Monday, April 30, 2012

I Hereby Serve Notice

It it's really foggy out in the daylight, just because you can see does not mean others can see you, moron. If I were king of the Highway Patrol, you'd be walking if you demonstrate your stupidity in such a fashion.

On a side note, when some LEO tells me his job is all about safety, then I have to ask about people like the above. The powers that be are more interested in revenue gained from ticky tacky fines easily assessed.

And then, if you pull out directly in front of me in a truck, and I chew your ass for it as I pass you - that does NOT mean I am a stupid SOB nor am I a pussy. Making up faults about my character does not absolve you of your idiocy and reckless behavior. Then if you tell me you're gonna pass me right back, then do it, Mr. Horsepower. Otherwise, take your ass chewing and resolve to do better in the future.

One of the joys of hauling oversize is that most people think we run at a slower velocity than we actually do. Heavy haulers do, but we don't. Thus, people pull out in front of us in dangerous situations in order to not be trapped behind us. So, when they find out we're a hell of a lot lighter than 80k and can blow their doors, they are shocked. Get over it, and don't risk a collision because you underestimated our cruising speed. I shouldn't have to burn off ten thousand miles worth of brake linings to keep from running over your dumb, impatient ass.

That is all, and yes, I do feel better. Thank you so very much.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Just Wondering

What's up with Allie Brosh of Hyperbole and a Half? She last posted 10/27/2011 on depression. Her last tweet was a "promo" for her blog post. Her Facebook page is empty, and her Google+ page last activity was in August of 2011. Anyone hear?

♫Always Look On The Bright Side of Life♫


Chip Bok is obviously a Monthy Python fan, which is a good thang.


VIDEO: EPA Official Compares Agency Enforcement to Roman Crucifixions


A video surfaced on Wednesday showing a regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency comparing his agency’s philosophy with respect to regulation of oil and gas companies to brutal tactics employed by the ancient Roman army to intimidate its foes into submission.
EPA’s “philosophy of enforcement,” said EPA’s Region VI Administrator Al Armendariz, is “kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean: they’d go into little Turkish towns somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they’d run into, and they’d crucify them.”
“That town was really easy to manage for the next few years,” Armendariz added.
His comments are indicative of the “EPA’s war on fossil fuels,” claimed Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) in a news release on Wednesday.
Inhofe reiterated the remarks in a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon. Armendariz’s comments, Inhofe said, “give us a rare glimpse of the Obama administration’s true agenda.” The region over which Armendariz has authority includes Inhofe’s home state of Oklahoma.
Can you say intimidation by a third rate bureaucrat with delusions of grandeur? But he's part of Teh Won's Hope 'N Change administration, so it's ok. Hope y'all are comfortable with the energy policy being demonstrated - we want pie in the sky tech to save us from the nasty evil oil companies and their products. Never mind that the tech we're supposed to be depending on to support us is unproven, costly, and in many cases does not even exist. Kill the oil industry, which is keeping us going quite well, btw, cuz us ignernt rednecks gotta be saved in spite of ourselves. Toilets that don't flush, light bulbs that require an EPA approved hazmat disposal facility, subsidized electric cars that can't go far enough with toxic batteries and that catch fire - well, you get the idea.

The really bad thing is that people like Armendariz will still be firmly entrenched even if Romney wins the Presidential election.

Okay, now I feel better. Getting back to the cartoon - it's brilliant! Check out the references to the Secret Service (the centurion in boxer shorts with hearts and obviously a hooker riding with him). The GSA is being referenced due to not everything in Vegas staying in Vegas. Slow Jam references Obama appearing on the Jimmy Fallon show. Donald Verrelli made an ass of himself defending Obamacare before the Supremes. John Edwards, perhaps being thrown under the bus, is in hot water for diverting campaign funds to his mistress. Roger Clemens - perjury for denying steroid use. All sideshows in the entertaining world of the Roman toga party that is Obama's Washington - remember Obama's acceptance speech at Mile High - specifically the Roman columns on the stage? Freudian slip much???

And just for grins, here is the inspiration for Bok's cartoon:


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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sixty Five Years Ago Today


The Kon-Tiki set sail for the Polynesian Islands. Thor Heyerdahl wanted to prove it was possible that the Islanders came from South America using the sailing tech in pre-Columbian times. That meant building a raft made from balsa logs. Pretty crude stuff, frankly. Most anthropologists do not think that emigration happened, but it was an interesting exercise for sure.

I read the book as a teenager, and was fascinated by the tales of fishing, sailing difficulties, eating field rations, and the strain the men felt in their relationships. It's a good read, for sure.

