Signs of Spring

There are some clear signs that spring is here. I have daffodils blooming. The bluebells are starting to push up through the soil and the wild turkeys are leaving their tracks along the creek. The Canada geese are back trying to find a place to build a nest that the flood will wash away. I have chipmunks and squirrels cleaning their nests out. Last year was a good year for walnuts! I’ve been running through spider webs when walking the trails lately, and I killed the first two wasps in the house today. The grass is going to need mowing real soon. Especially with all this rain. I got 2.8 inches in the last 30 hours or so, and it’s still raining off and on.

And of course there’s the spring flood. The creek is as high as it’s been since back on March 4th, but this time at least there’s no ice slamming by. I’m not walking the creek bank trails for a while though.

Indiana RFRA Hysteria

The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration act is a relatively small piece of legislation. It’s five pages long, but the text of the law fits in three pages. Even so, the people getting their shorts in a wad over how the law promotes hate and discrimination, aren’t willing to read it for themselves. RFRA They take the lies of liberal special interest groups and the liberal media’s interpretation of the law as gospel, and lose their freaking minds.

All legislation is encoded in legalese. This law as a whole is referred to in the senate as Chapter 9, Religious Freedom Restoration. I’m not a lawyer, but I can read, and I’ll do my best to break this down for you one section at a time. There are eleven sections in the law.

Sec. 1 is about what the law applies too. That’s all other government laws and regulations.

Sec. 2 is about what it takes for a law or regulation to be exempt from this law. It requires another state law to explicitly exempt that law or regulation.

Sec. 3 defines “establishment clause” and “granting” for the purposes of this law, and then explains their relationship to the law. The “establishment clause” is the part of the 1st amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the sections of the Indiana state constitution dealing with religion. Granting means granting.

Sec. 4 explains what “demonstrates” means in one sentence of legalese. It means demonstrates.

Sec. 5 explains what “exercise of religion” means in one sentence of legalese. It means exercise of religion.

Still no mention of sexual orientation, discrimination, hate, or any other terms that would enrage liberals. Well, unless you count religion.

Sec. 6 explains what “governmental entity” means. It means any part of the state government, but it’s got the weasel words “or any other similar entity established by law” in there.

Sec. 7 explains what “person” means. It means any person or group of people who are not a “government entity”.

Now that we’re two-thirds of the way through the legalese, we get to the actual law part of the law.

Sec. 8 says the government shouldn’t be allowed to keep a person from exercising their religion, even if it means going against some other laws or regulations. There’s one exception to this. That’s if the government has a compelling interest, and keeping people from exercising their religion is the least restrictive way to satisfy that compelling interest. More weasel words.

Sec. 9 says a person whose exercise of religion is restricted may use this law as a defense.

Sec. 10 says if a government entity is restricting a person’s exercise of religion they can be sued.

Sec. 11 says the law isn’t intended to be used against persons.

Read it yourself. The state of Indiana provided a link to the text of the law. Then quit whining about all the things this law is going to do to discriminate against people in the state of Indiana. The words discriminate and deny don’t occur in the law. RFRAMoreThanCupcakes-855x1024 This law was written so that the government can’t force people to do things that violate their personal religious beliefs, period.

One other word not mentioned in this law is “Christian”. Neither is any other specific religion, or practice that can be construed as a religion, mentioned in this law. This law is written for all the people of Indiana, not just Christians.

I’d be ashamed if my only knowledge of an issue this big, came from what I read in the mainstream media, or from viewing info-graphics, like the one to the right, from special interest groups who have a clear anti-religious agenda, and a real flair for hyperbole. Stop being sheep. Get the facts and think for yourself.

A Week in Pictures – Spring Maybe?

These pictures were taken from March 10th to March 16th. One week of changes at the creek. From the water level down, to the water level up, to the water level back down again. The ice was deposited on March 4th. The ice was washed away by a flood of equal height on March 14th. It didn’t hurt that the temperature was up in the 60s by then either. Spring is coming, if it’s not already here.

Stranded Ice

First, I want to make it clear I’m not complaining Mother Nature. mDSC09667 I’m just noting the consequences of warmer weather, country living, and dogs. I have towels on the porch and a mop in the pantry for just these kinds of consequences.

It was a good day to get pictures of stranded ice. It was up in the 50s today and the snow is going fast. The huge blocks of ice stranded by the flood on Wednesday are easy to spot and amazing to look at. I tried to keep the dogs in the pictures when I could. They provide some perspective on how big the chunks of ice are. I also used my walking stick for the same reason.

Winter Came Late

I sincerely regret complaining about mud when it warmed up in early February. Mother nature has corrected her lapse. That said, I’ve got some nice pictures of snow, ice, and the first March flood. I’ll let them speak for themselves. I’m blessed to live where my back yard provides so many opportunities to see nature in her full range of moods.

Scrabble – New Rules

In these variations on scrabble, no board is used. The tiles are played on a table or other flat surface. Unlike traditional scrabble, a new word or set does not have to be built on an existing word or set. It can be, but it’s not required. Each player starts their turn with a collection of seven tiles.

A round is ten turns per player, or when one player is able to use all of their tiles in a single turn. The player using all of their tiles at once gets a twenty-five point bonus. You can play as many rounds as you choose in a game.

Ultimate Scrabble

four colors Ultimate Scrabble is played with four sets of scrabble tiles. Each set is a different color. That means you can have as many players as you have room for. With a large number of players, a two-minute time limit per turn is recommended. This variation of scrabble can even be played by children too young to read. When it’s your turn to play there are seven ways to score in Ultimate Scrabble:

  1. make a word of at least three letters
  2. add at least one new tile to an existing word to make a new word
  3. make a set of at least three tiles with the same letters
  4. add at least one tile to an existing letter set
  5. make a set of at least three tiles with the same color
  6. add at least one tile to an existing color set
  7. manipulate existing words and sets, adding at least one tile from your collection

Children young enough to identify tiles of the same color can play. This way you can even have the little kids join the fun for family game night.

