Friday, May 31, 2013

Totally Tubular


More proof that my musical tastes are rooted firmly in the seventies and eighties. Just plain love this song. The Tubes certainly did crank out some kewl stuff back in the day.


Nuttin' wrong with Sweet, either.

That is all.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Geekery. Pure D Geekery

Over at's page, they have a weekly poll. It is always on the home page on the right side and then down some. The current one kinda captured my eye, and since there is no way to link it directly I just figured I'd recreate it right here, where we can play amongst ourselves.

Now I gotta admit, I'm not that big of a Star Trek geek, because I had no idea what Rihannsu was. So, it turns out it's from a series of non canonical novels that portray the Romulans, and that is "their word for themselves."


And they missed rather a lot of other languages one might wanna know - like Andorian (which was big in Enterprise), or Breen. If the human throat could reproduce what they utter. Thus, I added the "other" category.

So, anyhow, which one for you?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

Every year I decorate the graves of my family at our local cemetery, take pics, and post them here so my relatives can see what I did. These four are the main reason I go - from left to right is my Aunt Patsy, my Grandmother Jeanette, my Grandfather Leo (who died before I was born) and my father - Robert J. Borland. Dad and Leo were both veterans, so I put flags as decoration on their graves.

Looking to the northwest, then west, then southwest from the family area - this is part of the "new" section, and it's usually fairly well decorated. Further south there are no graves.

This is in the old section of the cemetery - Jesse would be a great uncle of mine.

Jesse's parents and sister. Dad was named for R.J., and then I was named for Dad. I am a junior, but I really should be a III. Elizabeth - mother and wife, and Letha - a daughter.

These two pics more or less show the layout of the graves in the plot. There is still room there - this may be my final resting place since there is no room left near Dad, unless they tear out a shrub. I have to wonder what the holes in the concrete footings were for - they clearly had steel posts embedded and then cut off at ground level. I suppose there was a wrought iron fence there at one time.

And, as has become my custom - I purchased some extra small flags just like I used on these graves and went searching for veterans who had nothing decorating their resting place. Usually, I start looking in the old section and catch the old Civil War vets and others, but today I could see a few close by my Dad's place, so that is where I went. I couldn't believe the number I saw there that had nothing. I can understand why - as we will see in further comments.

I didn't even know "Mr. Giddens" was buried here. This veteran also happened to be the principal of good ol' USD #102 for years and years, certainly while I was there attending grade school and on into high school as well. There was no separate principal for grade and high schools back then - he was it.

Last I'd heard, his wife was still alive, but she had moved some years ago. None of his children are even close anymore, either. I'm sure it would be a hardship to drive to Cimarron each and every year to decorate his grave and say a prayer or three. Just a shame, anyways.

I've decorated Mr. Davis's grave before - his is just west of the old family plot. I had five or six flags left, but it was ninety nine degrees when I left the house for the cemetary, and all that walking and bending over trying to push things in rock hard dry pasture ground had me pretty well shot. I went to the grocery store and got something to drink, and after I'd had about half the cup, I started sweating. I hadn't noticed I was that hot. Certainly not acclimated to the heat yet - I should have had something to drink with me to chill some.

I never made it into the old section - it seemed my efforts were better spent in the new section this time. Maybe next year I'll bring more flags and hopefully more stamina. Like I've said before, I could give a rat's a$$ what anyone thinks about me decorated neglected graves - I do it for entirely selfish reasons. I just feel I could do more.

I noticed a flag holder on the house when I moved in, so I bought a flag, by golly. However, it didn't fit in that holder, but it did come with a new one. Which I mounted, obviously.

