New entry in my Kilt blog 9/21/2011

Monday, March 30, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Rainy Day Project

Monday March 30, 2009

We had a little rain a few days ago (Friday) so I did a rainy day project.

Garden at daybreak.

In 16 years in this area I have never seen the water this high. Maybe I should think boat

This lamp was a flea market $2.00 item. It is a type that is used in ships and in industrial applications where there might be rough conditions. It's rough cast aluminimum painted black then wiped with some waxy bronze stuff I get at the hobby store. I've seen hundreds of these lamps but never in bronze. I think it turned into nice steampunk light for over my desk in the old Greyhound. I need three more now. The bronze bell in the lower right corner of the picture is used to ring for the servants but it doesn't seem to work as they never come.

These pretty weeds sprang up last week but the rain beat them right back into the dirt. I call them weeds because you can't eat them. Well you can eat them but I don't think they would taste very good.

SO on Saturday SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) made this cheeseburger meatloaf (complete with pickle and onion) to give us sustenance for all that we had endured. Not wanting to hurt her feelings I ate this delicious thing. Oh the sacrifices I make.

We got a new roof today . It was critically injured September 3, 2008. It has been 7 months living under saran wrap. Hurricane season starts in a few months. I am not near as prepared as I need to be.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Old Fools Journal: First Car

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I have owned at least 34 motor vehicles of the four wheel type in my short life which means I have averaged one every 2.058 years since I was born or one every 1.588 years since I got a drivers license. That is excessive but I can't give it back. I try to ride a bicycle as much as possible now.

That was a different time. You had to have a car when you reached 16 tears as it was a rite of passage. In those days cigarettes were good for you (they sold candy cigarettes to children to get them prepared), marijuana would turn you into a zombie (or worse a murderous axe wielding drooling drug addict), women wore skirts (and dresses) and if a male of any age had long hair then he was automatically a homosexual except for Jesus of course. He could have hair as long as he wanted and wear a dress besides. This was my first four wheeled motor vehicle. I had a Cushman three wheeler before and several motor scooters and motorcycles.

This strip down was a 1938 ford pickup truck that my dad gave up on. It sat out in the back in the Arkansas woods west of Little Rock for a year or so. When I was 15 and riding motorcycles (and Cushman Motor Scooters) he gave it to me to do what I wanted with it. The gang of four mechanical geniuses you see on the truck got together and with the aid of a hammer and cold chisel we cut the top off and removed the doors. The bed was already gone as was the gas tank. The little round 2 and ½ gallon tank behind the cab is from a 40's vintage cushman motor scooter and the fuel line is just bent into a loop into the filler. No cap. Don't need no stinkin' cap. Well much to everyone's surprise we got it running and we did it by towing it fast enough Jay's Indian Arrow motorcycle. The battery was too low to even crank it but after we got it started it came up enough for a restart. Just imagine those 4 boys rocking and rolling down the road with two of them sitting on the frame with an open gas tank and an idiot at the wheel (me). Mechanical geniuses indeed.

The gang of four are Jay, Ralph and Blake riding and Me as the driver. I got to be the driver because it was my truck not because of ability and certainly not because of good judgment They called me Dick in those days and it was not an insult but I guess I was one. Since Nixon and Cheney I have tried to shed that name with limited success.

Those guys there with me are big in my memories and each had his on special talents. I suspect they went on to success if they lived because they were not weak links. I moved away in the summer of 1955 and lost touch with them.

I have no idea why we weren't killed or a least seriously mangled. Some say guardian angels but I think that pure blind dumb luck is my friend.

