New entry in my Kilt blog 9/21/2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Damned Cats or Fertilizing the earth with cat turds.

Slavery has never been abolished from America's way of thinking. -Nina Simone
We should be ashamed. -Tom Swaim

It was warm but the pot and the kettle were still cool after an overnight low of 74 degrees F. Apparently the kitten is quite comfortable wedged in there because she is sound asleep.

These cats are climbers. They climb the chain link fence around the house then stroll down the top pipe.

There were two kittens at the top but even though I am a pretty fast draw they live in a different time scale (much faster) than I do so I missed that. I'm looking forward to the day when medicare will install a camera in one of my eyeballs.

That is not a fence but is instead the trellis for the berries that are planted there so that in the future they can be bulldozed up in the name of progress. If we live long enough there will be a thicket there. Uncle Remus would call it a Briar Patch and I have already started doing so.  I do wish he were here as I could use some of his wisdom. If you don't know what I am talking about see the movie "Song Of The South".
The grass hides the berries that are busy doing their work. We have found that the berry plants survive better with the grass to protect them. Besides it's a cat playground. Look in the left lower corner of the bottom photo and you will see a kitten waiting in ambush.
It's only 10 AM but I'm in already and dripping with sweat. I couldn't be wetter if I had jumped in the drainage ditch.  It was only 85 degrees F, degrees earlier so I thought I would clear some brush around my pet worms and then salvage some dirt that something might grow in.  Between last evening and this morning I managed to do just that. It's labor intensive work so I didn't last long.
Last evening I re-potted a couple of tomato plants for this fall in spite of the help (see photo above).
Due to the State of Florida's condoning and practicing of slavery plus the fact that they grow even more tasteless tomatoes than California I don't buy tomatoes at the grocery store. For more about that  Go Here.. Sometimes our local market has local tomatoes and the vegetable stand does also so I will buy them. Mostly I do without unless I grow my own. These should be producing in November.  One year I had tomatoes until March. I'm the only one that eats tomatoes here so two plants are enough. Fried green tomatoes in early November already sounds good.
These pots are made from a 30 gallon drum cut in half. They will each get a gallon wine jug for drip watering and will be mulched with leaves to keep the water in. Right now everything is plenty wet and we are expecting rain at the end of the week.
The tomatoes are some kind of hybrid but the stalks were so thick and healthy I just couldn't resist. I had absolutely no luck at starting tomatoes from seed this year.
It's not even noon yet and it is 94 degrees F. so in the interest of trying to make it until my seventy third birthday I think I'll stay in. Now for glass of iced sweet sassafras.  Taste like root beer without the fizz.

"My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?" -Snoopy -Charlie Brown’s Dog,

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Flats or Why I think solid tires are a good idea.

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

My automobile let me down again but I knew it was coming as it has been warning me for sometime. I can be so dense these days. After all it is 24 years old, American made in the '80's and held together by rust so it is an antique here in the Gulf south. I needed to pick it up from the mechanic shop.  Even though the car has a bike rack I decided to take the folder. It rides good and is becoming my favorite ride because it folds and is so cute no one bats an eye when I roll it into a store. I do get a lot of questions. It is a little squirrelly for me but once I get used to it I make as good a time and I am just as comfortable on it as anything else. I would like a little longer wheelbase but then it would not be so compact when folded.
It is a nine mile ride and I averaged about 10 mph (16kph)which is normal for me on any of my bikes and that was with stopping and pumping up the tire five times.
So I picked up a little piece of metal on these roads here that are paved with broken glass, nails (I counted one per mile on this trip), and sharp pieces of stuff.  Couches, double sinks and toilets don't count as I can ride around them. I am not exaggerating.

Cat shit. A hazard when you have 10 cats.

