Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I'm Not A Fan

My family and friends know all too well that I am no fan of homeowners' associations. I lived in a subdivision for nine years that had one and will never do so again. I find the idea that a group of private individuals, with no lawmaking or law enforcement authority, can tell me what I can and cannot do on my own property absolutely ludicrous. As a conservative, who supports private property rights, the idea of homeowners' associations is un-American and stinks of communism / socialism / fascism. The dues you have to pay each month to lawfully live in peace on your own property, that you paid for, kinda resembles "protection money" small businesses and individuals often are forced to pay to organized crime syndicates. In fact, that's a pretty good analogy - a homeowners' association is basically the mob. You pay them to leave you alone. If you don't pay them, they file a lien on your home and / or sue you. You know what I'm sayin' .... bada-bing-bada-boom.

I recently received an e-mail from a buddy about a man whose homeowners' association would not let him put up a flag pole and fly the American flag in his yard. Can you believe that - a man can't choose to fly Old Glory on this own property ? Are you kidding me ? What has happened to our country ? Anyway, guess what he did - he painted his house to resemble the American flag ! Gotta love it. Great way to spite "The Man."
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Monday, May 28, 2012

Honoring Heroes on Music Monday

Last Monday, I mentioned that I was gonna wrap up May with Music Mondays featuring genres of music that you don't normally see or hear on The Sheepdog. In fact, last Monday I featured the Beastie Boys and their brand of hip-hop / rock. Today, The Sheepdog's "gone country." And before you ask, yes, I'm o.k. - nothing's wrong. I'm perfectly sane ..... I think.

As I thought about what song and video I could feature today to honor those who have died fighting to protect our freedoms, there was one that came to mind pretty quickly. In fact, the song's video shows soldier, after soldier, after soldier in various places around the world keeping us safe and free. On behalf of myself and Americans everywhere, I dedicate it to the memory of the thousands of American men and women who have served in our armed forces and given their lives to protect and maintain our freedoms, our way of life, and our safety and security. They've given their all to defeat and run out of power brutal dictator after brutal dictator and to bring freedom to other parts of the word, and they've accomplished all of that ... "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue."

I hope everyone enjoys Toby Keith's first appearance on The Sheepdog's Music Mondays. The video is embedded below or can be watched by clicking here. I encourage all to not get too caught up in the cookouts and hotdogs and hamburgers today, but instead, remember the true meaning of Memorial Day. Be thankful for those who have given their lives so that you might be able to eat those burgers and lay by the pool in relative safety. Our military makes it all possible. And ... they do it all for you and me. Think about that today and as you watch this video. I suspect it will put a tear or two in your eye. And perhaps it should.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Remembering the Fallen

As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, I wanted to share the opinion piece below that was forwarded to me by a friend - a friend whose son gave his life for our country, our freedom, and our safety and security. This certainly puts the proper prospective on Memorial Day.

Why They Serve - "If Not Me, Then Who ?"
by Tom Manion

I served in the military for 30 years. But it was impossible to fully understand the sacrifices of our troops and their families until April 29, 2007, the day my son, First Lt. Travis Manion, was killed in Iraq.

Travis was just 26 years old when an enemy sniper's bullet pierced his heart after he had just helped save two wounded comrades. Even though our family knew the risks of Travis fighting on the violent streets of Fallujah, being notified of his death on a warm Sunday afternoon in Doylestown, Pa., was the worst moment of our lives.

While my son's life was relatively short, I spend every day marveling at his courage and wisdom. Before his second and final combat deployment, Travis said he wanted to go back to Iraq in order to spare a less-experienced Marine from going in his place. His words—"If not me, then who . . . "—continue to inspire me.

My son is one of thousands to die in combat since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Because of their sacrifices, as well as the heroism of previous generations, Memorial Day 2012 should have tremendous importance to our entire nation, with an impact stretching far beyond one day on the calendar.

