The Useful Duck!

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Saturday, December 31, 2011

I may move to North Dakota

I sold chicken feed to a fellow yesterday who has been working in North Dakota. He had a contracting business that failed when the economy stopped. The local economy has not and probably will not recover in the foreseeable future.
It is pretty unbelievable how government in this state gone out of its way to kill private business. Licensing fees have gone up some 300%. To license an over 26,0000 GVW truck it costs over $1,000 per year. Building fees, permits, fines, RV licenses, everything connected to government has increased in price. Of course when faced with a less than expected return on the draconian tax increases the clever folks in Salem decided that problem was not outrageous fees and taxes driving business away, no it was lack of funding for tax collection!
My chicken feed buyer opted not to pay licensing fees on his truck and his business, instead he decided do what few jobs he could get by licensing his truck at a much lower Gross Vehicle Weight and move his trackhoe when scales were closed.
Then he found a job driving water truck in North Dakota. His long term goal is to move his trackhoe and dump truck to ND where there are jobs and you can license afford to license a truck you only drive once a year.
He says he can help me get a job as well. I have to commit to three months. Housing is $100 per week. I would start at $20 an hour. He says you can work extra hours if you want. Since it is an under 150 mile haul you are not under the hours of service regulations. Here is a link. I'm not sure if it is the exact link. He is in Dennison, ND.
I need to get my CDL medical card anyway.
My wife says it is ok to go.
Should I be suspicious?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Things that make me laugh at 11:44 p.m.

Click on this link and then read the paragraph, "Grandma got ran over by a condescending novelty song."

Once again I prove how out of touch I am and that I am a bit of a prude

I admit to enjoying dirty jokes. I have glanced (perhaps twice) at the pictures girls send of their naked selves you my young helper's cellphone.
But on the other hand when forced to make moral judgments I set jokes aside and tend to err on the side of prudishness. I don't know if it is my separation of fantasy vs reality or some horrible moral dichotomy that will condemn me to perdition in the end.
In fact we were discussing this all at supper last night. What if you were being raptured and you got about 50 feet off the ground and you exclaimed "oh shit!" Would you fall back to earth? My daughter was of the opinion that God's grace would be sufficient but I am not so sure...
But I digress...
We now have television.
My wife bought one of those LCD TV's that have been on sale. It is smaller that the huge Plasma TV that we got as a hand-me-down from her Father, but it has a much better digital tuner.
We now get four channels of OPB, FOX, The Hispanic Channel, and a station from Eugene that fads in and out.
So it was with great excitement I sat down to watch "The Big Bang Theory." I had read a number of reviews on The Eye of Polyphemus and frequent updates on Kaley Cucuo and so I was thinking I had missed quit a lot in not being able to watch the show.
It was then I realized how completely out of touch I am.
The show seems to be a long compilation of not that funny sex jokes hung on a thin plot. Ok, are there any TV writers who were not beat up in high school? Or were not nerds, or were completely happy with their sexuality? (gay or not gay)
I have a theory about TV and movie writing. There is either a script writing program or there is a huge dart board. Script writers get drunk and tell sex jokes and then throw darts at the board. I imagine they are drinking Peppermint Schnapps with a snooty name, mixed with Red Bull and they are throwing darts.  On the board are various plot devices. Nerd, pretty girl, car chase, misunderstanding, roommate is a nerd, roommate is gay, roommate can't communicate, racial stereo type, gay stereotype disguised as enlightenment, and so on.
Every time they hit something on the board they tear off the tag and paste it into the storyboard. If they hit words like Gay, Singing, Lets Put on a Show, then it is a storyline for Glee, if it is Sex Joke, Nerd, difficult roommate, Hot Chick, then the storyline is for Big Bang Theory, and so on.
Anyway, I know all of you that watch TV on a regular basis don't mind all the sexual innuendo and it all may be funny.
My daughter walked in the room during the show and was shocked and turned around and left.
So I've been thinking about this for a week.
We have all heard the stories of teens having sex all the time and sending naked photos over the internet and we all know how accessible internet porn can be.
I wonder if the utter pervasiveness of rude TV has more affect than anything else?  The daughter is somewhat offened by the open sexuality on shows and I see her covering her eyes or leaving the room frequently. We have not been real hard line on that kind of thing. Somewhat rude jokes are made in our family. There have been real live examples of things that are joked about in TV shows and we have discussed them.
I suspect that our family and Amish people are perhaps the only people in the country who do not have TV and so have not noticed the general lack of morality shown over the airwaves. The television is actually worse than movies. I enjoyed "The Hangover" greatly but I did not show it to Lulu.  I was offended by "Grease," but it was also not one long sex joke.
The problem with TV is that it purports to depict everyday life. What is normal on TV may be normal in everyday life. I suspect anyway.
It seems that you make a decision to look at sex on the internet, but you are exposed to a pervasive attitude of sexuality when you watch evening TV shows.
I have no idea if I am right or wrong or if anyone cares about my little rant.
It is pouring down rain and the river is flooding.
I don't want to go out of the house.
I suppose the biggest joke of all is myself. We don't have network TV because I am too cheap to subscribe to something I think I should be able to get for free. Then when after a few hundred dollars wasted on various antenna amplifiers and antennas and the joke of having an aluminum extension ladder leaned up against the side of a trailer house manufactured home, I am shocked by what everyone else takes for granted.
Or perhaps the joke is that someone like myself who enjoys off color humor and pictures of girls who are no-better-than-they-ought-to-be has such a double standard in real life. It is like I told my 20 something sometimes a great helper, "I will make the jokes and rude commentary but I have no illusions of being some sort of "player," if she gets within two feet I will run... Laugh at me if you will-I don't care, I yam what I yam..."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

