Friday, April 30, 2010

There ought to be a Texas exemption to the old saw

about back in the day having to walk to school for 5 miles through 4 feet of snow uphill both ways while carrying a cello.

I have told kids I did that, and of course, they scowl at me.

I once asked a guy if he told his kids that, and he explained that as Texans, he’d never get away with that one.

I hereby propose an exemption to be given to the fathers of young Texans so they will not be left out of the Great American Tradition of feeding their sons a classic Sob Sister tale of woe.

Page 14, article 3, subsection D, paragraph four is hereby added to with amendment 6-B which reads as follows: Texans are exempt from the line ‘5 miles through four feet of snow’ and may substitute ‘barefoot through five miles of cactus and rattlesnakes’ in it’s stead.

This means that Texan fathers shall tell their kids that ‘They walked to school barefoot through 5 miles of cactus and rattlesnakes, uphill both ways, while carrying a cello.’

Sounds pretty official to me.

my other blog is:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I met an interesting character earlier tonight

I was looking for an alternator for the Miata as the one in it has bearings that are getting ready to go south. I found a private sale on line and the seller gave me the numbers on it, so I Googled it and the numbers matched the model of alternator that I wanted.

He was nearby, so I went to pick it up at well under half the going rate.

Seems the guy had purchased a building from an estate or something and it had been a rebuild shop and the building was full of stock and tools so he was selling the stuff off for a few extra bucks.

Anyway, in the shop I saw some kind of home made vehicle that looked like an oversized and very overpowered go cart with a free floating cage the passenger sits in and brake rotors on either side to control the pitch axis of the cage.

Now, I have a curiosity regarding garage projects and have seen quite a number of them over the years, but this one was a real doozy.

The guy explained to me that the car was designed to be able to hit a brick wall at 60 mph with the occupant being subjected to fewer than 10 Gs.

That’s when my curiosity got the best of me and I asked how it worked. Inside of less than a minute, I was overwhelmed by the amount of math and physics that he threw at me and I was sitting next to his computer looking at graphs and charts and listening to a dissertation of cycloids.

A cycloid is defined as the path of a point on the edge of a circular wheel as the wheel rolls along a straight line, or so I was told.

This guy seemed to be into some pretty high end physics and when I asked him where he went to school, he admitted he had only finished high school and was self taught.

I asked him where his blueprints were and he explained that he had built the thing completely by eye. He said sometimes he would ask his wife to sort of help him.

“Here, honey, sit here.” Is the way he explained it, as he showed me how he designed the seat in the cage.

He went on to describe the diameter of the rotors controlling the cage and the idea of weightlessness that an accident would create and that it would be somewhat like being thrown free without going anywhere.

He showed me crash pictures of one of the tests and, looking at the way things went even though something broke, it looked like it would probably work.
Now, I am not a physicist, but I do have a pretty good eye for things and it looked to me like the guy had something there.

He described it as being a lot like the amusement park ride called ‘the Zipper’.

If nothing else, it was pretty good talking to a guy with an idea that was so damned passionate about it.

I asked him what he thought about government regulations and he pointed out that government regulations had run him out of two businesses.

He had an EBay business which he had to shut down because the state demanded some sort of auctioneers license, and he got run out of a mini truck plan because the EPA stuck their noses into his business.

He had one of the mini trucks in the garage and to me it looked like a pretty damned good little delivery vehicle.

Easy to unload, it was a flat bed with fold up sides.

Auto parts and a lot of other things these days are delivered locally with small pickups, and this little vehicle looked like a cheap, economical way to make a series of small deliveries around town.

Maneuverable, small and economical, it looked perfect for local deliveries. He explained that even though the little thing got over 50 mpg, the Feds wouldn’t allow their importation for use on the road. I guess he's trying to sell a few for off-road use.

He also had some interesting ideas with his little cage car, too. He wanted to build it as a series of modules that would be assembled at the dealers and it would allow the buyer to actually build a custom vehicle at the dealers and the dealer would order the appropriate sub assemblies and modules and simply bolt them together.

It is supposed to be totally upgradeable. If you want to swap out power plants, all you have to do is unbolt one and bolt another one right in. I suppose interiors, etc, are the same way.

This guy had an idea, and he’s running with it and time will tell as to whether he’s going to make it big, or if he’s just spitting into the wind.

I assume the latter, but I sure loved his spirit.

“They can take out money and stuff their health care down our throats, but we’re Americans and we’ll reinvent it anyway! We’re in our garages and you won’t recognize things in a couple of years!” he ranted.

Alaska draws crackpots of all sorts and I met quite a number there. He’d fit right in.

One of the things I miss about Alaska is running into them on a regular basis. Meeting his was very refreshing.

I wish him well.


He just sent me an email. The subject line read: I am an American, hear me roar.

The email contained a couple of links to various scientific websites. Interesting.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Different means different

One of the things I have had to deal with over the years is the idiot that doesn’t understand the English language or just tries to take something out of context.

The other day someone asked me about something he did and I told him that it was sure a different way of handling the situation.

