Monthly Archives: August 2014

Where Are You, Sarge?

I reached a kind of milestone with the Pony last week.  I put the last of five coats of yellow paint on the rear left wheel, and with that the entire Pony has  been painted.  From here on out there should just be occasional touch-up work.  Later this week I’ll start wet sanding and using rubbing compound on that wheel, and it’ll then be ready to remount.  There are a number of mechanical issues that still need to be dealt with yet, but hey, the end is, well,  would you believe, just around the corner.

I’ve written in the past about chiggers, ticks, bees and even bed bugs, but I was thinking recently that I don’t often get bitten by mosquitoes.  I wondered about that, you know, why don’t they like me.  One reason I don’t get bitten when I’m out with The Princess is that mosquitoes do love her.  We can sit outside eating breakfast at a restaurant and she’ll come home with three or four bites around her ankles, but I’ll have none.

But even without The Princess shield, I get very few bites.  I’m not sure when it popped into my head, but a possible answer occurred to me last week.   Maybe it was my comments on Chikungunya (chikungunya! chikungunya!) that jogged my memory.  Back in the mid-1950’s the town of Waukesha, WI where we lived had a mosquito control program.  On calm, summer evenings the town would send trucks through the neighborhoods equipped with big spray machines.  Giant, white clouds of DDT would emanate from the sprayers and gradually waft from the streets throughout the neighborhoods.  As kids we thought it was great fun to hop on our bikes and ride in the clouds behind the trucks.  My theory is that I still maintain traces of the mega-doses of DDT I got back then, so that when mosquitoes check me out they think, “Yuck, he tastes of DDT; let’s go find The Princess.”

Downsides of the DDT.  Hmmmm, well, why did my hair start falling out in college while to this day my brothers still have heads covered with the stuff.  And The Princess says that I have what she calls “stink head.”  She claims that just laying my head on the pillow for a night leaves some kind of residual nastiness on the pillow cover.  Maybe it’s the DDT, but I think she’s nuts.  I don’t smell anything.

Since you’re not sitting here with me, I can’t turn to you and say, “Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.”  That’s why it’s great to have a “search function” as part of my blogging app.  For example, recently when I was about to make a reference to toilets I thought I’d check to see in how many previous posts the word “toilet” popped up.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you probably won’t be surprised to find out that 10 of the posts I’ve done have had something to do with toilets.  So, just to be sure I hadn’t mentioned my “stink head” before, I put that phrase into the search function.  Lo and behold, I had discussed stink head before, but of a totally different kind.  If you’d like to click on the following link to a post I did in October, 2012, I think you’ll enjoy the other stink head story:  October 12,2012.

This will slay you.  The Princess was reading the paper last week, and there was an article discussing interesting things about the area we live in and things to visit in the surrounding counties.  She said, “Hey, it says here that before the invention of toilet paper the folks over in Alamance County wiped themselves with corn husks.  What do you think of that?”  I said good grief, first of all that’s hardly something that would make me want to go visit Burlington, but more seriously, I wished I’d never even heard about it.  How can I ever eat an ear of sweet corn again without thinking of that.  Thanks a lot!

Last subject.  I was at the gym last week talking to a guy I know.  We’ve discussed politics before, a subject that is “verboten” in this post, and he had an interesting idea.  He suggested that our congress would get a lot more done if only women were allowed to hold office.  I guess my thought was, well, things can’t get much worse, so couldn’t hurt.  But a recent event unfolded on our deck that has caused me to reconsider.  I know, you are wondering what’s his deck got to do with women being in charge.  Well, I’ll tell you. 

This summer as usual we put our hummingbird feeder out.  Hummingbirds for their size can be extremely feisty and territorial.  It unfolded this summer that one alpha male hummer took control of the feeder.  He’d sit in a nearby tree, or even on the feeder hanger and give chase to any other hummer, male or female that tried to drink from his own personal “watering hole.”  We named him “Sarge,” and even though we found his behavior selfish and nasty, we forgave him somewhat, you know, the “law of the wild,” “survival of the fittest,” and all that.

But I had an idea to even the playing field a bit.  I hung another feeder on the lower level thinking that Sarge couldn’t possibly defend them both.  Well, the scheme partially worked.  Although he tried to defend them both, other hummers were getting in for short drinks before he’d chase them off.  While all of this was taking place, I’d noticed a number of times too that there was one rather fierce female that would fly right up in Sarge’s face.  He’d send her packing eventually, but she was “getting in her licks” (literally).  Then, about a week ago, Sarge disappeared.  We’re not sure what happened, but I feel a little guilty about perhaps stretching him a little thin with the two feeders to defend.  On top of that, there was that aggressive female.

This is where we circle back to the “all female Congress idea.”  Just as soon as Sarge disappeared, a dominant female began following all of Sarge’s old tactics.  She sits in the tree shooting out at both feeders trying to control things, but things seem way worse.  The other hummers, almost all females, are flying frantically around and fighting with “Spawn of Sarge” (credit to The Princess for that name) and among themselves.  They all seem to think they should be in charge.  It’s an absolute circus; none of them seem to be getting anything, what a mess.  Folks, I’m sure after reading these unbiased and scientific observations you can draw your own conclusions about how effective an all female Congress might be.  As for me, I worry about what happened to our dear, little tyrant, Sarge.  Rest in peace, boy.