It turned out that I had lots of little pieces of metal. Each chalk mark had one and there are six chalk marks. It's hard to see but there is one at the lower right.
It seemed like a good time to try something I have been going to do for a long time and since I had a fresh unusable tire from the last flat on the Schwinn I started cutting.
I cut a piece that fit snuggly in the folders 20 inch tire after first removing the bead containing the wire reinforcement. Easier said than done but at least I didn't cut myself nor did I get one of those ugly bruises to mar my perfect body that I seem to be afflicted with in my old age.
This is not the tire I'm working on, it is an example. The Popsicle stick is just to hold the inner tire open for demonstration. I had a heavier tube with slime that I put inside the inner tire. Maybe I'll  able to ride 10 miles without a flat.
Why do I only get flats on the rear?
While I had it apart I straightened this guard which seems to bend rather easily. It does protect the derailleur somewhat.
A new color coordinated hub cleaner made from the long pipe cleaners was in order.
If I could only have one bicycle it would be a folder.


As I sit here at my desk looking out at the "small house" and listen to the progress of Hurricane Irene I am reminded of our own brushes with big storms over the last 18 years. I'm looking at storm damage from our last episode that is going on three years old and still not repaired. My attempt at finding a repair person has been futile and unsatisfying. I am unable to do it myself and because of that I get the feeling that those who wish to impress me with their ability talk too much. I'd rather not have it fixed than have it done by someone who talks a good game. I guess I should be more aggressive.
My feeling of anxiety, worry and apprehension return to remind me that those people in Irene's path are feeling that now. I don't envy them. The adrenaline rush is not worth it.
The media is so happy to have something to talk about that they are peeing on themselves. Hyping the storm to the max before, during and after passage is not news reporting. A reporter "reports". These people are more like "barkers" (as in side show barkers) making the situation into something it is not. The stupidity of standing outside in a moderate wind and trying to make it appear more dangerous than it actually is overwhelms me. I guess it comes from being raised on video games, tv and the artificial world of the movies instead of living outdoors and really seeing and feeling the world.

Never miss a good chance to shut up. -Will Rogers,

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Toast or How I sometimes make briquets using the "Lot of Smoke" method.

"A statesman is a dead politician. We need more statesmen." -Oscar Wilde

I have three toasters but I seldom use them as I like what is generally called Texas toast which is buttered bread grilled.  I don't know why it is called Texas toast because I'm pretty sure it was not invented there or that it is not served there anymore than anywhere else. I'd rather have a stack of that than pancakes any day.

I generally make mine on a tortilla griddle. This is an essential pan in my galley and resides on the stove at all times. It is so perfectly  seasoned that I can cook an egg on it without adding oil. Well, most of the time anyway.

The first toaster is a camp stove type and it works but only marginally. The bread is more dried out than toasted. There are others that work better but this one folds flat. A fork and a blow torch works better.
The second makes toast but not very well. It is a great little electric oven. It is amazing what you can cook in one but the toast from this one is not that amazing.
Once and a while I want toast like what pops up in the toaster in most American kitchens.
Toast is a wonderful and magical thing making stale bread not only edible but good. Hot crunchy toast with butter melted into it and covered with peach jam is about as good as a desert can be. When covered with strawberries and whipped cream it is a rival for shortcake.
The third is an early electric Knapp Monarch manual side opener and it makes toast. I believe it is from the thirties or forties. A.S. Knapp of St. Louis and the Monarch Co. of Webster Ohio merged in 1929 and produced a line of streamlined toasters. I think this is an early one as there is no switch. Plug it in and it's on with 400 watts of rompin' stompin' power. Simplicity in an art deco package.

As you can see it toasts one side of the bread at a time so when making toast you are actually cooking not just dropping bread into the jaws of a toast robot.  This model was advertised as a 'Turnover Toaster' automatically turning over the bread when the door was opened and it will some of the time. The door is designed to accept a slice of Wonder* white bread and when toasted on one side then flipped open the bread slides down on it's toasted side so when closed the untoasted side is next to the coils. It only works with standard white bread and then only sometimes. I imagine it worked better when the chrome was new and slick. It is corroded now so there is some added friction.
This was given to me about twenty years ago and it is still cranking out toast with the occasional charcoal briquet and smoke when I am a little absent minded.
Made in the U.S.A. back when Americans made stuff. They not only made stuff they invented stuff that was pleasing to look at. Now not so much.
There are several of these on Ebay.

