It’s no wonder…

…to me: Young Americans turn away from driving.

For generations of American teenagers, the car was the paramount symbol of independence. But in the age of Facebook and iPhones, young adults are getting fewer drivers’ licences, driving less frequently and moving to cities where cars are more luxury than necessity.

From generation to generation, less kids are growing up learning the skills necessary to be independent. Fewer kids are learning how to repair and maintain things themselves. From the earliest ages, kids are being indoctrinated to leave things up to the “professionals” and not to try to deal with them themselves…from self-control and emotional issues, to problems with social interactions, to basic things like repairing a faucet or changing the oil in your car, to medical insurance, being prepared for unemployment or retirement, kids are not learning how to deal with things and handle things themselves, but are learning to depend upon “society” to fulfill all their needs.

The trend reported above is just one sign among many…and probably not one of major import in the big picture, but it’s a sign nonetheless.

When I was a kid, virtually everyone’s first car was an older model that needed a lot of care and maintenance to keep on the road. One of the major features (and some of my fondest memories) of my teen years was a bunch of us getting together very regularly to help a friend replace a clutch, or rebuild a carb to keep their car running.

These days, not only are kids not learning how to do those things, in modern cars, many of those things are very difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish without tens of thousands of dollars worth of diagnostic equipment, special tools and training (and cars don’t have carbs anymore any way).

Gone are the days when a kid could buy a $500 klunker and keep it on the road with ingenuity, baling wire and duct tape. The “hidden” costs of owning a car are higher as well. The costs of insurance are higher, taxes for the “privilege” of owning and driving a car are higher. Traffic law enforcement has morphed from a tool to keep people driving safely into a tax collection scheme and cops are rewarded not for improved traffic safety statistics, but increased revenues. Gas taxes have gotten ridiculous to the point that the government makes about 20 times off the sale of a gallon of gasoline than the people actually producing and providing the commodity do.

And just the general attitude of the society that no longer values individualism, but celebrates collectivism and dependence.

Maybe I’m just an old curmudgeon and am wasting my time reminiscing about the “good old days” (that were not without challenges of their own), but it just seems sad to me and I think American culture is losing something as a result of it.

We’re rapidly becoming the land of the dependent and the home of the timid. And we’re not better off for it in my humble opinion.

Travel Plans

Remember a few days ago when I said I wasn’t sure where I’d be going next?

Looks like Denver.

Next week.

Then Portland the week after that.

Busy busy busy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I don’t mind the travel and it sure beats unemployment. Besides, I’m really racking up the frequent flier miles.

It does make getting things done around the ole’ Homestead, and keeping up on the blogging, a bit challenging.

Salt Lake City

As I said earlier, I spent last week in Salt Lake City for business. I was pretty busy the whole time and didn’t have time for sight seeing, but I did take a couple of pictures.

I’d never been to Salt Lake City before so I didn’t really know what to expect. Flying in was interesting. The pilot said we were 20 minutes from landing and all you could see out the window was mountains, mountains, mountains…then all the sudden, the mountains receded and there it was.

Salt Lake City is pretty much nestled in a big bowl, surrounded by mountains.

Pretty scenery, but can you imagine how difficult it was to get here back in the days of Conestoga wagons and oxen? That kind of thing amazes me. We take our modern conveniences so for granted, but I often think back to how it must have been when the land was raw and rough, there weren’t rest stops with running water and soda machines every 30 miles and the average speed of overland travel was maybe a couple miles an hour.

At any rate, the weather was very nice most of the time I was there. I was surprised at how warm it was when I first got there on Monday afternoon, but it cooled off that evening and even snowed a little during the night.

This is a dual purpose photo…it shows the dusting of snow we had on Tuesday morning, and also shows the hotel that I stayed in…the Salt Lake Plaza.

And finally, the view from the hotel. My room was on the Tenth Floor. Hey, it’s Mitt Romney’s Church.

And yes, I stitched two pictures together to make this panorama shot of Temple Square.

My next trip is either going to be to Denver or Portland. Not sure which yet. Will be soon though.

“I wish I could clone you…

…and have about 5 more just like you.”

Nice words to hear from your boss during your first annual review.

The year went very quickly. I guess having a job you enjoy has that effect.

Sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in the little challenges that life throws at you and lose sight of how blessed you truly are.