This Is Awesome



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It's awesome just because.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Whew!

Finally home. You may have noticed the lack of posting. Welp, there is something about thirteen and fourteen hour days that make me want to go to bed early rather than posting something, dern it.

Went to Michigan, and I wanted to stop and visit some folks on the way back, but as it turned out I had to get pointed homeward for a "backhaul." We don't make every little thing that goes into our tanks, and one of the items we do not fabricate is the siphon assembly for a gunbarrel tank. That is a specially designed tank that separates water from freshly pumped crude, and the siphon is the main part that does the separating. The guy that makes ours had some that needed to be picked up tuit suite, because the tanks were ready for them to be installed. The production people were climbing the walls wanting these puppies.

I expect they'll sleep better now, as will I since I'm back at the farm.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cost of Trucking

Thought this was interesting. Calling the tractor unit a "cab" is misleading - like calling a gun "bullet." The cab is a component of the tractor unit. But that's nitpicking. Oh, and I don't contribute much to the coffee consumption. I'm an iced tea guy.

H/T Easy Lift Equipment via Autoblog

Edited to add:

Samuel Barradas of The Trucker's Report contacted me to let me know I didn't attribute the origin of this graphic - something I couldn't find originally. He asked me to post this link as well, to point to his site, which of course I am doing! http://www.thetruckersreport.com/infographics/cost-of-trucking/

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Erosion

I've harped before about how we are dancing in the streets for regaining a modicum of gun rights while our other rights are being eroded. Just another example here.

Mandatory ‘Big Brother’ Black Boxes In All New Cars From 2015


A bill already passed by the Senate and set to be rubber stamped by the House would make it mandatory for all new cars in the United States to be fitted with black box data recorders from 2015 onwards.
Section 31406 of Senate Bill 1813 (known as MAP-21), calls for “Mandatory Event Data Recorders” to be installed in all new automobiles and legislates for civil penalties to be imposed against individuals for failing to do so.
“Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall revise part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, to require, beginning with model year 2015, that new passenger motor vehicles sold in the United States be equipped with an event data recorder that meets the requirements under that part,” states the bill.
Although the text of legislation states that such data would remain the property of the owner of the vehicle, the government would have the power to access it in a number of circumstances, including by court order, if the owner consents to make it available, and pursuant to an investigation or inspection conducted by the Secretary of Transportation.
Well, alrighty then!

Well, we don't want drunks to be driving, do we? Why not add a mini breathalyzer as an ignition interlock that communicates with the ol' black box? After all, It's For The Children©. Howzabout some facial recognition systems to make sure you are who you are? Prevent theft and all, ya know. And since we're allowing the .gov access in a number of circumstances, let's let the IRS and the various state tax agencies check in on ya. Make sure you don't owe anything, or ya can't drive, not even to work. And the DHS and other LEOs in case there are outstanding arrest records on ya - cuz there's no way that could be abused. Oh, wait.

Just a thought: What good will worrying about open carry do for you if Skynet improperly tags you as a felon for speeding through a school zone? Probably worse than what Flo with Progressive is gonna do for your insurance rates. Just remember, computers do not lie.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Thinks That Irk Me Part #3014

Among the many things that happen in today's society that irk me are the blatant scam advertisements on television and radio. Crap such as the pitches on how to make money, oh, maybe for flipping repo or tax fire sale properties for big bucks. Yeah, just buy some house that has been abandoned for several years in a neighborhood that the economy passed by even earlier, and tell me you're gonna sell it for what houses in hot areas are going for. Without putting a ton of money, labor, repairs and so on into it. Yup. Lessee how that works for ya. At least the Smilin' Bob ads are funny.

The latest to get under my skin are the ads on SiriusXM for Pure Quantum Power. What pisses me off more is to hear Mike Bagley of The Morning Drive on SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90 hawk their stuff.

Well, what is "their stuff," Jeffro?

Magnets, dude. Quantum Power Magnets. You stick two on strategic locations on your engine block and two on your battery. The magnets are, according to The Bagman - "Infused with quantum nano-technology" that will immediately increase the power of your vehicle. Big rig drivers are encouraged to purchase two sets. One set costs - now $99.00 reduced from $129.99.

What a deal. Let's look a bit more closely:



Check that out - how those fuel atoms are just like little sperm cells:

Who knew? This should upset science as we know it, cuz this is what everyone assumed fuel atoms look like:


Nope, not long chains of carbon surrounded by hydrogen - they're sperm. Good to know. I'm sure there are a lot of scientists who need to be notified tout suite. Immediately if not before.

