New entry in my Kilt blog 9/21/2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Classic Cars or Fascination with death machines

Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chain - at least in a poor country like Russia - and his vanity begins to swell out like his tires. In America it takes an automobile to produce this effect.
Leon Trotsky

There are a few modified classic automobiles that seem to be used as daily drivers around here. I call them classic Hot Rods.
 While errand running on my bicycle the other day I found this parked at the bank.  I had seen it drive by the house several times but never had the chance to snap a photo.
 I recognized it as a mid 1930's Chevrolet because one of closest friend in 1956 had a 1933 coupe that we ran around in once in a while. I had a 1936 Ford three window.
Looking through the louvers I could see that the engine had nothing to do with the year model since it was a chrome plated V8.  Chevrolet did not produce a V8 until 1955.  When they got around to it they produced a real kick ass motor.

I have had some experiences with the Chevrolet inline six.

 I now longer care about automobiles but classic lines are classic lines and should be appreciated.  Automobiles are like heroin because we have become addicted to them even though they are killing us.
Even in the thirties cars looked a lot alike.  Seems like everybody copied everyone else then as well as now. Anyone that dared to be different was destined to fail. There are many notable examples.

You could line up a half a dozen and you couldn't tell them apart at 500 feet.  These days you can line up a hundred of them and cannot tell them apart.

The buffalo isn't as dangerous as everyone makes him out to be. Statistics prove that in the United States more Americans are killed in automobile accidents than are killed by buffalo.
Art Buchwald

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Flea Wars Continued

“A man thinks he amounts to a great deal but to a flea or a mosquito a
human being is merely something good to eat”
Don Marquis (1878-1937)

Like the Libyans the fleas and I have reached a stalemate I believe.  It may only be wishful thinking but I believe I have them contained right here all around me.  The rest of the State can relax as I have them all right here.  I am happy to report that many of them are dead and many more will die as I intend to kill until I run out of money.

The shop as been bombed and sprayed with expensive deadly chemicals everyday for a week and there are still survivors.  I may be developing a new unkillable flea resistant to everything but fire.  The flame thrower has been ruled out (I can't find one anyway) as  we are under a burn ban because of the drought. It's 90 degrees with 52% humidity and a SE wind of 16 mph. With that even the water will burn here. So no fire. It's hard to believe that only two weeks ago I was burning evidence in my stove to take the morning chill off.

We now believe that the fleas infestation was brought on by the rat infestation we recently had. The rats I'm sure came from the former open land behind the house that is being developed into a future housing bubble and slum area.  We killed the rats and the fleas decided to stay with us.  I am hoping we can avoid another incidence of "the Black Death".

"The Black Death" also called "the Plague" is caused by the bacterium Yersinia Pestis which is carried by fleas that ride around on rats.  Yersinia Pestis is a catchy name that I am thinking of  giving (renaming) to our new black dog.  "Sic'em Yersinia" has a nice ring to it.

SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) is out cutting the weeds with our gasoline guzzling fire breathing lawnmower.  That's womens work here.  She complains if it isn't cut and if I cut it she complains about how I do it so I take the easiest path.  I have promised to go get her some beer however.  I have also promised that if she falls over dead that it will never be cut again except for paths to the edible stuff.

Our entertainment one evening this last week.

This may be paradise and I am just to stupid to see it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Old Fools Journal: FLEAS or The Invasion of the Godless Killer Flea Hoards

They are everywhere attacking from the ground, covering the legs up to the knees instantly but at least they are not yet organized and none were carrying weapons.   I on the other hand have, like despicable despots before me, decided to murder and disable them using chemical warfare.  Genocide is my intention but when brought before the inevitable Flea courts I will deny that. I am now working on killing the babies but I think I've gone around the bend as I now giggle when I squash one between my thumbnails.

I ate meat last night, burnt foul smelling incense to the gods of insect wars and laid plans for another assault today.  Upon arising I put on war paint, girded my loins and prepared for another day of laying waste to the hordes of babies, children and old of the Fleas.  I drool at the thought of killing them all and their mothers.

While having coffee I noticed that there were none on my carpet, or in my bed and none jumped me trying to get my wallet on the way to the bathroom. When I went outside I was flea free unlike yesterday when they would drag you down try to eat you in one seating.  However the shop is a different story.  I have over the last three days set off three bombs of deadly chemicals and completely coated the shop to waist height with deadly spray chemicals of three different variety's but today within 15 seconds I was attacked by a gang of baby fleas with switchblade knives and an appetite. I think the only solution there is to burn the shop down and salt the ashes.  I escaped with my life and counter-attacked with more than enough chemicals to make Saddam Hussein blush.

