Showing posts with label It IS TOO all about me. Show all posts
Showing posts with label It IS TOO all about me. Show all posts

Jul 27, 2015

Elsewhere in America

In Macon, Missouri.

They are to transportation as the Colt 1911 is to weaponry, and they never fail to trigger my acquisitive mania.

There were 13 of them, including the lust object called Scrambler. Of which, below, the interior of the blue one at far right. Just too tired.

Or how about a nice flat fender Willys from the 40s or early 50s?

Like the Scrambler,  just too tired. The engine was missing and the transmission stored on the floorboards.

No one was around the place, else I'd have undoubtedly asked prices, then mentally added restoration costs of  $goodgawdafriday  before deciding there are other toys which would give me more pleasure per buck invested.


I am writing trivia yesterday and today, little more than pretty pictures captioned. The banality must suffice until I work my way into  something more about a trip with a purpose; tracking my kin and my larger people, the Scots Irish, the redneck hillbillies of whom I am a recent incarnation.

I'll probably get round to saying something prosy about it. For now leave it this way:  Anyone who walked the Wilderness Road from the foothills just above Tidewater Country, stumbled on and through the Cumberland Gap, and followed  Boone's Trace up to his first fort was one tough son of a bitch. Or daughter.  From seven generations forward, here's to you Grandpa John and Grandma Christina.

The Gap.

Mar 5, 2015

Winter at my latitude blows its last. Nine below at the moment, and the wood burner is cold, loaded only with pale ash. I got behind hauling, and it is too full to burn well even if I hadn't decided last night, "Screw it. I don't feel like filling the wood box."

So I'm being comforted by dead dinosaur gas.  It's warm enough, but propane has no soul. Dinosaurs were Republicans?

If I hadn't other things to do, I could entertain myself nicely by sitting in front of the thermometer outside my north window and watching the red stuff inch up to something like 20 today and double that tomorrow,  probably never to touch zero again this wretched season. 

Not that there are any bragging rights connected to the winter in this part of the world. In fact, it has been rather benign -- just ass backwards.  December and January were balmy by our standards, setting us up for the weeks of damned awfulness  now ending.

When the rosy fingered dawn is well advanced I'll catch up on the fire pit chores, cheered by the certainty that there will be a large carry over of fuel for '15/'16 and that all the fires of March can be much smaller, reducing the ash disposal annoyances.

Welcome (Ms.) March

Sep 6, 2014

A little car porn while I'm warming up

My dad certainly saw this car, and may have been in it. Assigned to the staff of the Algona POW camp, it was in service during the years when he drove German prisoners from Algona to the marijuana factory hemp plant  in Humboldt.

There was a Ford of his own in his future. The Terraplane by Hudson blew up...

(That's not Mom.) we made do with Model A for a year or so.

Warming up for what? A couple of breathless anti-government tirades, that's what.    

But first, I note that the family transportation tastes seem to have regressed.

I again warn her that they're easy to lose in even small snow drifts. New Dog Libby moonfully concurs, I think.

But maybe it is a Minisootie Special,  computer chipped for easy location in the snowiest months,  September through June. 

Pip-pip and cheerio.

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.

Jun 16, 2014

Storms, then and now and leggy

I fell asleep reading about one storm, 160,000 years ago,  and woke up in time to experience another one, still going on.

As my body succumbed to the fatigue of more work (actual work; moving matter) than I'm accustomed to lately, Donald Goldsmith* was telling me about Supernova 1987A. It actually happened sometime around the era when homo sapiens was killing off, and perhaps eating, competing bi-pedals, but it was far away.  So far that the radiation didn't knock on our door until February 23, 1987.

And, rude Earthlings that we are, we turned out the lights, drew the drapes, and pretended not to be home.  The neutrinos were left to their wanderings.

Of course, everyone these days knows something about neutrinos, a product of exploding stars. They are notable for being almost non-existent in a material sense. No gravitas. But they are blessed with a blind and driving energy, and if you want to explain this to your kids by an analogy involving Barack Obama, it's okay with me.

A few days later the rest of the rays and particles from the explosion started calling. This time we were paying attention. The most noticeable result? Hundreds of ambitious astronomers and physicists rushing about and tripping over one another in a mad dash for research grants.

That part of Space Storm 1987A is calming down, as is the great Camp Jiggleview Deluge of June 16, 2014. The most noticeable result of this one will be the Commandant's activities tomorrow. Moving matter, downed burr oak branches and assorted small debris blown around here and there.

