Friday, November 30, 2012

Y'know What Sucks About Being A Gunnie?

     You can't ever say, "Gee, I feel physically lousy and generally depressed," without a half-dozen idiots inquiring meaningfully about what you might be planning to do.

     Soak in the tub and afterwards get a good night's sleep, is what.  And hope for a better mood tomorrow.  The flu that hit Roseholme Cottage recently tends to linger in lungs and sinuses and general exhaustion.  It's no darned fun.

And, In Shooting News...

     ...Another person shot at Don's Guns!  Not an attempted robbery this time but a guy reportedly shot in the leg in the parking lot.  Taken to the hospital, stable condition.

     It's tempting to blame this on what Tam and Shootin' Buddy call "administrative gun-handling;" like most area gun stores, Don's has a "No Loaded Guns" sign on the door and compliance usually involves manipulating a loaded gun in the confines of a car.   If you're having an inept or unlucky day (or lifetime, whatever), that can lead to exactly this sort of outcome.  There's not enough information to be sure that's what happened here but it's certainly happened in plenty of other times and places.

     In that light, it is a reminder.  If you have to shuffle a loaded gun around, do it mindfully.  The Four Rules always apply!

    The need to move my carry gun to a locked container before entering the parking lot at work has driven my choice of means and method -- a double-action-only, off-body, in a little trigger-covering pocket-type holster that it stays in when moved to storage.  It's no substitute for paying attention but it helps reduce the odds of an ND.

     (Elsewhere on that site, a report of a fatal shooting on the south side has prompted one of the nanny-types to muse oh-so-feelingly about, "would there still be shootings if there weren't any guns?"  I guess murder isn't an issue for him; or perhaps he feels that a fellow bludgeoned to death with a brick isn't nearly as dead as a man who has been shot?)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Art Lesson/Serendipity

     I'd never heard of the guy; found him via a simple series of links, from the Trotify to Eadweard Muybridge (of galloping-horse photographic study fame) to Thomas Eakins, who had the misfortune of being a photo-accurate painter in a romantic age; people wanted idealized images and he gave them...the world as it was.  Unsurprisingly, he was an avid photographer and made much use of photographic studies in his work.  Over a century later, he remains a bit controversial but there is no denying his skill.

     One of his subjects was Frank Hamilton Cushing, a kind of real-life, anthropological Indiana Jones and one of the earliest, if not the first, anthropologists to jump in with both feet and try to understand a culture from the inside.  How immersive?  Try, "After some initial difficulties (the Zuni seriously considered killing him as he was obviously after their secrets...."  Yikes!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bicycle Trot

     Best. Bicycle. Accessory. Evar: Trotify!

     My heartfelt thanks to the reader who sent me this link. --Might need to add another cam running harness bells, at least for the holidays.

Mangled Aphorism

"The sesame is the mother of invention."

GUN! Well, More Of A Gunette

     H&R Hammerless, Second Model, Small Frame, Top Break, Third Variation.
     Made in 1913.

     Picked up at the recent gun show for a song, and one with hardly any lyrics at that.  Supposedly okay for smokeless-powder pressures, I'm thinking more like CB caps.  Appears to cycle; it had one balky position on the ratchet until cleaning.  Next range day, I'll find out for sure.

     Odds are good that it was originally blued and has been fairly carefully stripped, probably to remove freckling.  So it's more a shooter than a collectable, though it fits right in with my collection of .22 revolvers.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


     Really should be a rocket -- or perhaps a huge bat -- zooming through this picture.

Small Is...Beautiful?

     I like 'em -- stumbled over the King Midget automobilette in a 1951 issue of Popularly Mechanical Scientific Inventions (or some such title) via Google and decided to see if any had survived.

     Oh, have they -- with their very own owner's club!  I'm kinda partial to the Mk. II, with its Jeepster-like looks, but they're all pretty kewl.  And with gas pushing $4.00 a gallon, they look better than ever.  Plus, you can yell at Mini and Fiat 500 drivers about their huge, gas-guzzling road-hog rides!

Tam Update

     As you have read elsewhere, the Operation Tamalanche care package arrived at Roseholme Cottage recently, prompting glad cries from The Lodger and rather a lot of show & tell.  "Look, look, it's the Tam edition My Little Pony!"

      More seriously, things medical are moving forward; the Docs have been, so to speak, recalibrated and the next consult is scheduled soon.  Hooray!

Monday, November 26, 2012

$9 Hand Drill

    Garrett Wade offers generally-nice hand tools, photographed for their catalog with the same level of obsessive photographic dedication as the more artistic variety of pin-up calendar.  They usually have a few handy-but-inexpensive offerings, too, picked with care and worth the price.

     The latter group can be a bit of a gamble; their most recent batch of hand drills wasn't all they'd hoped but rather than scrap them, they're selling them at a huge discount: cast iron, single-speed hand-cranked drills for nine dollars American.  Here's the thing: the finish on the wooden handles isn't pretty and the chucks are kinda wonky.  But hey, nine bucks.

     Me, I prefer a keyed chuck even on a hand-cranked drill, at least the smaller ones.  I can't promise you these things have a standard thread, but I have swapped out the chuck for a keyed one (a nice Jacobson, found at Hedlund's Hardware) on a drill very like these and it threaded right on.  Have a look.  They're not giving me a dime, it just seemed of interest.

     (N. B. There are several different standard threads for hand drill/drillmotor chucks -- measure your threads or take your drill along when shopping!)

Cyber. Monday.

     Ooooooo, Skynet's goin' shoppin'!

     Okay, I admit it, I'm an online-shopping junkie, especially; it started with books* but anymore, I go look online before I ever check brick&mortar stores.  So I'm amused by the talk of a wave of consumers scurrying into the office to do their online shopping (what, they haven't got fast, fast and private 'net access at home?  Do they live in a cardboard box -- and not one behind Starbucks?) on Company time.

     This year, even the TV talking heads are mostly averring that "it's just a marketing term."  Yep.  And it's another old thing made new -- used to was, you could ring up the grocer or the department store, place an order and -- assuming you were a customer in good standing -- they'd send a fellow over with your stuff, on account or COD.  Pick the right city and the big online guys will do that today, often for a laughingly low additional charge if you were signed up for their BFF club.  (I think I get my money's worth from Amazon Prime between the additional savings, free videos and free regular shipping; YMMV).
* Local bookstores are great for unexpected finds and I am a huge fan of used-book stores, without which I would own few books; Amazon is for when I know what I want.  Because face it, they have it in stock, 99% of the time, and there's no bothersome dealing with a teenaged clerk who never heard of  "that Steinway, er, sorry lady, Steinbeck guy" and doesn't much care to.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

N. B.

     Leftover turducken + chicken stock + 1 potato + 1 package fresh mushrooms + frozen mixed vegetables = some genuinely superior poultry soup.  Just the thing for when you're recovering from $GAWRSHAWFUL_VIRUS.  Which we are, though Tam is still very congested and coughing.

     We did get to the gun show Sunday.  Came home with guns, one each.  Mine was a little .22.  Photos to follow!

     Also: Little Debbie Cloud Cakes?  Just as good as a Twinkie and essentially the same thing, about 3/4 scale.  Which is good, if you ask me, 'cos a whole Twinkie was a bit much.

Gun Show, Monuments

     I'm off to the gun show, assuming I can stay vertical that long.  Yes, still exhausted.