Score is kept on a per turn basis. You score points on the tiles in the words or sets created containing tiles from your collection. You can create words or sets directly from your tile collection, or by manipulating existing words or sets. Even if you only add to an existing word or set, Q you score points on the all the tiles in the word or set. One advantage of building on an existing word or set is taking advantage of tiles with big values, like the Q.

Scoring is dependent on what kind of play you make. If you play based on tile color you score the points on the tiles. If you play with matching letters you score two times the points on the tiles. If you play using a word you score three times the points on the tiles. When playing with little kids, you can adjust the scoring to make it competitive.

In Ultimate Scrabble players are allowed to manipulate the words and sets that are already in play. This is an important aspect of the game. The key is you have to use at least one tile from your collection to take a turn and score points. If you can’t play a tile from your collection you have to pass. The rules for manipulation are simple.

  1. You must leave valid words or sets on the table when you’re done.
  2. You must play at least one tile from your tile collection.

pit For example, stripe the word pit is on the table and you have the letters s, r, and e in your tile collection. You can take the letters from pit and letters from your tile collection to make the word stripe. Your score is three times the point value of the letters in the new word stripe – 24.

runFor another example, red you have two red tiles in your collection. The word run is on the table and the letters in run are red, green, and blue. There are also sets of green and blue tiles on the table. You can take the word run, add the green and blue tiles to their respective sets, and create a new set of red tiles with your two red tiles and the red tile from the word run. Your score is the point value of the tiles in the new red color set – 4.

greenIn another example, justice there is a set of seven green tiles and the letters j, c, s, and t are in tile collection. You can take those letters, leaving a set of three green tiles, and use letters from your collection to make the word justice. Your score is the three times the point value of the letters in justice – 48.

After each turn in a round, except the last, a player draws the number of tiles they played from the tile bag to replenish their collection of seven tiles. When a round is over each person subtracts the points from the tiles still in their collection, from their accumulated score. The high score wins.

Battle Scrabble

Battle scrabble is a lot like Ultimate Scrabble. In Battle Scrabble each player has their own collection of words and sets in their own playing space. Players in Battle Scrabble can manipulate within their own playing space, but they can’t play on or manipulate other players words and sets, with one important exception. Players in Battle Scrabble can attack another player’s word or set if it’s destroyed completely. That means that a word or set from another player’s space must be completely destroyed to make words or sets in the current player’s space, and at least one tile from the player’s tile collection must be used.

Scoring in battle scrabble is only done when a round is complete. The score from the tiles in each player’s space is totaled using the scoring rules for words and sets. Then the points from the remaining tiles in their collection are subtracted from the total. The high score wins.

Proposed M855 Ban

This is an open letter to the ATF that’s copied to Congressman Messer and Senators Coats and Donnelly of Indiana.


It’s difficult to be respectful when your organization clearly has no respect for the constitution. The continual back and forth between your organization’s gun control motivated prohibitions, and the resourcefulness and innovation of the firearms industry, is frustrating and expensive. And pointless.

m855Now you’ve decided to take M855, one of the most common rounds available for the modern sporting rifle, and ban it for law enforcement safety reasons because it can also be used in a handgun. You keep trying to find ways to get rid of the “black rifle” and you keep failing. This is because the informed American public are not interested in gun control.

Law enforcement the world over would be safer if law-abiding citizens were armed and able to defend themselves and others. Try using logic instead of knee jerk emotion, and show the American people you actually believe in safety, instead of gun control. I’ve copied this email to all of my federal representatives. Respectively, I hope your organization is prepared to choke on what you’ve bitten off.


Jerry Nowlin

CC: Congressman Luke Messer, Senator Dan Coats, Senator Joe Donnelly

SPAM – Not The Good Kind

I love SPAM. It’s good fried for sandwiches, cubed with scrambled eggs, or chunked up in the crock pot with beans. There are many ways to enjoy SPAM.

Then there’s the other SPAM. The kind that fills email inboxes and causes important messages to be lost. That SPAM I hate.

I decided to save every email message I got on February 12th to see just how bad the SPAM problem is. I received a total of 353 email messages in that 24 hour period. Of those 353 emails, I read and/or responded to 34. Those 34 were personal, business related, or emails I solicited as updates on news or other events. Thirty four messages is less than 10% of the total email I received. No wonder people lose messages in the crowd.

I saved some of the more colorful or crude messages. I don’t read these kinds of emails. Just the subject line and the sender are enough to cause smiles or shudders of disgust. Some of my favorites from the 12th are:


  • I’m not sure what hands and oral have to do with each other. I probably don’t want to know.
  • I live in a trailer. I don’t have a garage and nobody would replace my windows, even if I had inquired.
  • I’m not really interested in pleasing the ladies, and clearly neither is Jay-Z.
  • What if I don’t speak Spanish, and I don’t, although I recognize a few words?
  • I’m not interested in tumors, in rats or anything else.
  • Circle back to that trailer thing and imagine me renting a private jet.
  • No hanky panky needed here.
  • I haven’t shaved in over 40 years and “Suck Less” is hardly a ringing endorsement.
  • Don’t need a Hi from someone I never heard of and whose name I can’t pronounce.
  • Why would you open an email with foulness as the subject?
  • Non-sentences are not intriguing to me.
  • Unsolicited tips on dropping flab aren’t going to lure me in, and what’s with all the hyphens?
  • I can’t imagine why sharpening clerks often, or ever, would be a selling point.
  • And of course the email in a language that requires a whole new character set!

I hate the bad kind of SPAM!