New entry in my Kilt blog 9/21/2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Happy Samhain* or Have a happy pagan new year

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

Say this aloud only if you mean it
but beware, there are consequences even without
the cauldron and it's ingredients.

Imagine three witches around a bubbling cauldron saying these lines.
Witch 1 - Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
Witch 2 - Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin'd.
Witch 3 - Harpier cries:—'tis time! 'tis time!
Witch 1 - Round about the caldron go

In the poison'd entrails throw.—
Toad, that under cold stone,
Days and nights has thirty-one;
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot!

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

               'excerpt from Shakespeare's Macbeth'

Only a few of the 7 billion hoomans on Earth that have heard this know it is Shakespeare or even that there was a Shakespeare but these lines have given many of them a thrill or a chill just the same.  I don't remember when I first  heard it or read it but it certainly gave me a thrill and a chill.

I was an adult before I knew who Shakespeare was. I was exposed to him in school but I didn't know. I was an even older adult before I saw Hamlet and that was on film. I have never seen the play I am sorry to say.  The images that play at the drive-in theatre in my head come from Walt Disney's cartoons. The cauldron and those witches  were permanently etched into my memory tablet.  I finally read it and found I knew the story as it is a universal story that is used often in daytime and night time soap operas.

The part with the witches is my favorite and I always think of it at Halloween.
I am not a superstitious man but the thought of someone making a curse of double toil and trouble I find frightening.

The temptation to say those lines with someone in mind has been a temptation that I have struggled to resist. As far as I know there is no way to take them back and I fear the consequences of backlash.

To find that someone said those lines in my direction with my name on it would hurt me so I guess spells do work.  It doesn't matter that it requires the spellee's cooperation as  we seem to give it willingly.

I read the "witches chant" once a year and it gives me goosebumps still.

We have no children so there will be no bonfire tonight and no sacrifice, animal or human. Even though we have plenty of cats none will be sacrificed.

*Samhain (sow-un)is a Celtic celebration older than even the thought of  the Johnnie come lately God based religions.

"It is bad luck to be superstitious." 
                     - Andrew W. Mathis

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Do Something. Why?

The White Man's Trap. Do something.  Why do I need to do something if I have enough to eat, drink and have shelter? If attacked by lions, tigers and bears, oh my, then I will do something, starting with craping myself, but that will take only a split second and then you will see movement.  Unless, of course, you blink then you will only see that I'm not there anymore.

This little device does everything for me. It keeps my hands busy and soothes my aching brain. It is made of recycled stuff and can itself be recycled. It produces nothing.  It is, I suppose, the equivalent of prayer beads or prayer wheels. I just watch waiting for the moving blocks to run into each other. It drives SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) nuts which is a short drive and I'm always waiting at the destination.

Besides this week I am the supervisor and photographer on the "paint the front door" project which SWMBO needs like she needs another cat. This little quick two hour project is on it's third day now. Taking fifty years of paint off the old door is time consuming and becoming expensive. Unfortunately the old paint is not compatible with the new so it is a necessary step.

The new paint is Chalkboard as in old school "blackboard" which will give SWMBO a large canvas on which to put graffiti or art as she sees fit.

This is one of her 2.5 X 3.5 inch (6.35 X 8.9cm) drawings that I just discovered in a tiny notebook.
See she doesn't just sit around drinking beer and smoking cigarettes as I have implied in the past.

I'm hoping to see continuous changing art work and not just variations of "nuck fou".

We had a little set back yesterday as her teeth are falling out in sympathy with mine so there will be delays.  Getting old is tough but doable, however it is not for the "faint of heart".

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Voting Day October 22, 2011 or Wasting my time.

