New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions.
-Mark Twain-

My new years resolution is the same every year and I always keep it. It is "I resolve to make no New Years resolution". -tom swaim-

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Dickmas eve

March 4, 2009

I am called Richard Thomas, for my grandfathers and Dick for the nickname mom gave me. She called me Dicky and when it became embarrassing she shortened it to Dick. It has been a lucky name for me but when I found out that the first book I ever read (Dick and Jane) was not about me I never liked it. Especially after having Dick Nixon and Dick Cheney to be compared to. As the years have gone by Dick means Penis to every English speaking American. Here in the south some white women can not even say it and have admitted that to my face and if they do they giggle. My ex roommate, that would be “She Who Must Be Obeyed”, says the name fits but I know she doesn't like it either. I call her my ex roommate because we don't live in the same room. I have used the names Richard and Dick over the years and have been called RT on occasion but I really prefer Tom. Thomas is my middle name and it is the first name of my maternal grandfather. I now have one person that calls me Tom I am happy to say.

For this the eve of my 70th birthday however I will use Dick because Dickmas Eve just has a nice ring to it.

But on to business. This torch is a gasoline fueled torch that I have had for over 50 years now. It is a small torch being about 6 1/2 inches tall and the tank is about 2 3/8 in diameter. I was my first wife's fathers torch. It was my first torch and it was the first torch I ever used to sweat copper tubing together. It is a chore to light because it would just as soon catch on fire as light. It is fueled by white gasoline and I use Coleman stove fuel. It gives a hot blue flame. It works as good as modern propane torches but you must pay attention when lighting it. The first time I used it took 45 minutes to get it going properly and 10 minutes to do the job. That was after practicing. As soon as I could afford a propane torch I got one and never looked back.

To start it requires that the cup just below the torch itself be filled with fuel and set fire to. It must burn long enough and hot enough to vaporize and pressurize the gasoline. You must pay attention because you are heating a container of gasoline. Think molatov cocktail.

Fact: 1 teacup of gasoline vaporized in the bilge of a boat is equal to 16 sticks of dynamite .

Years ago an I was hired to rewire and get the bilge blowers working on a power boat that had a minor explosion because of a very small gas leak. The blowers didn't work so they could not evacuate the air in the engine room. When they started the engine the explosion in the engine compartment blew the engine cover, which the crew was standing on, into the air launching the crew into the water. It was OK they were divers and could swim and being drunk they were nice and relaxed. Lucky for them there was no fire.

The next time I need to play with fire and get an adrenaline rush I'll light this thing and post a picture of it burning or maybe a picture of my shop burning.


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