You know, I'm pretty likely to say that I enjoy the simpler things in life, and that flying our flag would probably qualify. However, there are a lot of complex thoughts and emotions involved in flying our nation's flag - all wrapped up in the symbolism, the sacrifice of our fore bearers, what our Founding Fathers endured, and the ideas of liberty and freedom it represents to the masses who would love to live here across the world. Maybe we're not so simple for flying it, after all.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


Well, now, how did Mommy know we were up to no good? Where is Dolly, anyway!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Story For Your Memorial Day


This song by Lee Brice has charted well, and it's a heart tugging tear jerker. But wait, it turns out that it is true:

Then came the part of the interview that hit me hardest: It was the moment when Paul Monti talked about his son’s truck, and why he still has it, and still drives it. 
“What can I tell you? It’s him,” Jared’s father explained, nearly choking on his words. “It’s got his DNA all over it. I love driving it because it reminds me of him, though I don’t need the truck to remind me of him. I think about him every hour of every day.”
I was already tearing up before that story about Jared’s truck. But as the details piled up — the truck was a Dodge 4X4 Ram 1500 with decals on it that included the 10th Mountain Division, the 82nd Airborne Division, an American flag, and a Go Army sticker — I lost it.
And there I was sitting in my car in a Walmart parking lot on a sunny Memorial Day in my hometown crying hard. Crying like a child. Crying as if I’d lost my child.
I wasn’t the only one in a car crying that day. It turns out that a Nashville songwriter named Connie Harrington was in her car, too, listening to the very same story. Moved to tears, she pulled over to the side of the road, scribbling notes as the story proceeded.
She wrote down detail upon detail, everything she could remember. When she got back home, Harrington couldn’t get that story of the soldier’s father and his son’s truck out of her mind. So she did what writers do, and turned the words of that grieving father into a song. With the help of two co-writers, the finished product found its way to singer Lee Brice, who recorded the song called, aptly, “I Drive Your Truck.”
Last month, the song reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart.

Sergeant Jared Monti (

These are the sort of people that we remember on Memorial Day. As they say, some gave all. Perhaps some managed to come home alive - but they put in some serious time and sacrifice, and deserve our attention and thanks, especially on this weekend. So, if you read this and are a veteran, I thank you for your service and sacrifice. Would that I could do more, and that our country would do more.

H/T Ace of Spades

Yeah, Sure.

Get off Hagar's a$$, Helga. People in glass houses, etc. Remember you own a pet duck.

Sorry. Not buying this premise. Billy understands graduation and what is going on just by the visuals on television, and he doesn't know about mortarboards, tassels and robes? I realize he is the product of public education, but still. If Jeffy had said it, I'd could believe that.

Friday, May 24, 2013



Just in case you wanna know the latest thing Jeri Ryan is up to, well, this is it. You may have guessed that she still starts my motor. Yes, yes she does.

You've Probably Guessed By Now

My feelings on the subject at hand.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Captain Obvious

Strikes again. Billy has no sympathy for his rat fink sister who is too stupid to wear shoes. Billy's world weary demeanor shows he knows karma is a bitch, but it arrives in it's own sweet time, and a stubbed toe is hardly payback for all the crap Dolly has pulled to get Billy in trouble.

Every Once In A While

Image credit Google

Google does something right.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Recurring Nightmare

I can guarantee you I've had nightmares about this. Two fiberglass tanks were loaded way too high and hit the overpass - you can see tank number one on the left. I'm not sure how these were loaded, but I'd assume they were loaded vertically just like they'd sit on the ground. Normally, we send out all of our tanks loaded on their sides. Ten foot tall tanks - maybe load them like this - that usually puts us at under 13' tall. Fifteen foot tall tanks, which these appear to be, loaded vertically would be seventeen to eighteen feet tall.

Supposedly there was a pole car in front - and their stick didn't hit. That means the pole car operator screwed the pooch - you are supposed to set the stick slightly higher than the load, so if it hits, you may or may not fit the load under, but you'd damn well better stop and check carefully.

Most overpasses seem to handle sixteen feet of clearance okay, and lots aren't posted if they are over sixteen feet. These things were just too damn tall to be on the interstate system, period.

This happened just west of Sterling, ND on I94 east of Bismarck, and I got it from a page on Facebook I follow: Bakken Oilfield Fail of the Day. They have a lot of photographic proof of recto-cranial inversions.

Monday, May 20, 2013

And Here You Thought

You were having a bad day. Someone always has it worse!

H/T Nuckle Kim

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cruise Up and Down This Road

I just got through reading a book that just stunned me with the familiarity with my formative years. Robert Rebein, who is originally from Dodge City, has written a book about growing up in the old cowtown. I graduated in 1977 from Cimarron - eighteen miles to the west of Dodge, Robert in '83. He has captured the essence of teenage prairie living, and in fact, life on the prairie, period, for all ages. The name of the book? Dragging Wyatt Earp: A Personal History of Dodge City.