This is proof that I went to vote today.
It does not prove I voted. It doesn't matter whether I did or not but I did.
I did not vote for anybody.
What voting I did was against the incumbent but there was not anyone on the ballot worthy of a vote.
If there had been a "None of the above" it would have been my choice but
I did go vote not that it matters.
It was nice ride with beautiful weather but I did not care for finding this molting turtle in my neighborhood. It's not quite as big as the one I wrote about a few post back. It was molting so the automobile completely flattened it. It was a little too fresh to bring home but a week in the sun, ants and wind will fix that. I'll check on it next week.  I have christened it "Frisbee".
I told Frisbee what I thought about voting today but he seems preoccupied. If anyone had seen me standing there in the street talking to a roadkill turtle they would have just thought I just was talking on the phone. It's a kind of craziness that is accepted these days.

When I got home I played in the dirt. It made me feel cleaner than voting did.
Bike riding:                                                           positive
Looking at the Golden Rod:                                positive
Re-potting a plant:                                                positive
Voting:                                                                  negative
Observing the lack of sensitivity of people:       negative

Do you suppose that not voting could be construed as a protest?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Just Another Candy Assed Southerner or Autumn was too short.

When I woke this morning from my peaceful dreams I decided not to get up. I kept telling myself that it was too cold but the real reason was I had not yet decided what task I was going to do to put off the tasks that needed doing. Finally nature took over and it was get up or swim. Now I'm writing this to keep away from the to-do list. When this is finished then I'll take a nap which should take me to cocktail time. Thus another successful day will be done.
I found on arising that I had not only left my electric heat on low but I had also turned on the bathroom heater which is the 150 watt bulb under the sink.
Stumbling to the stove I found a fire already laid.  I don't remember doing any of that. I think the fairy's came.  It was only 45 degree F out but like I said in the title.

I won't be running around nekkid today.
This is my table wine of choice. Chianti has been my favorite for years now. There are others that I partake for special occasions but this is hands down my favorite everyday wine (that I can afford).  Actually there are probably others I would choose over this if I could afford them but then I would be part of the 1% and I like this just fine. I do indulge in others but this is the everyday stuff.
When it's empty I roll it into this. It is exactly the  right length for my stove. One of these burns hot and fast lasting about 20 minutes which is enough to take the chill off my humble hovel on most days if the wind is not blowing. With a north wind blowing like today a few boards cut from some old used up pallets, which I get for free, fills in.  They burn hot and fast as well so care has to be taken not to create a melt down.  As I write this in the afternoon it is still only 63*F outside but a few light bulbs are keeping it at 75*F inside. I can live with that. I did break out the wool kilt and have had lined moccasins on since my bare feet hit the floor. I'm so used to being barefoot they do feel strange but the pain of cold feet just ain't my thing.

This is our first "cold" cold front and it is just in time to keep the vegetation from overtaking our buildings. Now if the first freeze will just stay away for another six weeks I should have some fresh ripe tomatoes for winter solstice. We'll have fried green tomatoes within the next couple of weeks. Yum.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Local Art and Other Stuff

Discarded mufflers and exhaust pipes. Located in Raceland, La.

Roommate that lives on the window shade. Eats meat such as flies, mosquitoes and those pesky little aggressive jumping spiders. I am her friend but she keeps a wary eye on me as if she is not sure.
I cannot get a focused photo of BB (Black Bastard) the "not here" dog. She is moving just beyond the speed of sight 24/7. I think she is doing speed. My camera is not quick enough to stop her motion even when she is standing still.  I'm thinking of changing her name to Flash.
Blurry photo. I was doing this on the run.

The far calico has earned her stripes. She is a proven mouser and that is why her "friends" and siblings  are lined up for what they think is rightfully their share. She thinks different.

Some will find the video below offensive. I certainly do. I have edited it to the point that anymore and it won't be a video. The long version is on you tube.

Cats will be cats. Unlike dogs they have no empathy or compassion, qualities that many humans lack as well.