In one breath they talk about farmer's living on government welfare

( Read this article...)
What does it mean when farmland is worth more than what you can grow on it?
What does it mean when the Portland Pravda finally figures out what I have had the bitter experience of knowing for the past decade?
Why do I do it and why do I desperately want some ground of my very own?
So the usual topic is how farmers live off of government assistance and subsidies and now their ground is worth more than the crops they raise.... Just where is this train of thought going?
And why do I feel a continual sense of unease?
(aside from that ever present threat of aliens abducting farmers)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In case you were wondering

I really have nothing to say...
The wind is blowing and it is raining. I checked the river levels online to see if my truck would go under water. Then i realized it was pointing the wrong was and I would have to tow it backwards up the hill. Then I thought about the chances of me actually rebuilding the engine and I decided not to worry about it.
Muddy Valley bought me lunch at Ashes Cafe Monday. It was a good hamburger. He also brought some Wasabe stuff which Lulu loves and an old Rek-o-Kut turntable. I have been obsessively looking at online instructions on building plinths since then. Apparently the most common scheme is to stack layers of Birch Plywood and glue them together with hide glue. It HAS to be hide glue and you don't cover up the edges of the plywood as if you do it will reflect the sound waves back into the plinth and increase rumble. Unless you leave a 1 mm gap between the plywood edge and the cover. I don't know what 1 mm is because I'm not a communist.
This is what I want it to look like...
Have not figured out how to reattach the tonearm yet.
Got a book of mystery stories for Christmas. Read a couple stories.
Went to bed early.
I do not want to go to work this morning. Rain, mud, piles of junk farm equipment, obsessive old folks, more junk, rain, cold, I think I may do some electrical wiring for my wife. If I am lucky I will get a jolt of 220 which I have read gives one super powers.  I had a nice talk with the PGE inspector last year and made it a point to ask him if he knew of any instances of people gaining super powers after being shocked, perhaps in conjunction with a bite from a radioactive spider and he said "NO." I'm sure it is always covered up as they don't want people running around sticking to buildings and throwing lightning bolts with their fingers.
Have a nice day...

Monday, December 26, 2011

We go to the City

My lovely wife does her best to keep drag me out of my odd little shell.
The latest endeavor was to get me to go to Seattle to see Brian Setzer and His Rockabilly Riot at the Showbox in Seattle.
Now I admit to not being real enthused about the whole plan. It was decided on evening when I was tired and frustrated and for some reason I did not give my automatic, "no..."
At the time I was thinking we would take Lulu and see the Space Needle and the mechanical windup toy shop in Pike's Place Market, and eat at the Mecca Cafe, and perhaps buy some "longhair" music at the used record store up the block.
But then we heard that the Show Box was not an all ages show. Not to mention the questionable ethics of taking a ten-year-old to what could be a pretty wild show. Of course, thinking of the median age of the average Stray Cats fan, what would there be- a walker fight?
Anyway, I did not want to go but I was committed as the tickets were purchased and a groupon for the hotel and dinner was non-refundable and I hate controversy at Christmas time.
So we drove up, meaning my wife drove...
My extreme tension grew with the traffic. When you come over that little hill heading into downtown Seattle and suddenly there are buildings, and cars zipping everywhere, it is suddenly sound and movement and stress. Kind of like the cow going down the chute to to get a big old worm pill down its' throat and a rubber glove up it's rear...
But my wife drove...
First we stopped a the huge Seattle GoodWill. There I passed up a pair of $400 speakers because I couldn't remember the same. I bought a 45 of the "Hovercrafts," because there bass player has the same name as my daughter, (Lulu). There was a wealth of funky album covers but the vinyl was scratched on all of them.
We had a pretty cool hotel.
I wanted to go see the oldest elevator on the west coast but...
The old Rainier Brewery is now artist space and condos.
We had an excellent steak dinner on the Groupon voucher for our hotel. We tipped really well. We saw kids waiting around the block in freezing weather for those stupid shoes.
Then we got a call from my wife's sister. We were to meet her and her husband at the Showbox for the concert. It was something like three hours before the show. She was worried about getting good seats. We looked at each other and out at the folks shivering outside and said we were "waiting on our food."
We played that game until her sister went down and started waiting in line herself. She was first in line.
Finally the guilt got to us and we walked down to the Theater which is new Pike Place Market. It was cold. There were ten people in line. I was dressed warm. We waited a coupe hours. My wife and her sister had a good chat.
Later we discovered that we could go into the bar and wait where it was warm. We found that out 45 minutes before the show. Fifteen minutes after they quit letting people in the bar.
However, the show was absolutely incredible. Brian Setzer absolutely played his heart out. The opening band was good. Setzer played a good two hours straight. The guy is not as young as he once was. The guitar playing was fantastic. Later in the show it appeared that Phantom and Slim came out and played as well. At one point there were dueling Stand-up basses on stage. Setzer even came out and played bass.
We were a little far from the stage. After standing four hours in order to sit for two hours a compromise was made on the seating. We had a table back where the sound was terrible. My wife found a spot close to the stage and her and I saw some of the show up close.
I was pretty amazed at the guitar playing and the energy level. Those guys are old and they were working hard.
I had to think back to 1982 and how bad the local radio music was. The local stations never have been real innovative. I swear KGON was playing the same heavy rotations of Aqualung and Stairway to Heaven with the occasional "Walk this Way," thrown in as variety.
We used to listen to new bands like The Stray Cats on college radio from Eugene, when we could get it. They were high energy and played old songs and were a breath of fresh air when music was dense and over produced and boring.
So anyway... I guess we were just trying to be different and hip. Who knows.
Here is a view of the show.  I got to go to work. Christmas is past...

Oh, I did get the Lego Alien Spaceship and several Lego figures have been abducted. If only we had a lego cow...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Post

My lovely wife and I traveled to Seattle. It was nice. We saw a Christmas display where pigs were pulling a sled.

And we saw a banjo player.
And we found out we would probably die a horrible death from lung failure due to the lack of filters on the incinerator at Pike Place Market. I know this because I saw several people fall over dead in front of the communist book store. They explained in depth how and why as they died and also seemed to talk a lot while they were dead. I wanted to take a photo but there were a lot of cops around and I know they don't like to have their photos taken, so you will all have to imagine it all.
Then we looked at cheese. There was a lot of cheese...

And then we came home.

Anyway... here is a nice Christmas card for you all...

and a little puzzle and I hope you all have a nice Christmas!

And a nice Christmas song for you all...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Development trends in our hip and sustainable city of Portland. I don't know if one should laugh or cry or ponder the concept of irony.

I read Jack Bog's Blog every day. It has too many "B's" for me to say out load but i enjoy it anyway. As someone who is partially dyslexic I sometimes get confused and it is about canines in Portland and then I am a big disappointed. But, it is always interesting.
Here is a post on development in the city which prides itself on embracing all the buzzwords. Sustainability, Diversity, and the preservation of historic places.
Mostly the the preservation of historic places is important if that history spot happens to be owned by the McMinimum (spelling? I'm in a hurry, short lunch break at 2 p.m.) Brothers and being turned into a brewpub.
Anyway you need to first click on this link to YouTube and then click on this link to Jack Bog's Blog entry and read about another ugly development in Portland.
Portland is a pretty neat city. Lots of cool old bungalows from the 1940's and old brick buildings that must have been something interesting years ago. I still have not forgiven the city for tearing down the old Henry Wienhardt Brewery down by Powell's City of Books. (Which used to be the most cool used bookstore in the world.) The smell of warm malting barley in the air on a cold winter night while on your way to hear some obscure band in some hole-in-the-wall venue, or just wandering around looking at weird people, is a fond memory from my college years.
But, all must change, and now the little snobs who displaced the funny old hippies in the dive bars in Portland run the city. It reminds me how much I hate progressives...
Anyway, if you want to keep on track of what happens in Portland read this blog. The fellow probably doesn't appreciate a link from a grumpy farmer who lives off of government payments and blocks traffic on Highway 18 with wide farm equipment, not to mention I once burned a wheat field, but I find him interesting.
Have a nice day, I'm going back to shoveling clover seed. It is cold out today.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pocket Gophers in the Zoo?

I found some photos in my camera from the daughter and my trip to the Portland Zoo.

I think it is pretty funny that they have an exhibit on Pocket Gophers. I wonder if they were imported from "Gopher Valley" or if they tunneled in on their own.
We also enjoyed the Zoo train. This is the steamer. The engine that pulled us was a replica of the GM Aerotrain of the 1950's. It must be pretty unique. I am surprised Metro didn't scrap it. There must be some old guy keeping it going.

And we walked around and looked at the lights. The Zoo has a pretty cool Christmas light display. We had a good time.

That was last week or so.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It is not racism it is despotism

While wandering the internet from one article to another I came across discussion of the NYC police tactics for cracking down on crime.
They have a stop and frisk policy for groups they have determined have a high potential for crime. This is not racism. Statistics prove that brown skinned people in NYC commit more crime. The NYC police department is something like 40% people of color. The people commenting on the stories keep going on about racism and they can't understand how black cops can profile black people.
This is because once again we are arguing the wrong argument.
The reasons people of color commit/and/or convicted of more crime is one topic of discussion. Racism may be an issue but what if you just take race emotions out of the question. What if the stats showed that middle aged white guys were doing crimes and so the cops started a program of  stopping and aggressively frisking them. Well they would do something about it because it is offensive to them to have a gun put up to their head. So now people are fed up with being stopped and frisked when they have done nothing wrong other than to fit a particular profile.
The real issue is if stopping and frisking people with no reasonable suspicion of a crime is a violation of 1. Basic Human Rights, 2. The US constitution, 3. Counter productive to crime prevention.
As usual the clever folks have no clue. Treating groups of people as criminals, or treating everyone as a criminal puts your personal identification with criminals and against law enforcement. It is the police state concept and it never ends well.
Mostly, it never ends well for us ordinary folks...
To counter my own argument you may ask about racial profiling in airports of people who look like they fit the profile of an exploding terrorist.
To that question I have to admit some uncertainty. I think part of the problem with the NYPD is the randomness and the violence of the search. They are not polite, quick, and efficient and they do not explain themselves. I suspect a program designed to work with the community instead of against the community would be a better plan. However, it is harder to see what works than what doesn't work.
With the exploding terrorist profile I have to say that some specific targeting as in before boarding an airplane has to be tolerated. However, it must be done quickly and politely and effectively. No rudeness, no grannies strip searched, children should not be felt up.
It can be done. I flew into Germany after a terrorist bombing and they were searching everybody and everything. They were fast and polite and there was a soldier with a submachine gun in the corner and he looked like he meant business. I was kind of amazed by how well it worked there and how badly it seems to work in the USA.
Of course they were doing it to actually find bombs and the US is doing as some sort of strange psychological warfare that no one really understands.
Or incompetence...

More depressing news about a once great country

Read this. A knock on the door. As someone who grew up reading WWII stories and Bible smugglers in China and the USSR it sounds quite familiar. You won't even know what one of a host of regulations you violated. And it is always your fault for not knowing.

The Pussification of America is complete

We no longer deserve to be called "Americans."
I have often wondered how we got to the point of making a policy out of torturing terrorism suspects and being able to hold them forever without actually charging them. Where and when did the general population get to the point when they would accept these sorts of atrocities?
Today I was reading the Rent-a-cop blog and came across the story of a high school science teacher who made nitroglycerin and is accused of giving three kids chloroform.
Of the three kids involved one actually had the strength of character to stand up for the teacher. “She’s paying the price for our stupidity, the cops are blowing it out of proportion." Of course the teen is unnamed.
I seriously doubt it happened the way it was reported. Nor do I think 4 ml of Nitro was enough to blow up the school. On the other hand the teacher used very poor judgment. We begged our teacher to make nitro and she said no. Even if we did figure out the chemical reaction.
So, I was doing a search for the kid's quote and came across this story in which Salt Lake cops ruined the lives of several teenagers.
They were making bombs out of soda containers and setting them off in a field. They got hit with FELONY charges. These are sort of slow motion bombs using a reaction between aluminum foil and cleaner. The idiots called out the bomb squad.
Said the police spokesman, Brave Dennis  McGowan, "If it was important enough to call them out, certainly these devices were quite harmful. With everything going on in the world, that's an additional reason why it gets the attention of law enforcement." 
What a maroon! Soft drink bombs as a WMD? It is one step beyond baking soda and vinegar! To charge a kid with a felony over a stupid prank is immoral. In fact that is the action that should be a felony!
We are a nation of pansies. No wonder Glee is a hit TV show!
And so you may ask, how does torture and soda bottle bombs tie in together? Well, let me answer that one for you. If you are such an idiot that you think kids making soft drink containers is a threat to national security you are also unable to make a larger moral and national security judgment as to the rightness or wrongness of any other issue. In short, you have no critical thought abilities. You can't do risk assessment, you can't make a simple moral decision without a specific law to guide you.
Good grief! You know it is just going to get worse!
There has got to be somewhere we can immigrate to. Leave the idiots here... 
What was that new planet they discovered? 
At some point convicted felons are going to have to form their own lobbying group. As more and more people are changed with "non-crime" felonies why should they tolerate having their rights taken from them for doing things that should not be a crime?  
This is going to get me sent to a re-education camp isn't it? 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My cousin gives me a tractor!

My cousin gave me a tractor. I like to think of it as a Christmas Present. Actually I'm going to give him $1,000 worth of planting. But, I hardly ever give him a bill for planting as he helps me out all the time so I guess we are talking about imaginary money here.
My plan is to put a loader on it and use it to load hay. I also plan on loaning it to the guy with the weather station at Muddy Valley but that probably won't work as it is a hydro and the hydro is a little weak. I don't know just how weak. It moves but then it is not 75 degrees outside either.
So here I am a rich farmer with a new tractor.
Highly subsidized I might add...

Which gets me to another subject.
I need a new phone.
And then there is the thing that has bugging me for a day or two...
I got into a discussion about wolves the other day.
I sort of dislike most people in the city...
Read this story about wolves. Read the comments. We are set up for a class struggle. Those durn farmers who own land and are living off the government subsidy programs. We live in the city and drive on subsidized roads and love that food from China and Brazil and the cheap crap we buy at whatever the Portland high class knick-knack shop is that buys from the same factor as Pier One and Wallmart but ups the price and we have lots of plastic and solar power and think we are wonderful because we wear scratchy underwear made by peasants somewhere. Not to mention our fair-trade coffee that kills song birds.
The way to solve the wolf and cougar problem is hunting permits. Hunt cougars with dogs during a certain season. Allow wolves to be shot on sight around livestock, with a permit.
These are quite intelligent animals and they will want to avoid getting shot. So, they will stay away from people and run away from dogs.
This lesson could be transferred to other less desirable species but I don't want to get put on another list at the fusion center so I will leave that one alone.
Allowing wolves to kill livestock and then compensating the farmer just teaches wolves to kill livestock.
Not hunting cougars with dogs makes them not afraid of dogs so you can't chase them away from your house.
Wolves were wiped out by the FISH AND WILDLIFE service on purpose and by using methods like shooting them out of an airplane. You will not wipe out the population of anything with controlled hunts, permits, hunting seasons, and whatever.
I just wish more city folks would try dancing with wolves and cougars on a regular basis. We need less of them...(city people)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The biggest threat to our liberty is not from Islamic Terrorists

