Monthly Archives: August 2015

Pony Goes Uptown, Makes New Friends

I have to admit, it was the Idiotic Brother who goaded me into it.  I’d heard there was a guy with the Carrboro Fire Department who has an old Massey Harris 44 and I mentioned it to the IB.  He said, “Well there you go, a natural first road trip for the Pony.”  Today I got up the courage and poured another gallon of gas in the Pony’s tank in preparation for the 4-mile round trip.  As a precaution, I stuck Gary Talbert (my tow truck driver)’s phone number into my wallet and put my phone, wallet and the camera in the Pony’s handy glove box.  I even brought the garage door opener with me and closed the door on my way down the drive.

I’m proud to say that the Pony didn’t let me down.  He cruised over and back with no problems.  And although the guy I was looking for had the day off, the Pony earned some other admirers during his visit.  Here are a couple of photos.

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While there, a guy came over and said he had an old Ford tractor to sell, and since one of the firemen was interested in getting an old tractor, they went off to discuss the matter and trade information.  When the firemen came back he said the guy wanted $1000 and that he was going to go check it out.  Oh man, I’m afraid the Pony and I may have sown some seeds of marital discord today.  Sorry about that.

And now for a Chapter I’ll call:  Stuff I’ve Invented
There’s a lot of stuff that I’ve invented over the years, not because I’m a Thomas Edison, but simply because over a lifetime you stumble on things.  Here are a few examples.

1. One of my best ones was the “A” with no cross-bar.  I came up with that one a couple of years ago.  At some point it dawned on me that I was wasting time and effort, not to mention pencil lead and ink, by including the cross-bar.  If one simply makes an inverted “V” there’s no other letter like that, so one can just assume its an A, but save a stroke.

2.  A couple of weeks ago I was downstairs and noticed that The Princess had a pair of my shorts cued-up for ironing.  Pieces of clothing in the cue I find, can remain there for anywhere from overnight to a few weeks.  So, I thought why not lay the iron on top of the shorts while they’re in the cue.  If the  Princess stalls long enough they may not even need actual ironing.  As it turns out the shorts were in the cue for several weeks what with the NYC trip getting in the way.  When we got back that nasty “fly flap” on the front of the shorts (which always needs ironing) was laying down just as flat as you please.  I’m calling this invention passive ironing.

3.  Of course, who can forget my invention, the butt shave.  Hey, I didn’t say they were all successful.

4. The Brucio, at Starbucks, a four-shot, grande Americano, but filled only to the tall line.  A great “waker-upper” in the morning.

5. And while we’re on the subject of drinks, how about my invention, the Broken ToeSure, I broke my toe in the process of testing it, but it is a great drink, and it was only the one toe.  Recipe:  a generous shot of Beefeaters gin, equal amount of Campari, a slice of orange, and fill the rest of a tall glass with club soda.

6. Moving from drinks to eats, I invented the peach/blueberry pie (PBP).  It’s like a peach pie only the handful of blueberries you put in gives it a little flavor twist and adds some nice color.  I challenge anyone who’s had a piece of my PBP to come up with a tastier one!  (full recipe on request).

7. The balanced meal.  No, not that old balanced meal you were told about as a kid.  I talked about this concept in my nutrition issue  To be one of my balanced meals all you need to do is keep the good things and the bad things in balance.  For example, an apple (good) and a Snickers bar (bad) is a balanced meal.  Even something like a martini is (by my rules) balanced, because it contains gin (bad), but olives (good).  That’s why when The Princess and I order a martini at a restaurant or bar we ask that they leave out the vermouth, because that would be two bads and just one good.

8.  The tractor diaperSimply a large piece of corrugated cardboard, laid flat underneath the tractor.  The box from a 40″ flat screen TV is perfect for a small tractor, but you’d want to use one from a 60″ for a big boy.  If one of these doesn’t catch about 3-months worth of dripage, then you really screwed-up when you rebuilt that tractor.

9.  Making art from “found objects” isn’t new, but as far as I know, I invented what I’m calling Clam-shell Art.  My new series of pieces is made from the plastic things you get food in at the grocery, which are then filled with shredded paper and cut letters.  Here’s one of my recent pieces.

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Is this the ultimate result of a guy who’s finished his tractor restoration and has too much time on his hands?  Or, do you think The Bruce Museum might give me a one-man show?  You’re not really meant to answer these…I know the answers.

