The Pony is so mad that he is seeing even more than his usual red. I was reading the Wall Street Journal Friday, and the Pony was looking over my shoulder. All of a sudden he spies the article that relates how AARP (American Association of Retired Ponies) is dropping its opposition to cutting Pony Security benefits. “Holy Moses,” shouted the Pony too close to my ear, “I can’t believe I’m reading this!” But it was true, this stalwart organization, this gigantic protector of retired Ponies was changing its stance. In spite of the overwhelming objection of its 37 million members (didn’t know there were that many Ponies out there), AARP decided that in order to play a meaningful role in the debate on Pony Security it needed to take a more flexible position.
This decision was made by a few “big wigs” at the top of the organization. They decided to sell-out the membership without giving them a say in this “sea change” in philosophy. As the Pony and I read the article though, it started to become clear why the decision was so easy to make. The biggest reason is that AARP has become a conglomerate. It now makes close to 50% of its $1.4 billion in revenues from selling AARP branded health-care, financial products and other junk. Well sure, those red, Pony-logo baseball caps were pretty cool, but the bottom line is that AARP can now thumb its nose at its retired Ponies and not worry about losing a bunch of members if they take a controversial position. The article said AARP lost 300,000 members when they took a position backing President O’Bama’s (The Pony insists the President is Irish) health-care law, a law that cut medicare benefits by a half-trillion dollars and mandates the purchase of health insurance, which coincidentally (ha!) AARP sells.
The Pony asked me to write this little something in the blog, hoping in spite of scuttlebutt to the contrary that it will be read by the “high and mighty” at AARP. The Pony want’s it known that its fine for there to be people and organizations that are willing to negotiate and compromise, but that should not be the position of the AARP. AARP must stand fast and oppose any and all benefit reductions (including the rumored reduction in free oil changes after age 65). Whew, where’d that all come from…oh, of course, the Pony is now 59 and closing in fast on the Pony Security “gravy train.” I’ll tell you this, as we move closer and closer to engine start-up, I can’t take a chance on the Pony overheating again and literally blowing a gasket. So, no more WSJ reading; that’s off-limits from here on out.
Here’s a first, an idiotic recipe! Over 25 years ago the Princess and I (our son too) regularly visited a little restaurant called The Buggy Wheel in Shipshewana, IN. It wasn’t all great food, but they did have some dishes that became favorites of ours. In particular, we loved the broccoli salad. It took me a while, but after many visits and many small bowls of broccoli salad, I finally got up the nerve to ask for the recipe. The recipe is a little strange, because it is for a restaurant-size batch, but it is easily divided to one-third size. Since summer is in full swing, and this salad goes great with a lot of casual summer meals, I thought I’d share it with you. Don’t worry about not being much of a cook; if the Princess can make it, anybody can. Below is the actual recipe as written out on the back of a restaurant place mat over 25 years ago.
If you try it out, let the Pony and me know how you liked it. Next subject, the interminable Midwest flooding. It just goes on and on, year after year, and every year, month after month. I really feel for those folks, a lot of them farmers with Ponies, but I think I came up with a solution. Last week I wanted to bake a strawberry-rhubarb pie. I love the combination of sweet and tart flavors, but don’t like the way it always comes out runny, you know, too much juice. I found the answer to runny pie and Midwest flooding at the same time, when I tried a new recipe that included tapioca. I wasn’t too wild about the little beads of tapioca you end up with in the pie, but by golly, those beads each ate up 100,000 times their volume in juice. So, I’m proposing that each spring we dump a few truck loads of tapioca at the headwaters of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and I’m pretty sure there’ll be no more Ponies up to their axles in mud out there.
I know, I know, this blog has been all over the place, and you’re wondering where in the hell is the tractor news. Easy, easy, learn some patience; sheesh, it’s only been 10 months. Wow, I guess when I see it in print like that, it does look like an awfully long time. But, progress does continue to be made.
This week I got the gas tank sanded and primed. I’ve also placed a four-foot length of chain inside and I periodically sit for a while whirling the chain around in there. That is supposed to loosen rust and other garbage in there, so that it is relatively clean when I put the liquid, fuel tank liner inside.
Then Saturday I went out to Gene’s, and we spent about an hour pushing, tugging, jockeying and juggling the two halves of the Pony back together. Below is a photo of the gap before we got ‘er closed-up.
I’m calling this series of photos, Mind the Gap, you know, like the PA announcements on the London Underground. I’ve circled in the gap above the pinion cap I installed, complete with my home-made gasket and “black velvet” gasket sealer. Yes, Dr. Fullofit, I did clean the surface thoroughly with lacquer thinner before the install.
In the photo above, Gene is using a Channel Lock to close the new cotter pin around the drive shaft. Finally, with the work done in the gap, we were ready to close her up.
No, Gene isn’t trying to milk the Pony (although it sure looks that way); he’s fastening one of the bolts that will hold the Pony’s two halves together. Don’t worry, I fastened a few too, so after about an hour’s work, we had the job done. With that little job behind us, I’m going to focus more on the engine. Hopefully, any day now the new engine bolts will arrive, and I can torque down the head.
In the movie “What About Bob” the Richard Dreyfus character is a psychiatrist, and he writes a book called “Baby Steps,” explaining to his patient, Bob (Bill Murray), that it’s ok to progress with small baby steps. I’m taking his advice too and progressing with baby steps…of course in the movie Richard Dreyfus ties Bob up with explosives and attempts to blow him up. Sure hope it doesn’t come to that with the Pony.
Thanks for reading.