Showing posts with label Dear Diary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dear Diary. Show all posts

Jul 30, 2014

The Thousand-Dollar Morning

There aren't many  days when I blow through $1,000 before breakfast.

It all started with New Dog Libby whose food supply was down to 48 hours. Meaning Walmart. Where I discovered Sam's heirs were out of .22 Long Rifle and Sodastream replacement cartridges.  So I settled for

--a month's worth of Purina in an Ol' Roy bag

--a week's worth of milk and bread

--and one medium-grade party's worth of beer.

Elsewhere in the great commercial centers of the Smugleye-on-Lake SMSA I acquired four gallons of non-ethanated gasoline for the small engines required to maintain the parade fields of Camp Jiggleview, of which I am Commandant.

Math whizzes will  note that even at Ben Bernanke/Janet Yellin prices I am not within spitting distance of a grand, but wait. There's more.

While among the barbarians anyway, I thought, "What the Hell.  The van is already warmed up and there will be a winter this year, Al Gore to the contrary notwithstanding." So I  turned into the local grain elevator which also sells propane, waded through the early-morning farmers and agricultural poseurs loafing over free coffee, and bought

--one year's worth of icky fossil fuel.

Honesty requires admission that even the earth-smarming LP didn't quite get me  to the four-figure threshold which justifies a whining blog entry, so I waffled a hair and have just -- still before breakfast -- transferred the remainder of the balance due the fine (if dilatory) Caspian folks for

--what I hope is a life time's supply of slide for the Commanderish project in .45 ACP. (The promised delivery time, more than 13 weeks ago, was "about 8-10 weeks." At least they're being honest in their pledge not to bill my plastic company until it is shipped.)

That did it, and so to breakfast before seeing if there is air in the bicycle tires so I can once again go can collecting in the country air.


Side observations include.

1. The critical shortage of Sodastream cartridges rivals that of .22s. One suspects a conspiracy between Bloomberg and Holder. Each knows compressed carbon dioxide can readily be converted into a weapon of mass destruction with the addition of a few other chemicals commonly found around any well-supplied home -- propane (UH Ohhh), ammonia, Clorox, and/or Ffffg.  Among others. This terrorist threat would certainly make make women, children, and minorities hardest hit.

2.  Since women are supposed to be nicer and more truthful than men, I had hoped to find Janet's dictated "2 per cent" inflation was truth rather than an echo of Ben's long lie. It was saddening, therefore, to find smoked picnics (the cheap parts of pigs) at $2.38 a pound against against an historical (c. 2009) under a buck. Perhaps worse,  Smucker's all-natural peanut butter has advanced from $2.49 to $2.98  in just a few months, a clear inflationary rate of 19.67 per cent.

And if all that ain't as true and sincere as a Jimmy Swaggert apology I'll kiss your picnic on the steps of the Federal Reserve Board and pay you to hire Hillary Clinton's booking agent for the running commentary.

Jul 15, 2014

James. Clean Up Your Room RIGHT NOW

.. .and do a good job!

The threatened punishment for outright disobedience or a slap-dash effort was severe and credible.

"Or I won't buy bananas this week. "

(Can nine-year-olds today imagine a time when a banana was a special luxury? Of course not. It would come as a shock even to their parents that once upon a time all the United Fruit Company ships were commandeered by Roosevelt to carry war stuff to Churchill and Stalin.   The bananas were left to rot in the jungles, and the supply didn't become dependable until a couple years after the war.)

So I cleaned my room. In the process came joy. Under a  big pile of something in the closet I found my almost-new first baseman's glove, a treasure lost weeks before.

That didn't change my casual attitude toward housekeeping, but it implanted a valuable lesson. When you notice you've lost a few important things, start tidying your place.

Like yesterday. I noticed I was missing my Buck 501, a favorite little flashlight, the check book, and the old "Eversharp" pencil which, somehow, seems to improve my spelling.  (I do not fully reject either animism or a more generalized magic. That pencil harbors a spirit.)

