Cruel and Unusual….

2015-08-08_07-54-19(CENTENNIAL, Colo.)—Colorado theater shooter James Holmes will be sentenced to life in prison without parole after a jury failed to agree Friday on whether he should get the death penalty for his murderous attack on a packed movie premiere.

Source: Jury Sentences Aurora Movie Theater Shooter to Life in Prison | TIME.

QE BannerThe Colorado theatre incident seems like a long ago memory now that so many others have happened. But it is nice to see that James Holmes finally was held accountable for his deeds. I know there are probably a lot of you who say he should have been killed but I leave that up to God. It is not for us to decide.  I am pro-life in all its forms.

I am also one who believes that we should all be held accountable for our actions. I’m sure that mental illness played a part in what this guy did but according to the findings he knew what he was doing was wrong so he bears the responsibility of being accountable.  He figuratively will never see the light of day outside his prison cell. “Figuratively” leads on to the next topic of discussion here.

Our justice system says we cannot treat people in a “cruel and unusual” manner but I kind of think that should be measured against the circumstances. Is it cruel and unusual for a person who thoughtlessly killed dozens of people to be totally isolated from others around him?  I can understand all those death penalty advocates wanting him to suffer as his victims suffered but doesn’t death end all suffering? Life in prison without any contact with others and without modern conveniences seems an appropriate way to make a person suffer.

This post is out of character for me I guess but it is how I feel about  this topic….

Ode to the Farm House..

canstockphoto22475483One of the things I complain about the most is having no help in choosing a career/direction for my life.  I went to a very small rural school and even though I was assigned the agriculture teacher as my counselor he was actually anything but.  I think every one of those he “guided” was told to be a farmer. He simply didn’t take that responsibility seriously. I don’t know if it was any different for the other students who had different teachers? Probably not…

RJs Autobiography BannerBut looking back on my life there were several clues that, if I weren’t a hormones driven teenager, I could have discovered some serious hints.  One of those was my passion of writing. I loved writing down stories and learning new things about the world to write about. I effortlessly got A’s in english composition even through college. That should have told me what I should be concentrating my education on but I didn’t have a clue back then.

Another strange thing I have had throughout my life is the ability to remember the floor plan for every house I have ever lived in. Even the one we left when I was five-years old! I counted them up recently and I have lived in sixteen different abodes. I’m sure some of the floor plans are out of scale, especially those from my younger years, but the placement of the rooms I believe is accurate. That should have told me that I was destined to be an architect. The possible career paths were there, I was just too young to see them.

Monrovia HouseFor this post lets concentrate on house number four. It is shown in the picture here and was a couple of miles outside of the small rural town of  Monrovia Indiana where I went to high school. I recently took a trip back through many of the areas there that I once trod. We rented this house for only about two years but it remains of one of my favorites. This was where I had my first large veggie garden. The house had two large barns on the property which were torn down probably years ago but for the most part the house itself remains the same.

The house was heated by a humongous coal furnace in the basement that needed constant attention. Most often dad could not afford to have coal delivered by the ton so he bought fifty pound bags that lasted a few days.  That was supplemented by wood from the aging apple orchard behind the house and any scrap we could find.  The house originally had no in-door plumbing so there was an outhouse still close by. Sometime before we rented, a lean-to was added to the back which contained a toilet and shower but we still on occasion used the outside one.

We had some good times there but when dad found a cheaper rental behind the gas station in town we moved. More on that tiny little house in a future post…



You still use a landline? FCC voting on new phone rules

Some customers, consumer advocates and the telephone-workers union accuse the phone companies of not repairing copper networks that they want to shut down. The new rules would prohibit companies from retiring a copper network through neglect. If it wants to abandon copper, it would need to tell customers.

SOURCE: You still use a landline? FCC voting on new phone rules – Yahoo News.

2015-08-07_20-41-30QE BannerThis was a new one on me. I didn’t know that the phone companies could retire copper lines through neglect.  I guess when that happens they just leave it up to you to try to figure a way to get another source of communications.  For the city folks that is not a problem but for us in the country the copper wire is just about the only option.