There's no real damage, just a certain annoyance that my recovery day will be delayed. I'll entertain myself by photographing the foot of so of water standing in the shallow ditch in front of the private Camp Jiggleview Forest. It's happened before, a great big puddle that goes way in a day or two.  Of course when I'm telling my Green Party friends about it I use the term "rain garden."

All that done, I'll start getting ready to replace some blown roofing on the shop-office-guest room building.  So (sigh) If I seem a little surly for the next few days, please be understanding and kind.


I'd have preferred this one, but not even exalted Commandants get everything they want.


*In "The Astronomers" 1991, ISBN 0-312-05380-0. (It's a little dated, of course, but still a rather useful explanation of cosmology for lay folk, especially when read with Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything." If I'd read it before Hawking's two popular books I might have understood more of what he said in fewer than three readings.)

May 15, 2014

Junk post

Old Faithful, my  c. 2006 MacBook, has become a slattern. No longer elegant, she's doomed to the scullery of internet  endeavor. In her place comes a sleek Mac Airhead 13-incher.

Apple people are adept at helping you spend your money. I've hardly ever had a quicker or more efficient ordering process, and within a couple-three hours an email announced the new lady had already been dispatched and was due to arrive in eight days  (standard transport, for free).

From Shanghai.

As the ancient Polynesian sailing chant goes:  Aiiiiiii-eeeeeee! Pray for a west wind.

Apr 11, 2014

Place holder complete with lame excuses

I'm in debt, in the hole, owing my blog quite a lot. A promised report on the local loophole two weeks ago, the end of the maple syrup saga, further ruminations on the Coltoid Commander project, an embarrassingly self-congratulatory report of progress in bringing Camp Jiggleview, of which I am Commandant, up to at least Pa Kettle standards. Lord knows what else.

I haven't even vented my spleen on the increasingly mournful assault on the American dollar by those hired to protect it.  (Sorry, for "dollar" read "Federal Reserve Cartoon.")

Honest, Pa, I'll do 'er but I cain't find my round tuit yet.

For the moment, however, non-journalistic demands are in command. New Dog Libby, for instance, is being an incredible nuisance in the spring sun, bitching constantly -- if articulately only in lab language (nose on lap; drool on shoes)  -- that we haven't played fetch for, why, it must be twenty  minutes now.

Also, I come to you as of an hour ago from the official Base Administrative Center rather than the Great Room of the CO quarters. It's nice to be nestled again in the big library. The books don't make me any smarter, but they make me feel smarter, and, damn it, that has to count for something.

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.


Feb 2, 2014

Arctical Loopholing and Some Other Weekend Wrapup Reports

The Emmet County, Iowa, sportsman's club knows how to run a loophole, friendly, well organized, and well advertised. The guys even hang around the door offering to help you carry your stuff from vehicle to table.

It suffers only from the dominance of plastic fantastic, but that's a world wide issue, and there was still enough honest walnut and steel to keep a hard-core recalcitrant happy.

The Saturday crowd was large and oddly open-handed. I was forced to cancel my date with Miss Cougar (senior division)  last night due to exhaustion from counting Federal Reserve Cartoons,  not to mention palpating the newly adopted Mossberg  800A. (.308).

The overriding pleasure is the glow of having freed a few cubic feet of gun-room space via a massive conversion of  pure junk to FRCs.


While I was freezing, my daughter and her good man were on a ferry from Puerto Juarez to Isla Mujeres. It's her umpteenth trip. counting her first when she was a toddler and the island was our ultimate destination on a three-week roadie down the Mexican gulf coast. She posted a picture on arrival. Palms and white beach and cervasa and damned if I'm not going to invite myself along next time. Like all Irish-derived humans, she carries a load of guilt around, and I think I can exploit it for selfish purposes.


The winter of malice continues. The current 10 above and predicted 1 below are comparatively benign, but that worm hole through Canada is letting another freeze fart through, and the portent is a 1-below high on Wednesday, followed by minus- teens low.

Why the Hell doesn't the south side of the  jet stream stay up by Moose Jaw where it belongs? Kerry should stop horsing around in Iran and investigate. A strongly worded note to Toronto is the least we should demand.

Only a dork uses the term "enervating," but I'm tempted.

