New entry in my Kilt blog 9/21/2011

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Memorial Weekend

My good friend Mickie and I went to the local airport Friday for a BBQ. He has just started a new BLOG as he has just retired and now has time. Believe me he has lots of stories to tell not to mention that he is probably the best aviation mechanic, informal engineer and inventor I have ever known. The airport here is called the airbase by most of the locals because in WW2 it was a Navel Blimp Base. It's a pretty nice airport and I flew out of there in a Cessna 172 flying oil pipeline inspection patrol for the seven years prior to my retirement.
That military helicopter is carrying the commandant of the Coast Guard and his entourage (servants and hanger ons). They got out of it, walked to the jet pictured below and departed. Good riddance. We don't really need all the observers and useless inspectors with clean hands and lots of advice. We need the problems solved, people who will work to solve them and the money to do it.
The red jet seen at the end of the clip is on loan from Canada and is a Dehaviland Dash Eight. I understand they are mapping the oil spill.
Two of the people in this picture make up two thirds of the people I trust in Louisiana. The commandante travels in style. I just wonder why he needed to look at the oil spill and for that matter why did the president need to. The money could be better spent. President Bush made too many trips to New Orleans after Katrina and every time he came I lost a days pay. That didn't set well with me.
This flying school bus is one of the helicopter services that ferry's crews off shore to the many oil platforms. Most of the air traffic is helicopters or at least it was when I retired. I don't keep track of it much any more.
The pimp in the straw hat is in charge of this ramp and even though he wears a lot of gold chains, drives a pimp car and preaches a lot you won't find a better man. He is my friend.
More flying school buses. Those in the background are about the size of a school bus.

The BBQ was nice and my thanks to the owner and crew at Houma Jet Center. They're good folks.

The DC3's in the distance are for spraying dispersant on oil spills I've been told but I've never heard of them actually doing it. I do see them flown on occasion to keep current.

Notice the pilots in the hanger chowing down. Pilots and yachties can smell free food for miles. Reminds me of the wino dirt bags in Lahaina, Maui. Crack open bottle of wine and three will materialize from thin air.

We pissed away the rest of the day drinking beer, talking story and watching kids have fun. It was a great day and good start on his retirement. It was just living and being and nothing more. I can think of no better way to use a life.

Only Because You Ask

I wish to remember my uncle Eugene Swaim this Memorial Day. He died in the Pacific in an airplane defending us from Imperial Japan and yes I still carry a grudge. I have gotten use to it but I'll never get over it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Confessions of a Reading Addict

My all time favorite reading glasses. I have a hard time finding this style now. They are not as strong as I need but have great depth of field. They still work good for computer work.

When I first started reading there was no rhyme or reason to what I read. I simply read everything that got in my way. When I realized that I couldn't possible read everything that was written and that certain subjects interested me more than others I started trying to read everything on a subject. I couldn't do that either but I was well into my thirty somethings before I realized that some reading materials were not worthy of being finished. I remember the day I had that epiphany. I was walking down the hallway of a hotel in Minneapolis on my way to dine when I suddenly knew that the book I was reading was trash. I was more than a hundred pages into it, in mid paragraph and mid-sentence when I threw it, still open, onto a table without even breaking my stride. That was a life changing experience that shook me to my core as I always finished what I started but I suddenly (it seemed sudden but probably was not) knew that because I had wasted time to read what I had already read that in itself was not reason enough to waste anymore time finishing it. In my memory that instance was the dividing line between before and after. My reading habits didn't change so much but I no longer hesitated putting aside reading material that displeased me. It was a new found freedom.

My current favorites. Very light, small so don't interfer with distance and middle distance and 99 cents.

Then new problems started to arise. I found that I was reading the same stories over and over. They were by different authors but they were the same stories and predictable. I decided that there must be only so many stories so I shifted to those authors that painted the best picture in my head. The subject and the story became secondary. The use of words to paint the story became all important. I read stuff now that I care not one whit about because of the way it makes the pictures move in my head. I sometimes find myself reading a passage over and over because it is so vivid much like one would be drawn to a part of a painting or photo that just stands out from the rest.

