Tag Archives: Massey-Harris

The Pony Lives!

So, when I left you last it was with a plea for a solution to the Pony’s starting difficulty.  I thank all who took a shot at solving my perplexing problem.  You’ll recall that in my lame effort to fix the problem I removed the carb, took it all apart, cleaned it, checked the float, reassembled it and then reinstalled it.  All this went for nothing, however, as the Pony continued to sputter at best, and then finally I was left with the starter motor grinding away and no ignition at all.

Well, I designated Saturday as Pony day, went down to the garage and brought the Idiotic Brother up on the “horn.”  “All right,” I said, “What do I do first?”  He said that I should start at the spark plugs, checking for spark and if there is spark there, to keep working my way back from there to a point where there is no spark.  “Ok,” I said, “Now, you understand you are working with a total idiot here, right?”  He laughed, and explained that I needed to remove a spark plug wire from one of the plugs and touch it to ground, like one of the head bolts or to the manifold.  I tried this and I saw maybe one spark, but not much activity at all.  He then said to remove all the plugs and do the test again, explaining that this would remove compression, allow the engine to turnover faster and, if there was spark, I’d see a lot of it.  I’m telling you, when we were kids, there was no way I would have taken orders from my brother like this.  But in this case I had to recognize his vastly superior knowledge, but most of all I was just plain desperate.

Anyway, I followed orders, touched the plug wire to ground and I saw absolutely nothing.  “Alright,” he said, “The next step back from the plugs is the distributor.  If the points don’t visibly look damaged, remove the condenser and replace it.”  I can’t tell you how skeptical about this I was, because the the condenser I had in there had maybe a total of 25 hours of operation on it.  But as luck would have it, because Maggie Simpson (Parts Detective) had sent me a replacement distributor kit a while back, I had right there in the garage a condenser to slip in.  So, without too much trouble I was able to make the change.  I then did the spark test again holding the plug wire to a head bolt, and Holy Crap!  There was spark!  I hastily put everything back together, turned on the ignition, pulled out the choke and hit the starter.  I mean just bang, on the first try, the old Pony fired right up.  Hallelujah!  I called Jim back, let him hear the Pony’s little engine putt, putt, putting away, thanked him and then immediately went out for a spin around the block.

Alright,  there was one person, my friend Joe Strain, who mentioned the word “condenser” in his email to me following the last post.  But I don’t know, Joe, you mentioned so much stuff that I felt like you were just kind of throwing mud up against the wall and hoping something would stick.  I’m afraid I’m going to have to (grudgingly) admit that my brother “nailed it,” and in light of that I am hereby declaring him “HORSE WHISPERER TO THE BLOG.”  Regrettably, family members are not eligible for the jam, so Joe, you get the jam.  There may be a supply issue on that jam, Joe, so if I can’t scrounge some up, you’ll get a jar from next spring’s batch.

There’s more good news too.  In extended operation on Saturday, neither the radiator, nor any of it’s fittings leaked a drop, so the Pony now has another of its issues behind it.

When I explained to both The Princess and then Andy how replacement of the condenser had solved the Pony’s problem, both those idiots had the nerve to ask me what a condenser does.  Its always kind of fun to go to the tractor guys discussion board for an answer, and this condenser explanation was no exception.  Here’s a “condensed” version of the various answers:

What does a Condenser do?

1. They debounce the points.

2. A condenser or capacitor is used to promote a faster collapse of the magnetic field. Neither component will allow direct current to pass through it to ground; however, alternating current is able to pass through. A direct current that pulses very fast becomes alternating current and can pass through the condenser or capacitor. This allows the current in the primary coil circuit to pass through either of these components to ground.

