Monthly Archives: January 2013

Pony News Flash

The Pony is more than a little peeved.  It took the Idiotic Author about six weeks of fiddling to get him running again.  And the fix was so simple.  He wants it known that none of this was his fault.  Fine, I take full responsibility.  Gene and I went through the steps to time the engine yesterday, something I don’t remember us doing previously.  Here are the steps, straight from the Pony’s Operating and Service Manual.

Ignition Timing Steps

We followed the above steps, the whole procedure went perfectly and only took about 15 minutes.  Afterwords we hit the starter button, and the video below is the result.

VIDEO

Thanks for your patience Pony, and you folks to.  Woo hoooo!

Ohhhh The Weather Outside is Postal

Dear Readers,

Please forgive the long absence.  I’ve got lots of excuses.  First, through a combination of errors including disease and pestilence up at Kuhns in the Fingeronkill Triangle, it took three weeks to get the Pony’s new carb out of there and down here.  Then, on attaching said carb to the Pony, we had absolutely no luck getting the engine started.  I went into a deep funk, which if measurable, would show up on a Funk-O-Meter as minus 2537, not-so-coincidentally the same number, plus a minus sign that’s in the C-O-M after the inclusion of the carburetor.  Once we decided on probable causes of the Pony’s stubbornness, however, horrid weather set in, and neither Gene nor I wanted to venture out into the garage.  How cold is it?  Well it’s so cold that the only thing running on the Pony is his nose  (24 degrees, mid-day today).

And as the musical headline suggests, today we are experiencing the Postman’s favorite combination:  rain, sleet and snow, and in a couple of hours “gloom of night” as well.   I was asked today when I’d be getting back to work on the Pony and not too confidently stated, next week.  So until then, I apologize and assure you that when things get moving again you all will be the first to know.  (This section was written Friday, but today, Saturday, the Weather Channel App promised a form of winter weather I’d never heard of, Freezing Fog.  What the#^*&@!)

With that we must move to non-Pony news.  Naturally if there’s news on the poop front, well that comes first.  And wouldn’t you know, since I wrote to you last, there have been a flurry of articles on the subject of curing intestinal disease with poop transplants from a healthy person.  Call it “poop therapy.”  Right away I thought, wow, becoming a poop donor would be a great way to boost the Guinnea Pig-O-Meter.  And I wouldn’t even have to give up any organs, just something nasty that I can’t use anyway.  This demanded some research. 

I’m sure many of you saw the articles when they hit the papers, but those articles for the most part didn’t give the graphic details I read when I went on-line to research this.  What I really wanted to know, is how do they get the poop in there.  Well, it turns out that’s something they are doing studies on right now.  Two techniques have been shown to be effective.  In one they mix “it” with saline solution and send it down a tube inserted in the patient’s mouth and down his throat.  In the other they do it via a colonoscopy.  My goodness, which to choose, jeez, I don’t know.  The dog we had as Andrew was growing up (her name was Snoopy) chose the first method.  Actually, she skipped the tube.  It was so cute…we’d see her in the dead of winter, out by the street, playing with frozen dog turds, flinging them up in the air, all the while nibbling on them.  And I’ll tell you, that dog had an “iron constitution.”

Actually, Snoopy may have been ahead of her time.  In one article I read, it is theorized that some day folks will simply be able to take a poop capsule, a “poopsule” so to speak, for the cure.  No, no, no, not the entire turd.  In this instance especially, I recommend “doing everything in moderation.”  Snoopy!  Moderation girl!

It’s sure hard to go down hill from that subject, so I won’t.  Let’s talk donuts, mmmm.  Once a week, I’m still going into downtown Chapel Hill to the Krispie Kreme, for a half-dozen donuts.  And that reminds me, of a related incident.  The parking meters downtown don’t need to be fed until 8:00 am.  I pulled into a spot just a hair before 8:00 and figured, they won’t swoop in before I get out with my warm little friends.  I came out though, at 8:07 and there was a ticket on the windshield.  Talk about tough on crime!  That day the price of my donut habit went up by $15.  I’m more careful these days.  But I digress. 

