Saturday, January 28, 2017

Another Saturday

Yes, we went to Chinamart, our home away from home. I was feeling sort of weak, tired and a tiny bit light-headed today, so after I got the heavy stuff in my rider, I mostly just sat around, not much caring to meander and look at things that I couldn’t afford. I WAS tempted to get a little Disney-character fishing pole and reel by Shakespeare for $2.50 on sale. My thought was to put it in the truck as an “opportunity” or emergency rod. I remembered, though, my decision not to ever pay money for a rod again, when God furnishes sticks galore around most any body of water. It will be a good deal for SOMEBODY, though.

Remembering my strange physical feelings, I went over to the blood pressure gizmo and found it not in use, so I sat down and took three readings of pressure and heart-rate. They ran 84/56-58, 80/54-43 and85/51-55. That’s a little lower on all counts than I’m accustomed to, so that may explain the way I felt today. It DOES make me wonder about the wisdom of the heart doctor increasing my Digoxin (digitalis), though. It also makes me wonder if I should take the stuff before I go to bed, so it will help with any episodes of my heart racing during moments of sleep apnea, instead of in the morning, when I usually take it.

Later at home, The Woodwright Shop episodes were ones that I didn’t care to watch again, so I tried unsuccessfully to nap, but I did feel somewhat rested from lying there with my eyes closed for an hour.
There was nothing worth watching for a while on TV tonight, until Lawrence Welk came on. YES, I like Lawrence Welk! I like ALMOST any kind of music except rap (which isn’t music at all) and modern black gospel. Growing up, I listened to old American folk songs, Gay Nineties music, songs from the WWI era, the 20’s and 30’s, WW II music, including big band and swing, country, bluegrass, rock and roll, blues, jazz, rock, pop and even disco. The stuff they call country today is more like what used to be called “southern rock,” which I liked then, but I don’t care much for its musical offspring. Incidentally, I like classical, too, maybe due to having a sister that took 12 years of piano and was always in orchestra at school.

I DID learn something by watching Lawrence Welk tonight. The music to “It’s All In The Game,” was written by Charles G. Dawes, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and vice president under Calvin Coolidge. He was born at nearby Marietta, Ohio and Graduated from the college there. You should check out the link on him.

As you might guess, I’m currently sitting on my torturous oak chair, so I’d better wrap this up! © 2017

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Two Subjects For The Price Of None

Equality - We hear a lot about equality these days. That’s kind of sad, since there IS no such thing. Even the statement of old that “all men are created equal” is a lie. It’s a well-intentioned lie, but it’s still a lie. What the founding fathers, and most folks since, have been shooting for is to make all men (and women) equal in the eyes of the law. Even then, it’s only a goal, and an unachievable one at that. The poor will ALWAYS be at a disadvantage with the rich and/or powerful when they meet in court or when laws and regulations are interpreted. Even if appearance and social standing don’t influence legal decisions, a well-paid, slick-talking lawyer will nearly always win out over a less talented one used by poorer folks.

The term “equality” as used today, though, often has nothing to do with equality under the law, or even the equally unattainable goal of equal opportunity. Instead, it’s being used as a term to describe the equal OUTCOME of the efforts or NON-EFFORTS of individuals, a meaning more in keeping with “fairness” or “equity.” The problem is that what those terms mean in daily life is as relative as beauty; they’re all in the eye of the beholder. Thus the modern search for equality is nothing more than a class war. Those with less talent, less drive, less energy, less intelligence, less education or less wisdom feel that they are ENTITLED to live as well as those who HAVE one or more of those traits.

Except for some lying politicians, the only folks who are clamoring for equality are those who have less than the people over which they are obsessing. Jesus told us that the poor would be with us always, and He spoke the truth. The problem lies in so many of the poor complaining about their lot, instead of WORKING to improve it. An old saying that my Dad’s family often used was “Poor people have poor ways.” That can be interpreted two different ways, but both are true. I should know; I’m relatively poor myself these days.

Farmers – Looking through this year’s Old Farmer’s Almanac, I was reminded of a problem in this nation. The fact that we have 3.2 million farmers sounds good at first, until you learn that only 110,000 of them are under age 35, and that the median age of farmers is 58. When this country was founded, 90% of the population was made up of farmers; when I was a young man, the percentage was down to 3.5%; and now it’s down to less than 1%. Is it any wonder that food costs are rising? The farmers still can’t make a profit, but those who buy, sell and transport the stuff are doing fine. No wonder we see so much foreign food in the stores.

The question is, what will this nation do if the world economy tanks or we get into another world war? Goodness gracious, the snowflakes will starve (and MAYBE the rest of us as well). © 2017

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Just Another Day

Just after lunch, I loaded the old iron bed I was giving my daughter-in-law in the back of the truck. I knew my wife would want to go somewhere later, so I figured I’d make the trip serve a purpose. Eventually, she made the suggestion, so I quickly agreed. We took the pooch along, too. I went to the antique dealer’s and sold him a couple knick-knacks, a few old photos and a small handful of 1950’s post cards for enough to buy a half-tank of gas. That wasn’t much, but they were things that I’d decided not to keep anyway, so it beat trashing them. I wonder if I’ll still be sorting stuff out in another five years?

We got to “the kid’s” house before anyone got home, so I left the pieces of the old bed in their carport and messaged them on Facebook about it. The bed belonged to my great grandfather, then the folks used it for years. They finally started sleeping in separate beds as they got older, then it was Dad’s bed. I’m glad to keep a little history in the family, for now at least.

Not long after we got home, it sounded like something hit the roof and rolled or slid downward. When I looked later, there was another branch on the porch roof. I need to get up there and clean the gutters and the roof before spring. The missus changed her mind once again and told me that she wants me to go ahead and cut the two white oaks closest that side the house after all. I hate to do it, but I think it may be for the best. It might be different if I was 20 years younger, but I don’t relish going on the roof any more often than necessary these days. I’m not scared up there, it’s just so danged inconvenient for an old geezer.

