Friday, November 30, 2012

My outlook on emergency generators

One of the things I have seen that went through the roof during Hurricane Sandy is the price of generators.

SInce then there have been a couple of people that have asked me about them and I have a different tack than most. To me there are two routes and no real in-between and for good reason.

One way to go is a plain and simple permanant fixed system that is affixed to a concrete pad next to the house in the 10 KW or greater, preferably run on natural gas. However, I suppose diesel would work if the tank is big enough and the person using it has access to diesel fuel.

Such a unit is too big and cumbersome to easily steal.

The other alternative is to go with the smallest, quietest rig that you can find that will run the essentials which in my case consist of a furnace, a refrigerator, a laptop and maybe a pair of 7.5 watt light bulbs.

I look at this project as a case of something to use just to get by an emergency of say, 10 days or less. Generallly power outages are a lot less than that and all the average guy need to get by with is a unit that will keep the furnace and refrigerator running.

In my case my furnace, stove and hot water run off of natural gas so there is no reason for me to run anything much bigger than something to keep the refrigerator and furnace running and that's good enough for me. Adding a pair of 7.5 watt bulbs and the laptop and I think I am good to go to tough out a few days. I'll have a warm home and cold food and that is enough to get by comfortable in.

By now if you have read this far you are wondering why I specifically advocated such a small pair of light bulbs and such a small generator and the reason for this is simply stealth.

I do not want anyone to know I am running a generator because one ot the things I saw occur during Sandy. There were quite a number of generator thefts and unfortunately the present system of government prohibits shooting generator thieves. Six or seven stiffening corpses with bullet holes in them laying around a generator are likely to make even the most hardened thief think twice but it is not to be under the present legal system.

A small generator with the exhaust running through an inexpensive automotive muffler is pretty quiet and running a 7.5 watt bulb or two will make it look like a house is being illuminated by battery powered lights.

Potential generator thieves will will likely see a dimly lighted house running on what appears to be battery power and move on until they find a house advertising generator availability with a loud racket outside and co-advertised by a Griswold-like glow in the sky. They will likely go there try and ply their dishonest trade.

Besides, a smaller generator can run a whole lot longer on a whole lot less gas and if there is, and likely there will be, an accompanying gasoline shortage than not. Gas will probaby be harder to come by and a smaller engine that sips it instead of gulping it can be run a lot longer on a limited amount of what will likely become liquid gold.

Of course, there are a number of special conversion kits out there that permit small generators to run on natural gas and this is actually more desirable as gasoline then becomes unnecessary. In addition to not having to chase down gasoline or store it, with a natural gas conversion kit you do not have to shut down the rig and refill the gas tank when it runs low. Incidentally, if you do this make good and sure the unit comes with a low oil level shut down.

Oil is the life blood of machinery. Without it it will not run very long. Best to check it every time you refill the gas tank or three times a day (minimum) if you are running it on natural gas.

Some of you readers likely have electric ranges to cook on and if I were in your shoes I would simply opt for a camp stove of some type. Stoves run on 220 volts and will require a much larger generator to provide the extra voltage to run them. While a camp stove is an inconvenience to some, this isn't the end of the world.

Anyway, this is the way I look at the generator in case the power goes out issue.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

One of my friend's fathers bought a boat back about '6

8 and he took his wife, his son, daughter, son-in-law and I to Provincetown in it. Along the way one of the two engines crapped out and we limped into Provincetown where he hired someone to fix it and we returned home stuffed into a rental car.

 I had just gotten my driver's license and my parents had not yet put the insurance on dad's car yet, but a couple of days after we returned I got a call from my friend's dad asking me if I would return the rental car to Provincetown and the boat to the North River.

I went straight to his house for orders and accepted the job immediately. Much to my surprise he loaded a case of pretty good beer in the car trunk after he stuffed it into a cooler along with some steaks. He explained that he did this to keep us from doing what we most likely would have done which was gotten someone else to buy us beer.

Looking back on it, it made sense in a way as getting a buyer back then meant you could either get ripped off or get into trouble.

He told me to bring the beer straight to the boat and then return the rental car. He also assigned his son to the detail.

He had an older son but most likely decided that he wasn't the man for the job and looking back on it, the decision to send me made sense. He knew I didn't drink too dangerously or do too many stupid things and that his oldest son was likely to get tied up with a bunch of potheads in Provincetown. I believe he was right about his decision regarding his son.

I suppose that Provincetown had a lot of gay activity at the time but it was pretty much under cover back then. It was then known more as a hippie mecca and an art colony of sorts.

The following day I picked up his son and the car and headed down to the Cape and the first thing we did was snag some more ice for the beer and put it back in the trunk. Cooler chests back then were not all that efficient.

We arrived at the marina and hauled the beer and some grub on board, I returned the car and no questions were asked about me being under 25 years old which was likely a pretty big deal back then as the rates for under 25 year old drivers were pretty high. Then we went to the boat and checked things out. It was still well before noon.

I did the necessary administrative chores, plotting our course onthe charts and I checked the weather. It was a bit overcast and the guy in the next boat told me that the following day was predicted to be clear and the seas calm. I called my friend's dad from a pay phone and told him I wanted to wait and he agreed.

That gave us a pretty good night on our own in Provincetown and with a boat like that as a chick magnet, we hit the streets and it wasn't long before the pair of us cheerful idiots ran into a pair of little honeys that came back to the boat with us.

I suppose they were a year or two older than we were but it's a lead pipe cinch that the boat sealed the deal and with steaks and beer nature ran its course that night and when we got up we knew we had responsibilities to attend to and that the fun was over.

The girls went their way and the second they were on the dock I turned to the matter at hand. I was now the captain of a ship and had a destination.

I didn't have to look at the chart because I had done so the previous day and had written down the compass course.

Then I fired up both engines, let them run for several minutes and checked the oil pressures and when the guage lifted off the peg I had my friend throw off the lines, bumped the port engine into gear and we slipped off of the dock and I gently bumped the starboard engine into gear.

We managed to get the big vessel out of the marina all right and we headed out to sea. It was then that I rang the engines up to flank and headed to what was the initial point. It was there I would turn her towards the mouth of the North River and head across Massachusetts Bay.

I had plotted my compass course based on that particular spot.

I actually did a pretty good job of plotting because my dad had taught me navigtion pretty well a couple of years back. I had plotted a straight line, figured the true bearing, and converted the true bearing to a magnetic bearing and then added the compass deviation into things.

I also realized that I had no way to figureout what the currents of Massachusetts Bay were going to do so I figured that when land came back into view I would simply read the chart and figure out how far off I was.

We got to the initial point, just off of Race Point, and then I turned her around and started out at flank speed to test the engines and sure enough, the one that had given us trouble on the way in was starting to heat up again. I throttled both of them back to a cruise and saw that the heat was staying in a managable range at that speed so I decided to go for it.

It was a pretty uneventful crossing and it wasn't long before we were out of sight of land and I felt like Colombus for a bit, but after a while we came back in sight of land.

Of course, we were a little too far out to make out any of the land's features and map-spot ourselves, but after awhile things started to sharpen up.

My friend got on the VHF radio and tried to call the place where we were going, a little marina I worked at sometimes and after a couple of tries got through. A few minutes later they called back and his father was on the other end. He wanted to know where we were and I told him the coast hadn't sharpened up enough for me to tell him with any accuracy.

He sounded worried and I told him to wait a second as I had spotted something.

"I just spotted one of Bob Hale's lobster bouys," I reported. "I know where we are."

He seemed incredulous. "You're basing your position on a lobster bouy?"

"Yeah. I know where Bob fishes and there's another one coming up. We're coming up on between Humarock and Rexhame beach. I'm turning north as we speak."

At this point I judged that even if I did overheat an engine and have to shut her down I could safely limp in on one engine so I hammered both throttles down and rang them up to flank speed.

I noticed that the engine that had caused us trouble before was pretty warm but the gauge wasn't in the red so I figured it was OK.

I went north, and turned her into the mouth of the North River and we sped past the spit and hammered our way past Damon's Point and up toward the Route 3A bridge where I slowed her down and went past the dock.

That's where we put out the fenders as I whipped a 180 degree turn and slowed her down and we nestled against the dock and tied her up like gentlemen, pretty as you please.

