Archive for the ‘Mower Clippings’ category

Whatever . . .

September 26, 2008

Contestants in the Miss America Pageant broadcast from Atlantic City on Sept. 18.

Daniel Hulshizer/Associated Press

Oops! I think we missed the point here. We have obviously mistaken the revised Miss America contest as the presidential election campaign. Sarah Palin’s remarks qualifying her foreign policy experience, “I can see Russia from my house!”  is almost a direct quote from the Miss America spoof movie, Miss Congeniality. Her only mistake there was in not following the remark with a wish for world peace.

Somewhere in her family tree her cousin,  Michael (look it up) is very proud.

And while we are on politics, this morning’s paper followed up on yesterday’s news of a drug raid by one of my old employer’s that resulted in the shooting of two police officers and killing of the suspect – who incidentally was also an old acquaintance.

I can’t wait for the follow-up on this one, where our state’s attorney holds a town meeting and proposes arming all the landscape workers so they can step in to assist while they are trimming the lawn or some such. Additionally, Rep. John Bradley has probably already begun the first draft of a bill to prohibit shooting of a suspect before 8 AM, within 500 feet of a public road.


Ike and the Indians

September 15, 2008

Having watched hurricane Ike on the computer for over a week, he finally dropped by southern Illinois yesterday.  I hadn’t paid much attention but, several minutes after Nan had left for church she called from her cell and said that she had finally made it down the driveway after having to move several tree limbs.

I stepped out the back and noted our heavy patio hammock and frame were upside down and lying on the back fence. Several potted plants overturned, a couple of roof shingles from the workshop in the yard, and a general impression that a bomb had exploded in the treetops. There were leaves and small limbs completely covering the ground, and while none were of any size at all, 3-1/2 acres of them will make a sizable pile.

Returning to the house, I pulled up the aviation AWOS and ATIS on the computer and saw that both Marion and Carbondale airports were reporting sustained winds in the 45 mph area with peak gusts up to 60.

Old Ike just doesn’t want to give it up.

By late afternoon winds were light and what little rain we had was gone. Temperatures had dropped to where our indoor/outdoor temperature thingy was showing mother nature’s effort was producing a couple of degrees cooler results than our expensive Lennox unit.

Thus opening up the windows and patio doors  – leading to the Indian attack.

A little after 10 PM, we are reading in bed and enjoying the light cooling breeze when we are startled silly by an extremely loud screech, beginning low and rising in both volume and pitch, coming from what had to be the balcony off our bedroom. I had a fleeting thought that it was the air raid/weather warning siren things, but it tapered off into a WHOO – WHOO -A – WHOO!

Nan and I both looked at each other and immediately said. “Indians!” and burst into laughter.

I woke sometime near 4 AM and heard it again – this time the owl, or the Indian raiding party, had moved much farther away.

Swallows Return To Capistrano . . . (well, not quite)

July 26, 2008

Ever wonder how the Hummingbirds find your backyard feeders?

Every time I have my workshop door open, a couple of the little guys come buzzing in to flitter around the tail lights on the Tuono. It finally dawned on me that they are actually dedicated motorcycle fans who come scurrying around squeaking tiny calls of, “Ooooh, look! An Italian racing bike!”

Unfortunately, many times that attractive tail light turns out to be a cheap, Wal-Mart plastic container of sugar water where they hang around all summer, apparently waiting for Calvin to show up with his transmogrifier and change it into an Aprilia or Ducati tail light.

Last week I hung one of those mesh bag Finch feeders in the back yard. I had not had one up since last spring’s fiasco with the squirrels and missed the little yellow birds – but none showed up. I was wondering how they would find the little bag of thistle seed until yesterday morning when one appeared.

As the little thug who controls the hummingbird feeder seems to follow each trip to the feeder with a few minutes in the top of an oak tree, keeping a close eye on any potential sugar-water thieves, I envision a passing Finch asking. “Any thistle seed around?”