Then we have the power of the nano technology coming into play, because this is normally how electricity apparently flows:


But the intense field generated by the magnets:


Lines those silly electrons right up straight away. Why, I'd bet that they do such a great job, being on the battery and all, that it might turn your alternator into an electric motor! Yeah! Kinda like a little supercharger without the expense or mechanical complications! Since that is about the only benefit one can imagine that increasing your battery's power potential would do. What a deal!

In fact, the nano tech displayed by these magnets is truly quite amazing. Since those little nano robots are so efficient, why, I'll bet the military and DARPA will be beating a path to the door of the entrepreneurs at Pure Quantum Power. Not only those guys, but the entire medical industry, the micro circuitry folks, the petroleum industry - well, there are a whole host of beneficiaries for the wondrous breakthrough these magnets represent. And all for the incredible low price of ninety nine bucks!!!

I understand the various networks and stations have to use advertising to survive, in order to provide us with free entertainment. I also can kinda relate to the SiriusXM model, where the subscription fee doesn't really cover their expenses. However, it does not make me appreciate their integrity very much when they claim their news department is without bias, for instance. Y'all take money from the Devil, dudes.

And my opinion of Mike Bagley drops each time I hear him hawk this crap. Journalistic honesty indeed.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Attitude

Hoss (one of my best friends and fellow truckers) and I were dispatched to Nebraska many moons ago to pick up corn. He was in the Green Machine - a 1981 KW W9. I was in the "Hawaaian tropical red" 1984 IHC 4300. Our destination was at some out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere places and just before we got there, we passed a wide spot in the road occupied by the state weights and measures DOT. They were in an older white van, and had their portable scales all set up and ready to go. It was a hot,humid day in the middle of summer with the sun glaring down on all of us.

We could see them watching us as we loaded - we took several trips between the elevator's loadout and their scales, and axled out our loads to be sure we had all the "i"s dotted and "t"s crossed. Probably three or four times we went back to dump some off, or add some more. At any rate, after about an hour of messing around, we were ready.

When we pulled up, the nice DOT officers motioned us to pull over. They wanted to weigh us. We asked why - hadn't they seen us getting every little thing correct?

Did not matter - they were gonna weigh us, and make us waste an hour or so screwing around with them. Even though they'd seen us get it all correct, they made us weigh each axle or sets of axles, and their gross reading came up pretty much with what our ticket said. More time wasted thanks to them. They were both less than friendly as well, which only added to the bad taste in our mouths.

Of course we were legal, and while we were putting all of our documents back, they were busy loading the portable scales in the back of the van. They were getting ready to blow the joint as well.

All of a sudden, my scanner caught my attention - I could hear these guys calling in to HQ. Their van wouldn't start and they needed the dispatcher to send someone out. I asked Hoss on the CB if he'd heard that, because he had a scanner as well. Yep, he'd heard it.

So, sez I, should we help 'em out? I had jumper cables with me. It was a hot day. We could be nice.

"F*ck 'em" was his answer.

I still laugh just thinking about this story.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Good Times in Rapid City


I've got a load that I can't get rid of until tomorrow morning here in Rapid, so I had some extra time. It was a sign. I had to meet the legendary Robert Dennis, aka "Jinglebob" of Dennisranch's weblog fame.

For those of you who don't know Robert - his is a rancher located east of Sturgis, SD. And he's not just any rancher - he is an old school cowboy. He makes his own gear (as well as orders for others), is a cowboy poet and musician, and if it can be done from or with a horse, that is his preferred method of working. So, he is continually breaking horses for team and working cattle. When he brands or doctors his charges, it's done from horseback with a lariat. I grew up using squeeze chutes and holding pens.

At any rate, several phone conversations revealed that we were on the same wavelength on a lot of things. I've been trying to find a moment to stop in, but today I got close enough that he drove in to buy my supper, if you can believe that.

He's just as entertaining in person as he is on the phone or online. We had a blast talking about a whole lot of nothing, but having a hell of a time, and even got some flirting with the cute waitress in.

Thank you, Robert, and we'll have to do this again. And if you come down into the flatlands, as you call 'em, it will be my turn to entertain!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hatch Status: Unbattened

Well, ya have all probably heard about all the tornadoes in the Midwest Saturday. Five people dead, at least twenty nine injured (from what I read -  in a trailer park) in Woodward, OK - a city northwest of Oklahoma City, OK.  Kansas - no dead reported, one still missing. At least one hundred tornadoes were reported as of this morning across the area including Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa.

