24 February 2021


At 0300 hours, strange thoughts can occupy that wide-awake time.
Two mornings ago the thoughts were of things I have done that few have experienced.
Descending into a "Manhole" is one that I can check off my list.

In the few months after High School, before getting drafted, I worked for Indiana Bell Telephone company as a "cable splicer".  The job required me to splice multi-colored wires correctly to insure Lily Tomlin's phone would work when she wanted to "ringy-dingy".
That meant I had to don "gaffes" and safety harness to climb utility poles.
And since some of the telephone cable ran underground, it meant descending into a hole in the street.

We had to park the truck, flashers on, to protect the workplace from traffic. Then we had to strategically place dayglo orange cones so that no one would run into the truck.

Manhole covers, by necessity, are heavy. 100 pounds? At least.
If you look at one closely you'll see there is a notch on the outer edge. That's where you'd insert your special tool to pull the cover off the hole. It wasn't easy.

Frequently the hole would be full of water. We carried a pump for that purpose. Pump the water out so you could do the work, but some holes would have a steady stream of water flowing into them so you had to either leave the pump running, or intermittently climb out and start the pump to remove the water as needed.

Toxic, heavier than air gases were a possibility. We had a device that could measure the environment in the hole to detect them. If necessary, we had fans with flexible ducting to drop into the hole to ventilate the work area.
More noise.

So into this noisy, ill lit, damp area you'd descend with tools to do the job.
Workers all over the world are doing it as you read this.
Thank God for them.
I'm glad I don't have to do it anymore.

Do you have a "Bet you haven't done this" story to share?
I'd love to hear them.

15 February 2021

Let's Play "WHAT IF?"

 Okay Bunky, let's play a little game of "WHAT IF?"

What if you're involved in a poker game and you continue losing, in spite of having some of the best hands of cards you've ever had in your life? You suspect something is wrong, but you cannot prove it.
So you keep your mouth shut and leave the game.

A short while later, one of the other players in the game tells you, "I saw the cheating. One of the players had an Ace up his sleeve." In addition to his comments, you find out there was a video of the game which proves his accusation is correct.
What do you do?

Some would go and confront the cheaters.
Some might even threaten a violent act.
Some, who had lost enough in the game to be desperate, might even commit violence.

Now my "What If?:
There's another game scheduled shortly, and the same players will be in attendance.
IF you cheated last time, what will you do this game?
And IF you had your head bashed in because you cheated, what is your likelihood you'll risk harm to life and limb in this game?

I think democrats, rightfully, are scared to death of Trump and his supporters.
We are not likely to forget what has happened.
And we sure as HELL are not gonna allow democrats to cheat us again.

Are we?

14 February 2021

Supersize Me?

Pizza Hut. Wendy's. Taco Bell. Jack In The Box. Del Taco. McDonald's. Burger King. Little Caesar's. Denny's.
All within easy walking distance of our Winter home here in Gilbert, AZ.

Coupons. Promos... All the above issue them.

I'm a "feed your body good fuel" kind of guy.
But Satan is in the details.
It is too damn easy to "Yo quiero Taco Bell" cheaply with a coupon and save the leftovers for tomorrow.
And dishes?
Wad 'em up and throw them away.

12 February 2021

Are You Rich?

 A "jingle" in my pockets...

At the age ten I befriended a guy who was 12. He delivered "The Indianapolis News" in "The Valley"...
A close-knit section of folks near my home.
He had money. I accompanied him while he delivered newspapers. He bought me a candy bar and a soda.
That made a big impression on me.

His Dad got a job in a different State and he had to move.
I wanted to be able to buy a friend a candy bar and a soda.
I asked to take over his paper route.

At ten, I would be the youngest "paper boy" in the State of Indiana. The regional manager of the newspaper came to our home to interview me.
Was I mature enough?
Could I make change?
I showed that I was, and that I could.
And I delivered that newspaper for the next four years.
I ALWAYS had a "jingle in my pockets".

That little job taught me everything I needed to know about how to succeed in life:
-Spend less than you earn. Save some of the rest. Enjoy the fruit of your labor.
-Some people don't know how to budget their income. Be compassionate, but don't be a fool.
-Old people die. When you know and love them, it hurts.
-A business needs to grow, or it dies.
-Saving a little each day over a period of time pays big dividends.

Sara Jean and I now find ourselves in a position where we can do what we wanta do, when we wanta do it.
But it has taken over 60 years of planning and budgeting to get where we are.
(And the government may be about to throw a wrench into my long-term planning.)
When you are old,  life is better if you had plans and executed them when you were young.
I look around me and see a BUNCH of people that needed immediate gratification. Some will HAVE to work until they no longer are able.

"The Ants and the Grasshopper"...
There are alternative endings to that story.

Grasshoppers should thank GOD for the Ants!

02 February 2021

Withering Away

My son does not read books.
He listens to them.
I think this is likely true of much of his generation.

During our road trips some time ago we discovered the joy of Cracker Barrel's "Books on CD" program-
You can buy a book at a Cracker Barrel, listen to it; then return it at a Cracker Barrel along your route and get a refund, (minus a buck or so).

But if I am "reading" a book, I prefer the codex.
I find myself frequently saying "uh...waitaminit", and backtracking a few pages to fill in the hole I somehow missed.
That's harder to do when listening instead of reading.
And I prefer paperback to hardbound, because for some reason they seem more "mobile".

I have loved magazines all my life.
My parents subscribed to "Life" magazine and "The Saturday Evening Post". When these magazines arrived I'd hang over the coffee table with the magazine on the floor and read my way through them.
What a fond memory!

When I got old enough to be interested in cars and motorcycles I subscribed to several different mags:
"Car and Driver". "Road and Track". "Motor Trend". "Cycle". "Cycle World". "Cycle Guide".
Yes, overkill.
I saved most of those magazines... they're now stored in an old footlocker in my office.
Some of them MAY have value to someone with a piece of equipment featured in one of 'em...
...eBay, here we come.

Many of these mags no longer exist. Some of them exist with a reduced frequency of publishing.
Some exist only in "digital" form. All of this, to me, is "death by a thousand cuts".
I always keep a magazine or two in the "throne room" to read while I pass the time waiting for something else to pass.
A "digital" magazine IS NOT satisfying under these conditions.

This week I received a hefty copy of "Cycle World" magazine.
Thick. Heavy. On paper that feels good.
And in the front of the mag the editor informs me "this is the last hard copy" of Cycle World. :>(
They're going to digital only.
They'll lose me as a subscriber. I WILL NOT be taking my laptop into the bathroom with me.

I know... change is inevitable.
But that doesn't mean I hafta like it.