     ...Meanwhile, the Ames Monument has been standing vertical for over a century.   A kind of pyramid or pylon, approximately the middle of nowhere (well, it's a short drive from Laramie), what's that about?  Why, it's about a crooked politician, his brother, and the transcontinental railroad.

     Thomas Durant, you see, was something of a sharper; and he was driving the Union Pacific from the vice-president's seat, installing a series of Respectable Types as president while subcontracting work to other firms he controlled, at inflated prices.  Tsk-tsk you say, and you should -- Federal Tax Money (and Land Grants) was paying for all this.

     Eventually, work slowed to a crawl.  Even the Feds suspected, President Lincoln* asked Representative Oakes Ames of Massachusetts to get the railroad moving.  Somehow -- for a given value of "somehow" -- this ended up with his brother, Oliver Ames, as president of Union Pacific (see above), Durant as V.P. (still; see above) and Rep. Ames at the helm of track-construction subcontractor Crédit Mobilier.  The track started getting built -- and the public kept on getting bilked, now with the added fillip of Congresscritters buying discounted stock to be sold at a healthy profit.  When the scandal finally broke, Ulysses S. Grant was in the White House, the railroad was done, and Oakes Ames got himself censured.  (And Thomas Durant? Already marginalized at Union Pacific (et. al), when the Panic of 1873 broke, he was pushed out by Jay Gould and spent most of his remaining years mired in lawsuits.  

     But he and the Ameses did get the railroad built.  And thus the monument stands.  --The railroad itself?  The right-of-way crept away to the South years ago;  you can't even see the Ames Monument from the train.
* Per some sources; the chronology is tight and it may well have been Johnson.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Does This Sound Suspicious To You?

     Albert Butz of Minneapolis, the father of thermostatic control for home heating, engaged a firm of attorneys and patented his "damper flapper" in 1885.

     In 1886, he incorporated the Butz Thermoelecric Regulator Company...and by 1888, with no record extant showing as much as a single sale, he walked out; left for Chicago, having transferred his patent to the law firm -- who kept after the thermostat business, as the Consolidated Temperature Controlling Company, then as the Electric Thermostat Company. In August 1892, the latter sold a long list of patents to W. R. Sweatt, for one (1.00) dollar. Two months later, the stockholders changed the name again, to the Electric Heat Regulator Company and elected a fellow of who you may have heard, William R. Sweatt, as both Secretary and Treasurer.

     ...And that company chugged along for years under Mr. Sweatt, growing steadily, and changing its name (again!) in 1912 to The Minneapolis Heat Regulator Company, making mostly controls for coal-burning furnaces before merging in 1927 with Indiana's own Honeywell, which had been making hot-water heating systems; by that point, the two companies had come to a kind of patent deadlock and neither could move without use of the other one's patents.

     All that fishy business early on?  Despite the remarkable success of both firms by the time of the merger, early on, automatic control -- especially with a furnace you still had to hand-feed coal -- was a difficult thing to sell.  Albert Butz had a good idea but he may've felt lucky to get out from under.  W. R. Sweatt?  Maybe he knew a good idea when he saw it, or perhaps he was trying to protect the $5,300 his father-in-law had talked him into investing in the company; he already owned a small, profitable outfit making wooden items.  In either case, he spent over a decade trying to get the thing rolling and didn't collect a salary until 1895 -- issued retroactively the following year!

     Moral?  I'm not even sure there is one.  Maybe "know when not to give up?"

     (W.R. Sweatt seems to have had no knack for quitting.  Born in 1867, I can find no online evidence he's not still with us!)

     ...All that, and I still don't know if I want to replace the thermostat here or not.

Aw, C'mon

     I am, clearly, recovering -- and just as clearly, I'm not quite recovered.  This is getting annoying.

      Tam is markedly worse off and unless she shows significant improvement after breakfast, she'll be off to some version of doc-inna-box.

     (From the other side of the room, a sick-grumpy hoarse complaint: "They've broken the Internet!"
     "Search-engine optimizers!  They've ruined it -- I looked for "Picatinny* rail" and the first three pages are air-gun sites!"
     Yep, still sick.)
* Specs drawn up, ironically, at the Picatinny Arsenal, in New Jersey....

Friday, November 23, 2012

...And Back Into It

     No four-day weekends in my line of work, and I have lost a day from this flu already.  So it's back to the grindstone, as the mercury falls after yesterday's respite, dodging the happy (or at least dazed) holiday shoppers, not one in a hundred of whom could tell you about the first Black Friday--

     --Which fell on 24 September 1869, when an attempt to corner the gold market fell through and took down the NYSE with it.  Wall Street types have been naming days when the markets crash "Black [dayname]" ever since.  Kinda vacuums some of the fun out, dunnit?

     (Meanwhile, the yammering ijit box drones on in my room, relentlessly hype-hype-hype.  'Cos the holidays just have to work a miracle for retailers, they just have to: the TV only plays if there's ads to run and broke stores don't run ads; so you better get out there with a mic, a camera and a winning smile and make it work.  Not that the relationship is ever so clearly delineated -- but there's an advertising desert in January and even February [relieved only a little bit by Valentines and Presidents Days, and why is it that George and Abe instead of Cupid are selling mattresses and bedding when the other way around makes more sense?] to get through and just the one chance.)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Food For The Day

A half-turducken: very fine.  Wanted to fall apart when sliced but who cares?  Parts are highly-flavored; see below.  (Cooked in a heavy foil pan, I dread scrubbing out roasting pans and y'know, there's no reason to.)

Smashed taters: skin-on, sectioned, boiled, dried in the pan, stirred first with a sharp knife and then with a fork, adding a little milk and butter: Dee-lish!

Bacon-mushroom gravy, with a hint of sauteed green onions and celery: flavorful but milder than you'd think. Pan gravy made with milk and flour (and water used to rehydrate some morels), served up with bacon and mushrooms (shitake, some morels)  and green onion crumbled in, it proved to be the very thing to tame and unify the turducken!

Mixed vegetables with real butter: because.

Side of morels: likewise.

A laid-back, sweet white wine: went nicely with the meal.

Ate while watching OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies: excellent film, a light satire of late-50s spy films, right down to the Technicolor-like look, "night" filters, lovely matte paintings and very-nearly-believable rear-projection vehicle scenes. A splendid script and marvelous work by Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo (sound familiar?  You may know them from The Artist!  Same director, too) allow it to walk a knife-edge of spoof, action (50s/60s style) and homage.  If you like Archer, this is the live-action edition of a remarkably congruent world, seen from Gallic side.   

     Mind you, I am still recovering (inner-ear dizzies launched a bad case of  derealization, only partially solved by a little bike-riding; and how terribly coincidental I so often get this symptom around holidays, hey?) and Tam is at the hope-to-die stage of the horrible bug I brought home from work (and thank you, Conan The Objectivist, who never takes a day off from illness).  Nevertheless, a decent meal and an okay holiday. 

     Now, to cap it by getting to bed early!

Cultural Illiteracy On Parade

     M-tt L--r, well-known talking face on [a national TV network], as a huge float cruises by, covered in oddly-attired dancers: "The cast of Nice Work If You Can Get It, presenting a medley of George and Ira Gershwin hits including Ess Wonderful."

     Yep.  That's what the person said.  "S. Wonderful."

     'Cos he never heard this:

     'Swonderful.  Ya idiot.  Lives in Manhattan, works in the media, f'gosh sakes, and he dunno the Gershwin oeuvre forwards and backwards? Wow.  More white toast and milk, Mr. L---r?

     ETA: Try the Diana Krall version.