I don't know what the future holds for me in reading because as my eyes age it becomes more uncomfortable to do it for any length of time. The same is happening to my bride who is a reader as well. She is still plugging along and reads more books than I but readily admits that it is often uncomfortable.

I read a great deal online now but mostly for information, reference and history. I still read the comics a habit I picked up from my dad. I once knew a genuine drunken genius (truly) that read the comics saying that they were as valid as any other written works. Since he had read everything, knew everything and was willing to teach some of those things to me I took his word for it.

I read without glasses until I was 50 years old but even then I didn't get my first bifocals for reading. I got them for driving nails. I could still read alright but hitting a nail with a hammer became a problem. When someone ask me if I was trying to scare the nail into the wood by hitting all around it I went for glasses. I'll never forget that day I rode my Hawthorne bicycle down a dirt street to a cobble stone street in a small Mexican village to the optometrist then jumped on the bike and rode back home. Senora Alejandra, the optometrist, nearly died. She just knew I was going to break my damned fool neck because I wasn't use to bifocals but I never had a problem adjusting to them. That is not entirely true because I have occasionally had a little trouble with steps and ladders but that is another story.

I have worn glasses for myopia since I was 16 but in the last 5 years my eyes have changed so that now I have near 20/20 in one eye and about 20/40 in the other so I don't bother anymore. For reading I have been buying at the dollar store and that has worked out well. Lately I have noticed that one eye is getting better for distance and the other eye is getting better for close so off the shelf reading glasses doesn't work so good now and I need a different strength in the morning than in the evening so you can probably tell why reading has become a little uncomfortable.This is for the really fine print.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Old Fools Journal: I Know How A Soccer Ball Feels

As you can see the knee is just scraped but like most old men I bleed profusely. Scared everyone but me. The pic of the elbow doesn't do it justice but I have done more damage just trying to get through the shed door. For several hours after the fall it looked like a horror film alien life forms crawling around under the skin. That poor elbow has been abused. There is a scar on the other side that barely shows now caused by the boat dropping out from under me in a seaway and when we met up again (me going down and the boat coming up) it was split open like a melon.

I wasn't going to say anymore about yesterdays unfortunate event but there was so much response by concerned friends that I thought to write this little update.

The bruising has gone down considerably and my knee is not even tender this morning. I usually have a lot of joint and muscle ache in the mornings and this morning was no worse than usual. I had such an adrenaline hangover last evening that I stayed up later than I normally do then took a sleeping potion. Even with that I had a very restless night. Seems my brain did not want to just shrug it off and I kept reliving getting run down until I finally gave up and got up. Even the ice cream SWMBO fixed for me did not help but it sure was good. I seldom allow that luxury but she insisted. Medicinal ice cream you know. Now it's near noon and pictures of the front of that big truck still keep flashing on my screen.

There is a lot of thinking about the future of bicycle riding going on. SWMBO is totally against it. Yesterday after the accident on the way home I was more than apprehensive, I was scared and to top it off a gravel hauling semi swerved his trailer onto the shoulder and a van passed within a foot. Murderous people but since I consider the bike my primary transportation I am going to keep riding. I've only driven my car once this month and that was 13 days ago.

Almost the first thing the driver said was "I didn't see you" but I'm happy to say that it was after he was certain that I didn't need emergency care so his priorities were OK and I believe he was genuinely concerned. He wasn't driving recklessly he just wasn't paying enough attention. I have been guilty of that.

I don't want to be called Lucky as I once knew a one eyed, one eared, three legged, castrated dog with mange and a broken tail that was named Lucky.After the event I went on to load up both saddle bags. Clearance food items at rock bottom prices that I just couldn't resist. I never drink those electrolyte drinks in the plastic bottles but I had a case of cotton mouth that you can't believe. I believe that this was the fuel that got me home.