Note: This is a sorry mess but I'm not getting on so good with blogger this morning so I think I'll stop now. Better luck tomorrow.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Old Fools Journal: The Perils of Canned Food or How are you old people going to get the dog food out of the can when you get hungry

While at my favorite thrift store yesterday I pondered that question when I saw this. Steel cans have been in use since before 1810?? when Peter Durand patented the process in England and they have been in commercial use since Hall and Bryan Dorkin opened the first commercial canning factory in England in 1813.  The dates are unchecked so use accordingly.  Those first cans were a bitch to open so the history books say but as time when on and the steel got thinner devices like you see above became practical. The tin on tin cans was to cut down corrosion and was only a thin plating.  I was an adult before I discovered that tin cans were steel and not tin.

This one is an Elco made in the U.S.A. has the price of 35 cents stamp on the side and is fairly heavy so I'm guessing the 30's or 40's. It is the only type I remember seeing as a child.


I have been eating out of "tincans" all my life and some things just don't seem normal unless they come from a can. The fact that canned food does not need refrigeration led to it's use in the military. It beat the hell out of hardtack and salted meat.

In 1942 the military ordered a bunch of these openers call the P-38.  Some think it was named after the fighter airplane but I think it is because it is 38mm (1.5inch) long.


A later model that was 51mm came out called the P-51 and of course it was thought the name came from the airplane. The government ordered a bunch of these in 1942 to issue with the then new "k" rations. I have no idea of when they were invented and don't really care but I found a picture of one in this 1924 Modern Mechanics.

This little P-38 showed up in my change purse the other day. I knew I had it around somewhere. Little did I know that it was in my pocket. Men make fun of women's purses and what they carry but you should see what men pack around in their pockets. One day last winter I went out running errands and when I got home I found that I had packed three large pockets knives all over town. I'm a little absent minded I guess.

I don't know when I got this p-38 but it was around 35 or 40 years ago and is genuine war surplus.  I have two  and the other one is on one of my key chains. They both have "US speaker" stamped on them. Speaker was the manufacturer.

Over the years I have bought, wore out, used up and discarded a mountain of modern electric junk but the hand operated stuff just keeps on keeping on.
I'll keep them around along with a lot of other old fashioned stuff that works.
When the government shuts off Social Security I'll at least have a way to open the dog food I steal. Why dog food? Because you don't have to cook it and I want to keep my strength up for manning the guillotines.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Old Fools Journal: The Hazards of Sharing the Road With Cars or This turtle's race is over.

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I found this guy in the ditch on the way to the library the other day, made a mental note and went back for it the next day.  I knew it would still be there because it has no value to the city folk riding by sealed up in their automobiles. This sort of thing is precious to this oldfool and has been since I was a boyfool.
This critter is no baby as it is 8 by 10 inches (20 by 25cm) so it is not young. There is no telling how old he/she is or how many times it has crossed this road in its life.  Obviously it did it one to many times and was smashed. Some drivers aim at them but most are afraid one this size will damage their precious car.  Preciousness of life is not considered.  Most are probably hit by texting or other brainlessness.
I see hundreds of smashed turtles every year.  It really bums me out as these simple long living creatures have a right to natural life and natural death. This is where they have done that since long before the white man was invented. Then they only had being eaten occasionally as a problem. Then the white man invented the automobile and asphalt.  Few agree with me as "you can't stand in the way of progress" you know.  Progress my ass.  Giant turtles running over cars and smashing them would be progress.  It would make a good movie for the turtle's cinema too.

I sat and conversed with him/her for a while but it was very one sided. I apologized for the mindlessness of humans and some of our other faults as well.
As a child I was told that animals don't feel pain like we humans do but I know that is pure bullshit. This creature lived long enough after being smashed to want to be dead I'm sure.

This one lives in our backyard. I call him Churchy La Femme after Churchhill La Femme in Pogo. One of one sometimes one of three other times.  They kind of come and go.  It is about half the size of that empty shell. It is hard to compare right now as this one is molting. He/she has escaped but returned. Apparently it likes domestication and is going through the change of life. Until recently it was carnivorous but has now changed to being a vegetarian. We are told that is a sign they have come of age. I have to get it registered to vote. That shouldn't be too hard as dead people sometimes vote here as do others that are not near as smart or aware as this guy.