*When I was a kid Wonder Bread built bodies 8 ways. I guess now it builds bodies 12 ways although they don't mention it on their white wheat. I sometimes "wonder" if I would have been taller if they had the other 4 ways when I was growing up. I still eat it from time to time only I buy the whole wheat white because it is better for you.  It is whole wheat or so I'm told using an albino wheat that doesn't make the bread taste like dirt.  Taste as good as any French bread but the packaging says made WITH whole wheat. Since the whole wheat is the third ingredient on the list after wheat flour and water it may be as little as a teaspoon.
When I want dirt I eat mushrooms.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Old Fools Journal: My Tire's Got Hole In It

Shit happens. Oh well I can still buy tires at the hardware store in the village 10 miles east for nine dollars and tubes for five.
New tire, new tube, old wheel, old spokes and old pie plate. I've left the pie plate on because it seem to piss some bike snobs off and set me apart as what they call a "Fred" I think. I'm not going to look it up because I don't care. The wheel is the original, as is the front, heavier than hell steel and is straight, true and 36 years old. The spokes are rusty and pitted but I have only broken one and they have taken a lot of abuse these last 6 years.
Off to the store to get more rotgut.
This beautiful blue gray kitten showed up for breakfast a few mornings ago. A fat happy cat.
The next door neighbor and the new kitten seem to like each other so it moved on. Fickle and knows a sucker when he sees one.

I'm tired.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Still Life

Morning Sun
While making coffee this morning I turned and saw this 
in my little galley. It's not a bad way to start the day.

Everyday we are surrounded by beautiful 
pictures if we will only see them.

My thoughts are 
dark, dreary and full of foreboding
and I need to heal myself.

Probably because of my paying attention
 to current events.  That stops today.

Years ago when reading someone (I think it was Thoreau) the 
point was made that it did not matter whether we knew 
anything about what was happening in the rest of the 
world or not. It was going to happen regardless 
and only served to make us more unhappy than usual.

So I'm listening to music from a more enlightened time 
when in retrospect the dumbest dope head appeared
smarter and wiser than those who would lead now. 
When I press the send button I'm going out in
 the heat to confer with the kittens and the
puppy who know what is really important.

Meanwhile enjoy the photo of a moment 
that made me extremely happy.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Boring Post or Things You Need To Know about Medicare

A perfect double rainbow marred by power-lines a good example of the elusiveness of perfection. The second rainbow is faintly seen just above the Mockingbird. This drivel comes to you through that bottom wire.

Everyone pays for it.
It is a government health plan. i.e. socialized medicine.
It is not your enemy.
You pay in all of your working life and you are entitled to it.
You pay into it heavily from your Social Security.
I don't give a shit what any politician says, you paid for it and you are entitled. If you have other means count your blessings but remember life is a crap shoot and eventually everyone craps out.

That being said  there are ways to make it better:
There is Medicare itself.
There are insurance plans that take the Medicare money with your permission and give you better benefits.
If you are old and on Medicare and don't know about this pay attention and I'll tell you a little story.

I have had Medicare benefits for the last seven years but I have only used them twice so it hasn't been important to me. Now SWMBO is on Medicare and she is important to me (a good cook and good company). For me it was no big deal because I have the Veterans Administration. When she turned 65 all kinds of insurance companies started making overtures trying to court us both. Unlike what the thirty something news media thinks we are not senile, we didn't get old being stupid and we are very skeptical of everything knowing that the young are out there waiting to shove the pole in our butts (shafted). So we played the fish.

The best deal we came up with was out of what the Guberment takes from our social security the insurance company will take $65.00 in American dollars and give us more benefits. The rest is refunded to us. Between the two of us that is about 90 bucks which amounts to 1080 American dollars a year in our pockets. For the mathematically challenged that is about 72 cases of cheap beer. The kind we like.

With Medicare there is a deductible and some places make you pay into the medical care until you reach it every year. With the insurance card they don't even know it is Medicare. It is just a magical insurance card. You pay 15 dollars for a doctors visit and they hit the insurance company for another 85 bucks. Quite a mark up over the 60 bucks it cost if you pay cash. Nothing wrong with our medical system in the USA (Home of the Brave and Land of the Free) except that maybe it is a little larcenous. It's 40 dollars for a visit to a specialist and I don't even want to speculate what that mark up is. Perhaps if the heavy markup for Medicare were eliminated then Medicare would not be in trouble all the time but then what do I know.

