let it be known and go direct to the source. Don't hide behind an endless thread of nasty emails and conversations which are valueless, only spread negativism, and help to divide America.

Instead, use your energy to direct your opinions to your Congressman or Senator. They were elected to represent YOU. Here's a web site where you can click on your state and it will give you phone numbers and email addresses.

Go to the White House Web Site and send an email, or better yet if you have the nerve, give them a call on their published number, 202-456-1414.

Today I received an email from a Cyber News reader who did just that and here is what he wrote to me:

A few days ago I visited and did two things. I wanted to make some observations and suggestions regarding the stimulus bill, now in the senate. First I sent my comments via the website email address. Second, I saw a phone number for the White House, so I thought what the heck and called it. A very nice young man answered it and I told him I’d like to make sure that Barack had my comments re the stimulus bill. He told me to please make my comments; he would make notes and then make sure he had my thoughts down correctly.

So, away I went; my comments had five parts to them. He correctly summarized them and then promised that he would make sure that my comments were available to President Obama the following day. I thanked him and after hanging up decided I had two choices. First I could be cynical and figure that my comments would be round-filed. Or second, I could trust that this fine man would actually make sure that my comments were a part of the national dialogue. I made the latter choice. It’s made me even more determined to be a part of what happens to our country and to contribute to it’s future. It was a refreshing experience.

Super Bowl Sunday

To say that we were pumped up for Super Bowl Sunday would be an understatement! Guests at our party were greeted by monitors in my studio filled with Cardinal logos.

People visiting always ask "Why so many monitors?" Well, I actually only use three. The one to the extreme left is Diane's computer, then my laptop, the 3 that I use on my computer, a TV, and the last one is a spare computer which rarely gets turned on.

If I'm not at a customer location, traveling, or taking photos, I'm spending the good part of my day at the computer and once you have multiple monitors you wonder how you ever got along with just one.

Anyway, the Super Bowl game was fantastic, as you know, and even though we lost in the last seconds, we are very proud of what the Cardinals accomplished this season!

Also I salute Jennifer Hudson for a phenomenal job in singing the National Anthem!

Photo Contest Results

The MSNBC photo contest was over Friday and the picture of the baby sea lion took first place. I took 3rd with my Grand Canyon photo. Thanks to all who voted. That was fun.

MSNBC Photo Contest

Last week MSNBC announced that they were going to have a travel photo contest, so I entered one of my favorite photos of the Grand Canyon.

I sent out an email to lots of friends today asking them that if they thought it had merit, would they consider voting for it.
There are some beautiful pictures posted there so it would be an honor just to be in the top ten.

This is the web site where you can click on the photo to vote or to see how we stand. The contest has been narrowed down to 40 entries.

The photo was taken last year. Diane and I camped out at the Canyon, got up at 4 am and made our way to this spot, which is called "Moran Point." We sat on the rock in the foreground in darkness, then watched as the sun came up behind us. What a breathtaking site it was at 6 am when it was shot. Thanks for your vote!

Windows 7

Version 1 of Windows was released in November of 1985. Since then there have been versions 2, 2.1, 3, 3.1, NT, Windows 95, 98, 2000, ME, XP, and Vista, along with a few others thrown in.

This month Microsoft released Windows 7 beta which is a testing version of the next operating system which we'll see in final form later this year. I have downloaded it to my HP laptop and now dual boot to Windows XP or Windows 7 beta.

I did not like Vista, along with most of the world, and Windows 7 looks and acts very much like Vista but with some nice new features. I'm keeping an open mind while testing it and will keep you posted on my opinions. It will be discussed at greater length in Cyber News.

Captain "Sully" Sullenberger

Captain "Sully" Sullenberger is now a household name, and he deserves to be. He made a one of a kind emergency landing last week in New York's Hudson River. Remarkable and miraculous were the results as all 155 people lived through it.

Being a retired pilot I have even more of an appreciation for the skills and focus of this man than the average person.

I received the above picture in email and can't give appropriate credit to the person who authored it, but it is thought provoking. Thank you Lord for Captain Sully and his dedicated crew. We salute you!

Look for his first interview on CBS's 60 minutes on February 8th.

Super Bowl & God

Tampa Bay here we come! Wow, what an exciting play-off game. Kurt Warner is an outstanding athlete and a leader. He has to be admired for that and the fact that he does not hide his faith in God. 89% of Americans believe in God, so why is the majority letting a small number of unbelievers take God out of our society?

There are many references to the following if you type "Atheist Holy Day" in Google and it's also floating around as an email. I don't know if this is truth or fiction, but I find it to be most interesting.


In Florida , an atheist created a case against the upcoming Easter and Passover holy days. He hired an attorney to bring a discrimination case against Christians, Jews and observances of their holy days. The argument was that it was unfair that atheists had no such recognized days.

The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel declaring, "Case dismissed!"

The lawyer immediately stood objecting to the ruling saying, "Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and others. The Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah, yet my client and all other atheists have no such holidays." The judge leaned forward in his chair saying, "But you do. Your client, counsel, is woefully ignorant." The lawyer said, "Your Honor, we are unaware of any special observance or holiday for atheists."

The judge said, "The calendar says April 1st is April Fools Day. Psalm 14:1 states, 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.' Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1st is his day. Court is adjourned."

Arizona Cardinals

There's plenty of excitement in the air here in Phoenix for the possibility of the Cardinals playing in the Super Bowl! The win over the Panthers was exciting enough, then the Eagles beating the Giants meant that we would fight the play-off game on home turf instead of in New York.

I mentioned (with tongue in cheek) to my friends a month ago that "Wouldn't it be something if the big game was between the Cardinals and the Steelers," and now that just may come true.

So, two big games next Sunday. The Cards and the Eagles, and the Steelers and the Ravens. Of course the two winning teams will match up in Tampa Bay on February 1st for Super Bowl 43. GO ARIZONA!

3 Things Today

To start off your new year why not sit back, relax, and watch this powerful presentation.

Have you heard about Google's new service? It's information for your telephone or your cell phone. Just dial 1-800-goog-411. Say the city, the business or type of service you are looking for and they will connect you, for FREE! Here's a short video from Google that explains it all.

For you football lovers here's the play-off schedule for this weekend. We will certainly be watching the Cardinal-Panther game Saturday night!