Thanksgiving, 2012

     What'm I thankful for?

     I'm thankful for those members of my family who are still around; increasingly, the ones I'm most closely related to aren't, but some few remain.

     I'm thankful for all those who stand between their homes and war's desolation, as the song has it.  And I'm mindful that the soldiers do not chose their wars; so I suppose I must be thankful that our politicians are no more bloodthirsty than they are, while wishing they were less so -- and fewer.

     I'm thankful for cats, especially ones who have shared some of their time with me -- for my big sister's Bobsey-Gray, for old Tom, for Baby and Brother and Sisser and Ralph, for Rachael and the many black cats: Missy, her offspring: Tommy, Emily, Janie, Charlotte and the next generation: Fraze and Swarf, Warp and Woof, Puff, Emily Jr., Timothy and The Slinker; for the ferals Mama, Whitey, Baby, Holstein, the White-Tipped Cat (the latter two, exceptionally brave and loyal toms) and for the most recent cats, Mittens, Random Numbers and Huck.  Only the last two are still around but I remember all of them.

     I'm thankful for friends, both in-person and online.

     And I'm darned thankful this autumn cold is finally fading.  It's been miserable -- poor Tam, a day or so behind me in the progression, is just at the worst part.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Illness Voyeur?

     "Great article, totally what I wanted to find..."  Spam comment on "Broad Ripple Plague: Day Five" post. 

     Ew.  Munchhausen's Syndrome by proxy by Interweb.  Weirdo.

At Least We're Not Canton, Ohio

     Indianapolis has some police issues; most of them involve guys who should be better friends with Bill W. than they are.  It could be worse; we could be Canton, where Officer Daniel "I should have took two steps back, pulled my Glock 40 and just put 10 bullets in your ass and let you drop," Harless has won reinstatement (pending medical clearance*) to their police force.  This would be the policeman caught on tape at least three times making death threats to harmless citizens.

     He'd also be the reason I advise everyone to give Canton a wide berth.  Or, as the arbitrator pointed out, "the City has not severely disciplined officers who engaged in serious instances of misconduct akin to, or worse than, the actions charged against officer Harless in this proceeding." --Here, let me translate: It's not just one rogue cop with a bad case of PTSD, it's a systemic pattern throughout the department!

     D00d.  Not. Helping.

    Overview story and links to Harless Behaving Badly videos here.  Tellya what, if he promises to never, ever get a job where he has power over the public, I'd take up a collection to treat the PTSD he probably does have -- likely self-induced but no less real for that.  I expect instead he'll fight to get back to carrying the badge, the club, the handcuffs, the gun...and the attitude that makes him a danger to all he encounters.
* They say he's got PTSD.  Imagine that!

Annnd: Still Ill

     Maybe it is time to visit Doc-in-a-box.  Coughing up a little blood along with the ick, maybe not a good sign.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Broad Ripple Plague, Day Five; Also...

     I have about decided I feel slightly better this morning -- which is a good thing, as I had vivid (but unrecoverable) dreams all night, most of them involving a raw throat and difficulty breathing.  And for that frisson of realism, I kept waking up...with a raw throat, gasping.  I'm still exhausted.

     You c'n keep your damn' frisson, by the way.

     Update: OTOH, I can barely keep my eyes open.  Oh joy.

     Tam continues to lag my progress and is presently in the Plains of Despair, or perhaps crossing the Plateau of Miserableness.

     And elsewhere, Indianapolis police and prosecutor are pretty darned sure the "mysterious" exploding house on the south side was, in fact, deliberate.  It's a homicide investigation now.  It still could be metal theft gone horribly wronger -- this would be the same general class of fool that's been stealing aluminum ($0.10) downspouts along with copper ($10.00 -- if Mr. Metal Salvage Man doesn't just rat you right out to the cops as a time-saver), after all.  There are plenty of possibilities and homeowners are generally relived to know it's likely not shoddy gas plumbing.

     Elsewhere still, Hostess, with its fine, responsible, Dem-leaning ownership, has been ordered to the mediation table. If they're broke, they'll have a chance to prove it and if they were lookin' to get out from under, why, that'll show up, too.  I expect it'll be debatably in the middle, and thus the great love and friendship will continue -- and we'll still be getting no Twinkies while it drags on.  I suspect they are burning the midnight ovens at Little Debbie, cutting molds and compounding recipes just outside the line marked "infringing."  If they aren't, they should be.
     (Update: They did so long ago, as a commenter pointed out.  if "Cloud Cakes" are as good as Twinkies, why bother with Hostess ever again?   Alas, the market was out; I got Nutty Bars instead, a childhood treat I had nearly forgotten.)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Still Sick

     Today was a long, slow crawl through Hell.  Oh, I was chipper enough at the start -- 12 hours of sleep will do that for you, more often than not -- but as the the day drug on, it wore off.  All too soon, it was like one of those dreams where you're running in slow motion on a mission you barely understand. 

     I tried to stick to tasks that could productively be accomplished in that frame of mind and may have even succeeded,

     By happy go-home time, I was puffing and wheezing if I essayed a fifty-foot stroll.  I tried to stop at Goose The Market to pick up some BACON! but by the time I got there, it was 20 'til closing time, there were at least a dozen mean-lookin'* men in line ahead of me, and the half-block walk had left me with a visceral understanding that my time vertical was measured in single-digits of minutes; I caught my breath and stumbled back to the car.

     I drove closer to home and hit Fresh Market, where you get a cart to lean on and I know where everything is.  Picked up a tiny little deli chicken and some frozen vexed migtables and this and that; arrived home to discover Miss Tam was even then, in fact, in the act of Retiring For The Night.  Just like the cats, you can lure her out with a chicken drumstick -- and just like the cats, she declined vegetables.

     And thus, fed -- me with a very fine pile of vegetative goodness to enjoy, drowning in magical anti-cholesterol margarine -- we find ourselves at keyboards, me composing this and Tam researching Bacon Survival.  Priorities!  Ya gots to have 'em.

     We'll both be Retiring soonly, I think.
* For which read "bearded and with that I-gotta-pick-up-everything-on-this-list look," I suspect, but I'm worn out and ill and therefor prone to overreading situations and persons.

Observations From A Long Night

     .....Woke once to find Huck the cat sleeping with his feet tucked up under and his head stretched out, Rannie sitting up next to him with the horrified expression of a Sunday-school teacher seated next to a drowsy, too-friendly drunk on a long plane flight; woke up later and looked down to find Rannie asleep, curled up very neatly with Huck right beside her, sprawled on his back, toes curled up, one foreleg thrown across her.  --And shortly after I stirred, Rannie awoke, growled something outraged-sounding and flounced to the floor and out of the room.

     To judge from the coughs, sneezing and occasional it-hurts-when-I-move groans floating down the hall, Tam is a day or day and a half behind me in this cold and harder-hit.  My sinuses are draining and my lungs are starting to clear -- and it's still feelin' pretty lousy.  No terrifying throat spasms yet today, for which I give thanks; the blame things would hit and I'd be thinking, "Great, I can't breathe." Yowza.

     Don't Panic, it'll only make it worse.

     Whatever that cold-potion is, it kind of works, at least so far.  Need to check for sleepiness rating; if it's okay, I'll swig a dollop before departing this morning.

