New entry in my Kilt blog 9/21/2011

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Skirts

It puzzles me that women in the USA, at least the part I'm in, have such an aversion to skirts and dresses. Women in the greater part of the western world seem to have adopted the worst of mens wear as their uniform. Most make it as drab and lifeless as men do. Most of the people in most of the world have worn some version of skirts or dresses until recent history, say the last 500 years. Some form of skirt or dress is in use til this day in most of the world by men and women. I don't see clothing as gender specific but that's just me and I am in the minority here in redneck country.

Many see skirts as woman's clothes but tell that to the a Scot and you will be corrected especially if he is drinking and wearing a Kilt. Don't call his Kilt a skirt or you'll also probably hear the word "fuck" more times in one sentence than you thought possible. Mention it to a fireman in a bagpipe band and you will be dismissed as too ignorant and inexperienced to deal with. He probably won't be buying you a beer.

The pope and his minions wear dresses. I think nobody notices because of the funny hats. I doubt Jesus had any pants(trousers). Come to think of it he probably didn't wear underwear either. I won't mention Mohammad in pants for fear of death threats. I don't believe the supreme court justices are wearing pants under their black robes and if they are then I don't think they are smart enough to be a judge. No one thinks a fireman's pipe band or the Black Watch who are called the "Ladies From Hell" is a bunch of cross dressers. There is at least one place in the world where it is illegal for native men to wear pants and many where it is the norm for men to wear unbifurcated clothing. See more here.

Here in Southeast Louisiana thousands of men look forward to Mardi Gras every year so they can get into dresses and skirts (panties and bras too). Sorry but I ain't ever gonna unnerstan mardi gras.

It is not the intention of this post to further the wearing of skirts for men as I wear what I want when I want. If it's appropriate I wear kilts, sarongs or a liene (tunic). Leine is the Gaelic word for "shirt". It doesn't actually refer to any particular kind – it can be is used for any sort of shirt. In my case, thanks to the culture here, long knee length T-shirts are readily available. Men and boys wear them here with baggy pants so you won't think it's a dress. It doesn't work. They also wear knee length nylon basketball shorts that look so much like a skirt that they might as well be.

I also wear shorts, long trousers, knickers and dress slacks when called for. I don't wear jump suits because at my age it takes to long to shed those things when nature calls. I don't wear mens suits because I have no occasion to and I don't have one. They are too much like a uniform anyway. I own no ties.

What I would like to further, however, is women and girls wearing skirts and dresses. Females do not wear mens style of clothing any better than men but they do excel at wearing skirts and dresses far better than any male. I am not going to try to analyze that but the ladies I've talked to about it agree even though most admitted liking a man in a kilt. I do very much appreciate those women and girls that are so empowered by the knowledge that women can do anything men can and they can do it in a dress and with a flair. A female in a dress or skirt, no matter what the body shape or age, looks better than in pants (trousers). The power they can wield is unfair but so far I haven't been able to find the clause that states that life is fair. If I ever find it I'll write about it here.

Men, try to be fun and pleasant. Maybe when we are no longer needed for breeding women may keep us around for entertainment. From what I've seen that is the only reason we're around now except for inertia. Read about that here.

Oh yeah and to wage wars.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Haulin' Stuff or Projects I May Never Finish

I was told this was homemade. It's put together well. It is 10 speeds with a full on chain drive differential driving the rear wheels.
The beast and the trailer worked well together.

Me thinks this might have been a pedi-cab in New Orleans. It has decals that say "Siblings" "New Orleans". Nothing on Google I could find. It has a Shimano 3-speed coaster brake and a really beefy 5/8 inch rear axle . I have not been able to determine the kind of wheels it had on the rear. The axle stub on the drive side is only 2 and 5/8ths inch. On the other side 1 and 3/4 inch. That is a very narrow hub.

I'm going to try and get one of these up and running for the gentleman that owns them. More on these later.

Today is the fifth anniversary of hurricane Katrina which was followed by Rita less than a month later. For a long time I just called that mess Katrita.

I thought by now I would pretty much have a dim memory of those events but I don't. Seems they are stronger memories than what I did last week. There were some inconveniences for us (mostly power failure related) and there was some stress until we could see it would probably miss us but I handled that in my usual way by sleeping. My attitude was pretty much the same when Gustav came along which is that of the condemned man that knows he will be hanged at dawn. Those people in and around New Orleans probably are not as dismissive about it as I am I dare say. I did pipeline inspection overflights of Lake Ponchartrain, New Orleans, Chalmette and Plaquemines Parish immediately after so I saw what they dealt with.