I expect I have shortened my life by a sizable amount dealing with these chemicals but it will be worth it to not have to scratch flea bites.  I also probably have gone down in local Fleadom as a the mad killer of 2011.

Now I need a nap because  on top of the fleas there are other problems caused by my dumbassed grandson that has just worn me out. I'm locking the door, taking the phone off the hook (figuratively speaking) and hiding under the bed with the monster if she doesn't have fleas.

If I wake up I am going to start the battle anew if I can find my flame thrower.

Oh yeah, the dumbassed grandson can just wait.  Maybe by the time I get up he will have finished sawing off the limb he is sitting on.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Chives or My Teapot Lives On.

Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company.  ~Author Unknown

My darling daughter gave me this teapot may years ago. Notice how old people use the term "many years ago" when they can't remember how long. I was living on the good ship "Serenity" then so it has been more than 25 years ago.
It was wonderful and magicical. When she gave it she did not know it was the perfect gift. I have treasured it and I have also made many pots of tea in it.

Alas, things don't last forever so when it sprung a leak I inspected it and found many spots where it was eroded through. It was time to re-purpose. About five years ago this chive was planted in it. It supplies us with all the chives we ever need. I clip what I need a couple of times a week. I like chives in scramble eggs, any kind of potatoes especially baked, garnish for soups, in salads, in salsa and on peanut butter but then I like anything on peanut butter. Chives can fancy up just about anything it you like the oniony flavor. I do.

I am truly surprised at the nunber of people that do not even know what chives are.
This exotic expensive looking plant is an Avocado tree. Specifically it is a Haas avocado tree. I started the seed on the back of my galley sink from an avocado I ate last year for lunch. It made it through the winter outdoors.

Free bucket, dirt from the worm pile, seed that usually goes to compost or landfill equals one five dollar (at least) plant.  No work or expense in this just satisfaction.  It sat outside through the winter freezes with a minimal cover so it is hardy enough.

I am told that a male and a female are required to have fruit but I have not researched that.  I am satisfied and happy that it decided be here with me for a while. It owes me nothing as it has already given me the gift of growing.

 Last year in collaboration with the next door neighbor, SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) planted some blackberry cuttings.  We thought they died as they completely disappeared.  They came back. In the crappy phone picture above we intend to have a complete blackberry thicket in this corner.
 They not only came back they came back in force. We were told they were black berries but I think they are way too plump and sweet to be.  Meanwhile a few years a go she planted some blackberries she mail ordered along the back fence and they shriveled up and disappeared. Last year nothing but this year while cleaning up outside the fence these little vines kept catching at my clothes and on closer inspection I discovered blackberries coming up six to eight feet from where originally planted. Sneaky devils.  They are being trained back to the fence.
 You know where this is going.
Straight into my tomato hole. Don't need teeth to eat these.  The two plants pictured above in the container is loaded with them.  So far I can eat them faster than they can grow.

I graze so a lot of stuff never gets to the table.

Unemployment is capitalism's way of getting you to plant a garden. ~Orson Scott Card

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Here Come De Water or How I learned to live in constant crisis and love it.

“The "control of nature" is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and the convenience of man” ~Rachel Carson
Since I have had several inquiries about my health and welfare regarding the coming floods I thought that instead of replying to each one to just post a little something about it here.

Most people in the world and damned near all of the people in the USA have never heard of the Atchafalaya basin or it's river.  It's name is from the Choctaw for long river and it is where the Mississippi wants to be now.  It has been moving that direction for a long time and despite the hubris of congress passing a law that says it is only allowed to carry 30 percent of the Mississippi's water it will go there eventually.  Any action by the Army Corp of Engineers only delays it.  The law that limits the amount of water is as big a folly as making a law against earthquakes or hurricanes.  The Mississippi does not give a crap what Congress or any other humans want.

The silt from the Mississippi is what built this part of Louisiana and to do so it had to move back and forth over about two hundred miles at the gulf end otherwise this part of Louisiana would be a long narrow peninsula.  In the past 3000 years it has moved back and forth from Bayou Teche on the west side to east of where it is now back to Bayou Lafourche to where it currently is. In the  1950's it became apparent that the Mississippi was changing rapidly to the Atchafalaya and in the 1960's the damming started.  If it had not been done New Orleans and Baton Rouge would, likely as not, no longer exist as we know them.

It is certainly arrogance on man's part to think this arrangement is permanent and I think we are being given a little warning that the River is going to go where it wants. Ultimately there is not a damn thing we can do about it.

