Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It Ain't Been New Years Since Guy Lombardo

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I've been a fan of the music from previous generations ever since I was a little kid. I didn't just like the music from my parent's generation that was playing on the radio when I was a wee laddie; I also liked the music of THEIR parents, and their grandparents before them, and so on. That's why I always looked forward to New Years as a kid, because it was an excuse to stay up late and listen to Guy Lombardo's Royal Canadians play Aulde Lang Syne. It hasn't been the same for me since his last performance. I guess I'm just weird that way. I mean no disrespect by laughing when I hear about people missing Dick Clark on New Years Eve. It's just that I was a bearded adult before I ever knew who Dick Clark was. But I knew Guy Lombardo (along with Les Brown and his Band of Renown, and others). My wife and I will stay up until midnight and watch the ball drop, as we usually do, but I haven't the foggiest idea why, considering that I won't get to watch Mr. Lombardo direct his matchless Royal Canadians.

Here's a link for those young whipper-snappers among you who have no idea who Guy Lombardo was.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Lombardo
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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Would Jesus Do That?


After leaving our much-loved little country church due to out-of-control gossip, we visited around for a while, hoping to find a church that would appeal to us. Surprisingly, it was a new large church at the edge of town where we liked the preacher the best. You could tell, that there were various social levels there who mostly associating with their own kind, but every church, like every person, has its flaws. Unfortunately, one sub-freezing evening, my wife chose to wear jeans to church and had some little old rich lady look at her and wrinkle up her nose. She never went back there, or to any other church since.

We look a little suspiciously on big churches for reasons understood by most, but the preacher seemed to continue preaching good sermons. We knew this because he managed to get his services broadcast on a local Christian network.

Recently, the church has purchase that particular network. Suddenly, the programming went from what might be termed eclectic Christian to nearly 24-hour-a-day tapes of services from that church. Also, the preacher is beginning to push his yearly tours to the Holy Land. They’ve done them for several years now; they’ve just never had such a “bully-pulpit” before. Also, the “commercials” for the church show an almost spa-like atmosphere.

I seem to remember that all of Judaism had only ONE temple, not one for every priest. There were many synagogues, but they usually weren’t all that large and doubled as schools. The only reference to Jesus meeting in a separate building was a rented room, and wherever He went, He usually walked. On a more modern note, Billy Graham, who has probably spoken to more people than anyone in history, has never sought to build a cathedral or organize Holy Land tours.

Understand that I see nothing wrong with those who can afford it taking a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Holy Land. However, I get a little suspicious when a church promotes it on a yearly basis. Obviously, only the rich members can go, for I have yet to hear of a church footing the bill for poorer members. Even if they did, would that be the proper use of the Lord’s money, when there are probably people going hungry within a mile of the church? It seems to me the practice is just a way for the upper-crust in the church to hobnob with the preacher and one another. Similar attitudes and/or practices, even in small churches, are part of the reason that I quit tithing to the church many years ago and try to give directly to those who need it. They’re also part of why we’re no longer in church.


I’m sure that Jesus would prefer us in church somewhere, and many of my fellow Christians are quick to condemn us because we’re not. But I have to wonder: where is a church of which HE would approve? © 2013
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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Wasted Wings, Garbage Plates And Other Muddled Musings

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By prior agreement, there were no gifts under our tree this year, but most of the people that we care most about were with us, so it was a pleasant Christmas day.

My wife “stripped the bird” and left the remainder sitting out all the next day. She made turkey salad for sandwiches which was (and is) good. Still, when I went to throw the stuff away, both entire wings were still there and a surprising amount of meat left on the carcass. I saw at least enough meat for two good-sized sandwiches. Later, she asked me if I wanted her to throw the rest of the left-overs away. I know she doesn’t like left-overs, but I was raised to believe that waste was sinful, and so was she. Sometimes I just can’t figure her out.

That evening, I took some corn, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, mixed it up and zapped it in the micro-wave. I sometimes enjoy a good “garbage plate.” Later, I noticed my wife doing the same thing.

I’m trying to sell the waterbed that I slept on for 15 years, and some know-it-all brat from one of the back-counties offered me a fourth of what I was asking for it (despite the fact that I was only asking a fourth of what I paid for it and it still looks like new). Then he had the nerve to tell me in all caps (This was on Facebook.) that IT IS NOT A WATERBED. I learned a long time ago to ignore morons, so I did.

My wife had a hankering for a certain kind of pie that Sam’s carries, so I gave her the money and told her to go in and get one. She came back pie-less, explaining that they’d doubled the price since last year and she wasn’t about to pay it. I can’t blame her; that’s a little TOO much greed!