I recalled the results of Mom's banana threat and set out to act like a normal, responsible adult human being. An hour or so later these things were neat and well-organized: The truck cab. A butt  pack, nerdy looking but useful as a go bag. The computer bag. The hard-side brief case. Two drawers.  All was found, and as a bonus the Ruger RST4 is back where it belongs, locked in the everyday van in case of an irresistible urge to do a little plinking on my way home from town.

This is the place where a guy should specify the moral of his story, which I suppose is "a place for everything and everything in its place, every hour of every day."

But screw it. Compulsiveness is for nerds who think butt packs look cool.

Jun 23, 2014

See? Saw

"Hitachi,'  I believe, transliterates as "rice hulls with a dragon-shit binder, carefully injection molded." But perhaps I err.  Hope so.

The DeWalt 12-inch mitre saw buzzed off after two decades of hard use and nonexistent maintenance.  I was sad, but she'd earned her rest after cutting untold thousands of kerfs in everything from from fine cocobolo to junk oak kindling, bark on, at an ownership cost of something like a buck-ten a month.

There was no identical replacement at any of the usual suspect retailers around here, so I hied me to Menards which was advertising an epitcanthicly enhanced  $300 version on sale for $200. Wrote the check this morning, hauled her home, plugged her in,  and made a few cuts before reading the instruction manual, just to prove my libertarian manhood..

The garish green appears identical to some day-glo sneakers I saw  on a girl jogger yesterday, so maybe I'm at last riding the fashion wave.

She works fine and feels okay, even the laser beam that magically predicts the kerf center.  I should not like that sort of modernistic gimcrackery. But, dammit, I do.

As to her ultimate place in my affections, ask me in 20 years.

Feb 26, 2014

Singing to the dog

A man with a shelf of books and a curious mind is never bored. Except maybe sometimes, rarely, he might be something like bored.

I blame it on the re-vortexing of the polarity.  Zero, below zero, big wind, very big wind for the impending week.

SAD? No, I don't accept SAD except as an excuse for the drug companies to sell more happy pills.

Cabin fever? No. The vehicles are running fine. The lane  is clear enough. There's cash in the wallet and places where I would find a welcome.

No interest, So I'll just go ahead and use the dork word. Enervated. I may be enervated.

Possibly New Dog Libby is too. She always comes around for a comprehensive  ear-scratch every hour or so. Lately it's more like every ten minutes, and I actually caught her staring out at our stray cat without emitting her death-threat growl between 70-decibel barks.

Just now she waddled over to the computer chair, stuck her head firmly on my lap, and made intense eye contact. You either understand that lab-eyes look or you don't. I do, so I made a special fuss. The ears, of course, then back and belly, then a collar check while I wiped off that tiny dab of eye drool.

She's put on some winter bulk. I decided the strap could use a little more slack.

Fumble with the adjusting slide. Drop your hands in disgust because  you just heard yourself going,

"bah-dah bamba just a silly millimeter longer."

At least that led to enervation attenuation because it yielded a  Big Thought, a Universal Truth:  Exposure to television at a young age makes you weird forever. 

Feb 24, 2014

Terminal ballistics, hamburger heaven, and a load of bull

I learn from my friend that a 9 mm hardball round at point- blank range fom a big bovine forehead just "makes him mad."  It took another in the same area and a third a little higher to finish the job.  Still, it was quick due to flawless functioning of the Browning M1935 semi-automatic, another reason to praise John M. Browning, PBUH.

The old boy was down from rear-end mechanical failure due to high  milage ...

...and to being butted and tormented by younger bulls. That gives us guys approaching our mature years something to think about.

My just-delivered allotment of el toro is 50 count 'em 50 pounds, nicely ground and wrapped by one of the few custom butchers still operating, and I want to tell you there's a world of difference between Safeway floor sweepings and a burger ground from the entire animal -- t-bone, rib-eye and all.