Humans are not controlling the river they are only controlling who it currently floods first.

Here is a PDF file with some history of the Atchafalaya. It is 92 pages but you will have a good idea of what the Atchafalaya and the Mississippi are about in the first few pages.  It is a good read.

Our place in Bayou Blue is on average 4.23 feet (1.20 m) above sea level. The floor of the house is 24 inches and the floor of the bus is 36 inches above that.  The house should not get water inside with a 6 foot flood that is unless some idiot in a speed boat does not go by at full throttle which given the level of intelligence I have observed here is likely. The floor of the bus should be good to 7 feet.  Sounds good doesn't it.  Read on.

Last year we had a series of thunderstorms in the area that put water under the house and that was just rain storms. There were no other factors involved. during that rainstorm the property that has since been developed behind the house absorbed its share of water and when the water backed up it was covered with its share of water.  Now it is set up to drain its water into the ditch behind my house that was full to overflowing in a rainstorm.  It has also been built up about five feet so backed up water can't cover it.  The water has to go somewhere and you can probably guess where. I smell a class action lawsuit in the future right after the next flooding.

There have been announcements by the government that we should get no flooding but I have zero confidence in the government here.  No, make that less than zero unless a bribe is involved. See two paragraphs above about "level of intelligence".

It appears to me that without the constant delivery of new silt to this area that southeast Louisiana is doomed to extinction eventually.  Everything is built on mud and bedrock is about 7000 feet straight down.  Everything that does not float  sinks toward the center of the earth under the influence of gravity. That includes garden rocks, levees and the Morganza spillway.

We lived on the water a good portion of our lives and became aware of how temporary living on land is. We adapted to living on the water and could probably live in it if we had to but mud is another thing altogether.  I think I'll start shopping for another boat. Since the surface of the planet is mostly water it just seems like the smart thing to do.

“The insufferable arrogance of human beings to think that 
Nature was made solely for their benefit,
 as if it was conceivable that the sun had been set
afire merely to ripen men's apples and head their cabbages.”
 ~Cyrano De Bergerac

Friday, May 13, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Traffic or Where did everybody go?

Be happy while you're living, for you're a long time dead.
Scottish Proverb

I was struck with a terrible urge for a certain book the other day by the title of "Edible Plants Of The Gulf South" by Charles M. Allen. So I hopped on my bike and rode off  to the library through the broken glass, sharp scrap metal and broken car parts.
Much of the ride was like what you see above. The top picture is a very busy highway and this is what it was like just before noon.  It looks like the end of the world but that's not until Saturday at 6:00 PM. I've never seen it that empty at that time of day.

At least I didn't have to ride in the trash on the side but instead rode right down the center.  Of course there were a few cars but only a couple tried to see if they could knock me off the bike without actually touching me.  It was a nice ride except for the flat I was awarded a half mile from home.  I elected to walk it on home instead of fixing it on the spot.  I'm happy to say my feet still work fine as a transportation device.
On arriving at home I found these shrimp languishing in the freezer of the ubiquitous white trash refrigerator on the back porch. These are the last of the pre-oil spill shrimp. They had the consistency of fresh cardboard but smell and taste like shrimp. With a liberal amount of butter, garlic, black pepper and some home grown asparagus for color it was delicious.  I thought of these today while eating a piece od dead chicken I found in the inside refrigerator today.

The government keeps telling me the local seafood is safe to eat now but it is expensive.  I know the government would rather lie than tell the truth and having caught them at it before I am just a touch disbelieving.  The Chinese joint I go to will sell me fat meaty shrimp from South America for $3.50 a pound already cooked but I don't like to eat stuff that has traveled so far.

Long Cat catching an afternoon nap.

I often wonder what they are think about when sitting on a high spot surveying their world. If it were human it would probably go like this "It's mine all mine now if I could only get more." Since it is a cat it's probably "is that moving thing food and if not can I breed it?"  Of course they always have world domination on their minds.

Oh yeah I got the book I went for and it looks good. Book report coming.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Fear

If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. -Albert Einstein

When I was young I learned an old Irish toast. "Born in pain, live in fear and die alone." Some years ago I decided that since I can't do anything about the "born" part I would try to improve the "live" part. What I used to think was keeping private I realized was just fear of being found out. So I'm not so private now but I still have fear and am constantly bombarded by those who would have me fear. Fear is exercised as a means of control just as it has always been. The more fear the more control.