Things I remember: Things in the streets and on the highways that shouldn't be there such as 65 foot shrimp boats and whole houses: Houses and large buildings totally gone with only a foundation left: Cars stacked on top of each other and on roof tops: One very small backyard with a small fenced backyard had a car standing on end: A house built on a slab that floated into the middle of the street with slab attached: streets that were rivers of mud. When I retired in 2007 there were still many houses with blue tarps for roofs.

Immediately after the hurricane passed I started flying again. My route took me the length of Lake Pontchartrain through Chalmette across Murphy Oil refinery (they had a big oil spill) and down the length of Plaquemines Parish. Plaquemines Parish looked like a war zone. It was devastated. My first trip down there I saw nothing moving. Not a person, not a dog and not even birds. My second trip I saw one man in a mud boat (can't keep those Cajun fisherman down). Out in the fields away from the high ground cows and horses lined the tops of the levee's waiting for food. I didn't see many dead animals but there was water covering everything and the bloated bodies came later. As anyone who witnessed that devastation will tell you it is not something you easily forget. Pilots are known for their ability to be detached but that didn't work for me. I had bad dreams.

Gustav went five miles south of us two years ago on September the first. There was considerably more adrenaline involved in that one for us especially when the roof started coming off. It sounded like a cannon going off in the attic. We had shaking hands and adrenaline hangovers when SWMBO's birthday came around on the third. She is still pissed that it came on the first and she only got rain and a leaky roof for her birthday. What a girl.

Today's weather is fitting for those anniversaries as it is dark and foreboding with lots of rain. At least for the moment we don't have a hurricane just memories of them but we are waiting and watching the east and the south for signs.

I Dumped ATT DSL for Comcast cable broadband today. They must have a lot of new customers to be working on Sunday. I did it because ATT finally pissed me off more than Comcast did the last time I used them. For 17 years my service with ATT has only at times been acceptable but never what I would call good and that includes the phone service. Lately it has been terrible with no option to fix it that I could find other than quit. Constant disconnections, poor voice quality and several minutes to load a page just doesn't cut it. I won't go into the details of the crap I endured before making a decision but a dozen disconnects in a few hours heads the list.

I'm sure I will find something to complain about with Comcast and when I do rest assured you will hear about it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Old Fools Journal: George

George was a really nice guy but he did dumb things. For instance he knew that he was somewhat uncoordinated and in fact it bordered on spastic. One night he decided to eat a plum with a dagger. Before he was finished he had cut himself in three places, once on the ear, once on the tip of the nose and once on the left arm trying to stab a mosquito. Then he nearly stabbed himself in the back trying to scratch an itch.

George had drank a few beers that night and after the episode with the plum (it wasn't about the dagger or him it was that plum) he decide to go out for a bike ride. When he went out he saw that the deputy sheriff that was attending the wife beating celebration next door had blocked the driveway and being the good and thoughtful person he was he would just move the car up a few feet himself. He couldn't get it exactly like he wanted so instead of backing up he went around the block to re-park it. As he passed the corner convenience store he remembered that he was out of cigarettes so he pulled in to get a pack. While rummage around in the squad car looking for change he managed to set off a can of mace, fire the shotgun that was in the holder on the dash making a nice hole in the roof and reformat the deputies laptop

The mace made him sick to his stomach and what's worse it brought back some old unpleasant memories of bygone times. Forgetting that he had arrived in a vehicle he proceeded to walk home.

The deputy was still in the house helping with the domestic abuse but it was fairly quite so having had a full day George thought it a good time to go to bed. Knocking the lamp off the night stand put the light out and George drifted off into dreamland where he never broke anything.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Great Pacific Garbage Patch

SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) and I sailed through the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" and it is not a pretty sight. When I say sailed I mean sailed as we had no power but sails.

There is more than just plastic there. There are also millions of Styrofoam coffee cups and thousands of whiskey bottles. There is also the occasional telephone pole waiting to hole the boat.

This plastic bag Mockumentary is a good example of why we need to use reusable bags or at least something biodegradable.

The Chinese have outlawed them, I hear Mexico has outlawed them as well and even California (another foreign country to some folks) is trying to make them not free. Why do we Americans continue to shit in our own nest?