Have a nice weekend, and thanks for reading.

Bruces, The World is Crawling With Them!

Goodness, where to start.  There’s a Calvin and Hobbs book entitled “The Days are Just Packed,” and that’s how I feel about the last two weeks.  Now as I sit here nursing a “man cold” (like a woman’s only with more whining), it all seems a blur.  Of course, knowing my readers as I do, you’re really only interested in the Pony, the weird and the funny, so I’ll try to stick to those.  First, the Pony.  Son Andy came down with us on the train from NYC to fish, relax, and naturally, spend some quality time with the Pony.  Here’s the proof of the Pony part.

Hey Bill, recognize the t-shirt.  Andy borrowed my commemorative t-shirt marking the 50th anniversary of Bill’s “Detroiter” truck stop.  Perfect for Pony driving!  The Pony is now asking where the “hot rod” driver is.  Andy actually “burned rubber” in the driveway when he “popped” the clutch.  Note to Gene and Lynne:  September is return to Wolf’s Pond month for the Pony.  Is the Pony’s space still free?

Moving on, or I should say moving back, let’s talk about the NYC/Philly trip.  First, what’s happened to the traditional roles of Life Savers candy.  I wanted a role while in New York (I think early stages of my cold had already begun), but neither of the drug stores I tried had them.  They only had bags of loose ones back in the candy isle.  The youngsters at the cash registers looked at me like I was nuts when I asked where the roles of Life Savers were.  I do note that you can buy them at Amazon, so they are still out there.  But you know, changes like this make me feel like the world is leaving me behind, dammit.  Bill, can a person still buy a role at the Detroiter?

Now for the section called “Weird stuff you could only find in NYC.”  The first thing you need to get your mind around is that there 8.5 million people living there.  Add to that let’s say about half a million visitors at any given time.  That’s probably enough people, so that you can set-up just about any kind of retail shop and find a customer base.  Think of it, if one in a thousand people come into your shop, that’s 9000 people.  So, you get things like Potatopia, yup a shop where all you can buy are baked, smashed or fried potatoes.  But wait it gets better, how about Oatmeals, a shop that, you guessed it, only sells prepared oatmeals (32 kinds).  There’s one with shaved Parmesan cheese, another “pomegranite/pistacio,” and how about the “Elvis” which includes peanut butter, banana, bacon, honey and sea salt.  Then one night Andy and I were walking along Spring street and spotted Rice to Riches.  It was after 9:00 pm, the place was crawling with customers, so I had to check it out.  Turns out all they sell there is rice pudding, but in dozens of different ways.  A few of them:  “Sex, drugs and Rocky Road,” “Oreogasm,” and “Almond Shmalmond!”  Of course later, after dinner we went to a specialty shop that wasn’t weird at all and where the customer base goes up considerably, The Little Cupcake Shop.  Fabulous!

Another strange thing we saw during our trip was in Greenwich, CT, not NYC.  Remember that post where I included a photo of my inititials in a big banner over an art museum?  Here’s the photo to refresh your memory.

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Well, check this out.


A nice fellow took that photo of the “fam” in front of my museum.  No, there are not wax images of guys named Bruce in there.  It’s a small, but classy museum ordinarily dedicated to science and specifically targeted at children.  While we were in town, however, there was an exhibit there of the art of Hans Hofmann.  I’ll just include one photo here of a couple of Hofmann paintings that were among my favorites.

Version 2Photo credit:  Andrew Boehmke, 2015

Note how the artist has appropriately and effectively employed Massey Harris Red and Straw Yellow paint hues in these pieces. (1)    That Hofmann is a genius!  So, my museum (which I could not resist), great art (which we all love) and a train ride to get there (for Andy and me), how could we resist.  It was a perfect day, the museum, followed by lunch in Greenwich, and since we came back into Grand Central Station on the return, we enjoyed happy hour at Cipriani’s, home of the best martini in the world, and as a bonus, a view down on the cavernous station with its hubbub of people rushing to and from their trains.  But if you go, be careful; one of those martinis is great, more than one, suicide!

Next up, another chapter in Guys that look like Bruce.  Remember this one?