In Afghanistan, tens of thousands of American troops continue to sweat, fight and bleed. In April alone, 35 U.S. troops were killed there, including Army Capt. Nick Rozanski, 36, who made the difficult decision to leave his wife and children to serve our country overseas.

"My brother didn't necessarily have to go to Afghanistan," Spc. Alex Rozanski, Nick's younger brother and fellow Ohio National Guard soldier, said. "He chose to because he felt an obligation."

Sgt. Devin Snyder "loved being a girly-girl, wearing her heels and carrying her purses," according to her mother, Dineen Snyder. But Sgt. Snyder, 20, also took it upon herself to put on an Army uniform and serve in the mountains of northeastern Afghanistan as a military police officer. She was killed by an enemy roadside bomb, alongside three fellow soldiers and a civilian contractor, on June 4, 2011.

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Daniel Douville was an explosive ordnance disposal technician, doing an incredibly dangerous job depicted in "The Hurt Locker." He was a loving husband and father of three children. "He was my best friend," his wife, LaShana Douville, said. "He was a good person."

Douville, 33, was killed in a June 26, 2011, explosion in Afghanistan's Helmand province, where some of the fiercest fighting of the decade-long conflict continues to this day.

When my son died in Iraq, his U.S. Naval Academy roommate, Brendan Looney, was in the middle of BUD/S (basic underwater demolition) training to become a Navy SEAL. Devastated by his good friend's death, Brendan called us in anguish, telling my wife and me that losing Travis was too much for him to handle during the grueling training regimen.

Lt. Brendan Looney overcame his grief to become "Honor Man" of his SEAL class, and he served in Iraq before later deploying to Afghanistan. On Sept. 21, 2010, after completing 58 combat missions, Brendan died with eight fellow warriors when their helicopter crashed in Zabul province. He was 29. Brendan and Travis now rest side-by-side in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery.

"The friendship between First Lt. Travis Manion and Lt. Brendan Looney reflects the meaning of Memorial Day: brotherhood, sacrifice, love of country," President Obama said at Arlington on Memorial Day 2011. "And it is my fervent prayer that we may honor the memory of the fallen by living out those ideals every day of our lives, in the military and beyond."

But the essence of our country, which makes me even prouder than the president's speech, is the way our nation's military families continue to serve. Even after more than a decade of war, these remarkable men and women are still stepping forward.

As the father of a fallen Marine, I hope Americans will treat this Memorial Day as more than a time for pools to open, for barbecues or for a holiday from work. It should be a solemn day to remember heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice, and also a stark reminder that our country is still at war.

For the Rozanskis, Snyders, Douvilles, Looneys and thousands more like us, every day is Memorial Day. If the rest of the nation joins us to renew the spirit of patriotism, service and sacrifice, perhaps America can reunite, on this day of reverence, around the men and women who risk their lives to defend it.

Col. Manion, USMCR (Ret.), is on the board of the Travis Manion Foundation, which assists veterans and the families of the fallen.

A version of this article appeared May 25, 2012, on page A13 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Why They Serve: 'If Not Me, Then Who?'

To view the original article on the Wall Street Journal online please click here. I expect that most who read this article either end it with a lump in their throat or a tear in their eye. I know I did.

Please be sure to check back with The Sheepdog on Monday for a special Music Monday. I'll see ya then.
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Monday, May 21, 2012

Fightin' Fo Yo Rights on Music Monday

The Sheepdog's Music Mondays are gonna be a little different over the next two weeks to conclude the month of May. The featured artists and music genres will be different from what is usually shown, and it's not likely they will be shown much, if any, in the future. They're just not his "thang."

Today's featured artist has not appeared here before. However, this band was highly popular at the height of their career in the '80's and '90s and remain one of the most popular "hip-hop" bands today even though they were originally founded as a punk band. In fact, after their founding in 1981, the band had seven albums reached platinum status between 1986-2004. They are non other than the Beastie Boys.