I came across a pair of camo pants in my closet that I’d only worn a couple times back about 100 pounds ago. I gave them to the neighbor since I know he hunts. He said he could wear them over his other clothes and draw them up with his belt. He’s a laid-off roofer, so I figure he’ll make good use of them one way or another.

I made a couple wooden blocks to raise the wheel barrow axle up about an-inch-and-a-half. It road so low, that the front would catch on the ground sometimes, especially under a really heavy load. The handles are some kind of jungle wood that seemed softer than my pine blocks when I tightened the bolts. I need to air the tire up some more and then it should be ready to roll again (pun intended). Remember when tools were built to USE instead of just to SELL? It’s a famous brand, too, but that seems to mean nothing these days.

Well, I’ve grumped, therefore, I still am.


I’m about to finish up the fourth book in the Foxfire series and have really enjoyed it. Though there’s a certain amount of useless blather in the books, there’s also a wealth of information for the neophyte prepper or city immigrant to the hill country. © 2013
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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Thankfulness

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No matter your opinion of Christmas (Mine is downright heretical to some.), it is the day that a sinful church has chosen to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Being sinful creatures ourselves, if we choose to celebrate it, it should be not only a season of gift-giving, but one of thankfulness—thankfulness to God for sending Jesus to die for our sins. And, just as Christmas brings out the very worst in a great many people, it also brings out the very best in others. For that, too, we can be thankful. I, in particular, have been blessed by others this year.

In order, I first want to thank a generous benefactor from afar that chose to make my life a little easier. Only HE knows when or how, but I will never forget his kindness.

Secondly, I’m thankful for a two relatives who offered to help out when they mistakenly thought that I was down for the count. THEIR offers, too, are deeply appreciated. Most relatives seem more interested in how you can help THEM these days, so they sort of helped restore my faith in kinfolk.

Thirdly, I want to thank a certain neighbor whose mechanical skills have been offered to me to solve a particular problem. His kindness will, ultimately, allow me to continue working towards my CDL, even if my unemployment ends.

Lastly, I’m thankful for the person or persons that helped me in a way quite unexpected. They chose to remain anonymous, so I won’t pry. I suspect they will never read this, but I am thankful for their kindness none-the-less.

There are other things to be thankful for, of course. My father passed away too young, but my mother is still with us and will dine with us tomorrow, along with my sister. My stepson and his lovely and charming wife will be with us, as will three of our five grandchildren. One of those, we thought we might never see again after she went off to college, but we’ll see her tomorrow. We are thankful for that and, equally, for all the others, as well. The effort is getting a bit much for my wife, so this may be the last year that we host our get-together, so we are very happy to have so much of our family with us.


I hope that each of you reading this are able to spend at least part of the Christmas/ New Year’s season with those you love. And just for the record, I’m thankful for each and every one of YOU, who have listened to my gripes, my grumps and my twisted humor. Special thanks to those who have been so kind as to unite with me in prayer over certain matters. To quote Dickens’s Tiny Tim, "God bless us, every one!" © 2013
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Monday, December 23, 2013

Passing Thoughts On A Winter’s Day

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I was in the unemployment office to get some information today and ended up chatting with a woman in line with me. We touched on scraping the bottom of the barrel here at Christmas time and I mentioned that I had plenty of canned goods left, though not always of what I wanted. I told her that I ended up with some strange combinations sometimes, but that I had yet to go hungry. She admitted that she HAD gone hungry a few times lately, but only because she wasn’t a pig and couldn’t eat “just anything.” Perhaps she really wasn’t trying to offend me due to my porcine physique, or perhaps she was, but if so, she probably got a surprise when I laughed. SHE might have been offended had I voiced my thought that pigs must be smarter than her!

I got my first auto insurance bill for the new year today and it’s $5 a month higher than this year’s. I continue to pay the Farm Bureau $40 a year in membership since it saves me $100 per annum on the cost with Nationwide. I’m more than a little miffed that Farm Bureau isn’t big on enforcing immigration law on our southern border and is supposedly in favor of amnesty. I’m thinking about dropping my membership for that reason alone. Now that Nationwide is raising the cost of my liability-only policy, I’m going to shop around. Sadly, it’s usually hard to beat the price that mutual companies offer. I’ve already given up collision due to the cost.