My friend's dad was out there in a second and greeted us. He seemed annoyed we had taken so long.

 I gave him a full report, explaining to him that I had assumed I wasn't going to hit the mouth of the river directly dfrom Provincetown as soon as I slowed the engines down when we left Provincetown and because going slower we were more suceptible to cross currents.

When he asked me how I knew we were going tobe pushed so far off course, I replied, "You know that. You flew B-24s and you know about cross winds. The slower you go the more they effect you."

He furrowed his brows a bit and thought back about 20 years and a second later, said "You're right. Good thinking. Now what's with this lobster bouy business?"

I told him that I knew where the bouy's owner fished and as soon as I saw the markings on his bouy I knew they were his and had a pretty good idea where we were. He nodded.

Later that afternoon my friends mother came out and told us her husband was pretty proud of us and then had a quiet word with me on the side thanking me for taking such good care of things.

Later that summer my friend's dad hired me a couple of times to run the boat while he entertained on it, and I got paid pretty well for it and also got to scarf up on any leftovers which kept me in a few steaks, beer and pretty good scotch for the rest of the summer.

One night we got fogged in a bit and while he was steering he called me up and told me to take her up the river, which I did running dead slow. It was a bit scary but I did well and his guests seemed quite impressed with me after they got over watching the owner hand the boat over to a teenager in the middle of a fog.

All in all it was a pretty good deal and I came out of it smelling like a rose. It was a pretty good summer.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Piccolo's trash and seasonal dis functionality.

Generally between Thanksgiving and Christmas I suffer a day that seems totally wierd when I wind up in a place full of depressed people that are whacked out of mood elevators.

It generally seems to happen around the 15th of December but it hit me early this year while grub shopping for the boat.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year's any cap can tell you that a lot of violent domestic arguments take place, one hell of a lot more often than the rest of the year.

Anyway, I was in front of the spice shelves looking and quietly muttering because as usual they are either out of or have well hidden what you are looking for. Enter Joe I'm in the Holiday spirit. He looked at my scowl and started telling me to cheer up because it was the Christmas season.

"Where's your Christmas spirit?" he asked.

"It's in a green bottle that says Jamesnon's on it and it's under the seat of my pickup. Want a snort?" I answered. "If you don't, then go home and beat your wife and leave me the hell alone!"

"Who do you think you are?" he demanded.

"I am The Most Interesting Man in the World," I answered. "Now go buy a couple of six-packs of Dos Equis, pound them down and go pass out quietly somewhere."

He walked off in a huff. Behind me I heard laughter and I turned to see a well dressed woman. She was actually a pretty classy woman and looked like she sure didn't belong in WalMart.

She saw me look and said, "Seems like there is someone else that doesn't really enjoy the season."

"Marry me," I replied. "I hate this time of year."

"Me, too," she said. "And no, I won't marry you."

"If you had accepted the offer, I would have retracted it. I would never marry anyone that is stupid enough to accept my offer," I said back. She laughed.

A few minutes later I heard another person dealing with the system. He was singing along with the CHristmas music that was piped in but the tone in his singing voice made it perfectly clear he was sick and tired of it already even though it was only a couple of days after Thanksgiving. He was likely burned out on hearing it because in some places it starts the day after Halloween.

I joined him for a verse or two making my tone clear that I, too was like him and he grinned at me appreciatively.

In other news a guy at a building supply house has given me the box from a 3 KW generator that he unboxed for use as a demo and that is a good thing because this is going to he the 14th year running that I get ripped off in a mall parking lot.

I'll put a couple of cinder blocks and some scrap iron in the box for weight and then I'll use the rest of the space to get rid of all sorts of rubbish and nasty stuff, and on top of that I'll add the contents of the garbage I have been been saving in a sealed pail I keep behind the furnace where it percolates. This stuff goes into a trash bag so the box doesn't smell.

Then I tied the box up with ribbon and add a nice bow.

Then I remove the armor lid from the bed of my pickup and put the box in the back and leave it there unless the weather acts up I which case it gets stored in the garage until the weather breaks.

Generally about 10 days before Christmas the box gets stolen.

A few years ago after it was stolen I saw a cop drive by and flagged him down and reported the theft and he just laughed like hell as he had a mental picture of the thief taking the box into his shop and opening it.

I think that was the year I used a lawn mower box and I would imagine the guy that stole it planned on selling it for a couple of hundred bucks only to find out that he was the proud new owner of Piccolo's trash, complete with a bag full of rotten fish.

I would imaging I'll get ripped off again this year and when I do I will post it here.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Not much to say today

because I have been up and running since 0330 and likely will not get any time to write something up.

Yesterday the Christmas season depression started up a little bit when some guy whacked out on mood elevators gave me an unsolicited lecture about how I should be singing Christmas carols or some such crap.

I do not think he will ever do that to me again. When I told him off he got indignant and asked me who I thought I was.

Seeing my beard looks pretty good, I told him I was The Most Interesting Man in the World and that he ought to buy a couple of six-packs of Dos Equis, pound them down and pass out somewhere and leave everyone alone.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Winter beard

I am in the process of growing a winter beard and it is coming along nicely which is a far cry from the itchy deal I went through a couple of years ago for some reason I cannot figure out.

Last winter was so mild I didn't bother but I sense a pretty good winter coming on so I figured it was a good idea. Two years ago when I grew my last one I was itchy for just about the first two weeks which sucked. It was the first time I experienced the beard growing itches and I have grown umpteen beards over the years.

I guess like a lot of guys I prefer to be clean shaven but hate shaving so I only shave every two or three days, and start when I look like a bum I grab the old razoo and scrape the growth off.

I remember several years ago telling my mother I was going to grow another winter beard and she asked me if it made that much difference and I remember telling her that it certainly did. If you look at most animals, they all have coats of fur and it manages to keep them warm.

This year I have about 2 weeks growth on my face now and it is starting to look pretty good even though I have more salt than pepper in mine. The salt and pepper combination is generally why I shave as often as I do because if I go more than a day or two without shaving I start to look like a derelict.

The trick to keep from really looking like a derelict while growing a beard is to carefully shave the neck and leave a neat line and to shave a little on the upper edge to clearly define things. That way when someone sees you they realize that you are simply in the process of growing a beard instead of thinking you are just another wino.  After the main part grows in you can either keep the neck shaved or let it grow in to match.

Your choice.


I wrote this about seven weeks ago and my face is nicely covered with hair that will keep me warm for the rest of the winter. While I will keep my neck shaved a bit to keep it from itching, I'll likely let the upper part grow in for a little more coverage and warmth.

Incidentally, my facial hair is not some type of fashion statement. It is simply a way of keeping my face warm over the winter because I do in fact spend an awful lot of time out in the weather. I imagine that if I had a desk job I would stay clean shaven.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sometimes it's just beat to stay what you are

I am watching a show called "Breaking Amish".

Actually I just catch an episode every so often. It's really a sad series when you think about it. Several Amish and one or two Mennonites have gone to New York and have decided to check out life among the English (Non-Amish people are all referred to as 'The English'.)

While the Menonite girl seems to be doing somewhat well, the rest of the Amish are going through a lot of problems and an emotional roller coaster ride.

I don't know if there is a mechanism to permit these young people to return to the fold but it looks like some of them have made a clean break and these kids have no clue of what they are in for because they are entering an entirely alien world.

When you enter basic American society with an 8th grade education and no sense of street smarts you may as well plan on a pretty rough life.

While I suppose there are a rare few Dutchmen that can figure things out, most are really just setting themselves up for a pretty sad story when it comes down to it.

I know that I would make a pretty crummy Dutchman and I'd have to say that by the time a Dutchman is about 16 or so he's pretty much on his life's path and leaving the faith would be a hard row to hoe.

One of the things that goes along with breaking from the faith is that they wind up losing not only their friends but even their parents. The Amish are pretty brutal toward those that leave the faith. They shun them.

It must be hard to return home and see your friends and relatives simply run away from them and will have nothing whatsoever to do with them.

As Americans we don't believe that you are born into something and that we can be what we want and this really applies to everyone, in my opinion when you are born into a faith like the Amish you are likely a whole lot better off accepting it and following the path.

I suppose there are a few exceptions but in general this seems to hold true.

Whatever, just something to think about.

