Monthly Archives: June 2012

Justice John Roberts taken into Custody

When our son, Andy, was 5 or 6 years old, he and a friend played the same game incessantly for months on end.  They would pretend that they were FBI agents and acted out numerous plots to try to find and capture the ever elusive John Roberts.  Don’t ask me how they came up with that name, but even back then The Princess and I found the whole business amusing.  As far as I know, back then in the late 70’s John Roberts was never apprehended.  It took  elevation to the Supreme Court to finally bring this heinous criminal onto the FBI’s radar screen. 

Yesterday, just after the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Health Care Act, Roberts was captured.  He was taken into custody by the two 37-year-old agents that had sought him for most of their lives.  Folks might argue about the length of the hunt and the belated capture, and there will be heated debate over whether further crimes were committed while on the bench, and which of his votes would be considered crimes.  And for years to come there will be discussion over whether Roberts final ruling might have been some kind of “deal,” made for reasons we’ll never no.  I just say, Blair and Andy, your “nutso” dedication and persistence paid off, “Good job men!”

The Princess is a big one for home remedies and is always relating to me crazy stuff she reads that will cure what ails ya without the need for actual medical care.  I had to laugh last week though when she tried one that supposedly cures night, leg cramps.  She had read that if you put a bar of soap under the bed sheets, voila, like magic no leg cramps.  So one day last week she tried it.  I asked her in the morning, “So how’d that work out for you?”  “Well,” she said, “I didn’t have any leg cramps, but I kept rolling over on the bar all night and waking up!”

I’m sending this short post out a little early while that news on John Roberts is fresh, but just to show you I’m working:

That’s the left front wheel and tire after a lot of time with the wire brush attachment on the drill and the medium sandpaper disks on the sander, plus a coat of primer.  There’s some significant cracking in the rubber, but the tire is holding together just fine at 30 psi.  Whether new tires ever find their way onto the Pony, depends on how long I retain possession.  For now though these tires have lots of tread and will do just fine.

Try to stay cool and have a nice weekend everyone.  Thanks for reading.


I never heard of these little rascals until about a week ago when I showed the red bites around my ankles to friend and life-long Carolinian, George.  “Those are chigger bites,” he said, with the confidence that only comes from experience.  When you’re talking about local facts and lore, you can count on a person, I’ve decided, whose family name was used to name a local road.  George has a road. 

This got me checking the internet for more information, most of which is in a word, disgusting.  Here’s an image of a chigger.

Nasty looking little devil, isn’t he?  Keep in mind that the actual chigger is virtually invisible at 1/50 of an inch.  The more I read about these things the more grossed-out I became.  I’m just going to give you one sentence from Wikipedia about how they work on a host (like me).  “Chiggers attach to the host, pierce the skin, inject enzymes into the bite wound that digest cellular contents, and then suck up the digested tissue through a tube formed by hardened skin cells called a stylostome.”

To complicate things, the red, itchy welts one gets can take as long a 24 hours to show up, so in my case it took me a while to figure out that I was getting bit down in my outdoor painting booth.  They got pretty used to me heading down there in the mornings when the winds are calm.  “Yo, guys, here comes Smorgabruce, get your stylostomes.”

I tried some “namby pamby” bug spray and got bit some more.  As I sit here typing this I’ve got 16 bites that I can see (and feel); there are probably more.  Lovely that they like to invade warm places like under you socks and are you ready for it…your underwear!  Ok, enough said.  I’m now spraying myself with bug spray that contains DEET before going to the paint booth, and it looks like I’m in the clear.  Of course, the DEET will probably kill me before I can get all the money out of my pension, but at least I’ll go out without all the damn itching.

Tractor News

I keep making progress.  I’m working on the left front hub and wheel now.  Here’s what all the stuff looks like inside the wheel hub.

You can click on the image to see a little closer detail.  That’s my bike stand there that I “repurposed” as a tractor manual holder.  I’ve got the hub all apart now, and everything looks pretty good.  I’ve got all the parts degreased and cleaned and am in the process of painting the exterior parts.  Turns out the yellow paint I bought called “Tractor Yellow” was way off the mark, so I’ll need a “do-over” on that  one.  Sorry there Cost-O-Meter.  Here’s another photo.

That’s the primer coat on the left front end.

Remember that blue bird that took off a bit prematurely over a week ago?  Generally most of the babies leave the nest within a few hours of each other, but even though we saw the adults going to and from the nest feeding, day after day we saw no sign of any more chicks.  Now today I came home from the morning 40 and saw this little guy.

He looks like a survivor to me.  By the way, that nutso father hasn’t been around for several days, so we don’t know what became of him, and the female is doing all the work.  Please ladies, no commentary.

Finally, here’s a suggestion for you if you want a flashback to your youth.  I was in the ice cream isle at the grocery, found no brands that I like on sale, so started to move off.  Then I spotted some boxes of Nestle’s Drumsticks.  Remember those prepackaged cones filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with chocolate and peanuts?  I had not eaten one of those in decades, but I ate one this afternoon and I’m tellin ya, the taste took me straight back to age 8.  Try some, yum!