I believe I mentioned that the baker out in Saxapahaw makes dang good donuts too.  I’ve been eating them pretty regularly, and its a highpoint of the “morning 40” when I can sit out on the coffee shop deck and eat one with my coffee.  When the Princess and I lived in Philly, there was a Dunkin Donuts at every other intersection, so it was easy to assume that donuts were just a normal breakfast option.  But I’m not sure if you knew this, but donuts are  bad for you, oh yeah.  If you hang around nutritionists much (which I do in my volunteer gig) such “food” gets a really bad rap.  So I was thinking that there couldn’t be a much worse thing for you than that, when last week there in the bakery case, was a new challenge:  a donut with bacon in it!  I am not kidding.

Well, naturally I had to try it.  It was a cake donut, rolled in sugar, with tiny bacon bits inside.  Delicious!  I thought I’d gotten away with something, but on arriving back home I didn’t feel at all well.  And I didn’t feel well most of the afternoon.  Hmmm, maybe donuts in moderation too?

You’ve got to help me out here.  Is it just me that seems to get all the bad luck, or does stuff like this happen to you all too.  I bought a pair of top of the line Oakley sunglasses.  They were stolen off a table on the porch where I take my break down in Pittsboro.  Live and learn.  So I ordered  a new pair, $350 down the shoot.  I got them and wore them a while and noticed the lenses didn’t really fit in the frames.  The shop sent them back to Oakley to be fixed.  I got them back, I wore them some months, looked at them one day and saw that the lenses still didn’t fit in the frames.  Back into Oakley again.  I just got them back again, haven’t worn them yet, but I’m sure crossing my fingers.

Next, since I have a small optical issue, I get my eyes checked once a year in the ophthalmology department at UNC.  I thought this year maybe I’d have real professionals recheck my prescription, so had that done too.  I took the Rx over to the UNC optical shop just down the hall and picked out some fancy new lenses (they turn into tinted lenses when outside).  When I tried to wear the glasses, for a week, I noticed first, they don’t tint outside and second, they made my eyes want to bug open.  I won’t drag this out any longer, but it turns out the Rx was WAY off and the shop hadn’t asked the lab for the “transitions” lenses.  WHY IS EVERYTHING SO HARD!  Just going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing it’s not just bad luck, but massive incompetence. 

How much of our lives is spent tangled up in junk like this rather than on what we’d really like to be doing?  I guess the older I get the more I resent wasting what is truly a limited amount of time.  Perhaps there should be a different kind of “day of reckoning,” a day when we get to negotiate for a few more days on earth based on time lost that wasn’t our fault.  I think I’ll start keeping a list, just in case.
Sorry Bill, no photos this week, but thanks for reading.

Tooth Fairy Steps Up for Pony

The Pony’s carb should be in any day, maybe even today, we’ll see.  In the meantime there’s been some potentially good news on the finance front.  A few weeks back, during the holidays a new jewelry/gold buying shop opened in the little mall where my favorite chocolate shop is located.  I’m not going to go into all the details, but the long and short of it is that I sold The Princesses crown!  Now, now, pipe down.  It wasn’t her actual crown just an old gold crown attached to a tooth she’d had extracted.  But hey, I got $56 for it, and took the check home and presented it to Her Highness.  Although we’ve cashed the check, I’m hereby suggesting that The Princess consider donating that amount to the “carburetor relief fund.”  With the pressure of the world now waiting for her response, how could she say no?