In good time I will tell about the other vehicles. Some had character and some had a severe lack of character but they all had a story.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Geek Stuff or Switching to Linux

Friday, March 27, 2009

I started using the PCLinuxOS Linux distribution around 5 years ago. I don't remember the exact date but I think it was 2004. I had played around with various Linux distributions for several years but never with any success. I could get them to work but not like I wanted and none were very intuitive. One day in a moment of disgust with Microsoft XP I downloaded a copy of PCLOS .92 and ran it on my PC. It was a live CD so it booted from the CD, found all my stuff including the Internet connection and I was in business. It took no longer than booting MS windows which was on my hard drive and it did everything I wanted that XP did. All of it from the CD. I was using the KDE interface which looks, feels and taste like MS windows so I just went to work doing all the things I did with MS windows. I was hooked so I immediately installed it using the “install me” button and I have never looked back. I have had to learn a few things over the years but there is nothing that MS windows does that I want that justifies buying MS windows. I had to answer a few
questions during the install but it installed itself to dual boot with Windows XP in under 30 minutes. Reinstalling MS Windows every 6 months took all day, several disk and I had to reinstall things like office, scanner, printer and all that anti-virus stuff. I have in a moment of weakness booted MS Windows a few times but it takes so long for the anti virus to update that I just don't do it anymore.

After installing PCLOS I accessed my data on windows and copied it to my new system. You can do that. PCLinuxOS can see and copy windows files but Windows XP is clueless. It won't even recognize Linux as a file or operating system

The problems I had were that I had a very old Canon printer and an Acer scanner and I just could not get them to work with PCLOS. It was time to upgrade anyway so I bought a $40.00 HP all in one, plugged it in and that was it.

With PCLOS installed I now booted in 90 seconds. No more defraging, applying patches, upgrading or having anti virus programs using up valuable space. Just a PC that did everything I wanted. I'm not a gamer so not having the windows games was no problem for me besides I had set it up for dual boot with XP so I could always use that if I just had to have a game written for Microsoft.

I still reinstall once and a while but I attribute that to my 5 year old eMachine and my slovenly habits. I have never had to reinstall. It takes all of 30 minutes plus about 15 minutes to get all the upgrades and newer stuff from the repository. What's more I can, if I have a problem, boot from the CD, access my files from there including all the files on XP. On the rare occasion that I boot XP I feel really crippled.

I just installed PCLOS 2009 (it just came out) on this old machine and it took all of 30 minutes. I had to answer one question and that was to tell it what kind of keyboard layout I have. It retrieved all my data from the 2007 version and set my preferences to what I had set before. It installed to triple boot from windows XP, PCLOS 2007 or PCLOS 2009. It has a full office suite, two browsers, plays Cd's, dvd's, movies and everything else I have thrown at it. I understand that there is an app that allows you to play games for windows but I don't know about that since I am not a gamer. It has a program similar to photoshop that I am just learning to use. It's all on one CD.

It comes with access to an on line repository with access to over 8000 apps and upgrades.

My machine boots in 93 seconds and is fully ready to go. It turns off in about 15 seconds. Machines are starting to come on the market with this system preinstalled.

Did I mention that it's free? How do they do that? Probably some kind of communist plot. I'm pretty sure it's not Satanic as no one has been around asking me to trade my soul but I would think about it if they did.

Today I helped one of the neighbor kids with his new laptop. The operating system is MS Vista of course with Internet Explorer for a browser. Well It was up to some of the old tricks that I remembered from my past in that it started multiple loading Internet Explorer and wouldn't stop. I downloaded Firefox and solved that problem then started digging through and uninstalling all the junk that comes on a new machine with MS Windows. When finished it was still slower than slow and klutzy. That thing just can't get out of its own way. I never appreciated PCLOS more.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Steampunk and dieselpunk too

Friday March 20, 2009
Spring has Sprung

That time from 1800 to the 1970's I find technically and socially fascinating and I have since I was about 9 years old. It was a time when the marvels of technology could be opened, looked at, parts identified and repaired. Devices that were ingenious and never seen before were so obvious upon examination that many a boy engineer wondered why they had taken so long and had “why didn't I think of that” thoughts. Many thought “I can do th
at” and many did.

The inside of your wind up alarm clock. You do have one don't you?