I choose Medicare or rather the insurance over the VA on this last go 'round because they would take care of it now and not next month sometime,  it would be done in town meaning I didn't have to travel to the city of New Orleans where they shoot people and it was cheaper. They VA copay for me for a specialist is 50 dollars with the VA because living on Social Security we are considered rich. Goddamn! I'm glad I'm not poor.

When you go into the docs office they ask for your insurance card and a picture ID. If you use your medicare card they want money too or at least the last time I tried to use it that was the way it was.

We only have a VA CLINIC here and it is not the same as real medical care. In the seven years I have been going there I don't think I have ever seen a real doctor. That is unacceptable. I really like the people there, they handle vets with extreme care and courtesy. They are wonderful. I will miss them.

Now I would like to know why some people, that I otherwise consider smart, are so dead set against everyone having publicly funded healthcare. Unless you live in a sterile bubble the lazy poor drug addict that refuses to work (to the well off all poor people are lazy poor drug addicts that refuse to work) uses the same door knob you do, breathes the same air, and may well touch you at any given time in a day. Do you want them sick? They handle your McDonald's, your change, sack your groceries, stock shelves and may shake your hand. I never refuse a hand shake as it is a sign that we may someday be civilized.

Remember that the richest men on earth were not exempt during the black plague and will not be exempt in any future epidemic in this increasingly crowded globally mobile planet.

Then there is the idiocy of wanting drug test requirements before receiving food stamps, wic or welfare. Just what I want are really hungry drug addicts needing a fix running around. Of course if you are a well off government person you can get all the legal drugs you want while sitting around doing nothing. Down here among the bottom feeders it is widely believed that the major cocaine supply for Washington D.C. travels in diplomatic pouches which are never inspected. Want drugs? Make friends with a diplomat.

Healthy people are happier people and much less likely to cause trouble and unrest.

Warning: These comments are from my personal observations which are limited at best. If you want or need to know more then I suggest you do some research.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Log Books

A logbook was originally a book for recording readings from the log, and is used to determine the distance a ship traveled within a certain amount of time. The readings of the log have been recorded in equal times to give the distance traveled with respect to a given start position.~Wikipedia
I have kept log books on boats for the tradition and to provide a record if so needed. I have kept log books while driving a truck, sometimes three at a time, because the government required it (gov only wants one). These log books are from my flying career and they have been the most important.
This stack appears to be just notebooks but the information contained makes them logbooks. Those on top begin at my first flight and those on bottom contain seven years of  Pipeline Patrol.
First flight lesson May 5, 1963. I can remember it but just barely.
I do remember this. One does not take that first flight alone and not remember. My hat is off to Mr. Baughman as I followed in his footsteps and know the gut-wrenching feeling of letting a student make his first solo flight.
This was the day I was licensed to carry passengers. I had attained the level of Private Pilot. Although I found no obstacles in acquiring this government approval some have and anyone that has gotten this far knows why. The man who tested me, Mr Gabardi, did not seem like a happy man but I had grown to like this quite sad man.  He has gone on to that great flying field in the sky.
Not satisfied with "private pilot" I labeled the next page "Commercial". I was going for it. Sweet memories.

Some of these logs are going to the trash in a systematic cleaning out of unnecessary things in my life.  Those notebooks are the first to go. They are so poorly kept with many pages and even volumes not dated.  Some of the entries are unreadable and all are more about looking at oil pipeline than about flying.

Those at the top of the pile are staying for a while however as there are many memories in those pages. Someone else can throw them out when I have flown the big one.

Log books have many reasons for being. In the case of Marine log books it provides a record of where you have been and where you intend to go. If the log survives a shipwreck it provides clues but on a practical side it aids in covering that route again. For me they now aid in jogging my memories for story telling.

Flying log books provide evidence that you have acquired the necessary experience to do a flying job or to press on to the next level of licensing. Very important to a young pilot on the way up. I'm afraid I became rather lax after about 14000 hours. Now they are only good for memories as I no longer need to provide that nebulous proof for anything.  I don't need proof that if it can fly I can fly it, that is, if I can figure out how to get it started.

Trucking logs are a feeble attempt by the government to control truck driving which has never worked. I threw them out nearly as fast as I filled them out.