I watched Shepard Smith on FOX for the first and last time this afternoon or evening. If I wanted that kind of liberal BS, I’d watch CNN. I sometimes wish FOX would quit trying to be so “fair” and just tell the truth. I still like Hannity and now Tucker Carlson (I think). O’Reilley isn’t too bad most of the time, either, except when he gets even more full of himself than normal.

I get most of my news anymore online from other bloggers, and some folks on Facebook who post news from various sources. And then there’s CBN, too. Truth is a hard thing to find on TV anymore. It’s been increasingly that way since the days of John Kennedy. He was the first president canonized by the media while Nixon was later demonized, though he was basically a pretty good president. All the former hippies now trying to run the country seem to forget that Nixon was the one who got us out of Vietnam, and that it was Johnson who put us there. I’m sure glad Trump came along. Maybe by the time he leaves office, the old hippies will be too old to do anything. Unfortunately, that probably means the snowflakes will be taking over. It will be curtains for sure when THAT happens.

I failed to mention that I changed my mind the other day and paid $7 for an Old Farmer’s Almanac. I still say it’s a rip-off, but I enjoy reading them, and sometimes look things up in them, though I’ve never planted by the moon in my life. Oh well, I guess if the missus can change her mind, so can I. Like the old saying goes, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” © 2017

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Mixed Bag For Sunday

We got a late start toward town today, so we got back later, too. Still, I was able to work outside for over an hour running the chainsaw and using the lawn tractor to pull poles and short logs to the front yard. I’ll have more than enough to finish my current stack of wood, so I’ll soon be able to sell it for a little gas money for the truck. It was the first time in probably three weeks I’d had the opportunity and weather at the same time to allow me to work outside. It felt very good, though it tired me out some.

As for my “TV problem” that I mentioned in a previous post, I remembered my stash of earplugs, so the problem was solved.

I went upstairs and boxed up my C-PAP machine this evening. After less than two full nights, it was already beginning to affect my sense of smell and make me feel funny. I’ve decide that I’ve always trusted in the Lord to leave me here as long as there is a reason, so I guess there’s no need to put any trust in an aggravating machine that causes as many problems as it solves.

I was checking my blog stats earlier and was surprised what the one source gave as the number of folks who had visited my blog. Just to keep me humble, though, their records showed that 55% of the visits lasted less than five seconds, and 50% of all visits were first time ones. I take it those folks didn’t like what they saw and will never be back. (Probably snowflake-liberals that showed up there by accident! Haha!)

I just bottled another stink bug before I sat back down here at the computer. I’ve learned that they’ll usually hold still long enough that I can get them with an empty water bottle. The little Chinese immigrants seem to find easy access to my board cabin, though the walls are about eight inches thick, so my new hobby is bottling bugs. I hope you don’t have too many in your area, or at least have a tighter home than I do.

Well, I go to my regular MD tomorrow for a six-month check up. No biggie, Medicaid requires it, and he rarely leaves the comfort of his stool, so it’s easy money for him. I WILL get a blood draw for my heart doctor while I’m there. My “device” told the techs that my heart-rate is climbing slightly and he wants to check my Digoxin levels and will probably raise them slightly. I’m on a very low dose as it is, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

I worked the last ten minutes in the rain today, and it’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so I guess it will be yet another inside day. Hope your Monday is a good one! © 2017

Surrounded By Perversion

Everywhere I go online, I keep bumping into photos of the women’s march in Washington. Like the rioters, many seem a little unclear about what they’re protesting. In one photo, several women are holding signs stating that they want to protect “productive rights.” Obviously, they don’t really understand the meaning of the words they’re using. If they did, they’d know that their signs indicate that they’re fighting for the right for women to HAVE babies, not murder them. They need to go back to using the term “abortion rights,” if they’re going to be hell-bound murderers, they might at least be honest about it.

On a more personal note my dinky office is right next door to my wife’s room, where she’s watching the little flock of semi-fundamentalist Mormons that have a “reality” show called “Sister Wives.” Currently, the little group of perverts is dealing with the very brattiest of their offspring who has decided that she’s a lesbian. I can’t help but hear it, but the whole think makes me almost sick. Perverts can pop up anywhere, but I have to wonder if it’s more likely in homes where sexual practices are weird (and sinful) to begin with. © 2017

Saturday, January 21, 2017

My Saturday

We decided to go to Chinamart today to do our main shopping for the week. When the missus got out of the truck, I went next door and bought a couple new, empty gallon paint cans. (Ralph Goff will probably chuckle at that.) Used cans would serve for most things, but I figured I’d best have new for my project. One will hold naphtha for degreasing saw chains before sharpening and the other will hold bar oil to dip them in afterwards, and I didn’t know how either liquid would react with paint residue in a used can.

I never degreased my chains when I cut timber, but the dealers do it. It makes the chains cleaner to handle and makes your files last longer. However, since it’s best not to put a bone-dry chain back on the bar, I’ll dip them in oil after I sharpen them (the dealers do that too, I think). If plans go as desired, I may finally fire up my chainsaw mill this summer and will need to sharpen chains again. I may even see if I can file a few for profit, but I have doubts whether that will pan out.

I picked up a few things myself today at the store. Some were grocery items that my wife won’t use, so I paid for them with my small amount of remaining money from my monthly stipend. I also picked up a jar of pineapple chunks, not because I really “needed” them, but because I needed the jar. I guess I could do like some advertisers and say that if I paid nearly $3 for the jar, the pineapple was free! I would rather have had Mandarin oranges, but they were from Communist China, whereas the pineapple was from Thailand. I’m not sure that’s much better. Both were sold under the DOLE label. Remember when their fruit came from Florida and Hawaii? That’s one reason I don’t buy much of their stuff anymore.