Of course, he got all butt-hurt and demanded to know what was wrong with what he had done.

I’ve had to deal with this guy before and he has a chip of some kind on his shoulder, so I simply told him that what was wrong is that he’s illiterate.

When he got enraged I simply told him that he did not know what the word ‘different’ meant.

Then I explained to him that just because something is different it does not necessarily mean something is wrong with it. Right means right, wrong means wrong, and different means simply that, different.

He was partially mollified, so I was off the hook.

Now, I do not know what his problem is, but I think it’s the chip he carries on his shoulder. He’s pulled that crap on other people before. I’ve seen it.

I’ve also seen him take things out of context. I have been waiting for him to do it to me, but I don’t think he will. People like that fear people that are articulate and when I deal with him, I make it a point to be because it intimidates him enough so he treads warily.

I enjoy a reputation of being kind and patient, yet you do not want to cross me because I come down hard. It’s a reputation I enjoy having. It makes things easy for me.

It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword, and maybe it is, but the English language works for me.

my other blog is:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

You guys ought to meet an old friend of mine

His name is Crash Murphy.

Here are a couple of pictures of him.

my other blog is:

I was teaching a pretty good kid how to take a line

in when sailing from a ship the other day.

Now the problem is that the ship is much higher than we are and the ships deck crew can not really do much except hold the end of the line so we can snap it out of their hands. You jerk it so the entire line comes over our deck and gravity takes over.

The object, of course, is to have the entire line land on our deck so that it doesn't get wet and heavy and have to be dragged out of the water.

I demonstrated to him with the first line. Then the next three were his to try.

Of course, the line fell straight into the drink. I put my left hand into my hip pocket, and pointed at him with my right in the manner of a Simpson's related internet cartoon. "Ha Ha!" I said, and then helped him drag it out of the drink.

The next time he missed and I repeated the "Ha Ha!" schtick. This time I let him drag it out of the water alone.

The third time he got it and the line fell onto our deck with a satisfying clatter.

The kid has spirit and was pretty satisfied and rightfully proud of himself. He turned to me and put HIS left hand in his pocket, pointed at ME with his right and said, "Ha Ha!"

I grinned.

It feels pretty good to pass on old school skills to the younger guys.

Especially the ones that want to learn.

Some don't. I remember telling someone about some disinterested kid that was sent me to train.

"He didn't want to learn anything, so I didn't teach him anything," I said.

This other kid was different and it was a joy to teach him.

my other blog is:

Monday, April 26, 2010

made a pretty good score from a Russian sailor.

We lightered a Russian ship and I traded a US Army t-shirt for a Russian navy shirt, one of the jerseys you see in the movies. The ones with the blue and white horizontal stripes.

It fits me pretty goood.

One of the other guys thinks I'm nuts and tried to compare it with trading underwear.

I told him it was time to change underwaer anyway, so I simply changed with the Russian sailor. I can be pretty deadpan about stuff like that.

Several years ago I lightered a Russian ship and this Rooski, a younger one, came down the gangplank alongside and with one of those shifty-eyed Mafioso looks, peered around for a second and opened his coat up.

Inside it, straight out of a movie, was a bunch of hooks and a bunch of Red Army stuff. I scored a pretty good belt with a brass buckle and a few other odds and ends.

I also sent up a bunch of worn gloves and almost started a riot because the poor bastards only had burlap mittens to protect their hands in the winter. I almost cried when I saw that.

No human should work at sea with something as shabby as that.

Anyway, it was a pretty good score.

I'm a happy camper.

my other blog is:

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tea has been cancelled.

We were going to have a spot of tea, but some compulsive cleaner came by, saw the spot and wiped it up.

So much for having tea.

my other blog is:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

It is a good day. I was expecting rain.

This is good. I can get some work done today.

This is a boat and boats require a surface covering called paint, which is what I plan on doing today. I will paint.

This is something that I really am not good at.

Some guys out here could paint in a suit and tie safely and not get a drop on themselves. I am not one of them.

If a job requires 5 gallons of paint, then I generally order 10 because I will wind up wearing 5 gallons of the stuff.

So my plans are to paint some of the vessel, and paint myself.

We'll see what happens with today's little extravaganza.

my other blog is:

Friday, April 23, 2010

The cell phone can either be a wonder tool or

a real pain in the ass.

I wonder how much longer the basic issue land line will be around.

The other day I went into the office and saw that 4 people were on the phone, and that all 4 were on cell phones. Not person one was using a land line. When I went outside, I saw that one of the people there had taken his work outside to do while enjoying the sunshine. He was filling out some sort of report or something at the picnic table.

His phone went off and he answered it and dealt with whatever headache he was handed and went back to his paperwork.

The cell phone opens up a lot of opportunity for an office type to unchain himself from the prison of a desk.

Mine, on the other hand, is scientifically programmed by some evil conspirators somewhere to go off when I am either on the john or in the shower or driving too fast through a switchback turn or in the middle of a complicated traffic situation at high speed.

