Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Head Is A Hat Rack

That was one of my father's favorite sayings: "Use your head for something besides a hatrack." He was helpful like that, Dad was.

Anyways, a couple of us were in the wilds of Michigan well after the parts houses all closed unloading tanks a couple of weeks ago. We really don't have enough of a "stick" to unload tanks longer than 25' - because our gear is too short, and if we do hook up straps long enough, the boom is too short to lift high enough to take the tank off a trailer. These tanks are thirty five feet tall, so they're a bit beyond our pay scale.

But with two of us - we can unload one on it's side off the trailer and set it on the ground, which is what we were doing. Most of the time we unhook from our trailers to do this, but if we both unhooked, we wouldn't have had any way to pull the trailer out from under the tank. So, I figured out a way to do this without dollying down - the first truck would pull in next to where we wanted to set the tank on it's side, leaving enough room, and the other truck would pull in behind and to the same side, jackknifing the tractor back a bit to gain a better angle. This way I could hook to the front (top) of the tank at the front of "my" trailer, and my compadre could catch the rear (bottom). I could then pull out and he could position his trailer - lather, rinse, repeat. The customer bought a bunch of these puppies, but their containment field isn't ready. We are just hauling them in so they can have all their goodies ready when it is.

We'd done this before, so no sweat. I pulled in, and was gonna drop the tank to my right. I was setting up my left outrigger - I had it extended out all the way, and was dropping the pad to the ground when I heard a crack. Immediately, a cloud of hydraulic oil floated my way.

That is the steel line that runs the vertical cylinder on the outrigger. My left outrigger was hors de combat. I didn't need it to unload to the right, and if I screwed around with it anymore, I could run the system out of hydraulic oil to the point the boom would no longer work. Not what you want to do "after hours" - have the boom and outrigger out and unable to retract anything.

So, we unloaded my tank, and since my plan to unload my compadre without unhooking required me to use the left side of my rig - well - that was right out. I had to unhook and back my tractor in so I could use my right side. Which we did.

We also thought perhaps we could close the split and not lose too much fluid when it did come time to retract the outrigger - so some judicious squeezing with some Vice Grips caused the shiny spot. Didn't help. We tied a red rag around the split, hoping to keep the spray down, which turned out to be a laughable thought. The poor red rag was ruined. I pumped out several gallons of oil in order to get that sucker retracted.

We did think maybe, just maybe - we could use a line from my compadre's outriggers, but his is a different model with a different line.

This is the temporary fix - a "made" hydraulic line. We've got a new steel line on order, but it may have to come from Italy - where these cranes are manufactured.

Oh, and guess what. It seems this crane does have two outriggers and two steel vertical lines - the one on the left ruptured, but the one on the right was fully functional and identical. We could have moved this line over to retract the outrigger and kept from losing so much hydraulic oil.

I guess we were tired after a long day - that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Been to a Mud Bog, Seen Several Tornadoes, and Branded Cows

But I ain't never seen nothin' like this on the ol' farm....

Farmer Bales Himself In Hay - Watch more Funny Videos

Needless to say, don't try this at home.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Wow! I Wanna Give Them Some Money!

August 28, 2010

Dear Business Professional,

You were recently chosen as a potential candidate to represent your professional community in the 2010/2011 Canterbury Who's Who Registry among Executives, Professionals & Entrepreneurs.

We are pleased to inform you that your candidacy was approved. Your prompt response is needed to ensure your correct professional information. For accuracy purposes, please be sure to visit your personal website to verify your biographical information and accept a free gift certificate of your choice.

  • Dining Savers + $300 Restaurant Certificate
  • Medical Discount Card
  • Golf In Cabo San Lucas
  • Airfare With 2 Night Hotel
  • 1 Night Hotel Stay
  • 4 Days, 3 Night Hotel Stay
  • All inclusive Caribbean or Mexico Getaway
  • 7 Night Cruise Getaway
  • 7 Day Luxury Resort In Mexico
  • 2 Night Bahama Cruise
  • 2 Night Hotel Stay
  • 4 Night Hotel Stay

Remember, there is no cost to be included.

On behalf of the Managing Director, we look forward to your appearance in this year's edition.
Best wishes for continued success.

Marissa Karlson
Profile Coordinator

Canterbury who?????

Geez, with a name like Canterbury, well, that sure sounds prestigious. And my choice of several expensive looking free offers! Will wonders never cease? All this because they want moi - a nasty ol' truck driver - to be included in their list of business professionals? That's me - business professional all the way, baybee. And it's time someone recognized just how awesome I am.