There was a tornado reported north of Dodge City, KS Saturday afternoon. It tracked on the ground for over a half hour. That was the closest twister to the Poor Farm. I'm about twenty five miles northeast of downtown Dodge, and I'm not sure where the track was. Not too much in the way of populations between Dodge City and Jetmore - the nearest town to the north.

Wichita was hit. McConnell AFB, Boeing and Spirit Aerosystems all reported damage, and there a damage track leading from the southwest side, across I35 south, then to the east side of the Air Capital. Governor Sam Browback has declared Sedgwick County (Wichita) a disaster area.

video
video credit KWCH.com

The video is interesting because it's a compilation of several different tornadoes. The last one is interesting because it looks like the funnel does not reach the ground, then as the newly formed tornado ages a bit, the visible moisture cloud is gradually sucked down to the earth, and if the ground is dusty, the debris is sucked up into the vortex, making it more visible. The point is - just because you can see a tornado, and it looks like it isn't touching the ground, chances are good that it really is and you just cannot see it. I've seen several of these ropy twisters, and when close enough, one can see the clear vortex. Sometimes, the bottom will be loaded up with dirt and debris, the middle clear, and the top part dark and cloudy.

Sometimes, when one of these forms at night and it is raining exceptionally hard, you really can't see these things at all. The weather prognosticators speak of this often when it happens just because the situation is so dangerous for those in the path, those spotting, and because if it's probably there, but they're not sure exactly where - well, you get the idea. I've heard the weather guys call it "rain wrapped" and that is as good a description as any. Luckily, I've never seen or encountered one like that. I've just seen the flashes of lightning outlining a funnel at night, or seen 'em in broad daylight.

This outbreak was for sure the worst of the year so far, but it wasn't the first tornadoes of the year, and it surely won't be the last. It's just a crap shoot out here on the prairie until late fall. Been rolling lucky sevens so far!

And prayers to those whose lives were affected by this latest rounds. I've helped with a clean up or three, and while most survivors feel very fortunate that they are still alive, it is still stunning to deal with the destruction of their property. Not to mention those families in Woodward who lost family, or have people in the hospital.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

It's That Time of the Year Again

Rabies reports increase in Kansas



Kansas health officials say 13 rabies cases have been confirmed so far this year, a 300 percent increase over the same time period last year.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says it had only four confirmed rabies cases in the same time period in 2011. Kansas has averaged 68 confirmed cases of rabies a year since 2007.
WIBW reports state health officials have confirmed rabies in a coyote, a raccoon, four skunks, two bats, two horses, two cows and one cat.
KDHE officials say the cases are most prevalent in skunks. They encourage the public to watch their pets and livestock and be aware of wild animals. And they encourage owners to vaccinate their animals against rabies.

The increase probably has something to do with the mild winter (pretty much non existent, in fact) that we had. I'd just bet we're gonna have some problems with insects this summer, too. It just didn't get cold enough long enough nor snow enough.

Remember, you are probably not gonna get rabies from a skunk or a raccoon. But little Fluffy, who was outside watering the lawn before being allowed back in, might catch it defending her turf, like a little Fluffy would.

My shy ol' dog Babs used to take 'em on. I'd smell the results of the battle, and she would come to me all proud and happy with herself because she had by God done her job! Unfortunately, it would be several days before I could stand to reward her.....

She was bitten a few times, too - it might have been raccoons or skunks. Her neck became very swollen for  a few days. I figured that was where a bite became infected. She always healed up, and as she got older and wiser, she learned to leave those critters alone. Her turf was primarily her food dish, and the older Babs became more of a live and let live kinda hound.

Since she passed and I don't keep dog food on the front porch anymore, my encounters with wildlife have diminished considerably. There is nothing to draw skunks, opossums, raccoons, mice and birds. The mice attracted snakes. They're all still out there, but not camped out on the porch these days.

Rabies isn't quite the problem as in the past, but it's still serious business:

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

For Your Cultural Edification


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It's Beethoven. What else do ya gotta know???

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Don't Text And......


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Walk - in bear country, at any rate. Situational awareness????

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Quote of the Day


"It will not be too strong to say, that there will be a constant probability of seeing the station [of President] filled by characters pre-eminent for ability and virtue." --Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 68, 1788




Somehow, I think ol' Alex might be a tad disappointed in the quality of the candidates here lately, or maybe it's just me.

Monday, April 09, 2012

I Agree


It is not very often I find myself in agreement with Ted Rall. He is so far left it's unreal - and I've been thoroughly enjoying his unhappiness with the current President. In Ted's eyes, Teh Won is practically a Republican. Considering how "progressive" a ton of them really are, perhaps he has a point.