The jeweler told me an interesting story as to why she no longer tries to remove teeth from crowns.  She said that some time ago a woman brought in the gold crowns of her great, great-grandfather.  When the jeweler went to remove the crown from the tooth, the tooth just exploded into a million little particles of dust, which she couldn’t avoid inhaling.  Yuck!
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Netflix is insidious.  You can go in there and watch episode after episode of an old TV show, commercial free, you know, really immerse yourself.  Right now we’re watching old West Wing’s, and we’ll do two or three a night.  They’ve become so real to me that yesterday I cocked an ear as The Princess listened to her “news” programs, to try to catch whether there was any news coming out of Kumar.  Then I remembered, oh right, Kumar is a made up nation.
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Speaking of news shows, The Princess listened to a segment recently on the subject of lead poisoning that covered the horrible effects of lead poisoning on brain function.  They say even minute amounts of exposure to lead as a child can diminish brain capacity for life.  The upshot of this is that now The Princess claims that had it not been for all the lead she ingested as a kid, she’d be a genius today.  I say, if she was such a genius, why’d she eat that lead in the first place?
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The Princess and I have a great idea for a new start-up company.  We’re going into the lucrative field of management consulting.  Do you remember all those deep, philosophical discussions you had back in college…you know, the ones where you waxed on brilliantly on a bar stool sharing all kinds of insightful thoughts and theories, all the while well lubricated with your favorite draft beer choice.  Well, recently we’ve discovered that you actually were smarter in that environment.

We’ve been working the daily crossword from the paper for several years now.  We’ve noticed that even when hopelessly stumped at the end of a day, if one of us comes back to the puzzle the next day with a fresh mind, there’s a chance that things will begin to “pop” again.  We theorize that this is because this “fresh mind” also has a “fresh slant,” so that answers that evaded before now become clear.

Even more effective we’ve found is looking at the puzzle on day 2 while drinking a martini.  After about half-way through a martini, I’m a genius!  I don’t just have a new slant, I’m thinking all over the place, you know, “outside the box.”  Answers fly into my head that previously eluded me.  We call it the “Martini Principle.”  Of course, a company can’t just get everyone liquored up.  Care needs to be taken only to get a few R&D people into this state, while decision makers and people who actually make stuff remain sober.  We were struck dumb with the simplicity and brilliance of our concept and feel it could gain huge acceptance in the corporate world.  At least that’s how we felt last night during cocktail hour.
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The Google search engine is an amazing thing.  An organic produce farmer up in Ontario, Canada was working on his 1947 Pony and needed the spec for the distance between the flywheel and the clutch release levers.  He put a few words into Google, and “voila!” up popped my blog post wherein that spec is referenced.  Over a few days we emailed back and forth, and I was actually able to provide John (Wilson) with some useful information.  John and his wife have a website for their business, Dolway Organic Gardens.  They’ve got about 25 acres in organic produce, and their Pony is an invaluable part of the operation, logging about 200 hours per year.  Since I don’t have any photos for you of my Pony this week, I’m including a slide show from the Dolway Farm.  These are really beautiful photos and…hang on until the end, because the last one is a great shot of John working the field with his Pony.
slideshow

Have a nice weekend everyone.  I’ll get back to you as soon as I can with news of the Pony’s new carb.  Thanks for reading.

Pony Sings: All I Want for Christmas is a New Carb

Although it’ll be a few days late, the Pony will get his wish.  Last week I’d sent the Pony’s old carb up to Oxford, NY, so that Ken at Kuhn’s could look it over and give an opinion as to whether it’s worth repairing.  The call came in on Friday, and I won’t bore you with details, other than to say that even if a repair were possible (which it likely wasn’t), the fix would have carried a low probability of success.  So, I told Ken to junk it and transfer me back inside to Carol, so that I could order the new one.

I stammered so much before actually ordering the new carb that I’m sure Carol (Maggie was on holiday) wondered what my problem was.  I told her that I always hesitate before spending $331.00, so don’t be alarmed.  But I finally told her she could charge it to my holiday-stressed AMEX and stick it in the mail.  The Princess and Andy immediately wanted to know what experiment I’d have to participate in, in order to pay for it, and I’m pretty sure that anything short of organ donation…no problem!  I’ll tell you, if the new carb doesn’t make that Pony run like a dream, forget about the fiscal cliff, he’s going over the literal cliff.