I've gotten this email several times now, so I decided to look under the hood. The html is a bit shady in places:
vspace weet change live experiencing avw on Desktops powered llll partners Au subscriber CTS presumed S appliances bill calls portion kkk literature imre pero OK whatever dddd Neues numerous vandana mid subscriber regulators vvv printing led gear ccc increases plastics dissolved citation bbbb similarly don tomorrow camels mat gggg shrimp heads imagetoolbar estimado exactly attachments Au century reverse avenue foe? confidential notify hi preferences gid thank aaa Neues area automatic fff wrote should at deaths exceeds giveaway Australian asp circle bread led change team qqq paddy align color reverse Aug comes aspx ssss rrr allies Dan digital cookie haven ppp mid missing officers width printing contrary innovative laws partners iiii representing Je www wave mileage finances trade uuu yyyyy drugs margin farmer windows zzz eeee utm jjj invasion WWW yyyy programmed bots institutions New actions makeup nnn plastics jam head fragrance stripe custom Het shops smalltext Debbie smallt
ext inter concerns cognitive book profile history engineer rdonlyres buildings tttt autumn oooo besuchen strengths confidential mmmm de went cccc received desert resorts pulse makeup mypage image toolbar log profile go du replacement hesitate predicted employees nutritious hhhh crushable charged correspond pounds circle audio started farmers shops avenue wave refer tripolis

Plenty more of that as well as this:
To summarize, the color of an object is a complex result of its surface properties, its transmission properties, and its emission properties, all of which factors contribute to the mix of wavelengths in the light leaving the surface of the object.

They may do so because of their elevated temperature (they are then said to be incandescent), as a result of certain chemical reactions (a phenomenon called chemoluminescence), or for other reasons (see the articles Phosphorescence and List of light sources).

Physically, objects can be said to have the color of the light leaving their surfaces, which normally depends on the spectrum of the incident illumination and the reflectance properties of the surface, as well as potentially on the angles of illumination and viewing.

Some objects not only reflect light, but also transmit light or emit light themselves (see below), which contribute to the color also.For further treatment of the color of objects, see structural color, below.

Opaque objects that do not reflect specularly (which tend to have rough surfaces) have their color determined by which wavelengths of light they scatter more and which they scatter less (with the light that is not scattered being absorbed).

Objects that transmit light are either translucent (scattering the transmitted light) or transparent (not scattering the transmitted light).

The perceived color is then further conditioned by the nature of the ambient illumination, and by the color properties of other objects nearby, via the effect known as color constancy and via other characteristics of the perceiving eye and brain.

Some generalizations of the physics can be drawn, neglecting perceptual effects for now:

If objects scatter all wavelengths, they appear white. If they absorb all wavelengths, they appear black. Objects may emit light that they generate themselves, rather than merely reflecting or transmitting light.

Light arriving at an opaque surface is either reflected ",specularly", (that is, in the manner of a mirror), scattered (that is, reflected with diffuse scattering), or absorbed – or some combination of these.

Objects may absorb light and then as a consequence emit light that has different properties.

If they also absorb (or reflect) light of varying wavelengths differentially, they appear tinted with a color determined by the nature of that absorption (or that reflectance).

Opaque objects that specularly reflect light of different wavelengths with different efficiencies look like mirrors tinted with colors determined by those differences.

An object that reflects some fraction of impinging light and absorbs the rest may look black but also be faintly reflective, examples are black objects coated with layers of enamel or lacquer.

They are then called fluorescent (if light is emitted only while light is absorbed) or phosphorescent (if light is emitted even after light ceases to be absorbed, this term is also sometimes loosely applied to light emitted because of chemical reactions).

The upper disk and the lower disk have exactly the same objective color, and are in identical gray surrounds, based on context differences, humans perceive the squares as having different reflectances, and may interpret the colors as different color categories, see same color illusion.

The color of an object depends on both the physics of the object in its environment and the characteristics of the perceiving eye and brain.

And a viewer's perception of the object's color depends not only on the spectrum of the light leaving its surface, but also on a host of contextual cues, so that the color tends to be perceived as relatively constant: that is, relatively independent of the lighting spectrum, viewing angle, etc. This effect is known as color constancy.

Now why, just why, do you suppose all this junk is embedded in the html without appearing in the actual email? Could it, just could it - maybe they're trying to get this crap past junk email filters? Tell me it isn't so! A prestigious firm with the name Canterbury is stooping to subterfuge?

Now, I gotta admit, there was absolutely no mention of my having to spend any money. The claim is that it's all free!

