Monday, March 30, 2009

A Short Love Story

A man and a woman who had never met before, but who were both married to other people, found themselves assigned to the same sleeping room on a Trans-continental train.

Though initially embarrassed and uneasy over sharing a room,
They were both very tired and fell asleep quickly, he in the upper berth and she in the lower.

At 1:00 AM, the man leaned down and gently woke the woman saying,.......... 'Ma'am,

I'm sorry to bother you, but would you be willing to reach into the closet to get me a second blanket?

I'm awfully cold.'

'I have a better idea,' she replied 'Just for tonight,...... let's pretend that we're married.'

'Wow!...................... That's a great idea!', he exclaimed.

'Good,' she replied. .............'Get your own friggin' blanket.'

After a moment of silence, ......................he farted.

The End

H/T Shane

Sunday, March 29, 2009

This Was Cute


A beagle plays dead on Letterman's Stupid Pet Tricks. This dog kinda goes above and beyond what other dead playing hounds accomplish!

H/T Ron

Saturday, March 28, 2009

When Seconds Count

The red line is where the car turned around and was meeting oncoming traffic - the green line is where they were in the correct lane, but with me following. Doncha love my mad MSPaint skilz?

Thursday evening I was hurrying back to Garden to park the truck before the big winter storm hit. Normally, I would have stopped at the farm and driven over the next day, but I didn't want to get snowed in with an eighteen wheeler with my 4wd pickup in Garden. Much easier to get around in the pickup than the truck.

Just east of Garden US50/400 widens from a two lane to a divided four lane highway, with a fairly wide median. A couple miles from the city limits the median disappears, and it's not a divided four lane any more. Westbound, I had just hit the four lane when I saw the eastbound little silver car stop on the shoulder, seemingly hesitating. It then flipped a u-turn into the eastbound fast lane and headed west.

Wow! I thought they'd get to a crossover and drive across the median to get into the correct lanes, but I was wrong. They met several eastbound cars who were flashing their headlights. The eastbounders stayed in their right hand lane and left the fast lane to this idiot.

After I saw that the errant driver had no intention of correcting their mistake, I called 911. I told the dispatcher what I was seeing. I slowed down to keep pace with them to keep watch. The dispatcher seemed to not understand quite where we were, but I finally got through to her the location, and more importantly the fact that they were westbound in the eastbound lanes. She told me later in the conversation that I wasn't the first person to call in, but I was the only one willing to stay on the line. She wanted my name and number, and I told her who I drove for as well. I kept calling in landmarks we were passing - the entrance to the airport, the Irsik-Doll Feedyard, the Pole Line Road, and the Landfill road.

They must have met fifteen or twenty cars. Not too far from where the median ended they met a clot of vehicles - some in the passing lane. I guarantee you headlights were flashing, and the inhabitants of the passing lane eventually moved over to their slow lane.

This apparently jarred something in the driver of the little two door. They pulled over (there were two people in the car) on the left shoulder of the eastbound lane - right shoulder to them. I couldn't tell just what brand it was. At first, I thought it was a small Pontiac. I duly reported this to the dispatcher. I was hoping to see what they did when the median ran out - surely they'd cross over to the right lanes, so I stopped on the far right shoulder. After a minute or so, they started heading west again, so I eased off the shoulder and was working to catch them again.

When they got to the "split," they ran on in the wrong lane for a few hundred yards and finally moved to the far right. I hadn't caught them yet, and the dispatcher decided she'd taken enough of my time, so I hung up. I figured I'd get caught at the traffic lights and never see them again. She said she wasn't sure if a Kansas Highway Patrolman or a Sheriff's deputy would get out there first, but she had several on the way.

But, for once, the traffic lights worked in my favor, and I eased up directly behind them. I could see the tag number and the brand of the car - it was a Dodge Stratus - neat little spoiler on the rear decklid. For the life of me, it looked like it was a couple of young girls. The tag indicated they were from Hamilton county - Syracuse is the county seat. So, they weren't too far from home. I called 911 back and got the same dispatcher. I told her the tag number and that it said Hamilton county, plus the make and model of the car. She was still having trouble getting someone out there. There are two traffic lights between the "split" and the "bypass" where US50/400 and US83 meet - we hit them both. When they got to the bypass exit, they took it, seemingly hesitantly. I followed. There is another traffic light just after merging on, and it stopped us both. I was still on the phone. When we got to the K156 exit, I met a Garden City police car headed south - at this point we were both northbound. I mentioned this to the dispatcher, but apparently there was no communication with that agency. The Stratus exited - Wal Mart, Sam's Club, Home Depot, Applebee's and several other businesses are to the right, and to the left is the main east/west street through Garden. I couldn't tell which way they went, so we concluded our conversation and I went on.

The bypass curves back to the west, and there is a four way stop where US83 turns to the north, and US50/400 goes on west. I eased through the four way and had my speed built up when I heard someone talking on the CB about a Highway Patrolman hauling ass eastbound out by the Irsik-Doll Feedyard.