I myself made cars, boats and radio's before I ever had a television. Some worked some didn't but I didn't know that I couldn't do that. (You should have seen my three wheeler made with rough boards, nai
ls and rope. It was an engineering disaster.) My biggest problem early on was a shortage of wheels. I think I was warped by that as I now hoard wheels. From age ten until age sixteen I had a long wire antenna strung up in my backyard and by age 13 had constructed a number of crystal radios and disassembled my tube radio to modify it. The crystal radios started out large and clunky with coils hand wound on oatmeal boxes and variable capacitors salvaged from old discarded radios. They became successively smaller using manufactured parts until I had one that would fit in my shirt pocket. I won't bore you with how it went from there. I wasn't exactly a boy genius but I never got over the fascination. I went on to build and modify amateur radio equipment.

The first television I owned was a large (by today's standards) console floor cabinet with a round 10 inch screen and I was married by that time. As late as 1985 I owned a TV that I could repair and I did. Now I am sitting in front of a 17” LCD screen a few inches thick on which I can watch TV (up to 17”) in color. On the same machine I can communicate two/way, type, compose, print and publish all at the same time. On top of that I can listen to the radio. It contains the library of the world and it will tell me in infinite detail how it works. It is my connection to the internetwebtubes. I can open it up and look at it but my ability to fix it is limited to replacing parts. Just the shear smallness of it limits me. In my wildest dreams when I became interested in radio and electronics at about ten years old I did not foresee this. I could foresee what it could do but not how small it would be. I am reduced to buying another when one breaks and then scavenging the old one for shiny parts, magnets, light bulbs and metal. I feel like an ignorant savage turning magically high tech devices into trinkets to wear in my nose, around my neck and into flower boxes. Sort of like one of neighbors when I lived in Mexico. She would stuff wood in the pan tray of a modern gas cook stove to heat the oven so she could bake pies (in her back yard next to the pig pen). It was not as good as a stove designed for wood but it worked. Good pie too

I love this machine. It does nothing it just runs.

Modern electronic equipment does not have the smell and sounds of old surplus vacuum tube equipment. The sound of a fan does not take the place of the hum and crackle or the heat and glow of fila
ments in the old tube sets. There is no romance in modern equipment. The looks of modern electronic equipment is about as exciting and inspiring as a stainless steel and Formica kitchen. Which leads me to why things are steampunked. Look it up. Steampunk has more than one definition and if you look you'll find one you like and that perhaps fits you.

I was already living in a technically diverse world when I first read Jules Verne. We had electric lights, telephones, radio, running water indoors, indoor toilets and internal combustion engines had well overtaken steam at the common mans level. (Ladies I use Man here to indicate the species not the gender). Verne wrote about technology in our future and he wrote it from our past mixing it with the industrial world, art and fashions of the Victorian
and Edwardian times. The illustrations in those old books showing elegant parlors traveling to the moon with men in top hat and vest as passengers really captured my imagination. How about walking on the bottom of the sea then dressing for dinner or enjoying listening to a pipe organ recital while perusing classic literature. It is classic elegant future history full of romance and style. In our sterile square cornered shiny plastic world there are those of us that would like to create and write our own classic future history using modern technology incorporating it into round and oval forms pleasing to look at. A parallel history where steam develops and rules with electrics and tolerates the upstart diesel. Not to mention what can be done with a number of power sources and power plants that Verne never thought of and most people are not aware of now. A future history where thoughtfulness and good manners prevail against evil.

I believe that if you can think of it then it can and will be done. I believe that if you can think of it then in this universe it is, has and will be done again an infinite number of times. I don't know about the other universes in this multiverse ours is in. (I know universe means one. See Michia Kaku on you tube for that)

I do not wish to return to the technology of the past. I don't even want the technology we have now. I want what's coming and I want it to have flare, be colorful, have style and be frivolously artful from a mad engineers point of view. Incorporate the old with the new. I want it to never break down and if it is delicate then be repairable.

Meanwhile I will be steam punking and dieselpunking stuff by making old wood an brass things work with new tech.

If you are looking for Steampunk love this will give it to you.

I've got to build one of these.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Last Days of Winter

Wednesday March 18, 2009

Last Days Of Winter.

Signs of Spring at Sears. Soon there will be sounds of spring as fat, underexercised people will be riding these around postage stamp yards.