When I went for my Stearman flight a while back, I was pretty careful to out and out turn the damned thing off before I even got into the cockpit. No use giving the conspitators the chance to nail me on final approach when I was trying to focus on landing the damned thing. I turned it off because I'm not completely stupid.

I wonder if the guy landing the space shuttle turns his off for landings. Probably. I sure as hell would. The last thing he needs is somme keyed up nervous engineer type calling him on final approach to call him and ask him if he filled out the all-important inventory of the space shuttle's Kleenex supply.

My cell started as a work only tool, that was only supposed to stay on the boat and has evolved into another thing I am chained to 24/7. It was supposed to be so that if I went ashore for something, there would be a way to get ahold of me if something came up,period.

When I upgraded recently, I could not go cheap and get a basic, primitive phone; it had to have a camera so I could send pictures to my port engineer when something breaks.

I've gone from about 10 minutes a month to almost a thousand.

Work eats a lot of this because the people in the office know that if I'm away from the ship's phone, I have my cell with me unless I am actually on deck. They seldom use the ship's phone.

The other thing that uses up the minutes are people that yak.

I use mine as a simple communication tool to convey basic information. It annoys me when I have to hear about what kind of fish someone caught at the fish market and had for dinner last night.It's said sometimes that I'm pretty curt on mine, and I guess I am. When I had Tracfone, I used to answer it with 'This is costing me money. What do you want?'

It kept most of the conversations short and fact-filled, which is what communication at work is all about. We're here to do a job, not share our inner fears that the hometown sports team might lose the big game.

I guess the cell phone is just another double edged sword.

my other blog is:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

We now have a peachy keen new and improved

hundred dollar bill.

Big deal.

In two weeks it won't buy as much as the old hundred dollar bill.
The do-gooder set has raised cain about waterboarding.

Guess what?

Would it surprise anyone to find out that this old man doesn't care.

If it keeps one single GI from getting a small blister on his left foot, than have at it. My sympathy for those people is in the dictionary. It is between $hit and syphilis, and I do not want either of those.


My ride across the state in the Miata was in memory of my mother. I have mentioned in an earlier post that she loved the sun and the wind. When she was in her 60s she spent a week with me on my sailboat. I think it was better for her health that way.

Had she accompanied me in that still riding little car, she'd have been sent straight to the cripple ward. I can still feel the vibration a day later.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

post 200. Where I drive the Miata across the state.

WHich was an open cockpit tour of joy and a celebration of life.

This really wasn't the most comfortable thing I have ever done. I do not plan on doing it again, yet it sure was a trip I wouldn't miss.

Old Man Winter had knocked the living hell out of me and the weatherr has broken. It was time for a top down long run of some sort. I wanted to celebrate the passing of winter and it was time to head on back in to spin the wheels of industry and fill the family coffers.

I decided to drive the Miata across the state to work.

Now, you have to realize the Miata is not all about muscle produced speed, it's about handling and ability to stick to the road like glue smeared on sticky stuff.

The suspension of the little car is modified with oversized swaybars, heavy duty shocks and good extreme performance iters. The engine is a small 1.6 liter 4 cylinder; It's somewhat snappy, but not real fast. Hell, the gas sipper gave me 34+ mpg for the trip to work!

While the suspension holdsz the road like super glue, it comes at a cost. The car rides like a brick. You feel every single little pothole, pebble, crack in the pavement and everything else on the road.

Driving the car on the PA turnpike was out of the question for 2 reasons. The pike is a series of slabs aand the expansion joints would beat me to death. It's one of the worst roads in the country and riding the little sports car across the state would leave me urinating blood upon arrival to work.

The other reason is thaat the pike is really pretty boring and sterile.

I opted to take US 30 across the state and I'm glad I did. It was long, slow and top down fun.

One of the things about the interrstate system is that it is fast and efficient. You can go rapidly from A to B in climate controlled comfort and todays automobiles have certainly gotten comfortable. They are self-contained sterile machines that move people in speed, comfort and keep them entertained with blue tooth sattelite radios.They dull the senses and you really miss a lot being in a sterile box like that.

The Miata is the antithisis of this. Mine is even more so.

With the top down, it is windy, a little loud and a sensitive machine. You have to pay attention and DRIVE the thing, as opposed to tool your way across the countryside. It was the machine for the job. You see the sights, feel the feels and smell the smells.

I left Pittsburgh and gassed up, and that part was traffic and routine crap. By the time I got to the Greensburg Pike, the road opened up a bit, and it was pretty nice until I had to pass through Greensburg, which isn't too bad.

Clearing Greensburg, it was a joy all the way into Breezewood.

I saw farms, smelled freshly plowed fields, the aroma of various feeds and the wonderful aroma of cow manure. I passed by heard of cows, and a herd of Buffalo and drove through a couple of wonderful mountain passed.

The twisting corners of the mountain passes were the real fun for the driver in me. I didn't slow down for the corners and the little car stuck like a cocklebur and I never even came close to breaking traction.