I was less than impressed - chasing after that car well after it had already passed through, and making matters worse by hauling ass in the wrong direction. I had kept the dispatcher updated with the actual location of the offenders in real time, and it didn't seem to matter. Now, I realize that this is a rural area, and LEOs are usually scattered to the four winds, perhaps many miles away. However, the whole experience struck me as pretty much disorganized.

One of the more clever toss away lines that gunnies like to quote supporting weapons usage and availibility for self defense is "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away."

It ain't just self defense. If this situation had taken a turn for the worse, the cops would have been there in time to handle traffic control waiting for the ambulances to arrive. Any triage would have involved me and any others who might have stopped. Thank G_d it didn't happen.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Finally, Some Moisture

From my front porch. It's "blizzarding" out - visibility about an eighth of a mile. Woo Hoo, check it out - an actual drift of snow! This might not be the most desirous form of wet, but it's the only thing we've gotten for several months. I'll take it (and my neighbors, too!). It's not in the mass quantities other areas have to deal with, but it's appreciated fer sure.

And another thing that is just hunky dory as far as I'm concerned - I'm not "out in it" in the truck. I'm home with power, heat, satellite tv and internet access. Life is good.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Come Ride With Me


Just a little video to show the perspective from the driver's seat. I was on US400 westbound between Ford and Ft. Dodge. The white "grooves" in the pavement are actually dried liquid road "salt" that the state road department sprayed in anticipation of the big storm coming tonight. You can see that I have the right side mirror set a bit "wide." I do that so I can see a vehicle I'm passing and gauge if the trailer is clear. If I had the mirror set to see more of the trailer, I couldn't see the fronts of the passed vehicles as well.

And yeah, that is a hell of a crack in the passenger windshield. We're waiting for the weather to warm up a bit before we subject a new windshield to the stresses of extreme cold - which is the reason the thing is cracked in the first place. I'm sure y'all can figure out what speed I was driving - I generally go about five over except for the seventy and seventy five zones. That's fast enough for a truck.

Luckily that is a pretty smooth road, otherwise the camera operator would be unable to keep the picture from bouncing around excessively.

What I Did Today

Pictured above is a three 200 barrel tank battery. I hauled the tanks, landings and stairs to the site, and used my crane to "set" the tanks. I had to lift them off the trailer first. After the crew and I put the landings together (they are broken down for shipping), we hung them on the tanks. We then hung the stairs.

We don't plumb the tanks in any way - all we do is drop them where and how the customer wants and help install the landings - period. There is room on the pad for more stuff - maybe a water tank (which we could have provided) or perhaps a heater treater (which we do not) or "gun barrel" (water and oil separator, yep, we make 'em). This battery probably services several wells, and buried pipes run from the wells to the tanks. The company will have to put up some sort of containment as well. Tankers will drop by as necessary to haul the crude and water if there is a water tank. I'd just about count on it.

I just thought y'all might like to see just what I do for a living. This is just a part of the job.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Harvey King Knives

I've got a couple custom knives that frankly have some of the best craftsmanship you'll ever run across. They were made by Harvey King, of Harvey King Knives. When I purchased them, he lived in Eskridge, KS. He now lives in Alta Vista, KS. If you ever go to the Chisholm Trail Antique Gun Association's biannual gun shows in Wichita, you will generally find Harvey there with a pretty decent selection of his wares. By the way, those shows are the biggest and the best of the gun shows offered in Wichita and they are located at the Kansas Coliseum.

At any rate, this was the first knife I bought from Harvey - who not only is an artist in knives, but a heck of a nice guy as well. I haven't seen him in several years, but he's always remembered me. The thing that struck me was how perfect these are - I've seen some pretty rough looking knives for sale in the same price range at gunshows in the past.

My good camera is in my truck and I'm stuck with the elderly "first gen" pichertaker, but you go to war with the equipment you have. I did set it for max resolution, so click for bigger. This one is a good gut knife - I've done one deer and it still doesn't need sharpening. This picture came out pretty well and you can see the laser etched King logo on the ricasso. The wood is plasticized with a burl pattern. Harvey uses a red liner between his handle scales and the tang, and also along the hilt. The rivets are flush and polished smooth - they cannot be felt at all. This is a Model 2 - as can be seen on the handmade sheath. On the opposite side of the ricasso is the serial number - in this case 00-018 - the eighteenth knife Harvey made in 2000. For the life of me, I couldn't get a decent picture of that side - but I was doing this inside with varying levels of light and I'm a photography noob.

This one is his Small Game Knife with a hilt - if you look on his webpage you'll see he offers it without a hilt as well. This one has bone scales, and the serial number is 04-001, which means it was the first knife he made in 2004. Again, he has the red liner beneath the scales and hilt, the seamless feel to all the joints and rivets, and the handmade sheath.

