Friday, August 31, 2012

Weird in Watauga

Near Half Price Books.  I'm guessing this is a chick car?

Introducing the Nissan Coquette.
I didn't verify this - but judging from the pinstripe design, there should be a 'tramp stamp' on the bottom of the trunk lid. The steering wheel cover is zebra striped - I'm guessing the leopard print seat covers are at the dry cleaners.

On a clear day in Texas...

You can see for a ways...


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

D-I-Y Christians?

Col 2:12 - When you were baptized, you were buried together with Him. You were raised to life together with Him by believing in God’s power. God raised Jesus from the dead. (NIRV)

When the Storm Comes - Self-Help from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

And now, how about a little Willie?

Also known as the mating call of the Crosstimbers Dewey.  Not that I know, or care to.

This version is pretty good, as Mr. Nelson actually makes an effort to sing, instead of talking the words (in awkward cadences), and Mickey Raphael's harmonica playing is soulful:

Over the weekend I caught part of a PBS special with Willie, Ray Price, Merle, and Ray Benson  (it was as though the cameramen didn't even know Mr. Benson was on stage - and he's hard to miss).  It was kind of a disappointment, as the Red Headed Stranger seemed mostly bored  - with his own songs.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday night musings

  • Middle son moved into his dorm at College Station over the weekend.  He seems to be excited that he's got the room to himself this week.
  • Ran into an old friend at the supermarket tonight, on the greeting card aisle.  From a distance, I stage whispered: "Better get some flowers with that!"
  • Somewhat to my surprise, he really was looking for an anniversary card.  "Yeah, it's gonna be 30 years - I guess she just hasn't figured out a way to shoot me and get away with it."
  • Thankfully, I avoided that fate.
  • Car follies 1:  Sunday morning it took four tries to start my car to go to church.  Once it fired up, it was running like a sick dog.
  • Nonetheless, I got to church, despite having to shift to 'N' at the stoplights to keep it from dying.  I figured some water had condensed in the fuel tank or something.
  • Went to Sam's Club after church, thinking a few miles would burn out the moisture.
  • Nope.
  • So, back at the house, I got out my handy VTech OBDII reader - I think it's made by the same people who make electronics for four year olds. 
  • Not the sophisticated device that Manny Mojack uses, this one gives a simple four digit numeric code, that, in conjunction with a Ouija Board, Magic Eight Ball, and Quisp Secret Decoder Ring, gives insightful advice like "check under the hood", "have you consulted a mechanic?", or "Do you like to watch movies about gladiators?"
Archaeologists found an identical one in King Tut's Tomb...
  • Whatever the malfunction, it hadn't triggered any codes.
  • So, I got to checking around, and found a 3/8" vacuum line had come loose from the air plenum between the air filter and manifold, in the vicinity of the MAF.  (No, that's not a dirty word, though if you have a dirty MAF sensor, there is an aerosol spray you can use to clean it.)   Surprisingly, there really wasn't a telltale hiss - probably why I'd not suspected earlier.
  • I replaced the rubber boot and the engine ran smoothly - but there was no indication why it had come loose in the first place.
  • My best guess is a squirrel might have taken shelter the evening before in the engine bay, during the rainstorm, between the air plenum and firewall.

  • Car/critter follies 2: Talked with my folks, who are readying for a brief trip.  Mom said they were going to take the TrailDuster (Plymouth version of a RamCharger) to an event.  This vehicle has resided at their vacation home for about the last 15 years.
Not actual TrailDuster
  • I remember ferrying it up there when oldest son was about 3 years old, just the two of us.  On the way up, I'd looked for an economy motel along I-25, starting at Raton, NM.  No luck in Trinidad, Walsenburg, Pueblo - by the time we got to Colorado Springs the rates were even higher, and it was nearly 2 a.m.  As frugal cheap as I am, I wasn't going to pay top dollar for just four or five hours in a room.
  • So, we parked between an EconoLodge and a high rise office building and hung clothes in the windows to block the electric sunshine from the parking lot's mercury vapor lamps.  I curled my 6'1" frame in the back seat and made #1 son a pallet on the [flat] floor between the back seat and the front seats, and covered us both with a blanket.  We managed to get about 4-1/2 hours of sleep, then went to a nearby Denny's to get coffee and hot chocolate, and resumed our travel.  (The next year, in my Trooper II, we actually stayed at a motel, checking in early enough to shower and catch the premiere episode of Spin City.)
  • Back to the critter story - Mom says Dad couldn't figure out why said Duster was having difficulty on even small grades.  (It's running a Mopar 318 with pretty much all of the emissions equipment disconnected - legal due to its age and the state where it now resides.)  Now, if you knew my Dad - all of his equipment is immaculately kept - 2500 mile oil changes, bearings packed, u-joints greased - he's very good at preventive maintenance, so it's not an upkeep issue.
  • He checked the exhaust pressure: one side had excellent exhaust flow, the other - nothing.
  • So, he started checking to see what was plugging the other bank - finding that the muffler and pipe was plugged, nearly solid, almost to the exhaust manifold.
  • Removing the 'debris', they found that it was...corn.  Probably the same corn kept in the garage to feed deer that wander into town in the winter, deposited in the cozy confines of the 'Duster's plumbing by mice/rats/chipmunks.
Who, me?
  • Once the blockage was removed, the old 318 ran just fine.
  • I'm thinking they'll put some tennis/racquet balls with orange ribbons in the tailpipe (similar to what they used to do with the Bonanza exhausts) at the end of this trip.