3. The condenser is connected to the primary winding . Once the current stops, the magnetic field falls back into the primary winding to stabilize the current within the winding. The faster the current in the primary winding dissipates through the condenser, the faster the magnetic field will collapse. The rapid movement of the magnetic field increases the induction within the secondary winding and the current, being pushed by a high voltage of up to 50kV, will look for a pathway or circuit.  I think Dell has the best answer at least its simple enoufh fer me to understand

4. Condensers “absorb” the inductive coil magnetic field induced flow of electrons when the points OPEN. This is a normal natural coil phenomon and is actually what causes “sparkies” that make yer sparkles spark.
Without a condenser, that 0.015″ points gap will burn-out. When you really OPEN a switch (and points are a special switch) there is little/NO spark strong enuff to jump a WIDE-GAPP, but that itty-bitty 0.015 points gap ain’t wide enuff, so the electrons will JUMP the gap unless they are absorbed by the condenser.

5. NOTE: condensers are 2-metal foil conductors seperated by an insulative film. When the points close, the points actually short-out the 2-foils and DISCHARGE the condenser so there is a place ready the next time to absorb the extra electrons when the points OPEN. I went to college 4-yrs to learn that simplistic explanation.

6. I always use:  A condensor is a road block for dc current and a highway for AC current 🙂

7.  Right on Dell. That is what I learned also. I learned in addition as a side benefit that the discharge of the condenser when the points close aids in rebuilding the magnetic field in the coil.

8. Yes it prevents/minimizes the sparking at the points. How it does that is a mystery to me, I am electrically challenged as Dell puts it.

9. The condenser prevents points from burning out in a very short time.

Of course my favorite part, “This is a normal natural coil phenomenon and is actually what causes ‘sparkies’ that make yer sparkles spark.” And I like number 6 too.

I believe the stage is now set for “A very Pony holiday season.”  I’ll stay in touch as it unfolds, and as usual, thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video Games

Pony News
I had that open question of what to do about the cost of the starter rebuild, namely should it be charged against the Cost-O-Meter, or just be considered an ongoing maintenance cost?  Well, I got my answer.  Ever since my cousin, Bill, reminded me that the quarters I welded into the Pony’s oil pan should be included in the C-O-M, I’ve kind of considered him the unofficial blog accountant.  As you can tell from his reminder, he’s a real stickler.  He weighed in on this recent matter and said that I should consider the starter rebuild cost maintenance.  Cool, so we’re still shy of $4,000 on the old C-O-M.

I did spend a few dollars on hardware, however, when I converted my side panel attachment system to “quick release.”  But I’ll tell you, it was money well spent.    The side panels are usually held on by seven screws with washers and nuts behind the panels.  There’s a lot of stuff that one needs to get at behind those panels (battery, cables, fuel shut-off, steering box), and it’s a pain in the ass to remove all those screws every time you want to get inside there.  My attachment process only involves three attachment points all accessible from the exterior of the tractor.  I put together a little YouTube video demonstrating for other Pony owners how they can make the conversion, and it’s included below.  When you play it you’ll be able to see the neat, new system.

Although my acting certainly won’t earn me any Academy nominations, credit to son, Andrew, for the seamless videography.  And from that credit you have likely deduced that Andy was her for a visit, and on that you would be correct.  We had a barrel of fun canoeing out on the local lake, trying out new beers in the local brew pubs, and grilling anything and everything out on the grill (since he does not have access to that in NYC).  And, he always enjoys taking the Pony out for a spin (or two) on the “back 40,” so following are a couple of photos taken during one of those rides.

IMG_2216

Man At Work, Well OK, Play Really

20160824_131619

Son and Pony Taking a Breather

The only mishap occurred during the second ride, which I guess is my fault; we ran out of gas.  That Pony is a gas hog!

Other Pony News
A few weeks back I got a rather cryptic note into the blog simply asking me for the length of a Pony.  I went down to the garage, put a tape to the Pony and sent the dude the measurement (105 inches).  Then a week later I got an email from the same guy, Len Sharp, and it turns out he was fixing to bid on a Pony and wanted to make sure it fit on his trailer.  Turns out his was the winning bid and he sent the photo below of his prize.

1951 Pony

1951 Pony

Man, if my Pony had looked that good when I bought it, it would have cut 3 years off the restoration time.  Anyway, congrats Len, and good luck with your restoration.