Both knives are extremely comfortable to hold and use, plus they keep an edge very well. You can get these knives in different configurations and handle materials. These are multigenerational family heirlooms - too bad I don't have any heirs. I'm sure that someone will be enjoying these tools elevated to an art form long after I'm gone.

Show Your Support of The Big "O"

Found here:

Universal hand-signal of cameraderie for drivers with Obama bumperstickers

The following symbol can be used nationwide by drivers... whenever they see someone with an Obama bumpersticker.

As you pass the other vehicle, make the following motion to the driver to express your support.

The circle stands for Obama, our president.

The back and forth motion reflects the inevitable progress -- like the tide itself -- of his Marxist agenda.

You're welcome, it's all part of the service here at The Poor Farm.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Letter to KWCH

Or rather, an email:

Thanks in advance for your time:

Last night, Cindy Klose made a passing comment while reporting on the gun amendment bill in the State Senate - and I'm paraphrasing here: "President Obama, who supports the Second Amendment..." and then she proceeded with the story.

Since these sort of definitive statements require some research on the part of principled journalists, I challenge you to show me any evidence that President Obama has ever supported the Second Amendment. His whole political career is in fact a testament to gun control. If I remember correctly, Cindy's next statement had to do with the President's support of an assault weapons ban, which negates any supposed second amendment support.

If your staff had done any research, they would have found that Barack Obama has in fact been a great supporter of gun control until he was campaigning for the Presidential Office. He then claimed the mantle of a Second Amendment supporter with statements claiming he would not come for our guns, and supporting hunting. Since hunting is not mentioned in the text of the Second Amendment, I'd hardly call that a ringing endorsement.

What would have made the statement accurate would be the insertion of "who claims to support the Second Amendment."

This statement by Ms. Klose stands in contrast to the excellent piece by Jim Grawe. Clearly, the public doesn't believe our President for a moment, or the gun stores wouldn't be mobbed and out of stock. I appreciated the neutral presentation of that story - there was no insinuation that gun owners aren't responsible citizens, or the NRA was somehow involved, or so many of the other tired and incorrect gun control memes.

To be fair to Cindy - I didn't get the impression that she felt that Obama is a great supporter of gun control - rather she was reporting the facts that she had on hand with no prejudice. I admire that about her and your news team - as a regular viewer, I really have no idea of your reporters' political affiliations. I feel that is a hallmark of good journalism, and your staff is nothing if not professional in that regard. Cindy might be a member of the John Birch Society or a Communist - but I've never had a glimpse into her feelings.

At any rate, I will continue to watch your newscasts - and thanks again for your time.

Jeff *******
********, KS
This is the video of the story Jim Grawe posted:

Edit: it seems the embedded video isn't working at the moment - I've loaded the code they've supplied twice and it still doesn't work. The video can be found here, and the transcript of the story here.

Of course, Mr. Grawe gets a minor detail wrong - the term "bullet" is not interchangeable with ammunition. Considering the gun store is in the same boat as all the rest out there plus gun shows and mail/internet retailers, they were probably low on bullets, too. But, bullets don't launch themselves down the barrels of guns all by themselves. Bullets require a case, primer and powder to motivate them, all of which the gun store was probably low on as well.

I did like the story, though. The inclusion of a photogenic single mother who, after being robbed, decided to protect herself with a gun was a plus from the media. She was shown in a positive light - at the range, following safety procedures, obviously possessing a CCW permit and practicing with her chosen self defense weapon. No beer cans or Confederate flags were highlighted in this story. The NRA wasn't mentioned. No camo covered mall ninjas. The gun store spokesman was given a platform to support the gist of the story - We Citizens Just Don't Trust Obama When It Comes To Gun Control. Frankly, the exclusion of any sort of Brady Bunch spokesperson kinda surprised me. In most stories they would have the opportunity to breathlessly claim the streets would soon be running with the blood of innocent children and nuns. But, considering this is Kansas, there probably wasn't one handy just then.

KWCH is a CBS affiliate. Can you imagine Katie Couric doing a story like this, without the emotional hyperbole? Neither can I. Which is why KWCH loses my viewing eyeballs when the CBS Evening News is on. I like KWCH's news coverage, but CBS at the national level? Not so much.

So, kudos to KWCH for their coverage of this issue. I'm also sure that Cindy Klose's statement just wasn't thought out very well, either.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Goodbye, Battlestar Galactica

Tonight was the final episode of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. I've been of the opinion that they jumped the shark after landing on New Caprica, and haven't followed the show quite as faithfully as the first two seasons. Moore and company promised to tie up all the loose ends, and I'd have to say they did.

My main problem was having the survivors colonizing a planet with no technology or supplies, and no experience. I'm sorry, but that is just a hippie wet dream to "return to a simpler life." People rarely lived past thirty years. Women died in childbirth. There would be absolutely no medicine. Just to keep from starving would require some serious devotion to hunting and farming - with no guarantees of success. There would be little time or energy for hanging around the campfire singing Kumbaya. Remember, we are not talking about an established culture such as our own Native Americans. These were a space faring people dependent on technology.