Yeah, right. Minor delivery charges involving getting credit card numbers. Finding out the email address is valid, so that's worth some money to other spammers.

Oh, did I call these fine folks spammers? I guess I did.

Oh, well.


Dave Barry's blog is a lot of fun to follow, and sometimes I steal some of his material, such as right now:
You're at a café with the woman in your life when your eyes move inexorably toward another woman walking by.

In one-fifth of a second, before the conscious mind has had a chance to react, the male brain has rendered judgment on whether the oncoming stranger is sexually hot.

If the ruling is favourable, physical manifestations are immediate.

Pupils dilate, heart rate spikes, testosterone surges and the eyes assume a vacant stare — sure signs that the “man trance” has set in.

For genetically preprogrammed men, the offence is as involuntary and natural as breathing, says brain researcher, neuropsychiatrist and author Louann Brizendine, whose book, The Male Brain, mounts a unique defence for such male indiscretions.

We are more visual, more driven to sexual pursuit and more predisposed to cheat than women, she writes.

The sexual pursuit area in the male brain is 2.5 times larger than the one in the female brain “consuming him with sexual fantasies about female body parts,” she concludes.

Consider the implications.

This amounts to conclusive physiological justification for the male practice of staring at female breasts.

Man, am I ever in the wrong line of work. It must have been that left turn at Albuquerque.

Thursday, August 26, 2010



Got this in an email today - but it said this was how the original theme song was made. Well, sorry, but not really - there were strings involved, but I seem to remember each of the three characters had a specific instrument. It was composed by Ennio Morricone, who worked quite a bit with Sergio Leone - the producer of the "Man with No Name" Trilogy and King of the Spaghetti Westerns. Viva Clint Eastwood, indeed!

Well, all that is fine and good, but just who the crap are the performers in the video? The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain would be the answer. They have an extensive presence on YouTube - there are a wide range of pop songs from Rock Around The Clock to Smells Like Teen Spirit and all manner of goodies in between. I make no claims as to proper musical tastes or knowledge, but this bunch - in My Humble Opinion - is pretty dern good and certainly not mainstream.

H/T Nunkle Kim

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Look Inside the New Gleaner

This might seem like a sponsored ad for Gleaner's new Super 7 series combines, but I'm putting this up because of the cutaway pics and videos they have released for promotional purposes. I've been looking for some good examples for some time. Besides, I've got a soft spot in my heart for Silver Seeders - I've mentioned before how much I enjoyed running the old L2 and N7 models back in the day. As far as I'm concerned, their cab ergonomics are superior as well.

OK. Picture credits first. This picture is from Agco's Gleaner Super 7 promo page, and the following pics are screen captures from three videos they've released, also linked on that page. These combines are "Class Seven" sized combines - their larger competitors are "Class Eight." So, there are bigger machines out there. These are also considered to be "rotary" combines. The "conventional" combines have the threshing cylinder located in the feederhouse - which is the stub below the cab and between the drive wheels that the header attaches to. A rotary has a MUCH larger cylinder located further in the innards and may run lengthwise as opposed to crosswise as shown here. The main benefit of a rotary is increased production. A conventional cylinder spins, whacking the wheat with the cylinder bars on a single concave. The rotaries thresh over a larger surface area and the concaves are much larger. Concaves are adjusted closer or further away from the cylinders depending on the crop and the conditions. Cylinder speeds are adjustable as well. I think the last large conventional combines were made by John Deere - as far as I know, all of 'em are rotaries these days (unless you buy a test plot machine or something similarly exotic - and they're pretty tiny in the scheme of things).

This is a screen cap from the first video - which is six minutes long. This is also animated in the movie. At any rate, this shows the feeder house chains that take the crop mat from the header platform to the rotor.

This would be the rotor. On a conventional machine, the cylinder bars run the width of the rotor. On a Gleaner, they are small individual pads - you can see the spiral pattern inside the mesh. Grain is being knocked out of the heads of wheat in all areas of the rotor, rather than just at the concave bars (the contact point) on a conventional machine.

The augers help bring material across to the pinch rollers. When threshing, this "space" would be full of material. Gleaner uses "pinch rollers" - which are the interlocking rollers below the augers. Their idea is to accelerate the grain into the stream of air from the fan, so they can run more air from the fan than their competitors. This is helpful on uneven terrain, so one part of the combine goes under utilized while another is overloaded. That would be a sieve underneath - which filters the grain from the chaff.