     And this morning, Rannie, after fussing and fretting as I cooked, snubbing her dry food, cussing me until she was given a tiny dish of olive oil, had about half of it, realized it wasn't sausage grease and nipped me on the back of the calf en passant!  Best part?  I gave her a dab of sausage grease.  She turned up her nose at it.  (Rannie's War On My Ankles is a part of every morning.  How dare I traipse back and forth in front of the stove!  The nerve!)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Fine BlogMeet, Despite One Hostess Being A Fool

     ...See, I rode my big penny-farthing to the BlogMeet.

     A very nice Meet it was, too, with The Jack, Roberta X, Fuzzy Curmudgeon, Don, Tam, Old Grouch and Joanna all present an accounted for, or any way, as accounted-for as any of us could be.  Don brought Genuine Red Beans (yay!), Old Grouch gave me an 815 (tube of choice for robot constructors, though for form rather than function -- it's a dual power tetrode, good through VHF, thank you, thank you), and we discussed the merits of living near a swamp (hardly any, though the skeeters do keep the buzzards under control and it's a great place to dump experiments gone wrong).  Plus Tam got a hint that her Care Package was nearing delivery stage.

     And plenty of other good talk, too.  You should'a been there!  Plenty of fine pub grub, as well.

     But how'm I a fool?  I rode there hoping the ride would clear my lungs better than a day and a half abed had.  Fair tuckered out, and then had to ride back, in the fast-darkening and already-cooling evening air.   Which was something like breathing broken glass.  (Withal, the highwheel bike does bring smiles to faces and cause little children to crow with delight.  Not quite a sovereign remedy but it helps.)

     So I'm for bed.  Took some fancy fixitall cold potion Tam had laying around (yes, yes, we really are Pratchett characters!) and I'm for bed already.

It's How You Say Archer In French

     ...Or perhaps the other way around.  The two 21st-Century OSS 117 films, that is, of which I've seen about 2/3 of the most recent.  It's a note-perfect '60s spy flick -- and a very funny parody thereof, even reading subtitles.  Best bit so far?  Possibly the CIA agent who speaks French with a dreadfully accurate American accent.

     I was hoping to find the older, serious films on Amazon, settled for the spoof instead.  Truly, he and Archer are long-lost brothers.


     No links, you can do it yourself: from "Scotch Eggs" to "Tantalisers" (Nigerian fast food chain -- and one heck of a range they offer, too) to Nigeria to Prebendalism to Nobles of the Robe to the Spanish War of Succession to Benford (trucks) to the Hindustan "Ambassador" automobile.

     ...What?  It was all interesting; and I'll barely mention my digression into the Fourth Estate.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

"CIA Director Richard Lugar"

     Creepiest thought of the week.

     Also, Richard Mourdock and everyone who publicly questioned Mr. Lugar's Indiana residency had better keep looking over their shoulders.

Food: Disconnect

     (All in good fun!)

Roberta X: Makes omelet consisting of five eggs with some crunched-up corn ships chips; a quarter-pound of country sausage; a half-dozen black olives, diced; two slices of smoked Gouda cheese; a few baby carrots, some cauliflower and a litle bit of broccoli.

Tam: Makes Facebook comment, "There's broccoli in my breakfast.  I'm not sure how I feel about this."

     Roseholme Cottage Kitchen: expanding culinary horizons since 2007!

Have I Been Hexed?

     Nope.  It's just a cold.  Not liking it, though, and not moving very fast this morning.  --Despite someone who came bouncing into my room this morning, sat on the foot of my bed and turned on the Televisory Ijit Box, chirping, "The news is on!"

     It'll be on tomorrow morning, too.  Why not skip just the one day for once?  But no.

Friday, November 16, 2012

IMPDUI: Yes, An Inebriated Officer Again

     Or so it is reported: another IMPD officer has been arrested on drunken driving charges.

     C'mon, IMPD, step up; if you don't feel good about "intervention," if your peers can't remember to follow the very laws they're supposed to be enforcing, if you don't want to rat the drinkers out to the brass, won't you at least administer a sound drubbing, maybe a blanket party, when they show up sozzled?

     Cripes.  I was worried bad stuff would happen when the city-county .gov mind-melded police and sheriff's departments, but this?  This is just stupid, tawdry and embarrassing. 

Thanksgiving Note

     I have, at long last, reserved a half-turducken this year.  Supposed to feed six -- or two hungry spinsters for two days.

     Let's see: the chimeric Bird, smashed taters with bacon-mushroom gravy (and we are sooooo using Goose: the Bacon this year!), maybe mixed vegetables and a salad, cranberry juice as a palate-cleanser.  Yeah, that'll work.  Might even pick up a bag of hard rolls (I love 'em) or a pie.

     Tellya what, we've much to be thankful for at Roseholme Cottage this year and most the thanks are due you, faithful readers!

Twinkies, Struck And Out

     So, when the Company told you, over and over, "Honest, we're broke; if you strike, we're gonna have to shut the whole thing down and sell off all the assets," you thought they were bluffing?

     They weren't.

     Goodbye, Twinkies and cupcakes.  Goodbye, little apple pies and Chocolate Donette Gems.  I never ate 'em much but they were a dependable treat when I did.  They might not have been good for me but they sure were good.

     Dammit, unions, stop sawing off the branch you're hanging from!  It falls on everyone when it falls.

    (Turk Turon adds the delicious d'oh schadenfreude frosting!)

Media, Media, Go Away!

     Come Again Another Day!
     Or not at all.

     Residents of Indy's exploding-house neighborhood to the media: "GET LOST!"

     Y'know, there's a time to get out of the way and let people try to put their lives -- and homes -- back together.  And the media have no idea when that is.

A Well-Worn Phrase

    Didja ever work with someone who begins every blame thing he says, no matter how off-topic, with, "The point being...."
     I have.

      I came to believe it was bright green, lived under his desk (at least in his mind) and would occasionally run out and begin waving its pointy little arms at him, frantic that he chime in.

     Um -- "Oooga-booga." Oh, yes.

     I'm gonna have to get some felt and fabric glue and big, googly stick-on "eyes."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Binford Farmer's Market?

To this, I should go.  Totally.

Got My Car, Missed My Lunch, Sore Throat?

     The car seems fine (hooray!).

     Alas, the Caveman Truck was within a brisk walk from work -- but not by the time I was able to go look for it.  Sad.  My lunch break only barely overlaps food truck/lunch counter hours.

     A handful of raw carrots, chicken broth, some saltines and tea for supper: I've been fighting a scratchy throat for four days.  Almost fought to a draw but it may be gaining slowly.

Car News/Lunch

     Love to stay and chat, but my car's ready!  Or so they say.  Hooray!

     ...No time to pack much of a lunch, so it's a good thing Tam found the Roaming Hunger website: they collect food truck locations for various cities, including Indy.  Very handy, though some of the best don't seem to be aggregated there -- yet.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Indy BlogMeet, 18 November

It's official!  Sunday the 18th, 3:00 p.m. at Broad Ripple brew Pub.  See you there?

Your Nuclear Car

     Yes, in Two Easy Steps, you, too can be a driving an atomic-powered car:

     1. Buy Tesla Motors car.
     2. Move to Vermont.

     Hey, presto, you're driving a 72.5% nuclear-powered car!

     (You know, that soft glow is not what I pictured when they said "Green Mountains."  But hey, it's kewl.)

The Quality Of Mercy Is Not Strained

     ...Which explains the lumps.

     They're into the second round of meetings in re last week's fiasco at work and it looks as if my quart of blame is going to be something I'd not expected.  --Not that any of us especially covered ourselves in glory that evening.