But, the writers did tie up the loose ends. Baltar redeemed himself. The "bad" Cylons were immolated. Resurrection of Cylons came to an end, so they are not immortal anymore. Kara's apparent Cylon existence was explained in a rather spiritual way. The scene with Rosalyn and Adama was quite touching - that's all I'm gonna say about that.

I'll give Moore and company this - it beat the Soprano's ending all to hell.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Delegating Labor

This is how it works.

H/T Darrin

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Farming Is Hard!

A farmer was selling his peaches door to door. He knocked on a door and a shapely 30 something woman dressed in a very sheer negligee answered the door.

He raised his basket to show her the peaches and asked, "Would you like to buy some peaches?"

She pulled the top of the negligee to one side and asked, "Are they as firm as this?"

He nodded his head and said, " Yes ma'am," and a little tear ran from his eye.

Then she pulled the other side of her negligee off asking, "Are they nice and pink like this?"

The farmer said, "Yes," and another tear came from the other eye.

Then she unbuttoned the bottom of her negligee and asked, "Are they as fuzzy as this?"

He again said, "Yes," and broke down crying.

She asked, "Why on earth are you crying?"

Drying his eyes he replied, "The drought got my corn, the flood got my soybeans, a tornado leveled my barn, and now I think I'm gonna get screwed out of my peaches."

H/T Shane

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Speaking With Forked Tongue

Is much easier with two mouths. Picasso would be proud.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

It Gets Me Every Time

At this moment, TNT is playing Saving Private Ryan. It's been one of my favorite movies since it came out in 1998. Yeah, so I'm a gun nut and like war movies - big surprise. However, there is another aspect of this film that hits me pretty close to home and makes me pretty misty every stinking time. My father died not long before Ryan hit the theaters.

The opening scene where the elder Ryan (portrayed by Harrison Young, who himself passed in 2005) visits the grave of Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) really caught me unprepared. Just look at the similarities between my Dad and Mr. Young.

First, there is the hair. Almost exactly the same cut, part and length. Eyes - both watery blue and with similar bags underneath. The wide set mouth. The ears are very close. The shape of the face and the tall forehead. Mr. Harrison's nose is perhaps a bit narrower, but they share the slightly bulbous tip. Although the picture of Dad doesn't show it, he had a very similar jacket, wore similar pullover stretch shirts, and wore similar pants for slightly "dressing up" - such as going out to eat, or maybe on a trip to see a grave.....

At any rate, the movie makes me think of my Dad and how much I miss him.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Revolution Is Here

But, it's not quite what we or granola munching hippies envisioned....

We keep hearing about newspapers going bankrupt, going online, or just quitting. In this new era of hope and change, we hear about possible bailout funding for struggling newspaper publishers. One thing is clear - the way we get our information, how we use it, and how much we are willing to pay for it is radically changing. We are in the midst of a revolution:

Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable

Back in 1993, the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain began investigating piracy of Dave Barry’s popular column, which was published by the Miami Herald and syndicated widely. In the course of tracking down the sources of unlicensed distribution, they found many things, including the copying of his column to on usenet; a 2000-person strong mailing list also reading pirated versions; and a teenager in the Midwest who was doing some of the copying himself, because he loved Barry’s work so much he wanted everybody to be able to read it.

One of the people I was hanging around with online back then was Gordy Thompson, who managed internet services at the New York Times. I remember Thompson saying something to the effect of “When a 14 year old kid can blow up your business in his spare time, not because he hates you but because he loves you, then you got a problem.” I think about that conversation a lot these days.

The problem newspapers face isn’t that they didn’t see the internet coming. They not only saw it miles off, they figured out early on that they needed a plan to deal with it, and during the early 90s they came up with not just one plan but several. One was to partner with companies like America Online, a fast-growing subscription service that was less chaotic than the open internet. Another plan was to educate the public about the behaviors required of them by copyright law. New payment models such as micropayments were proposed. Alternatively, they could pursue the profit margins enjoyed by radio and TV, if they became purely ad-supported. Still another plan was to convince tech firms to make their hardware and software less capable of sharing, or to partner with the businesses running data networks to achieve the same goal. Then there was the nuclear option: sue copyright infringers directly, making an example of them.

As these ideas were articulated, there was intense debate about the merits of various scenarios. Would DRM or walled gardens work better? Shouldn’t we try a carrot-and-stick approach, with education and prosecution? And so on. In all this conversation, there was one scenario that was widely regarded as unthinkable, a scenario that didn’t get much discussion in the nation’s newsrooms, for the obvious reason.

The unthinkable scenario unfolded something like this: The ability to share content wouldn’t shrink, it would grow. Walled gardens would prove unpopular. Digital advertising would reduce inefficiencies, and therefore profits. Dislike of micropayments would prevent widespread use. People would resist being educated to act against their own desires. Old habits of advertisers and readers would not transfer online. Even ferocious litigation would be inadequate to constrain massive, sustained law-breaking. (Prohibition redux.) Hardware and software vendors would not regard copyright holders as allies, nor would they regard customers as enemies. DRM’s requirement that the attacker be allowed to decode the content would be an insuperable flaw. And, per Thompson, suing people who love something so much they want to share it would piss them off.