I have been informed by SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) that it loves celery but doesn't care for apples.

Life is cheap these days. Drivers don't mind running over a mere animal of any kind. A pedestrian or a bicycle is something that most make no special effort to avoid so a turtle, alligator or snake is no problem as there is no penalty. If they exploded once in a while it would probably be another story.

The broken shell will be put in the garden as a monument to the turtle that made it. It is more "art" than anything I can do.

so it goes.-Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, October 10, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Inspiration and Where Can I Buy Some?

I am really at a loss when my Inspiration dries up.  I usually have some tucked in a corner somewhere but as often as not when I drag it out it's the wrong kind.  I don't know if it can be invented but I don't seem to be able to.  I have to wait until I stumble over it. These days when I feel a shortage coming on I start looking. If I'm out entirely then I look harder. The only other option in this case is despair.

Until a few years ago I could not live without a goal.  I thought I had to have one no matter how small but then one day I didn't have one and it was O.K.  I liked it better when I had one but it was O.K.

I'm not talking about short range goals like stacking a little fire wood for the winter or laying a fire in the stove for the next cold morning even though they are satisfying.  I'm talking about setting off to cross an ocean or learning to shoe horses or even building a tree house. Something that will take time and effort to prepare for as well as do. Something a tad dangerous.

I have queued up some projects but they will be over so quick I hesitate to start them.  I look forward to the end of the day so I can stop thinking about this subject for a while. There is nothing so relaxing as having a tooth ache, being scheduled for brain surgery or execution as it takes your mind off this little problem.

Meanwhile acorns are raining from the trees as they do every two years and the TV is on yelling at me in Spanish which is part of the ongoing goal to become fluent in that language. It has been ongoing for about 50 years. I sometimes understand what they are saying because of the visual but even then sometimes I don't.  When I started many years ago it seemed like a string of gibberish but now it's a lot of individual words strung together most of which I have no idea of the meaning.  It does cause me to look up words.  I try to watch a little Mexican soap opera each day. It's shallow and inane but they use everyday words like everyday people do and overact so I can sometimes get the meaning.  I mimic the speech patterns but leave out the over acting. Well, for the most part anyway as I like to overact the bandido stuff.  They seem to have bandido's in everything.

I mostly use the TV for watching videos of something I'm trying to learn like Spanish. It's off now because there is only so much I can stand.  One thing about watching the news in Spanish is they have better looking sexpots for announcers than Americans do. I like that. Sexpots are OK in any language.

I have been told that my pronunciation and accent is very good.  So I guess that means that whatever nonsense I'm spouting the words are completely understandable even if the meaning is incomprehensible. I should do politics. I'd fit right in. Comprende?

My bride SWMBO just brought these fresh from the oven so I have to go now.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Changes In Latitudes or 'Thangs change' too fast

This is Rosendo Robles in Loreto, Baja Sur, Mexico. We lived there in a past life. I built that board fence about half way down the street on the left.  The power pole there is the far end of that fence. The street ends at the Sea of Cortez.  This is pretty much how it looked when we were last there in 1990.
To my right a couple of hundred feet on the cross street I'm standing on ends at the plaza in the center of town. The Google view truck did not go there.
Photo scanned from a 20 plus year old Kodachrome print taken with a cheap Nipponese camera.
Same street twenty or so years later photo supplied by Google Earth. That little patch of blue at the end is the Sea of Cortez. I would probably be arrested for vagrancy here now.  Notice the difference in the number of cars.
This guy used to live across the street in the lot behind the blue car on the right. He got a lot bigger than this and once took a stroll down the street. I don't remember what his fate was but I'll bet it had to do with tacos. Our favorite pork taco place when we lived there was several blocks away at a  house near the  'super mercado'.  They would butcher a pig and roast it on an open fire then serve it up as tacos. Just a tortilla with the best roast pork you've ever eaten other than kalua pork .