At any rate, this is all about the Supreme Court's recent decision on strip searches in relation to the Fourth Amendment. First, a little background in case you aren't all caught up:
A sharply divided Supreme Court has ruled that individuals arrested for even the most minor offenses can be stripped searched before they are jailed while awaiting a hearing. The high court's five-to-four decision came in the case of Albert Florence, the finance director at a New Jersey BMW dealership. He was arrested, strip searched and held in prison for a week because of a computer error.

[snip]

Florence, his wife, and four-year-old son, were driving to a family event when they were pulled over. Mrs. Florence was driving. She was not cited for any offense, but when the trooper did a roadside check on the owners of the car, he found an outstanding arrest warrant for Mr. Florence for failure to pay a fine seven years earlier. Florence was arrested, handcuffed and led away.
It would later turn out that the computer information was wrong. Florence had paid the fine years earlier, but the state had failed to purge the arrest warrant from its files.
In the meantime, Florence would find himself strip searched twice and jailed for seven days before he finally went before a judge and was released.

Seems legit to me, but I'm no Constitutional scholar (unlike the current resident of the White House, who seems to think the Supremes have no business messin' with legislation that was passed with a "strong majority"). There are several things that really bother me about all of this.

One - the obvious - it sure seems to be a perversion of our rights as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, Fourth Amendment.
But Justice Kennedy countered that given the number of total arrests each year - 13 million - it would be unworkable for correctional officials to exempt one class of prisoner from being strip searched. Indeed, he said, even people detained for minor offenses can turn out to be the most devious and dangerous criminals. He cited as an example the case of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, who was initially arrested for driving without a license plate.

When did our liberties become subservient to the convenience of the po po? You know, individual freedoms do come at a cost, and that is inevitably some inconvenience to others. Sometimes, a guilty man goes free. Sometimes, we hear something we don't like, but the person speaking it is free to speak it. Sometimes, a criminal is deprived of his life, but he should not have been attempting to rob someone of their lives and goods - try that in Great Britain, and the victim is the criminal. I am comfortable knowing that there is a slight chance of an arrestee getting away with something vs the chance that some bureaucratic screwup might find me in the hoosegow with Officer Friendly doing a colonoscopy on me, without lube or sedatives.

But Jeffro, you might say, if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn't have a problem! Well, sorry, but I do have a problem with it, and if you wanna volunteer for strip searches, be my guest. I'd rather not, thank you very much.

The other thing that is bothering me is where is the conservative, libertarian outrage? Shouldn't everyone who calls themselves a supporter of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution be upset over this? Silence is assent, they say, and right now, it looks like there is a ton of support for this decision by the Supremes. I've got the idea that we as conservatives have been getting a lot of mileage out of this current bunch on gun related issues and such, so maybe everyone is being quiet so as not to disturb the hornets' nest? Don't piss 'em off while they're deciding the health care issue? I dunno, it's a puzzle to me.

Here lately, it seems "we" are patting ourselves on the ass for all the major strides on the gun issue front, and truly, the affirmation of the Second Amendment has been heartening. However, we just have to go to an airport to have proof that the Fourth Amendment has been turned into a worn out chew toy for the DHS. Kelo vs City of New London pretty well warped the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. We seem to have a Court that upholds individual liberties as long as they involve individuals - ie: guns as self defense. But when we have individuals against the State, then our rights are suborned - no, you can't keep that house if we wanna put a shopping center there, or if we wanna make sure gramma ain't carryin' no binary explosives in her shampoo bottles, so we gotta look at her with a backscatter machine (it also helps if gramma looks like Raquel, if you know what I mean, and I think that you do).

This decision does not make me a happy camper.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

I Await Eagerly



From The Sun:

BUSTY Mad Men star Christina Hendricks plans to launch a swimwear line – because she can’t find cossies to fit her boobs.


She said: “It’s really hard to find a bathing suit if you have breasts.
“You either get smooshed down, or there’s no support at all. I want to start my own line, with good bra support.
"My husband and I have sketched out designs.”

Sorry, got kinda distracted thinking about Christina modeling her line of swimwear. Did she say something about breasts?


H/T Wyatt

Happy Easter, Everyone!!!


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Finally, a true depiction of the Easter Bunny. leeann, this one's for you!






Totally ripped off from KurtP

Update! Thirteen Disastrous Easter Bunny Pictures!

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Fourteen Years Ago Today

April 7, 1998. I was at Texas Motor Speedway for the (at that time) Winston Cup NASCAR race. I'd been there most of the week - one of my friends was/is the sports editor for a local paper. He got us in with press passes, and that year, I even got a garage pass. The press pass by itself got me into the infield, the pits, and the media center, where we were fed a catered lunch - especially during practice and qualifying days.