I carry reusable bags and use them which marks me as an eccentric old man but I still end up with more than I will ever use as trash bags or bicycle seat covers. My excesses end up as land fill where they will biodegrade in 5000 years. Whoopee.

I have learned how to make them into sew-able fabric and weave them into usable rugs but I find them so disgusting that I don't want them around even as that.

If we could only discover a way to make them into fuel or better yet wine.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Just Call Me Fixit Man

All I need is a cape and a jersey with a big F on it.

This last week has been a week of Fixit. Seems like everything is breaking.
First the left front front brake on my 23 year old jalopy smoked and made some not good smells. It happened while on the way home from the auto parts store with a brand new set of brake pads. I had picked them up because I knew they were past due. Little did I know how past due.

I no more than finished that when SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) tells me, accusingly, that her pickup truck is getting hot. I said "of course your AC is broken and it's summer". She did not crack a smile but did mention something about my lack of intelligence, perception, sensitivity and ancestry. Being a little hard of hearing I missed most of it and there were words in there that I hadn't heard since the Navy. That was on top of her playing the "catch 22" game and jumping through impossible hoops with the motor vehicle department and the school board all week. If you know someone who has had their brain removed that needs a job I'm sure either of those government offices has an opening they would like to upgrade.

The next day, aided by a young male house guest, I had her "belch fire eight" back up and producing cool pollution by noon. It didn't matter, she was on a roll and it took another 24 hours for her to wind down.That's OK I had some good eats in my refrigerator, some cold beer and the following project. It is more "fixit" but it's "fixit" artsy stuff thus can be put in the fun column.

This wind chime came to us because of Hurricane Gustav a couple of years ago. Apparently it blew down somewhere here in Trollville and the owners did what most good Americans do and threw it in the trash. One of the local boys that hangs out here drug it out and SWMBO tied a couple of broken strings together and it was up and going again. Last summer I patched it up to keep the wooden parts from falling apart. The sun and wet took its toll and it finally disintegrated.

Nothing a few bicycle parts, some seizing wire and a Pabst Blue Ribbon couldn't fix.
It's been hanging less than 24 hours in this photo and you can see the jungle is claiming it already.
I kept the original wooden clapper for continuity and added a bike feather. Feather was inspired by Kendra a very artistic young lady.
The wooden bass plate turned to crumbles. This is the middle chain ring from some 10 speed bicycle or other. Stainless seizing wire replaced the cord that it was strung together with originally.

SWMBO didn't like the way I was doing it of course but I just smiled, turned my deaf ear toward her and pressed on. She came around and I think it has grown on her.

It has such a nice sound.

*If the video doesn't play in your browser. Right click on the video and select Watch on YouTube.*

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Old Fools Journal: News from Trollville, a ghetto in SE Louisiana

After. See video for further elaboration.

When the car went by the thought came to me that some night someone was going to run off into the canal. I think this was the "some night".
The goat sums it up pretty well I think. I have been unable to find anything further about this unfortunate event and neither has the goat.

Further News
The construction of a future slum for working class folk is still going on in the the marshland behind my house. These will be ticky tacky car ports with bedrooms attached with no access except by automobile or walking in the street. There is little regard for the land or the neighbors. It is built up higher than us so their runoff will most likely affect us. Their run off goes into the ditch behind our house that already overflows. They don't mind if we get a little extra. The politicians will just wring their hands and give speeches about how unfortunate it is.
They have dug a shallow ditch across the high pressure natural gas pipeline that runs approximately along the top of the light green in the above photo and with our recent rains it has already started to erode. The pipe is four feet deep. It is an example of the lack of regard people have when it comes to living with the oil and gas industry. They could build right on top of the pipeline and someone would buy it. I know a place southeast of Baton Rouge that is a major disaster waiting to happen. There are at least three pipelines that run through densely populated housing some through the backyards. One of these is gasoline and if I remember correctly the other two are what they call product lines which means they don't want to discuss it. All are poisonous to breath and produce very hot fires. That doesn't bother these fine folk here. They build bonfires at Halloween and New Years on them.

Fashion News

Saw this high fashion rider with his lady rolling down the street him with color coordinated boxers and 4X pajama bottoms in matching blue slung low below his ass cheeks. Her with a big beautiful smile.

Blue outfits seem to be in fashion this summer. By pulling his pants down so that the hem reaches his ankles he accentuates his ankles and choice of fine footwear and at the same time outlines and enlarges his ass cheeks for your enjoyment.
Sorry about the chuckles and comment at the end but I couldn't help myself.