     Oh, yeah, not merely a heaping helping of Fail, a heaping bowl of improved Fail.  And that's all I can say.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Operation: Save Tam's Nose

     JayG has the raffle round-up, including a Chris Muir poster!  Woooo! 

     (The first bill has already arrived and thanks to you, it will roll right back out, paid in full.)

Car Update

     No, I still don't have my car back, but the initial diagnosis of a bad slave cylinder has been borne out -- and repaired, too, at about $20 more than the part alone was quoted to me.

     They dug into the charcoal filter that's been making gas fill-ups so very slow, and -- as predicted -- it's leaked pellets and jammed up some of the associated tubing.  Projected cost, a bit more than the clutch-hydraulics repair but once again, only slightly over what I'd have to pay for the part.  And it's a real pain to get to, too.

     Hoping to get my car back the day after tomorrow.

     In the meantime, with Tam doing all the driving, I bought steak dinners at the reborn Aristocrat, which has risen phoenix-like from a fire a couple years ago and is better than ever!

Thrown Out Of A Meeting Again

Rah-rah speaker: "Remember, quality is always #1!  --Yes, question?"

RX: "So that means our customers are 'number two?'"

...Long silence followed.  Um, further, I will not say.

November BlogMeet

     Looks like the choices are 18 or 25 November.  Or not at all, if there are too many conflicts.  Maybe back at the Broad Ripple Brew Pub?

     What day would work for you?  Let me know in Comments!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Oh, For Better Lunches!

     I keep trying to write during lunch and something always comes up -- my cellphone rings, or some gazebo needs me in the Engineering Shop or elsewhere, soonest.  (Did it to myself today -- went after the food truck, forgetting it is a Federal holiday, and who occupies the most space in the big buildings nearest the Skunk Works?  Yep.)

     I don't drink -- but my poor Muse prolly needs a tall, cold one. Hoist a longneck 807 for me while you're at it, hey?

You Imagine, They Believe

     Oh, Internet!  How could your denizens ever fail to disappoint?  Yes, there's already serious (for a given value of "serious") rumor that the exploding houses on the south side of Indianapolis (killing a well-liked grade school teacher and her husband) were actually the result of a drone strike.  Or a drone strike gone wrong, intended to take out the big building (on the northeast side of the county, easily 25 miles away) where Uncle Sam processes payroll for this country's armed forces.

     And why, you might ask?  Why, because we're in the middle of a coup attempt!  (Nothing gets the troops on your side like fouling up their pay?  What?)

     Hmpf.  And I didn't even bake a cake.

    ...Meanwhile, plenty of real people have suffered real harm; homes within a two-block radius are still off-limits until they can be assessed for safety. Private charity has stepped right up, to the point that they're turning away additional food, clothing and other material items, as they have nearly filled up a church basement -- still accepting cash; they're going to be needing it.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Armistice Day

Remember the veterans -- and remember, always, why this day is this day.  Take two minutes at 11:00 to think of the fallen and those they left behind.

     I'd write more, but I don't think I could better my earlier fictional effort about one veteran.  Remember, it's often a very long trip back to a place that's never quite the same.

     (Another angle: Wilfred Owen poem, from WW I)

I'm Awake

Hooray!  And my house didn't explode!  --Sadly, not everyone in Indy can say that.

    Cause unknown.   Drone strike?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Reading And/Or History Comprehension Test

Here's the NPR headline:

     Supreme Court To Weigh Constitutionality Of Voting Rights Act

     Go read it.

     Now, what's the fuss about:

     A) Removing the voting rights of African-Americans
     B) Literacy testing to vote
     C) If voting laws, polices and procedures in a few states should still be under strict Federal oversight, unable to make the smallest change without Uncle Sam's okay.
     If you said C, hooray!

    If you said A, then I guess you get those mass e-mailed "ZOMG!  Voting rights under threat!" messages, too, hey?

     (This is yet another of those issues with a complicated history.  The places under Federal oversight did have a well-documented history of egregious denials of ballot access; but the deniers are pretty much all dead and the once widely-held notions they supported are now widely scorned.  Shall sons and grandsons be held accountable for the sins of their fathers?)

Goose: The Breakfast

     I'm enjoying bacon -- no, make that Goose: The Bacon from Goose The Market, itself an offshoot of Smoking Goose, a creator of high-quality meat products (sausage, bacon, the astounding things Italians create with pork plus time and a handful of spices, camels stuffed with goats stuffed with turkey stuffed with duck stuffed with chicken stuffed with pigeon stuffed with mock Nile birds, all smoked to a faretheewell after, I believe, having been posed and photographed playing cards around a table covered in green baize).

     Kidding aside, the stuff is delicious, just about Platonic Ideal of bacon, compared to which all other forms are mere shadows on the wall (and I write that as a regular consumer of the high-grade applewood-smoked bacon from Fresh Market).  Fried up one strip per each, so we can have more in succeeding days, and it was remarkable for flavor, consistency and degree of consumer satisfaction, the perfect accompaniment to a carefully-fried egg and coffee.

     Photo?  Too late, me bucko; too late.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Tam Headed For The Knife

Or the microtome or some such thing.  The spot on her nose is basal-cell cancer, not a big deal if treated promptly; but she could use a little help with affording to treat it promptly, if you can spare it.  She's got a PayPal Donate button.


     That seems to be about the extent of the thought that went into matter before State Senator Jim Merritt, egged on by local TV, started winding himelf up into a tizzy over Tannerite, the low-sensitivity, low-pressure reactive target material.  (And if ever a story revealed the Administrative Control Bias of the oldstream media, this is it!)

     Senator Merritt, surprisingly ignorant and weak-kneed for an NRA A-rated Republican, wants to introduce legislation to make it impossible for anyone to buy more than a few pounds of Tannerite at any time, keep track of anyone who buys any amount of it at all (!) and to keep "children" from buying it -- never you mind that you can't even set the stuff off without a rifle bullet fired into it (requiring guns, a product children already cannot buy) or a blasting cap (a product nearly everyone cannot buy). Nope, he figures it is a Homeland Security matter -- which I would expect from a creationism-in-schools, anti-smoking drug-warrior;* it's a wonder he's even gun-friendly to a limited extent.

     If you enjoy shooting at reactive targets, ever think you might, if you're sick of being treated like a dope-chemist every time you buy sinus medicine and don't want more of the same dimwitted feelgood political theater or just figure there are way too many limits on what people can and cannot buy, let the dear Senator know at, or via this webpage. His crazy notion needs to stopped before it ever gets off the ground.

     Oh, and Senator?  The active ingredient in teenage zit-cream is a primary explosive; those same kids can churn out a dangerously shock-sensitive, high-pressure primary explosive so tricky that mad-bomber Islamists are wary of it, using nothing more than household chemicals and a glass mixing bowl -- and plenty of ice, if they have half a clue.  Are you going to ban car batteries, antiseptics and nail-polish remover next?

     This is how liberty is lost: one bedwetting do-gooder law at a time.
* Chair, Lawrence Township Drug Abuse Resistance Education Council

Thursday, November 08, 2012

"Look Upon My Works, Ye Mighty..." And Falter

     I'm so proud: tonight I was a part -- I daresay a key part -- of a team that threw away I don't know how much money.  $20K?  30?  More?  I  may have even helped my employer lose more than they'll pay me this year.

