Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Story for Anna and Luke: My Old Denim Jacket

I've had this Lee Storm Rider jacket since I was a sophomore at Durango High School, purchased in the fall of 1975. Most every boy in high school at that time, wore a denim jacket. This one is insulated with a flannel liner, which made it very warm in those Durango winters, when winters were deep and cold, not like today.




Dad bought it for me at Basin Co-op. I only wear it about once or twice a year now; don't want it to fall apart. The left cuff has damage from battery acid-- from jump starting our tractor. I remember Dad warning me to clean it thoroughly as soon as possible, otherwise, it would "eat it away like cancer."

The jacket was stolen while I was at a party during college, probably in 1981. About a month after the party, I saw a fellow wearing it in downtown Durango at a bar-- The Sundance Saloon. I politely approached him, though I was pretty tense. He claimed the jacket was his. I said, "I'm pretty sure it's mine and if it's mine, there's a blood stain about the size of a thumb on the left sleeve just below the elbow."

A friend was with him and my friend, Steve Janes, was with me. The fellow lifted his arm up and we all saw the stain. There was about five seconds of awkward staring at each other, then he took the coat off and handed it to me without saying anything. I said thanks, and that was the end of that.

Steve was always much more interested in fighting than me, so he was a great backup, but I was definitely not going to leave without that coat. It had all sorts of sentimental value, especially since Dad had died just a couple of years before, in 1978.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hacking Into Our Voting Systems

In 1993, Ron Gault and I met with the Federal Election Commission after our NSA-contracted team at TRW identified several very easy ways to hack into the then-emerging computerized voting systems. We warned the FEC about the possibility of election fraud and manipulation. Their response was interesting: (1) We don't regulate or certify voting systems; that's up to each state to manage; and (2) There are always errors in counting votes. We recognize there are inaccuracies but those inaccuracies are small compared to the total number of votes, and would therefore not impact the outcome.

Fast forward to the Gore/Bush runoff in Florida, where a few votes most definitely mattered. Fast forward again to today, and the sophistication of Russian hackers, as described in this Wall Street Journal article, "U.S. Intelligence Chief Suggests Russia Was Behind Election-Linked Hacks."

Our computerized voting systems are still an unregulated, unprotected hacker's dream. Their only saving grace is that they are, for the most part, only partially networked; thus the propagation of an attack is more difficult.

This is going to be a very interesting election.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Memory for Anna & Luke: October 2011 with Grandma Sanders

I took this picture five years ago to the day, between Dunton and Rico, Colorado.

Oct 6, 2011 was my first day moving back home, after leaving Durango in 1983 for the Air Force. Coming back home was an easy, yet scary decision, not knowing exactly how I was going to earn a living or what it meant to my career. But it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. God took over.

This day was the first time that my mom, Ruby Sanders, had been on that road in over thirty years, since my dad, Doyle Sanders, died in 1978. She had lived alone ever since, but was always busy, loving and outgoing. I moved back to spend time with her while she was still healthy. Two and a half years later, she died in her sleep, in her bed, in her home of over 60 years, where our family was raised.

I spent a lot of time growing up, with my dad, hunting and exploring in these mountains, meadows and flats in the west fork of the Dolores River. When Mom and I saw this scene on this drive, it felt like a sign from Dad, "I'm here with you, pardner. You're back home. You're supposed to be here."


Sage Advice & Coincidences

Our Aunt Harriet Pyle Manuel wrote this to me in my high school graduation card. I didn't get it back then, but I learned to get it as I...