Finally, in non-Pony news my Mom (Carol) will have her 93rd birthday next week, so I’d like to take this opportunity send out love from The Princess and me and our wishes for many, many more happy birthdays.  Thanks for reading.

Voice Prompt No. 9

CALL FOR PHOTOS
Just a reminder.  I need y’all to send in your Pony photos, so that they can be featured in an upcoming post.  Don’t be bashful.

My own Pony is out under tarps in Gene’s Garage right now awaiting warmer weather…hmmm, I didn’t think about it, but the next few days are going to be in the 60’s.  I may need to get out there.  If nothing else, the old boy is a bit muddy from the riding we did around the holidays, so a little clean-up might be in order.  Don’t block him in, Gene.
______________________________________________________

INSERT
As often happens, several days go by between when I start one of these posts and when it’s finished.  So, I can report that it wasn’t in the 60’s on Monday, it was in the 70’s and the Pony did get washed.  Here’s the proof.  Also note the new side panel is now in place.

Photo Credit to Gene.

______________________________________________________

This week I started reading a book titled The Art of Memoir, so if you notice any change in my writing in the months ahead, you can blame it on a different author, Mary Karr.  Already I think I’m going to have a problem; she says in memoir writing that one really shouldn’t lie.  Well poop, what fun is that.  If I can’t remake history to suit me I’m not so sure I’m interested.  Anyway, watch out for anything strange (I mean more strange than usual) working its way into the blog.

I don’t write as much about donuts as I used to, reason being, I don’t get any.  You’ll recall, there just are no good donuts available nearby anymore.  Don’t feel sorry for me though, I’m still eating loads of bakery goods.  I like to drive over to the Guglehupf Bakery in Durham, and buy their stuff now.  But they make fancier things like stollen, Danish, cream puffs and schnecken.  What’s a schnecke you ask?  The German word schnecke means snail, which is what an almond croissant looks like if instead of letting it bake on a sheet it’s baked while stuffed in the cup of a muffin pan.  Mmmm, those babies are goo-oo-ood.

But the reason I bring up donuts is really only to get to the subject of the “donut hole,” not the edible kind, but the Medicare prescription drug insurance plan kind.  The donut hole is the $1540 coverage gap one reaches after $3310 in drug costs have been paid.  After the coverage gap, you’re “home free,” as your costs drop to “zilch.”  Now you’re thinking, certainly bike-riding, health-conscious, schnecke-eating (oops) Bruce would not be needing any drug so expensive as to land him in the dh (does not mean designated hitter).  To that thought I would say, ha, what you don’t know!

For a number of reasons, too boring to mention here, I am about to start taking a drug for osteoporosis that costs $2350 per month!  Once again you’re thinking, but he doesn’t have to pay that amount does he?  Just a co-pay, right?  And this time you’d be right.  I only have to pay a 33% co-pay, which translates as $780.  You know how when you buy a new car, right away you start noticing other cars of your type on the road?  Well, right away when I saw $780 I started thinking of other things that cost much.  Like the new gas range we bought last year, $799.  Or last night on QVC, they were selling Dell Laptop computers.  A nice, big, 17-inch Dell laptop, with the Microsoft 10 operating system, you guessed it $779!  Or how about my estimated annual cost for this drug coming in at around $4100.  Jeez, that’s almost exactly what the entire Pony restoration has cost.

I tell you what!  My insurer and I are going to swallow that donut hole so fast we won’t even get to taste it.  I’ll be spit-out the other side into the “cat coverage” as fast as John Cusack was through that worm hole in Being John Malkovich.  I could tell as I was talking to the lady at CVS Caremark, the drug supplier of my insurer, that she didn’t really want to tell me what my cost of the drug would be, but sheepishly she finally did.  I could just envision her removing her head-set and waiting for me to blow my stack, but as I’d been forewarned about the cost, I didn’t lose my cool.  I just read-off the numbers from my new credit card (yes, second new card in 12 mos., this time a supposed data breach).  I didn’t actually laugh on the phone, but when the lady asked me if I’d like some alcohol wipes, “free,” to go with the prescription, by golly I thought, woo-hooo there’s the silver lining.  FREE ALCOHOL WIPES, YIPPEE!