I'm placing my faith in the long range NWS guess that the pattern is changing and could bring actual above-freezing temperatures by a week from today. I used to draw to inside straights, too.

Jan 29, 2014

A blizzard in paradise

One late-winter day a long time ago, I was King of the World, a legend in my own mind. The Henderson, back from six months in the mysterious Orient,  docked at the San Diego Destroyer Base. I had just sewn on a petty officer crow  (Imagine. Me. Not yet 19, A noncom. I fear I may have strutted a little bit.). I had also qualified for special proficiency pay. My income had about doubled to something like $160 a month.  To top it off, I'd had some luck in the bos'n locker poker session the last night at sea.

So, for about $75,  I bought a 1950 Morris Minor, a little ratty but sound insofar as the word could (or can) be applied to an English mechanical device. I tuned her in my sorta-girl friend's yard and spent a few nice liberties at beaches you couldn't get to by bus -- about as far as Redondo Huntington Beach, I think.

Then came a letter from the real girl friend. She was back in San Francisco from an unhappy career move to  Seattle and  would I care to pop up for a visit?

Wangle a 96-hour liberty. Varoom.

Highway 101 takes you through Los Angeles. No other way. We all hated the traffic even then. But what the Hell.

I'll tell you the Hell. It snowed in L.A. For ten or 12 minutes. Traffic on the wet six-lane stopped. More than one piece of long, fat Detroit iron slewed across a lane or two. I pulled off and drank coffee until the sky brightened and the CHIPS had reorganized the highway. I resumed, pushing the dowager as close to her 64 mph max as I could.

Further adventures of the long weekend need not be spoken of, but Little Morris  created no drama, and I returned from liberty without having to worry about finessing an AWOL chit. The blizzard amidst the palms still sometimes generates a grin when  I scrape a few inches of global warming from my windshield.


She had only one factor of cool. The turn signals spoke semaphore. Hit the lever. Up flips an orange-lighted plastic flag from the pillar. For that reason alone I'd like to have her back.

Jan 24, 2014

The Renaissance Libertarian Shivers

It is a little chillier than I like here in the Commandant's Quarters this morning, too cold for comfortable showering.

That happens from time to time in wicked cold weather when I don't take proper care of my wood burner. It runs far less efficiently when it wants its ashes hauled, and that chore is overdue.

The ordinary solution is technology.  A lazy twist of the propane dial quickly brings things up to a toasty 77 or so. That's exactly what occurred about 5 a.m., despite yesterday's news that propane had spiked to a painful $3 per gallon. Making my regular morning news scan about 5:05 a.m, I learned that the going price is suddenly  $5. I madly twisted the dial the other way, killing the main flame and the pilot.

I turned on some electricity  (expensive, but cheaper than propane at the going Adam Smith-determined price),  stirred the coals, and put on a hat. As I type, the mercury is 70 and rising. Propane sellers weep.

I've modified the daily tactical plan. First light will find a clean firebox and a  hearth full of special emergency high-output cellulose -- thinner splits of oak and even a piece or two of old cedar fence post. Take that propane hustlers.

An hour later the Command Thermodynamic Production and  Control Center will be ready for normal fueling with big billets of hard wood. I shal then resume the grace of normal life, a breakfast of organic,  free-range eggs shirred with hummingbird tongues and Benedictine in preparation for rigorous fencing practice to a background of Vivaldi.

So it's no real problem, just a flurry of inconvenience. That's offset by a timely object lesson in the extreme ludditarian and free-market positions I've been ranting about lately.

(a) The cure for $5 propane is $5 propane. The more people who turn off the valve, the quicker the cure works. (b) Implementing (a) requires an alternative. In this case it is wood and, to a small extent, grid watts. Beyond that, there is the Knipco heater. Further yet (power failure?) the old Kerosun still works and doesn't need electricity.

So I'm several steps away from spending my days in bed, huddled under a blanket, whining about the evil forces of capitalism making me miserable, dreaming of going on network teevee, telling the world of my misery which, of course, ain't my fault no how.


Footnote 1: If I did decide to tell it to the cameras, I could blame Obama. Or Goldwater. But I suppose Bush would get me the most nods of statist agreement, and a guy can't go wrong reaching for a high Neilson rating.

Footnote 2:  I hope I'm not alarming my family. If worse comes to worst, there's enough gas in the tank to make it to mid-March, at least, when the sun shines warmer and the Invisible Hand tells the propane industry: too much. That gas was sold to me some 13 months ago at c.$1.25 per gallon.