I took a little tour around town via Google Earth and it looks pretty much like it did when we lived there. Lots of partly done construction and chaos. Muddy too so it must have just rained.  My next door neighbor in the foreground on the left still looks pretty much the same except that the greenery has gotten bigger.

I'm sure there are those that think the title of this post is just another rant from another old fool but I assure you that I am aware of how temporary everything is even the dirt we stand on.  Until about the middle of the last century changes started happening at a faster pace in the human world. Prior to that change was rather slow so went largely unnoticed. I started noticing the increase in the speed of change in the 1970's.  I countered it by moving further and fruther from the center of human activities.  It came to a head for me in the '90's when I visited the place I grew up in Arkansas.  SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) had to drive me out into the woods and throw buckets of cold water on me until I calmed down. Heavy medication with beer and gin for a few days and I realized I was going to have to adapt. I have to a point but not without medication.

The only thing good about this recession we are in is that change has slowed somewhat but that is a mixed blessing. Perhaps by not changing material things we will change the way we think and what we believe for a while.

Nah, what am I thinking?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Oh No! Not Another Chair or I can't control myself I have to fix it

I picked this wooden chair from the trash one day a while back while running errands. The right front leg was broken right at the seat bottom.
I pushed it back together and let it sit out in the rain for a few days.  While it was there soaking up the rain it fixed itself and could be sat in once again.

I thought it not a good idea to leave it alone.  It was weak on that front leg.  It did not show it and was only a problem if it dried out and you picked it up. In that case the leg might fall off.  So I put it on the bench and took it apart. It had swollen so tight I had to use a mallet to hammer it apart and that is a good sign

I has all the marks of a useful life. A chewed leg, a scuffed cross brace, dings and paint splatters decorate it leading me to speculate about it's life while preparing the glue.

It is of solid wood  and because of the plugged holes next to the back legs, indicating that somebody made a mistake, I am led to think that a person put it together and not a machine.
You can see the plugged holes below and near the edge of the seat.

It was probably not necessary but being a belt and suspenders sort I made a pin from a serrated bronze boat nail, applied glue all around and hammered it back together.  Any marks the mallet might make just adds to its character.  The leg (on the right side) is now firmly in place and probably as strong as when new.

This is not a cheap throw away item so why was it thrown away?

This is the forth found chair I have picked up  and repaired in the last couple of years. Had I known the person that threw it away I would have repaired it for free but I think the mindset now is "throw it away" and buy more cheap junk.

The metal chair I am sitting on now is having its problems.  It has a stretched cloth bottom that has sagged over time but it has a provision to re-tension it. It has been adjusted about as much as it can stand so to compensate for the sag I have used some of the fabric I have picked up for future projects to level it out.
It makes for convenient hidden storage. Now the bottom is starting to tear but no problem I'll just sew a new one using some of the fabric I'm sitting on or maybe design something entirely different.  You can be sure it won't be "thrown away".

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Fixing Stuff or If it can't be repaired it's junk.

If you have been reading my post for any length of time then you know that I am a bit of a lamp freak. Actually I think of myself more as a light freak since I don't limit my interest in light to electric lamps only.
I picked up this lamp at the thrift store for three dollars (USD). It was clean (something you don't often see), it had a bulb and it had a strong clamp but the switch seemed a little iffy.  Clean was good enough but the bulb, socket and portability made it a good value.
On disassembly I discovered that it had a 250 watt socket and a switch assembly that could be taken apart and cleaned up. That little pin on the left of the exploded switch had brazed itself to one of the copper contacts and trying to force it had lifted the other end off the other copper contact.
It was easily cleaned. It actually took longer to clean up the battery contacts and probe tips on my meters than it did to repair the switch.
Reassembled and it works  beautifully.

I have several of these portable lamps and I use them extensively expecially during the winter.  My eyes still work pretty good for a geezer but they do require a lot of light.
This lamp has a permanent storage spot above the dark hole of the aft end of the galley were it will be used several times daily. It can be redirected into the closet on the other side which is a light absorbing black hole. Light goes in there and never returns.  That closet is a scary place. I was rummaging around in there a while back and felt something stiff and furry. Since it did not snarl and snap at me and seemed quite stiff I pulled it out and found it to be a house shoe I got for Christmas in 1972. I'm wearing them now and they still work good. Never mind the mess and the propane torch is an essential cooking utensil.