Thanks to everyone for your concern and good wishes. This was nothing compared to what Moonpie is going through. My heart is with her everyday.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Old Fools Journal: An Unfortunate Event or Playing Bumper Cars with a Two and a Half Ton Truck

As I was cruising along this morning thinking what a wonderful day to be alive I met this truck. It's a 16,000 pound gross weight vehicle that pulled up to the stop sign and stopped, completely. That should have been a warning because no one stops for a stop sign here or a stop light either for that matter. I thought that here is a driver that is paying attention. Wrong! He pulled out into the street after I was in front of him. I had plenty of time to yell obscenities before he tapped me knocking the bicycle and me into the center of the street. Fortunately traffic was light because had it not been I would be writing this from the morgue.
As you can see the difference in size of the two vehicles is big.
The truck was probably not moving more than four mph but the ease with which that truck tossed aside 265 pounds total weight surprised me.

The driver and his companion rendered immediate assistance. got me out of the street and checked me out offering more options than I could understand (hospital, paramedics etc). In my rather dazed condition I couldn't think that fast and I had a terrible case of the shakes. My brain was not through processing the realization that I was going to be run over. It's very peaceful in your head when you know you are about to die and there is not a damn thing you can do about it. I didn't want anything but an undamaged bike and to go on my way. Those guys stayed with me until I demonstrated I could talk straight and that I was able to ride. The driver offered to give me a ride anywhere I wanted but I told him "no thanks I've already seen how you drive". With that I went on my way.

I am very fortunate. I have a bruised elbow, a skinned up knee but my hands weren't hurt and I didn't hit my head. I attribute that to years of falling down and learning to protect vital parts. Best of all the bike is not even scratched and I can now claim that it passed the crash test.

I think I'll hide under the bed for the rest of the week. Riding bicycles is safe. Riding bicycles anywhere around motor vehicles operated by humans is not.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Old Fools Journal: How We Get Oil

I got this from and found it to be an appropriate comment since we are demonstrating this procedure here on the Gulf of Oil. It's perfectly safe according to the all powerful oil industry. They guarantee it.

Come on down and get oiled or stay home and wait for the loop current or the next hurricane and we will bring it to you.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Old Fools Journal: More Whittling

Found this stick in yard

so I looked in it to see

and found this inside.

Pipe not finished yet
Needs more work on bowl and stem.
For display only.

Pipe is finished now.
What to smoke is the question.
It is a peace pipe.

Haiku is such fun
five seven five is the key.
Short story in each

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Damned Weeds

I don't know what these are called but they grow and multiply. They grow from a potato like seed and completely disappear in the winter. They get quite large. There be wild life on the other side of the fence. Lions, tigers and bears, oh my, but they look like armadillo, raccoon and possum.
Sweet onion salvaged from garbage. It had sprouted and we figured if it wanted to grow we would let it.
This is my dormant worm bed. It's a years worth of kitchen scraps reduced to rich dirt. The bin is free pallets being re-purposed. The worms came of their own accord. I estimate the voume of stuff that went into this pill at about 5 times what you see here. I cover the kitchen scraps with yard debris and whatever dirt I can find. I won't use this until these volunteers are finished. There is okra, tomatoes and squash here I think.
This sorry looking bed is garlic and it's not so sorry. I planted elephant garlic here in the late fall and it is about finished. This little bed made enough garlic last season to last us until this is ready and I eat garlic everyday.
Cayenne. If this works out I plan to grow some next year to dry.
This is my first shot at growing Italian tomatoes. I like them because they are early and hardy. I use them for salsa. We eat a lot of salsa.
Blueberry weeds by the front porch.
Sage. I was going to try to dry some of this but nothing dries here so I think I'll just freeze some. I already freeze basil and mint.
More weeds.