Thanks for reading.


Forty Years of Deception and Conflict

I have no one overriding subject this week, just various little things that have been building up in the idiotic brain.  Like, for example, the Italian economy.  What’s wrong with you people; don’t you ever listen to me.  I asked you  (nicely) in a recent post to spend more money in Italy, because its economy was just barely grinding along.  Even if you did, I guess it was too little too late, because this week the Wall Street Journal reported that Italy has officially slipped back into recession.  Now listen, you can make up for not taking the Idiotic author’s advice seriously.  Go on line, buy a complete, Campagnolo Super Record, electronic, Ergo-shift, component “groupo” for my bike and send it to me.  You’ll make a lot of people happy, especially me!

The Princess and I were driving somewhere last week.  I had the radio on, and it’s my habit to turn it off whenever the news comes on; it’s just too awful.  This time I was a little late, and just before I cut it off the phrase “40 years of deception and conflict” came across.  The Princess, never missing an opportunity to give me a shot said, “Well that just about sums it up for me.”  I was ready for her though and retorted, “Oh come on, you’re well aware we’ve been married for more like 45!

I was out doing some more painting on the Pony.  The left rear axle housing is now done, and I’m within one coat of being done with the that left rear wheel.  Here are a couple of pics.

I think the Camry looks pretty good with the Pony wheel in front, don’t you?

The Camry photo reminds me, I often pick-up ticks when out painting in the drive.  It is now confirmed that the Lone Star tick can cause a person to become severely allergic to red meat.  So, if you enjoy hamburgers like I do, be damn careful out in the woods.  I’m not kidding, get some spray with DEET and use it!  And it seems this week that one topic just leads to another.  How about that chikungunya!  That’s the mosquito-spread virus that has been gradually trying to take hold in the US.  The media tried to scare us recently by reporting a case in South Carolina even though the dude picked it up in Haiti.  Me, I just like saying chikungunya…chikungunya, chickunguya, chikungunya!  And holy cow, the hysteria over Ebola is breathtaking.  They’ve got me so scared, I’m no longer reading emails from Africa, even the ones that offer “incredible investment opportunities.”

Public Service Announcement
If you have OCD, or even tend toward that affliction do not under any circumstances buy a Fitbit.  I’m talking about the little device that keeps track of how many steps you take, records them on your mobile device, flashes lights and vibrates (not even going there) at milestones, sends you little notes of encouragement, presents “badges” for achieving goals and, in general, ends up defining your life by how many steps you take.  I’m not going to try to be funny about this, because Raleigh native David Sedaris has already written most humorously on this subject (see New Yorker article dated June 30, 2014).  But I will tell you how the Fitbit has changed things around here.

Several weeks ago The Princess bought a Fitbit and had one sent to our son, Andy, as well.  They had both recently begun informal fitness programs, so it seemed a good idea.  In no time, all I heard from The Princess was how the Fitbit was cheating her out of steps, how “the damn thing wouldn’t light-up when she expected and worst of all how she wasn’t getting the “buzz” for doing 10,000 steps.  Well, I thought (most definitely keeping it to myself) you do actually have to walk the 10,000 steps.

Eventually, it became clear to her that she couldn’t achieve the goals by just painting in her studio, doing the puzzles in the daily paper and watching QVC.  That’s when the serious walking started.  She practically cried the first day she got 10,000 steps and the damn vibrator didn’t go off (the battery was low)!  I’ve got to give her credit, she’s getting in a lot of steps now.  Unfortunately, and here’s the downside, stuff that doesn’t yield lots of steps, like say doing dishes, is even less popular now.  I made the mistake one evening of offering to do the dishes while she went out walking.  Dammit, she called my bluff on that one!

Last week Andy was visiting.  Between the two of them it wore me out just watching them.  The Princess got in 14,000 steps one day.  And holy cow, I hadn’t seen Andy run since he was maybe 6, but one night he was out after dark, running under the street lights, just so he could get in his 10,000 steps.  I’m sure glad they had each other though, because I’m still “milking” that broken toe and getting in a lot of bench time.

But watch out, yesterday I broke down and bought “the bit.”  Comedy ensued when trying to set up my Fitbit account.  I got our Fitbits mixed up and got credit in my account for the Princess’s 11,000 steps.  When I told Andy about the screw up, with legitimate worry in his voice he said, “Oh man, mom’s really going to be pissed!”  Andy called from New  York Friday night.  He was out walking along the East River and wanted to brag that he was in the process of nailing down his first 20,000 step day.  Be careful people, not everyone can handle the Fitbit responsibly.

The Princess walked out wearing Fitbit,
and racked-up her steps like a nitwit.
What a mess it was
When she missed the buzz.
Her Fitbit had died, oh shit!

Have a wonderful week, and thanks for reading.