I was having the time of my life.

I was ostensibly there as an adviser. My friend had little NASCAR knowledge (at that time), so he truly wanted me there to help him ID people and find story leads. He found the story of Dave Marcus and the wingtip shoes he always wore, plus his gritty owner/driver status compelling. We pretty well spent the entire race hanging out in his pit stall. After the race was over, T had to post his wrap up, so we were there for a while after the race. Even so, it was quite a struggle to get back to his place, because the track was still pretty new and the roads hadn't been improved nor the local LEOs familiar with handling large amounts of traffic, unlike the situation is today. We got back pretty late.

T's babysitter cornered him when we got back, and wouldn't look at me. T delivered the bad news - I was to call my neighbor no matter the time.

She told me my father had been found immobile, and the ambulance was called. I interrupted with some inane comment like "He'll be alright, right????" but she continued - no, Jeff, I'm afraid he passed away. They thought he had slipped away in his sleep on the fifth. "My" farmer at the time, and my current farmer (the guys who lease the family ground) found him and reported it. Needless to say, they were also upset and greatly affected. They liked Dad, and it hit them hard.

I had a cell phone, but at that time, follow me roam was pretty high dollar. Sis had even had me paged at the track, but if you've ever been to a NASCAR race, you'd know how useless that is. The only time one can hear the announcer is during a yellow flag, when the cars are in the pits idling or idling around the track. When they're all out on the track floored, you can barely scream at your neighbor and be heard.

I did not get much if any sleep that night. I got up fairly early, showered and headed for home. My original plans were to stop in OKC to see my Sis, but I was going to be seeing her back home, so I drove straight through to the funeral home.

My cousin, a nurse, was the only close relative the funeral home could find on short notice, and she decided to forgo an autopsy. Heart failure was the likely culprit.

Dad had told me many different times that he wanted to be buried in blue jeans and a blue chambray work shirt - his favorite set of clothes. After perusing his selection, Sis and I chose a fairly new and comfortable looking pair of blue jeans, his usual white socks, a pair of his favorite dress boots, and since we didn't like the looks of his current selection of work shirts, purchased a new long sleeved one for him. The only ones who got to see him were the morticians - they recommended a sealed closed casket, and our memories of him would be better served if we didn't see him the way he was.

After several more late nights and early mornings, not enough sleep and too much stress, we got Dad buried. That afternoon, I bid everyone adieu for a short time - I was worn to a frazzle and took a short nap. Everyone understood and left me alone. To this day, I recommend to anyone going through burying someone close to remember to take care of themselves, too - they are gonna need some time alone, if just to take a nap.

I had a mercurial relationship with my father, but that does not mean I don't miss him, and my mother as well. I still hear him in my head in certain situations, when he tells me what he'd tell me were he there, if that makes any sense. His litany of opinionated phrases is forever etched into my memory, and requires barely any trigger at all to be activated.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Food For Thought



I would like to share an experience with you all, about drinking and driving.

As you well know, some of us have been known to have had rare brushes with the authorities on our way home from the odd social session over the years.

A couple of nights ago, I was out for a few drinks with some friends and had a few too many beers and some rather nice red wine. Knowing full well I may have been slightly over the limit, I did something I've never done before .... I took a bus home.  Sure enough I passed a roadblock but as it was a bus they waved it past.  

I arrived home safely without incident, which was a real surprise, as I have never driven a bus before and am not sure where I got it from!

If you know of anybody missing a bus please let me know so I can arrange to return it.

H/T Eddie

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

He's Full of....... Yeah, That


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Huh? Olby is a ten million dollar chandelier? Overvalued much? Current TV needed to build a house around him?

Olby, you ain't no chandelier. You're more of a bug zapper light - you are way too loud and messy to be allowed inside, period. Forty bucks, tops, for you.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Tasteless


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Yeah, but I'm tired, and I'm just that kinda guy to post this.




H/T Darin

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics*


Google really has improved a lot of things about the Blogger platform since I first started using it. I'm sure it doesn't compare to Wordpress, but oh well. At any rate, were I an aspiring something or other looking to increase traffic, the tools they provide would surely help. Since I'm not, and I'm pretty lazy about that particular issue, most of those features are wasted on me.

I still like to check in once in a while just to see what's up in the makeup of visitors to this joint. Browser and OS shares have always caught my eye. This time, the Chrome browser (which I use as well, and no doubt adds to the data total) beat out IE and Firefox. IE used to be king around here, with FF nipping at it's heels. Now, this data can no way be extrapolated to mean the whole of the interwebs follows - all it really means is the audience that finds it's way to this neglected corner of Algore's innertubes is mostly (just barely) using Chrome over the other choices out there.