“Well, the fool I keep around to fill MY feeder hung some sock thingy on the back fence the other day. Might check it out, but it sure ain’t ever gonna be a bike taillight.”

Welcome back, Finches!

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!

May 15, 2008

I don’t wish to offend anyone or upset their beliefs, but I think it’s time we let a little reality soak into religious worship habits.

I remember attending church with my wife once when her Bible study class was into a lengthy discussion of whether a particular verse in the Bible contained this word or that one. I remember the minister asking different people who obviously owned a different printing to read the verse as written in their particular version.

I left wondering why.

I am no scholar, but I am sure the Bible has been translated through several languages, as well as written by different people whose views of the described events may vary from another’s perspective.

There used to be a party game – before we were old enough to buy beer or chase girls – where one person would whisper something to the next and it continued around where the last person would relate what was whispered to him and compare it to the original statement.

Sure made you wish for the beer – but enlightening enough to shake your faith in believing everything you hear. Two things have brought this to mind today –

I am currently reading Dennis Croukamp’s The Bush War in Rhodesia, which details the author’s combat experiences, much of which was as a member of the elite Selous Scouts, the Rhodesian equivalent of our Delta Force. During one battle, Croukamp was able to recover an enemy’s written journal, which he included in the book. The journal described a famous battle of the war from the terrorist’s point of view, and included passages such as, “. . . the nato guns of sophisticated make sent flying in all directions swarms of deadly bees.” This is an eyewitness description of what was probably a light machine gun – by an African tribesman.

Now let’s further confuse our written words with the introduction of translating from one language into another. Yesterday I wrote the post complaining about attempting to buy articles manufactured in Mexico with labels printed in Spanish. I originally titled the article How To Piss Away a Morning (and grouch about it) but got “cutesy” and popped it into a language translation program and put it up in Spanish as Como a Orina Lejos una Mañana (y cascarrabias sobre ello)

To really blow our faith in the printed word, if we drop the above Spanish translation back into the software for conversion back into English, we get this little gem; Like to Urine Far one In The Morning (and grumpy person on it)

At the risk of sounding completely sacrilegious, if you consider the multiple translations the Bible has gone through, it may, in actuality, just be the owner’s manual for a Ford Fairlane.

Como a Orina Lejos una Mañana (y cascarrabias sobre ello)*

May 14, 2008

Having agreed to cover the wings of an Ercoupe for a friend who runs the Marion airport, I began running down some of the supplies that I would need. This morning’s shopping list included a couple of high quality, pure bristle paintbrushes, a quantity of “throw away,” one-inch bristle brushes and a gallon of MEK.

I usually shop in Carbondale, but as I was to drop the stuff off at the airport, I went to Marion’s Home Depot. My first set back was finding pure bristle brushes. Seems all the stuff comes from Mexico now, and as part of what seems to be the goal of discontinuing English as our national language, all the labels are printed in Spanish. I ran into this problem last summer while remodeling the upstairs bath. I needed to add a light switch on a finished wall and was searching for an electrical box made for this installation. All of the wall boxes were packaged in cardboard with Spanish labels and, with Spanish not being my second (or first) language, I ended up having to open some twenty boxes to find the right one.

Here we go again with the paintbrushes. The higher quality ones are all packaged in cardboard where you can’t see the bristles to tell if they are pure bristle, nylon, polyester, or some combination of the three, and the labels are (once again) written in Spanish. Finally finding a brand that were of pure bristle, there were only 2″ wide ones (which I needed) but no 3″ (also needed.) They did have a quantity of the cheap 1″ ones, but no MEK.

Being hard headed, I refuse to buy two or three items from someplace that should carry all of this. So . . .

South Side Lumber in Herrin, who don’t have MEK or cheap 1″ brushes and have a poor selection of quality brushes – but again all Spanish labeled.