Another upside, the regimen calls for only taking this drug for one year.  By then I guess you’re supposed to have gained all the benefit from it that you can.  I’m sanguine about this whole business.  When I called the non-profit that helps cover co-pays, the voice prompts went approximately like this.  Press 1 if you have “this kind of cancer,” press 2 if you have “that kind of cancer,” press 3 if you have HIV/AIDS, and it went on like this until I’m pretty sure the ninth choice was osteoporosis.  So, you bet, I’m incredibly thankful that I could push voice prompt 9.  Then too, when I spoke with a very helpful lady and found out that I make too much money (but believe me, not way too much) to get any help, I was not overly “bummed,” but then, the next time someone offers me a donut hole, watch out.

Happy Ground Hog Day everyone, and thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Ask Dr. Reinhold…E.D. Explained

After Dr. Reinhold’s first post to this blog, he’s picked-up quite a following, and folks are now writing him emails like this:

“Dear Dr. Reinhold,
I’m wondering.  All these commercials on TV purporting fixes for erectile dysfunction, what is that?  Is an erectile a type of projectile?  When it dysfunctions does it go-off “half-cocked” missing its intended target?  It’s great to have you as a trusted source of information so readily available on the internet.  Thanks in advance for your answer.”
Dick Johnson (name changed to protect the ignorant)

As soon as that came in, Dr. Reinhold and I put our heads together and came up with this response:

“Dear Mr. Johnson,
Thanks for your email.  I get a lot of emails on the subject of E.D.  Yours, however, showed the greatest degree of confusion.  I’m guessing your from Minnesota.
Many boys who grew-up in the 1950’s and 1960’s suffered from this embarrassing problem.  On getting an Erector Set for Christmas, they would try to build the complex machines described in the instructions.  Not having engineering degrees, the machines they built often dysfunctioned, and thus the term erectile dysfunction. 
The embarrassment these boys suffered often hangs on into adulthood and makes it difficult for them to “perform.”  Perhaps a visual aid will help in clarifying the problem as it is exhibited in adulthood.

E.D

The drugs advertised on TV can help with your problem, but unfortunately for this traffic cone, its damage is irreparable.  Thanks for writing.
Dr. Reinhold”

Moving on.  What did I eat last night that gave the craziest dream?  Since I’ve been known to stretch the truth a bit, I’ll preface this by saying that what I’ll relate next is EXACTLY as I remember it.  I was out at Gene’s, and the Pony was not in the garage as it should be.  As I’m scratching my head as to why it’s not there, roaring out into the drive from the side of Gene’s garage comes the Pony.  Who’s driving it?  You’ll never guess, the Idiotic Mom!  That’s right, it’s  my mom, soon to be 90 years young, and looking perfectly comfortable up there, and I mean she’s moving.  After doing a turn-around out in the street she parks the Pony in the garage.  I go in and I can’t believe what I’m seeing; she’s blown the rear tire.  It’s in shreds and half off the wheel.  Last thing I remember is that I was madder than hell at her, and wouldn’t let it go.  I’m telling you, Mom, if I go out there this afternoon, and find that, that tire is really blown, you’re in trouble!

While we’re on the subject of family, I’ve got to relate a story that involves the Idiotic Brother and me.  This little vignette could be called, “Well, it all Depends on Your Point of View.”  We were chatting on the phone last week and got to reminiscing.  He asked if I remembered our first house in Waukesha, WI and how it was right across the street from a golf course.  I said that I certainly did.  He described how much fun he had looking for golf balls in the weeds along the course, putting them in egg cartons and selling them to the golfers by the dozens.  I said, “Well isn’t that just great.  I was just three years old at the time, and I’d go walking with you looking for balls too.  But the reason I remember this is that I remember running home crying to mom, because you always stole the balls I found.  And now come to find out years later, you not only stole them, but you made money off them.  I’m thinking, with interest, you owe me after 60 years, probably $5000.  I’ll be waiting for the check!”