Footnote 3: Betcha my state and local regulators secretly love it. A 300-gallon propane fill at $5 would render unto them $105 in sales tax. Do that enough times and you can build all sorts of neat new bicycle trails and sincere people to adminster them.

Jan 5, 2014

Applied science

My high-speed internet has become low-speed internet. Fortunately I understand and can explain the process. As temperatures approach absolute zero on the Gore/Kelvin scale, internet molecules slow way down and lose interest in feeling one another up.

Dec 30, 2013

I never ask my house sitter to tidy up the mess I leave her because

I just thank her, stroke her Alsatian (hoping he's not in one of his moods) and carry on. Day One is ordinarily dedicated to sloth. On Day Two, which would be today, a period known as "remedial housekeeping" begins.

Having eaten and drunk perishables down to near-zero levels before leaving,  I clean the refrigerator.  While I'm at it I scrub down cupboards and commodes, freeing my further attention for picking crap up and putting it where it belongs, or where it might logically belong in a home routinely titivated by, say, Donna Reed.

Ordinarily I would continue with the finer touches -- moistening Q-tips in disinfectant in order to clean those nasty floor corners, and perhaps repolishing  the silver eating utensils.

Unfortunately, I face an emergency. My portion of the northern plains is the X-ring for another gift from Alberta, so Martha Stewartage must wait until my ashes are hauled and the ready magazine near the fireplace is fully stocked with wood.

How cold will it be? I prefer not to say because some vulgarians among my dear readers might be moved to impure comments about rolling monkey balls and witches' equippage.

I prefer to keep it classy.

Dec 22, 2013

Sunday Symphony

1. I have been forced to speak sharply to Tam for negativity about weapons favored by patriotic old Luddites everywhere. A sad duty here in this season of charity and love, but some offenses must not go unchallenged.

2. I have created a war zone in my back yard. When I cook, I cook too much and freeze leftovers.  I accumulate too much nearly stale bread. From time to time, including last evening, space limitations make me bag it all up for the wild bunch. I generally spread it out atop the propane tank, a place which, despite valiant efforts, New Dog Libby can not reach. This morning I was entertained by a pair of quarrelome blue jays fighting for the orts as, below, a red squirrel smugly fattened himself on the stuff they scattered. Both jays and squirrel suffered a strategic reverse when my current feral cat, a big long-haired grey, arrived to take charge.

3. In days gone by, Christmas was time for intense creative energy trying to find just  the right gift. Time passes. Patience fades. I now judge the appropriateness of a present by how easy it is to wrap. If my family cares to consider this a warning, so be it.

4. You don't know much about the history of the Russian River, do you? Me either, so I was glad to pick up the paperback The Russian River (ISBN 0-553-28844 x)  and get the general drift painlessly, along with what might have been a few entertaiing and credible tales from the far western branch of the 1820s fur trade.  I muddled through,  although an early reference to a six-foot diameter Indian tent being comfortable for six or seven people pretty well destroyed its credibility.  (Sketch it out.) This is part of a "Rivers of America" series which is supposed to be a set of novels with a useful background of geographic and cultural truth. The other one I read, about the Powder River, wasn't much better. Too bad, a great idea poorly executed, I would guess because adequate writers were forced to work hastily.

5. The monkey balls are rolling loose. It's been tens of degrees below average for a long time, but I'm getting weary of Gore jibes. So Happy Holidays, Al, and I hope you can find a way to live with all that cheap natural gas coming out of North Dakota. If not, do us a favor and freeze in the dark.

Dec 18, 2013

When I was rich

For a glimmering moment around mid-morning I was a stock market mogul. My net worth soared by $7.53 as traders speculated that Ben and the Feds would keep on printing $85 billion* brand new Federal Reserve Cartoons  a month.

Then speculators of contrary opinion took over, and erased every cent of the gain on my eye-dropper full of a little ETF, a leveraged bond fund which is "interest sensitive." It pays a humongus dividend, but the price of the stock itself  goes up and down as often as Bill Clinton's shorts. Up when the market thinks Ben will keep printing free FRCs, down when it worries that he may cut back a little.

Fortunately, this doesn't signal complete financial disaster here at Camp Jiggleview, because The Commandant, yours truly, has just received a bonanza from the federal government led by President Obama.