I wasn't speeding, in that I didn't go over the speed limit, but I paid little attention to the advisory signs posted at the various curves, I simply tooled through the twisties in complete and total control. It was a joy for an old guy like me.

In Breezewood, I stopped for a cup of coffee and a State trooper followed me in and ccommented in somewhat of an 'I see what you did' tone of voice commented that he had followed me from afar for quite a ways and commented that while I wasn't exactly speeding,I didn't pay much attention to advisory signs alerting me to sharp bends.

When he mentioned something about sliding around corners, I politely told him that I had never even come close to sliding, and that I had modified the suspension system exactly for that reason. The car had held securely.

He advised me to keep it down. I nodded.

I don't think he was really going to push the issue, he didn't and he went in for his coffee.

From Breezewood to Chambersburg was a joy, more farmlands and monntion passes and fun driving.

US 30 is an asphalt highway and is really pretty smooth for the most part, it's the kind of surface the Miata was made for. No expansion joints and it is well maintained.

Chambersburg was a pain to get through and it was pretty good motoring into Gettysburg, where I noticed a lot more than I ever had, being more in tune to my surrpondings as my senses were not dulled by music and air conditioning.

Gettysburg to York was, OK, but I hit York in the middle of rush hour and finally broke through to Lancaster, which wasn't too bad. From Lancaster it was a short hop to the Philly suburbs and beck into the grind.

I parked the little car and boarded my vessel.

I generally make the trip in about 6-7 hours, this trip took about nine.

It was worth it.

my other blog is:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Im thinking of taking the Miata across the state today

Mechanically it is good to go.

Still, there is another thing; I want to take it across the mountains and go to Philly via US 30 which is a joy to drive.

It's a route that goes through farm country and all the sights and smells of the farm are a joy to take in when you are driving an open cockpit sports car.

My love of this probably comes from my mother, she really loved the wind and the sun and the beach. She loved spending a week with me on my sailboat a couple of decades ago in Vancouver, BC.

Back when I was a youngster, my first car was an MGB with a real ratty top, but no worries. The top was seldom up, anyway.

On sultry nights my mother would sometimes ask to go for a ride to get out of the house, which I cheerfully obliged her with. It was one of the few things we shared.

If I do decide to take the Miata, it will be a ride in her memory.

We'll see.

my other blog is:

Monday, April 19, 2010

bungee cords are like P-38 can openers.

Whatever genius invented that little piece of kit should go down in history as one of the smartest guys that ever lived.

Like most things that work flawlessly, the bungee cord is simple, just a piece of elastic with a hook on each end. The uses are endless.

Guys at sea bet their lives on them and they always seem to work.

The troops use 'em, and so does just about everyone else on the planet that is evenly remotely civilized.

They're better than rope for quite a number of applications and require no knot tying skills, just hook the 2 ends to something or ever to each other and you now have something pretty well secured.

They pop up everywhere, anyone that's even ridden in a pickup truck has lost 10 of 'em. At least. Maybe more.

They get used for just about everything. Door closers, fence latches, tie-downs for lumber and stuff, holding things together, attaching sleeping bags to packs, you name it. The universal tool.

I've seen them used to jury rig a diesel engine before!

If one of them is too short to do the job, simply hook a couple of them together, no biggie.

It's funny how much entire civilizations rely on something as simple as a bungee cord.

my other blog is:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I am picking the Miata up today

It has had some work done on it.

I will update later today.

The Miata is now home. It runs like a top.

It now has a new timing belt, water pump, generator belt, cam and crankshaft seals and valve cover gasket.

There are new wheels and tires on it, too, and the price was dirt cheap.

Bought the tires on line, and swapped helping out a local guy to install them.

I also bought the parts.

The new wheels I traded for, and the installation of the engine parts I traded for.

I got a set of older, but classical rims from someone getting rid of them. I was going to use them, but I found out the offset was wrong for the Miata, so I put them aside.

Then I got a set of wheels off a '97 Miata in a trade, it came with very servicible tires, but I wanted to put Bridgestone Potenza Pole Position tires on them, so I swapped the rubber out. I put the Bridgestones in the new wheels and took the older tires and put them in a pile with the older, classical rims.

These rims and tires I swapped off for installation of the engine parts.

All in all a good deal.

A lot less cash changed hands and a lot of valuable work got done. I had nothing to gripe about.

I like trading goods and services because it not only saves money, but both sides can come out in a win/win situation. Both sides do well because they both get what they want cheaply.

Barter is the way to go if you can set it up.

Works for me.

my other blog is:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

there is a lot of stuff that I really

don't want.

The other day I looked at a Ferrari. It was nice to look at, and several years ago I actually got to drive one. They are neat, very well made and so on and so forth, but I really don't want one.

I also don't want a loaded full-sized pickup, either. I'm a Toyota Tacoma sort of a guy and that's what I like.

I had a dream a while ago, one of the few that I remember, that I had done something that saved the city a fortune and the mayor was offering me any sort of vehicle I wanted.

I wanted a 4 cylinder Tacoma and that's when I had to explain that it was simply what I wanted because the damned mayor started in with the "We can do better than that" crap.