This shows how the air is actually directed over the sieves. The fan speed can be altered for different crops and conditions. The sieves have to be changed for different grains - one size does not fit all - but they, too can be adjusted. Another thing not shown is the grain return system. A partially broken down head of wheat is normally (hopefully) too heavy to be blown out the rear, but it's too large to drop through the sieves. That material is augered back up to the rotor for another trip through the threshing process. The cleaned grain that is captured by the sieves is augered into the bin, where it can be unloaded later.

There are a myriad of adjustments that have to be made in order for the grain to thresh cleanly and to capture all of it. These things come with a huge manual with plenty of initial settings and advice for certain conditions for each crop. For example, winter wheat would have slightly different settings that spring wheat, which would be radically different than soybeans. Corn requires different sieves and a corn header instead of a small grain table. Different varieties of grain and moisture levels figure into the adjustments as well. I wouldn't dream of setting a machine up without the manual available.

I hate putting up a bunch of videos in one post (for loading times on slower connections, plus it hogs memory), so I'll just put up the links for the videos. The animated mechanical shots are worth it if you are interested in seeing how it all works, even if the videos are all around six to eight minutes. Plus, I gotta give a shout out to Bruce Baldwin, who appears in the second and third videos (first video here) - he's the local Agco dealer at Kalvesta Implement - just up the road from The Poor Farm.

This is the S77 with a forty foot wide small grain header table. You'll notice that it is asymmetrical - it isn't centered. The right side (of the machine - left looking at this picture) is wider. This is because unloading augers can only be so long before they collapse while unloading. So, the headers are offset so the combine can still pull up to a truck or grain cart without hitting anything. This small grain table has an auger that pulls the crop to the feeder house - most of the really wide headers have a flex table and use a wide flat belt - and are called "draper" headers. Draper headers (the last I knew) go up to forty six feet wide. There may be wider ones - I don't keep up that much. If you watch the videos, you see the combine pull up to a trailer to drop it's header and you'll also see it booking down the road without it's header with a pickup pulling the header on that trailer. These things are so wide now that they can't get down the road without partial disassembly. I've heard some of the Class 8 combines used for custom harvest have to remove their wheels for transport to the next stop - they're too wide and too tall loaded on their trailers to go down the highways otherwise.

So, Agco's thinking with this design is to make the threshing process more efficient within the limitations of a smaller, lighter machine. The benefits are less fuel consumption and compaction of soil, plus a better job of cleaning the grain. Whether that is true or not will undoubtedly be argued with great passion over coffee at the local cafes and other various farmer hangouts!

Iwo Jima Photos

Check out this collection of photos from Iwo Jima during WWII. Apparently the conditions were pretty rugged - severe crosswinds and volcanic dust combined to ensure that many planes and pilots might have survived battle, but they didn't survive Iwo. If you like old picture sets like this, go check it out.

H/T Road Pig

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Comics

Bill Watterson was and is a truly brilliant artist. Look at how he caricatures the soap opera comics like Mary Worth or Rex Morgan, M.D. He also manages to convey the characters' emotions with facial expressions and posture quite effectively - far better than the stiff drawings found in the typical soaper. The details - Susie's outfit, the background furnishings, Calvin's suit, tie and pipe - remarkable. Of course it helps that the whole thing is funny as hell.

Scary Gary is a fairly new strip. Gary is a seven hundred year old vampire who has grown weary of it all and retired to the suburbs - where not surprisingly he really isn't all that welcome. Leopold is his reluctant monster minion - he'd much rather be out and about terrorizing the neighborhood (he sneaks out once in a while). Other characters include Owen - a morose ghost, Travis - a human head in a jar that Leopold mercilessly tortures, and a loving couple - two gay Frankenstein monsters (Frank and Steve). Both are fashion conscious body builders and devoted dog lovers. Various undead relatives wander in occasionally, plus a neighbor who is always trying to "kill" Gary and a young female vampire hunter. The whole thing appeals to my warped side.

And besides being creepy - wow, is the Burger King scary or what?

Some More Skylines

Westbound on I670 - I70 makes a loop to the north and 670 cuts across - so it's a bit shorter. It also takes you "under" the city. Traveling through there feels like speeding through a high velocity underground parking garage. I think it goes under the Plaza for a short bit. It's been years since I've been to the Plaza - it's definitely an upscale experience.

This would be Topeka on westbound I70. I did my best to obscure the Capital dome with a tree....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bury Me Not


Should I be cremated, the last place I want to be interred would be a custom truck urn. I kinda doubt I'll be wanting a Peterbilt themed casket, either. I like my job and enjoy trucking, but enough is enough.

ETA - Here is the website if you've just gotta be buried or stored in a themed vessel - Til We Meet Again.
H/T Tosha

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

This One Got To Me


"I Fought For You."