I took the dog out when we got home, and then sat on the porch with her for a while. There were a couple vehicles on the 15 acres of vacant property across the road about 150 yards from the house. That piece is very narrow, but deep—like a piece of ribbon. There’s very little buildable land near the road, but enough for a couple houses. These guys seemed to be looking down over the brink at the next flat though. I assume the place is being sold and that we may soon have more cussed neighbors. My wife takes the opposite view and thinks another home nearby will make our place safer. If I’d have been able, I’d have bought both places across the road just so I WOULDN’T have another home nearby, but that’s just the sort of cranky old curmudgeon I am.

 Since it was the Sabbath, I didn’t do any work outside, though we had perfect weather for it. I would keep the Sabbath properly if my wife would, but she’s a “normal” Christian and thinks I’m a couple bricks shy of a load. So, she cooked a meal today and we went shopping. I know the Lord will forgive me, but I still don’t like doing it.

On a different note, they say prepping is already down since the election. I guess that makes a big statement about people’s faith in Trump, but folks should remember that not all catastrophes are political. I can’t do much prepping anymore, but I do what I can. I hope you do, too. We ALL need to be like the OLD Boy Scouts and be prepared. © 2017

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Idleness And Other Devilish Pastimes

I didn’t get a lot done today, so at least I was consistent. My sleep wasn’t the greatest last night; for one thing, I woke up after a couple hours to that nauseating odor in my sinuses that comes from over-using my C-PAP machine. I probably won’t use it for a couple days now. I took off the “mask” and slept a couple more hours without it, until my wife rang the bell to let me know that the Mighty Dachshund needed to sashay out into the lawn. I couldn’t get back to sleep afterward, so I got back up and the missus fixed breakfast at 4:30 am. THEN, I had to stay up another hour-and-a-half to let it settle before I could go back to bed. I DID manage to type up a post during that time.

Climbing out of bed later, my sheet crinkled like it was a plastic tarp. I’m using a flat 100% cotton sheet on the bottom, but a PART cotton-part polyester sheet for the top. Between the top sheet’s stiffness and its reaction with the cotton below, it sounds like I’m camping in the woods on a plastic ground cloth and I get to see little balls of static electricity like a sort of mini-fireworks show when I move.

We snuck across the big river and into enemy territory today, so my wife could visit their Chinamart. I went next door to Lowes and looked for naphtha, but all they had was quarts for $8, when I can buy it in another chain’s store down here for $16 a gallon. No thanks. I DID slip into Chinamart just long enough to look for a pocket calendar. I’d finally settled on a 7-inch square one for my desk recently. Square seems to be the new style of calendar these days and the square ones the same width as my old one was too “tall” for the old spot, so I’m standing the smaller one against my computer. It’s actually more convenient than the old location. Since I couldn’t find a pocket calendar anywhere in the store, I looked at an American-made pocket notebook but, while the quality was far better, it was $3 to China’s 26 cents, so I sadly settled for the cheaper one. I wanted a small calendar to mark down my pills as I take them, as I sometimes miss them.

When I got home, I did manage to go to the basement for a few minutes and drag out an antique bed that I’m giving my sweet little daughter-in-law. Hopefully, I’ll get it delivered before the weekend entirely escapes me. I was hoping to have a book to loan her if she desired, but my reading has been a bit lax lately and I may not be done in time.

I went onto Facebook for a while later and made a couple comments about politics and tattoos. I was immediately jumped by a sodomite and two snowflakes for daring to have an opinion that didn’t happen to jive with theirs. After a couple salvos, I wisely blocked them, so I wouldn’t have to tolerate opinions different than mine. – LOL - Of course they could have done that in the first place, but they really WANT someone to fuss with them. I guess it gives their life meaning. I DO get tired of all the haters, though.

I sat down with the missus and watched some of the inaugural concert, but wasn’t all that impressed. I thought Trump spoke well afterward. He’s got gonads; he came out from behind the bullet-proof glass surrounding his family when he spoke. I kept hoping some jerk with a .50MG sniper rifle wasn’t within a half-mile of the site. After the fireworks, he and his family went inside the Lincoln Memorial for a few minutes and stood before Lincoln’s statue and read and quietly chatted a little. As he stood there looking at the likeness of Lincoln, I couldn’t help but wonder if he was a little overwhelmed by the size of the task before him, and if he didn’t feel a bit like David, staring at a Goliath of a job.

I’ll be praying for him and those around him every day from now on; I hope you will, too. © 2017

Flippin’ The Bucket

Since many of my readers tend to be geezerly sorts like myself, I’m sure this subject will ring a bell for a few folks. I can just barely remember when the OLD barn was standing at our farm. Dad built the new one in 1961 using only hand tools. He did have some occasional help from his father, brother-in-law and a couple nephews, though.

What was left of the old barn was soon torn down, but the accompanying cistern was left, since Dad figured he’d rig one of the downspouts from the new barn to fill it. Interestingly enough, that was never required. Whether groundwater seeped into joints of the old clay filler pipe, or into some unseen crack near the top of the cistern, we never knew (or cared), but in rainy weather, the old cistern filled just as reliably as if the old barn was still there. (Theme from the “Twilight Zone” playing in the background.)

Since we didn’t have city water at the farm, the reasonably close proximity of the old cistern was a real boon on those occasions when we had cows penned in the barn for any reason. Filling a half-barrel with water as the cows drank took a few trips, even with two buckets, but the cistern was only a hundred feet away, so it wasn’t too bad.