I recall trying to explain to the mayor that I did not WANT a full-sized pickup or some fancy car and that if he insisted that I would just trade it for what I wanted.

Of course, he didn't understand why a guy wouldn't just jump at the offer of a huge, V-8 loaded with every option pickup. He thought I was just being shy or something.

The truth is, if I won a gazillion dollar lottery and could drive anything, I would have the same two vehicles in my life that I do now.

I would have a Mazda Miata, the first generation and it would be set up the way mine is right now. What I would do is have one of those California rebuild shops rebuild it, though. Or maybe I'd snag a low milage one and have it gone over and set up the way mine is.

My other vehicle would be a Tacoma with a 4 cylinder engine and a 5 speed, which is what I have now, only I'd get one that had no air and no power steering because I really don't like that stuff. I like my vehicles simple and reliable.

It's somewhat of an annoyance when I try and get something simple or inexpensive and ppeople think they are doing me a favor when they snag me something bigger or more expensive.

I am not alone in this, as I have a friend that drinks an inexpensive brand of scotch because he likes it. He tells me that people think they are doing him a big favor when they buy him a drink of 'the good stuff' and it really annoys him.

He drinks the inexpensive hootch because he like it. He can well afford to drink a more expensive brand, but he simply likes the cheaper brand.

I certainly understand his frustration because things like that happen to me a lot.

Several years ago I was on a camp job and we ate like kings, steak and lobster were a very common ocurrance. One day I asked one of the cooks if he could make an occasional dish like a stew or maybe a pot of chili. I told him I was a simple country boy.

He laughed and said "God bless you, Son, but if I ever served something like that there would be a full blown riot out here."

Go figure.

Then again, I am such a simpleton that I just worship the simplicity and utile of the five-cent P-38 can opener.

my other blog is:

Friday, April 16, 2010

today will be a day of boots and utes.

Which means I wil be busting my ass all day in the yard, which sucks.

I am finishing up on the cleanup of a pair of trees that I dropped.

The cutting down and bucking up is the easy part. Chewing all of the limbs, twigs and slash with a chipper/shredder is the pain in the neck part.

Getting rid of the chips isn't a joy, either.

Wish I had something different to say, but stuff like this is all a part of life.

my other blog is:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I made a butt call the other day

which I guess is par for the course for bar-type cell phone users.

The tern came from Neighbor Bob's wife, it means you have your cell phone in your back pocket and sit on it and push the buttons with you ass.

The call went to Bob's answering machine and I was in the process of teaching someone to do something on the computer and you could clearly hear me giving directions.

This galls me because I could have said something stupid or really embarrassed myself. I guess I got lucky.

I guess I am going to have to get one of those things that you hook into your belt to keep it from happening again. Until then, I'll just keep my cell in my shirt pocket and button the flap shut.

I didn't have this problem with the old clamshell kind of phone, which I have had for years.

The problem came when I switched from Tracfone to straight talk. The clamshell phones that Straight Talk sells do not have a camera in them so I was stuck.

These days I need a camera at work because when something breaks I can snap a picture of it and send it to my Port Engineer. It's somewhat of a pain in the neck, but I know it sure makes his job easier because when you can actually see a problem it's a lot better than listening to a verbal description.

I guess I'll just solve the problem by getting one of those belt holsters with a clip and I'll add on some sort of safety line and a clip of some sorts because when you work sometimes the clip slips off of your belt.

We'll see.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mrs Pic busted her tail last fall making the

back yard look good. It looked like a little fairyland when she was done.

Old Man Winter didn't tear it up too bad, either.

Enter carpenter ants that ate the base of a couple of pine trees. A while ago one fell on it's own and landed iin my neighbors yard, which was no big deal as they are pretty good about stuff like that.

The other two I took down a couple of days ago, not because I wanted to, but because I decided that it would be a lot better and safer to have a little control over things.

Now comes the remainder of the clean up work today.

I am going to do a careful job of making things look good because the job Mrs Pic did in the back yard last fall should be treated with a little respect.

The backyard warrants it and Mrs Pic deserves it.

The tree mess will be cleaned up so it looks like it was never theee to begin with.

my other blog is:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I am in my coolie outfit today

My coolie outfit is a pair of shorts I snagged a year or so ago. They go to the middle of my knee and have lots of room in them. I wore them last summer quite often, especially when I was gardening, generally with an oversized shirt and a grubby yachting cap.

It was and still is a funky, comfortable outfit and I suppose I'll wear it a lot this summer when I garden and run around doing things.

It started getting called my coolie outfit because of the way it fits me. It makes me look imanciated, like s prisoner of war that is building a bridge in the jungle or something. Someone said I looked like I was doing just that.

Shorts are an interesting item of clothing. I have watched how the fashion industry seems to change the length and fit of shorts over the years. Length and fit seem to change every so often, just so everyone starts to feel out of place and buys a couple of new outfits.

To me it is a joke. Shorts are shorts and should be just that; they should be short.