Babies in the news
This delightful young lady came to visit. She is truly a happy camper. Mellow, doesn't cry or whine and sleeps all night. All you have to do is look at her and she smiles. If you make a face she'll laugh. She lets everyone else do the talking. You just have to be careful not to hand her a cigar butt or a dog turd because she will grasp it firmly and shove it into her mouth. She doesn't seem to have an agenda any different than mine (eat, sleep, poop) and never is in a hurry to get away. I have seen a few happy babies but this five month old girl is in the very top percentile of people I can stand which is why she is on this page. I am definitely in love some more.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Namless Thing

or maybe this should be called "Longing For Something I Know Not What".
We know it's there, it seems to be centered in the chest but that's where the brain puts it. Some people might put it in the navel but for me it's centered in my chest dead center. A name can't be put on it so I just call it "Nameless Thing" but it's just as real as if it were a wart on the end of your nose and it is heavy like an anvil on your heart. For me the best description is "A very heavy empty spot".

Males try desperately to deny, cover or mask it, some with great success. I have seen a few men reveal it to their great embarrassment later. Some very young boys don't try to hide it but somewhere in the process of growing up the curtain comes down. For those boys that don't/can't hide it hard times come from their peers and teachers. When it is revealed men are generally ashamed thinking it is weakness.

Females have less success covering, thankfully, but some do and that's a shame. I give all the benefit of the doubt and look for signs of the "nameless thing". Unlike men, women generally are not ashamed when it's revealed. Young girls seem to reveal it most when playing alone or just dreaming with that thousand mile stare. I see that dreaming/longing expression on some older women and it's clearly mourning for that part of the life movie that should have had music but did not.

For some religion is the answer only it's not. Few if any find relief there. For others there is dedication to their work but it's not there either. Others have children but if relief is found it is fleeting.

The only relief I know is to find the connection because I am certain it is that real connection to another/other human(s). It is a multi-plug capable of functioning with one hookup or many although there seem to be few that can deal with the many. It is the connection that becomes more important than your own life. A very few find that connection but if you do and can't maintain it for some reason or other you will long for it and search for it like a heroin addict looking for another fix. It may be inter-species but I can't even begin to comment on that.

Poets write about it but some disguise the subject very well, singers sing about it and believe me you'll know when the singer knows the subject because your "very heavy empty spot" will be seriously touched. That singer is unlikely to discuss it in conversation and possibly may not even know what you are talking about when not singing.

Most never know they are looking for it. The very few that find it often don't know it unless they lose it then they may still may not know it for it is a nebulous thing.

Quite often it is real but temporary or it comes and goes but that does not make it any less valid. It just leaves us grasping at it like a person drowning grasp at a life preserver.

Some will ask "what the hell is he talking about", some will say "this is drivel" and some will say that "he does not know what he is talking about".

The question is valid and the statements are correct but I know what I'm feeling about.

So do you.

The photo at the top of the page is a memento I acquired from a shop on the back streets of Honk Kong in 1959 (one of two). It like, most everything there, was hand carved in mainland China. The shop was not for tourist but rather catered to the local Buddhist population. I had no business being there. I have not always been and oldfool. I was once a young fool.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Music To My Ears

My homemade compressor was featured in a post April 7, 2009 and I thought at the time it was done for. It was the actual air compressor that time so I ordered and received another compressor. Then I had a brain fart and fixed the old one as reported April 16, 2009. Since that little repair it has perked right along reliably with the new compressor looking on threatening its very existence.

This time it's the 1940's vintage electric motor (shown here). It would run but it wouldn't get up to speed and it appeared to have a light show or an arc welding class going on inside. After I tired of watching the light show (I am so easily entertained) I took it to the experts at Gulf South Armature here locally and they were kind enough to tear it down and diagnose the problem. It was as I feared, terminal. It has gone to the great scrap pile in the sky to be melted down and made into something else.Motors large enough to be used for this purpose are expensive but I happen to have one left over from a Craftsman compressor that my dad gave me back in the nineties when he was preparing to die. I finished wearing the compressor part out. Unlike the 90 year old ammonia compressor it was unrepairable and made to be that way. It was also made as a motor/compressor so if one part wore out or broke you were suppose to discard it all. This is not one of those tools Sears guarantees for life. The photo above is of sawing the cheap Chinese compressor off the end casting on the motor using the hacksaw I found on the road on one of my bike rides. It even had the correct blade. This saw has a deep throat, pardon the expression, that is the distance between the blade and the frame is wider than a conventional hacksaw. I would have had to do some careful maneuvering (I love that word, it's so French) with a normal hacksaw.