     Why?  Well, we all trusted something to be right; even gave it a cursory check.  Missed a very key parameter, though (heck, who would have preset that wrong?  It can't even be changed without digging deep, deep into firmware and doing a very scary reboot!), and when it came time for it to be wasn't, not quite, and we faffed around for ten minutes of very high-priced time trying to sort it all out.

     So proud.  Contributed so materially to not catching the problem before it bit us where we sat. Slunk out of there at the end of my shift and I'm giving serious thought to the merits of debarking to Patagonia first thing tomorrow.


Election: Like It or Lump It

     It's what we got.  If Mr. Obama is a dedicated hardcore gun-grabbin' Marxist, you don't need to sound the alarm, he'll go all Shirker's Paradise an' start after your ARK-1547ses.  If he's a fuzzy-philosophied narcissist with jerk friends (like most Presidents), he will continue muddling on, blamin' Big Business and Wall Street (while bailing them out just like he and his total opposite Mr. Bush already did); the will continue to have an indefinite-detention prison camp at Guantanamo and the .mil will still be boots-on-the-ground in Iraq and Afghanistan (just like he and his total opposite Mr. Bush already did) and the claimed right to kill anyone, anywhere, by frikkin' robot drones or a uniformed-services guy with a dedicated look in his eye and an M-4 or a long, heavy needle (just like he and his total opposite Mr. Bush already did), possibly based on secret hearings in a secret court (just like he and his total opposite Mr. Bush already did) or possibly mere Presidential whim.

     And you wanna tell me you're all het up about healthcare* and the different-length-fused time bombs of taxes, deficits and Federal entitlements?

     The first would've been a mess either way, just a different kind of mess and a different fight in Congress depending on how the elections turned out.  The problem there isn't the Presidency so much as it was the Senate, where the GOP threw away two seats over the social-conservative non-issue of abortion after having lured themselves into a game of where-to-draw-the-line with pro-choice folks.  Yes, a non-issue: very unlikely to change in the next six years, and certainly a non-issue here in Indiana, where strong pro-life Republican Richard Mourdock lost the Senate race to strong pro-life Democrat Joe Donnelly.  The stink Mr. Mourdock and the biologically ignorant Mr. Aken† gave rise to may have cost their party other seats, too; I'll leave that for the pundigentsia to dope out.

     The other issues are also a mess either way and for blame, you have to go back to FDR and Ponzi.  Like John Maynard Kenynes, they're safely dead and probably sniggering.  No Congress or President can work it out, it still will go over a cliff and the only questions are how soon and how far it will fall.  (At worst, the U.S. will go the way the USSR did; I expect this will happen in my lifetime, probably in time to reduce my retirement savings to wallpaper.  I still don't know if I should work on paying off this house or try instead to buy acreage with a good well, water running downhill, and room for a good-sized truck garden, but I'm going for tangible assets instead of paper and so should you.  You can't eat a 401k.)

     Elections are over, we got what we got, and if there's any true colors to be shown while the leopard refuses to change his shorts, you'll see 'em.  You don't make much headway if you keep riding out night after night claiming "The Brutish are coming!" unless you wait for the light to show in the belfry of the Old North Church.

     No matter who won, the relentless march of the Feds towards a police state would continue unabated -- albeit one with happy-face stickers and some degree and manner of the trappings of the former rule of law.  I have never seen a year when the noose did not grow tighter -- usually in a direction most people either weren't looking or had convinced themselves was oooooo-tay.

     Maybe it's time to re-examine your priorities; I will be checking over mine.  And, Republican Party?  Its not about being "too moderate" or "too conservative" on any conventional axis, it's about the being hit and miss on basic, hardcore issues that directly affect the greatest number of potential voters.  That party has a lot of sorting-out to do and I have no hope it will undertake any of it before the next round -- and until they do, they will continue to lose elections.  (See also: Claire Wolfe.)

     I'm done with 'em.  I'm voting a straight LP ticket.  No more handouts to GOPpers (and the rare Dem) who look as if they might stink a little less bad than their opponent. Might as well lose while backing an ideologically consistent group with real answers; the elephant and the donkey refuse to give up their fairytales, no matter what it costs their parties -- or the country.
* Which reminds me, if you are pro-life, do not stand there and tell me how you want government out -- totally, completely 100% O-U-T -- of me and my doctor's healthcare decisions, because you don't; you just have a different, shorter list of matters in which the .gov can interfere.  It's smaller but it's still a camel's nose, no matter how much you dress it up.
† I suppose it's unfair to single him out; most politicians are ignorant of everything except how to solicit a bribe without saying anything chargeable, accept it gracefully when it arrives, what fork to use and who to use it on, and when to say "ain't."

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Car Update

     Sure enough, the clutch master cylinder (thanks, Og!) is empty and close examination reveals the slave cylinder has become...incontinent.  Ew.  Sneezed the stuff right out.

     Rather a lot of rust on the slave, the cute little banjo bolt where the hydraulic line connects to it and, presumably, the not-viewable mounting bolts as well.  Given that the line itself is all of maybe 3/16" OD, I will only try to do this myself if the towing fee is outrageous, as I can see it turning all too easily into an end-to-end replacement of the entire system. Fiddling the new line into place, unhooking the master cylinder linkage from the pedal arm and bleeding the darned thing each look to be exquisitely fiddly and/or awkward tasks.  An MGB, this car is not; I've done this exact job on one (or maybe two -- people will put DOT 3 fluid in them and it eats up the seals)* of those and it was fairly straightforward.
* If you buy an MGB from someone's front yard (garage, whatever), you can just about count on having to rebuild or replace all or part of the clutch and brake hydraulics.  It is at that point that you will appreciate the wide-open, lawnmower-simple layout of the mechanicals: except for a fiddly clearance in removing the clutch master cylinder (not a problem in the right-hand-drive version), none of it is difficult to get to or hard to figure out.

Car Bleg

     Didn't blog this yesterday because there wasn't time: Tam and I were going to take separate cars to vote yesterday, since our polling place* is pretty much on my way to work.

     Got in my car and took it out of gear (H'mm, transmission feels kinda sluggish), started it up, got out and scraped the windows, well-nigh opaque with frost, got back in and--  H'mm.  Clutch pedal feels way weak and Holy Cow!  I can't get the car in gear!

     Tam was just making ready to pull out; I stopped her, we moved my briefcase and lunchbox to the Zed Drei's trunk, and went away to vote.

     My clutch is broke, which I am suspecting will be neither cheap nor simple to fix.  Must admit, I have not paid enough attention to the Inner Workings of my Hyundai Accent to notice if it is hydraulic like my old MGB or a simple linkage, but as I don't recall more than one brake-fluid-type reservoir under the hood, I'm betting on the latter. The pedal is not totally floppy; so it's probably a failed part in the clutch assembly proper.  :(

     Gee, and I was giving thought to buying the Haynes manual for my car only the other day.  (I have owned three 2002 Hyundai Accents, all purchased used, and don't remember any of them having come with an owner's manual.  What, do the original owners thumb through it, lips moving as they sound out the difficult words, peer at the pictures, gnaw briefly on the cover and throw it over their shoulder?)
* A Catholic school; previously, we have voted at a nearby public school and before that, a synagogue.  The most recent location offered a brilliant innovation this year: booths are set up in the gym/cafeteria, so they opened up the serving window as a snack bar, selling coffee, juice, rolls and fresh fruit!

Sad Election Outcome

     Nope, not the Presidential race:  Incumbents normally have the advantage and Mr. Romney struck me as only slightly better.  He seemed to strike everyone but the the most faithful GOP stalwarts similarly, and that's not how you win elections.