He informed me that I have done such a wonderful job of retiring -- that is, becoming a lazy tax-sucking parisitical slob -- that I am to be awarded a raise in my monthly salary. It comes to $19 net, after allowing for deducts to Medicare. You've probably heard of Medicare. It's a gift from cuddly ol' Lyndon Johnson allowing me to be sick for free.  "Y'all just go ahead and stay in that hospital a while longer, Jim. We gone send the bill to your kids."

We had no money then --1965 -- either. We were financing a lot bullets to kill wogs -- mostly, but not exclusively, Vietnamese --  and on wonderful urban utopias such as Cabrini Green in President Obama's neighborhood.

Someone asked how we would pay for all that plus Jim's doctor bills. Lyndon said, "Why Hell, boy, we ain't actually gonna pay with real money or nothin'. We gone find a bunch of smart (ethnic slur deleted) boys who went to Harvard and Yale and them places and learned how to make make up money just by saying so. Y'all quit frettin'." 


Hey! You in the back. Stop singing whle I'm talking, dammit! Besides, you got it wrong. The song goes "Marching to Pretoria. Not Weimaria."


*More, actually. The 85 billion is just what they admit to.

Nov 27, 2013

The Bank I Didn't Buy (More desktop clearing)

But it was a serious thought for about 15 minutes last spring in Terril, about a half-hour away, a declining little town. My ideas were (1)  it would be dirt cheap and (2)  I could  do a quick and dirty rehab and use it for storage and a private indoor range.

The first notion was correct, the second not. Even at the auction price of about $2,000, she was just too tired. No intact windows, no mechanics, electricity, or plumbing, needing a roof job and a new main floor, joists and all.

It was all just too much work and expense, even for the smirky pleasure of answering the   "What  do you do?"" question with, "I own a bank."

Nov 21, 2013

Sea Hunt!

As I may have mentioned, occasional insomnia has its rewards. I conked out early, exhausted by  a harrowing 70 minutes of telephonic registration for a new health insurance policy. I woke up about 2 a.m. You know the feeling. "So much for this night's sleep. What the Hell do I do until sunrise.?"

So I turned on the teevee. Lo and behold, there is Lloyd Bridges jumping off a boat. I couldn't have been more pleased.


A long time ago I had just returned to San Diego from my second WestPac cruise.  Loafing round my girl's apartment I'd occasionally glance at her 11-inch black and white television receiver and happened to catch an image of Lloyd Bridges jumping off a boat.  I couldn't have been more pleased.

While I couldn't claim that my girl possessed the center-fold sightliness of  Jan Harrison, Lloyd and I did share something. We were divers, SCUBA experts in the wonderful years before every vacationing data entry clerk from  Exit 12, New Jersey, became a "certified(!) diver" after a three-hour session in a Nassau hotel pool.

Strictly speaking, "expert" somewhat exaggerates my skills in those days. I was as adept as a guy could get after maybe ten or twelve wet hours, not all of them with breathing gear.

Westbound destroyers called at Midway Island en route from Honolulu to Yokosuka for fueling and one short day of sightseeing. That was plenty. When you've seen one Laysan Albatross, you've see them all. The same goes for long, hot air strips hearkening back to the rotary piston era.  So, on the second trip I checked out mask, snorkel and fins from Special Services and went reef gliding. Hooked.

In the middle of the six-month cruise we generally spent a few days on Guam, the world's second most boring island (after Manhattan).  The morale station there had tanks and regulators available, and all you had to do was sign a chit certifying that you knew what you were doing. It was my first and only lie, but I managed to survive a couple of afternoons on the pretty reefs. Later, back on Civvy Street, I undertook to actually learn something about it and, eventually, wound up with an instructor's card from the YMCA and some other documents from PADI and NAUI.

All of which is to say I have never gotten over the miracle of artificial gills, of going down there where, when the fish blew bubbles at me, I could blow back.   Just like Mike Nelson of Sea Hunt, which you can see on THIS channel.

Oh. Jan Harrison, you ask?

I'm aware that among my readers lurk a few degenerates who prefer more revealing images. Shame. This is a family oriented blog. Couldn't find one anyway.

Nov 1, 2013

A place to unload

I generally avoid posting my most sincere, deep-seated, passionate and personal  feelings on the Internet. In the first place, they're private. In the second, almost no one gives a crap.

I make an exception this morning beause I am powerless to hold it in. To wit:

I really hate installing a new toilet.