The Beastie Boys are considered a "hip-hop" band. However, when I listen to their music, which isn't often, I also hear a hard rock / metal influence in it. So, perhaps they should be known as a "hip-hop metal band" or a "hip-hop rock band." Hmmm. Doesn't sound right does it ?

The featured video and song of the Beastie Boys today is "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party) " from the band's 1986 album Licensed to Ill. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in April. However, one of the band's founders, Adam Yauch, also known as MCA, was battling cancer of the parotid salivary gland at the time and could not attend. MCA lost his battle with the disease earlier this month at only 47 years old.

Even though I was not a fan of the band, I will admit they were talented and had a unique musical style all their own. When I say I wasn't a fan, it was not because I had anything against them, I've just never been a fan of hip-hop. Today's video is for MCA. As always, the video is embedded below or can be watched by clicking here.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

New Stoeger Shotgun Wins Award

Since The Sheepdog hasn't said much about guns lately, I think it's time for a Firearms Friday. Below is a press release I recently received from Stoeger Industries about their new award-winning shotgun - the M3500. 

Stoeger’s M3500 Receives Golden Bullseye Award

ACCOKEEK, MD (April 30, 2012) –– Stoeger’s new M3500, 3½-inch semi-auto shotgun received the NRA’s Golden Bullseye Award at the NRA’s 2012 Annual Meetings & Exhibits held April 13-15, in St. Louis, MO. Each year, NRA Publications’ staff members select those products that prove to be the best in their respective categories - rifle, shotgun, handgun, optic and accessory - and award them the NRA Publications Division’s highest honor: the Golden Bullseye.

Now in its 10th year, the Golden Bullseye Award symbolizes the best efforts made during the past year by companies and individuals pursuing excellence and innovation in the manufacture of firearms, accessories and related equipment. When it came to identifying this year’s best shotgun, the editors picked the remarkably economical Stoeger Model 3500 3 ½-inch semi-automatic.

Built around the reliable inertia-operating system, the M3500 exhibits a combination of features that makes it an excellent choice for all types of hunting. Its synthetic stock is impervious to all types of weather and harsh conditions, and it handles a full range of loads, from 2¾-inch up to the potent 3½-inch Magnum without adjustment. For reliability and performance, no other 3½-inch semi-auto in its price range compares.

“The Stoeger Model 3500 is an example of affordable innovation,” said Mark Keefe, American Rifleman's, Editor in Chief. “With this gun you do not have to break the bank to get a reliable 3½-inch semi-automatic that is at home in the goose blind or turkey woods.”

SPECIFICATIONS: Gauge: 12-Gauge  Barrel Length: 24”, 26” & 28”  Chokes: IC, M, F, XFT 
Sights: Red bar front sight  Metal Finish:  Black synthetic, Realtree® Max-4™, Realtree® APG™ 
Stock Material: Synthetic  Average Weight: 7.5 lbs.  Overall Length: 46”, 48” & 50” 
Length of Pull: 143/8”  Drop at heel: 2.5”  Drop at Comb: 1.5”  MSRP: $629 - $719

For the latest news and product information visit

For those of you not familiar with Stoeger Industries and the firearms they produce, you may be familiar with their parent company Benelli. Benelli arguably makes the best shotguns on the planet and much of the technology they offer is also found in the Stoegers.

I like to refer to Stoeger's shotguns as "a poor man's Benelli." I highly recommend them. I've owned Mossberg's and others and had several turkeys escape unscathed while using them. Then, I went and bought a Stoeger M2000 and it's been bad news for the turkeys. Every turkey I've lined the sights of the Stoeger up on and pulled the trigger has taken up residence in my freezer. None, nada, zilch, zero have walked away from the encounter. My Stoeger M2000 just flat kills turkeys dead without breaking the bank. Plus, it's very light and therefore won't wear you out carrying it around in the woods. I suspect the M3500 is an excellent hunting weapon, too. Go get yourself one.

But .... don't tell the turkeys. 