We have a five-hundred pair cable strung across our front yard. At points between us and the central office it droops down to within two feet of the ground. I guess you can call that neglect? We do have a “DSL” with that wire but not according to the recent definition. Ours is at about 2Mpbs whereas in the city it is now approaching 25 Mpbs and in the “big city” it is at 2015-08-07_20-44-08600 Mpbs! Our connection goes out at least once every hour for a minute or so. We have complained about it but they say since we are at the max distance from them for DSL that is the best they will do. It seems if we complain about it they will just drop our service!

I hope the new FCC rules going into effect as indicated in the source article above help us in some way but I kind of doubt it.  All of our neighbors to the north of us are stuck with 0.05 Mpbs via dial-up. No, cable is not available here either. We have satellite but that does not provide Internet. I know part of the things AT&T had to do in order to get the DirectTV merger done is to add more fiber networks but I’m sure those will go to more dense neighborhoods than we are in the rural areas. I’m just hanging on to what the give us hoping that someday they will throw a few more scraps off their city table…

My Take On The World

QE BannerFirst off I hope you are enjoying the new and expanded view from RJ’s Corner. Its kind of more a neighborhood now than just a corner but that’s the way it is.  Its fun to be able to put all my posts in one place. Let me know how you like the new format and anything that would make it better. I have been doing some serious maintenance on the site for the last week or so and that is why recent postings have dropped.  I hope to finish that up this weekend and will then start posting on a more regular basis.

2015-08-07_08-41-01There is so much to talk about recently that it is hard to decide what to tackle. The Republicans just had their A-team and B-team debates and of course Donald was the star of the show. I guess it is totally appropriate that Fox News which is the epitome of conservative fringes hosted the debate and I’m sure that many of their loyal viewers, even though it went on beyond their bed times, tuned in.  As for the rest of us… well let’s just say we have other higher quality comedies to spend our time with. It looks more like a three ring circus than anything serious.  I will wait until the “ready for prime time” players have been decided before I even think of watching all those yahoos..

Ok, lets move on to some more serious stuff. Of course the latest is about the Middle East and our dealings with Iran. Was the deal that was worked up with them worth anything? I don’t know but it is better than charging into another trillion dollar war that too many of our young people would die in.  Does anyone really believe that the Iranians will drop a nuclear bomb on Israel? I’m sure even they can see that would be a suicidal thing to do. Yeah, they might be able to make a couple of bombs but just look around the neighborhood and you will find hundreds of them in close by countries.  Drop one and be assured that ten times that many are used on you. Does that make any sense even for the whacko clerics that run that country??

2015-08-02_13-21-01But looking at the bigger picture, I still can’t figure out why we are so fixated on that part of the world? We now have all that shale oil to process so doing without Middle East oil would not be a terribly burdensome thing. ISIS is a threat but what if we just let them have their own theocracy as they want.  As long as they only played with themselves and promised not to bother us, would that be a bad thing?  After all isn’t Israel a Jewish Theocracy and the world hasn’t ended  in the last sixty years because of that one. I got a radical solution to all these constant issues over there, just get out as my hero Will Rogers would say…

I know that Jon Stewart just retired so maybe I am trying in some minute way to fill the void here… 🙂

The New GOP…


QE BannerFor those of you who haven’t visited here much I will state up front that while I am very much a social progressive but I am also a fiscal conservative. I too think as indicated in this editorial cartoon by Jack Ohman “where did the Republican party go?” They once were the party of small government and keeping expenses under control.  During those days I voted Republican about as often as I voted Democrat. But those days now seem to be a distant memory.

  • The new GOP seems to be made up of screamers who want infinite military budgets so that can go after the “bad guys” wherever they can find them.
  • They ignore thousands of needless deaths in order to justify their unlimited quest for the next gun.
  • They say they are pro-life but don’t want to provide easy access to contraceptives to prevent unwanted births.
  • Instead of providing mental health facilities and other social services they also seem to want to imprison everyone who might frighten them.
  • They have mountainous fear and very little empathy or trust.

It saddens me to see the party taken over by what was once its radical fringe. I pray that those who are on the drum beat to another war give peace chance with the Iran situation.

Question everything….

Windy Creativity…

Wind Mill

Creativity is by no means a new thing.  When I came across this windmill in Colby Kansas I knew I was looking at 19th century version of is.   It sure does get windy in the northern plains States so they need a way to keep it from tearing off their fans.  What a neat way to do it…

About “In Search Of America”

Road Trips, History, Photography, Blogging

RJ Avatar 3Some of my major passions revolves around road trips, American History, photography, and blogging. They have all come together to form the heart of the InSearchOfAmerica category of this blog.