I feel a cookout coming on.

Feb 7, 2014

The most wonderful Wednesday ever

Four days and a wakeup.

Then it's the Wednesday of the Three Blessings. Two of them are sure things, as sure as any temporal thing can be, anyway. The other is a well-hedged promise.

1. On that day, because I continue to be such a dedicated and competent retiree, President Obama will deliver my monthly stipend which he financed by extorting money from you. Sorry about that, Chief.

2. Simultaneously, my thimble full of that little leveraged-bond ETF I keep mentioning goes "x,"  adding one more piece of pittance to the money I'm trying to put aside for my old age. (I hope, even in that distant future, to be prepared to whip out cash for a clean GI issue 1911 some guy is tired of. Never mind that I might need to hire a kid to rack the slide when I want to shoot it.)

3.  Some time on that day of Woden the air temperature here at Camp Jiggleview, of which I am commandant, will at last exceed 20 degrees above zero. This is another Obama pledge. Of course it is channeled through his National Weather Service, but we know where the buck stops, don't we?

(Subsequently, His Ineptness promises no, repeat no, temperatures seriously below zero for weeks on end. Hope you're right, Buck-O.)


Returning to the present, the 12-below present, I awoke to a too-cool room, moving me to switch on the propane for about about 10 minutes. (Damn, another $138.22 shot to the devil.

The fireplace embers were glowing nicely, and plenty of firewood lay near the burner, but only the normally preferable big oak rounds, close to a foot in diameter and therefore not too good for quickly broiling my frostbitten backside.   So I dressed (before coffee {!}) and trudged to the outer pile  for a load of squaw wood, small and soft, which is now blazing. The aforementioned backside is acquiring a nice sear, and I am content.


Apr 8, 2013

Dry-fire your way to misery

It's a coincidence on a par with His Ineptness uttering two coherent sentences on the same day.  Two bunged-up firing chambers on two pretty .22s purchased at the same loophole? Impossible.

Both the Challenger and the Speedmaster went shooting with us Saturday. The pistol worked only as an awkward single shot. A round would chamber but not extract. The rifle wouldn't chamber a round at all. In firearms, looks usually don't lie, and these two were stunners for ~1960s production, moderately used, carefully cleaned and maintained.

And dry-fired by click-happy mad men. Each carried a disabling burr at the firing pin strike point. The good news is that both Browning and Remington made barrel removal easy.  A few cautious strokes with a fine rat tail file and a finish polish of 220 emery smoothed things up.

I knew the Challenger fired dependably despite the slight indentation left by the uncushioned firing pin, but I was worried about the  Remington, unnecessarily as it turned out.

Lesson emphasized: We click our .22s at our peril.


Fortunately we took lots more iron with us, so the afternoon was in no sense lost. The grandson got a plenitude of coaching as he broke in his new 10-22, but he seemed to enjoy it anyway.


And after a hard day of creating noise and smoke, what could be more relaxing than a nice ride over the lakes and the spring countryside in J & K's new 182?

Apr 2, 2013

It takes a Smith and Wesson to Beat the Sugar Shack Blues

The main problem here is a feeling like I'm getting to be a liberal hippie with a Gibson knockoff strapped to my 10-speed, looking for a commune and humming something by Joan Baez while dreaming of world peace and free love achieved by  eating nuts and berries and crapping in a hole in the ground.

About the only way I can restore psychic balance is by keeping in mind that real maple syrup is getting expensive enough to attract thieves.

That justifies strapping on the SW 645 and threading my macho saddle-leather belt through the slots on the tactical magazine holder -- the one that holds my extra clips back and forth like a real 21st Century ninja rather than up and down like an old Elmer Fudd.  I'm cocked and locked on sap-bucket patrol. Come on, Maple Mob, make my day.


It was supposed to be lower key than this. I figured two silver maple taps would get me a couple gallons of sap. I'd boil it down to two ounces and check one more thing off the bucket list.