More on the subject of family.  Here it is Fathers Day…again, my 38th, and I think back about my dad and my memories of him as a kid.  It’s funny, but almost all my memories are shared ones with my brothers.  I only remember one instance where my dad did something just with me.  I’m talking as a kid here;  we spent many times alone on the golf course as adults, him almost always beating me.  This goes back to the Waukesha days as well, so I would have been no more than age 8; dad took me along on a business trip with him.  We took the train down to Chicago, and I remember sitting in a window seat trying to count the telephone poles until they went by too fast to count.  He had meetings in a tall downtown building, and I remember waiting for him in the reception area under the receptionist’s watchful eye, gazing down at people walking the sidewalks far below.  Dad finished his business at around lunch, and took me to eat in one of those old automats with the food behind small glass doors.  Quite a treat for a kid that rarely ate in a restaurant.  I remember this from about 60 years ago, and I’m sure that I remember this trip, because it was something dad did…just for me.  Dad’s gone now almost 10 years, but I’ll always have that special memory. 

Pony News.  I spent some more hours this past week underneath the Pony with red paint.  Cousin Bill thinks I look like Michelangelo under there.  If there is any similarity, I feel sorry for ol’ Mike, because my back hurts from just the small amount of time I’ve spent under there.  Here’s the pathetic thing about the comparison to Michelangelo.  He did the whole Sistine Chapel in 4 years.  I’m coming up on three years, and where am I?  Sheesh!

Beyond the painting, I did have some fun with the old Pony this week.  I’ve been a little afraid to tackle it, but I finally decided to apply the decals to the Pony’s hood and grill.  Here’s a little slide show showing the technique I used in applying them.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And now here’s a short video of the completed decal project.  When done viewing it, be sure to hit your browser’s “back” arrow to return to the post.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/auPfKFg3MYY?rel=0

Finally, here’s a parting shot for the scrapbook courtesy of project photographer, Lynne.

decal pic for the scrapbook

The day’s mail brought my Fathers Day card.  It’s terrific Andy…a lot like you.  Thanks!

And thank you all for reading.  Have a great weekend and a happy Fathers Day.

Don’t Worry, The Pony Will Run

I’ve learned a lot while restoring the Pony, and of course, the job isn’t even done yet.  One thing I’ve learned is that you can do a lot if no one comes along and says, “You can’t do that.”  Or, if someone does say that, just don’t listen, and go ahead anyway.  If you’re lucky enough to get through the “can’t” stage, you can get through all kinds of disappointments, problems, and mistakes as long as someone else is around to say, “You can do that.”  When things seem bad and I can’t figure something out, Gene will always say, “Look at all you’ve learned so far.  You’ll figure this out too.”  And the Idiotic Brother, he must have said a hundred times, “Don’t worry, the Pony will run.”  Although, when he says that, sometimes I think he was indicating more faith in the reliability and indomitable strength of the combustion engine, than in my ability.

I was at one of those “can’t-figure-it-out” points last week.  While following this blog, have you ever asked yourself, “Gee, I wonder if I could restore an old tractor?”  Something occurred this past week that to me proved that anyone, I mean ANYONE, can do it.  Remember the beautiful job I did of restoring the front end steering and wheels?  Here are some “before and after” photos and a “way after” video.

front end beforefront end

Study the still images carefully.  What puzzled me ever since I put the Pony’s steering back together was why were the tie rods bumping into the tires when they hadn’t been doing that prior to restoration?  Careful study of the two still images, should give you the answer even though it didn’t help me.  Of course, when was the last time I studied anything, CAREFULLY?  If you think you’ve figured it out, now view the brief video below which shows the front end after I fixed the problem.

Click on the following brief video for the “way after” Video

Ok, how many of you figured out that initially I had the wheels installed backwards?  Talk about your idiotic author.  I not only installed the wheels backwards, but I drove the tractor at least 3 times before figuring out what was wrong.  But, the key thing is, once again I learned something, and I’ll bet I never make THAT mistake again.  By the way, in my defense, the valves were sticking out of the side of the wheel that faced in.  Heck, in a million years I wouldn’t have guessed the stems go on the inside.  Must be a tractor thing.  So, yes, if I can restore a tractor, even making mistakes like that, hell, anyone can do it!