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Why I can drive anything Old School

One of the reasons I can drive just about anything out there is that my father was a mechanic.

When I turned of legal age to drive my parents put the 'under 25' insurance on my dad's car.

My dad always made sure my mother had a safe, reliable vehicle under her, the family flagship so to speak and he simply drove the crapcan of the month that he was able to score at work for cheap, seldom paying more than fifty bucks for it.

There were Plymouth Valiants, Ford Falcons, for a while a dog of an Oldsmobile 88, an old Chevy wagon with a straight six in it (gas on/gas off) and assorted others.

The Flivver (Ford Falcon) had a three in the tree transmission, the Chevy wagon had a slush pump tranny and the Valiant had a three on the floor.

It was a motley collection of whatever he could get his hands on and if someone offered to pay even $25 more than Dad paid for it, he simply sold it and got something else. This is one area where Dad truly didn't care. His car had one purpose and that was to get him to work and back.

Just about every single one of these rolling wrecks had idiosyncrasies that had to be dealt with. One of them had a wire throttle cable that controlled the distributor and had to be pulled out so far to get it to start along with having a manual choke. Once it caught when it was cold you had to push the choke back in and push the distributor cable in about halfway for a few minutes. After it warmed up a bit you'd push it in all the way and after it was hot you could start it using only half-choke the rest of the day.

The Valiant was hilarious because the three in the floor shifter broke and actually I was the one that figured out the Mickey Mouse fix as it had happened on my watch.

I removed the shifter and saw the two nubs with slots in them and simply put pieces of pipe over them, one of which had an offset bend in it. Neutral was both straight up. Step on the clutch and push the left on forward and you were in reverse. Pull it back for first gear. Put the left one in neutral and the right one forward netted second gear and pulling the right one straight back and you were in third. Actually, it was pretty cool.

When I reported to Dad that I had mickey moused the Valiant he simply walked out to it, looked at my handiwork, shook his head and said, "Hop in!" and we went to the Welch Company in Scituate Harbor for some kind of hardware. He drove the thing without a word about it as if he had been doing it his whole life.

I think we drove it that way for a couple of months before he got rid of it.

Needless to say, there were some of these crap cans that my mother would not even consider driving under any circumstances.

One of them was pretty nasty inside when dad got it and one Saturday morning he detailed me to clean it up as best I could. I hopped into it and drove it straight to the fire station, borrowed a hose and went at it. When I drove it home with water dripping out of a couple of holes I had knocked in the floorboards, dad gave me a dirty look. Everything in it was soaked but if I recall it was a hot July weekend. I parked it with all of the doors open.

My mother was livid, but dad settled her down. "I suppose it'll be all right after it dries out," he said. He shook his head, looked at it again and started laughing. I think he went out to go to work on Monday carrying a folded blanket to sit on, but said to me that night that he didn't really need it. It had dried out.

The Chevy wagon was fun to drive with the guys because it was such a dog. When you started off from a stopped position you would simple stamp on the gas. Someone would say, "Gas on!" and you would hear the air being sucked into the carb and it would hesitate a bit and then start rolling slowly until it managed to build up some sort of speed. When you hit the speed limit you would relax your foot and someone would say, "Gas off!" It was pretty funny. I actually drove that car home all the way from Vermont with no brakes except the parking brake after I broke a brake line on a trip once.

I immediately adjusted the emergency brake cable. Then I sacked out for a couple of hours until I knew the traffic would be down , planned my route and drove carefully, planning every move well in advance and although it was nerve wracking, I had no problems, and when I reported in to dad I got my ass blistered for taking such a chance.

He settled down a bit when I gave him a full after-action report, but I was still reprimanded. I did, however, get a pass for coming home late. At least I had showed some judgement in allowing for traffic patterns and waited.

The next day dad simply drove it to work where he fixed the broken brake line. When he got home he told me I had done an excellent job of adjusting the emergency brake.

As I write this I remember that there were a lot of these cars I learned to drive on that I drove long before I got my license because back in the day Dad would let me drive with him on empty country roads after dark. I think I was twelve when I first sat behind the driver's seat and drove us home from something or another.

By the time I got my license I was actually pretty squared away because I had enough experience driving junk so that I could easily get around driving whatever puss bucket dad would drag out from under a rock. I suppose that today some hippie type would say he was saving these cars from the scrap yard or some such thing.

I remember when a neighbor needed to borrow a car and my mom was out. He took one look at the shifter mechanism of the Valiant, looked amazed and said to my father, "You remind me of my grandfather. He used to buy horses that were on the way to the glue factory and get another year out of them!"

Actually, a lot of the neighbors respected him because of his ability to simply be able to deal with things like that without missing a beat. We always seemed to have a really nice car for Mom and a real crap can for Dad and while some people were amused with the wrecks he drove back and forth to work, they never slighted him for it.

I always got a boot out of my dad getting yet another crap can telling me, "Stomp on the gas five or six times and start it like it is brand new."

My mother heard him and asked him if he could fix it. He told her it would take maybe five or ten minutes and she asked him why he didn't just fix the damned thing.

"Why bother," he replied. "It starts like it's brand new if you stomp on the gas five or six times."

A couple of months later it wouldn't start so I checked it out. The automatic choke wouldn't set so instead of taking everything apart I simply hooked a control cable to the flap and we ran it as a manual choke.

I sure learned a lot driving those old beaters and the skills I learned have lasted me a lifetime.

One of the things I have learned from it is how to answer someone that says, "They don't make 'em like they used to."

My reply is, "You're damned right, thank God. They make 'em one hell of a lot better."

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Today is a day our country should have dedicated to


Today Americans will eat millions of turkey sandwiches. Hundreds of thousands of turkey pot pies, hot turkey sandwiches, turkey tacos and hundreds of other turkey delicacies will be consumed.

Most people have managed to snag the day off and will likely gorge themselves on turkey for a second day running and spend the afternoon sitting by the television with a toothpick stuck between greasy lips.

The refrigerator door will open countless times as people open if to put together one informal leftover treat after another. There will be countless sandwiches made of turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce and it will all be good.

Of course, there is always a dumbass out there that left his turkey on the counter all night because he was too lazy or stupid to put it in the refrigerator and he'll get sick. This means that next year out government will spend another gazillion dollars on educating the public of the dangers of leaving food out and as usual the rest of us will be forced to pay for someone else's stupidity.

That in my mind is yet another safety sticker that ought to be removed from a product because if someone is either too stupid or to lazy to put a leftover turkey in the refrigerator so it doesn't go bad then it's on them.

We keep spending countless fortunes trying to teach people common sense but most people are not going to listen, anyway. So why bother?

Anyway, if you managed to get the day off, enjoy it and your leftovers.

If you are working, then I guess it just sucks to be you.

Happy day after Thanksgiving.

Incidentally, if you were too stupid or lay to refrigerate your turkey last night and you get sick, go and see Bill Engvall. He has a sign for you.

my other blog is:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

It is Thanksgiving day and now there is coffee in the house

However, I do not see a coffee pot so I just grabbed a saucepan and I guess it'll be hobo coffee which is fine by meas I actually like it that way every once in a while. A lot of people have never had it and do know what they are missing.

Back when I lived in Alaska I had an old coffee pot that I made coffee in daily that didn't have the strainer basket in it. I'd just fill it with water, dump about a half lid of coffee intothe water and boil the hell out of it. After it boiled a while I would remove it from the heat and throw some cold water into it to settle the grounds to the bottom of the pot.

It made pretty good coffee and after most of the guys tried it they confessed to liking it and dropped by often for a cup.

Anyway, it looks like I am good to go.

Today we will try our luck at cooking a turkey and see how that comes out. It ought to be pretty good as my nephew is pretty good with basic skills.

Last night was a fun night of guerilla radio as I made several QSOs on the fly, setting up the PRC 320 anywhere we thought we could get away with it.

We got booted out of a Starbucks where we had set up with permission after some rat-faced weasel that had flunked out of Mass Maritime went inside and ratted us out, telling the manager there was no such thing as the Anit-Piracy Task Force.

She came charging out and told us she was calling the police and we were on the road in lett than one minute looking for another place to set up which we found a few minutes later and went back on the air for a while before we left for another spot. It got cold later so we went home and set up there.