I came upstairs today and told my wife that I saw something in the basement that I hadn’t seen for several years. She acted disgusted when I told her it was a certain section of the floor. I was sort of happy that my efforts to organize the basement were finally starting to pay off! She, on the other hand, is the sort of person who looks at a donut and sees only the hole. That’s why I decided to share my “joy” with YOU! LOL! © 2013
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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Grump Of The Day

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We had snow on the ground for several days lately, but it’s all gone now. Even though, I don’t care much for the white stuff anymore, it made it a lot easier to see when I took the dog out at night. That is especially true after the power company put in a new light where the guy knocked over the pole in our yard recently. Also, there were several clear nights with a bright moon. I could literally go outside without using the flashlight under those conditions. That all ended a couple nights ago when we came home and saw an orange moon rising and then had clouds moving in near morning. Last night was cloudy and today has been rainy. It’s supposed to be that way through Christmas now for us.

Incidentally, I thought that it was interesting that the power company replaced the old mercury vapor light on the pole by the road, due to having mercury in it, yet they’re forcing us to use mercury bulbs in our homes under the guise of going green. Now I ask you, why is one green and not the other, and how can one be safe and not the other? I’m guessing that it has a whole lot more to do with congressmen’s and presidents’ pockets being lined with corporate money than it does the environment.

I went to do my drug test for CDL training yesterday. From the time that I walked into the unemployment office and filled out paperwork, until I walked out of a nearby medical office, after more paperwork and peeing in a cup, was just a shade over two hours. Bureaucratic efficiency, I guess.

Another thing I have to do is go to the DMV and get a copy of my driving record. I haven’t had a traffic ticket in over 25 years, but of course, they need proof of that, and the DMV charges $5 for telling me what I already know. I literally won’t have $5 until at least Tuesday, so I’ll have to wait until then to get it. There’s a course set to begin on the 30th, but with all the red tape, I may have to wait until the class on the 13th to start.

It looks like I’ll be getting out of jury duty at the state capitol, 80 miles away. They didn’t care that I was broke and didn’t have enough gas to get there and that my tires were barely legal and make me nervous at highway speeds. (I didn’t mention that I have a brand-new set in reserve.) They didn’t care, either, that I have bursitis in my right hip and get to hurting badly if I sit too long. (It’s about a two-hour drive there, besides any time in court, then a two-hour trip home.) However, they said that if I could get a note from my doctor they could probably give me a permanent release. I did and they did. I felt like I was a little kid again and I had to get a note that said, “Please excuse Gorgie from school…”

Oh well, it could be worse; it could be an election year. © 2013

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Giving It Up (Again)

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Two times before, I’ve said that I’m going to quit posting political stuff on Facebook and my blog and just stick with history, stories and whatever else I think is interesting. I planned to also mention one ESSENTIAL truth on occasion—if you ain’t got Jesus, you’re gonna burn! However, both times, I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut and slipped back into my old ways. I just can’t fathom the number of people who are completely out of touch with reality. Those would be the ones who did such things as vote for Obama the first time. Neither can I fathom the number of people who DEEPLY DESIRE to REMAIN ignorant. Those are folks who do things like continue to support Obama. There are many other things that can be used to separate realists from useful idiots, but Obama is the current litmus test.

You will NEVER change the mind of someone who desperately WANTS to remain ignorant. My hope, for many years has been to sway those in the mindless middle that lean whatever way the current breezes are blowing. You CAN change THEIR minds, for all too short of a time. Then some strong breeze will blow from some other quarter and they will throw away everything that you thought they had learned and go to the polar opposite side of whatever the current issue may be.

I remember a few bloggers who quit entirely when Obama was re-elected, figuring that intelligence was dead in America. I tried my best not to lose all hope for the future of our nation, but it has become more and more apparent that this nation reached its moral zenith about the end of World War II, and it has been rolling downhill ever since and is currently reaching mach 1.

The clincher was the other day when I spent several minutes speaking to a charming, well educated, supposedly Christian fellow who seemed normal in every way, until he mentioned that he still likes Obama. I felt complete shock, but I managed to remain polite. If such a person still supports Obama after all of his MANY unconstitutional acts and uncountable number of lies, what chance would there ever be in educating those of less intelligence?

The socialists quit running a man for president many years ago, stating that the democrats had taken up every single one of their causes, and the socialists no longer needed to waste their energy. Since then, that party has taken up the work of Satan himself with just as much vigor. If you think not, consider what Jesus would think about abortion, sodomy and the destruction of the “God-given” rights of Americans (and ALL people, even if they are denied them).

In case you think I’m pro-republican, you’re wrong. Though their party platform still makes perfect sense, the party leadership is in lock-step with democrats and fails to follow its own platform. I used to be a republican, but left that party long ago to be unaffiliated with ANY party whatsoever. Some will try to say that I simply hate Obama, but that isn’t true either. Back in my 20’s, I hated two people for a while for completely justifiable reasons, but I soon learned that I was the only one hurt by it and gave it up. Obama simply represents all that is wrong with Americans and is leading the charge to tyranny. Knowing from his actions where he will probably spend eternity, I actually feel a little sorry for him, AND for all those who blissfully follow him. A few folks will blame my bad-mouthing of Obama on racism, but I voted for a black man for president in 2000 when he was running against George Bush in the primary. Sadly, he didn’t win. Yes, he was imperfect (as are ALL candidates) but he made more sense than ANY of them.