The last days of winter and it is a beautiful day. I have had an ear infection that took 75% of my hearing during this last week but I'm getting it back. Four days of rain is over and it didn't harm my new plants and Friday is spring. yippee. Things are looking up for me and my bride.

I snapped this at the clinic when I was having my ears checked and trying to maybe get some help. This child was at peace with the world. I got a prescription for some pills that I could afford and some ear drops that I couldn't ($141.00). What could that doctor be thinking? This was at a clinic for poor people. At least the antibiotics seem to be working.

I rode today and it was perfect. The plan was to go to SWMBO's (she who must be obeyed) work place and show my appreciation for her checking on me this morning to see if I was alive or dead. I don't usually sleep in but this morning I did and it must have alarmed her. She got a lot of mileage out of it at work though explaining her dilemma deciding whether to check before going to work or to wait until she got home. They all, of course, said it was better to wait until after work because she would need the money. This line of thinking is linked to the fact that I just had my 70th birthday so I am an official geezer and will probably fall over dead any minute.

After that I was to go to the library, turn in my latest book and order the next in the series. I have to order it because they never have what I want in this branch. The last time I checked I was one of 10 people that check out books at this branch.

People come here to use the computer or check out movies. I have never seen anyone else reading in this branch. I read magazines there as I have been doing in various libraries across the United States for the last 60 years. I think I am one of the 10 people that read in the state of Louisiana. I've got to get out of here.

I was to pickup dog and cat food on the way home. Unfortunately for the dogs and cats I found this pile of bricks that were thrown out. Why would anyone throw away these beautiful bricks? Anyway the dogs and cats can wait until tomorrow when I go back to pick up my new book.

Cornbread and pinto beans for dinner tonight with our on homegrown green onions and cilantro. Life is good.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Friday the 13th

Friday March 13, 2009

I wasn't going to post today because frankly I'm just not doing anything I think would be interesting to anyone else. This is when I dig in the dirt so I can eat but I noticed today that we are in the third month of the year and we already have two Friday the 13th's. What do I care? I don't because as Andrew W. Mathis said "It is bad luck to be superstitious".

In the comic strip Pogo by Walt Kelly there was a Friday the 13th every month it's just that sometimes it came on different days of the week. You have to be a little twisted to understand Pogo. I start my day everyday with "Calvin and Hobbs" and then whatever I can find of Pogo. One of the greatest Pogo wisdoms is "We have met the enemy and he is us". Walt Kelly's humor is such that you either get it or you don't there doesn't seem to be any in between.
I miss my dad because he got it and I haven't met many others that do. All I had to say is "I go Pogo" to get a smile.

I go Pogo.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Magic Moon

Thursday, March 12, 2009
When I look up through the trees at the moon I get such a primeval feeling. It is like this again tonight and it is magic. I don't believe in werewolves or any kind of evil things that go on because of the moon but I do believe it is magic and the magic is increased by the trees. The magic is what you make it

I want to make it clear that I fully understand the science and astronomical significance of the moon but it's still magic and magic is only that which we don't yet understand.

I don't know if I what to understand everything although I spend an awful lot of time trying to.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Making

March 10, 2009 Tuesday

It used to be that if I read the newspaper, a chapter or two of my current book and went for a little bike ride everything was OK with the world. Most of my life I've had to shoehorn that into a schedule governed by gainful employment so most of my life has been sleeping, gainful employment, fixing what broke and what was left went to the pursuit of happiness. Now I no longer have gainful employment and I don't fix anything that's broke until I need it (I was really surprised at how many broke things piled up that I didn't need). I still sleep (or try to) at least a third of my life and reading (and writing) takes up another third. The rest is for making.

I make bread, kilts, garden, seed ready for planting and parts for tools that need fixing. I make things made of plastic look like brass and therefore pretty. I make lunch for myself and I have turned it into an art form. I make things that are broke into other things that aren't broke.
I try to find something to make everyday.

I salvage. So much quality stuff is thrown away that is worthy of keeping. In this rich society that I live in people discard very valuable things so I salvage.

I also try to fix something everyday. It does not matter how small a fix it is if it didn't work but now it does then I get that feeling that I am sure is what drives artist to do what they do.