It seems we Americans sometimes feel pity for those people in the world that live under regimes that cultivate and rule with fear not even realizing that we live under the rule of fear.  Fear of April 15th, fear of a heart attack, fear of a stroke, fear of financial ruin, fear of no insurance, fear of the police, fear of death and the biggy, fear of anything that looks, smells or sounds different.

The government and the church uses these fears for control and we just had an eight year regime that used fear to the maximum.  The news media stokes the fires of fear with great glee not even knowing that fear is used to control them as well.

The insurance companies imply untruths to increase fear so that you will buy their fraudulent product and the so-called health industry invents drugs for illnesses they invented as well.  Those illnesses are likely as not non-existent but they care not. They fill you with fear so you will buy that new drug.  They even go so far as to ask you to tell your doctor that you need that new drug.

I recently saw an advertisement aimed at causing you fear of having a power outage and having no portable backup so you could continue to watch "I love Lucy".  Another by Cadillac tried to make me afraid that my windshield wipers would not work correctly at 195 MPH but if I would just buy their car they had the solution.

I get a lot of junk mail from local mortuaries trying to make me afraid that if I don't buy their services people will talk trash about me after I'm dead. Like I'll care.

Living without fear is difficult at best. When I can suppress the fear of drunk drivers texting while driving below the level of desire to go somewhere then back out of my driveway I immediately start looking for the police.  They are 100 times more likely to be a hassle than the bad guys. I am a very careful driver and try to stay within the law at all times but I still fear the cops more than the car jackers. That was brought on by having received a few awards over the years that were made up.  So I drive in fear of that instead of fear of the real dangers.

Fear is not just spread by those who would rule but also by our fellow man.  Email is full of our good fellow citizens that will believe anything fearful and are willing to forward it to others without checking so that everybody on their email list can fear it as well.  If you forward fear mongering bullshit to me I will check it then I will know more about you than you probably meant to disclose.

For me it boils down to rejecting all things that are pushed on me to fear.  Some I probably should fear but since I can't tell the real from the make believe I just reject all.  These days I only fear things that go bump in the night, lightning, SWMBO  (she who must be obeyed) and religious zealots not necessarily in that order.  The monster that lives under the bed I no longer fear so much because she shares her space with me when I need refuge and we have much in common.  The boogieman no longer is much of a problem but the boogiewoman is another matter. My paternal grandfather had  a name for the boogieman. It was "Hum Hum Floop-n-flop". As a child I thought it so funny I forgot to be afraid which is what he intended I am sure.

 I have no fear of the one and only god of the Christians,  Moslem's  and Jews (the same boogieman)  as he can't even keep his constituents from killing each other off.  Odin is no problem as he is usually busy with  his offspring's and his own temper tantrums.  I don't mess with Mother Nature so I have no fear of Mother Nature. When all is said and done Mother Naure is my solace and comfort.  She has always treated me fairly.  I do have great respect and awe however and try to stay out of her way. That's something the Army Corp of Engineers is very slow in learning.

There is not a truth existing which I fear... or would wish unknown to
the whole world. -Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Mothers Day

All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his. 
 ~Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895

I know I'm old so it shouldn't matter but I miss having a Mother.

If you have a Mother think carefully about your actions. Some Mothers do not deserve being even called a Mother but most deserve at least your respect and reverence even if you dislike hanging out with her.

Mine was one of the good ones. I know a half-dozen others that deserve being kneeled before.  Especially those that did not come by being a good Mother naturally but had to work at it.  Mine came  by it naturally but had she not she would have undoubtedly worked at it.

Good or bad your Mother is still your Mother.  If she did not eat you when you were young (I understand why some eat their young) give thanks to her.  At some time I'm sure she thought about it.

Most females can become a Mother and most Mothers get to be that way having fun. How they handle the results of the fun is what makes a Mother.  Not all Mothers have ever been pregnant.  Pregnancy is required for child bearing but not required for being a good Mother.

Happy Mothers Day to all Mothers whether you have children or not.  You know who you are.

There is an instinct in a woman to love most her own child - and an instinct to make any child who needs her love, her own.
~Robert Brault

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Handlebar Bag Update

Be Prepared
That's the Boy Scout motto. I was never a boy scout because I could not meet the dress code or the moral code and wouldn't show up for meetings. That was in the cub scouts and my mother had the wisdom to know that I was just not cut out for it.  I took their motto serious however.
This handlebar bag was mentioned and shown back in Feburary 2010 so I thought I would give a little update on its performance since I recently did some repairs and improvements.