There are parallels for us and differences, of course. He was raised in a large Catholic family and went to Sacred Heart School in Dodge. Small Catholic family here, but I have had experience with nuns in Catechism (at St. Stanislaus in Ingalls) and at St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge. Dragging, or cruising Wyatt Earp was a bit more of a destination for us than him - we had our own route in Cimarron with much the same social rules. We had some reverence for dragging Earp - it was in the Big City, there were People Who Might Want to Fight (particularly if one strayed further east of Boot Hill, where the gangs were), and there were more fast cars and hopefully fast women there. A sort of Mecca, as it were.

The book is divided into three parts - Part I: The Town, Part II: The Country, and Part III: Of Horses, Cattle and Men.

Part I contains the chapter Dragging Wyatt Earp, and here is where most quotes I've read have been pulled - mostly because they're damned good.
Wyatt Earp, to us, was not a person but a place, a mile-long ribbon of asphalt that stretched from Boot Hill on the east to the Dodge House on the west
Wyatt Earp, the historical figure, really didn't make a dent in our lives. The street probably had more influence on us. But another observation Rebein makes really hit home for me:
What is it about growing up in a small town in the West that breeds such bravado, such innocence and blind faith? Was it our isolation? The vaunted self-reliance of the region? The fact that our parents and teachers praised us inordinately or that acceptance into any of the state colleges was a fait accompli? Maybe but I have another explanation:  we were leaving. And not just for a year or five years, but forever. Like the region's cattle, wheat and corn, we'd been raised for export, and most of us had learned this at about the same time we learned that Santa Claus was a fiction.  
We'd been raised for export.

It's true. Since day one, most of us knew that our parents wanted something better for us, that we were to get an education away from cattle and farming, and leave. Find a job we could love, get married and raise kids in a more forgiving climate.

There were exceptions - many were being raised to take over the farm or the family business, which most have done with great aplomb with no regrets. Some of us found we didn't really want to leave - that the lonely, rough, inhospitable prairie is something we love.

Part II contains some of the history of our little corner of the prairie, and Rebein's personal search for Quivira, the legendary home of the seven cities of gold that the Spaniard Francisco Vasquez de Coronado sought. His trips to several Indian massacre sites, seeing the Flint Hills led him to discover that the preferred campgrounds of the Cheyenne mirrored his own choices (and mine as well) - a scenic area sheltered from the incessant winds with water, game and grass. He also talks a lot about hunting - something that for most of us is akin to breathing.

Part III is all about the cattle and cowboys. I can certainly relate to the cattle - I've doctored, herded and branded many a heifer or steer (and made 'em steers in the first place). Dad didn't believe in keeping horses, so I have never really ridden or learned to ride - just never had the inclination. So, am I a cowboy? Not so much, and never will be. Robert Rebein is, and regales in the experience, making me realize how much I missed. He also spends some time doing some modern cowboying - working as a pen rider at a feedlot managed by one of my ex neighbors. I say ex, because I'm a townie these days, but his house was on my route to work for the past seven years before the ol' place burned down.  And he is the epitome of a modern businessman cowboy, and Rebein captures him elegantly and truthfully. There is certainly a cool factor in reading about your neighbors in someone's book.

There is so much more in this book that I am not even beginning to cover here. I think that anyone raised on the Great Plains would find commonality here, and those who weren't surely could see the attraction to our choosing to live here. It was a great regret when I reached the end.

The book is also available in Kindle format for $9.99 - it's how I read it (Amazon's Cloud Reader browser plugin). If you might wonder what makes me and my compadres tick, this will surely go a long way into gaining some insight.

Highly, highly recommended. Sure wish I could write as well....

Friday, May 17, 2013

In My Best Johnny Carson Voice


"I did not know that."

Nine cylinders, 150 hp, read all about it here.

Yeah, it's only 150 hp - not much for a bike. But criminy, how can you not love the sound? I'll bet the torque makes it a bear when ya crank on it anyway. Plus, probably not street legal at all, with the drive belt so close to the rider's thigh.