Um, I don't think so, Tim...

Not sure if it was just a random commercial dropped into this article, but I thought it was funny that it was "Verizon - share everything".

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Constitution sets sail

...around Boston Harbor.

After renovations, the famed US warship, nicknamed "Old Ironsides" sailed for 17 minutes around the Harbor, according to an AP report.

Like many of you, I was not aware we still had a Constitution.

USS Constitution

My research has not yet been able to confirm if the vessel was previously nicknamed "Perry Mason".

Friday, August 17, 2012

Just steroids?

By now it's not news that Belarus' Olympian athlete Nadzeya Ostapchuk has been stripped of a gold medal in the women's shot put competition, for having tested positive for steroids.

Hate to be cruel here...but, steroids?   Did they think to check for testicles...?

Who doesn't?

And, proving once again that the '80s were a musical wasteland, some orginal brokeback cowboys:

Need more evidence to convict the '80s of musical suckitude?  How about some Falco (RIP):

Now, personally, this video's redeeming quality (beyond the generous displays of cleavage) comes from the intro - the drawings of Stephansdom (there's tons of skulls and skeletons in its basement catacombs - I've seen them), and the Prater Ferris Wheel at the Viennese amusement park where I mis-spent some summer afternoons riding said wheel, go-karts, and bumper cars - and playing slot machines - in 1974.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Chain (a song for Joe Biden)

Hard to believe this song is 35 years old.  This performance is from the '82 Mirage tour (I found a '79 Tusk tour version - the sound was poor and the band appeared totally coked-out).   Lindsey looks like Tom Joad (or maybe a Little Rascals extra) on speed, but his guitar performance is spectacular.  And the experimental vocal harmonies are interesting.

Middle son can play a mean version of the bass line of this song.

Who needs liquid nitrogen to break the chain?  All it takes is a cold heart.

Run in the shadows...

Kamikaze Dad

At the fair last week (following our bike ride to see the corn), one page of coupons was exactly what we needed for three rides for both of us.

Daughter picked the baddest, fastest rides - the Crazy Legs (or similar), Zipper, and Kamikaze.

Trying not to drop the phone while taking picture...

Not So Bad Dad

The weekend prior to buying the [wrong] shoes, we were getting ready to watch a DVD, but I was checking my email first.

From the other room I heard Daughter shrieking, and as I jumped up from my chair, I saw her, with Sienna, walking toward my bedroom.

"What happened?"


Knowing Sienna never bites, I asked "What bit you?"

"The bug."

Turns out she'd gone into the kitchen to make a candy dish before the movie, and in the dark had stepped on a Texas red wasp (we'd been battling a series of them in the house) that was on the floor.  They're normally not particularly aggressive, but I suppose they get a mite irked when stepped on.

In my role of Dr. Dad, I examined her foot, right between the ball and the arch.  There was a small mark, but no swelling, so at least I knew we didn't have an allergy problem.  Also, I was pretty sure there was no stinger left behind.

I ran a couple inches of bath water with some colloidal oatmeal powder - she soaked her foot for five to seven minutes, after which she said it felt better.  (It must have, as later on, we went for a late night bike ride - her request - with no complaints.)  While soaking the foot, she instructed me to find the wasp and kill it in a slow, deliberate way.  (I think women are more sadistic/Schadenfreudian than men - but then, I wasn't the one who'd been stung...)

I managed to swat the insect with a broom, and then crushed it with a shoe.  I brought the body for Daugher to see.

"Cut its head off, Daddy."  I pulled out my pen-knife, and cut the head portion.

"Cut off its rear end."  I mostly severed the insect, just aft of the thorax.  The stinger, about 2mm, continued reflexively retracting about every 30 seconds or so for a while, revealing that it was not in Daughter's foot.  Finally, after examining the lifeless - and in almost three pieces - body, my young Quincy M.E. pronounced the creature properly dead, and requested that it be flushed down the toilet.

I can't be Superman.  But maybe, for a couple more years or so before she's a teenager, I can be Sir Lancelot with a flyswatter.

The Bad Dad Files

A few weeks back, I wrote that I'd bought my Daughter some cute shoes that she wanted.

Now, time for Full Disclosure.

I bought the shoes the weekend when she was not with me.  At the time, I was pretty sure I'd made a sufficient growth allowance since last time I'd bought shoes.

I was wrong.

All three pairs were too small.  Bummer.  And even though there had been many dozens, maybe hundreds of pairs when I bought them, there were but six pairs - none her size or style - when we went back to see if we could exchange them.

So, we ended up with some flip-flops and an inexpensive MP3 player.

Oh, well.