My latest MAKE is a walking stick. Some call it a cane. It is made from a limb that was blown off one of the live oak trees that make up the "Grove of Six" that I live in. There were several pieces that came out of these trees during Hurricane Gustav that said "make me into something". I have two plant stands and two fire pit stools(or back rest) so far. The fire pit stools are used heavily as we have an outdoor fire pit to satisfy that primeval need for fire. I have a fork for a sling shot that is still drying and a staff that I am watching with great expectations. I have heard that every gentleman needs a walking stick. I have not been mistaken for a gentleman but I think that an old man that goes outdoors wearing a kilt probably needs a walking stick or in my case a shillelagh. The shillelagh is an Irish walking stick and doubles as a club. Yeah I need one of those.

New Subject
I think it is something my friends should know about. You can't do anything about it but why not be informed.

I have been following the progress of the Doomsday Seed Vault since 2007 and Michael Bloch of Green living Tips has brought it to the surface again.

I follow this fellow from OZ because he has a lot of good tips for those of us that fall into the category of bottom feeders. I have been following the seed vault progress longer than I have been reading Green Living Tips but I don't ordinarily bring it up to those outside of the gardening weirdos circle for fear of being painted with the Doom and Gloom brush. This is interesting enough however to appeal to the brownest of green thumbs since food affects us all.

If you need something to worry about then this is far more dangerous than the war on drugs (what a joke), or banks (trust us) going tits up. Monsanto is far more dangerous than Iran, Iraq, North Korea or Al-Qaeda (or what ever those death seeking morons are called) put together but only if you think food is important.
The link Heirloom and Heritage seeds is an eye opener. If you don't read anything else scroll down to "The Monsanto Seed Monster". I don't believe these people are looking out for our best interest. Save your seeds.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Old Fools Journal: Gone Fishin'

March 7, 2009 Saturday

Went fishing today. Not because I wanted to but because my wifemate invited me. It was just us and that is so rare I couldn't resist. It was a nice day, sunny but windy so the fish didn't bite. I mostly stayed out of the wind and read a book because since my sailing days I have developed a strong aversion to wind. Makes me irritable (a nice word for grumpy old fart).

SHE caught one little bitty fish and released it but that doesn't matter SHE was radient in her happiness today as SHE was in her element and that makes me young.

She caught 8 blue crabs that are being turned into crab and shrimp gumbo as I write this. The shrimp came from the freezer but are local shrimp caught last season and the sausage is local made. No license is required for crabbing and they are plentiful. SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) loves these crab but I find them to be a lot like most oranges just too much trouble. You use more energy eating them than you get out of them. Dungeness and King crab are my favorite.
I bought a fishing license today, my first. I have been fishing (pacific ocean, Hawaii, Sea of Cortez) since the mid 1970's but

Bought fishing license here along with beer, bait and ice.

this is my first license. It cost $5.00 (senior citizen resident) and for some reason I'm kind of proud of it. My fishing in the past has been for food and I suppose it still is. When I was cruising on the good ship Serenity I fished for food meaning there was no sport involved. I set up deadly rigs and if the fish chose to try to kill my bait I killed and ate them. Mostly they didn't bother but when they did we feasted. I just don't see gathering food as a sport.

This license also says I can kill Bambi's mother, Peter Rabbit and other assorted wild animals that I wouldn't eat. I am not going to do that but I am licensed by the State of Louisiana to do so. I am an omnivore therefore I eat meat and I have killed, cleaned and cut up enough meat to know what is involved but hunting ain't my thang.

March 8, 2209 Sunday

We ate the gumbo last night and it was the best I have had I think. SWMBO makes clear broth gumbo and she really knows how to do it. The okra came from our garden last year. I don't garden for sport either.

I included this picture for the view of the trailer on stilts. everything is being put on stilts now and for good reason. The water gets very high when the hurricanes hit. Notice I said when not if.
Picture is from the dock where we crabbed looking west across Tou Lou Lou Lane a few miles north of Cocodrie, La. Don't see many jet setters this far down the bayou.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Old Fools Journal: 70 or who are you calling a geezer

March 5, 2009 Thursday

Here it is the big 70. 70 trips around the minor star called Sol by earthlings. That's a lot of miles. I have been called a senior citizen for some time now but I never really considered myself one. I guess it's time to rethink that.