This was a 50 cent ladies purse I purchased at my favorite thrift store.  I say "Lady's" but I'm not sure since I could find no genitals so that I could sex it.  Kittens are easier to sex.  Anyway one of the straps could not take the strain and was tearing at the side of the purse where it was attached. I carry full size tools as my experience with multi-tools is not good so the bag is heavy. So far I have not had to be rescued and have been able to fix breakdowns on the road.   Also tying it to the handlebars proved a little cumbersome and tedious
 The straps are quite long so I wrapped them around under the body of the bag and secured them with rivets then added this buckle (from the thrift store 35 cents).  The buckle is adjustable and fastens with just a twist.  Since the strap is wrapped once around the handle bar there is no strain on the buckle.  See one of the rivets in the photo below just under the zipper pull.
  The hole punch and rivets I had left over from some hippy projects and sandal making in 1966 that I acquired by trading labor for stuff bypassing the government middleman.

I expect some trouble with the rivets as the leather in the purse is very light and soft but the straps wrap around underneath the bag carrying the weight so it may not be an issue.  One of the advantages of making something yourself is that you can repair it. I expect I will have to do some stitching and reinforcing from time to time.  Of course I could do it the American way and trash it then buy (thirty five dollars and up) a new one that says bicycle handlebar bag on it.

Real bicycle riders will no doubt think I have too much stuff but there is nothing here that I have not used and been glad to have.

I may not have been able to tell what sex the purse was but there is no doubt about Panda see below napping in the ball basket.   He  can nap anywhere.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Bicycles are about the only thing that makes sense to me

All bicycles weigh fifty pounds. A thirty-pound bicycle needs a 
twenty-pound lock. A forty-pound bicycle needs a ten-pound lock. 
 A fifty-pound bicycle doesn't need a lock. ~Author Unknown

 While out and about running errands last Friday I saw this in the Walmart Chinese outlet.  It's a Huffy. Huffy made bicycles in the USA from 1887 until 1999 when the All Mighty Wizards in the supreme court declared that mass produced by slave labor chinese imports did not pose a threat to the few remaining bicycle manufacturers in the USA. They went out of business shortly thereafter follow quickly by the others.  Huffy is now just another scummy corporation that imports stuff made by seven year old children in Asia and tries to buy the government through lobbyist. (That paragraph makes me sound a little biased).

This appears to be a practical bicycle for flat ground. It has fenders, a basket, a holder for your Pabst and a welded rear rack that is part of the frame. The rear of the rack slides out about six inches for an oversize load. It is a single speed coaster brake bike with a decent seat. I would ride it but not until I took it apart and put it back together again. I don't have much faith in the assemblers at wally world.  $178.00. I saw one parked behind a business in town yesterday so somebody is buying them.

I have been seeing a number of people recreating on practical upright dutch type crank forward bikes since the weather warmed up.  The only people I see using them for transportation however are scumbags like me. Bottom feeders, homeless and no drivers license types.
 This thing followed me home.  It has been laying out in the brush behind a neighbors shed for we don't know how long.  Long enough to turn the chain into a pretty solid mass.
 Plenty of grass in the spokes but I think it could be cleaned up and be usable to someone. I just don't feel like doing it.
 This rear triangle is all I wanted for my next cargo bike but it turns out that it has a lot of usable parts including tires and tubes that still hold air. There was enough air in them to carry it's own weight while I led it home.  I don't think these folks around here have ever seen anyone riding one and leading one. You would have thought I had two heads or something.
The cost of the parts (about $25.00)to get it going would exceed the value of the bike here. Fifty miles from here in New Orleans might be a different story. Since I stopped being a non-profit charitable organization it is not likely I'll fix it up.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Setting Tiger Traps or Stay out of my Jalapeños

Eccentricity is not, as dull people would have us believe, a form of madness.
It is often a kind of innocent pride, and the man of genius and the
aristocrat are frequently regarded as eccentrics because genius and
aristocrat are entirely unafraid of and uninfluenced by the opinions and
vagaries of the crowd.
- Edith Sitwell

Damned cats! Get off my lawn.
If you look close you will see the punji stakes in the pot.  Some cat climbed in there, yanked the plant out and smoothed itself out a bed for a nap.  I found the plant next to the pot fairly well dried up.  The stem wasn't broken however so I stuck it back into the dirt, added water and for magic shook the medicine rattle over it.
Medicine rattle
The brick is to take up space and they are not very comfortable to take a nap on.  Since I only wanted to make it an undesirable place to sleep I did not put human feces or poison made from frog spit on the punji stakes like the Viet Cong did.

As you can see there are no cats napping here and the plant is thriving.
Damned cats! They lay around dreaming up things to destroy.