This is a small but necessary step in taking out the trash. Many small steps have been taken in the last few months and more will be taken in months to come.


I rode my bike day before yesterday to run a little errand (beer run) for SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) and it was hot. I did not think it was bad at all but one of my tires thought it was as it blew out on the way home. I made it to within a couple of hundred yards of the driveway when it blew. It sounded like I had been shot and that's when I found out how hot it was. Riding was cool walking was hotter than hell. Even with thick soled sandals it was like walking on hot coals.

Yesterday I went for a nose job and was once again reminded of what a candy ass I am. I am thankful for drugs. It was hot enough that I did not buy the frozen yogurt I wanted on the way home. It would have just instantly melted.

The bicycle is still in my shed with a flat. It's only 85 degrees F with 80% relative humidity at nine AM this morning but the thought of sweat running into this crater on my nose discourages me from trying to fix it. I need a new tire anyway and besides I have four other bikes ready to go.

I think today will be a day of contemplating my navel and praising the Lord of the Mighty AC. Ooooom

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Fixed

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.  
-Arthur C. Clarke

When this Key came into my possession is a complete mystery to me but it was a very long time ago. I have always kept it out because to most people and especially children it is a mystery and interesting. I've tried to explain that it is an early form of texting but all I get in response is glazed over eyeballs.

While trying to fabricate a foot switch for my water system in the Bus yesterday I had a sudden urge to take a nap and during the nap this came to me. It is now used to send messages to the water pump.
The pressure switch on my water pump gave up again.  Those things are $35.00 USD a pop. Screw that. The pump is fine. The switch is crap.
When the pump quits I'm going to a bucket and a dipper.  Some modern conveniences are just too much trouble to deal with. KISS rules.
KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid

I got this from Ben over in Texas where I hear it is hot. What a surprise. It is just too good not to pass on. The audio is not safe for some childish work places however nothing is said that I don't hear from grade school kids and their parents regularly.

Thanks Ben, you are making us laugh.

Bildungblog is another interesting web sight. You will find it amusing, interesting and sometimes terrifying but always entertaining. Even though I try to avoid thought I find it thought provoking as well.

It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value.
Arthur C. Clarke

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Justice

Justice: The immediate reaction to any action. e.g. -smart mouth mama and get slapped in the mouth.

Electric shock kills alleged copper thief

A Houma man was killed early this morning by an electrical shock at an Entergy substation while cutting a ground wire in an attempt to steal copper wiring, Terrebonne sheriff's deputies said. 

Justice is served and he is duly registered for the Darwinian Award.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Wait! Don't Start The Party, I Ain't Dead Yet!

Thanks to everyone for your comments. I appreciate your remedies, suggestions and good wishes. It was a rough weekend and I thought I was going to die then I was afraid I was not. I felt pretty good yesterday but today I feel great.

I medicated myself with cheap red wine, music, other drugs and then stayed in the bed to let sleep do it's magic.  I did have to get up and change the bed in the middle of the night a couple of times.  I drank enormous quantities of water, ate nearly nothing and lost a pound a day.  My attentive nurse, SHMBO (she who must be obeyed), threatened to follow me into hell if I up and died on her.  Just the mere thought of that scares the hell out of me and I don't even believe in hell but it kept me from wanting to die.  Somehow, when I am ill knowing she is watching over me is comforting.
This bitch who is still pissed because I bought a TV is another story. She lives on top of the monitor. I promised that it was only for research but she has horns instead of ears so it was to no avail as my offers of appeasement fell on deaf horns. She's pretty upset about me becoming a Dudist monk as well but she is coming around to that. As soon as I explained that it doesn't change a thing in the demon world it was kind of OK.

This was my outdoor therapy each day.  My indoor therapy was reading your blogs and some of you made me laugh outloud which is the best therapy of all.

Watching the world go by this last week has kept Waylon Jennings "Cotillion" running through my head more than usual. That's what it was called when it first come out but since no one in our increasingly illiterate society knew what "cotillion" means or how to use a dictionary it was changed to "It's the World Gone Crazy". It was written with Shel Silverstein. I have hummed it to myself a lot these last thirty years.

It has been pretty much a running theme in my head since 1979.

I'm so glad I don't have to comment on politics because at this time I would be just speechless.