H/T Mrs. G.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Okay, This One Is Bad

Air Force General: Mr. President, we have just invented an invisibility cloak for Air Force One. Air Force One is now invisible insuring your security in the face of growing hostility.

Obama: No S***?

General: That's right, sir. Will you be going along on its maiden flight?

Obama: Wouldn't miss it for the world.

General: Have a good trip, sir.


Warned ya!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bet I Miss This Show

The Great Food Truck Race debuts on the Food Network tonight. I've been seeing ads all week.

Roach Coaches on the Run? Taco Truck Time Trial?

I've got mixed emotions about eating at these fine establishments. Some of them have been very good and inexpensive. Others? Let's say it was a good idea to remain within quick trotting distance (trotting gently) of a toilet. If you know what I mean, and I think that you do.

As a subject of a reality show? Really?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mosque on the World Trade Center Site

This issue has been bothering me for a while - I'm against it of course - but why? Am I a bigot? Is it against the principles of our country to oppose the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero? Let us look at this more closely.

What about our Constitution and Bill of Rights? What do they say? Well, there is the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Up to this point, Congress has not outlawed building a mosque on the site. So, there is no unconstitutional Federal law that can be challenged in the courts. Then, there is the Ninth Amendment:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Thus we can assume that since this situation has not been outlined as a Federal concern - that Congress needs to stay out of it. Then, we have the Tenth Amendment:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
So, since this is an issue that is based in New York City - it's not under the Constitutional purview of the Congress. It does not mean they won't fiddle with it anyways, but they have no Constitutionally granted authority for this situation.

Okay, so let's look at what New York State's Constitution says:
§3. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed in this state to all humankind; and no person shall be rendered incompetent to be a witness on account of his or her opinions on matters of religious belief; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this state. (Amended by vote of the people November 6, 2001.)
Mmkay - there are several interesting points raised. First, it's clear that the State of New York wants to preserve religious freedom (for all humans), and second - no state court will be allowed to declare a person incompetent because of their religious beliefs.Let's look at the first part of the last portion:
but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness,
Heh. If your "church" believes in having public displays of buttsecks to promote your cause - well, the State of New York ain't buying it.

Well, that was off track to the subject, but I couldn't help myself.

The interesting portion (to me) is the last part:
or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this state. (Amended by vote of the people November 6, 2001.)
Two things here - the peace or safety of the state, and when this was amended. After 9/11/2001.

As far as I'm concerned, this ends the argument right here and now. Building a mosque on the site of a Muslim sanctioned act of terrorism is right up there with shouting "fire" in a theater - which is not protected speech, either.

But, I sure have my doubts about whether the liberal courts would see it that way - I'm not familiar with which courts or judges who's jurisdiction this falls under, but I'd think a bet against would be a sure thing.

So, I'm not putting all my eggs in one basket. There are other angles to this issue. Greg Gutfeld posted a very provocative piece on Monday that certainly had the innertubes abuzz and still does. Go and read it - it's important that you read the whole thing.

If the Muslim faith is all about tolerance, peace and forgiveness, they would have no problem embracing Greg's proposal. It seems our country is on a mission to embrace the gay and lesbian communities by making same sex marriages legal, so in order to contribute to the community - why shouldn't Muslims forgive gay members of their own religion? Why not allow them a place to be free, as it were?

And for that matter, why shouldn't there be, oh, say an All Pork Barbecue built in the commercial zone? They could help fund a battered women's shelter. And there should be street artists providing cartoon caricatures of Mohamed impregnating one of his "younger" wives - just to show how much they want to prove their moderation.

I'm just left with a ton of questions. Why did demonstrations erupt all over the Muslim world celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers if they're so tolerant? Why wasn't CAIR denouncing the attack from the top of the global rooftops? Why didn't the respective governments come to the aid of the victims - as our country has done for so many others so many times? (They didn't even come to the aid of the Indian Ocean tsunami victims in 2004 - primarily people of their own faith)

Historically, building a mosque in a foreign land has symbolized Muslim domination. Surely that isn't the purpose of this project. On the other hand, were they truly seeking tolerance - why not build an inter-faith monument? That would show an open hand of peace.

So, don't be blowing smoke up my a$$ about the religion of Peace and so on. Don't tell me I'm a bigot because I'm not tolerant of other faiths. If what I'm saying here is bigoted, then you have to admit the continual war against Israel in the Middle East is wrong because the Muslim Arabs are bigoted. Yes, you do have to admit it.