One thing, when the manager of the Starbucks saw us folding up she went inside and the weasel made the mistake of coming out and took a one ounce sinker launched from the infamous slingshot right in the butt.

Whap!Hope the sniveling little whiney bastard got a golf ball sized blood blister that will keep him from sitting down to his turkey dinner.

The coffee's done and it's pretty good and as I type there is a stream of people waking up heading straight to the bathroom, the kids are the first up. Old men wake up first and that is generally followed by little kids.

I suppose that near the end of my life I will wet my pants and come full circle. Whatever. As my life starts to come to a close, the kids lives are beginning.

Happy Thanksgiving.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It is early and I have not had my coffee yet.

Right now I am visiting my neice ad nephew and will have my turkey there tomorrow. It is interesting to note that I am no longer thier 40 year old uncle and they are to longer ten years old. My niece is 31 and my nephew is 30.

They are no longer children and I am no longer middle aged.

I suppose it is a good thing that they are no longer kids because as an old man I might be a bit testy about things. Besides they are a joy to be around now that I do not have to watch myself around them anymore. I can open up more and tell them about some of the whacked out things I was doing as a young man and they are old enough so that my sister isn't going to blow up with me.

They can also relate to a point because they have done a few dopey things themselves.

My niece has two wonderful kids and both of them are real charmers. She's living with her brother now for a while while she gets back on her feet and is moving to her own place with her kids in a couple of weeks. Life is starting to get good for her and I'm happy for her.

She has recently gotten a license in her career and is now to the point where she can support herself and the two children. She has a pretty good job.

I think one of the reasons my niece and nephew are close is that their childhood was a bit rough and my sister taught them that when it came down to push versus shove that they really will only have each other so they help each other out.

Come June my nephew will be getting married and that is one of the only weddings I will be happy to attend. I'm coming if I have to hand propel a wheel chair across the Rockies to attend.

There is somethig rather odd about things.

I suppose if these two were still ten or so I would likely not enjoy them as much as I do now. On the other hand, my neice's six and four year olds are really a joy. It's funny that way.

I watched my niece and nephew grow up from afar and now that one of them has a family of her own it is a joy to be around the little people. Today Uncle Piccolo will take the pair of them to Dunkin' Donuts for a glass of juice and a doughut. I did that about a year or two ago and I was a hero.

It doesn't take much to make little kids happy.

As I sit here I am reminded of a lesson I have learned yet is constantly being retaught.

Life goes on.

Right now as I am awake here I have noticed that my pickup is blocked in by my nepher's car.  I can't go anywhere until someone wakes up which sucks because I guess nobody here drinks coffee and I can't find the fixin's to brew up a pot. Being blocked in means I can't even sneak out to get a cup.

There is, however, some leftover pizza in the reefer so I suppose I am pretty much good to go.

Whoops! There is now activity! The youngest just got up and I suppose she's going to be excited in a minute whe I tell her I'm taking her to Dunkin' Donuts this afternoon.

She isecited. I told her and she instantly got all keyed up.

Now the other little one is up and so is my neiice who just handed me the keys to her car to get some coffee. I was right. Nobody here drinks it.

I'm off for a cup of joe.

Incidentally, this is the first time in days I have gotten any decent sleep because the cat hasn't woken me up when the deer set off the lights at 0330. I slept in until 0530. Good deal.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It is 1500 and I have been running hard since 0330

when the cat woke me because the deer outside woke him.

When the deet set off the security lights the cat immediately wakes me so I guess now my schedule is being made by the deer that live in my area.

I had a big errand to run and it was out on Outer Slobovia so I fired up the GPS and it got me there in good course and only stopped once to make a quick phone call to ask The Most Interesting Man in the World for directions.

When a GPS says it is recalculating it is really a lie. WHat it is doing is asking the Most Interesting Man in the World for directions.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

No fishing

What else do you do with a sign Hurricane Sandy blew down for you to find on the street?


Yesterday I didn't feel very good so hence the non-post. I will add to this post later on today, most likely.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Rent this space


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Saturday, November 17, 2012

One of the things I remember from far away and long ago was gum.

I think I was in junior high when I was chewing gum and a teacher asked me if I had brought enough gum for everyone.

"Why? You some kind of communist?

That cost me an hour after school.

SOme time later in a class I was nailed for chewing gum and the teacher asked me the same thing. I had a pocketful of gum and got up and started handing it out.

THAT one cost me an hour after school.

While I was sitting in detention I looked at the teacher and told him that I had spent my earlier grades practicing hiding under a desk because of communists and that now it seemed that they were teaching us the very same thing by using gum as an example. They want to take my gum away and make me give it to someone else like some kind of communist.

I went on that I suppose I wouldn't mind it too much if everyone out there shared their gum but I pointed out that there were a lot of people that woiuld not bring any in no matter how much they got from everyone else and that I wasn't going to be suckered into that little game.

He looked like a guy that had gotten hit in the face with a bucket of ice water.

"You're right," he said. To the best of my knowledge he never asked a recalrticent gum chewer if he had brought enough gum for everyone.

Now I hear murmurings of taking our 401ks because it isn't fair that the poor don't have enough money to retire on.

Fact is, I don't have enough money for myself, much less anyone else.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Is Rick's place still there?

It is 0530 and I am awake which I suppose is OK except for the fact that I woke at 0330 and tried to go back to sleep and could not.

This sucks because by late afternoon I will be tired and I will have to fight to stay awake or else I'll repeat the process of waking up early again. While I generally make the sea to shore switch pretty easily, once in a while I need a spare day to get settled in.

There is a change in a person's system when they either go to sea or come ashore and it is something the average landsman doesn't have to deal with. Sleep patterns have to be changed and so do digestive patterns as even a person's diet changes.

Like I said, usually the change is a snap for an old salt like me, but every so often the old body and mind decides to fight it a bit and it takes a little more time for me to settle in.

I arrived home yesterday at 0100 and sacked out at about 0230 after taking care of the immediate things that go with coming home. The first step is generally to open something containing alcohol and grab the cat and give him some serious attention to let him know I'll be home for a while so he can settle down.

It's pretty amazing how excited an animal will get when I get home and he purrs and carrys on and acts all excited. Then there are various other things that have to be adjusted and reset all over the house as Mrs. Pic doesn't use a lot of the things that I do. I suppose it only takes a few minutes to charge in and reset everything the way I like them but I take my time to unwind after the long trek home.

When Kitty settles down a bit, I grab the mail that has accumulated and dig into that. This time it was a couple of bills and a stack of QSL cards, most of which were from overseas or were from special events stations. Those are fun to open as it is satisfying to see the list of needed QSLs for a DXCC award shrivel down. Eight more entities confirmed and maybe I'll just try to get my DXCC the same way I got my WAS (Worked all States) and that is by paper confirmation. We'll see.

Oh, yeah. My FCC paperwork caught up with me and I now have my license upgraded to Amateur Extra which means I no longer have to add the latters 'AE' to my callsign when I am using the frequencies reserved for Extras.

Anyway, I sacked at about 0230 and when I woke up I thought things were OK until I realized that I had not reset the two clocks I use and nobody else does so I knew I was an hour off schedule and Kitty had woken me up too early.

When this happens and you get out of sync you generally spend your first day home with a low grade headache which sucks because although you can likely make it go away with a nap, the nap will screw up the cycle aand in the long run it is simply just better to drag the day on until about 2100 or so and then sack out on schedule and get things back into sync.

Normally what causes everything to get thrown into a haywire condition is a lousy crew change and this time that's what happened. I had a five-hour drive in a van before I even got to my pickup to start the run home. You arrive home somewhat toasted.

At least the van driver was interesting. He had been born in Morocco and I asked him if he had been raised in Marrakach and he said he had been raised in Casablanca. Of course, with a straight face I asked him, "Casablanca, huh? Is Rick's Place was still there?" and was treated to watching his face start to think, grow confused, figure out what I had asked. He then showed the sheepish look of a guy that realized he has just had his leg pulled a bit and then his face turned triumphant.

"He closed it down in '42, smuggled himself back to the States, met up with Elsa, married her and they had a bunch of kids together," he answered, much to my amusement.

"Oh, good," I replied. "I love a happpy ending."