     Withal, he didn't lose by much, Gary Johnson didn't vanish in the popular vote, either.  Don't count on the resident of 1600 Pennsy grasping that a "squeaker" is not a "mandate," though: why should he be any different to his predecessors?

     That all went pretty much as expected.  What's got me sad is that Steven H. David seems to still be on the State Supreme Court.  We'll probably have cause to regret that, by and by.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

I'm Going To Bed

     Wake me up if any of the idiots start rioting, please.  (And, for the record "idiot" == "anyone who starts a riot over a damn' Presidential election."  Do-over every four years, remember?  Sure, any Prez can do a lot of harm, but they only get 8 years max, then some other sad schmuck gets stuck holding the bag.)

     I'd like to tellya U. S. Presidents and candidates for the office are Heroes and/or Villains but increasingly, I suspect they're the guys who couldn't come up with a good enough excuse quickly enough when their party came calling.  We've puffed the presidency up to a degree that even George Washington would find overblown and the hyperdramatic corn the personalities and pundits peddle on election-night TV is a direct result of it.

     Remember, even at its most serious, it's "Chewing gum for your eyes," just like Frank Lloyd Wright said.

Gone Voting

     Rule of thumb: if no better basis exists, vote for the fatter candidate.  Sure, you'll need more tar and feathers, but they can't hide as easily or run as fast.  I'm sure other advantages will occur to the imaginative reader.

     Hoosiers, get out there and send Steven H. David off to "explore other career opportunities!"  Heck, he's not even fat, other than between the ears.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Water Heaterage, Revisited

     ...It occurs to me that one friend, who Tam was joshing in her comments, may feel hurt by my recent post.  I didn't intend that, and to the extent nitwitty "Greens" have pushed tankless water heaters on the easily-led, he's got a point.  It's just that I can't conceive choosing a water heater based on guilt or even on "saving the planet."*  Oh, I'd pass up coal (too dirty!), having been the landlady of a duplex formerly heated with coal: fifty or more years on, you'd still come down from the attic coated in the stuff, looking just like a coal miner (and the furnaces, gas-converted, were in the basement; there was not even so much as a duct in the above-the-second floor attic!).  Wouldn't care for fuel oil, either, unless it was the only option: there's always a whiff of it about.

     But tankless is a convenience, at least when it works, a convenience that sucks down gas or electricity at an astounding rate when it runs.  You'd think it would make Mother Gaia weep, especially assuming she understands what having to build distribution systems to meet peak demand implies!  Conversely, with a conventional unit, half the year it's helping heat my basement (and the other half, it's helping keep the damp at bay).  So either way, I win, just different prizes.

     And either way, it's a hearty "bug off!" to the freeze-in-the-dark set.
* It's odd, they go on and on about "saving the earth," but let 'em catch you even once with 367,852 Mason jars fulla assorted and various kinds of farm and back yard dirt stacked up the basement and it doesn't matter how neatly those jars were stacked or how careful you were to label them for time, zodiacal sign and sky color when collected, they're all "72 hours for observation" and "evaluation of mental stability."  --Anyway, that's what I heard.

Vote, Lemmings, Vote!

You might as well vote -- most of your neighbors and co-workers are liable to be voting, and you don't want them to have the last word, do you?

     Locally, we have a chance to send freedom-fearing State Supreme Court Justice Steven H. David packing -- and give dissenting Justice Robert D. Rucker the nod to carry on.  Vote NO --oh, hell no -- when they ask, on the back of the ballot with all the fine print, "Should Justice Steven H. David be retained?"  Nope.  He should be retrained; maybe if they run him through law school again, he'll pick up a few hints.

     We also have the Mourdock -- Donnelly U. S. Senatorial contest; the first is a painfully sincere fiscal conservative/social conservative with a bad case of foot-in-mouth, while the second is a slick-talking "blue dog," who likes unions, "Obamacare," wants to soak "the rich" and big business with higher taxes and shares Mr. Mourdock's views on Teh Gays and abortion: so from a Getting My Voice Heard In Washington City standpoint, Donnelly is near-total loss (NRA says he's foursquare on gun rights) and his opponent is a partial loss.  Libertarian Andrew Horning is in the race, too, so I can sink with colors flying and I just might.

     Mourdock's gaffe -- I'm not going to rehash it, the Dems are doing that over and over and over -- didn't help the front-runner in the Governor's race, either: Mike Pence, a faith-on-his-sleeve all-'round conservative had a comfortable lead over good ol' boy/college president/attorney John Gregg; now, not so much.  Mr. Pence's best features are that he's reasonably well spoken -- the taste of foot, he does not know -- and his positions are as consistent and dependable as a courthouse clock.  Mr. Gregg, he is not such a bad fellow, moderate on many issues, but his running mate is a member of the Junior Nancy Pelosi League, or would be if there was one, hard Left on just about everything: no thanks, ma'am.  And in last place, well-liked Rupert Boneham, who ought at the very least to win Mr. Sincerity.  I'd love to see him win the whole beauty contest -- he's likely to do very well -- but I'm not holding my breath.

     There are a bunch of smaller races that would only annoy me and confuse you to mention (or is it the other way around?), including the run for Leader Of The Free World.  "None Of The Above," still not an option.

     Anyway, tonight I'll print out my final set of crib notes, mark it up and make ready to go do the thing we do, serene in the knowledge that no matter what, they'll stop smearing one another all over the inside of my TV screen, at least for a couple of years.

Sunday, November 04, 2012


     I'd started it before the Mysterious Scrabbling, worked on a little of it during, and added the last bits after: a great big pot of Random-Bean Soup, with plenty of ham.  Blackeyed peas, baby limas, some kind of "organic bean mix" that had black beans, pinto beans and kidney beans, plus lentils and some corn and green peas.

     Started with the (frozen) blackeyed peas and ham, added (frozen) limas, then the canned and dehydrated (corn, peas) stuff much later.  Sauteed a big beefsteak tomato, cubed, and threw that in, then gave half an onion and several celery stalks the same treatment.  Simmer until the tomato has vanished (!) and serve with more diced onion and celery plus some good bread -- no time to make cornbread with the squirrel-in-flue issue, so I toasted good seedless rye bread instead.
     Just the thing for a chilly, too-busy evening.  (And to add to the enjoyment, I rode my penny-farthing to the market to buy the ingredients I didn't have.  Clocked over two miles on it today.)

Scrabble, Scrabble

Something is in the furnace flue.  Bird, squirrel, chipmunk?  Been there three days.  We're goin' in.  Wish us luck.

     Update: It's a squirrel.  And the little tree-rat crawls back into the chimney.  He's left souvenirs inside about 6 feet of angled-upward exhaust duct: grit and droppings.

     We can't shoot anything energetic up the duct, so drop that idea right now.  Air rifle?  .177, hand-pumped, is all we have -- and that needs to be a clean hit.

     UPDATE:  We had some good looks at him, the rotten little rodent, but not hits. (Tam has more on Facebook). So...after talking to the pros of Butler M-K, I have made and installed a hardware-cloth (1/4" square galvanized steel mesh) "squirrel screen" as close to the chimney end as I could, held in with sheet-metal screws.  They'll have a look at the situation in the morning.

     And just think, back when the weather was nice and the days were long, I could've installed a nice squirrel excluder over the top of the chimney!

"The Personal Is Political," But Water Heaters?

     Wow, who knew having sufficient hot water was a Green conspiracy?  I would've had them down in the "do without" camp, but some folks claim otherwise.