And they're all over the place.We thought these were killed off in the hard freeze this last winter. Shows what we know.
My favorite trike. All I have to do is pump up the tires once a year. I thought these miniatures trees of SWMBO were dead but lo and behold a miracle has happened. I don't know what all is here but some of them fight back if you get within striking range. One of these is a producing pomegranate.
Now I have to go tend to this bucket grown Better Boy tomato. It's lunch and being an omnivorous cannibal, like a pig, I will slice, batter and fry it in bacon grease. Ah sweet suicide. I guess that's not considered health food. My apologies to the vegetarians but I can't help myself.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Old Fools Journal: The Chair or I'm gonna rock all my troubles away

In my post of May 8th I reported finding this rocking chair in this ditch.
I brought in home on "the Beast".
It needed a little repair such as this front brace and seat support. That brace is made from a piece of Philippine mahogany that I found in someones trash ten or so years ago. Philippine mahogany is not mahogany but it has a nice color and is easy to work with. In this case it was cheap as in free.
I cut the tongues to fit the grooves on each end on my table saw then glued it in place using pegs made from some 3/16 bamboo dowel from my "I'll need this someday corner" to hold it in place. The chair did have some warp but this pulled it back into shape.
The seat was damaged beyond repair so I made a new one from 1 by 2 pine I had on hand from another project. I counted three different types of wood to which I added two more. Rather than paint or varnish I prefer oil. I soaked it with a product I use that is a combination of carnuba and beeswax. This is not fine furniture and appears to be hand tooled. I suspect it is of Mexican origin. It is strong, comfortable and rocks straight.
It's had a rough life but I'm going to give it a good home right under my butt. I have been looking for a rocker to replace the last one that SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) and I destroyed in a alcohol fueled sexual accident one night when we were wont to do such foolish things. That old rocker I rescued from the desert in Arizona where it had sat for who knows how long. We completely destroyed it to the point that it was only good as kindling which is where it went. It was too good and noble a chair to go to land fill. This one is much stronger.

Meanwhile while out and about last Friday doing errands and using my weekly allotment of gasoline I found this jewel that was put out as trash.
It looked like a do it yourself chair kit to me all freshly varnished and ready to go together. It was laying on top of the other trash just waiting for me.
It too had a broken seat that I'm sure is the result of the American Fat Ass public's penchant to eat five times as much as they need as quickly as possible and then do it again. Some additional bracing under the seat and some glue and it makes a rather nice looking chair. It's not finished as it still needs the rear brace and some additional pining but I'll get to that.
People throw away really nice stuff.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Old Fools Journal: How I learned to Love Big Oil or further reporting on the Gulf coast oil spill

If I could take a picture of the smell of oil on the southern breeze that replaced that awful aroma of my neighbor's fresh mowed grass last evening then you would understand. It took me by surprise as we live about 40 miles from the open Gulf. I stepped out with a glass of red wine in hand to join SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) and a friend in the garden. This is sort of a ritual with us to signal the end of the working day. We catch up and fill in the other with the days events. This day was different however as the soft moist southern breeze that feels so good smelled strongly of oil and there is not a damned thing I can do about it. (Frustration goes here)

It rained last night and the air is fresh this morning with no smell of oil but I made the mistake of turning on the radio to find nothing but doom and gloom new estimates about how much is being spilled. It appears now that no one knows how much oil is being pumped by mother earth into the Gulf. It also appears the government and the oil companies are in cahoots in the raping of the earth for profit at our expense. I wonder what planet those who profit from this sort of thing will move to. Natural disasters I class as "unfortunate events" that we deal with but this event is a form of global Russian Roulette.

It will pass in due time, with great hardship for many, then when memory fades (it fades quickly) it will be repeated probably on an even larger scale.

Washing stations have been set up to wash ships coming into the Mississippi which will add to the cost of shipping for those inland folks that think this doesn't affect them. This fuck up has created a lot of new jobs like picking up dead birds and turtles plus giving work to the out of work fishermen. I can't wait until the companies whose negligence caused this start whining about the cost much like Exxon did.