Next subject:  editorial control, or more specifically, lack thereof.  This year just for fun I arranged unsold Speedy Ducks, etc around the Christmas tree.  I took a video of them to share with family members who wouldn’t be here for Christmas to see them.  The Princess was insistent that I also share it with my readers, and bowing to pressure, I’ve inserted it here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pypmYaEULIw

Moving on.  You must believe me that I am not one for designer labels; I just buy what I like.  An admission:  I buy Calvin Klein underwear.  I buy it because it fits great, no other reason.  Well, I was at the optical shop before Christmas buying new lenses for my glasses, and the optician I was working with teased me saying, “Oooo, fancy schmancy, Calvin Klein.”  It had been years since I bought them, so didn’t remember what they were.  As far as I know, those are the only things I have that are CK, but I tell you, if you wanna see a guy “stylin,” head on over while I’m reading something in my underwear!

Since its New Year’s Day, I’m just dumpin’ stuff.  After yesterday’s “morning 40” I totaled the year’s bike miles.  I had put a dot on the calendar for each day I do the 40.  So, 140 dots x 40 = 5600 mi.  Since I started keeping track(1991), I’ve ridden close to four times around the world (that’s at the equator).    I’ve got a little over 1000 mi to go in order to hit four times.  Putting it another way, if I’d put $40 in the bank each time I rode 40 miles, I’d have saved $98,000 (that’s with no interest).  I’m not bragging, but it’s a great example of how, over time, even small amounts sure do add up.

Another thing.  If I hear one more person call something “awesome,” that isn’t really, I’m gonna scream!  I used to differentiate myself sometimes from the younger generations by saying I’d grown-up, gone to high school, college, even grad school before there was such a thing as the personal computer.  Now I think more in terms of, “I’ve lived most of my life, before anything was “awesome.”  Man oh man, was I deprived!  What do you say we make 2013 the year in which most stuff is just a little better than average.  “Hey man, that was sooo BTA!”

In the “blast from the past” category, a couple of weeks ago a comment came into the blog from an old friend.  How old?  Well, I hadn’t heard from him in 43 years; he was my college roommate during my senior year.  After getting his comment, we talked on the phone and caught up on each other’s lives.  He’s retired now too after a career of teaching and coaching at the high school level.  What I remember of the year we spent as roommates was the fact that he was 21 (so drinking age) and I wasn’t.  We went to all the bars in town where he was a regular, and since I was with him it was assumed that I was of age too.  There were some mildly confused bartenders later, when I showed up at all those same bars on my 21st birthday.  I was just taking advantage of the local custom that the bartender buys you drink on your 21st.  I also remember the hellacious hangover I had the next day!  Kerm, it was great you looked me up; stay in touch.

As I sit here by the warm computer, in both my Calvin Klein’s (guess which one is hanging around my neck; oh for cripe sakes no, it’s not the underwear) I think back on what was important to me in 2012.
* Afternoons in Gene’s garage with friends Gene and Lynne and the cantankerous Pony.
* Minnesota.  My visit to Young America, a clean bill at Mayo’s, and some precious time with my godmother, Laverne and her husband, Richard.
* Strawberry pickin’ and making jam.
* My feet up, sitting on the deck overlooking the Haw river, at the coffee shop in Saxapahaw, the mid-point of a summer morning 40.
* My volunteering gig in cardiac rehab, the friends there and the shared stories.
* Of course, The Princess,  We’ll notch our 44th in 2013.
* New York trips, time with Andy and the fun of seeing new things.
* And you folks.  If it wasn’t for you, well, the Pony’s story would have gone unwritten.

In 2013 I’d just love a lot of the same stuff mentioned above, and for that carb to work miracles on the Pony, and maybe a big sale on Beefeater’s Gin, you know…a better than average year.  The best to all of you for 2013.  Thanks for reading.