<Mom at 17. She had those eye.

70 years ago, when the world was a little more naive, I sprang onto this world at 0245 ready to conquer the world. I guess I wanted to get in a full day. I should have known that being born in the middle of the night was not a good sign. I did conquer the world but not that you would notice.

1939 was considered the rag tag end of the Great Depression but I didn't notice because that year Hitler started his shenanigans and besides I was very young. I'll never forgive Hitler as he affected my life in negative ways. That year Wizard of Oz was released, Radio Shack and HP started up, the 1936 to 1939 Arab revolt in Palestine ended(if that is so what are they doing there now?), big brush fire in Australia, Amelia Earhart was declared dead, I believe transatlantic air travel started, Batman came out in comics. I'm almost two months older than Batman but he looks younger.

For me it's not about my birthday it's more about my mother. I have never been a mommas boy but I did love and respect mom so very much. Love was natural, after all she was my mother and a loving mother at that. Respect came early because I couldn't get away with anything (eyes in the back of her head) and besides she could saw a board, drive a nail and cook dinner.That was before I knew anything about washing, ironing,cleaning house, sewing new clothes*, making a living, making sure your kids don't burn the house down and the thousands of other things that she had to do.Turns out she was a real life superhero and she set me on the right track. She was a happy person. Not because she didn't have trials, tribulations, aches and pains but because she decided to be happy and I learned that from her.
*Comment: I didn't wear out the last shirts she made for me from feed sacks until I was grown and married.

Needless to say when I looked for a mate of my own I had a role model. I have been married three times and all those ladies had my mothers qualities in varying degrees. Non were lessor or better and none were perfect but then mom wasn't perfect so I never expected that. I wasn't perfect either and that has been a disappointment to me and I suspect to others. I have had to learn to live with that. There were a number of love affairs that didn't pan out as well and several of those ladies were like mom. I am with the last attempt now and it was 25 years Valentines day. This one may work out. We'll see. I try to lay low so she won't notice my flaws but she may have noticed already as some of them have been pointed out.

As I said on my last birthday I wish I could go back and undo the things I did that made mom unhappy or in any way cause her pain. I doubt those things bothered her a lot or for very long but they do bother me. If you want to keep you guilt burden down then do right with your mom and it wouldn't hurt to see to your grandmother as well.

One of my often used remarks is that "I am old enough to die of old age". In this age of needing a reason however old age has been ruled out. I believe that it is no longer legal to die of old age. There has to be a reason. I read somewhere that the last person to die of old age in the USA did so back in the 1950's. In my case it will be up to the medical school that I have willed my carcass to. After the young coeds are through cutting, hacking and laughing at the dead old guy I wonder what they will think. I hope they have a death certificate before they start. If I didn't have a strong aversion to tattoos I would get something funny tattooed on my belly and butt cheeks.

I truly think that most old people die of just being tired of the ongoing bullshit. Bullshit over and over and over really gets tiresome. I mention that in a post last March 4th and I haven't changed my mind. As Edna Saint Vincent Millay said "It is not true that life is one damn thing after another...It's one damn thing over and over". Dear Edna you are so right.

Another of my favorites is "only the good die young. So why am I still alive?". Hmmm food for thought.

I am not preoccupied with death as I am in good health and if I'm anything like my ancestors I will probably live another 20 or 30 years. Based on my past 20 years that goes by rather quickly.

Happy Birthday to Flora Belle Baker. According to my records we share a birthday except for the year. She was my great, great grandmother on my paternal grandfathers side and was born March 5th, 1868. She is 141 today but she has gone to glory (about 50 years ago) but if she had the internetwebtubespipes in glory I'd shoot her a birthday email. It amazed me to find that our lives overlapped and I wish that I had known her.

Well here goes the first day of the 71st trip around Sol.

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.