So, having given up on a nation that is hell-bent on self destruction, I’m once again swearing off politics on Facebook, and to a slightly lesser degree, on my blog. The difference this time is that I’ve already “unfollowed” those news-feeds from which I got most of my information. Some folks will probably appreciate the sometimes bland blather that will remain. Others will say there’s entirely too much religion left on it. Unfortunately for them, they probably won’t realize their error until they feel the flames licking their feet. © 2013
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

On The Road Again

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When I lost my job at the factory a few years ago, a displaced worker program paid for an Associate’s Degree in Accounting and another in Computer Information Technology. Considering that I’d always earned my bread by the sweat of my brow, I was sort of hoping that I could find a job where my mental experience and common sense could come into play. However, I ended up spending four years doing telemarketing, until THAT company shut down. I’d looked into getting my CDL on my own, in the past, but decided that it was too problematic at the time. After only two interviews in eleven months of trying for sales clerk or delivery positions in locally-owned stores, I was reminded by a possible employer that I might qualify for CDL training through the unemployment office. SO, since I have past experience driving a straight-frame, and enjoyed it, I figured I’d go for it.

I had an appointment yesterday to give a lady some copies of paperwork from my last round of unemployment training eight years ago. (If I hadn’t kept it, I’d probably have had to go through a month of mostly useless classes before I’d have been allowed to enter The CDL program they offer.) Then, I had two workshops, neither of which benefited me, though we did have a nice instructor who made the time bearable. Tomorrow, I may do the drug test to get things rolling. Sometimes, it gets a little old jumping through hoops just to please bureaucrats.

On the way home, I was stopped about a mile from home by a flatbed semi blocking the road. He’d tried making the hairpin turn on our road but didn’t. His outside trailer tires dropped into a near bottomless hole at the very edge of the pavement and the back of the trailer flipped, nearly upside-down, over the guardrail and slid a little ways down the almost straight hillside below. It twisted the trailer like a piece of thin cardboard, so that the middle of the trailer was nearly vertical, side to side, while the front end was more level, but stuck up in the air over the pavement nearly six feet in the air. The tractor was being held by the fifth-wheel pin so that the driver’s side wheels were nearly six feet off the ground, also, leaving the tractor on about a 45 degree angle sideways. I was apparently the first person on the scene and a young fellow, who’d probably not seen thirty yet, came walking back to me. I asked if he was okay and he assured me that he was. I asked if he wanted me to call 911 to get him some help and he said yes, because he didn’t even know where to tell them to come. I turned the pickup around as I was on the phone, telling him that even though I was heading home, I WOULD see to it that he got the help he needed.


At bedtime, six-and-a-half hours from the time I’d called 911, a small army of emergency vehicles and tow-trucks, all lights ablaze, went by our house with the twisted remains of the wrecked truck. I would really hate to be in that poor kid’s shoes the next time he sees his boss. © 2013
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Monday, December 16, 2013

Priorities

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I was sitting in the sandwich shop at Wally World using their wifi the other day when Bill strolled in and sat down beside me. I hadn’t seen my fellow co-worker for a while, so we did a bit of catching up. Low and behold, a few minutes later another old phone crank walked in. I hadn’t seen Jack since our old employer closed up shop about a year ago, so we did yet some more catching up.

Eventually, the conversation turned to what I was doing on the internet, and I told them that I was looking for a certain thing on eBay. I asked them if they’d ever used it and they both said they’d bought stuff on there, but had never sold anything on it. I told them that I liked it for buying stuff, but not for selling, since I considered it and PayPal to be more trouble than they were worth. At that, Jack laughed and told us a little story.

It seems that he has a rich uncle who’s a millionaire and a world traveler (or at least pretends to be). He knows that Jack hasn’t found work yet and recently approached him by email to see if Jack would part with an old clock from the family. Jack said it was fairly old, but was a very common style that sells on eBay for $10-20, so he quoted the uncle $20. The uncle immediately asked if he’d take a smaller amount, and Jack said yes, with a certain amount for shipping. The uncle agreed to send him a check, and Jack agreed to send the clock on receipt of the check. Interestingly enough, when the check came, it was $4 less than agreed upon. Jack said he thought the uncle figured that he was desperate and would run and cash the check and send the clock anyway. He said he was tempted to send the check back, but he decided that if the uncle valued his honor and honestly at only $4, it wasn’t up to him to bid up the price. So, he sent it anyway and let the uncle think he’d won.


We commended him for his generosity and the discussion moved on to other subjects. Finally, Jack’s wife waved as she passed the shop with a cart-load of groceries and Jack bid us adieu. Later, the subject came up about how Christmas brings out the best in some folks and the worst in others. Bill then told me that the real irony is that he’d seen Jack put his last $5 in the Salvation Army kettle once and yet his rich uncle stiffed him. My reply was just to ask whose shoes he’d rather be in come Judgment Day. “Good point,” he said with a smile. © 2013
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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Cattle And Bad Weather

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Both of my sets of grandparents had Holstein milk cows at one time and sold milk commercially, though they had rather small herds by today’s standards. By the time that I came along, though, my paternal grandparents had gotten rid of all but a couple cows that they kept for family use. Back then, most small farmers didn’t rotate pastures, so the cattle had access to the barn whenever they wanted it. Whatever the season, in nasty weather, sometimes the cattle would just hole up in the barn and spend the afternoon chewing their cud.

My father had beef cattle from the time I can remember and, during the late spring, the bull usually had the run of the barn and the small pasture, while the cows were separated into the main pasture. When it was time to turn the bull in with the cows, he was turned into the main pasture also, and none of them had access to the barn, except when we opened the small pasture occasionally to let them trim it up. If the pasture got a little short, we took some hay to the pasture and fed the cattle. We did the same in the fall, when the pasture began dying back for winter.

Once hay feeding started in earnest, though, the cattle were given 24 hour access to the barn, where they were fed hay at least twice daily. We tried to give them all they would eat, yet just enough to tide them over until the next feeding. That way, the hay trough would be empty when we fed the next time, and ready to be filled again. Anything too coarse or unpalatable to them they’d leave in the trough. We’d throw that coarse hay in to them for bedding before adding any fresh hay. During that time of year, they often spent nearly all of their time in the barn except when they went to one of the springs for water. Thankfully, one was located only a couple hundred yards from the barn.

My wife, who I didn’t know at the time, lived only a couple farms back the ridge. Her dad also had dairy cattle, but they had at least one pasture that was separated from the barn by the county road. During the times that the cattle were in that pasture, they’d have to open the gates and drive them out the county road a few rods and into the barn lot at milking time. Most travelers on the gravel road were fellow farmers and didn’t mind if they had to wait five minutes for a few cows. A couple, though, were self-important souls who’d yell and cuss and insist on trying to drive through the small herd, endangering their fenders, the animals and whoever was drover at the moment, usually a kid.

When the calves were little, or the weather cold and rainy, he’d often put hay in the troughs in the barn and keep them in the barn lot overnight. In extremely cold weather, he’d close the doors and keep them in the barn all night. When his herd was at its largest, this often meant driving a few up the ramp of his bank barn and keeping them in the upstairs of the barn. Water had to be carried from the cistern a few feet away in buckets, so the kids, usually my wife, were kept busy for a while. During the big snow storm of 1950, he had to keep them in the barn for a full week. Of course, the normally bare wood floors upstairs had to be thickly bedded with hay to keep cattle waste from flying through the cracks and into the downstairs. Even then, certain downstairs areas weren’t particularly safe to be in when an upstairs cow decided to answer nature’s call.

What brought all these memories to mind was seeing the neighbor’s cattle standing in the cold rain as we drove by headed for town. He has a big barn for equipment, but no shelter for his cattle. They both have good jobs off the farm and could afford at least a simple loafing shed if they’d just do it, yet the poor cows stand in the cold. I wouldn’t have cattle if I had no shelter for them. (I’m not including animals that are pastured through the warm months and then sold or slaughtered before the weather gets horrendous.)  I know that the sheer numbers of cattle and broad ranges out west preclude such things, but we’re rarely talking about large herds or large areas here in West Virginia. I know, too, that you can coddle your cattle so much that you can actually make them sickly. However, I think they should still have some protection from the worst of weather. Many people don’t even give them access to a brushy draw or a pine thicket, but keep them penned in windswept roadside pastures so they can just throw hay over the fence to feed them. To counter the idea to “keep ‘em tough,” it’s also been proven that any kind of stress on a cow makes it more like to get sick, plus it can slow growth in younger cattle.


Call me self-righteous, but I still wouldn’t have cattle if I didn’t have shelter for them, and it angers me to see that other folks that are willing to let theirs suffer. © 2013
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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It Ain’t Duct Tape, But…..

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There’s an old saying that goes, “you only need two things in your tool box, duct tape for those things that move that ain’t s’posed to, and WD-40m for those things that AIN’T movin’ that ARE s’posed to.” However, over the years, I’ve learned that a few additions can be helpful. Now, in the winter months, I carry a cheap lighter in my pocket in case something won’t unlock that’s supposed to. Heating up the key will often melt some tiny fleck of ice in the lock and let you get into your truck or tool chest or whatever.

The tonneau on my truck is a case in point. After several times of sticking a hot key in the lock, though, the little piece of rubber that was supposed to keep the water out in the first place sorta puckered up for some reason and let in more moisture than ever. Taking a roll of electrical tape out of my handy-dandy plastic tool box, I made a flap by turning about three-quarters of an inch back on itself, and then cut the tape off a half-inch beyond that. With the sticky part applied just above the keyhole, and with the flap hanging downward (had to put that part in for you college grads), I had a nice little roof over the keyhole. It’s been through a couple rains and snows at this point and seems to be doing the trick.

Also, I’ve been hearing lately about Big Brother turning on the video cams on people’s computers and spying on them. Now it would take a real pervert to enjoy watching some fat, ugly, hairy old man in a pair of jockey shorts type on a computer but hey, we live during strange days. More importantly, they might see the cheap reproduction muzzle-loading rifle hanging on the wall in the background. Then, they might figure out that I’m part of a secret society whose goal is to attack all continental military and police installations and take on their SWAT teams, automatic rifles, tear gas, helicopters, airplanes,  drones and artillery armed solely with single shot, black powder weapons.

I couldn’t let that happen of course. We nearly got found out when the TSA took the two inch plastic gun from the sock monkey of one of our leaders. SO, I put a piece of electrical tape over the camera on my laptop. I’m not sure where the mic is for now, so I’ll have to refrain from speaking of our insurrectionist plans near my computer, until I can also locate and cover the mic with electrical tape also.


Electrical tape—it’s not just for fixing your shorts anymore! © 2013
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Monday, December 9, 2013

Another Day

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Today, I went for my second job interview at the place that I’d rather not work, but had to reschedule. The “suggestions” for valid ID’s turned out to be requirements. My bad! They would take my photo ID driver’s license, but not my photo ID carry permit or my photo Sam’s card. Strange, that the carry permit isn’t considered adequate since it has a rigorous background check. Even stranger is that they accept Social Security cards. I don’t know about you, but when I got my original SS card, the instructions that came with it said to NEVER use it as an ID! That strikes me as odd. Some shrink would tell me that I subconsciously sabotaged the interview, but hey, if I was going to do that, I would have called it fate and not rescheduled!

I went to the unemployment office after I blew the interview. I still find it amazing how many “sanitized” ways they have of saying that there are lots of jobs available washing disabled people’s backsides. Sorry, I’m very thankful that there are folks who will answer the call, but I’m not one of them, especially for minimum wage!

The dog’s urine smells like fish-oil again, so her urinary tract infection has obviously come back. She was scooting her butt last night, too, so I suppose I’ll have to do her anal glands again. (And I cringe at washing PEOPLE’S butts!) It seems like it’s always one or the other with that poor dog.

Sent an email to a cousin in Alexandria, Virginia, but haven’t heard from her yet. I hope that doesn’t mean her power is out.

We’re down to the end of last week’s money, so my wife and I got us both a dollar tea when we were out, but we treated the dog to a $4 chicken sandwich, which she has been snubbing all evening. I should get another dose of cash tomorrow, so we’ll go stock up on groceries for Christmas and any power outage that might come along.

Got about half done lengthening a belt this evening. I didn’t finish the riveting, since I knew it would disturb my wife’s TV watching. I’ve “outgrown” all but my dress belt and needed one to wear when I worked outdoors. I used the rubberized fabric one off my logger’s tool belt since it was too short anymore. A 10” section riveted at each end after cutting the leather one in half gave me about eight more inches in length, which is more than enough. I’ve got some leather in the basement that I can make a new one for the tool belt.

The last couple times that I started the lawn tractor last fall, I had to jump it. Since it’s supposed to be really cold the next few nights, I figured that I’d better charge it so it wouldn’t freeze and ruin. When I put it on the charger, though, it drew a couple amps for a minute or two and then went back to zero. That means it’s either fully charged already, and I have some OTHER problem with the mower, OR it’s so dead that it’s un-chargeable. Considering that its seven years old, I suspect the latter. Guess I’ll be pricing a battery soon.


It was cold and breezy out there when I took the dog out a little bit ago. I’m very thankful for a warm house on nights like this! Hope yours is warm, too. © 2013
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Saturday, December 7, 2013

grumble….

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I’ve gotten a few calls to jury duty in the past when I was self-employed, but always managed to beg off, since being civic-minded would have nearly bankrupted a low-income fellow like I was. I never got any when I was working for other folks and could have gotten by more easily. Now that the feds have closed our local federal building, and try all the regional cases in the state capitol 80 miles away, I get another call to duty! I honestly can’t afford the gas to drive down there and back and then have to wait for re-imbursement. My tires are barely legal and I don’t trust them at highway speeds in bad weather. I really can’t afford to buy my lunch out when I’m down there, either, so I’d have to brown-bag it. (Not a big deal, but aggravating.) I hate to leave my wife alone in our country home in bad weather. PLUS, I’ve got bursitis in my right hip from sitting too long at my last job. Of course, it would be about two hours down and two hours back that I’d be sitting, plus whatever time I’d be sitting in the courthouse. I sincerely HOPE that they’ll excuse me from jury duty!

Having been out of work for eleven months now, I finally applied at a telemarketing place out of desperation. Having done that line of work for four years on my last job and hated it, it was just about the last place in town for me to apply. Now I’m concerned that they might hire me, and equally concerned that they won’t. (Remember the bursitis, too.)

For years, when I could have afforded to do so, my wife fought me every time that I spoke of rebuilding the chimney. Now that I can no longer afford to have it rebuilt, we are entering winter and possible power-outage weather, with no usable woodstove, and one kerosene heater SOMEWHERE in the attic. I’d planned on getting some kerosene, but the last couple days, it’s been pouring rain every time I get to town. Of course the kerosene pumps are always at some far edge of the lot with no roof over them. As a result, I haven’t gotten any kerosene, since I didn’t want a cold bath, OR to get water in the can.

Also, the new “government approved” kerosene can I just purchased has one of those new “safety” spouts that force you to handle the fuel-covered spout from the inside of the can to install it to pour position. That means that your hand will either reek of kerosene, or you must put on oil-proof gloves to handle it. THEN, you must keep down-pressure on the spout as you pour to keep the butterfly valve open that’s located at the bottom of the spout. That means you can’t pour into small containers like lamps and lanterns, nor can you use a funnel. It would also make it more likely to over-fill a kerosene heater and have a spill. As a result, I’ll have to lay the spout aside and pour directly from the half-inch long threaded opening on the can, into a funnel, which will probably be sitting in a plastic milk jug (an UNAPPROVED container, I might add). THEN, I can more easily pour from that smaller container into a funnel placed in whatever I’m trying to fill. So, this wonderful can is another engineering wonder designed by some college-educated safety “professional” who doesn’t know his anal orifice from a gopher hole.

ALSO, my wife wrote two checks in Wally-World this weekend, and I wrote one at home. Now we have a check missing. Is it in the possession of someone who was at the store when my wife was there? It’s not on the floor by my desk. Or is it, as I suspect, a check that never was – an error made by the company that printed the checks. I’ve had that problem with that particular company before. Hmmm…..

It has NOT been a good weekend! © 2013
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Friday, December 6, 2013

Cast-Iron And Kinfolk

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From what I’ve been told, the dust from the Uncivil War had barely settled when one of my ancestors, Charles Dixon, left from somewhere around the beautiful but battle-scarred area of Staunton, Virginia and settled in the equally beautiful area of Upshur and Lewis Counties in the new state of West Virginia. His name was spelled “Dixson” before that horrible war, but he spelled it “Dixon” afterwards. That was part of his effort to sever all ties with his family, since his eleven siblings had fought for or supported the Confederacy in some way during that great “war between brothers.” Feelings were strong on the subject so, since Charles had worn the blue uniform of a Yankee during the conflict, his surviving brothers and sisters probably considered it good riddance.

It was in some sort of covered wagon that Charles made the journey westward, though not in one of the Conestoga’s seen so often in westerns. No-one knows for sure what that wagon held, except for three things—his wife, Elizabeth Stalnaker Dixon, a camel-back trunk, and a large, three-legged skillet known as a “spider” that had a flat, rimmed lid and a tapered handle. It wasn’t designed to sit in a fire as some folks think, but to sit over a few coals that had been pulled to one side. It could be used as a skillet, but it was also just barely deep enough to be used as a stewpot. Plus, the flat, rimmed lid allowed coals to be put on top, which made it useable as a Dutch oven for baking. The handle could be used as it came, but it was tapered so that it could be inserted into a hole in the end of a stick to put the cook a little farther from the fire. If you had to travel “light,” a spider was probably the one thing to pack in the wagon for cooking.

For some now-unknown reason, the Dixons, and some of their friends and relatives, eventually left the beauty of Lewis and Upshur Counties and moved to the also beautiful (but generally more rugged) area of Roane County. The spider and trunk went with them. Charles and Elizabeth were buried in Roane County when the time came. The trunk and the spider eventually ended up in Wood County with some of their descendants. Sadly, the trunk was eventually sold at a “moving sale” by a relative who had a higher regard for cash than of passing on heirlooms. I know nothing of the spider’s use during the ensuing years, but it eventually ended up in a jumble of things in the horse stall of my maternal grandfather’s barn. Just when it made the trip two counties north, I never thought to ask. Having an interest in family history and antiques, my grandfather and his sister eventually decided that I was the grandchild who should get the old piece of cast-iron cookware. I was delighted with their decision.

It sat on my hearth for a several years, though it never got used as I’d planned. Part of the drip ring inside the lid is missing from sitting and rusting under a leak in granddad’s barn. Also, the lid had been dropped at some point, and a three inch chunk of rim is missing. Still, it would serve the intended purpose. The spider measures 2-1/2 inches deep and 11 inches across the bottom. It’s 12-1/2 inches across the top, and the lid is 14 inches across the top. The three legs on the bottom are about an inch-and-a-half long. It weighs just a bit over 13 pounds. On the lid, it says “Star Foundry, 4, Wheeling, Virginia,” but it means the current city of Wheeling, WEST Virginia, since it was always an iron and steel town until recently. I guess that would prove the age of the spider. There IS a current Wheeling, Virginia, but it appears to be only a wide spot in the road in the middle of nowhere by comparison. The “4” is the size or style, I would assume. Incidentally, I looked up Star Foundry in Wheeling, Va. online, and three or four links came up, all in Wheeling, WEST Virginia.


I’d mentioned a year or two ago that I’d discovered a third cousin where I was working at the time who has heirs, unlike me, so I’ll probably see if she’d like to have it. It should really go to a branch on the family tree that isn’t dying out (like mine is). © 2012
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Sunday, December 1, 2013

An Interesting Night

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A few evenings ago, I was seated in front of my computer, and my wife in front of her TV, when the house went black. There were no winds or heavy snows to take the lines down, though it was raining cats and dogs. My laptop was plugged in, but the battery was up so it didn’t go dead, so I could use the light from the screen to help me find the flashlight that I always keep within reach. My wife fumbled in the darkness of the next room and found her lantern-style emergency light before I even got there. A peek out the front door toward the utility pole in our front yard showed a grey pickup stopped there and some ill-defined shapes that looked out of place.

Putting on more clothes, and sticking my pistol in my pocket, I went out into the cold to check things out. As I walked the 200 feet to the road, it gradually became obvious that the pole was broken off about eight feet up, and that the remainder was lying in the road, complete with our security light. In the pickup sat the neighbor from six houses out the road. He said that he was okay and had dodged a deer and went a bit too far out of the road. When asked, he said that he hadn’t banged his head, nor was hurt in any other way. I noticed that the wires were pressed hard against the driver’s door and asked if that was why he hadn’t tried to get out. He replied to the affirmative. I smelled no alcohol, so after checking to see if he had a phone (he didn’t), I asked if he wanted me to call 911 to get someone to help him out and he said yes. They were there and had him out within an hour and he walked home.

It continued to pour cold rain, but the power crew immediately began to clean up the mess and make arrangements to restore power. That involved setting a new pole, of course. It was obvious that the truck nearly got stopped before hitting the pole, since there wasn’t that much damage to the truck. Our power came on a little after midnight. The temperature in our house had been 72 when the power went off, and was still at 65 when it came back on. With all the insulation that I carry, I was fine, but my wife was “freezing to death.”

I noticed that my wife had used far more light sources than were needed during the dark hours before power was restored. Instead of just carrying a light with her, she put at least one lantern in every room, so she could just walk around as she wanted and not be in darkness. She does the same when the power is on, so we burn a little more juice than we would otherwise. I asked if she didn’t think we should save battery life and just use one light apiece, but she was having none of it. She seems to have grown more afraid of the dark in the past year. It makes me wonder how she’d handle a power outage that lasted several days, like the one we had last year.


The worst thing for her was the lack of a television. She was so worked up about it that she didn’t sleep all night long. I offered to read her something to keep her entertained, but she wasn’t interested. I finally went to bed at 1 a.m., while she stayed up to fret and stew. When the cable came back on at 10 a.m. the next morning, she dropped off like a baby at a lullaby. Not only would I hate to be that dependent on something, it makes me wonder how she would survive if the grid ever goes down for good. © 2013
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