Would you support a memorial to General Custer to be placed in every Native American burial ground? Would you support a monument to the first atom bombs be built at the respective Ground Zeros at Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Hey, lets force the NAACP to honor the Klu Klux Klan with a monument at their headquarters! Peace and tolerance towards other beliefs!

I'm hearing about the how the contractors and unions will refuse to build this thing. Perhaps. I suspect we're gonna end up with some sort of Muslim domination at the site.

If the Muslim world had any sense of decency, they would respect the site. I guess we can see how that has gone.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Shaken, Not Stirred

The Encore Action movie channel has been showing old James Bond flicks tonight. For Your Eyes Only and License to Kill, starring Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton, respectively - and I find myself wishing there was at least a Sean Connery classic in the mix. Why?

When I was in high school and spending my own money on movies - I never missed a new James Bond. Even though that was the Roger Moore period. The shows he starred in got progressively further over the top parodying themselves. At least there was some humor - Timothy Dalton was pretty stiff. I liked Pierce Brosnan's efforts - and Daniel Craig seems a tad too serious and the action sequences are way overblown. Brosnan's are as well, but he seemed to have his tongue firmly in cheek.

Let's face it. Sean Connery rules as Agent 007. Unless you disagree - vote in the poll and let's talk about this! Serious stuff here!

Happy Fiftieth!

Green Eggs and Ham was first published August 12, 1960. I didn't realize this, but the book was the result of a fifty dollar bet between Bennett Cerf (Dr. Suess's publisher) and the good Doctor. His success with only using 225 words in The Cat In The Hat prompted the wager that Theodor Geisel would be unable to write a children's book using only fifty words. We all know now how that bet came out!

Possibly one of Saturday Night Live's greatest moments was when the Reverend Jesse Jackson gave a reading of Green Eggs and Ham on the show (embedding is disabled for the video, otherwise it would be here - gotta click on the link to see it). I didn't care much for the Reverend before his reading, and I've found I still don't care much for him or his politics, but I cannot deny that he does have a sense of humor and a dramatic flair when it comes to reading this classic. My opinion of him did rise a bit in spite of myself.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Cure

Click for bigger....

Thanks to Louis!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Dead Armadillo Alert

Oklahoma haz them.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

That Blasted Slippery Slope

I hate using that sequence of words because it's been worn out. Doesn't make some of the issues it fits any less relevant, but I'm kinda of the opinion when it's used on a forum as an argument against some policy or another the statists just roll their eyes and exclaim "Not Again!!!"

The problem is that the concept is proven. Let's take pawn shops, for instance. They take in a lot of used jewelry, some of which may be stolen. (Note that guns aren't included - since they are covered by the FFL requirement to record each gun transaction with a 4473). The law enforcement types can't stake out each and every pawn shop ever opened to observe the clientele, looking for criminals.

Which no doubt vexes the "boys in blue." But, wait a second - we've got an idear! Let's put the burden of proof on the pawn shops! Make them record each and every transaction for just about anything that can be stolen! After all, it's just pawn shops. If you were a proper citizen, you'd avoid such evil places in favor of Costco and the higher end malls. After all, it's just Common Sense Legislation. For the Children®. Or something. No matter the extra costs of doing business - singling out a particular type of business, or the essential assumption that all involved are guilty of something (can we say Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment?). Pawn shops will be the only businesses bothered by this - so it's no big deal. The masters of the universe won't be bothering anyone else. Oh, wait........
Moms come into New to You Kids in Greenfield every week to sell their babies' outgrown rompers to the small resale shop. But the business says it will have to close if it has to comply with a new city ordinance requiring it to take each mom's picture and send that, along with detailed descriptions of the items she sells, to a police database every day.

The Greenfield ordinance also imposes transaction fees on resale stores that could amount to tens of thousands of dollars annually - a big burden for small retailers.

"It's horrendous. This will put us out of business if we have to adhere to it," said New to You Kids owner Robert Reinhardt.

Half-Price Books, a national resale chain that has a store a few doors down from Reinhardt's in the Greenfield Fashion Center, will consider getting out of its lease, district manager Joe Desch said.

Half-Price also is thinking about filing a lawsuit against Greenfield on First Amendment grounds, because the new ordinance, which takes effect next summer, will require the bookstore to send police a daily list of customers who sell books to them, with identification and titles sold.

But Greenfield Police Detective Chuck Fletcher has news for resale operators who think they can escape the reporting requirements by moving to another town: There soon may to no place to run, no place to hide.

"You may be able to jump over to Greendale or West Allis, but guess what," said Fletcher, noting that with more cities adopting stricter ordinances, retailers may have trouble finding a place without restrictions.