But when she sings, man, does she ever sing!

R.I.P. Dick Trickle


In a sport liberally populated with memorable characters, Dick Trickle stood out.
At about noon on Thursday, the Lincoln County Communications Center received a call indicating that there would be a dead body at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Boger City, and it would be the speaker's. Return calls to the number went unanswered. Crews arriving at the scene found Trickle's body lying near his pickup truck.
At the moment, no one knows why.

His name alone made him memorable and the butt of late night comedians' jokes for years. The fact is that he was a hard nosed race car driver who was quite successful in regional racing across the nation. He never did win a Winston/Sprint Cup race, but he did win in the Busch/Nationwide series.

From all accounts, he would have made an excellent ambassador for a beer sponsor.

One reason he didn't excel in the top tier of NASCAR's hierarchy is that he didn't start until most drivers had retired - he won the Rookie of the Year honors in 1989 - at the young age of 48. Mark Martin is the "old man of the sea" in NASCAR right now, and he is currently 54, but he started in NASCAR before Dick, in 1981. 

He was also from Wisconsin - a rarity in NASCAR back in the day. He said and did what he wanted, political correctness be damned. He was probably the last of the blatantly public cigarette smokers in high profile stock car series - the video shows him lighting up one during a caution. Not long after that, NASCAR's high command decided that had to stop. He had permission before - but the powers that be decided it was detrimental to their image. He had cigarette lighters installed in his cars, and in some helmets he had holes drilled to insert a cigarette.

I had the opportunity to see him in person at Texas Motor Speedway many moons ago. We happened to be in the infield in the area between the two series' garages during practice. The Busch series had wrapped up, and the Winston Cup was getting ready to start. The "double dippers (drivers who had entered both races) were hustling across that area to get to their Winston rides. Dick and Michael Waltrip were walking and talking together - Dick hurriedly burning one. It was quite a contrast - Michael is 6'5", and Dick was considerably shorter. For every two steps Mikey made, I think poor Dick had to make three or four.

He was a legend in stock car circles in and around Wisconsin and much of the Midwest area. His kind isn't made much anymore, nor are they all that welcome. Truly a shame, and I hope he found rest from what ever was driving him to suicide.

Rest in peace, race car driver.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Beyond Her Ken

It's the New Math. Dolly just isn't getting the hang of super simple arithmetic. I think we can rule out physicist from Dolly's future now.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Such A Geek


I don't care, sometimes certain scenes from movies make me sad. And it's hardly a secret how I like Star Trek, particularly the The Original Series. Actually, liked em all, but probably Voyager and Enterprise the least. And while this clip isn't as moving as Spock's death, it's still noteworthy (for a geek).

I mean, how can you go wrong? The Next Generation was definitely blessed to have Sir Patrick Stewart as a regular cast member, and Bill Shatner - what a career! He definitely gave Captain Kirk style and personality. To see him die, well, it was rough. Spock, last I knew, is still alive even in the rebooted movie franchise.

Speaking of which, I'm quite sure I'll find my fat butt parked in a theater near me next weekend if at all possible, to see Star Trek Into Darkness. I liked the first reboot, even if it was a tad busy for me, and hope this one has some more character development. The usual interplay between Kirk, Spock and Bones that was the hallmark of the original series was pretty sketchy. I'm hoping J.J. Abrams has taken on that task.

So, what do you fellow fans out there think of the "new" "reimagined" Star Trek?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

I've Always Heard

All about how we are uncultured louts out here in flyover country and how NYC is the center of the genteel universe. We do have art out here, but to compete against something so compelling as this?

A small group of young women in New York has taken to gathering in city parks to read pulp crime novels and other works while topless.
Of course this post is useless without pictures....

photo from

photo from
 I mean, they are promoting reading and all, so clearly they are supporting the arts by going unsupported themselves. How artistic is that?

I guess the critics are right. We just can't compete out here. We've just got nutjobs with mobiles made from junk*, and Western heroes turned into huge action figures. Or even someone like John Steuart Curry, among whose works is this mural in the Kansas State Capital building.

from Wikipedia
John Brown, famous historical abolitionist from Kansas with a tornado, settlers on the trail, prairie fires, sunflowers and the Civil War just can't compete with topless wimmin reading books. Just. Can't Do. It.