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Guest Column - Dale Flowers


One of the most ridiculous endeavors and wastes of human energy is to engage in prejudicial thinking. The only person that it injures more than the object of the prejudice is the person who demonstrates prejudice. I grew up in a time period when prejudice was rampant. It hasn’t changed.  Politicians use it constantly to win votes. Already in the Presidential election we are seeing it used. It comes under the disguise of  “rich vs. poor”, “educated vs. uneducated”, “agricultural cultures vs. industrial cultures”, “regions vs. regions”, “religion vs. religion” and the list goes on, and on, and on.

Politicians use prejudice at every opportunity to attract a block of potential voters. Preachers play on prejudice to build up congregations. In society there are many parts of the population that are both guilty of and targets of prejudice. It is destroying our nation.
It is in direct opposition to Christianity. Paul pointed out that in the eyes of God it made no difference about the economic status, racial status, or gender of a person. Those who wear the name Christian must avoid prejudice like the plague.

Sadly, prejudice is handed down from parent to child. If a politician can win a vote using it, they will freely put it into action, whether they kiss the donkey’s nose or elephant’s snout. It is as rampant today as it was in the turbulent years. Today it is even crueler because it is hidden behind the disguise of education. The worst that exists is prejudice against Jews and Christians.
What can we do about it ?  Expose it for what it is when we see it. We can let politicians know that we will not support any form of prejudice in their campaigns. We can let preachers know that they can’t preach hate for a class of people and love at the same time. We can let the educators know that we will not allow the degrading of any religion in the schools. We can leave newspapers in the racks that support any form of prejudice by their selection of coverage. This is something we can all easily sink our teeth into. For the sake of our children, we must put a stop to it now.

Dale C. Flowers      
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Monday, May 14, 2012

Music Monday with Aerosmith

Today's Music Monday is one that I postponed last month. My regular readers may remember that on the second Monday in April I shared that I had planned and prepared a "double shot" post for that day and then decided to go in a different direction. Today's Music Monday is that postponed post.

Aerosmith is one of the bands that haven't appeared on The Sheepdog's Music Mondays ... until now. The first video for today is of the only number one single of Aerosmith's career - "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing." The interesting thing about the song is that it debuted at number one even though it wasn't recorded for one of the band's many albums. Instead, it was recorded for the 1998 movie Armageddon, starring Bruce Willis, and contains a significant amount of footage from the film. The music video won the MTV Music Video Award for Best Video from a Film. It can be watched by clicking here or it's embedded below in this blog post.

Today's second Aerosmith video is my favorite of the band's - "What It Takes." It's a great song with an entertaining video. When it concludes, you could probably say that you went to watch a music video and a hockey game broke out. Puzzled ? Watch the video and it'll make sense. It's available by clicking here or it's embedded below in this blog post.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Thanking the Taxpayers

 Dear American Taxpayer **

For only the second time in my adult life, I am not ashamed of my country. I want to thank the hard-working American people for paying $242,000 dollars for my vacation in Spain. My daughter, Sasha, several long-time family friends, my personal staff, and various guests had a wonderful time. Honestly, you just haven't lived until you have stayed in a $2,500 per night private, 3-story villa at a 5-Star luxury hotel.

Thank you also for the use of Air Force Two and the 70 Secret Service personnel who tagged along to be sure we were safe and cared for at all times. I promise that I did not allow them to "party" with any prostitutes on the trip. By the way, if you happen to be visiting the Costa del Sol, I highly recommend the Buenaventura Plaza restaurant in Marbella; great lobster with rice and oysters ! I'm ashamed to admit the lobsters we ate in Martha's Vineyard were not quite as tasty, but what can you do if you're not in Europe ? You have to just grin and bear it.

Air Force Two  (which costs $11,351 per hour to operate according to Government Accounting Office reports) only used 47,500 gallons of jet fuel for this trip and carbon emissions were a mere 1,031 tons of CO2. These are only rough estimates, but they are close. That's quite a carbon footprint, as my good friend Al Gore would say, so we must ask the American people to drive smaller, more fuel efficient cars and drive less, too, so we can lessen our combined carbon footprint. The good news is that Al was o.k. with the planes amount of CO2 emissions. "Anything for you, Michelle." He's so sweet. He'd make a great President after Barry's two-terms are up.

