Monday, September 10, 2007

Floating the Tieton with Jason-- Colberg Whitewater Expeditions

This past week I drove west of Yakima to the Hause Creek Campsite on the Tieton River. This Forest Service campground provides an excellent base for recreational whitewater enthusiasts.

Our older son, Jason, claims that he started rafting on the rivers of Montana with our family, but I must say that he has become a very safety-conscious, professional white-water guide. Further, with the little time he has to go rafting now, he has focused on a fall trip to the Tieton River; in the fall the flow increases as water is released from the reservoir for irrigation. We estimated a pretty steady rate of 6-7 miles per hour. It makes a great trip!

Please see and for photos and more descriptions.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The truth about taxes.
At first I thought this was funny...then I realized the awful
truth of it. Be sure to read all the way to the end!

Tax his land, Tax his bed,
Tax the table at which he's fed.

Tax his tractor, Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes are the rule.

Tax his cow, Tax his goat,
Tax his pants, Tax his coat.

Tax his ties, Tax his shirt,
Tax his work, Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco, Tax his drink, Tax him if he tries to think.

Tax his cigars, Tax his beers,
If he cries, then tax his tears.

Tax his car, Tax his gas, Find other ways to tax his ass

Tax all he has then let him know That you won't
be done Till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers,
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till he's good and sore.

Then tax his coffin, Tax his grave, Tax the sod in which he's laid.

Put these words upon his tomb,
" Taxes drove me to my doom..."

When he's gone, do not relax,
Its time to apply the inheritance tax.

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (42 cents per gallon) Gross Receipts Tax Hunting
License Tax Inheritance Tax Inventory Tax IRS Interest Charges
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service Charge Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Sales Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax Telephone Federal,
State and Local Surcharge Taxes Telephone Minimum Usage
Surcharge Tax Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax Telephone Usage Charge Tax Utility
Taxes Vehicle License Registration Tax Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What happened? Can you spell "politicians!"

And I still have to "press 1" for English.
This article is forwarded by my friend, Dan J. in Helena. He says, "I hope this goes around the USA at least 100 times. See what you’re getting into…before you go there."

Monday, July 16, 2007

This pastor's got guts!!
(from a chain letter originated by
Len and Sue Shebosky)

Thought you might enjoy this interesting prayer given in Kansas at the opening session of their Senate.

It seems prayer still upsets some people. Please read.....

When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the
Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard;

"Heavenly Father,
We come before you today
To ask your forgiveness and
To seek your direction and guidance.

We know Your Word says,
"Woe to those who call evil good"
But that is exactly what we have done.

We have lost our spiritual equilibrium
And reversed our values.

We have exploited the poor and
Called it the lottery.

We have rewarded laziness
And called it welfare.

We have killed our unborn and called it choice.

We have shot abortionists
And called it justifiable.

We have neglected to discipline
Our children and called it
Building self esteem.

We have abused power
And called it politics.

We have coveted our neighbor's
Possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air
With profanity and
Pornography and called it
Freedom of speech and expression.

We have ridiculed the time
Honored values of our
Forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh, God,
And know our hearts today;
Cleanse us from every sin
And set us free.

The response was immediate. A number of legislators walked Out
during the prayer in protest.

In 6 short weeks, Central Christian Church, where Rev. Wright is
pastor, logged more than 5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those calls responding negatively. The church is now receiving international requests for copies of this prayer from India, Africa and Korea.

Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio
Program, "The Rest of the Story," and received a larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired.

With the Lord's help, may this prayer sweep over our Nation's and
wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called "one nation under God."

If possible, please pass this prayer on to your friends.
If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

Friday, April 20, 2007

VOIP -- An update

My initial access to unlimited long-distance phone service was thru Vonage via a cable connection with Comcast. It has worked very well. When the service was up an running and when my phone number had been rolled over from Qwest I cancelled our Qwest service completely and disconnected their wires from our house at the little grey box on the outside wall.

When we moved to another home in the same city, Seattle, I made sure that Comcast scheduled a high-speed cable connection before our move date. Then moving our phones and phone number to the new house was very, very simple. Unplug the Vonage modem from the network in our old house and plug it in at the new house. Voila! We had phone service with our old number at the new house.

I tried Lingo voip briefly but found that their SIP protocol did not work well with the router on my home network. Their incoming signal could not get thru unless I established a DMZ to get the Lingo box outside our router's firewall.

Now I am in the process of moving to Sun Rocket features at a lower price and it has a couple of additional benefits. First, the price is only $199/year; that includes all of the US and Canada like voip. Sun Rocket provides most of the Vonage features, but it also has an international allowance of $3/month at their discounted international rates. That can be up to 100 minutes each month to call anywhere.

Then Sun Rocket has "Anywhere Numbers" that can make up some of the six numbers ringing on your home phone. Added numbers are an additional $3/month. I am using one to replace a land-line phone in Montana that we have used for over 30 years. Our Montana phone number will ring on our Sun Rocket phone--wherever it is--and we can disconnect Qwest and their high monthly charges once more.

So, add it all up:
  1. Go from $24.95/month (plus taxes and fees) on Vonage to $199/year (taxes and fees are included) on Sun Rocket.
  2. Go from $35/month for a land line on Qwest in Montana to $3/month on Sun Rocket.
  3. Call my sister in China at $.03/minute using $3/month allowance = 100 minutes FREE.
  4. Special sign-up bonus for me of 15 months for the price of one year.
  5. Special sign-up bonus for the friend who referred me of $25.
Just compare these benefits of Sun Rocket against the advertisements for alternative VOIP that fill your mail, newspapers and TV.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Prevent ID and Credit Theft

A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company.

  1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.
  2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put "PHOTO ID REQUIRED."
  3. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check-processing channels will not have access to it.
  4. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks, (DUE!). You can add it if it is necessary. However, if you have it printed, anyone can get it.
  5. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. Also carry a photocopy of your passport when traveling either here or abroad. We have all heard horror stories about fraud that is committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number r, credit cards.
  6. When you check out of a hotel that uses cards for keys (and they all seem to do that now), do not turn the "keys" in. Take them with you and destroy them. Those little cards have on them all of the information you gave the hotel, including address and credit card numbers and expiration dates. Someone with a card reader, or employee of the hotel, can access all that information with no problem whatsoever.

Unfortunately, as an attorney, I have first hand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieves ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer and received a PIN number from D.V. to change my driving record information online.

Here is some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

  1. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. The key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.
  2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one). However, here is what is perhaps most important of all (I never even thought to do this.)
  3. Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks. Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet and contents being stolen:
  • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
  • Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
  • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
  • Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
Thanks to Jim Sewell and Sharon Valance of Helena, MT for forwarding these tips.