As a resident of the Great Plains Flyover Country, I hang my head in shame.......

*Ol' M.T. Liggett popped up in the news the other day. He is the Kansas man who volunteered his burial plot so the now perished from this earth Boston bomber had a place to lay for all eternity.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Ahhhh, Sweet Memories

Saw this on Facebook tonight, and it really brought back memories. I used to drive a single bunk version of this very truck with much the same paint scheme. And yes, I had it shined up like this one as well.

Sorry about the quality of the image - it's off an elderly Tripod website I set up years ago. Now when I sign in, I cannot access the original images. I can only copy the thumbnails. But go there if you wanna see some of the trucks I used to drive as well as my ol' Vette and other personal vehicles. I did get a Hooter's waitress to pose in the Batmobile (that is what little kids called my car back in the day), and those pics are there as well.

At any rate, this particular Ford CLT-9000 had Detroit two stroke power in the form of a Silver 8V-92 rated at 475hp. The regular ol' green ones were rated at 435 tops, but this series was supposed to be new and improved, and had a high mileage warranty on it. Which we used, since some o-rings failed and started dumping the contents of the radiator into the crankcase. Detroit stood behind it and rebuilt it into a smoking shadow of it's former self. Never ran right again.

But when it ran, boy did it run good. I could really piss off the Caterpillar boys. The famed 3406B had come out, and people were cranking on the fuel pump hard for that "little extra help" in the HP dept. This sucker could out drag them. It had a ten speed direct (no overdrive) and 370s, so it didn't run much faster than seventy five or so. This was back in the 55mph days, so that kind of speeding was kinda risky anyways.

I'm sure I've told this story before, but what the hey. Back in the good ol' days, National Carriers really was "The Elite Fleet" like you see on their trailers to this day. Back then, the tractors that leased on with the company had to be nearly show quality and fairly new. And they all drove fast as well, fuel mileage be damned. One guy had several yellow Petes with V8 Cats and sidepipes. They'd go blowing by me in one of the far lesser trucks I started in and just rumble on by, sucking out my windows whilst I putted along. That generally happened in an older Ford cabover with a 350 Formula Cummins turned up to 400 and worn down to the point where stock 350 Cummins would outrun the thing. It also had a nine speed - the Chicken Hauler Fleet Truck Tranny.

But not the Blue Beast. I and a compadre were idling through Kingman, KS, eastbound on US54 one fine day and we could hear some Critter (old slang for National Carriers) drivers talking. We were in the left lane at the last stoplight in town, and they pulled up next to me in the right lane. Peterbilt 359. Cat with straights. Big walk in sleeper.
Yeah, we'll blow off these grain haulers here in town, then when we get outta town on the four lane, we'll do some serious motoring to get to the Air Cap (Wichita).

Uh huh. I let out on the clutch and went to hammering, and slamming my way through the gears. Left him in the freaking dirt. Truly it was sad. What was even worse was my compadre, who was piloting an older and pretty rough looking IHC 4300 conventional pulling doubles cranked him as well.

We cruised on out of town where the four lanes ended, then after a couple miles, it opened back up to a four lane all the way into Wichita. After about five minutes, one of the lead Critter's partners asked:
Why aren't we blowing off these grain haulers? I thought we were gonna stroll into Wichita?
He started grumbling about not running what other people wanted him to run, and not being forced into something he didn't wanna do, or some such drivel. He was pissed that his doors were sucked out, and didn't have the sense of humor to deal with it.

At any rate, that damn truck required more screwing around than I wanted to put into it. All the air lines were Ford specific, and not what you'd find in any other American made Class 8 vehicle. This truck was old enough that there were a ton of air leaks, and every air line required special adapters. The HVAC system was cobbed from their automotive division, where all the switches activated vacuum motors. Vacuum motors to switch from heater to vent to defroster. Vacuum motors to vary the water valves for more or less heat. And so on.