Now, as those of you who’ve ever dipped water from a well or cistern with a bucket on a rope will know, there’s some slight skill involved. If you just lower the bucket until it hits the water, it just floats there like a miniature version of some Welshman’s or Irishman’s coracle. All it would need to take a tour of the cistern would be a leprechaun with a paddle. That’s where the skill comes in. To tip the bucket and make it fill, you have to give a certain swing and flip of the rope just before it touches the water, so the bucket will land on its side, instead of its bottom. Thus the bucket will fill. If you don’t get it just right, all you have to do is raise the bucket a few inches and do it over. It was always great fun give the task to some city friend when they visited and see how long it took for them to figure it out.

There IS a way to cheat a bit, though. If we were going to be drawing water for an animal for some time to come, like when we fastened up the bull every spring, Dad would put a short length of log chain between the rope and the bail of the bucket. It only takes eight to 12 inches of 3/8 chain to do the trick, though other lengths and chain sizes would work. With the chain in place, even the slightest flip would tip the bucket and let it fill. It seems to me that I’ve seen some folks fasten the chain (or some other weight) directly to one side of the bucket, but we never did.

It’s funny the things that come to mind after you’ve put the pooch out at 3am and you can’t get back to sleep. That’s why, after lying there for over an hour, I decided to get up and share this with you. I hope you feel rested as you read this; I’m going back to bed! © 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Little Stuff

The only “excitement” here today was when someone rang our doorbell but no-one was there. The dog let out a howl when it rang and the missus practically ran to the door, but there wasn’t even a car in the driveway. The missus refused to believe me when I told her that she and the pooch must have been napping in front of the TV, since it sounded to me that was the source of the sound, though I was in my closet, er….office. I took the pooch out to drain immediately afterwards just to check her reaction, but there was no briggling around and sniffing and whining like there is when she smells the lingering scent of strangers. I told my wife, but she still refused to believe me, so I dropped it. She drifts off a LOT in front of the boob tube, but won’t admit it, and then she wonders why she can’t sleep at night. I’ve learned to just “wonder” along with her.

I lost another chunk of tooth a couple nights ago. Of course, according to the local TV station, since I’m over 60 and living in West Virginia, I’m not supposed to even HAVE any teeth. Nearly all of the kids who work there are from out of state, so they probably believe that garbage. They were probably surprised to discover that we wear shoes here, too.

I got my monthly stipend today, so we splurged and went to Panera Bread for lunch and then to Chinamart to pick up a few things. I rarely go there, as I feel they charge too much for their food. We could have had a nice meal somewhere for what we paid for two salads and teas. The salads were decent, but the green tea was pathetically weak.

At Chinamart, I looked for a natural broom-corn wisk broom, but there were none to be found. I wanted something to clean off my chainsaw before I poured gas and oil in it. I ended up getting a 3” nylon painting brush for $1.50, which should do the trick. I may get another the next time I go there, so I’ll have one in the back of the truck and one by the basement door, the two places that I usually fill and/or adjust my saw. I see where some of the Stihl saws are being made in China these days, though some are supposedly made in America, too. If I ever buy another saw, it will NOT be made in China, or I’ll buy a used one instead.

I picked up a pack of small zip-ties while I was shopping, but now I can’t remember what I was getting them for. Dern! I also got a small tarp for my chainsaw mill frame. It’s made from treated wood, but the new “safe” chemicals they use are next to worthless. Carpenter bees had drilled holes in the underside last summer, and there were fungi growing on one side of the frame. Guess it’s time to get it covered and paint it with used motor oil.

I picked up a small pack of fishing jigs to put in my pick-up truck “survival kit.” I’m not sure why, I guess if we ever got stuck away from home, my subconscious deemed them good additions to the fishing line, hooks and sinkers already in the kit. I put a small fire-starter log in there the other day, too. I’d carry a rifle in there if it was easier to be legal, but I guess I’ll have to settle for the (permitted) pistol in my pocket.

I like to cover all the bases, you know. © 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Read This Only If You’re Bored

Yesterday, I’d planned to work outside a bit before the rain came. Unfortunately, I had a strange feeling in my chest. I wouldn’t call it tightness, nor pain, nor ache, nor soreness, but maybe a VERY light blend of ALL of them. I didn’t tell the missus and I resisted the urge to go to the quick-med place and get checked out, but I didn’t go out and run the chainsaw as I’d planned, either.

I DID take a couple aspirin and drink a half-liter of water to thin my blood a little, just in case. Gradually, I decided that the sensation was from lying nearly all night on my left side the previous night. With my weight, lying on my side puts some pressure on my sternum, as my chest muscles (and chest blubber) compress. I normally try to spend some time on my back and on my left side, but that night, I slept longer and deeper than normal and I ended up in the same position most of the night. By mid-afternoon, the feeling was gone.

Speaking of my C-PAP machine, my loss of scenting ability began to return after only three day’s use, despite not using Vicks anymore and starting the occasion use of saline spray. So, I didn’t use it the next night and only part of the night the next. If I wake up feeling like the sensation is returning, or sick to my stomach in the slightest, I take a break from it for a couple hours or longer. So far, my ability to smell things has stayed intact since making that slight adjustment.

After watching the 700 Club and taking my wife and the pooch for a spin, I only had a few minutes of daylight left, so I went to the basement and got a couple things to take upstairs to work with. (Since my basement shop needs organized badly and my wife has the basement stairs blocked because it’s in use as a “broom closet,” I’ve decided to sharpen my saw chains in my bedroom – lol). That movement of materials was the extent of my “work” for the day.

I got a message on my phone the other day that my “device” (pacemaker/defibrillator) had indicated that my heart rate has been up some lately. My heart doctor wants me to get a blood test to see what my Dioxin (Digitalis) levels are and may raise them. I wonder, though, if those higher rates are at night. Since I didn’t use my C-PAP for three weeks and don’t normally use it for the entire night even now. I’ve got a notion to try finding out before I go get stuck for nothing.