Do you want to visit places you have never been?

Do you want some ideas on where to visit for your next vacation?

Do you want to learn about our country by visiting our past?

This blog will do those things for you.

Over the past 25 years  I have taken many road trips with history in mind. I have actually traveled to all fifty States with my camera in hand.  This blog is all about the places I have visited and  the thousands of pictures I have taken across America.

Drop me a comment if you want more info or just to tell my you like the picture. I would love to hear from you and what you like about this blog.


In the past when I thought of Tulsa Oklahoma I mainly thought of cows and indians. After visiting there for the first time  recently I have changed that view. Now the first thing I think of is the Woody Guthrie Center and maybe secondly its architecture.   Compared to many it is a small city of about 400,000  and has a relatively short history but is rich in architectural detail. Oklahoma was where we pushed all the Native-American tribe that we wanted out of our way in our quest for “Manifest Destiny”. Happily there is a lot of Native-American heritage and history celebrated in Oklahoma.
Here are a few pictures that I took in my three hour walking tour around the city.

Click on any of the pictures above to see larger gallery views.

The YMCA building caught my attentions for it shear magnitude. I’m not sure if the plan is to salvage the building or tear it down.  I hope it is repurposed for other things…

New and Improved RJ’s Corner…


If you know me you know that I am one who embraces change and hate boredom. With both of those things itching at me I have spent the last week re-formatting my five blogs into one new one. It has been a tedious task but one I think is well worth the time. If you like it let me know please..

What do mass shootings and police killings have in common? America’s sick gun culture.

2015-08-03_07-24-58If we want to see police killings drop, no matter the victim, if we want to see an end to mass shootings (and Australia has proven that it’s possible to actually end them), we have no choice but to dismantle not only the laws but also the norms that make the protection of gun ownership a greater priority than the protection of human lives. A society that continues to flatly refuse to do so will continue to mourn tens of thousands of preventable deaths, every year. We will continue to carry the weight of tens of thousands of shattered families. We will continue to perpetuate an atmosphere in which police are trained to fear the people they’re meant to serve, and civilians know that fear is the best defense they have against the people they pay for protection.

SOURCE: What do mass shootings and police killings have in common? America’s sick gun culture..

QE BannerI just never seem to be able to wrap my mind around my country’s love of guns. Yes, I was a hunter in my early years but it was more of a necessity than a desire to use a weapon to kill.  It totally astounds me that there are more guns in this country than people. How did we get into this state?  How did we let the NRA wield so much power over our representatives in government both Republican and Democrat?


How About…

 Spouting Off… Being Loud But Not Being Obnoxious

One of the things I missed the most about my hiatus from RJ’s Corner is spouting off. It does the heart good to question everything and sometimes put forth a thought or two.  I plan on doing that rather frequently in the future here  on the new/improved blog so get used to it! 🙂

QE BannerI hear all the latest rumbling (as in ready to explode in a bout of diarrhea) about how the peace accord worked out with Iran is so worthless.  Some seem to think that our only solution to conflicts around the world is war. “Blow the bad guys away” is their mantra. Of course the loudest of these critics are the Republican presidential contenders and those in Congress.  I got an idea to turn that around.

MyScans167How about we send all the kids and grandkids of those folks off as the first line in the battle. Let’s make them put their loved ones lives on the line. I bet if that were a requirement the opposition to trying peace this time would quickly die out.  There is nothing like “skin in the game” to change people’s attitudes.

2015-02-08_08-42-25In the same light there are all those senior citizens out there that are so opposed to allowing  our citizens to obtain reasonably cost healthcare. How about taking all those folks off Medicare and let them fend for themselves in the cutthroat business pre-ADA.  I bring this idea up frequently when I get into it with them and have yet to have any of them accept my proposition.

I’m Back……..

Oklahoma History Center

The Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City is an impressive building on the capital grounds of the State government. Since I have Pawnee blood in my heritage I am always looking for info about that tribe. Of course they, like almost all native American tribes had a presence in OK.  Here is some info about that found in the center.