On Sunday we had a pretty day here, and it only took me about half an hour to jack up the front end and flip the wheels around.  By the time I got that done Lynne was home and offered to take some video for me.  What follows are three videos of less than a minute each, which are the beginning, middle and end of a little test drive I took with the wheels properly installed.

Beginning
Middle
End

Gradually things are coming along, and a day like Sunday gets me “juiced-up” to finish the job.  With some consistent good weather, I’ll be able to get back to work painting the back 1/3 of the old beast.

Oh, I forgot to mention, I got a call from the folks at the “Guinea Pig Lab” a while back.  They had a deal where all they wanted was to ream out my nose (something I usually do myself), and take a sample of “snot” containing some of my precious nasal skin cells.  I know that by now y’all probably think I’ll do anything for money, and they were offering $65 for about an hour’s worth of my time, but I’ll tell you, I turned them down flat.  I said, “Thanks, but there’ll be no skin off my nose!”

Have a great week everyone, and in case you need someone to say it, believe me, “You can do it!
Thanks for reading.

“Still,” That Was Quite an Explosion

This won’t be news to North Carolinians, but I thought the rest of you might have some fun with this.  Listen to this description contained in a News and Observer article, “…a fireball raced across North Carolina skies, followed by an explosion that shook the Eastern North Carolina town of Kinston.”  The event described, although remarkably similar to the recent meteorite that came down over Russia, occurred on December 4, 1934.  What’s great about the North Carolina incident, however, is that the assumption of most locals at the time was that “…a moonshine still had exploded.”  Sure, prohibition had just ended in 1933, but it says something to me about this state and its inhabitants, that a moonshine still explosion was everyone’s first thought when all the ruckus took place.  Getting back to that recent Russian explosion, now that I think about it, they do make one helluva lot of vodka over there, hmmm.  Next headline you’re going to see:  Cover-up at Russian, nuclear-powered vodka still.

After putting my little love note in the last post, The Princess has suggested that the recovery money from that recent gold crown that she “found” be applied to the Guinea Pig-O-Meter.   Her little Valentines Day gift.  Sounds fair to me, so look for a $48 “bump” in the G-O-M.  Thanks, Princess!

I was perusing the Daily Tar Heal (the UNC student-run newspaper) on Monday.  One of my “must reads” is the Police Log.  The following item made me laugh,

“Someone reported loud music coming from a party at…12:29 am Wednesday, according to Carrboro police reports.  The officer on the scene heard Stevie Wonder’s ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ playing on the radio, reports state.

Talk about a slow night, that’s some detailed police report.  Catchy tune though, I always liked it.  And come to think of it, a great tune for Valentines Day.

Hey, Pony news, check out this photo of the Pony’s new “eyes.”

New Headlights

I installed the refurbished lights yesterday and Gene wired them up.  We flipped the switch, and after all the years in the woods, etc. one of the lights came immediately to life.  The other one, well, I’ll be calling NAPA in a few minutes.  As I left the garage I heard the Pony exclaim, “I can see!”

One last item, the following cartoon from a recent New Yorker is supplied as a service to readers, without  comment.

blogger cartoon 2

Everyone have a great week, and thanks for reading.

A Grand Day Out

Last Sunday was the Pony’s best day.  I replaced the connectors on a leaking oil line, even used the special tool (boy that’s suggestive!) to cut and “flair” the copper line.  We hit the starter button, and just as it had the week before the engine started right up.  This time the engine ran much more smoothly, and just as important, the refurbished oil line didn’t leak anymore.  With that, we spent about half an hour reattaching and adjusting the throttle linkage.  It seemed to match up to the governer lever and the carb real well, so we decided to fire up the engine again and see how it all worked together.