When I was in the basement moving some things, I think I saw my little cordless circle-saw under some other stuff. I was afraid it had been stolen from my truck when I accidentally left it unlocked a few times at Chinamart. I REALLY need to organize my basement. That was supposed to be one of my winter projects and I need to get on it.

Well, a couple more days and we’ll have a new president. I hope you all will join me in praying for his safety and that he’ll get holy guidance during his time in office. © 2017

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Superior Souls

In “It Can’t Happen Here,” Sinclair Lewis said, “Every man is a king who has someone to look down upon.” Sadly, ALL of us have been in that position on occasion; but SOME folks tend to live there. Today, as I was reading in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “An inland Voyage,” I came across a perfect example. Stevenson was a Scot, but reading his words, you’d sometimes think that he claimed to be pure English. For instance, consider the following:

“Independent America is still the cross of my existence; I cannot think of Farmer George without abhorrence; and I never feel more warmly toward my own land than when I see the stars and stripes, and remember what our empire might have been.” Only a couple pages further on, he uses the term “dastardly Yankee.”

Now, at the time, Stevenson was a wise old agnostic of 28 years. Had he actually known anything about George Washington, he would have realized that he would do nothing in his entire lifetime that would come even close to making him the man of Christianity, courage and honor possessed by Washington. But, ignorance is bliss, as they say, so Stevenson happy spoke disrespectfully of one of the noblest men of the eighteenth century. After all, Washington was just a dastardly Yankee. Of course those dastardly Yankees had already kicked Britain’s backside twice* before Stevenson was born, and would SAVE Britain’s backside twice within a half century of his death. Perhaps he never even knew that the colonies didn’t WANT war with Britain, but simply grew tired of being abused as English citizens.

Another interesting reference was the one to “empire.” I’ve always said that the purpose of an empire is to conquer every nation possible so that the conquering nation may rob the others blind. (An example is India, the richest nation on earth before the Brits conquered it, but the absolute poorest after they stole everything of value and left.) Furthermore, the way to become such a power is to be the most evil, cruel, greedy and dishonorable nation in current existence. If you look at every empire since the beginning of time, you’ll find that to be true, with maybe some slight allowance made for the Greeks and the French. Naturally, the greater the empire, the more evil it is. Not coincidentally, the British Empire was the largest in history, yet Stevenson apparently thought it was wonderful and that, indeed, it should have been even greater, except for those dastardly Yankees! – I have to laugh here, because it was only because he considered it HIS empire that made it wonderful. Had it belonged to some other nation, I’m sure it would have been a most immoral state of affairs in his young mind.

 Sadly there are still some Brits that have such attitudes; I run across one on line occasionally. Thankfully, though, many Brits seem to be pretty good folks, as do many folks in the States. I don’t include in that the political left of either nation, just for the record, and both of our countries are deteriorating in matters of morals and common sense. However, one thing I’ve learned by this point in my life is that normal, moral people are pretty much the same the world over. © 2017

*I believe that to be due solely to the grace of God, who apparently desired our nation to come into existence. Nothing else would explain some of the strange turns and twists of “fate” that allowed our victories.

Changing Times

The missus hadn’t even gone outside of the house yesterday. I only went out to let the dog drain and dump and to check the mail. Today, she’d “had all she could stands and she couldn’t stands no more,” so we went out a while, got some gas we couldn’t afford and then proceeded to burn some of it. One place she wanted to go was the Kmart on the far side of town. She used to frequent the place with her deceased first husband (with whom I’ve been VERY unfavorably compared for nigh onto 34 years). She often had me take her there when we first married; old habits die hard I guess. We gradually shifted to Walmart, though and rarely went to Kmart anymore, especially that store, as it just wasn’t in our loop of normal travel.

As I dropped her off at the door today, she remarked that she used to take her mother there often. There were tears in her eyes as she said it. Despite her mother using her as a personal slave when she was a kid, she somehow managed to have a fairly close relationship with her. Her Mom has been gone for several years now, though.

This Kmart is one that’s soon to be closed. The company could have gone the high volume, low margin route like Walmart and still have had been a vibrant company. Unfortunately for them, their management chose low volume, high margin instead and that’s why Walmart is gradually putting them out of business. Despite their “blue light specials,” Kmart has never truly been a cheap place to shop. But my wife wanted to stop there today, since they are selling out their stock. She did get a good deal on a set of skillets. I think the main reason she went, though, was just to say good-bye to another passing landmark in her life. I can certainly understand. © 2017

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

She’d Never Survive!

My wife and I both grew up without running water in our country homes. There was always natural gas and electric in ours, though, despite our main heat being a wood stove. Her neighborhood, however, never got electric until she was about twelve years old, and didn’t get gas until she was in her late teens. City water didn’t come through until she returned to that property in the early 1970’s. You’d think, then, that she would handle power outages with patience and calmness. Not so. Apparently, she always slept in the dark until her first husband died. Afterward, she always had to have some lights on at night, and still does to this day. Interestingly enough, she’s unintentionally taught the Mighty Dachshund to be likewise.

And so, yesterday evening, when our power went out during a windstorm, she loudly said “Oh No!” and the dog started whining in the darkness. Reaching down beside me, I grasped my flashlight, turned it on and illuminated my wife’s side of the room until she got out one of her battery powered lanterns. She put another one in the bathroom and a third in the dining-room/ kitchen area, so the whole downstairs was lit to some degree. I guess her logic is why run down ONE set of batteries, when you can run down THREE sets.