Here is the motor with the aluminum compressor casting removed. It is fitted to the last of a luan board I found in the trash 10 or more years ago. The pulley wheel came off the old motor. I bought that pulley wheel in Hawaii more than 25 years ago for a project on my boat that never got beyond the parts buying phase. I never throw anything away. This motor shaft is bigger than the old motor but I clamped it to the work table, hooked it up and held a file to it until it fit.

This is music to my ears after being a month without

It now comes up to pressure in half the time it did with the old motor and makes much less noise doing so once again thwarting the evil throw away society. I wonder where "away" is anyway. I suspect there is no such place. It would probably be more appropriate to say "throw someplace else" instead of "throw away".
I spend entirely too much time thinking about such things.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Premonitions

I arose yesterday morning with terrible premonitions of doom and anxiety. I don't know why but maybe it's an old man thing. Determined to not let it stop me I groomed myself so that I would at least not look scary because I really don't like it when little children cry and grown women cringe at my appearance. Pressing on through the thoughts of the many painful ways I could die before the day was out I strolled forth on my quest for getting out of the black mood I've been in lately.

It started raining. Hmmm not a good way to begin. (I read that we get a billion gallons of rainwater per square mile per year here). Taking two umbrellas, two cameras and wearing my rain sandals I set off. Three miles later I hear a loud thunk in the right wheel well but everything seemed to be all right except for the wind and thousand gallon a minute rainfall and I pressed on to the thrift store. After parking I notice the car seemed to be down in the bow and listing slightly to starboard. A few minutes later I was looking at a very flat tire that I had conveniently parked in the biggest mud puddle in the lot. I began wishing for one of the other painful ways to die.

I visited the thrift store spending a whole dollar and a quarter then when it stopped raining I put on the spare wheel and went on my way. I found an old fashion service station right in the village that had employees that were ready and willing to be of service and at a reasonable price. Two of them ride bikes to work, they all speak English and I will be going back there.

On one of my recent forays into the village of Raceland, La I saw this.
I had never seen one here before and I wouldn't have noticed this one except that I saw this gang of hoodlums making for it at great speed. They had obviously been there before as they rode up to and into it before dismounting. Ah the bravado of youth.

I don't usually go to that side of the store but I was admiring this blue beauty
leaning against the wall resting between the doors when the gang rode up.
That's a serious basket.

A few feet away I found this locked to the sign post. I can only guess that since bike racks are so rare that these individuals did not recognize it. This is the only bike rack I can recall seeing within a fifteen mile radius of my house.

Raceland where my favorite thrift store and now my favorite service station is coupled with Mathews two miles down the bayou is a fairly complete village. There seems to be everything one might need from a town. There is a library, post office, hardware stores (with basic bike parts), feed and seed store, general store, grocery stores, schools, hospital, numerous eating places, the ever present Wal-mart and much more. I wish I lived a little closer. Even though I live only five miles from downtown Houma, La. I come here because it's quicker and there is much less traffic.

It's ten miles down a very busy dangerous high speed highway and so a trip to town would be and all day affair on a bicycle and I'm just not up to it. Maybe when I get younger.

Oh No More books
More stuff and books. It has been so hot that I've been spending a lot of time indoors especially in the afternoon. I am almost caught up on the repairs and cleaning of things so I started trying to pare down the pile of books on the to be read list. So what am I thinking when I go to the thrift store and bring home another pile of books? Fortunately I read fast and three of these are more less reference books. I'm a sucker for reference books. One is a pop-up so it doesn't take long.

Old time tin plated and crank flour sifter with cup measurements stamped into the side. Mule shoe, old but machine made and never used. It has carpenters nails in it and was probable hung for good luck. It's now my soldering iron holder.
The reason I know it's a mule shoe is I was once a farrier. I attended the Western School of Horseshoeing in Phoenix, Arizona and learned the rudiments of blacksmith horseshoeing from the extremely capable Delroy Western. I didn't last long at it after school as I was 43 years old when I started and I ruined my wrist and elbows. My back held up OK but it was three years before my wrist stopped hurting. If you are going to do that work start young. I never got very fast but I never crippled a horse and I actually helped a few. I'll write a post about this interesting episode one day.
I still have my tools except for the forge and I'm gathering the parts to build another. I miss being able to work steel.
Oh yeah, a mules feet are shaped quite different from horses and unlike a horse they are the same front and back.