I know times are hard and millions of you are struggling to put food on the table and trying to make ends meet. I also realize that many of you haven't had a vacation in a couple of years and it may seem that mine are excessive. But hey - I AM the First Lady. So, I do appreciate your sacrifices and do hope you find work soon.

I was so exhausted after all this traveling that Barack took our family on a luxury vacation in Maine a few weeks ago. I just had to get away for a few days.

First Lady Michelle Obama

P.S. Thank you as well for the $2 BILLION dollar trip to India from which we just returned !

P.P.S. Thank you, too, for that vacation trip to Martha's Vineyard; it was fabulous.

And thanks for that second smaller jet that took our dog, Bo, to Martha's Vineyard, so we and the children could have him with us while we were away from the White House for eleven days. After all, we couldn't take him on Air Force One because he might pee on some wires or something.

P.P.P.S. Oh, I almost forgot to say thanks also for our two-week trip to Hawaii at Christmas. That 7,000 square foot house was great !

P.P.P.P.S. Don't want to forget about my ski trip to Vail this winter, and now the girls and I are in Africa with my mom. All this while Barack golfs and campaigns to keep my trips coming for the next 4 years ! Love  Ya ! Remember, we all have to share the pain of these economic times equally ! Oh, I almost forgot to thank you also for our daughter's trip to Mexico with 12 of her close friends and secret service during this spring break. 

And lastly, please vote for Barack in November. I just don't know what I'd do with myself if I had to stop doing all this FREE traveling. I just can't imagine having to get a real job or having to start paying for all these trips myself.

** The Sheepdog received this from a friend via e-mail. Something to think about as November's election approaches.
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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Shocking Tax Fraud Exposed

The following embedded video is a must view for all taxpaying Americans. However, you might want to double-check and make sure you've taken your blood pressure meds for the day before you do, because your blood pressure is likely to rise while watching the video.

The video explains a lot in regards to why the U.S. is broke. It can also be viewed by clicking here.

Source - article titled IRS Tax Loophole
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Monday, May 7, 2012

Remembering A Friend On Music Monday

The Sheepdog's gotta get back on schedule. Week before last, I was late getting the Music Monday post up. Then, last week there was no Music Monday because some things came up that required The Sheepdog take some time off and be away from the computer. So, I apologize to anyone who was disappointed that there was not a Music Monday last week. I'm back on post now and will be getting back to the normal schedule.

One of the things that came up last week was the passing of a dear friend named Curtis. He went home to be with the Lord after an off and on battle with cancer over the last twelve years. We shared a lot of good times together - baseball games, football games, hockey games, movies, and WCW wrestling matches. We shared some tough times, too, with both of us battling life threatening health problems during much of the same time period. Curtis was the youngest of four brothers, and he left the nest last. Due to that, for a number of years we were like brothers. Then, life happened - I moved away, and we both met and married our wives, and Curtis was blessed with three sons. However, we always stayed in touch and knew what was going on in each others lives.

One of Curtis' talents was singing. He had a great voice that he used to inspire and bless others, as well as praise the Lord. In fact, my wife and I were honored to have him sing at our wedding. Curtis sang my wife and mine's song that day - Motley Crue's "Without You." He did a great job, too. Vince Neil would have been proud.

I dedicate today's Music Monday to Curtis' memory. It is Building 429's "Where I Belong" and is their second appearance on The Sheepdog's Music Mondays. I chose this song to remember Curtis because he is no longer battling cancer. He is no longer sick but is now where he belongs - with Jesus.

Until we meet again ol' buddy, this one's for you.

Building 429 - Where I Belong (Official Music Video) from building-429 on GodTube.

The video can also be watched by clicking here.
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