He had been in the States almost two decades and it warms my heart to see an immigrant become an American and pick up on what passes for humor in this country. We chatted and discussed how little the average American really knows about places outside of the country.

On the other hand, a lot of people that live overseas likely think we are all a bunch of cowboys over here. Then again, to some extent they may be right. Back when I was in the army and went to Europe briefly I dressed like a cowboy for the hell of it and drew considerable interest even though I don't think I'd dress like that overseas in this day and age.

Still, I am home and it is good to be home.

I went to the garage yesterday and noticed something that has been there for years and it is a can of STP engine flush which I must have gotten off of a ship somewhere because the front of the can is in English and the directions of the back of the can are in Russian. Interesting. Why I have that is beyond me.

The antenna is plugged into the rig and I suppose I am ready for a hitch of shoreside operations.

Oh, yeah. Yesterday the do-good lady down the street dropped by to ask me if the 43 foot vertical antenna in my yard is dangerous. I suppose I could have said simply that it wasn't and left it at that but she is a pest and even though she has no kids, she is one of these dumb-assed 'Do it for the children' types.

I wasn't in any mood to deal with her.

I told her that anyone touching it when I was transmitting was likely to get a pretty painful RF burn and I described a hideous internal set of burns that come from the inside and work their way out, complete with bubbling flesh. She got excited and started babbling on about the safety of the children.

I told her that the FCC has been through this hassle several times before and that the only one that has the authority to make me remove it is a HOA and I am not in one. Legally she doesn't have a leg to stand on and besides after I shot six or seven kids in the ass with a BB gun they stay out of my yard so there's no problem.

She got all worked up and left in a huff. I suppose that my friendly, local neighborhood cop will drop by inside a few days as I know she's going to call. Big deal. I helped his kid get started on a 2 meter rig a while back so I suppose the cop knows the rules and will tell her I am legal and to lay off, although if he sees me in the yard he is likely to stop and tell me to quit even though he likely thinks what I did to the dumbass is kind of funny.

It is now about 0700 and I see the kids going out and waiting for the school bus. Life goes on. It wasn't very long ago I was one of them. Forty-five years passes in the blink of an eye.

Yesterday around noon I went shoopping for a few things and bought a piece of fish at the supermarket deli and sat down in the open table area to eat it. All of the tables were sort of stuffed except for one seat and I wound up sitting next to a high school sophomore which was kind of interesting. It's been over 45 years since I was a high school sophomore and it was interesting to hear from him and see that things haven't changed a lot. He likes being a sophomore and was surprised to hear me tell him my sophomore year sucked.

He's on the swim team and we talked about swimming. He told me about the team and I told him about diving in a rock quarry. His mom came by and sat down and listened a bit and wasn't too thrilled to hear of me diving off a railroad trestle seconds before the train came rumbling through.
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Home at 0100. Fried

I am up now and may post later but I have to get something in my stomach.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Today is going to be a long day

 for me because I have a boatload of things to do but I do have time for a brief post.

So OK, General Petraeus has resigned from his job of running the CIA because he got caught having an affair. Fair enough, even though it wasn't all that long ago that President Clinton got caught doing the same thing but got to keep his job.

I am not writing this to comment about who is boinking who because unless there is somethig wrong with them these are activities that take place behind closed doors.

My bone to pick is with the media for having both the nerve and stupidity for invading the privacy of Holly Petraeus, the General's wife.

I've seen several articles out there explaining that Mrs Petraeus is upset over the matter and I don't blame her one bit. She has the right to be and even if she didn't care a whit she at least is almost forced to go on record as being upset about it or people will think that something is wrong with her.

The truth is that the media really had no right to descend on this poor woman that is in the middle of a marital crisis whatsoever. They are nothing but worse than bloodsucking leeches.

I suppose that one could say that they have improved because at least they are not digging around looking for semen stains like they did during President Clinton's little dalliances but this is far from over. If there is something more to be dug up, I'm sure we are going to hear about it.

While I suppose that David Petraeus is somewhat of a (semi) legitimate target for media scrutiny, his wife, Holly isn't. I would like to add Holly Petraeus to my growing list of people that ought to be issued a paparazzi hunting license, right up there with Prince Harry and a bunch of other people I could think of.

Let these people have the OK to defend their privacy with deadly force and if they so desire, they should be able to take the heads of these bloodsuckers down to a taxidermist for mounting.

While I suppose that Holly Petreaus is going to eventually go back to semi obscurity, Prince Harry isn't and I think it would be a hoot to have Harry be able to take people into his trophy room and show off the mounted heads of various rude photographers.

I'll digress here a moment to describe the time Prince Harry and I went out for a couple of pints to check out the antics of the Picadilly Circus crowd. When I drove my pickup into Buckingham palace to pick him up, he invited me in while he changed out of uniform and into civvies. We went through his trophy room and he showed me a few of his favorites.

His favorite was the photographer that followed him into the loo and tried to get a shot of him sitting on the toilet. "When he kicked down the stall door, I caught him with two in the chest and one in the throat as I didn't want to ruin the head. If you look carefully at the base of his neck you can see where the bullet got him and the taxidermist hid the hole quite nicely," the Prince explained.

I was quite impressed. The taxidermist had done a wonderful job, even to the point of reproducing the vulturing photographer's beady little eyes, greasy complextion and the face actually showed the aura of what a barnacle on the ass of humanity he was, right down to the watery ripe and ready to pop oily whiteheaded zit on his nose. Excellent detail work.

I suppose it is highly unlikely that Holly Petraeus is going to have any heads hanging on her wall, though even though she is entitled to. They would probably only serve to remind her of something she would rather forget.


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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Well, let's take a break from the present and turn the clock back

 to when I took the then UDT, now SEAL swim test as a kid down at Damon's Point.

I pretty much owed Damon's Point as a kid. It was the source of lobsters, fish, clams, exercise and entertainmment and it was generally conceded by kids bigger than me that if I could get myself into the water that it was pretty much an automatic escape because I could outswim a striper.

Anyway, I was about 14 or maybe even 15 when a Navy chief brought four guys to the Point for an informal swim test. The guys were of age to join the Navy and wanted to enlist for the Underwater Demolition Team option, the details of which have slipped my moldering old mind.

They were supposed to swim up to the Route 3A bridge and back and the Chief had figured that they stood a pretty good chance of getting through the Basic UnderwaterDemolition school if they could.

I looked at the Chief and sneered that I could do that with no sweat and of course he tried to 'big deal' me with how this was official US Navy business so I retreated to the top ot the old burned out rairload trestle and bided my time.

The plan with the four guys was that they would go in teams of two and there would be a petty officer in a small boat in case they tired.

The boat was tossed in, the petty officerboarded it, two guys dove in and they started heading toward the bridge. I waited until they got about 100 yards out and then executed a pretty good jackknife off the trestle and started for the bridge.

The tide was falling and the bridge was upriver so I headed straight for the back eddys where the current was either much slower or worked in my favor and about halfway up I saw well behind me the first of the two get into the boat. He had quit.

I kept on swimming and the other guys managed to get to the bridge, the halfway point, and he, too got into the boat. By that time I was well on my way back to the point riding the outgoing tide with ease, exerting myself just enough to stay ahead of the boat.

When I got to the Point I swam behind the float and treaded water until they got back.

The chief gave me a lecture about being a crazy kid and all and I looked like I was paying attention and was respectful and all until the first two guys got out of the boat and the second two dove in to try their mettle.

I treaded water until they were about fifty yards ahead and repeated the feat with ease, watching the pair of them fight the current while I crossed the river to take advantage of the slower currents and backeddys to make things easy.

Again, one quit before he reached the bridge and the other one packed it in just after the bridge which made no sense as all he had to do was ride the current back to the Point.

I figured I was likely going to get chewed out by the Chief so I swam past the point on my back, doing the back stroke ad spouting water up into the air llike some kind of whale spouting off. Truth is I was being cocky. I saw the Chief watching me from the top of the trestle shaking his head as I passed by and I went on downriver to past the bend to the clam flats where I saw Walter Crossley digging a bucket of clams.

I figured I'd help old Walter out and then dig a few clams for myself and get mself something to eat later on.