After calling the power company and reporting the outage on their handy-dandy machine that had great difficulty differentiating between the word “yes” and the word “no,” I returned to the TV room, thinking we might just talk and pass the time until we either went to bed, or the power came back on. I could soon tell that idea wasn’t going to pan out. And so, despite having already taken her on a drive to combat cabin fever earlier in the day, I offered to take her and the pooch on another swing through the Great Gaudy Way (town). Both she and the pooch were ecstatic at the thought. We managed to kill a couple hours, but the house was still dark on our return, so we went back out the road to check on the downed lines (as we had when we first left) and they looked about back to normal. Only 15 minutes after we walked into the house, the lights came back on. Even today, though, I had to “get them out of the house” a while.

The missus took a little walk in the mall, so I managed to use some of the time to dig up three poke roots to put in my “garden.” I might have dug more, but “the rains came.” Next, the other half wanted to go to the big craft store a ways down the road, so I took her. I could have dug a few wild Jerusalem artichoke tubers for my garden there, but the rain remained heavier than I wanted to endure, so I settled for letting the pooch pee. After one more stop, we came home.

What concerns me is that, if we ever end up with the grid down for a truly extended period, she would perish either from insanity or exposure. She fought me when I wanted to rebuild the chimney and buy a natural gas generator back when we had the money. She even took our kerosene heater and buried it so deeply in the attic that it would take ages to extricate. So here we sit in a house with no heat back-up and no power back up.  - LOL – I guess I’ll just keep praying for a wise president and a merciful God! © 2017

Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Visit To My Other Home

My mailing address may be “Tick Ridge,” but I’m beginning to think that Chinamart may be my real home. If anything ever happened to the missus, I’d probably never go there again. Unfortunately, the missus finds the place entertaining, and by getting only SOME of what we need when we go there, she always has a reason to return in a day or two. I realize that I’m too poor to take her to dinner, to the movies or even for long rides anymore, so I don’t say anything to her about it. I think by always buying a few things, she feels still partly in control of our otherwise time, money and health-constrained lives. She even has people at the store that she stops and chats with every time she’s there. And so, we were there again today, except we hit the one across town this time. We try to alternate since the stores carry slightly different stuff.

We needed water today so I couldn’t avoid going in, since it’s getting harder for her to do heavy lifting. After getting the water, my next stop was at the magazine section. There, I scanned or read some articles on homesteading and preparedness. I noticed that “National Geographic” had a feature piece on the so-called “gender revolution” again this month. There were seven people shown on the cover, one normal male and six mixed perverts. No normal woman was shown; perhaps they’ve convinced themselves such women no longer exist. It amazes me just how far the magazine has fallen in my lifetime. They once were a high-class magazine that documented the fascinating world around us. Eventually, though, they became just another liberal mouthpiece, so I quit subscribing LONG ago. This second issue trying to legitimize sexual perversion (see last month’s, too, at the link) is as low as I’ve yet seen them slither. See the cover of both issues at this link:

I’ve watched at Chinamart the last few times to see if I could find lighter fluid, but to no avail. Most “associates” have told me that the store doesn’t carry it, ONE told me it would be up by the register, if they had it. I was beginning to believe the former. TODAY, though, they had four cans of Zippo lighter fluid sitting in the camping fuels section, even though I’ve checked there many times before. Someone must have dropped the case, since all four cans were dented, but one was barely noticeable, so I got it. It was the same price that my gas station charges, too. (Incidentally, the only stations in my area that carry American-produced gasoline are BP’s, so I usually try to get my gas there.) For those who care, Zippo lighters are still made right here in the good old US of A, at Bradford, Pennsylvania. They start at about $15, SO, if you need an honest-to-goodness cigarette lighter, instead of those Cheap Chinese Bic-style pieces of donkey dung, check out Zippo’s website:

Thankfully, the missus caught me trying to nap on my rider, so she decided that she was done for the day. We’re now back on Tick Ridge, snugly ensconced in our warm cabin at the forest’s edge. The mighty Dachshund was certainly happy about our return! © 2017

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Saturday Blather

We decided last night to go to Chinamart a little earlier today, so the missus could get a rider. Still, I didn’t hit the hay until half after midnight. I think it got down to 9°F last night; I know it sure felt like it when I went out in my skivvies and a pair of rubber “slippers” at 5 o’clock this morning to let the dog drain. The light breeze made it worse. I stayed in bed until 10 this morning, figuring there was no need to get up since there was probably ice on my favorite fishing hole anyway, wherever THAT is. As soon as I was up and dressed and took the Mighty Dachshund out to dump and drain, the missus had “lunch” (brunch?) ready, so I ate at 10:15.

I knew it was going to be some Stouffer’s pasta from a box, but I told my wife I’d never seen spaghetti noodles in lasagna before. She told me that it WASN’T lasagna, but chicken parmesan. Here I thought that tasteless cardboard-like stuff in the middle of the spaghetti was a just a supper-thick layer of lousy cheese. It always amazes me how companies can take actual food and make it tasteless or plain bad-tasting. This was simply bland; the chicken had no flavor, the cheese had no flavor and the sauce had no flavor. They also appeared to have been rationing the oregano. There was so little that they could said it was French or English as easily as Italian, as there really wasn’t anything to indicate the nationality of the dish except the noodles.

We got to Chinamart about 11 and the missus DID get a handicapped cart. I told her that I was going to stay in the truck and read, but I actually went to the far end of the little town we were in to see if my gas station still had any lighter fluid. They were sold out. I checked two other stations on my way back and they said that they never carried it. I did gas up at the last station, so the wife may eventually wonder how that last batch of gas is lasting so long. Back at Chinamart, I decided that my bladder was calling my name, so I went inside. Lo and behold, there was a rider available, so I grabbed it. After having more to take care of more in the little room of rest than I’d originally counted on, I finally got on my electric steed and headed for the magazine rack as fast as the little lopsided wheels would take me. It sort of reminded me of my horseback years.