     Whatever. When my Grandmothers got their first hot-water tank for their stoves, when they upgraded from wood or coal to kerosene, it was about convenience.  And when the long, long development of the home water heater finally resulted in a device that was not too likely to make like a rocket or a bomb, they got those, too.  Turn the tap, hot water comes out, how wonderful is that?

     Tam -- and I -- would like to have an infinite supply of hot water, which we don't got.  If I plan to, say, soak in Epson Salts water and then shower afterwards, I have to fill the tub with hot water and add the salts, then wait a bit before soaking and showering, or the water heater will run cold.  Tam observed the procedure and wrote about getting a demand-type "instant" water heater.  (Impractical without a water softener around here, I think -- in Indy, small plumbing leaks tend to be self-healing from the hard water!).  Tsk, you'd'a thunk she was planning to join the Communist Party and liberate the furniture from capitalist oppression.

     Sometimes a water heater is just a water heater -- no, make that "pretty much every time."  Unless it's handwoven by hippies, maybe, and I hear they don't offer much of a warranty.

Good Morning, Armour

     Your corned beef hash is still lousy, despite the "New Recipe!" sunburst on the label.  Feh.  --I'll give you this: if slightly burned, it is edible.  Would not buy again.

     (What happened?  It used to be second-best, right behind the "Mary Kitchen" brand!)

     Thank heavens I had made eggs scrambled with a dab of pesto and tiny bits of ham, too.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Not Going Gentle Into The Good Night

     Or even the bad night.

     When my maternal grandmother -- schoolteacher, mother of five daughters, one son and a somewhat ADHD husband* -- was quite old and widowed, she became very outspoken.  A proper Victorian, she had raised her children to be modest in their public utterances, so her daughters were horrified.  They would chide her, "Mother, you can't talk like that!  Not at your age!"

     Her reply?  "At what age, then, will I be able to speak my mind?" 

     Y'know what?  We don't have forever.  Missed chances are often lost and never come again.  The old books and gadgets I like are fewer and more fragile with every passing year.  I am not going to wait until I'm silver-haired and frail, only to reap a harvest of regrets.

     Plus I'm just about certain the U.S. will suffer an economic collapse before I check out.  (I'm not cheering it on; I'd love to see us dodge it but bedarned if I know how).  Even if that doesn't happen, inflation has already turned what was a respectable amount of money in my youth into pocket change.  "Use it or lose it" has never been more true.

     So I'm writin' stories, even though it doesn't pay.  I blog about politics and whatever else I fancy.  I bought a motoscooter, broke my leg, learned to ride.  I'm piddling about -- whoops, pedaling about -- on pennyfarthings; I have learned to shoot, climbed sheer rock walls in the Grand Tetons, seen Niagara falls, bought a house, owned an MGB, stared at airships, flown a light plane and helped launch a digital revolution in your TV set.  I'm not gonna end up rocking on the porch, wrapped in a shawl, watching the kids zoom by in their jetpacks, wishing I'd Done Things back when I could.  If I've gotta buy lions secondhand, so be it, but I'll buy 'em if I want 'em just the same.
* In the very best way: schoolteacher, coach, superintendent of schools, time-motion engineer, tireless one-on-one reformer of the reformable -- and he just loathed FDR, to whom he bore considerable resemblance.  I believe he came of age during Teddy Roosevelt's Presidency. TR had made an impression on him.  I never met the man and yet I miss him.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Highwheelin' Pix: It Did Happen

Another ride tonight -- and I still haven't adjusted the seat and handlebars.   Majorly unflattering oversized Carhartt hoodie, but it's sooooo warm!
Practiced dismounts.

More at Retrotechnologist.

Fair's Fair: What Richard Mourdock Really Said

     Nope, not the one about conception, the other sound bite that opposing ads keep quoting:  "To me, the highlight of politics, frankly, is to inflict my opinion on someone else...."

     Wow. Pretty damning stuff, hey? Sounds like Mussolini on a whiny day -- well, any day -- doesn't it?

      But what does that "..." conceal? Here's the quote in context:
      "To me, the highlight of politics, frankly, is to inflict my opinion on someone else from the microphone or in front of a camera, to win them over to my point of view. If I am fortunate enough to become a United States senator, we're going to be involved with the national argument…"

     H'mm.  " them over..."  "...national argument..."  Hey!  Just a minnit!  He's talking about persuasion, not force.

     Yep.  Mourdock wants to bend your ear, not bend you to his will.

     And the opposing ads are the very definition of "disingenuous."

     (My thanks to NBC, who preserved the full quote.  And to Tam, who found it when I was short on spare time.)


     I've not commented much, nor written, on Tam's Nose Of Mystery, but her sheer determination in the face of what at times has been near-overwhelming fear is pretty darned amazing.  She's now at the annoyed-and-crabby (and who wouldn't be?) stage of healing from the initial exam, and on dozenterhooks waiting on results.  If you haven't stopped by her blog and shared good wishes, I'd take it very kindly if you would.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Penny. Farthing.

     It was inevitable.

     Took delivery early this week and put it together that night: a QU-AX Penny Farthing bicycle with a 36" front wheel.  Tried it out just "scooting," with one foot on the step, and did okay; even rode it a few feet before returning to the scooting exercise: because you have to be able to do that to mount it!

     With one thing and another, I'd had to leave it sit until tonight.  I took it out to the street under the light, intending to merely practice scooting but after a couple of tries, it really seemed that I could....yes!  Onto the seat and down the block, a very smooth ride, fair speed, around a corner and bit of effort up a small rise, another corner, cars went past (big SUV, one of them, and me more than eye-to-eye with the passengers), very nice, around another corner and hey, what side was the step on?

     Couldn't see it.  Couldn't find it with either foot, and the next corner was coming up--

     Got around it okay and went all the way to the end of my block and turned around before I was convinced I had my foot on the step.  Dismount went fine.

     The (nominal) brake needs adjustment (as in, it doesn't make contact with the rear wheel at all) and, a first for me, the seat and handlebar are a little high.  But it rides remarkably well and I hope to have more chances to practice before the weather gets too cold.  It is very different to safety bikes or even my mini-hiwheel in that unless you're very, very good, there's no static balancing: when you come to a stop, you're stepping off, simple as that.  Also, I think I want knee and elbow pads before trying any longer rides.  As it was, I did the whole gloves & helmet routine.  It's a long way down.

In Response To The "Sad Children" Political Video

You kids are sad about the future
And so you sang a song
Blaming us, your own parents
For all you say's gone wrong.

Well we're sorry you're such losers
We tried to make you strong.
Never let you freeze to death (or miss a meal)
And made you feel like you belong.

Beggars can't be choosers,
Looks like politicans hit the bong
But we did our best, you ungrateful wretch
So don't go blame us in a song.

Chorus: We are the parents of the present/we did the best we knew/but all our hard effort, you just resent/so no more election-time TV for you!

     (Original was still playable here at last check. They've taken it private on YouTube.  Didn't work as planned, ey?)

Reality Matters

     The latest of Linoge's series of Graphics Matter charts is up, showing (and correlating) firearms ownership and crime -- and whattaya know, it turns out John Lott is still right: more guns, less crime.

     When ordinary citizens own guns, crimes decrease.  Why, it's almost as if criminals prefer disarmed victims!  Remember that, the next time some politician claims that guns are bad, a "scourge."  Whose side is he (or she) on?

Oh, Happy Halloween

Also, "Ow!"