Fletcher is the unofficial state expert and promoter of a new municipal code that requires resale stores to send information into a statewide police database.

"I've given lectures from Waushara County down to Walworth County," he said.

Well isn't that special. Lord knows the used clothing and book market is rife with corruption and crime. That's certainly what the crooks who stole from me took first. Oh, wait, they left my clothes and books and even the electronic goodies alone - it was guns they were after! Oh, dern, just some anecdotal evidence so it doesn't count.
The new code being adopted by cities around the state is based on a state law that already requires pawn shops and businesses that buy metals and jewelry to take and keep information on sellers and items. The code expands the requirements by including businesses that haven't needed to report transactions in the past and by mandating that the businesses install software from the Northeastern Wisconsin Property Reporting System and input seller identification and detailed merchandise descriptions each day. Businesses must photograph sellers and items, and they must keep the items for a set period of time - 10 to 30 days in most cities that have adopted the ordinances - before reselling them. Desch of Half-Price Books said it would be impossible to comply with that provision because of the storage space it would require.
Of course, there are fees involved. Be still my beating heart - I'm shocked. Truly I am...
Greenfield will require retailers to pay 50 cents for each purchase they make up to $10, a dollar for every transaction from $10 to $100, plus an extra 1% of the transaction amount for sales over $100. Wausau, which enacted its ordinance in July, is charging a flat $1.50 fee per transaction. The Wausau ordinance has no exclusions for any resale businesses and includes consignment transactions.

At New to You Kids, owner Reinhardt estimates the fees will amount to $10,000 per year.

"But the fees are the tip of the iceberg," he said. The shop already keeps information on the identity of sellers, but the new ordinance will require his store to do merchandise documentation that it doesn't now do. He will need to hire two people to type product descriptions of 140,000 items per year - many of them carrying prices below $1 - into the police database. The wages for those jobs will cost him $40,000, and the store doesn't bring in enough money to offset that, Reinhardt said.

At Music Go Round, a musical instrument store in the Greenfield Fashion Center, owner Skott Moriarti estimates the new ordinance will cost him at least $17,000 to implement in the first year. That includes wages for extra employee hours and the purchase of a computer and photo equipment, because the parent company for his franchise store, Winmark Corp., won't allow him to connect third-party software to the store's system. There are concerns about a data security breach and about liability for damages in the event that a breach occurs, Moriarti said.

There are actually some voices of restraint:
Milwaukee aldermen approved a resale ordinance in July but excluded bookstores and clothing resale shops.

"I think it's a very good crime prevention technique," Milwaukee Assistant City Attorney Adam Stephens said. "But you may defeat the purpose if you regulate too much."
Oh, really? Who'd a thunk it?

Slippery slope. Give 'em an inch, they'll take a mile. Crack open the door - they'll force their way in.

H/T Andrea Harris

And, I'm real interested in what Cedar View Paint Horses has to say about this, since this is all happenin' in Wisconsin....

Thursday, August 05, 2010

That Yellow "No Parking" Curb?

Rest area on I70 west of Indianapolis - westbound side

The "planners" of this rest area marked that out for a reason - so y'all could park there! Yes, it's true - when you're special, you don't have to follow the herd. Ya followed the sign that said cars to the left vs trucks and vehicles with trailers to the right - but those handy angled pull through parking spaces? The extra wide ones? Welp, those are just for truckers and such. You should park right next to the yellow no parking curb. In the shade. Which is apparently the reason why the white Chevy Tahoe behind the UHaul rig is there.

Both of these arseholes just blocked about ten parking spots for semis. In order to fit a tractor/trailer into the parking slot - the driver has to have the rig positioned next to that curb to be able to swing into a slot. If the trucker is too far away from that curb, it's physically impossible to place that big rig in one of those parking spots. Not only the slots that those morons are behind - but the slots that are in front of them as well. Ya still have to get over to that curb, and so the trucks coming in have to go on past their dumb a$$es, swing over to the curb, clear the morons and then pull past far enough to get the trailer placed close to the curb - in order to keep from hitting the other trucks parked there.

On second thought I'd say these privileged members of society actually put about fifteen semi parking slots hors de combat.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead

With apologies to Admiral Farragut...

One of the side benefits of my job is that I don't have to stay in truck stops. Sure, gotta get fuel and something to eat, but live there? That's what motels are for. I've found it tends to insulate me from the stupid. If you want to see how not to do it, just hang at a truck stop near you. Examples of doin it rong abound.