Walter was one of those old Yankee types that was pretty self reliant. He was pretty old at the time, having served in WW1 if I recall. I had been in his house once and asked about a picture of a guy in an Army Air Corps uniform. His wife answered that it was a picture of their son that had been killed on a B-24 mission over Germany. She explained that after he had dropped his bombs the co-plot went forward to see why he wasn't up doing what he was supposed to be doing and found a hole in his forehead from a piece of flak. That had been a couple of years earlier when they had me in the house.

Anyway, Walter was there and we dug the clams and put them into his skiff and we sat there a while and talked for a little while until the water turned slack and the tide turned and then he let me row the pair of us back to the point.

Of course, the story didn't end here. One of the guys that failed the UDT test knew who I was and told the Chief. For the next several years the family post office was stuffed with Navy recruitment mail and it didn't quit unti long after I got out of the army.

For years my mother kept wondering why.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

spending someone else's money

One of the things I have noticed in this country is that there are a cartload and a half full of people that spend a big part of their life worrying about other people's money.

They get all upset when someone gets rich and want to take his money away from him, either by forcing him to share or by taxing the hell out of him.

Most of these people would be a whole lot better off taking the time they spend worrying about other people and their money and using it to improve their own lot.

The hate generated toward the rich makes no sese to me because the rich simply did what they were supposed to do. They were supposed to be successful, and they were. A lot of the hate I see toward the rich is just disguised envy. The haters are simply upset because they have not been as successful as the rich have been so they scheme a way to drag them down to their level.

Crabs do this. Anyone that has ever been crab fishing has likely noticed this. If you put a bunch of crabs in a tub it is pretty likely that any of them are goinng to escape because every time one of them makes a break for it and looks like he has foud a way to the top, the others pull him back down into the tub.

There are a lot of people out there with crab mentality. They want to take the rich and make them poor again.

Of course, the rich did not get to be rich by being stupid. What is more likely to happen is that the rich will find a way to keep what they have accrued. They will find tax loopholes or in some cases, simply take their money with them and leave. TIna Turner, for example, lives in Switzerland. It looks to me like she took her money and ran, although I may be mistaken for her reasoning for living there.

Still, a number of people have moved out of the country. A shipmate tells me there are a bunch of retired ex-pats living in the Phillipines, and I have heard there is a colony of ex-pats in Costa Rica. They moved there both to avoid taxes and because it is a cheap place to live. Now that word is out that Costa Rica is a cheap place to live people will move there and prices will go up but that's neither here nor there.

Generally when one leaves they take either most or all of their goods and garbage with them, including investment capital.

The rich also stay rich by being careful of their investments. If they want to gamble, they simply go to Las Vegas or Atlantic city, but in business they are pretty shrewd. The stories going around about rich investors sitting on billions in capital are likely true. They were waiting to see who won the election to see if the climate toward business would change and it looks like it won't.

The truth is that most of the people in this world that spend half their lives worrying about someone else's money would do the same thing the rich will likely do if they were in their shoes. I would.

If course, in a non business friendly climate where they tax profits heavily the working stiff often gets no raises simply because the money the company might have given the work force is taken from them by the government in the form of taxes. On top of that, when the working guy gets taxed more with no raise to compensate, it results in bim having to tighten his belt and scrimp and save. Gone are the little extras and the family car gets wired together for another year or two instead of getting replaced.

When that happens in any sizable amount, manufacturing slows down and people lose jobs or get hours cut and the whole thing spirals downward. Unemployment claims go up and the country goes deeper ito debt and membership in the Free Stuff Army climbs, causing more stress on an already underfunded system.

Yet when the business climate is good, the rich turn loose the capital and things tend to get better. It would have been interesting to see just how much capital would have been shaken loose had the recent election results been different.

Of course, the people that keep worrying about someone else's money get all upset at the guys at the top and accuse them of being mean when the truth is that they would actually like to see the workers busy on the job because they will be making money which means the workers will be making money and spending money and creating jobs for other people and the thing spirals again, but this time upwards.

If the eople that seem to make a career worrying about what someone else is doing would take the energy they put worrying about someone else and apply it towards their own situation they would be better off.

While they may not get as rich as the people they wasted their time worrying about, it is likely that they would be somewhat more successful and their lives would be a little easier to live if they lost their hate for the successful.   But then again, it is unlikely to change because the less successful a person is the more envy and hate he seems to carry.
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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Uncle Sam wants YOU

for the Free $hit Army.

Every army needs a unit or army designation and I suppose the Free $hit Army is no exception. Just about every unit in the military has their distinctive unit patches. On a website I frequent, some wag suggested having a little contest of sorts to design a patch for the FSA and here are a couple of results.

It is highly likely that someone is going to produce one of the winners in the form of patches, stickers and/or ball caps. If/when this comes about I will post here where this stuff can be gotten.

Incidentally, someone suggested that you get a free sticker if you can produce reasonable proof that you paid income taxes and that members of the FSA have to pay cash for these. I like his sense of humor. He's right. Just flip the old EBT card over, buy a grape for a nickel and take your $349.95 change in cash and you, too can afford to proudly adorn your uniform with a FAS patch. Act now! Supplies are limited!

Here's one for dress uniforms

Here's another for dress uniform possibilities. Think of how spiffy yu'll look with your dress uniform on.

This one is for tactical uniforms.  The 'Chicago' can be changed to fit your location.

This one would make a nice cap badge

Accessorize with a nice FSA cell phone, compliments of the suckers that work for a living.

Nothing like telling the world of your membership in the FSA llike a colorful bumper sticker. Show the world that you are proud to be a parasitic mooch on society!

Check up here every so often and I'll let you know where these can be found.

Compliments of Piccolo's Hash, proud taxpaying supporter of the Free $shit Army.

I wish I could say more but I have to get back to work because the FSA is counting on me for financial support.

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Time for Big Bird to grow up.

Big Bird is 43 years old and should start taking care of himself.

Most people start taking care of themselves when they are in their late teens and early twenties but I guess Big Bird has opted to live either in his Mom's basement or in his dressing room ar Sesame Street studios. At any rate, Big Bird hasn't grown up yet and started taking care of himself like an adult.

It's a shame, too, because Big Bird is an icon in this country and most likely isn't going anywhere in the near future.

Big Bird lives off of taxpayer dollars, of which are getting pretty scarce these days with the Free $hit Army gobbling them up a whole lot faster than they could be replaced. It is about time Good Old Big Bird learns to take care of himself.

Big Bird hasn't realized it yet, but Big Bird could turn big bucks and support himself in a much better manner than he does now. If he tried, he could move out of his dressing room and into a nice home on the hill somewhere and not have to walk down the hall to the bathroom every time nature calls or have to eat out all the time.

The truth of the matter is that there are very likely an awful lot of companies out there that would gladly advertise their products on Sesame Street and keep PBS going without so much as a nickel of the taxpayers money.

We're not talking about advertising from Marlboro, Jack Daniels or Budweiser, either.

Big Bird could pick and choose and advertise for various toy companies, health products, sensible foods and actually contribute to making life better for children and make enough to support himself at the same time.

He's a shoo-in for anyone that wants to advertise a safe, healthy child oriented product and I'd just bet that there are a number of potential advertisers just waiting for PBS to start selling ad space.

I suppose Big Bird feels a lot safer living in the Sesame Street studio, but maybe someone there could convince him that he has to spread his wings and start flying.

Or maybe he just needs a little tough love and congress should stop sponsering PBS.

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Here's an interesting set of maps for your perusal.

Here's the country divided up into counties. I believe you can click on this map to blow it up a bit to check it out in detail.

Four years ago I showed a similar map to a liberal friend of mine and his jaw dropped when I pointed out that geographically the country was a lot more conservative than he thought it would be. This country is run by a very small geographic core.

A quick glance tells me there are three states that have no blue counties in it whatsoever. None. There may be anothe one or two but I didn't look too carefully.

This is battleground Ohio, a fought over state. Geographically red, but the popular vote went blue.

This is the liberal state of New York. In this context it is not as liberal as one would think.

Here's my home state of Pennsylvania. Notice that the only blue areas are Harrisburg, the Philly/Scranton area, Erie and Pittsburgh. The rest of the state is red.

The ones for New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio are new for sure. The one of the entire United States is from someone that emailed it to me. I have compared it to another one in a different format and it looked fairly accurate, although it may possibly be a leftover from '08 whe Obama won the first time. Either way the results are pretty close.