Revolutions create a curious inversion of perception. In ordinary times, people who do no more than describe the world around them are seen as pragmatists, while those who imagine fabulous alternative futures are viewed as radicals. The last couple of decades haven’t been ordinary, however. Inside the papers, the pragmatists were the ones simply looking out the window and noticing that the real world was increasingly resembling the unthinkable scenario. These people were treated as if they were barking mad. Meanwhile the people spinning visions of popular walled gardens and enthusiastic micropayment adoption, visions unsupported by reality, were regarded not as charlatans but saviors.

When reality is labeled unthinkable, it creates a kind of sickness in an industry. Leadership becomes faith-based, while employees who have the temerity to suggest that what seems to be happening is in fact happening are herded into Innovation Departments, where they can be ignored en masse. This shunting aside of the realists in favor of the fabulists has different effects on different industries at different times. One of the effects on the newspapers is that many of their most passionate defenders are unable, even now, to plan for a world in which the industry they knew is visibly going away.

This excerpt is just the opening part of a longer article. I highly recommend y'all read the rest - this certainly seems to be some very clear, sound thinking about the changes we are experiencing in our society and how it relates to the newspaper industry.

What does the future hold? How could we possibly know? The internet revolution has invaded every facet of our lives. Twenty years ago, would you believe the amount of time you spend online? eBay and Amazon have revolutionized the retail industry. The appearance of Napster blew the traditional music delivery industry out of the water. MySpace, Facebook and Twitter have changed social networking forever - building on the instant messenger phenomenon. Who is to say any of these newcomers will still be in business twenty years from now?

There are still privacy issues to be ironed out. How much information can be gleaned by the knowledge of who we know, or our pet's name, or other such apparently random private nuggets of our lives we freely hand out online? Our internet infrastructure isn't capable of handling the data load pointed at it now, much less the future. Will broadcast television survive? How will governments react to the serfs having access to all the ideas and information? China finds itself continually mending it's wall from the world much like the Dutch boy and the dike, only China is gradually losing. There are those in this country who want to limit access for "certain" thoughts - it's for our own good, don't you know. Those who think they know better than us are living in some very uncertain times - and since they are control freaks, they don't react well to losing their traditional grip.

Which brings me to my major worry - the traditional media and the progressive left have been intertwined for quite some time, and they have even occasionally admitted it. I'm no fortune teller, but I think it will be a safe bet that particular partnership will fight like cornered rats to continue the status quo. With our tax dollars. Without our consent. Our political desires are routinely ignored already. So, when you hear: "We have to preserve (x aspect of the media) because: it's for the children/too important to fail/backbone of our society/whatever strikes them as a good argument - we will know they are blowing smoke up our collective keisters. The whole thing is a collapsing house of cards, and no one knows where they will land.

H/T Gabe Malor at Ace of Spades

The Honeymoon Is Over, Sully

The media found out he's a Republican.

H/T Nunkle Kim

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Things I Learned Today

I went by one of Peanut Corporation of America's plants today in Plainview TX. It was definitely closed. There wasn't a vehicle of any kind in their parking lot.

Rip Griffin truckstops used to be pretty widespread. I thought they were out of business. The TA in Limon, for instance, used to be a Rip Griffin. Turns out, there are a few left in Texas.

Palo Duro Canyon is a bit of a surprise. Texas is damn flat for hours and hours, then all of a sudden, the canyon opens up. There isn't that much of an elevation change to go to the bottom, but still. Then, the terrain is super flat again.

I'm well aware of how big Texas is, but when traveling through any major portion of said state, I'm certainly reminded of that fact again.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I used to work for a custom harvester who also ran some grain trucks. I didn't go on the "run" with him until several years had passed. He had a good crew with several of my friends, and a summer spent working with them sounded pretty cool.

The route ended in Great Falls, MT. We cut for a farmer who had a quite a bit of ground, and who was younger than my friends and I. We had a pretty good time - his "hired man" was his best friend, and he liked to party. Right up our alley.

At any rate, we actually got some wheat cut. I drove "my" truck and hauled wheat from the fields to the elevator in town. One afternoon as I was returning to the field, I happened to catch a rental truck pulling a small sport utility behind it - I think it was a Mitsubishi Montero. It was on one of those little single axle jobs that support one end of a car, while the other axle stays on the ground. At any rate, the Mitsu was leaving a trail of smoke, and the driver of the truck wasn't aware of the problem. We were on a four lane, so I was able to pull beside him, get his attention, and pull over. There was a paved shoulder, so he was pretty well off the road.