I am truly blessed and am very grateful for the grace that God has chosen to grant me…because He knows I don’t deserve it.

Musing

I was thinking today (after reading a comment) about why I haven’t been posting much lately.

When I started this blog, it was back in 2005 (I know my posts don’t go back that far, I actually lost a good bunch of early posts during a transition period long ago) and blogging was really just catching on.  There were some very good gun bloggers out there (most of them are still around and still providing excellent content), but I felt that I had something to add to the conversation.

Also at the time, most news outlets didn’t have commenting features so when I read a ridiculously inaccurate anti-gun article or editorial, I could either send in a letter to the editor and hope it got posted (which I often did anyway), or I could comment about it here.

This blog was a way for me to vent, to openly counter the inaccuracies, fallacies and outright lies of the MSM, and to contribute to the conversation.

Along the way I started blogging about my experiences with amateur gunsmithing…which have become my most popular and most sought out posts.

So, what happened?

Well, my wife lost her job several years ago and because of ongoing medical issues has been unable to work.  As a result, our finances have been pretty strained for quite a long time and I just haven’t had the money to continue my gunsmithing experiments.  I even let my range memberships lapse mostly due to lack of funds.  I haven’t been shooting much, I haven’t been doing gunsmithing stuff so I just haven’t had anything to contribute on that front.

As far as the political/media front.  I think that this is a prime example of why I just haven’t felt the need to berate the media on these pages.

The article just screams out to be fisked, debunked and otherwise excoriated…but…check out the comments section.

250 comments at this writing and only a handful support the premise of the article.  Comment after comment pointing out the flaws in the piece and correcting the record.

And this is on the decidedly left leaning Washington Post.

How could I possibly add to that?   We’re winning and more and more people are coming to see the truth.  Even on the Huffing and Puffing Post (which doesn’t deserve a link), anti-gun articles and posts garner huge responses, primarily from those pointing out the flaws and fallacies presented.   I just don’t see the need to repeat the same arguments here when they are being so thoroughly and effectively presented at the source.

As I said, when I started this, there were some gun blogs around…but now just transferring my blogroll from the old blog to the new is a daunting task.  There are literally hundreds of excellent gun bloggers out there, all providing great content on everything from politics, to product reviews to keeping up with the ridiculous rantings of the anti-freedom fanatics, to shooting and self-defense tips.   Good Stuff.

I simply haven’t felt like I had anything to add.  Anything I could possibly say about the myriad subjects out there has already been said, several times, and much better than I possibly could hope to do so, by other and better writers than I.

No…this is not a segue into why I’m shutting the blog down.  I still like to have a place to spill my thoughts when they come to me and I do believe I still have something to contribute, I just haven’t quite discovered my niche yet.   I will.

Basically, I just wanted to share what little I could in the way of explanation and to take this opportunity to thank those who’ve stuck with me all these years, even during the times that I just haven’t had much to say.

Thanks for hanging in there.  So will I.

Still in Work

Still working on getting things set up. I’ve been very busy with work and had to take a dog to the vet this morning so I haven’t had a lot of time, but you may have noticed that the sidebar is growing.

I haven’t come up with a solution to the image thing yet. I’m thinking that, since the blog content is stored in a database, it might be possible to use an SQL query or script to simply find image links, strip the existing path, and replace it with a new path.

I’ve asked a couple Database people I know what they think about it, but if anyone out in internetland has any input on that possibility, I’m all ears.

In the meantime, I’m going to start at the beginning and work my way forward and just replace the blogger hosted images with locally hosted ones. Doing that will probably take several months if not a year to get them all changed over, but that’s my only other option, so I may as well get started on it.

At any rate, just wanted to give an update.

Dilemma

OK…I’ve imported my blog from blogger into wordpress, but here’s my problem:

WordPress didn’t import any of the images from my posts, it just linked to the images on blogger.

That means that if I delete my blogger blog as well as all my other google accounts, all of the several thousand images linked in several thousand posts, just go away.

That would really impair the utility of maintaining my past blog posts…and would make some of the “how to” posts downright useless.

Does anyone know if there is a method or alternate importer that can import not just the posts themselves, but the linked images?

My only other two choices are to leave my blogspot blog up and just not update it any more (which means I can’t delete my google accounts like I wanted to), or manually replace all of the thousands of linked images in my posts to locally stored ones (which would take a significant investment in time).

Any suggestions?