This is a county breakdown of the recent election.

What is interesting is that the heartland is politically conservative and likely with good reason.

These are the people that generally can take care of themselves and don't really need a whole lot of government assistance the same way their citified counterparts seem to.

There are an awful lot of rural types out there that tend to be looked down on by their urban counterparts and when you think about it the urbanites are more often than not talking with their mouths full because many of these guys are the people that feed this nation and as of late provide the ingredients of the ethanol the urbaniites use to get back and forth to work.

It takes an awful lot of know how to run a farm and a lot of the know how doesn't come from a college classroom. There is something to be said for that.

Granted there are not as many family owned farms as there used to be, they are still out there living on the edge and making things happen and it really wouldn't surprise me to hear that many, many of them feel disenfranchised because they generally don't get back as much back for what they pay in taxes because a lot of their tax money goes to pay for the stuff the urbanites need.

These are the people, many of whom have no paved roads, storm drains, street lights, trash pickup or other services that cough up either on a state or federal level to have their money given to the cities so they can enjoy these services and more.

What is going on in America is that the country is being run by a few urban areas.

If you find a predominantly red state with a spot or two of blue in it, it is very likely that the blue areas are in the metropolitan area of the state, say the capitol city or some other large populated area.

I have included a map of New York to as a classic example. Not all of New York state is urban. There are quite a few rural areas there and a trip through it I took a while ago tells me that there is a lot of agriculture there including wineries, as parts of New York are suitable for growing good grapes.

You can tell by looking at the map of New York where the rural areas are simply because they are red.

One of the things that most likely irks the rural part of the population is that they are annoyed to say the least with seeing their tax dollars go to take care of people that should be taking care of themselves.

I have been through an awful lot of rural Ohio over the past several years and there have been times I have gone to Camp Perry through the back roads instead of just hauling ass across the Ohio turnpike and I sort of like what I see. These are the people that have the basic simple American values and respect hard work, go to whatever church they belong to and still take their hats off as the flag goes by.

There are quite a few chunks of the smaller highways named after their hometown boys that went off to war and never came back. You see the signs. They read something like HM3 Jeremy 'Doc' Huddston Highway or Sp/4 Dan Lewis highway. You don't see this as much when you near a city where they don't seem to care.

You also see fewer enlistees in the Free Stuff Army in these rural areas. Sure, there are some, but nowhere as many as in the urban areas because these people generally have a have a better work ethic.

These are also the people that send their kids to school to learn and not because they want the school to be baby sitters. They are probably more likely to get better educations there because the school system is there to teach the students and discipline is likely a bit stricter because they are smart enough to know that if a student isn't there to learn they often toss him out.

Geographically this country is pretty conservative but it seems to be run by an awful lot of urbanites and suburbanites that don't have a clue about who provides their daily bread, yet an awful lot of citified snobs look down on the hand that feeds them.

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

I have heard a number of people saying that they will stop donating to charity

 because the voters have just mandated that charity is the job of the government.


I can see that to a certain extent. As far as I go, the Free Stuff Army isn't getting a whole lot out of me as it seems that the government is taking care of them already. I really do not have a whole lot of respect for them and they can starve for all I care which isn't likely because an awful lot of them eat a whole lot better than I do on the government tit.

However, I am still going to be fairly charitable like I have been over the years but I think I'll keep things on more of a local level so I can keep an eye on where my money goes. So much for the United Way and other commercial charities. They're off of my list.

I have also heard that a couple of people that were waiting for election results have decided not to expand their businesses and a couple of others have decided to downsize. I really can't blame them because the amount of profit they are likely to make by hiring other employees has seemed to drop to the point where it simply isn't worth it to put up with the hassle of having another employee. Enter the law of diminishing returns. He blames this on Obamacare, which makes sense after he briefly explained it.

In other news, Boeing is laying off, having supposidly promised the president that they would wait until after the election. I have heard murmurings of other places getting ready to lay off.

Personally my plans have taken a turn as I am not planning on working any huge amounts of overtime because instead I am cutting things way back. The other reason for this is that the more I make, the more they take and simply give away to the Free Stuff Army that seems to keep wanting more and more as time goes on.

I am also going to be retiring in a few short years and because I think that Social Security is likely to be either reduced, changed or outright implode I suppose I will need every nickel I can get my hands on just to stay alive.

The truth is that we simply can't go on this way and there are going to be some hard choices to be made and that is simply the way it is. Frankly, with the recent elections, it looks to me that we have decided to put off the decision a whlile longer and make things worse when we finally do get our hand forced.

My late father-in-law years ago said that debt would be the destruction of this country and I believed him then and I believe it more so now as we sink deeper and deeper into debt. The people that are a couple decades younger that I am are still going ahead saying, "What? Me Worry?" much like Mad Magazine's character, Alfred E. Newman and opt to keep spending money we don't have simply by giving it away.

The entire thing goes a lot deeper than the present administration. It actually originated with FDR and his early relief programs because that seems to be what opened the doors to the treasury in the first place.

While it can be argued with some success that it had to be done, the mistake that was made is that there wasn't a sunset clause put on the programs. For all intents and purposes, the great depression ended in about 1942 when the country went nuts and became the base of industry for the free world. The relief programs of the 30s should have ended then and there because there was more than enough work for everyone.

Still, it seemed that the country stayed off of the welfare rolls until the 60s when Johnson decided that he was going to create a Great Society and congress plundered the one thing that seemed to be working well, and that was Social Security. They spent the entire social security savings of an entire working class of an entire nation in a little under 2 years.

Actually, the American public has to accept a little responsibility in that because they should have fired up the torches and grabbed the pitchforks and paid Washington DC a little visit. They didn't, and they didn't even vote every single congressman responsible out of office. While I do not have figures, there likely were not a whole lot of people voted out after that major rip-off.

Since the Great Society programs have failed, we seem to have decided that the answer to solving society's problems is to simply throw more money at it and give more stuff away to the point where we are so deep in hock that we will never climb out of debt in our lifetimes.

The election tells me that too damned many Americans are not paying attention to what we spend and that

they seem unconcerned. They seem to be unconcerned about putting on the brakes.

We get what we vote for and while Mitt Romney may not have been the answer, when the answer arrives I would imagine that people are going to be too stupid to give up their free stuff and go back to working for it.

To my neices and nephews that I am passing this country and its debt on to, I am very embarrassed over the mess we are passing on to you. Please remember that I tried and think kindly of me.

I hope I am not here to see the implosion.

On the other hand it would be a lot of fun to see the look of shock on people as the entire system goes down and people find out that they are going to be watching television by candle light and living in a cave somewhere.

my other blog is:

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Well, the election's over and I have to get back to work

because millions of people sucking on the government tit are depending on me.

I'm going to have to work a lot harder, too because the number is sure to double over the next four years.

my other blog is:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Today is election day

 and I do not want to hear a damned thing about it until either sometime around midnight or maybe even tomorrow. If there is not a clear winner and the thing gets settled in courts I don't want to hear about it until it is over.

Incidentally I think this is possible that the results will take months because I read somewhere that the Team Obama has a group of 3100 lawyers holed up in Ohio 'just in case'. While that sounds like a lot of legal representation, it would not surprise me to hear that it is true.

I have just survived another season of looking at a pile of butthurt and sniveling from both sides.

I have already voted because I had the opportunity to do so as an absentee and now I just want to wait things out as drama free as possible until the final results come in. I have no intention of running to the TV or the radio every five minutes and going all agog over things because I have done all I can and it is just time to wait and see.

I have heard people threaten to do all sorts of things if their candidate doesn't win and the overwhelming bulk of it is just hot air. Celebrities often threaten to move to France or someplace if their guy loses. Generally my attitude toward people like that is "Pack your damned bags and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out."

Of course, it is hot air and we should be so lucky to get a few of these Hollywood elites out of our hair. I get tired of them using their celebrity status to try and get involved in politics. We'd all be better off if they just went about the business of singing or making movies and simply shut the hell up about things. The time they waste trying to be big shots could be put to working at their trade and maybe the quality of the movies and music might get a little better.

Another thing that I am now glad to see go away is the constant whining and lying both sides seem to come up with about their opponents in the media. I have grown tired of it a long time ago. However, I can turn the television off and instead do something constructive.