Then, it naturally follows that Windows would be the elephant in the room. What I do find compelling is that Android beat out Linux and iOS - to me the iPhone and iPad data are basically the same and can be added together. Just like all the different versions of Windows out there. I know, I know, statistically speaking they (Android, iOS and Linux) are essentially identical in a big picture sort of way, but there is a slight difference. Again, this means nothing when looking at traffic on the Big Internet Highway, but it does seem worth noticing.

My biggest source of traffic is simple Google searches - a ton of image requests land visitors from all over here, and they don't come back. Which, when looking at my overall traffic keeps me humble. For a long time, according to Sitemeter, I was drawing fifty to seventy unique visitors per day. Now it runs from 150 to 175 or so per day. I strongly suspect that is more a function of a wide variety of posts on a ton of different subjects, to which more are added (at a somewhat glacial pace at times, for sure). There is simply more material that meets a lot of search inquiries. I have not become entranced with the idea that my mad writing skills are responsible, particularly when a lot of the posts that draw the traffic have very little text in the first place, and the pieces I have spent some time writing do not bring in much. Most of those type posts draw a fair amount of traffic when fresh, not so much down the road.

Well, then, if it ain't about traffic, then why waste my time, you might ask. Welp, it's simple. I like to write, I like the feedback I get, posting feeds a creative urge, and doing all that has led me to interact with a wide variety of people that are quite enjoyable to read and discuss whatever dribbles from our respective brains. I've met some of you, and I certainly want to meet more. I look forward to seeing what y'all have written on your own blogs, or what you have to say on mine, and so on. That is what makes "it" for me.

*with apologies to Samuel Clemens

I Missed It Yesterday

Well, I didn't put anything up here anyways. Yesterday was when we were all supposed to observe Earth Hour, where we are all supposed to shut off all our lights at 8:30 pm to save the planet, show solidarity or something. I dunno, if I light a candle and all the households in the world do it too, wouldn't that be a net loss in savings of pollution? Just sayin.'

Some on the right feel it's necessary to conspicuously consume as much energy and be as wasteful as possible as an ironic counterpoint. I don't feel like bothering to care that much. I know I'm not going to by bicycling to work much in the future unless my boss likes me taking all day to get there. Probably not gonna have .gov subsidized mass transit stopping at my front door. I'm probably not gonna give up electricity - seems like my life revolves around electrical devices like refrigerators these days. Since I'm at work for days at a time, I just don't have the time to grow my own garden and smoke my own meat I hunted myself. Besides, deer season is over, which means game wardens wouldn't look kindly upon me stocking up. I guess I could always hunt the nabe's cattle, but somehow I suspect they wouldn't like that so much. Those same cattle pretty well drink up the water from the windmill in my back yard, so normal household water usage from the wind is right out as well.

So, it's a life of Earth f*&#%ing for moi.

But, I couldn't let the occasion pass completely unnoticed. Here is a clip from the late great George Carlin on environmentalism. Remember, this is George Carlin, so expect his language to be NSFW.


link

Proof That I'm Easily Entertained

I'm always tickled if I can get one of the famous folks on Twitter to reply to something I said to them. Today is no different.


Well, guess what? I got one back!


Kyle is something of a smart aleck on Twitter, so my tweet this time was crafted appropriately, as you can see. I get a large charge outta following the various NASCAR stars, publicists, crew chiefs, spotters, and reporters - particularly during the race. I've gotten responses before - the last one was from @delanaharvick - Kevin Harvick's wife. I asked her why she and Kevin didn't appear in a commercial together, and she let me know they had a new one coming out on ESPN later that month. They all are fairly accessible to fans, and some of them are downright hilarious in their responses and banter between each other. Or, I'm easily entertained.....

Excuse me while I go off and play with some alphabet blocks or my Fisher Price Push Popcorn Popper.....

My Dad's Hot Rod


I do not have a picture of my father's farm truck - a 1948 or 9 Ford F-6. Imagine this truck painted white, equally dented and neglected and showing some rust. The bed and sides were wood as well, and were gradually deteriorating in the Kansas sun. Dad's baby sported black wheels, with a black bumper to match.

Driving the ol' girl was quite an adventure - it had a non synchromesh transmission and a two speed rear axle. The push/pull switch for the two speed was in the dash rather than on the shifter like newer trucks. The brakes were the disappear in the floor variety, like a VW. It was new enough not to have a floor starter, but it did have a separate starter button on the dash. Twist the key, pull the choke, and push on the button to start.