I like my shorts to go mid thigh, and loose enough to be comfortable. The coolie shorts I have on seem to bother me a bit because they go mid knee. It feels a bit odd having something rub against my knee periodically.

Of course, there is a booming razor blade industry in this great nation of ours, but the guys that designed these put the bottom of the cargo pocket about 1 1/2 inches about the hem, so that's not really much of an option.

Even though things change in the fashioon industry, there is one thing that has stayed pretty solid for the past four decades I can think of and that is cut-offs.

Cut off jeans are a permanent fixture in the warmer months, it seems that everyone owns at least one pair and they are still perfectly acceptable for some functions, like last minute informal neighborhood barbecues and mowing the lawn.

Cut-offs are sort of like blue blazers and khaki pants. They are a timeless classic and have never seemed to go away.

One thing about cut-offs is that the cutter can cut them any length he wants and it's OK. The length is not dictated by some tutti fruitti nancy-boy in Paris.

Still, I think I'll enjoy being in my coolie outfit because of one thing.

Thee weather has broken and I can wear it. Let's be grateful for that.

my other blog is:

Monday, April 12, 2010

I rasied some eyebrows in the library the other

day when my cell phone went off.

I thought I had set the damned thing to vibrate, but I guess I did it wrong, which is par golf for me and things like cell phones. I can't seem to figure them out.

Neighbor Bob called me and the library was treated to Tarzan calling the elephants.

Every single person in the library seemed quite amused EXCEPT for the librarian who pitched a hissie fit of some sort. This was entirely expected, as that is what librarians do for a living. I expected no less.

I wonder about librarians.

Is there some sort of test they have to take to see if they have no personalities?

About three decades ago I dated one briefly and I'll have to say she had a split personality. She was a librarian in the library and a crazy lady out of it. Let's leave it at that.

For the life of me, that is one personality I can not figure out.

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

I really hate big time lowballers

Recently I posted something on Craigslist for $150, which was a decent price. I wasn't ripping someone off, yet I wasn't getting rich, either.

So some clown shoots me an email with a bid of ten bucks.


I was going to simply delete it, but I figured that I could make him a counter offer.

"Thank you for your generous offer. In an effort to mmake you happy, I am making a counter offer. How about if I load them up into my pickup along with my kid sister. I'll deliver them to your house free of charge, install them onto your car, which I will also wash and wax. Then I'll hand you a check for $4000 and a bottle of good whiskey. After you have had a couple snorts, then you can %^&* my sister. Sound like a good deal?"

Of course he didn't answer.

Truth is, before I let something go like that to a lowballing idiot like that, I would destroy them and take them to the dump. I don't really need the money. I was just trying to give some poor bastard a good deal on something and scare up a little loose change.

I don't deal with jerks like that.

Who needs them?

my other blog is:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

At the end of a lot of TV shows

the star is often seen leaving with a mystery woman in a classy convertible. We've seen it hundreds of times on the boob tube.

I wonder if the next time I change crews in the Boston area how hard it would be to have some mystery woman show up at the dock in a convertible to pick me up.It would sure start tongues wagging among my shipmates.

Off the top of my head, I can think of at least one of my former classmates that's kept her figure and has the sense of humor required for such a job.

All it would take is to beg, borrow or rent a convertible for an hour or two, and heve her don a pair of big sunglasses, wheel up, pick me up, and roar off.

Sounds pretty good to me. I could be the star of my own show.

I think I am going to lookk into this a little more.

my other blog is:

Friday, April 9, 2010

I had a chat with a lawyer I met a while back.

He was a black attorney and we were talking about cities. Boaton came up and he said that he saw how it was a neat city, but being balck, it was rather difficult.

I offered an explaination, which makes sense.

There is no excuse for this, the answer is racism, but it goes back to the Civil War when a number of blacks moved into the city and started working for less money than the newly arrived Irish.

Irish Alzheimer's is a reference to the memories of the Irish. Irish Alzheimers is when you forget everything but the grudges.

ANyway, the Irish have never forgotten this and as you know, historically the Irish head into the field of government jobs.

The stereotype Boston Irish cop is a lot like the East Indians running convenience stores in New Jersey. There were and still are a lot of them. Firemen, mailmen and a lot of city level jobs seem to be heavily sought after by the Irish.

They are in politics, and have done very well.

When you have a power structure heavily laden with people that have a reputation for carrying a grudge, it gets a little dicey.

The attorney was a pretty thoughtful guy and he seemed to understand where I was coming from when I explained it. He asked me about my Irish blood and I explained that I was raised in a smalll town outside of Boston and wasn't subject to all of the city crap. It was a wonderfully sheltered existance, so I wasn't exposed to any of that crap. We never really looked at color at all.

We got to simply be kids.

I am grateful for that.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm home

That is good..

my other blog is:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

In about 9 hours I go home for a while

Today I ran an errand, and it was interesting. I noticed a cop behind me, which didn't bother me too much,as I am not too much of a speed demon.

I pulled off the road into a parking lot owned by the city and he followed me, which surprised me, so I stopped and got out of the vehicle with both of my hands showing, and the cop stopped and got out.