Big Oil has no respect for "Pachamama" and we will all pay for that error.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Low Tech Water Heater

This copper kettle is my most prized kitchen utensil. It heats water for tea, coffee, washing dishes and the bath. When I need steam for some hare brained idea it produces it in seconds. It is really fast but that's the way copper is. Back in 1974 when I bought and occupied the good ship "Serenity" with my beautiful future ex-wife, three girls, a dog and a cat. That beautiful woman gave it to that little ship as a house warming gift. I loved it but I didn't know how attached to it I would become. It is the first item packed along with an 8 inch "Old Hickory" carbon steel butcher knife any time I have moved. The knife is the more important tool but the kettle is the most important luxury. From the boat to campers to shacks, to houses to campground it has been with me 31 years now and I have used it practically everyday. The lid handle burned out many years ago but fortunately at the time I was parked under some Juniper trees that left knobs like you see there laying all around on the ground. All I had to do was choose one.
Here it is in it's natural habitat in "the bus" galley. In the background are other luxuries. The copper clad saute pan, copper clad sauce pan, cast iron skillet, cast iron tortilla grill and last but definitely not least the all important French press coffee pot that will make even cheap lack luster coffee taste good.

I never touch it without thinking of that woman that thought it was a good idea. It is the first utensil use in the morning and in the winter the last at the end of the day.

The bus has a gas fired water heater but it is extravagant and this kettle makes it unnecessary. Of course just a few steps away is "The Small House" with all the modern conveniences plus the cooking and living smells a women gives to a house that makes it smell like home. I hope that you know that smell.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Old Fools Journal: The All Knowing Eyeball

I talk to The Eyeball often which is really kind of weird since it has no ears to hear and no mouth to respond. I suspect it can read lips and as for a mouth I'm working on that. The problem with that is that most every time I think someone is really smart or wise they open their mouth and the disillusionment starts. I suspect I am quite often the source of others disillusionment.

It would be nice if it could blink.

It has been pointed out that it is empty and brainless. I pointed out that there are many in politics and in careers in TV that describes and it doesn't seem to bother them.

So I ask the eyeball about all that oil in the Gulf of Mexico that has shut down the oyster, crab and today, shrimping. Brown shrimp season opens today only it didn't. Something about a man made disaster that can't be controlled and its a SURPRISE. Why am I not surprised?

There is sympathy from all corners but no answers. Now, even if a fix is found I suspect there will be plenty of used shrimp boats for sale soon. Only you can't use it as a shrimp boat.

Looks like going to the beach this summer is not going to be a tourist option so just think of the gas that will be saved not going.

Oil companies are like some financial institutions in that they are just too big to fail. I don't know what the net worth of BP is but I bet its higher than the net worth of Louisiana. Last I heard BP was spending over one million dollars a month lobbying. I'll bet that they will lobby the oil spill away.

A fresh shrimp Po'boy would sure be nice. Oh well the Chinese are still importing shrimp and the shrimpers, oystermen and crabbers can all line up for unemployment such as it is.

I know that this is a weak post but the insanity of crapping your own nest is just more than I can understand. I have been burying my head in the sand to help maintain my sense of well being but the news of brown shrimp season being canceled got through.

The argument for further crapping our own nest continues.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Beautiful Morning. Too beautiful to waste.

So I went for a ride on the 1975 Schwinn. No plan, no shopping list except for a bottle of expensive hooch for SWMBO's mothers day. So off I went with every expectation of adventure. When I reach the Bayou Blue Library I spied the yellow signs you'll see in the video. This is next to the old folks recreation hall (too old for me) and the entrance to the 2+ mile paved walking trail that no one uses. The trail is sort of paved and is complete with "NO" signs.

Those yellow signs in the video have pissed me off ever since the oil company put them up. You see this is a pipeline right of way. It is also the only access to the Hollywood Canal in this park. The parish used to keep the bank of the canal cleared and people fished there but as you can see it's not so clear now except in a small spot. The Hollywood Canal was built before highways and lumber trucks when the white man came in and cut down ALL the old growth Cypress. The canal and many other canals were used to transport the trees. They were the oil companies of their day raping the environment like their children would not need a place to live.

It's peaceful down by the water with a nice shade tree but I was out for a ride so I didn't stay long. It was freezing in the Library so I didn't stay long there either besides it was too nice to be indoors. Even the people that work there were outside, smoking cigarettes of course. Chain smoking, trying to get high on tobacco. Is that dumb or what? Drug addicts.