I was only in the Hook at Warrenton MO for about an hour - we had to wait for the oversize load curfew at St. Louis to expire so we could get across town. I was doing some paperwork and was treated with this situation. This guy was cruising down the center of the "aisle" and LO AND BEHOLD there was a space open GOTTA TURN RIGHT INTO THE SLOT BEFORE SOMEONE GETS IT!!!!!!

Well, I'm sorry, but the designers of said truck stops have maximized the amount of trucks that can park on their lot by making things rather tight. They've calculated swing room and such, and so one generally must be up close and personal with the trucks on one side of the line in order to have the room to swing the tractor wide and bring the trailer behind you. You know, since the trailer DOES NOT DIRECTLY FOLLOW THE TRACTOR.

This is our brain surgeon finally figuring out he wasn't gonna make it fit, and was backing out. If he'd had a clue, we wouldn't be able to see the spot he was vacating because he'd have cut his tractor to the left in order to align his trailer with the alley at ninety degrees to the parking place. He could have backed 'er up a little, brought his trailer closer to the line I'm parked in there, pulled forward, swung wide and drove right in. Alas, he backed it out just like he drove it in.

Eventually he had his tractor in the center of the aisle and his trailer dangerously close to the trucks in my line to the right of me. He never gave himself enough swing room - but he was also about to mow down some hoods, too. He finally gave up. I figured he went searching for a slot more suited to his skills.

But, I was wrong. All of a sudden I've got a truck in the two or three open slots to my left hauling ass - then slamming on his brakes because there were other trucks headed down the aisle. I mean he sucked the tractor into the pavement getting it shut down. He was headed for another try at that dern parking spot - just from the other side and much straighter.

Did he swing wide to the right? Hell no - he just pulled his tractor straight into the slot and barely got his trailer to fit. He should have shaved it closer to me and swung behind that flatbed, then pulled in line with his slot.

He was still jacking around trying to get his trailer "off" the one to his left five minutes later. My phone battery was dying, so I had to shut 'er down.

I hate to think how this fool bumps a dock. I'm sure there is wagering on how many hours or attempts it takes him to actually back that wagon.

I didn't see any telltale long streaky gouges on that trailer - but genius there probably hadn't been pulling it for many miles.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Mrs. G

I've written before about a couple of my outstanding teachers. They are extremely memorable for me because they were strict disciplinarians. I've always been pretty laid back about studying - just did enough to get by. Their requirements forced me to perform and I hated it. However, as time went by, it was obvious even to me that their methods got results.

They weren't the only teachers to leave an impression on me and my education. My junior high English teacher - who also was my Debate teacher - helped mold me in a more laissez-faire manner. Her teaching method was more subtle - she provided the information and the clues - and when we caught on, we learned it. In a sense, we were allowed to discover and retain what we learned. She wasn't gonna force it down our throats, feeding us spoonful by spoonful, but she'd put it in a bowl in front of us for our consumption. The foundations in English she built were solid - and my more disciplinary teacher was able to build on that rather effectively.

She also taught debate - I had her for four years. I know I had to be somewhat of a disappointment to her because of my attitude. I was more into competition and the travel than the really necessary preparations that made winning a more certain proposition. In other words, I liked the fun part. I was a good enough speaker that I could usually bee ess my way through a debate - building up or tearing down an argument without using much in the way of evidence gathered through intensive research. That approach worked until I ran into someone who did the necessary work and was an equal or better speaker. Some years later, I admitted this to her, and she told me she'd warned me repeatedly and she wasn't about to beat me over the head about it at the time. If I wanted the opportunity - she was there to help. If I just wanted to goof off, she wasn't going to waste a bunch of time trying to force me to do the research.

So, what did she teach me? Nothing more than how to organize my thoughts and present them in a coherent, logical manner in a limited time. Nothing more than a very shy nerd being able to stand in front of a crowd and speak intelligently. Nothing more than the building blocks of proper written English and an appreciation of same - she's the one who first steered us towards the classics. English, debate and forensics are still a passion for her, even though she's retired now.

I've kept in touch with her over the years. I used to volunteer to be a judge at the debates she used to host at our high school. When we all started going online, we exchanged email addys - it's been undoubtedly cool to find we share political views and the same warped sense of humor. She's even discovered Facebook (how cool is that?) - so I catch her on there as well. I guarantee you she's got a load of former students as her pals. Conversations with her are always fun - I ran into her the other day at el Marto de Wal, when I threatened to write this about her. So, finally, I get around to it. I'm sure that's nothing new to her regarding moi. Heh.

So, Carolin Sue Gechter - I thank you for teaching me. I just might have learned more than you thought I did - even though it took a while to sink in!