This was going to be short but I seemed to have gotten carried away.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Fun with Oil

Is this the world you want?

We have another oil well blow out. They seem to be coming hot and often these days.

When I was flying pipeline in this area just northwest of here there was a blow out that closed the area for months. I was not allowed to go near it in the airplane as it was natural gas and it was bubbling up all over the place.

Further north a few miles there was a natural gas blow out six or five years ago that spontaneously ignited. Fortunately for me it was not a patrol day as I regularly flew right over the site. It melted the steel high tension electrical towers hundreds of feet away.

I live about 100 meters from such a pipeline. There is a local idiot developing a housing project next to it and has dug a drainage ditch across it. Life is cheap here and brains are not rare but they are rarely used.

The white strip at the top of the photo is a drag strip/race course for motor cars. We not only produce it we burn it but mostly it's so you can drive your gas guzzler a half mile to the gym for exercise.

Just a little something to brighten you day.

I am in a piss poor mood.

Old Fools Journal: Just In the Nick of Time

1975 Schwinn: Some assemble required.

The title reflects on the chain. It was hanging on by one side of one link. It didn't have another quarter mile in it. Cheap Chinese chain.
It amazes me that it is not stretched and otherwise looks to be in excellent condition.

Since the Sky Gods are crying on me and Thor is having a fit throwing his hammers I think today will be a day of bicycle meditation and listening to music that being the only form of multi-tasking I seem to be able to do.

Today will be a day of admiring the elegant simplicity of this magnificent machine. I may even do a little prep for painting.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Something For The Imagination or Looks Like an Alien Device to Me

Here is something to pique your imagination.
I don't know what came over me.
Here I was minding my own business reading a book when trying to find a clear place to lay the book down for a minute I noticed there was no place.
Stuff piled everywhere.
So I decided to clear a little spot, then I decided to just clean off my little work table next to my computer desk.
Having the concentration of an eight year old I of course got side tracked.
This is what happened.

Looks like an alien device to me.
It's hypnotic.
I think I'll try to palm it off on somebody as an "Alien artifact from the Roswell flying saucer crash". Be just my luck someone would fall for it then I'd get hit with a fraud charge.
Is there such a thing as rustic electronic art? Probably not.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Surprise!

The jungle is taking back the land.

The migratory birds will be coming soon some to just fuel up and continue. Some to spend the winter. Boy, are they in for a surprise. We have a new oil spill in Barataria Bay now to add to BP's fun time. There is some hopeless futile worry about that with talk of artificial refuges for those tourist. Those who would provide these rest stops just haven't figured out how to direct the birds to them. It's not like you can put up a sign that says "we're sorry we shit on your rest stop but if you'll go 20 miles inland you'll find a nice little spot".

This area host millions of migratory birds every year and that's not just a number, that is something I personally witnessed for seven years. I didn't just see them I flew with them. I just went faster, made a lot of noise and smelled like burned gasoline. I only hit a few.

All that area along the edge of the gulf is loaded with thousands of dead unattended oil wells and it's crisscrossed with hundreds of pipelines. Someday when all the land is gone and I guess that won't be long the pictures from space will show South East Louisiana as a pile of pick-up sticks because of all the crisscrossing pipelines. I think those pipelines are all that's holding this mud together now. I know about that because my job was to fly over it once a week at low altitude in a small airplane and inspect it. Not only for what was leaking but for what I thought might leak for whatever reason. That's how I came to know the birds.I may have to wait until winter to reclaim this hose.

Areas that have been in the news recently I came to know intimately from the air. I did this before and after Hurricane Katrina so I have etched in my mind the before and after pictures of that storm. I do wish I had documented those flights with a camera but I did not.

This was paid for by the pipeline companies. Pipeline companies don't have anything to do with drilling and spilling. There purpose is to deliver the oil but even with that there are two different parts to pipeline companies those that build pipelines and those that operate pipelines. I only concerned myself with those who deliver since their sole concern was to deliver oil and that means no spill. There is no profit if the oil is spilled instead of delivered.