The bulb is a CFL which I have mixed feelings about.  I find that in daily on/off use they don't last any longer than a quality incandescent.  They do work well for overnight light such as a porch but only if you don't need a lot of light. They get dimmer and dimmer  pretty quick.  I use them in the summer because even though they do create heat it is not near as much as an incandescent and in a close space that is important.  I have switched out the CFL's for incandescent for the winter.  With all of them on I get a nice even heat distribution though out the hovel on wheels. On many days I need no other heat except when it's very cold and in the mornings to knock the chill off.

Now it's time to heat up some of  SWMBO's left over homemade potato soup.  It's not just food it's pure magic and I don't need teeth.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Keeping My Mouth Shut Is Hard To Do or Man's inhumanity humanity to man

I had to strike out inhumanity because I no longer believe that compassion is a human trait. Those who have it must get it from some other species.

Home Sweet Home

Would you like to live here?  Could you even survive here? This is in the United States of America were we are embroiled in the choosing of the next sleezeball to run for president, football games and what kind of junk food we will have for dinner. This is in New Jersey were the  concern is over 'will we have dinner' and 'how will I keep from freezing this winter'. Oh yeah, and will the good towns christian (not capitalized purposely) folks come tear my hovel down just before it snows.

I am not a christian or any other of the man made religions that justify war as a means to an end and seem more worried about sexual orientation than character. As in it's OK if you beat you wife as long as you are not queer. I have studied it however and Jesus said feed the poor and heal the sick.   Hay-sus would have made a good Buddhist and I'm sure he was one of the first Dudist. It sounds like socialism to conservatives  and never mind police departments, fire departments and mandatory garbage pickup. Public school is socialist as well but there seems to be a move on to get rid of education in the USA.

Click on Home Sweet Home and count your blessings.  I don't think you will be disappointed as the good part is these people have a community. Warning: lots of pictures.

Meanwhile it turned cold yesterday with lows in the low 50's (51 this morning) and at 11 AM I still have four 100 watt light bulbs and my flannel bathrobe (Dudist Monks Robe) keeping me warm. SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) has been complaining about the bitter cold since it dropped out of the 80's. I had a small twig fire this morning to knock off the chill.

My pitifully small amount of fall gardening is doing well and if the freezing holds off until January I should get something out of it.  It's small but it's something and the experience/learning is priceless.
Lettuce bin (leaf lettuce) if the seed sprouts  there will be plenty here for the two or three months we'll have it and no listeria.

It will months yet for these but they sure like this cool weather. Last year they grew and produced right through the freezes.

The aspargus is still giving it up. I just ate this one and another just like it.  It's like having candy growing in the yard.
I hit it just right on the tomatoes so far. Now if they'll produce a few pounds before they freeze I'll be a happy camper. I'm keeping a bowl of salsa fresca going in the refrigerator all the time now because the chilis have been producing plenty. I have had to resort to tomatoes grown about a 150 miles east of here in Alabama. They are vine ripe and not picked until they have color but they are still not as good as mine no matter how bad mine look. Biased? meh. Nah.

I had to fence them in yesterday because they were growing out of the container and starting across the yard. They were growing away from the sun but toward the part of the yard where the sun shines longer.  How do they know?

It has been busy especially since I found a box of long lost photos from when we first sailed to Mexico.  Sorting, scanning, color correcting and filing takes a lot of time but I think I'll soon have some for your viewing enjoyment.  I think SWMBO is even going to let me use some I took of her. She just brought me a plate of hot cornbread with pepper cheese laced with pickled jalapenos melted on it for lunch. Good eats.
I try to ignore the kind of stuff I started this post with but sometimes I just cannot. I'll do better next time.