I asked him if I did anything wrong and he said I had not, and that he was just going over to the end of the lot to get gas. I guess the city has a pump there.

I grinned and dryly said to him I could use half a tankful and that it would be nice to get back a couple of bucks that the governmant has taken from me to give to someone else and he smirked.

He said he knew just how I felt and he'd like to fill my tank, but there was a camera there.

He seemed like a pretty good guy, and all in all I must say it was a good encounter with a policeman and by Philly standards, an excellent encounter.

I really don't believe there was a camera there, though, because I'd just bet that half the police captains and higher ups fill their tanks regularly.

After all, this is Philly.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I am getting ready to go home in a couple of days.

Tomorrow will be a Field Day, a day of cleaning this pig sty up.

Wednesday morning will be the long ride home and if everything goes well, I'll arrive home at about 1700 unless there is a problem.

The day before we get off is generally the biggest water usage day of the tour. There's bedding and clothing to wash and washing machines sure go through the water.

People that live ashore do not understand that if it's on a boat, it has come from ashore.

Water is a good example of what I mean. To get a drink of water the process is the same as it is ashore. You get it out of the tap in the sink.

The difference is that if you forget and leave the tap on, you run out of water pretty quickly. That's because the water on a boat comes from a tank. When the tank is empty, you are out of water.

There's no Philly water and sewer company out here.

Same goes with otherr things. There's no hardware store of food store when you untie and leave the dock. The 7-Eleven isn't a block away.

Generally the people that come to work in this industry are pretty good about things like that, but there are a few that never seem to get it.

When I crossed the Pacific from Honolulu to Seatle, we had a guy that jusst didn't seem to understand that there was a finite amount of water on a sailboat.

Time and again, he was warned, yet he never seemed to get it, even after he ran the water tank dry halfway across the ocean.

Thank God the skipper and I had planned for the occasion, as we knew the waterr tank on a Baltic 42 was small to begin with. We had seceral collapsable 5 gallon containers ratholed in his room. I was issued one and I was the water doler outer.

Much to the amusement of my skipper and another shipmate, I was a real hard nose about the way I doled the water out. I would have the guy that wanted a drink hold out his cup and I'd fill it and watch him drink it. I also made the ship's coffee.

His whining did not fall on deaf ears, on the contrary. I simply used his grousing to judge whether I was doing a good job or not. The more he groused, the more I instilled water discipline on him and the rest of the crew.

I didn't like doing this one bit, really. It would have been a whole lot nicer if the jerk had just used his head and thought.

When we reached port, the wives showed up at the pier, all 3 of them. I was single at the time, so I quietly debarked.

As I wass walking off, the jerk said to the skipper and his wife that I was a real jerk. I overheard it.

I also overheard it when the skipper told him that he considered me to be the first one he would call the next time he needed someone because I knew how to make do.

That left me walking on air all the way up to the yacht club, where I took a long, hot shower.

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Monday, April 5, 2010

I am a happy camper.

I finally got the Official Tarzan Yell as my ringtone. I did it by going through the back door.

Tracfone has some kind of deal whereby you have to buy their ringtones and theirs only because they have some kind f software in their phones.

I switched today from Tracfone to Straight Talk through Wally World.

Seeing these days the maintainence people are asking for pictures sent to them when something has to be repaired, I deemed it a good thing to upgrade my phone while I was at it. I can now take pictures, which means nothing to me personally, but it DOES mean I caan be a little more helpful at work.

Anyway, there is a voice recorder in the phone so I recorded the yell and found out you could use the recording as a ringtone.

Pretty cool!

Next thing, as a spare, I am going to get one of the woman at work that is a pretty good actress to scream out something that you would hear on the Jerry Springer Show, half of which get bleeped out.

I met a guy that was the victim of a prank whereby someone changed his ringtone to "You Bas74rd! You been screwin' my sister again! Get out! I hate you! Get out of my house!"

The guy that was victim to the prank was a pretty straight sort of guy and he was humiliated and I could see why. I helped him change it to one of those default tones, but I'd really like that as a spare for out here at sea where nobody cares and the sense of humor is a little more tolorable.

Anyway, I got my Tarzan tone, so I am a happy camper.

It doesn't take much.

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

One of my readers is a GI overseas and he emailed

me today and I was flattered.

We swapped a couple of emails regarding my desire to get overseas and blog things about the troops I meet there.

It was pretty interesting and it may be a no-go for a few reasons I'll post here.

First I think that I would not be trusted by the officers and maybe senior NCOs. The imbedded reporters there have a pretty lousy reputation with the troops and I understand that in many cases the reputation is well deserved. A good reporter will make a story where there may or may not be one. If he can start some contraversey he will, and in war there are a lot of questionable deeds done. It's a great breeding ground for stories that will get an ordinary GI into a lot of hot water fast.

Generally over little or nothing.

Trying to explain that you are there just to follow a dream is something that most officers are either unable or unwilling to comprehend.