Vacuum goodies that were designed to be in carbureted gasoline powered vehicles. Diesels are fuel injected and generally turboed, so vacuum is a pretty scarce commodity in one. So, Ford's solution was a vacuum generator, which was a venturi port that ran compressed air through it all the time. Which, since air dryers were also a scarce commodity back then, meant the thing was using air all the time, and since Detroit compressors put out oily air, meant the thing would plug up all the freaking time. The various vacuum motors were spring loaded, by the way, to a default setting of full heat and defrost. So, running down the road on a hot, sunny summer afternoon in excess of a hundred degrees, enjoying the A/C would actually find yourself scrambling to shut everything down since your defroster was cranking out some mighty hot air,since the venturi was plugged up.

Then, just because it was a cabover, it sucked. Remember, this was back when all trucks had leaf spring suspensions, not air ride. Cabs were firmly mounted to the frame. You were riding ON the front axle. Being high had one being pitched from front to rear, and side to side. There was a saying: You'll always be the first one to an accident in a cabover.

And another Ford peculiarity - if you look at the top pic, you can see the depressed handhold. That was actually kinda cool, but look for the bottom step. It's a thin strip held out by two curved pieces of steel. I'd usually bail out of the thing by swinging around, grabbing the grab bar with one hand and jump out into space, skipping the two inset steps, grabbing the bar with my other hand, and land on the bottom step with my right foot.


Sometimes I'd miss that step and my foot would go inside into that big gap, and I'd bust my ass hard. That setup trapped my leg up to about my calf and I was just along for the ride.

And, the damn thing was too tall for a lot of elevator loadout doors back then as well. Most were originally designed to clear Grandpa's '39 Chevy, not semis. Finally the grain elevators started to knock out their doors to accommodate the stand up sleepers that started showing up on their doorstep to load, but I always had to barely scrape by. I replaced several horns, horn covers, and bent the turnouts on the stacks several times. There was no "air dump valve" available to lower the truck.

I had a real love/hate relationship with that truck. When the motor was fresh from the factory - boy did it ever run. But, typical two stroke Detroit, it went to hell tout suite. And Ford just needed to get out of the Class 8 truck business, which they eventually did. But it sure did look nice with it's blue and silver multi colored stripes, with a fresh coat of wax and the wheels and tanks all polished up. It was sharp, man.

If I had to drive that today, after running air ride cab conventionals with air ride suspensions for all these years, I'd tell you to go straight to hell.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Things That Piss Me Off # 5409

Look. I understand. Driving through a thunderstorm is a scary proposition when it is raining very hard and the wind is blowing seventy odd mph. I get it.

However, if you are on a heavily trafficked road, slowing down and impeding traffic is not a wise idea. Putting on your flashers isn't helping, either. Why?

Because of your fearful reaction, people could die. Probably not you, because you'll probably just motor on like nothing happened. But the people behind you? Their patience is gonna run out and they will try to pass you. And it's not likely to be the guy right behind you - nope, it's the impatient idjut five cars behind who will pull out to pass the whole bunch and end up in a head on collision.

All because you had no business being out there if you can't keep up with traffic.

So, pull off the road already and wait it out if the weather scares you so badly. No, not on the side of the road, dummy - someone will come along and rear end you, and you might get hurt as well. Nope, find a driveway or a side road and get the f&(k outta the way. If you are on an interstate or some such, do not pull under an overpass and park on the side of the road. For the same reason. Exit the damn road, stupid.

When the conditions are bad like that, I'd just about as soon be in my truck. Why, you ask?

For one thing, my windshields are nearly vertical. Look at your car and see how your windshield is considerably sloped rearward. Imagine gallons of water being dumped on your car at once. My vertical windshield will shed water far more quickly than your sloped one will. My wipers keep up.

I'm also usually heavy enough that hydroplaning isn't as big of an issue as well. So, I can see where I'm going, and am tracking straight without being jerked around. Even my pickup has more vertical glass.

But all that is neither here nor there if you find yourself too scared to drive with the rest of the crowd. Do us all and yourself a favor - get off the road and wait until it clears. On the Great Plains, that generally takes all of five minutes.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Never Happen

This encephalopathic little moron will never belong anywhere. Learn to tie your shoes and show some initiative, then maybe you'll have a chance.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

I Wish...


Who would want an Evinrude if you've got a big ol' Johnson?!?

H/T Animal