The brakes were vacuum boosted - you could hear the gurgling, whooshing sound of the booster when applying the brakes - but you didn't want to use them for very long or they'd disappear like a gaseous eruption in a breeze. Windshield wipers were vacuum assisted - but Dad wasn't much on replacing the blades. If the sky dropped some moisture, the wipers were generally a waste of time. You could stop 'em by stepping on the gas, and let them wipe by backing off.

The transmission had to be double clutched to shift it - otherwise you'd just grind gears and I guarantee ya you wouldn't have the strength to force it in. It was a pretty stout tranny with straight cut gears - it would whine it's way through every gear. Newer trucks (and cars) eventually went to helical cut gears to minimize the noise, but that was just part of the ol' schweetheart's charm. Meanwhile, this old relic would just keep on whining and not break down.

Power steering was provided by The Armstrong Company. One did not even try to change course unless there was forward or reverse progress, particularly if it was loaded. Turns were negotiated with careful planning as to how one could avoid moving the steering wheel unnecessarily. Peaked gravel roads made 'er a little squirrely when it was loaded, so ya had to be careful there. The tires dated from the fifties mostly, very weather checked. The thought that one might just pop off kinda was a self governor as far as driving fast went.



The interior was spartan, to say the least. It was a pretty narrow cab, so the dark gray vinyl bench seat would hold two kids and the adult driver, three adults would be an uncomfortable squeeze. The floor consisted of one big fitted black rubber mat. Brake and clutch pedal pads looked like rubber representations of the Target logo. The dash had a big plastic (it was white, so I doubt it was bakelite) ventlike grill in the center of the dash, shrinking with old age. The gauges were minimal - the example above is a customized truck, but Dad's had the same layout. Just not a chrome turn signal switch - heh. That is the correct steering wheel, too, but ours was a bit more worn and cracked. There was no radio. The knob on the dash above the instrument panel ran the wipers.

But, all those amenities were not what made Dad's truck a charmer. When I came upon the scene, it was on it's second engine. The first was an inline flathead six. It had a flathead V8 for engine number two. It shelled out, and the local garage recommended a Chevy 327 V8 smallblock, so that was shoehorned into the engine bay.

Now, this was just an average truck engine of the day - two barrel carb with an oil bath air filter. It was, I'm sure, just a two bolt main block. However, in that truck, it was a performer. I was under the penalty of certain death were I to hot-rod or abuse that truck in any way, and that included driving fast. Mostly because of the tire situation, but still. That truck was a big time sleeper most of it's life with that particular motor. Using only part of it's performance would still hustle that ol' warrior up to about forty five mph in a hurry, which was about as fast as you would want to drive any of it's compadres of the day. It hid it's light under a bushel basket, so to speak, except when we took it to town.

There is a hill on the north side of Cimarron - not much of a hill, when compared to mountains or even in other towns in the Midwest. But, even the minuscule drop off was too much for many of the elderly grain trucks back in the day. The driver might come into town a little "hot," heat up the brakes to the failure point, and just keep rolling through town, through the stoplight (all those years and runaway trucks and there were no t-bone collisions), across the rather high tracks (hoping the aged springs didn't give away or some ancient suspension part didn't fail), and roll on down towards the river bridge until they'd coast to a stop. So, when behind the wheel, one approached that hill with extreme caution.

Which meant the truck had to be in a lower gear, and to stay in that lower gear, no matter how slow it seemed. The lack of synchros meant you did not dare shift it without error, so it was just a better idea to stay in second gear, maybe playing with the two speed axle. In this baybee, that meant the exhaust popped, cracked and rumbled like any Chevy small block would - man, it sounded good. Just hearing it for the first time would astound people who knew what it did sound like, but weren't expecting to hear it from a Ford farm truck! Frankly, I enjoyed driving the old girl.

One time, I was riding with Dad from a trip to town to unload some wheat during harvest. We were ambling along on a wide gravel road headed back to the field, when a shiny new custom harvester's tandem went blowing by us, with the young driver tooting his air horn in derision at the no doubt lower life form Dad was driving. Eat his dust. Well, this inspired the Ol' Man to show off a little. He stomped on the gas and she took off after the cocky driver. He saw us coming, and I'd bet the Mega Millions his foot was to the floor. As we went by, I waved at him and smiled. His eyes were like saucers. Unbeliever is what he was. Dad backed 'er down - always worried about the tires but unwilling to bear the cost of replacing them, and the kid kept behind us.

Quite the machine, it was.