It was definitely smoking from under the hood, and there was a thin trail of oil marking the passage of the stricken SUV. As he was pulling over, the little SUV sounded like a dryer rolling a load of nuts and bolts. I walked up to the front of the Montero and met the owner and his wife. More smoke was rolling from under the hood, and we could see fire erupt. The flames were licking past the seam between the hood and fenders. I ran back to my truck and grabbed the fire extinguisher we are required to carry. The owner popped the hood, and I wanted to raise it. He decided - and rightly so - that would be a bad idea. Giving that fire more fresh air might have been disastrous for anyone standing near the front. So, I emptied the extinguisher over the top of the radiator as best I could, but it was to no avail.

About this time, "our" farmer showed up. He was a volunteer fireman, so he knew what to do - I sure as hell didn't. He had the owner pull the unit a bit closer to the road - away from the ditch. If the dried grass caught, the whole country could go up in flames. He then (I thought this took some 'nads, too) unhooked the trailer from the rental truck, and told the gentleman and his wife if there was anything in the SUV they wanted from the back, they'd better get it out now. They did have the cargo hold loaded, so they pulled their belongings from the rear.

It turned out that neither one of them had driven a small truck like that before, nor loaded a car trailer. Apparently, when you rent all this stuff, the agency will put load the towed vehicle on the little trailer and hook it to the box truck.

The Mitsu had a manual transmission.

It was still in first gear.

Now, let us think about this for a minute. First gear might top out at thirty or forty miles an hour, but probably more like twenty five. Top out as "redline." As do not exceed this rpm. The owner, who had no towing experience, would not have any idea his "load" was pulling too hard. He was running about sixty or so when I caught him.

I'd bet that poor motor was being forced to "run" at least twice the redline rpms. Not only did it run above that rate, it ran until things started breaking, and even after that. It ran long enough to get so hot the oil - no doubt released from the block by a shattered rod - caught fire. I'd bet the upper end went out first - the valves going beyond floating, contacting the pistons because they couldn't spring back fast enough. The camshaft would surely break. Pistons with valves hammering on their tops plus the extended high speed run would stress the connecting rods until they broke. After that miasma of metal chunks and shavings was circulating around what was left, the crankshaft would surely break - so at least the cam wasn't forced to turn anymore.

When I left, the front end was engulfed in flames, and smoke filled the passenger compartment. There was nothing more I could do - the fire department was on it's way, and I was just in the way. When I hauled my next load to town, the poor little truckster was completely burned out - no glass, no interior, no tires so the rims were on the ground, and the body shell looked rusted out. The fire department let it burn out and just made sure the fire didn't spread.

I rather expect a certain rental agency ended up buying those travelers a new SUV.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Just Because I Can

YouTube link

No, I didn't hear this on Sirius XM or a terrestrial station. I just thought of this song today and wanted to hear it - it's been a while and I've always liked this tune!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Vista Finally Pissed Me Off

Friday night I was pretty close to being out of driving hours at Salina, KS. I like staying at a particular motel there that is just across a small access drive from the big Petro2 truck stop. I park in the truck stop and walk to the motel - it's usually no further to walk than the truck parking at a lot of motels. It's a pretty nice place and reasonably priced.

Since the motel is so close to the truck stop, they have their internet access set up with a log in. I know if it were me, I wouldn't want a truck stop full of freeloading drivers stealing my bandwidth. So, the clerk gave me about a ten digit sign in number, and told me it would ask for my number on one box, then ask for confirmation on the second. Okay, fine.

I go upstairs to my room, and Vista immediately hooks me up to the "linkys" network. I have no idea who that is, but I'm sure they don't want me on. Besides, the signal was intermittent. So, I go to searching for my motel's network. In the mean time, I get hooked up with the "SIRICOMM" network. Siricomm was a nationwide truck stop internet access network that went belly up last year. There is no throughput to Algore's intertubes as well as no redirect to a sign in page. So, I disconnect. Vista warns me that it will not automatically hook up to this network if I manually disconnect - am I sure I want to do this? I'll have to reboot if I want automatic reconnects to SIRICOMM. Of course I want to - this network is a black hole - cut me loose, baybee. It disconnects, and while I'm searching for my preferred network - which is at the bottom of a looooong list. It's a long list because I'm presented with every network I've ever hooked to, and any active networks are at the bottom. Meanwhile, I'm also hooked back up to SIRICOMM. Even though it won't hook up automatically, remember? I edit the network to manual - while it's continually hooking me up.

So, I finally get the motel's network in my crosshairs between the automatically manual sign ins on SIRICOMM. I get the notice that it's a security enabled network, do I want to sign in? Ya think? I am now presented with a dialog box with a user name, password and domain required. Not exactly what the gal at the desk said. So, I enter the number given twice. No dice. SIRICOMM is more or less quieted for a moment, but I can't get on my motel's network.