After reading a couple magazines, the missus finally swung by and said she was ready to split that joint, so I went out and started the truck, so it could warm up for her. It never did get above 19 here today, but the wind chill made it seem colder. On our way home, I stopped by our only serious tobacco shop in town and they DID have lighter fluid, but at a cost that was more than what change I’d allowed for it (50% higher than the gas station, WHEN they have it) and the missus had any serious money in the truck outside. I decided to wait a few days and check the station the next time I fuel up to see if they have any in. Incidentally, Chinamart doesn’t carry it either. Apparently, the cheap little Chinese Bic-style lighters have replaced quality lighters and no-one stocks either the lighters or the fluid anymore. Who’d a thunk? The only reason I want some is because butane lighters aren’t work a half-a-crap in the cold and I want one to heat keys for frozen locks.

When we got home, we had the “Stouffer’s stuff” for an early supper and I went upstairs to see if The Woodwright’s Shop was anything interesting. It would have been about ten showings ago, but I chose to take a little nap instead. Two degrees lower tonight, they say. Stay warm, folks! © 2017

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Missed Opportunities

I haven’t been feeling all that rested when I get up lately, so after putting the new tubing and such on my C-PAP machine in the middle of the night, I used it for the first time in about three weeks. My sense of smell seemed to come back after about a week, so maybe I can use it a few days before the problem returns. I DID feel a little more rested, I thought, when I woke up an hour later than I was hoping. It’s strange, though, the funny feeling I get sometimes when I first awake from using it, almost like I’m half-sick. The feeling always goes away after a while, though.

Today was supposed to be the last “warm” day for a week at 39 degrees, so after I took the dog out, I’d planned to work outside a little while. Unfortunately, my wife had fixed lunch while I was sleeping and had it ready when I came back inside. It was only hotdogs, but she gave me three of them, piled high with sauce and slaw. I could have gotten by on just two, but didn’t want to scrape the slaw off the third one to reheat it later, so I went ahead and ate it. I figured after letting it all settle for an hour or so, I could STILL get some work in outside. Wouldn’t you know, the missus decided that we’d better swing by Chinamart and pick up a few things, since there’s supposed to be snow tonight, and we may not go out for a couple days.

I knew there wouldn’t be any handicapped carts, so I decided to stay in the truck while she shopped. It occurred to me that I’d probably have time to slip next door and dig some poke roots to plant in my “garden,” but since she didn’t have a rider, I reconsidered the idea. I wouldn’t have been surprised had she worn down quickly and checked out. Eventually, I had to go drain, so I went inside. Afterwards, I waited by one of the doors to swoop in on anyone using a rider who was leaving; that’s about the only way to get one. I finally DID get one, called my wife, met her and gave it to her, then returned to the truck. She was about ready to check out, she said, but would look a little longer, since she had a rider. Bad move on my part! I once again considered digging poke roots, but was afraid she’d be ready to leave and I’d be a quarter mile away with a shovel in my hand.

I tried to nap a little, but all I really accomplished was to rest my eyes, though even that helped some. I also read a little in my current “little brown book.” When we finally got home, I was STILL considering working outside a bit, but the temperature was down to 36 and the wind was awful. So, I just went into my office and got on the computer. I had enough comments to answer and new posts to read that it was past time to be worth taking a nap, so I didn’t go upstairs.

I really hate how worthless I’ve become in my old age, and especially since my heart health went to pot. Oh well, worthlessness seems so natural to me now! The missus met one of the daughters of a deceased first cousin in the store, who told her that two of that cousin’s siblings, a brother and a sister, are both in nursing homes with dementia. I guess I should be ashamed of myself for complaining about my problems. At least I still have MOST of my mind. © 2017

Monday, January 2, 2017

Selling Out A Friend

When I was 11, a family moved in next door that had riding horses. It was only a matter of time before I was allowed to ride with them on their trail rides, when there was a horse to spare. Not surprisingly, it was something this ol’ farm boy really enjoyed. So, the spring before I turned 14, my dad helped me plow up some extra ground by the garden and plant potatoes, the plan being to use those funds to buy my own horse. Those who’ve raised potatoes know that there’s some hoeing and cultivating needed to get a good crop, so I took as good of care of my crop as I could and that fall, I had sixty bushels of potatoes. I saved back ten bushels for us and managed to sell the other 50 for $3 a bushel, which was a decent price in those days.

I checked around a little and found that horses weren’t selling all that high for grade stock, so my $150 got me a coarse-legged dark bay gelding that stood 15-3* and seemed pretty well trained. The horse-trader even threw in a saddle for that price. I had to borrow $10 off Dad to get a headstall, though. The gelding was seven years old and went by the name of “Dan.” I saw no need to confuse him, so Dan it stayed. He neck-reined well and minded pretty well in general. As it turned out, he was the perfect horse for a rider of moderate skill, for he was just ornery enough to keep me on my toes, but calm enough not to get me hurt. I rode with the neighbors a little more often after that. I also rode a lot alone.

I couldn’t leave him loose in the pasture, because he liked to pester the cattle. So during those times of the year when the cattle were using the barn, I had to keep him in his 14 foot square stall and take him out and exercise him every evening. In mid-winter, that sometimes meant riding him after dark, but that was okay. The farm looked different in the moonlight, and if there was snow falling, my whistling would make an echo in the back meadow. The deer and the night creatures didn’t spook so easily at a horse with a big lump on its back as they did with me walking the area. During the summer, the cattle would be put in the main pasture and Dan had the run of a one acre paddock by the barn. Still, I had to check his water every day, if the rain barrel got down a little and he got a can of corn and oats chop morning and evening.