Think about the Guinness tap in a busy Galway pub on Saturday night.

The sap ran free on Day One, and that night I reduced two gallons or so to about a pint of not-yet-syrup. Friends, that stuff is good, even at that thin stage.

So four more taps -- which produced nothing for 48 hours of wrong weather, then, today, better than eight gallons. It's all on the stove now, three burners worth in the three biggest pots I own. The crock pot is pressed into duty as a pre-heater. There's still a gallon of raw material in the refrigerator. And the taps continue to drip. I understand Mary Shelley better now.

It looks like I'll go on this way until Thursday when the weather gets wrong again and the buds get more robust. (The internet tells me  budding-tree sap sucks; the season is over.)

TBC, he says as he ambles off to put on a camo sweat shirt and dry fire his big, dangerous pistol. Whistling  Kumbayah.

Mar 27, 2013

Into the wild blue yonder

My youngest and her man are soon to be airborne, off for a few days of frivolous Walloonery in the zone of the Napoleonic Code where habeus corpus is a somewhat iffier proposition than it is here -- or was, anyway, when their native land was operating under a Constitution.

I don't worry about it too greatly. They're not the kind of kids to get into much trouble. Oh, maybe a snide or otherwise disrespectful comment about governments here and there. A lamentable attraction to foreign food, heavily sauced due to late adoption of a technology called "refrigeration" in those parts.  Nothing, however, really, that should get them gaoled.

The lady identifies "Dinant" as the adventurous element of the trip. I don't know what she means by that and and am afraid to ask.  Wiki informs me that the place held Celts in Neolithic times, so perhaps she just means adventurous communing with our ancestral spirits.

They have also worked a jaunt to the Ardennes into the schedule and promise faithfully that in Bastogne they will turn to face whatever enemy is most obvious and state firmly, "The answer is still "Nuts'."

Mar 25, 2013

It helps

Sunrise,  March 25, 2013 (annotated);

Ergo, 10:19 a.m.:

Mar 15, 2013

A certain 777 has zoomed by Gander Center and is chit-chatting with air controllers at O'Hare. The most important man aboard -- just speaking personally here -- will have time to brush the remaining sand from  his Florsheims before boarding the  puddle jumper for the last leg home.

I like life better without having close kin in or near danger-pay regions featuring turbans and small children bearing AK47s.

Mar 6, 2013

Yesterday's loaf

I found a nice recipe for 100 per cent whole-wheat bread.  It was even better when I decided to substitute butter for the vegetable shortening and hard molasses for the sugar.

But I hate incomplete recipes. This one lacked a reminder: "Prior to leaving the kitchen, position the cooling loaf well back on your counter, beyond paw reach of an ungrateful sneaking thieving inconsiderate greedy thoughtless furshlugginer sonuvabitch of a Labrador  retriever."  

Sep 9, 2012

Sunday catchall, loophole edition

The 50-dollar Winchester 97 has a new home. If my negotiating skills are up to it, the proceeds will cover most of the adoption fees for a 1940s SW Victory Model. it's tight but maximally ratty on the outside.

Previous owner Bubba had a nice big power grinder. He use it to worry off the hammer spur so he could quick-draw from his OshKosh bibbies. While he was at it he lost  the lanyard ring.

Another previous owner was a Nebraska sheriff's department .These fellows autographed it in hesitant cursive with an engraving pen and added  a warning: "Range Use Only."

The original owner was the U.S. Navy. Hence the attraction. If $200 will do the deal, it's mine. Maybe a tad more.  We'll see.


It's a pleasant little 60-table show, and the new operator-- a one-man operation --  is learning about promotion as as he goes. All of us local gun freaks are supporting him. We've been without a snow for three or four years, and we miss them.


I'm running slow this morning, haven't even showered yet, much less grabbed another box of junk and a couple of bait guns for the table. I blame the pure animal pleasure of setting in front of a little fire on the first really chilly morning of the season.

Life is good .