Still, the thing that has irked me every recent election is the number of phone calls I get at home pleading me to vote for the caller's candidate. Generally these calls seem to arrive when I am supposed to be standing by awaiting a call from either my employer or someone else a little more important than the idiot on the other end.

This year I managed to get a number of the calls to drop off by explaining to the caller that I was going to vote for the candidate that calls me the least and that their call has just broken the tie so until I get two more calls from his opponent, that's who I'm voting for.

I was surprised that when I took this tack the number of phone calls dropped considerably. It upped my personal 'peace and quiet' level a few points. Apparently Mr. Romney's people were at least paying attention and took me seriously because they stopped calling almost at once while the Obama people kept calling. Looks like Mitt's people wanted my vote.

My guess of the results of the election is going to be that if the President is reelected the unemployment rate will not go down very fast. If Romney wins the unemployment rate will drop because I have heard that there are an awful lot of investors out there sitting on quite a bit of money and are waiting until the election before they get off of any of it to either commence or expand operations.

While I do not see unemployment dropping like a stone no matter who gets in, I do see things jobwise improving under Romney because he knows that the way you make an economy grow is by nurturing business instead of just handing out government checks.

We'll see what happens and I have no plans to spend tomorrow sitting next to a television set sitting on the edge of a seat all day listening to a bunch of talking heads prattle on because I do not own a hot air balloon.

If I did own such a thing I suppose I would take it to the nearest television studio and get myself a bunch of free hot air and go for a ride, compliments of the media.

my other blog is:

Monday, November 5, 2012

I have been called a heartless bastard

because of my attitude to a lot of New Yorkers since Sandy has clobbered the east coast.

I am not. What happened on the Jersey coast and in New York City is not to be taken lightly.

Several areas were hat and hit damned hard and will be out of utilities for quite some time. A lot of people have lost homes and even entire neighborhoods have been destroyed. Again, this isn't to be taken lightly. I have made a donation for what it is worth and I will not post how or where except to say that it will be used to help someone's family get by. They prepped, but got their butt kicked anyway by Mother Nature who is heartless.

I can think of a couple people I have mat through the web that have a hard row to hoe as they are not likely to get power for another month and winter is coming on.

I have an awful lot of sympathy for those that prepared as best they could and lost out.

Most of these people are the guys that pull their pants on and go into work every day and try and make a living so the 'free stuff army' doesn't have to. These are the guys that actually know how to do something and in general can take care of themselves. These are the people I have some respect for and Mother Nature did them wrong, not that she has anything remotely resembling a conscience.

There are a pretty good number of reports of looting going on and my solution to that is the same solution I have alway had for that kind of problem. Until society lost it's nerve, the generally accepted solution was to shoot looters on sight. It did a pretty good job until someone decided to put thieves on the list of oppressed and misunderstood people. I have always thought that shooting looters on sight was a pretty efficient way of dealing with the scourge of looting. The recividism rate among looters drops rapidly when this tack is taken.

There have also been a number of cases of generator theft reported. The solution to that is the same solution that should be used on looters. Three or four stiffs laying around a generator should be a deterrent. There is nothing more effective than a shotgun blast to get someone's attention and let them know that stealing someone's survival gear isn't a very good idea.

Many of the people in these out of the big city areas are armed and are making it clear that they will defend their goods.

There was another mistake I made earlier and that was that I said some of the relief linemen from other states were being turned away because they were nonunion. I have read that one of the power companies from the southern states that sent nonunion help there is denying this. Someone on either one of the wire services or the many internet papers posted it and I read it and posted it. Maybe the unions have relaxed the regulations for the time being.

While I do have an open heart to those working stiffs that lost everything, my heart is still pretty hard towards those that didn't have the common sense to at least stock up on a few staples to tide them over until the city gets back on it's feet.

Maybe there is some good to come out of all of this.

Maybe the guys that had to go out and buy gas cans and find half their gas has dribbled out all over the side of their cars because of government mandated pour spouts might have a little food for thought.

Maybe they will decide that government isn't the solution, it is generally the problem.

my other blog is:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I am sitting here trying to think

 up something for another post and I find that because I have a couple of hours to work with that I am having a hard time thinking of something. I generally do not have a hard time when time is limited or I am posting from someplace odd like a motel or an airport.

Seamen tend to spend more time in places like airports, train stations and motels than a lot of other people do and I guess it just goes with the job. I do not really like spending time in these places but it is just a part of getting to where you are going. It beats walking or spending the night on a park bench somewhere. Ask me how I know about walking, hitch-hiking and sleeping in odd places.

One night I got stuck in a fairly rough area in Seattle. I really didn't know the town well and decided that it wasn't safe enough to travel so I looked for a place to jungle up for the night and found a likely looking bridge. There was a pile of leaves under it so I took the coveroff of my sleeping bag and decided tosleep in that as it was fairly warm and I didn't want to roast.

I buried myself and all my gear in the pile of leaves and slept pretty well even though I woke up pretty filthy. My face was a fright.

I broke out the Primus stove, the one I still have, made a quick cup of coffee and made a beeline for the nearest gas station to clean up a bit. After that I got my bearings and headed straight to fisherman's terminal where I knew I could get a shower from one of the boats and lucked out. Not only did I get a shower, but I got a pretty good breakfast of bacon and eggs simply because I knew a couple of people the skipper did when I was asked who I had fished with.

If I recall correctly, I was waiting for the Alaska ferry to get to Ketchikan so I could try and bum a ride across the gulf and get back to Kodiak. Instead I wound up getting a fish boat ride the whole way from Seattle because the skipper I had just met made a call and knew someone headed that way.

Hey, what do you know? I found something to write about.

Anyway, the ride to Seattle was fairly long, it took several days but it was not only free but gave me a chance to make a few contacts and I believe it eventually landed me a job. I stood a watch here and there but most of the steering was done by the skipper because he really didn't have anything else to do but run his boat. I fooled around with the halibut gear that needed tending to as I guess they were headed to Kodiak to halibut fish.

As far as the wierdest way I have ever traveled was the time I called a friend in Kodiak and told him I was stuck in Seattle and needed a way back. He ran straight down to the bar and borrowed a few bucks from some of the people I knew, explaining what was going on and made a quick call to the Alaska Airlines people at the airport who in turn called Seattle and I got put on board the plane as a COD with the agreement that if my friend didn't have the cash to get me off I would be flown back to Seattle.

WHen the plane landed I stayed in my seat and someone came running in and told the stewardess I was $10 short and it looked like I was going to have to go back to Seattle until she saw it was me. I knew her and she was a sweetie who kind of liked me because she found me entertaining.

"I'll loan you the ten, Pic," she said and I got off the plane.

Back then there were a number of fishermen that got to Kodiak COD and Alaska Airlines had a big enough sense of humor to fly someone very occasionally as air freight, COD. If you have ever read the history of that airline you would not doubt this story for a second. It is the only airline I have ever been on where the pilot would play the harmonica for the benefit of the passengers.

(Reeves Aleutian is the only airline I have ever been on where the stewardess had a fairly new black eye, a real shiner.)

A couple of weeks later everyone got paid back and I was kidded a lot over the incident.

The girl from the ticket counter was the first person I paid back. I collected a debt a day or two later from someone and paid her back immediately. Some time later she helped me out again when I went off on another one of my improbable adventures. She sneaked about seven or eight green duffel bags full of anchors, chain, rope, tools and assorted hardware on a plane I was taking to Seattle to pick up a sailboat. I estimate there was close to 500 pounds of stuff that went aboard and I didn't pay a dime for spare luggage.

She simply thought it was funny helping me sneak all that stuff aboard.

Several years later after I moved to Pittsburgh a friend of mine was passing through and stopped by. Her name came up and my friend told me that when he was talking to her my name came up and she told him that I was one of the people that she enjoyed watching because I was always up to something interesting. She also told him that I was the last person she had ever wanted to get into a relationship with, if that tells you anything.

More than likely she was afraid of going to jail with me as it looked like maybe I would wind up there at the time.

Anyway, two and a half decades later, when I travel I fly the same way everyone else does and when I need a place to stay I wind up staying in a motel of some sort.

While it isn't quite as interesting, it is likely a lot safer and a lot more comfortable.

my other blog is: