Monday, July 6, 2015

Heating With Wood

Heating with wood means getting wood. I can still do it with a chainsaw and a splitting maul.

So yesterday was a wood gathering day. I usually try to recruit help so I am not alone in the woods with a chainsaw. I also recruit help because cutting, splitting, hauling the wood to the truck, and unloading and stacking it is a lot of work.

My best help is in Texas on vacation. My other best help was working. I took the saw and went to the woods alone. I picked an oak tree that was leaning and and had some vines that I didn't see and promptly leaned it the rest of the way into another tree.

This was not my first rodeo and I made my cuts and managed to get the tree down without anything more than a severe case of adrenalin overload.

True Blue Sam posts videos of chainsaw advice. On his front page he has a how-to dealing with making cuts on a tree that has tangled itself into another tree appropriately titled Staying Alive While Cutting Lodged Limbs. The links you can follow on YouTube from this video will make you think that a chainsaw and a standing tree are just about the most dangerous thing in the world.

He also has a list of rules for using a chainsaw in his sidebar. It's longer than the 4 rules of gun safety, but it seems to cover yesterday's festivities pretty well. Here's three of them I can give an AMEN to:
12. Make a plan for every tree you cut. Assess hazards, lean, escape routes, forward cuts, and back cuts. Evaluate the forward or backward lean, and the side lean of every tree you cut. Know your limits.

13. Clear your work area and your escape path of brush, vines, and other hazards that can trip you or catch your saw.
22. Do not cut a tree that is holding up a lodged tree. Do not work under a lodged tree. Think about a mouse trying to steal the cheese out of a trap.

Friday, July 3, 2015

4th of July, 1965

I was eight. It was the 4th of July and we were at my grandparents house.

My grandfather had some real firecrackers. Big around as a road flare and about two inches long. They had long heavy green fuses sticking out of the side. He would put one under a coffee can in the driveway and light the fuse that stuck out under the side, then hustle back to where he had me standing.

BOOM! Loud as a shotgun. The can would launch up in the air about as high as the trees in the front yard and then drop back somewhere in the yard. We probably did that together for an hour. My grandmother and mother were not amused.

We had the old woven folding chairs out of the garage and put charcoal on the grill. Burgers, corn on the cob, baked beans, and Cott ginger ale.

When it got to dusk we lit sparklers and I ran around the yard waving them in circles.

Sometime about 8:30 we climbed in the old Ford station wagon and rode into town for the fireworks.

No one wondered if the flag was a symbol of oppression. The fireworks my grandfather set off rattled the windows but didn't bring the police. We were unashamedly patriotic and knew we lived in the greatest county in the world.

Someone should remember.

15 Minute Lunch -- Laugh Till You Cry

Ever open a grease trap? We had one on the kitchen drain in an old house in S.C. It apparently catches the grease before it gets into the drain field and causes big problems. I had to open it once, on a summer day, and I still remember that experience, although I am sure that therapy would help.

Anyway, here, from 15 Minute Lunch, is a post about bad plumbing, a long drain pipe with no drop, and what happens when you do your own plumbing. Here's a teaser:

Chuck was holding onto the other end, trying to make sure the gunk that came out was evenly dispersed across the lawn, so his grandfather wouldn't notice it.  I couldn't help but laugh when the pipe started disgorging its disgusting contents. At first it came out like a four-foot-long sausage made of cottage-cheese, and then it sputtered and started vomiting chunks of what looked like hammered up bars of ivory soap onto the lawn.  Yeah, that won't be noticeable, I thought.  You could see it from space.  Chuck was making that "urk, urk" sound again, because even though we were outside, the stench was fearsome.  Pretty soon we were both laughing our asses off even as our eyes watered, wondering how the hell it had come to this.

If you haven't been reading his work, I hope you have some spare time this weekend to poke through his archives.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Real "Last Post"

I was chasing links from The Grouchy Old Cripple last night when I washed up on a blog I had never visited before. It was The Whited Sepulchre and it is already shut down. The last post was in April of this year. It's a little rambling and disjointed, but the author was dealing with brain tumors and his imminent death, so I'm going to look past that. As a bonus, if you scroll back through his site, he was one of us.

I was going to pick a quote and put up a link, but the link above will take you to the same place. I am posting the whole thing. He was writing a message to the universe, I think. One last cry into the void of what he had learned and wanted to share. Here it is.

The Last Blog Post - "Don't Be Safe"

This is a tough one to write, for emotional, physical, and coordination reasons....
A few months ago, I started having problems driving, walking, and accomplishing basic tasks.  After a quick trip to the ER,I was diagnosed with some nasty brain tumors.
So this is it, folks.....
Starting this website has been one of the best decisions I've ever made.  I't's gotten me politically involved, and has earned me friends and readers all over the world.
Im' gonna try really hard not go get too maudlin or sentimental here....

For the last 20 years or so, I've been responsible for running my company's morning Production Meeting.  I never figured out why I was the one to do it.   Perhaps it's because I'm the guy who hates meetings the most, and I was always able to keep the thing moving along at a decent pace.

Several years ago, some of our owners went to a trade show that featured some presenters from Disney.
The Disney people said that their #1 priority was to "Be Safe".
Well, that's bullshit.
Their #1 priority is to bring happiness to families everywhere" (you can look it up -- it's in their mission statement).
You don't dress a teenager up like Tinkerbell and zipline her from Cindederella's Castle to the top of The Matterhorn every night if your #1 priority is to be safe.
That's what you do if you want to be awesome.
Anyway,because of the report on the Disney speakers,  I got into a rut of saying "Be Safe" at the end of every meeting  It was our Amen,our dismissal, and our Benediction.  .  If I could take a "Do Over" on anything I've done at work in the last few years, it would be to come up with another closing line to use at the end of that meeting.

People once told my father that if he ever started growing and irrigating rice on his farm, it would poison the land.  Because of his decision to go ahead with a new rice  crop instead of cotton and sobybeans, I got to see The Colisseum in Rome.  I got to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.
Because Darrell Cooper Sr decided to have some "Entrepreneurial Seizures", I've had the glorious privilege of seeing the sun come up twice on the same day while flying over the Great Wall Of China.
So what should I have said for the last 20 years?
How about "Be Wise?"  "Be Cautious"?
I dunno.
But I'm now working with a very short clock, so to speak.  If I fit into the statistical norms, I've got anywhere from 15 to 18 months to be around.   I know that the first time I sat down with my daughter at a Blackjack table and saw her split 10's against a dealer Ace, that she would do just fine.  She was going to be ok.  She was going to terrify me, but she wasn't going to be held back by anything or anybody.
She will never (in TS Eliot
's phrase)  measure out her life with coffee spoons.  She's going to live it up to 11 every chance she gets.
So please don't ever, ever waste another minute of your wonderful life with "being safe"Take risks.
 Destroy your perrectly laid-out shop and put in a Specialty Department. (Hello Ray!!) Get involved in politics and put Mary Kelleher to work disrupting the most corrupt institution in Fort Worth  .Raise Hell.  Find some activists to associate with, and bang some pots and pans together in the street.  WIN the Fort Worth Gay Pride parade  and then wake up the nest morning to staff your booth at a gun rights show.  I promise you that if you ever get brain tumors everyone of of those beautiful people you meet will come see you in the hospital.
And yes, I'm very much aware that I'm one of the few people I know who has had to use a helicopter pilot as a designated driver.
That's part of the package.  (Yeah, there probably is some middle ground between getting drunk enough to see dead people and "Being safe".)
I'm writing this post with a head full of creepy-crawlies, and sorry for the lack of spelling, grammar, and coherence.
But folk, please don't ever, ever, ever waste your time in being too safe.
You know that idea you have of a better way to fix broken windshields?  Do it.  Start that business.  That book you've always wanted to write?  Those earrings you want to start designing to sell online?
Do it now.  Yeah, people might laugh.  Who cares?  There will always be people willing to wait in line to laugh at your ambitions.  Let them be the ones to be safe.
Whether you know it or not, you too, are working with a short clock.
If you can to one thing right now for me or for yourself, don't be safe.
It's been real.
Don't be safe.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Remington Arms 1969

I don't know how many of these men are still alive, but I'll bet most of the rifles and shotguns we see in this film are still operational. I grew up shooting Remington shotguns and I really enjoyed watching this.

Music for the bonfire

As the Republic lurches towards the Abyss in this Cold Civil War, what is a playlist for the End Of Days as the flames lick at the foundations of the Common Weal?  Here's one suggestion; I hope that the Bonfire will be as lighthearted.  Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments.

Remember, the Agents of the Surveillance State are predictable.  Hey Federale, where you going to run to?

A parable on taxation

You only get the green stuff that you can actually reach.

It's amazing how many Smart™ people in politics simply don't get this concept.

In re: the Confederate Flag, and other matters

Under the guidance of her Christian pastors, [France] entertained herself, besides, with such humane achievements as sentencing a youth to have his hands cut off, his tongue torn out with pincers, and his body burned alive, because he had not kneeled down in the rain to do honour to a dirty procession of monks which passed within his view, at a distance of some fifty or sixty yards.

- Charles Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

- Voltaire
So we see that the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia is now DoublePlusUngood Crimethink™, as is an off-hand joke by a Nobel Prize winning cancer scientist, as is the opinion of the CEO of the Mozilla Foundation and some poor rocket scientist who wore his lucky shirt to the comet landing of his space rover.

As are the travails of many others who find themselves on the wrong side of RightThink™ in this current Cold Civil War.  They can all console themselves that they will merely lose their jobs, their houses, and their families.  The Chevalier de la Barre did far worse than them, Back In The Day.

But the crime was the same.

Jean-Francois de la Barre was a punk.  He and his aristocratic buddies were cut-ups and petty hoodlums in late eighteenth century France.  But he went too far, showing disrespect to a religious procession.  It was said that he failed to doff his hat to the Cross as it went by.

For this, he was convicted in a court of law.  The Parlement of Paris upheld the sentence of death, and added (no doubt as an after thought) that he should be tortured first.  And so it was written, so it was done on this very day in the year of our Lord 1766.  He was an example to All Men about what not to do to cast disrespect on the Ancien Regime.  To make sure that nobody didn't get the point, his corpse was beheaded and burned with a copy of Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary nailed to it.

Today's Old Regime is more merciful: you will not be killed, but will merely lose your job, your living, your flag, your history.  All is for the best, Citizen, in the Best of All Possible Worlds.

And how do we know that the Left is truly ignorant of history (likely willfully so)?  They know nothing of Voltaire.   But it's OK.  They're ever so much smarter (and nicer - remember the "no more beheading" thing?) than you or I.  And rejoice, Citizen!  The chocolate ration has been increased from 3 ounces to 2½ ounces!  The People's Revolution is glorious, is it not?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

ISIS Threats for the Holiday Weekend

From CBS News comes some reporting not about gay marriage or the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.

After Gay Marriage

I predicted this back in June of 2009.

With the right to gay marriage in the bank the next frontier is polygamy. It only makes sense. Recognized major world religions have forms of polygamy. A reasonable argument for having more than one wife can be found in Islam and Mormonism.

But the larger argument is that if marriage is not just one man and one woman, joining in a partnership for the purpose of forming a family and child rearing, then who decides what it is? The likely answer is that the participants do.

Groups of various sizes and genders/proclivities are going to challenge the court system and will win. Why not? They say they want to be left alone to live their lives as they see fit.

This is exactly what I want, also. Don't infringe my rights, especially the clearly enumerated rights like the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to be secure in my person and my papers, and the others that the Founders enshrined in clear words, and I won't infringe yours. It's like a social contract.

And good luck sorting out communal property when y'all decide to get divorced. It's messy enough with two people.
The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.
–Ayn Rand

Monday, June 29, 2015

Name This Bridge

The ice cream machine has been on the road. Here's an image from the trip. Name the bridge and win a free post to read tomorrow.

A thought for today