Next stop – Ace Hardware, where I find the most expensive MEK that I have ever seen, and all of their brushes were plastic handled – which melts in aircraft dope. Also, their cheap 1″ brushes were $1.69 – the same ones I usually buy for 35 cents.

I gave up and came home where I am studying my Spanish dictionary in preparation for this afternoon’s trip to Lowe’s in Carbondale.

* How To Piss Away a Morning (and grouch about it)

Can You Spell Alzheimer’s?

May 2, 2008

Yesterday morning at breakfast, I skimmed through a new motorcycle toy catalog and ran across the gloves that I usually wear. I was surprised to see that they had upgraded the gloves with some pretty significant changes; carbon fiber replaced the old leather pad across the knuckles and the overall construction was different.

I thought no more about it until about an hour later I pulled the bike out, donned boots, jacket, helmet and gloves to go for a ride.



And I’ve been wearing this pair since the 1st of April and haven’t noticed this?

I bought a pair of the upgraded ones last year and when I pulled them out of my glove bag this year, ended up with a little more variety than I would like. I can’t believe all the places I’ve been – and people I’ve ran into while riding the last couple of weeks. They must think I’m really gone.

Maybe so.

This Is Your Wakeup Call(s)

April 18, 2008

(As well as additional proof that I’m a Sweet Guy)

Wakeup calls this morning seemed to come pretty regular – and repeatedly – and early.

First call from Charles Richter at 4:36 AM was enough to get us all up and going as his call coordinated shaking of our bed with Nan’s jumping up and turning on the light. My instant response was to ask, “Where’s Sophie?”

Our Golden Retriever used to have seizures and while these have not appeared in a year or so of treatment, the trembling of the bed seemed to correspond with one those. We had always suspected they were a result of exposure to Hubie’s WMD attacks during the Sky-Raider construction. (See Sophie’s Health)

However, Nan replied by pointing to Sophie lying on the floor, head slightly raised and one big brown eye looking up with that, “What-the-hell-are-you-people-up-to-now” expression. “She’s alright – I thought she was having a seizure.”

Me too, except my sleep muddled brain now zeros in on the probability that some giant bird had fallen on the balcony outside our bedroom and is beating it’s wings against the wall in a desperate struggle to get away. As I was wondering why my wife would be so stupid as to stand close to that wall where the monster bird might any second come crashing through, she asked, “earthquake?”

While we were agreeing that the earthquake possibility was the lesser of the evils (I didn’t mention the bird attack) and getting back to bed – our second wakeup call came in at 4:46 AM. This one from daughter Dani who is spending the night in a St. Louis hotel in order to catch an early morning flight to Cleveland. She informs us that the hotel was swaying pretty well and there was nothing on TV but bad horror movies and she had been up all night.

Typical of her, as we have long suspected vampire genes there. She always works (or plays) nights and sleeps days – and her career centers on lab work including a lot of research with blood.

After that call, we chat for a second or two, wondering “who next?”

At 5:02 AM, the third wake up is again from daughter Dani who cannot overcome the desire to have her parents well informed of current events and tells us that the internet has already posted the occurrence of a 5.4 earthquake centered in Evansville, IN.

Good to know these things instead of wasting brainpower sleeping.

Followed by the fourth wake up at 5:44 AM by Nan’s nephew near Cincinnati, inquiring about our safety. Giving him a little credit, he is in a different time zone.

Nan announces that she quits and is getting up. We begin to wonder who we can call to annoy with worthless information and she suggests we call my brother and ask if he has fled to his basement.

Proving that I am, in fact, a sweet man we don’t make the call. (See One Sweet Guy)

Interesting footnote strengthening my faith in science are several news releases already on the Internet, pinpointing the epicenter of the (from 5.2 to 5.4) quake at 6 miles from West Salem, IL; 6 miles from Mt. Carmel, IL; 3 miles from Belmont, IL, etc.

Nice to have choices.