The engine started, ran smoothly and when I fed gas using the throttle lever up on the steering column, it responded perfectly.  Wow, BTA (better than average)!  Gene backed his car out of the way, and I jockied the Pony out the door and down the drive.  Now, for the only bad news.  This is where I’d normally insert a video to document the Pony’s first really great day out.  After buzzing up and down the street once, I pulled into the drive and since Lynne had gone back into the house, I asked Gene to take some video.  I headed out onto the street again, getting the Pony really moving in third gear, even climbing a hill.  No problems.  Well, I found out after I got home that Gene is no videographer.  He got essentially “nuttin.”  You’re fired Gene; next time I’m switching back to Lynne.

But that’s a small downside.  We were both all smiles.  That evening I called the Idiotic Brother and reported the good news.  We talked about the initial days of working on the Pony and how so much of the Pony’s engine was frozen up, just a mess.  If you don’t remember it after two years, here are a few shots of what we found when we first opened-up the engine.

IMG_0402a IMG_0408a IMG_0409a

Why didn’t I just quit right then?  Can you believe that this engine is now running nice and smooth and pulling the Pony right along?  Amazing!  A number of folks have asked what I’ll be tackling next, and there’s still a LOT to do, but I’ve had the headlights all set to go for about a year now, and I’m thinking the Pony will steer better once he’s got his eyes, so I’ll be rigging those up next.

The Princess and I were out running errands today and were away from home when lunchtime rolled around.  “Let’s head over to P.F. Changs,” I said, ‘cus my pal George recommended it.”  This was one of those meals you could compare to the biblical parable of the “loaves and fishes.”  We shared an appetizer and we both ordered an entrée.  When the meals came out, our server said that the kitchen made a mistake and made the wrong entrée for one of us, and she said when they do that, they just give the table the wrong dish AND the right dish.  So, we ate all that we could, and our server boxed up the rest.  I put the bag of leftovers on the bathroom scale when we got home:  FOUR POUNDS!  Thanks for the recommendation, George.

When William Murdoch took over the Wall Street Journal there was a lot of complaining, but I actually like it better now than before.  There’s a lot more general news content, and a Personal Journal section has been added.  That section is pretty lame, but as I do with the cartoon section from our local rag, I always go to the Personal Journal section first.  Great stuff in there like “How to Pick-out a Handbag.”  I didn’t read this article, but why wouldn’t the answer to this one be just one sentence?  Buy one that’s black or brown and just big enough to hold all your stuff.  End of story.  Or, how about this article, “Can Decor’ Save Your Marriage?”  Hmmm, well again I didn’t read the article, because there’s a very short answer:  Yes, as long as it involves separate bedrooms.  Next, “Uncork the Nose’s Secret  Powers.”  Again, didn’t read it, this time because I’ve got a lot of personal experience.  Remember, my nose saved my life (see my post of July 24, 2012).  Now that’s power.  I can also smell the glaze on a donut from three blocks away.  Finally, from yesterday’s WSJ, and I’m not making this up, “Exercise Two Can Play.”  Come on, if you need to read this article, all is lost.

I came up the stairs yesterday and The Princess said, “Stay right there!”  She kinda scared me.  She went back into the bedroom, came out and told me to close my eyes and hold out my hand.  Something dropped into my palm, I opened my eyes, and Woo hoo, another Princess gold crown.  I KNEW she had two of those things, and suspected she was holding out on me after I cashed in the last one.  And sure enough, another nice, shiny, gold crown, I’d say heftier than the last, with no nasty tooth material inside.  Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy….Come on Pony boy, let’s cash that baby in and head on over to Tractor Supply.

I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to reflect on Valentine’s Day, which just as annoyingly Ground Hog Day, birthdays and pine pollen comes around once a year.  I went really crazy this year and bought The Princess $12.98 worth of roses at Trader Joe’s and as a special treat made an appointment for tomorrow with Social Security to sign up for benefits.  Talk about a major milestone for us.  That’s right, we’re “goin on the dole.”  My goal for the dole?  We’re going to try to beat my Grandma Kratzke’s record.  She started collecting at age 65 and took the government for 40 years worth. 

Roses are fine,
And Violets a bore,
We’ll take Social Security
Til ’54.

I love you, Princess.  And everyone else, oh heck, I love you too!