The video is not so good as it was taken with my cheap Kodak camera but it's what I've got. Just one more thing at which I am an amatuer.

The asphalt on the right is the walking trail.

Then there is the ride home. This is only a quarter mile but it is the most dangerous part of the ride. It keeps most of those who would walk or ride a bike locked in that ghetto we live in. SWMBO won't walk it because she gets yelled at by those fine southern gentlemen in pickup trucks and she won't ride a bike so she is virtually a prisoner without a vehicle. Where the video stops is the only way in and out.

But home is home and it feels safe even when it's not.

The best part is that during this ride I found a really good rocking chair restore project so when I returned home I got out my red truck and went for it.
More on this later. It is a beauty and a great find.
I found it here. I would have never seen it from a car.
It was a nice day.
Unlike the crap I had to put up with putting this post together. It's to nasty to even talk about.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Old Fools Journal: The Future Looks Bleak

Here are a couple of links to local news. I am not usually pessimistic but I think we have bit off more than we can chew. All for making the very rich very much richer and so the peasants can drive their goddamn $30,000 dollar SUV's to the store for another pack of cigarettes and a six pack. Look Here and Here. These shrimpers who are already in dire straights bringing up the best shrimp in the world because of competition with imported Chinese shrimp know that this could be the end. Silly me I don't even worry about the big picture but only about living out the rest of my life with local sweet shrimp available. Selfish? Yes.

Do I sound resentful?

Sorry no pictures tonight, although I have some, but I've just had a minor awakening and I am not a happy camper. Drugs, wine and a good night sleep and it will be all better.

"Drill Baby Drill" has become "Spill Baby Spill". Humans being fallible will spill if they drill.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Finally, my long term memory kicked in

Last year I took this coaster brake apart to check it and grease it. Unfortunately I had a mental stoppage that prevented me from reassembling it. I don't know what happen I just couldn't do it. I tried for several days then gave up. A month or so later I tried again but no luck. I have been working on coaster hubs for years and I just could not understand my failure. I finally decided that since there is no problem to small to run away from I abandoned it. It has been laying on one of the work tables for over a year.
Yesterday after an overnight epiphany I put it together. The solution was so simple but I could not see it. Today I could see it. It is so simple that it reminds me of a troubleshoot and repair of a UHF radio when I was in the Navy. Myself and several other geeks tore that radio limb from limb but could not find the problem. Some know nothing new guy walked in and checked the fuse. What I needed in this case was for some know nothing car driver to walk in and turn the wheel over. Duh!
The rear wheel is for Her Highness' the "Grand Daughter Princess" 1978 Schwinn. The fenders are next.
For my reward my beautiful bride SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) brought me blackberries she picked from our disabled friend Thaddeus' back fence. She had gone there to cut his hair. This is only a small portion that I haven't gobbled up already. I sweetened them with Stevia and waited for what seemed like an hour (2 minutes) then started eating them slowly one at a time. So good.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Old Fools Journal: White Trash

I sit here sometimes in the evening. The chair is a 1951 Greyhound bus drivers seat with over a million miles of butts sitting on it. I have been lost for hours imagining what has been seen from this seat. I saw parts of Washington, Oregon, much of California including the Los Angeles area, Arizona, a smidgen of New Mexico, crossed Texas on I10 and stopped in Louisiana. So the seat is accustomed to my butt. I replaced it with a reclining swiveling seat. The engineer that designed this seat I hope is having to sit in one for eternity for that sin. I imagine the many drivers that sat in it for pay who felt the same way.
It's happy hour and I am sitting here in my summer work kilt and garden crocks between the motor oil and an old fruit box my wine glass covered with a home made fruit fly exclusion device (lid). I am watching an avocado seed germinate and some watermelon seed dry. Heavy work.When I look up I see this. It's overcast, warm, humid and there is rain coming. The air feels really sexy. There is life up there that the camera does not capture. These trees are full of squirrels and birds. Please don't feel sorry for me I can and will endure this.

This is the Briar Patch that I don't want Brer Fox to throw me in.