Cast in Bronze

While perusing the blogs this evening,  the TV in the other room was tuned to the No Body Cares network, specifically America's Got Talent, a sometimes questionable premise.

Then I heard Carol of the Bells, played on, well, bells.

Even before I got to the other room, I knew it was Frank DellaPenna/Cast In Bronze, having first seen the act several years ago - and a couple of times since - at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival.

The judging panel panned the performance - admittedly, it's no Pink Floyd laser light show.  But, it was cool to see that he made it to the semifinals and got some national exposure.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Child of the Corn

Over Spring Break, Daughter requested that I take home a large bag of popcorn kernels from her neighbors who were moving.

I dutifully complied.

Knowing that at the rate of a couple of Stir-Crazy batches every other weekend, it would take this lifetime and the next to use 40 pounds of popcorn, I kept a quantity of unpopped kernels in a bag in the car, and also made up a zip-loc snack bag that I put in the saddle bag under my bike seat.

For several weeks after, I'd toss a few kernels out the windows of the car, Johnny Appleseed-like, near bridges, creekbeds, and wetlands.  And Daughter and I did similarly on our weekend bike rides.

This past week I got a text from her mother, saying "[Daughter] wanted to let you know that the corn you both planted outside [name of store] is growing."

So, the other evening, we took a bike ride, and sure enough, there was a corn plant, doing quite well:

We're gonna have to start scoping out the other places we tossed the popcorn kernels...

Sunday Commodores Shoot-Out

This morning Around the Corner posted Lionel & Company's Easy.

OK, Corner, I'll see your Easy and raise you a Sail On...

I considered posting Fee Tines a Mady, which is exquisitely produced, and one of my favorites back in the day, but the tempo is so slow that the Blogger editor kept timing out before it would post...

Saturday Morning [two] Stooges

OK, since one of us was Sienna, I suppose it was only one

It all started when I noticed that she smelled, well, like a dog.  So I decided to give her a shower.

No big whoop.  Done it bunches of times.  Heck, occasionally Daughter even gives her a shower.

I start by removing her collar, and point to the bathtub.  She dutifully hops right in.  I follow, and pull the shower curtain closed.

She doesn't much care for being in the direct path of the shower stream, so I pick her 33 pound frame up and get her fur wet so I can apply shampoo.  Soon, she has been lathered and the shampoo massaged, about as thoroughly scrubbed as she's gonna get.  So now it's time to rinse out the shampoo.

As usual, I pick her up again, now about 35 pounds with all the suds and water, to rinse her under the shower head.  After just a couple of moments, she shifts her weight unexpectedly.  I compensate by getting a better stance in the bathtub - and step on the now empty shampoo bottle, which has fallen from the tub ledge and is now underfoot.

The next sequence seemed to happen in slow motion: My footing now unsecure, I lost my balance - Sienna still cradled in my arms as I fell outward from the tub - down came the shower curtain, liner, and rod - the commode bounced me away from hitting my head on the corner of the bathroom counter.  We hit the floor - wet, sudsy dog still in my grasp, the shower - now sans curtain, still running.

No broken bones - I get up and put her back in the tub, and shut off the water.  Surprisingly, she's not freaked out by all this.  I spent the next five minutes searching for the rubber pads that protect the shower tile from the rod ends - replaced and tightened the rod and reattached several of the hooks (the liner didn't even tear) - and finished rinsing the dog.

I dried her off, mopped up the wet bathroom floor, and chuckled about the whole incident.

At least she smells good now.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Thursday, August 2, 2012

She did what?!

Mother sentenced to 50 hours community service for allowing child to draw on rocks with sidewalk chalk. - Richmond, VA News, Weather, Traffic

Oh, the humanity!

Sometimes, it feels like it would be a relief if Armageddon or the Apocalypse were upon us.

I'm assuming that the 4 year old wasn't enrolled in a high school on the west side of Fort Worth, and wasn't drawing pornographic images...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What do we have here?

Why, it's the Sig P938.

Says Shooting Times: "Mechanically, the P938 is in all ways a little Model 1911, reminiscent of the Colt Mustang .380, but in 9mm. It is a recoil-operated, locked-breech, single-action mechanism with conventionally located 1911-type operating features. The slide locks open after the final round in the magazine is fired, and the magazine release button drops the magazine free. The pistol has an ambidextrous manual thumb safety but no grip safety. The design features a full-length recoil spring guide rod and bushingless slide."

A 'little' 1911.  That's cute.  So, if your self defense preparations anticipate nothing more threatening than an enraged European, wayward Weimaraner, cranky cocker spaniel, or a loose Lhaso Apso - this might be the handgun for you.

For the more serious minded, choose the Sig P224, an abbreviated P229, available in the more useful .40 S&W and .357 Sig calibers.

Wonder if someone makes some Mesquite grips for this?

Custom Glock accessories?

Who could possibly be interested in that?

Maybe not as exciting as double-diamond checkered cocobolo, pewter, or Mesquite grips, but I suppose ya gotta start somewhere to try to give the black gun a soul infusion...


Mesquite Full Size Pistol Grips State of Texas Inlayed Colt 1911 and Clone
As Seen On The Ebay!