Those pipeliners that do that work take it seriously because they have to live here too but I cannot say that for some of the owners of the pipelines. Of course they don't want a spill but that's not from the goodness of their heart it's based on profit. It appeared to me there was a lot of paperwork and maneuvering to be in a superior position in case of lawsuits or fines by the government. They always try to pass the blame down the line to some lesser contractor or individual. It's a sleazy game corporations enjoy.

I justified making a living off oil by seeing myself as a protector and handled myself accordingly. I took it seriously and took no shortcuts. Looking back on it I realize now how much I disliked the whole sleazy oil business but I had to do right or the earth and us who live there suffer the consequences. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. I had to help them make a profit even though I disliked that dirty business. They had me right where they wanted me but one mistake and I would have been thrown into the volcano in an eye blink.

Corporations have no conscience or responsibility and there are no mental giants in the oil industry.
Meanwhile these two lovers don't know anything about oil and at the moment don't care about anything but the business at hand. The last I saw of them she was smoking a cigarette and he was wandering off looking for a beer. He didn't hang around to make small talk.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Coffee? Yes, Black Please

Back in the mid seventies I was drinking instant coffee when my girl friend, who was a high class women with exquisite taste and long legs, ask why if I wanted to drink coffee did I drink warm brown water. She bought me a book on coffee, made me some really high quality coffee and a monster was created.

Since then I have owned many coffee makers and have made coffee every way I could find including in a sock. I can now make a decent cup of coffee in a tin can if that's all I've got. What follows is my favorite. It involves a ritual, you can smell it brewing (part of the ritual) and it makes a damned good cup of coffee.
I love my morning coffee and this is what I want it to look like. I put it in this clear glass cup for this post but sometimes I drink from this cup because I believe that coffee is like beer in that it is enjoyed visually as well as by taste. The rim of the cup is too thick so I don't use it often. If I'm going to add a topper to the coffee I really like a tall thin glass so that the coffee can be seen in contrast to the topper. In summer I sometime drink it in a ice tea glass with ice cubes just to enjoy the visual affect and that is the only time I use sugar.
I heat two cups of water in this pot every morning. I try not to boil it but my attention span being what it is I get what I get.
I pour it into this fench press into which I have put two heaping tablespoons of dark roast coffee and set the timer for four minutes. Timing is not critical but it does remind me I am making coffee. If I don't have dark roast then I use three heaping tablespoons.
I can make three eight ounce cups of coffee in this pot but I usually just make two. I find that endless cups of coffee make it not so special after a while.
It is then poured through this filter into my handmade cup from Mexico given to me by a former lover and dear friend. The filter is the cheapest I can find and is just to remove the solids that get through the screen in the french press. It is not critical it just makes the coffee pretty.
I have been drinking coffee from this cup for over thirty years and it just feels right. I like it for several reasons. It's white inside so it shows off the coffee, it retains the heat quite well, it has a thin rim so feels right to the lips and it holds eight ounces. Anything less is a waste of time. I assume now that the glazing is not poisonous or that it is so slow acting that I'll die of old age before it gets me.

Thanks Genie.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Old Fools Journal: The Omelet

Cayenne. When picked hang in a dry place by sewing a thread through the stems. When completely dry chop or pulverize. Use sparingly. Not recommended as a suppository.

He broke his eggs directly in to a warm copper clad sautè pan that already had a small amount of melted butter and quickly whisked them to an even consistency. Placing a lid on the pan he turned to the cutting board and sliced two mushrooms and a quarter of a jalapeño.

Removing the lid from the sautè pan he added a pinch of salt, the jalapeño and a liberal amount of fresh ground pepper while the eggs were still semi liquid. Replacing the lid two pieces of sourdough toast that were made while buttering the pan were placed on the lid to keep warm.

Taking a plate from the cupboard he sliced a tomato into three thick slices and salted them with a pinch of salt from the salt cellar with his fingers for it had been some years since he could see the salt falling from a shaker.

Once again removing the sautè pan lid the mushrooms that had been cooked slightly while making toast and ½ slice swiss cheese were added to the egg on one side. Carefully sliding the spatula under the egg he begin to fold it over the mushrooms and cheese. Good, the egg was not browned on the bottom and was sticky enough not to slide. The omelet rolled easily into the classic omelet shape.

Adding a small amount of leftover potatoes au gratin to the pan to warm he replaced the lid to let the eggs finish cooking.

Sipping his black Louisiana dark roast coffee he could smell the omelet and it was good.

A moment later he slid the omelet and the potatoes onto the plate with the toast and tomato.

Breakfast was served.