Bruce's twin revised

He was spotted by the Idiotic brother in a California Taco Bell.  Some resemblance I’ll admit, but I wouldn’t be caught dead in “camo” shorts.  Now in the last two weeks there have been a couple of more sitings.  First, friend and occasional blog reader, Mary Pat, sent this one.


The image was in a hiking magazine.  I guess there’s a resemblance, but come on MP, that gnome is as old as Methuselah.  Look, for god’s sake, he needs a stick to hold him up!  Do I look that crotchety?  Then cousin Bill was reading some other dude’s blog (pretty disloyal, Bill) and found what he felt was yet another look-alike.  I couldn’t snag the photo off this other site, so you’ll have to click on the link that follows:  LINK

I guess since you’re back with me, you remembered to hit your browser’s back button, congrats!  That guy is the best match for me yet, and that’s probably because he’s half my age and I’m so “well preserved.”  But hoooeee, this fellow is the son of an Israeli goat farmer and cheese maker.  I love goat cheese!  And thanks, Bill, for not saying that I look like his father.

From me (and all the other Bruces), thanks for reading.

(1) All States Ag Parts catalog numbers 108368 and 108372 respectively.

July in North Carolina

If the crepe myrtle is blooming, it’s probably July.  I took this photo with my phone a few weeks ago.

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How about this guy who color coordinated his bird houses with the crepe myrtle bush?  I first noticed this artwork during a “morning 40.”

So much happens on my bike rides, sometimes I think, man, some day I’m really gonna miss this.  Of course I won’t miss last Thursday’s events when some sort of bee (I never saw him) got inside my bike jersey and stung me 4 times.  Ouch!

Then Thursday, I was shooting down the hill just shy of home when off to my right in the grass a hawk pounced on a squirrel, but due to my startling him he gave up on his intended breakfast.  But do you think that squirrel thanked me?

Then there’s the big yellow dog that sometimes chases me out along Morrow Mill Rd.  But his trick is that I never know when he’s actually going to  chase me.  He’ll chase me once and then sleep late for the next two months.  Then, just when I let down my guard, out he comes like a rocket.  I can just visualize myself as a character in a geometry  problem as some unknown math genius calculates whether the dog’s speed combined with his angle of attack will equal contact with me going in a straight line at 24 mph.  Note to math genius:  The dog is aging at 7 years for every one of mine, and I’ve noticed he’s putting on weight.  Note to Cyndy:  If I don’t return home someday, the math problem took an unexpected turn in the dog’s favor.  Look for me in front of the ranch house with a dog house on the front porch, a half mile west of Millikin Rd.

Moving on, I chuckle every time I think about it, but I was fixing dinner last night, and I’ll admit that I’d had a glass of wine, OK maybe two.  I noted that the recipe called for a lettuce side dish, and said to Cindy, “Do you want a ledge of wettuce?”  After she stopped laughing, she said, “From Elmer Fudd, I don’t think so!”

In Pony news, I’ve been doing a little leak investigation.  By the way, Gene and I call the big piece of cardboard that I keep under the Pony his diaper.  Every now and then, just like with all big babies, we need to change his diaper.  I’d also add that the diaper analogy holds up in another way.  What leaks out of the Pony’s rear end is way nastier than what leaks out of the front!

Anyway, by process of elimination (I drained the hydraulic oil), I determined that the oil dripping onto the diaper toward the Pony’s front end was coming from the hydraulic pump.  The photo below is the hydraulic pump and tank.


So you are properly oriented, the fan screws onto the round thing on the right with all the holes around it.

So, the good news is that the engine is tight, but the bad news is that that pump (which I had totally rebuilt) is leaking.  After consulting with the Idiotic Brother, we’ve decided to try a non-surgical leak remedy.  I’m going to pack the hydraulic tank with grease instead of refilling with oil.  There are several advantages of this fix.  Most obvious, I don’t actually have to do anything.  And second, if this doesn’t work, I get to blame it on the IB.  As a back-up source of advice, I floated this fix by the guys on the tractor discussion board.  I got no “Holy crap, don’t do that” messages, so stay tuned.

The Princess and I are heading up to NYC this week.  There’s a ton of good blog material up there, and I’ll fill you in on my return.  I see now that I titled this post July in North Carolina, and here it is August 1.  Ah well.  Enjoy the dog days everyone.  Thanks for reading.