Have a great last week of June, and thanks for reading.

Fathers Day, 2012

Remember that young bluebird I told you about from the spring brood?  He hung around the house moping, hanging on the windows, tapping the glass.  A scrawny little guy.  Well, even though young, scrawny, small and not so good-looking, he found himself a mate (she’s bigger than him), they moved into the bird house he had only recently fledged from and, well, you know “the birds and the bees,” and they’ve got chicks in the house.  He’s still wacko.  When the female flies to the house with food for the chicks, he zips along with her kind of like a fighter escort smashing into the windows and protecting his family from…well, his reflection.  He’s so obsessed that it keeps him form carrying his share of bugs to the chicks.  Then too I think it may have distracted him at a crucial moment this week when one of the chicks “bailed” from the house too early.  He was way too small and could only skim along the grass for three or four feet.  He was, as The Princess said, “a brave little guy,” but probably kind of nuts, like his dad.  That happened late in the day, and by the next day we weren’t sure what had become of him, but he was no where to be found.

There are probably some lessons to be learned here.  Some of you are already saying, “This is what happens when kids have kids!”  Others might say, that that idiot father let his macho self-image distract him (you know like the guy who’s constantly brawling in bars).  Then there’s those who’ll say, well, you can only do so much, and at a certain point it’s up to the kid (the Pontius Pilot group).

What I’d say is that fathers do the  best they can.  They come into fatherhood with all their own hang-ups, issues, perhaps talents, and some maturing left to do of their own.  They do what they think is right (even if they may be “nuts”), and after that its a “crap shoot.”    I so wanted to help that chick that left too early, but The Princess was right, “Don’t interfere.”  Fly like crazy little birds, to the trees maybe even the stars.


I spent 5 hours out at Gene’s yesterday and made some good progress.  I’ve been working so much in my own garage over the last several weeks that I wasn’t sure what I’d find when I went out to visit the Pony.  Look at this.

Yeah, a spider had actually spun his web across the door into the garage, thinking that since nothing’s going on there, I might as well go ahead and lay down some serious web.  Don’t worry, arachnophobia didn’t keep me from breaking through.  Here’s a series of photos of the day’s work.

This work was all aimed at allowing me to reinstall all that steering gear I’ve been working on.  As you can see, I’m now ready to paint that left side of the front end.  Good thing too that I bought some yellow paint this week, because I plan to paint the hub and wheel.  In spite of the fact that some yahoo brushed red paint on the Pony’s the wheels, they’re supposed to be yellow.

Have a wonderful week everyone, happy Fathers Day and thanks for reading.

I’ve Got a Scoop!

The Princess and I were in New York city (again) last week.  Being there is always an “other worldly” experience, but on this trip we actually did see another world from there.  Along with Andy, on Tuesday we went up onto High Line Park to see if we could view Venus transit of the sun.  Andy had heard that a viewing station would be set up on the High Line, so even though it was mostly cloudy, we headed up there to check it out.  We got lucky, and a brief, small break in the clouds brought the sun out, and sure enough we and a couple dozen others got to see Venus precariously silhouetted in front of the sun.  I’m including a link below to view my YouTube video of the event.  In person we had a much better look, but if you enlarge the image when the video comes up, you might just catch a look at the small dark “dot” on the left side of the sun.  You’ll see the Princess and Andy in the crowd grinning at the success of the viewing.  Now, if you want to see a really fancy video of the Venus transit, while you’re at the YouTube site, check out the NASA video, spectacular!

Please click the following link:  Venus from High Line

To me it was amazing that a bunch of hardened New Yorkers could get such obvious joy from such a small thing that didn’t cost them a dime.  Speaking of dimes, I always keep my eyes open in New York, because people just throw money around there.  Even though we were spending money each day like drunken sailors, its funny how happy it made me to bring home $1.15 that city folks just left lying on the ground.  Maybe I’ll waste that on a lottery ticket this week.

Hey folks, I’m still plugging away on the Pony.  Here’s a nice “before and after” on the section that the steering column sticks up through and which hides access to the little tool box and the battery below that.

I thought the decal there was worth saving even though I can buy new ones.  So as I rehabbed these parts I kept that covered with “painters tape.” Then when I was done with priming and two coats of Pony red, I put a few coats of clear coat over everything to protect the decal.  By the way, over the months I’ve managed to buy-out Tractor Supply’s entire stock of Massey Ferguson red paint, so I’ve placed a special order with them to ship more.  Paint cost is “killing” the Cost-O-Meter.  Oh, that other gizmo in the “after” photo is the steering shaft including the “worm gear.”  And, I found another use for the Pony’s battery cover.  Check this shot out of my Camry with its new hood scoop.

I got nothing else right now, so I’m going to send this out.  
I’ll get back to you all soon, but in the meantime, thanks for watching and reading.