So, I call up the office and ask about user names and passwords. Nope, it's just like she told me. I tell her I have Vista. She informed me that her tech guy has explained to her what Vista users have to do - apparently there is some box that has to be changed, because Vista automatically assumes the network is one kind while it is another. To me, this means I have to find the properties box on their network and change the type of authentication. I do, and am presented with a multitude of options, none of which I have a clue about - which verification standard are they using? I'd use NetStumbler to find out if it had support for my wireless hardware, but it does not. My mind reading skills are pretty rusty, so I guess a couple times and am rewarded with "unable to connect to ____ network at this time," which I've seen about ten times too many already.

I've got three thoughts here - first, Redmond - this is at you at Microsoft. In your efforts to make networking simpler, you've actually made connecting far more complicated than necessary. XP didn't have these kinds of issues - why did you think that setting security defaults for only one type of network was going to do the average user any good? Just because one kind of sign in is more popular doesn't mean it should be the default. Plus, if you claim this pc won't try to connect to a network automatically, make it so, dammit.

Secondly, if you have a secure network, and have made it extremely difficult for an extremely large portion of your users to sign in, doesn't it behoove you to make some sort of concession to this? Like maybe a bit of a guide on how Vista can be configured to use your network? Hating Vista doesn't make it go away.

And thirdly - WTF is Siricomm transmitting for anyway? Why is it still sucking power and delivering absolutely nothing? Turn the damn thing off already.

I guess I could use one of the extra wifi cards I have that Netstumbler supports to be able to find out a bit more about the networks I'm attempting to sign in on, but geez, this is supposed to be simple.

An Every Day Occurrence For Y'all

So, the Mighty Binder had a hair over 10k miles since it's last service, and since it was a Saturday and I had time - well, that was the mission for the day (plus washing and chamoising - to verb a noun - the hot rod). All our trucks have quick drains rather than plugs. They have a ball valve actuated by a cammed spring loaded mini handle. Rather than laying under the truck with a huge wrench and carefully removing the plug only to be drenched by hot black motor oil, we just stretch a bit to twist the drain open - no muss, no fuss. The oil filter is also on that side of the motor. I'd removed and replaced the oil filter - if ya drain it by punching a hole in the bottom, that process is far less messy as well. I'd also been wandering around the truck with a grease gun, hitting all the zerks. I also moved our drain pan to the other side so I could change out the fuel filters - I was done on the right side, and any spilled fuel would be caught. I went ahead and changed the fuel filters out.

The oil fill spout is on the other side of the block, so I was standing on the left side of the beast. We use bulk oil, and have an air powered dispenser that uses a measuring handle on a long retractable line. I'm not confident in the dispenser's ability to stay in the motor spout while oil is being pumped, so I generally put a bolt under the handle to keep it pumping. I don't have to wear out my grip and can keep an eye on things - it takes the pump about five or so minutes to pump the 42 quarts this motor needs to fill to the full mark on the dipstick. After pumping the oil, I replaced the dispenser in it's holder, and walked to the right side.

To be greeted with an ever expanding puddle of fresh oil. I had forgotten to close the quick drain. The air was immediately blue, thanks to my vocal remonstrations. I drew a crowd in a hurry. I shut the drain while our resident mechanic and our yard guy grabbed a bag of hi dry. They quickly built a dike to hold the puddle.

I finished filling the motor - it ended up taking another 22 quarts. That makes a hell of a puddle. I fired up the mighty binder and backed it out of the stall so I could spend some quality time with two full sacks of hi dry, a can of degreaser, a broom, shovel and trash cans.

After I was done, the floor really shined up nicely. However, were that my goal, I'd recommend not applying the large quantity of oil. The same sheen can be achieved with a far smaller amount of hi dry and some degreaser, plus the broom, shovel and trash cans.

Just a thought.

Bet this isn't something that most of you have ever encountered - at least not in this mass quantity (mess quantity??).

Thursday, March 05, 2009

I've Gotcher Art Right Here

"So I said to him, "Barack, I know Abe Lincoln, and you ain't him."

Artist: Andy Thomas


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Cause of Belly Button Lint

Because we really needed to know the science behind how it is produced:

Revealed: The secrets of belly button fluff

In what must be the ultimate exercise in navel-gazing, an Austrian scientist has solved the mystery of belly button fluff

After three years of research, Georg Steinhauser, a chemist, has discovered a type of body hair that traps stray pieces of lint and draws them into the navel.

Dr Steinhauser made his discovery after studying 503 pieces of fluff from his own belly button.

Chemical analysis revealed the pieces of fluff were not made up of only cotton from clothing. Wrapped up in the lint were also flecks of dead skin, fat, sweat and dust.

Dr Steinhauser's observations showed that 'small pieces of fluff first form in the hair and then end up in the navel at the end of the day'.

Writing in the journal Medical Hypotheses, he said the scaly structure of the hair enhances the 'abrasion of minuscule fibres from the shirt' and directs the lint towards the belly button.

"The hair's scales act like a kind of barbed hooks," he said. "Abdominal hair often seems to grow in concentric circles around the navel."


"We hope we have been able to provide information for doctors when they are next confronted with the simple question of 'why some belly buttons collect so much lint and others do not'."