After all, why would a guy that has a pretty comfortable job back in the world want to come overseas to interview low ranking troops if he isn't getting paid for it?

The other thing that is a possibility is that field grade officers may decide that I am not just an ordinary guy, but some sort of overseer working for the powers a little further up the chain of command.

This would, of course, make the officer put the screws to the very guys I want to meet up with by making them sit through all sorts of phony training and briefings. Then the privates would be ordered to make the area look presentable for their distinguished guest and out would come the paint and rock would be painted white and little paths would be laid out.

I'd hate to be responsible for having some already dog tired kid have to be put on some bogus work detail because I was showing up.

As usual, I don't think for a second I would have a single problem with the troops themselves, though. I get along pretty well with the guys and I really think they'd be impressed to have someone taking his vacation to go and visit them.

Not as impressed as I am with the way they are doing a good job overseas, though.

I really think there are some stories out there that are worth being told.

I really wish people in the states could meet some of the guys that are so special, yet so ordinary. Many of them have basic families at home, the reservists have ordinary jobs and the guys themselves come from all sorts of backgrounds from city kids that had never seen anything but pavement before basic to suburbanites to farm kids to out and out hillbillies.

Every one of them has dreams, hopes and things they miss back home. Many have plans for the future ranging from going back to their basic job to returning to school to returning on another deployment.

I have no real desire to have someone up the chain talking about the war itself, God knows the media has that subject all sewn up.

Nope. For me, it's the guys.

The Willie and Joes of our time.

my other blog is:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I have mentioned looking for new rubber for the Miata

because I want good performance tires for the summer. I have plans of entering it in an autocross, even though I have been out and away from sports car racing for almost 4 decades.

Now I have to fess up that when I went into the tire store I looked and I believe that I have been chasing what I may already have.

Of course, the tires I have are not exactly what I have been looking at for the past several weeks, but I do believe they are close. I will have to get Neighbor Bob to walk up the street and check up for me to make sure.

Most people do not understand tires, which is probably par as there are a lot of things people do not understand which is why the country is on it's ass now. Let's not go there.

Let's look at tires.

Every tire is a compromise of some sort.

Touring tires are probably good for the family car. They provide a nice ride and handle ok in the rain and light snow, which is good enough for Suzy Soccormom and Joe Homeowner. They are exactly what I DON'T want.

Performance tires hold the road a little better, but at the expense of a more comfortable ride. For the Miata this is acceptable as the Miata already rides like a brick because I have set the suspension up with stiff Bilstein HD shocks and oversized sway bars. It is not a touring car, but a fun car. If I drove it to Philly I would need 3 people to get my stiff old body out of it.

There are summer tires and winter tires, both are different in their characteristics and uses.

Ultra high performance summer tires are for use on dry roads only, and have a tendency to hydroplane in wet weather. They put a lot of rubber on the road and stick well in twisty, but dry road situations.At first I thought this was the way to go, but I rethought. What to do in rain? On the other hand, the Miata isn't a rainy day car.

While i was mulling this over, someone told me about a damned good compromise,an ultra high performance, all season tire that would sacrifice a little dry road stickiness with pretty good wet weather grip.

I went to the tire store and saw what I was looking for, and noticed the brand I already have. The 2 looked pretty close, and if I am right, I may already have something close enought to what I want without having to set up another set of wheels.

I'll save a pretty penny, which is OK by me.

I gotta get Neighbor Bob onthe horn to check it out for me.

my other blog is:

Friday, April 2, 2010

I am thinking of something to write about

and I can't right off the top of my head, so I guess I'll just write babout having nothing to write about.

So I guess I'm going to have to steal a story I just heard about the poor guy that grew up in a cabin he made with his hands because he had no father.

Seems like his father had died seven years before he was born.

Rough childhood.

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

I have been grumbling on a daily basis for six months straight

At first I thought it would do me good and gruntle me so I would not feel disgruntled, but it has really done a lot less good than i thought it would do.

Truth is, I would like to go to Afghanistan and blog the troops, but I don't see it happening in the near future.

I really don't want to hobnob with a bunch of officers and listen to the usual things that reporters listen to and report, I'd just like to meet some of the young guys and tell anyone that reads this what the guys are like.

I'd like to tell you about the kid that is presently a tank gunner or a grunt and listen to him and hear of his hopes and dreams and see what he plans to do when he gets back to the states.

A while ago I met a grunt, a former Marine that got out of the Corps and went straight into an army reserve unit. He was a grunt, an infantryman and had a couple of overseas tours under his belt.

He was planning on completing his education and was in school.

What was this person that had spent two tours overseas killing people and breaking things studying in college?

Public relations.

When he told me that I almost snarfed coffee through my nose.

"Al Capone was right," said the future public relations man. "You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone."

When I asked him if his professor agreed, he smiled. "My professor has never gotten someone to do something at gunpoint, I have. It works."

I shook my head and thought about it.

Al Capone was right.

"You'll never get away with that in legitimate American business," I said.

"I was thinking of commissioning in Army Public Affairs," replied the soldier.

I guess that's one way of mixing two different skills.

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