I put a lot of miles on that horse over the next seven years and he was a true blue friend. He’d go anywhere that I pointed him, so I had to be careful. One day, he would have gladly climbed over a Volkswagen when a smart-alec kid was trying to be funny. I remember sitting atop him at the brink of a cliff once also, realizing that I didn’t dare make a move that he’d interpret as “forward,” or we both would be airborne. More than once, he tried too hard to plow through greenbriers where I shouldn’t have taken him and he got entangled. At those times, I had to climb off and cut him free with the penknife in my pocket. Such experiences taught me to be a little more considerate of my faithful steed.

I rode him a little less when I started dating my future wife and things began looking a little bit serious. I was 21 at the time and didn’t think it was responsible to let him grow old and die in my care and me be out the money. As a result, I spoke to a local horse-trader and he agreed to trade even for a little 14-2, two-year-old dark bay stallion he had that was untrained in every way. I figured ol’ Dan would make a good horse for some teenage girl and the trader would be able to find him a good home. I also figured that I’d ridden horses long enough that I could train the young horse with no problem. The trader didn’t show up until after dark, and as I led Dan from the barn to his trailer, it hit me that I was parting with a loyal friend. Tears rolled down my cheeks in the darkness and it was tempting to call it off, but that didn’t seem fair to the trader, considering that he’d loaded up a horse and brought it to, my home. My guts were in a real twist as the trailer went over the hill with my old friend in it.

It should have told me something that the guy was willing to trade even. He apparently thought he could sell Dan easily, I reasoned. It wasn’t until afterwards that I remembered hearing that the Japanese were paying big money for horse meat. I imagine the trader at least made an effort to sell ol’ Dan, but I doubt if he tried very hard. The fact that I’d probably sold my old friend for slaughter has tormented me ever since. The girl I was dating only stayed with me for five years of marriage, so I would have had more years of friendship remaining with ol’ Dan than I did her. If I’d known that at the time, I’d have kept the horse and dumped the girl. Oh well, hindsight’s 20-20, they say.

I still think of ol’ Dan sometimes. When I do, it’s always with a mixture of pleasure and sadness…….and still a little shame. © 2017

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Sad Ending And A Shameful Memory

Well, I just finished reading Robert Louis Stevenson's "Travels With A Donkey In The Cevennes." (The Cevennes are a mountain range in south-central France.) Being a travelogue written in 1879, it qualifies both as history and geography, which I found interesting. I find it of note that the man who sold him the donkey did so with tears in his eyes, and he did the same, only a week or so later. I, too, had tears in my eyes when I traded off the horse I'd had for seven years as a teenager and young adult. It was done under cover of darkness and was a despicable thing for me to do. Just remembering that evening brings a feeling of shame that I would rather forget. Perhaps I'll elaborate someday. Just for the record, despite the memory it stirred, I enjoyed the book.

A Couple Thoughts On Liberalism

My recent link on Anthony Bourdain got me to thinking (NOT a good thing at 3am), so here I sit at the computer. Having watched many of Bourdain’s travel/cooking shows, I know that he’s a well travelled, well educated fellow.  Sadly, neither travel nor education can give a person common sense if they don’t want it, thus Bourdain remains the eastern white liberal that he recently lambasted.

Like Bourdain, many liberals KNOW that liberalism (socialism/communism) doesn’t work. It’s failed miserably in every nation that’s tried it, Russia, China, North Korea, Venezuela recently, and some other scattered nations. It always leads to bad economies, tyranny and genocide. Yet they persist in spouting their hatred of all things free market or capitalistic. I believe that’s because they lack even the most basic understanding of how an economy works and of human nature.

The first thing that most folks can’t grasp is that a vibrant society has to contain a certain amount of poverty. That sounds cruel, but it’s true. Without poverty, there’s no incentive to better ourselves, thus no-one would try. Poverty is relative, of course, but there can’t be a society where everyone has what they want, or the economy would stagnate.

Let’s suppose that the liberal’s dream has been realized and we are ALL rich beyond belief with whatever substance is used to gauge wealth, gold for instance. We would have just made everyone completely destitute. HOW, you ask? Because it’s SCARCITY that makes anything valuable. If everyone has acres of gold, then gold would then be useless in determining wealth. We would have to find a new basis for wealth and thus a new medium of exchange. It might be oil, wheat, chicken soup, ammunition or anything else. But we would all be poor until such a time as the new economy, based on that substance, is put into place. Thus, making everyone financially equal would devastate the economy until it adjusted.

Another thing, if everyone really COULD be wealthy, who would do the work in society? NO-ONE would do the crappy jobs! Having alluded to the subject indirectly, who would clean America’s toilets if everyone was financially equal? Homeowners MIGHT clean their own, but what about public toilets? (Think parks and such.) No-one would be willing to work, so the filth would build to unbelievable levels. There would be no need to worry about toilets in the workplace, since no-one would be working (remember, there would be NO economy).

Now, let’s add a small dose of reality. All men (and women) are NOT created equal. Yes, it makes good rhetoric for government speeches and documents, but it’s a lie, IF you insist on taking it literally. All the founders really wanted was a system where everyone had the same opportunity to prosper and be free of government chains. (Yes, that was during the days of slavery, but that’s a whole OTHER subject.) Since we don’t all have the same education, the same raising, the same intelligence or the same set of skills, our “equality” comes from our willingness to think harder, work harder, or develop new skills to make up the difference.

Another thing, it’s been said that if you took everyone’s money, divided it equally and gave it back, within a year, the rich would once again be rich, and the poor would once again be poor. I don’t know about the time period, but I can assure you that the rest is true, especially the poor returning to poverty. No better example exists than the fact that many lottery winners eventually end up poorer than they were before they won. On the other side of the coin, those who understand how to accumulate wealth would simply start anew and soon be back where they were.

I repeat, liberalism will never work, simply because it refuses to take simple economics and human nature into account. © 2017