An earlier, Australian study of samples from 5,000 people concluded the typical carrier of navel fluff to be 'a slightly overweight middle-aged male with a hairy abdomen'.

Ahhh. Now I feel better knowing that. As a prime candidate for belly button lint, it behooves me to be far more knowledgeable about this dreaded condition. I hope y'all are equally relieved to know this valuable information, and know that medical researchers world wide are diligently exploring the causes and cures of significant maladies to further the human race. Sleep well tonight!

H/T Ace of Spades

Aren't you glad I didn't post pictures?!?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Look! It's More Cartoons!

I'm in seedy Super 8 in Tulsa tonight, fried, so the inspirational level is somewhat low. Soooo, I'm raiding the comics I get emailed to me every day.

Somehow, I'm not sure, but geez that seems familiar.

It's been a while since I put up a Rall cartoon. Ted doesn't think the O'man is going far enough, and sees Bush and Obama on the same moral level. To that, I say heh. Just what did you expect?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Buh Bye, Governor Sebelius

She's outta here!

Kansas Governor Accepts Offer as Health Secretary

WASHINGTON — President Obama asked Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas on Saturday to become his nominee for secretary of health and human services, tapping a red state ally to help him push through his plan to remake the nation’s health care system.

Ms. Sebelius accepted the president’s offer and will be introduced by Mr. Obama at the White House on Monday, said administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid upstaging the formal announcement. The selection comes just days before Mr. Obama hosts a health care summit meeting at the White House.


Despite a record of working with Republicans in some areas, health care was one where she often had trouble forging bipartisan agreement. She tried raising cigarette taxes to pay for health care for the poor but was rebuffed by a Republican Legislature. She promoted universal health care but never reached that goal. And she proposed consolidating health care programs, but lawmakers made sure she could not control the new independent authority.

Abortion may prove a lightning rod in her confirmation. Ms. Sebelius, a Catholic, has repeatedly vetoed abortion regulations on legal or policy grounds. “Personally, I believe abortion is wrong,” she wrote in one veto message before explaining that she did not think the bill would reduce late-term abortions.

Ms. Sebelius has defended her record by pointing to adoption initiatives and falling abortion rates in Kansas, but the archbishop of Kansas City last year said she should not receive communion until repudiating her support for abortion rights.

Anti-abortion leaders also criticize her for hosting a reception at the governor’s mansion in 2007 attended by George Tiller, a prominent Wichita abortion provider. At the time, Dr. Tiller was under investigation and now is about to go on trial for 19 misdemeanor charges of violating state restrictions on late-term abortions, according to news reports.

After her possible nomination became public, the Catholic League called her an “enemy of the unborn” and promised to fight confirmation. “We have the specter of another pro-abortion Catholic stiffing the Catholic Church,” Bill Donohue, the league president, said in a statement. “This is setting up a confrontation that pro-life Catholics will not walk away from.”

She failed to pass any "health care reforms" because she was unable to provide funding without significantly raising taxes. Kansas's balanced budget law requires her to do so, and she was unable to pull it off, even going so far as to blame Republicans for “playing politics with people’s paychecks” - but what she was really up to:

The Governor is asking the Legislature to be complicit in breaking the law by approving certificates of indebtedness outside of the parameters set in statute. Kansas law requires the Director of the Budget to certify that money will be present at the end of the year to pay off certificates of indebtedness, and there is no evidence that will be the case. There is no reason to believe that under the current budget such money will be available. It is irresponsible and illegal to act as if the money will be available when all economic indicators show that we may see even less.

Geez, trying to spend money we don't have for tenuous projects we (the majority) don't want - sound familiar? Plus, she's all talk when it comes to integrity regarding the abortion issue - but that is consistent with her values across the board.

Plus, let's not forget her preventing expansion of the coal fired generating plant in Holcomb, KS. Her administration's likely illegal failure to approve permits based on non compliance with a non pollutant sure helped her image with the Sierra Club and radical environmentalists. This policy also ran off a huge new refinery (Project Nicole). They saw the reaction to the Holcomb spectacle and decided to invest somewhere they were wanted.

But, Sebelius is all about creating jobs - hey, she "got" us The Department of Homeland Security's new animal disease lab - most likely at Kansas State University. Damn those local NIMBYs who fought against having actual, real, fatal, virulent, infectious livestock diseases here in the heart of said livestock country. What could go wrong? Far safer than imaginary pollutants, doncha know.

On one hand, I'm obviously glad to see Kathleen Sebelius departmove up in the political world. But, the effect she has will now be national rather than just in one insignificant red state. Power? Lessened in some respects, more focused than others. Plus, Sebelius is now on a national stage - a great advancement for a career politician. She has hitched her star to Barack Obama.

But, still, to all that, I have to say "Don't let the door hit you in the a$$ on the way out." And, with apologies to David Spade, Helen Hunt and SNL, here is the famous Buh Bye (Total Bastard Airlines) sketch. No, I really mean it. Buh Bye.