I'm not ever going to talk about the Defense Bill...
This fellow I know had a couple drinks at a local tavern. On the way home he was stopped by the police. He blew under the legal limit to drive a car. But...He has had a CDL. So even though he was not driving a CDL licensed vehicle he got a DUI. I think it will make his life kind of difficult.
If I get stopped driving my wife's car I could automatically get a minimum of a $500 fine for not having my medical card because I have a CDL.
According to the fellow who give me a tractor today, he heard you have to have the medical card with a Farm Endorsement but that information has only been published on a Gubment website no one actually reads.
Just get ready for the words, "papers please..."
Cut the budget...
Read Frank James...

It is raining...

If it were not for my sick wife, I would go back to bed... I wish I had one of Temple's hugging machines. I'd never leave the house...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Temple Grandin

Last night we watch the movie "Temple Grandin" about the person Temple Grandin.
It was a good movie and a very interesting story about an incredibly interesting person.
Temple Grandin basically invented the science of cattle handling.
Professor Grandin is Autistic and thinks visually. Because of this she is able to "see" cattle handling as the cow see's it. Her designs allow cattle to be moved quickly and humanely.
Before she studied cattle handling it was basically scaring the critter till it moved.
I remember my father talking about her work years ago when we were designing a corral. Some of it was common sense, actually when you start to think about it, it is all commons sense, but the big feed lots didn't think that way.
Anyway, you can look her up...
Temple Grandin Autism website
Temple Grandin Livestock Handling website

I find studying how people learn and make decisions to be interesting. Things like the proper way to move cattle are also interesting to me. I am amazed that small movements by a handler can move an entire herd as a unit. And how quickly loud and aggressive movements can send animals into panic.
Or why people actually climb the scaffolding to the gallows or put their head on the executioner's block. Or get up and go to work in the morning.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why I am going insane

Part of it is the sheer volume of worthless crap on our farm. We can't afford to buy a good truck or a sprayer or an irrigator but we have tons of worthless crap that we think we will fix up someday.
This morning I took advantage of the frozen ground to attempt to get a 55 gallon drum of molasses out of the back of a box truck which for some reason is parked in a floodplain in mud. The box body needs to be removed from the truck to be used as a chemical storage unit but for some reason we think we will fix the truck.
This is a stupid idea. Especially since rats moved into the cab and since it leaks a steady stream of oil out of the oil pan and it has been driven.
Of course I attempted to move a 250lb drum by myself and it was icy. I got it onto the pallet on the tractor forks but of course the tractor forks had sunk as of course it is a 1964 Moline Jet Star with an equally vintage loader and the hydraulics just don't hold as well as they once did.
Dropping 55 gallons ($100 value) of molasses from a height of four feet makes quite an explosion even if it is 32 degrees outside.
I salvaged five gallons!
I am covered in molasses. It actually does taste sweet with a faintly salty aftertaste.
I put my coveralls and shirt in the washing machine and start retracing my steps with some wet wipes.
I am a bit grumpy at that point so I stop for coffee time.
My sister in law is making lots of copies and I am not sure if that is why set the uncle on edge or if it was my rant about the amount of crap setting around or if was my comment about the copy machine being an antique or if it was my comment when I thought the door was closed in response to the confusion about when the copier was purchased and when the toner cartridge was installed and the standard for of argument employed at the shop. Where everyone argues about totally different things but thinks they are arguing about the same thing.
My employee was there in time for coffee time and seemed to be in a helpful mood.
But, I left the tractor setting with the molasses covered pallet and two half buckets of molasses I had salvaged.
I went to the house to get insulated coveralls and more wet wipes to clean the steering wheel but before I returned I spied the dog control truck and so I stopped to put the dogs in the truck for a quick get-away and then someone wanted to talk to me.
A customer came after steel and the uncle needed the tractor. It is his tractor after all.
Soon I heard my name called.
He pointed out to me the molasses on the forks and gave me pretty explicit instructions on how i should clean them off.
He suggested ether, or perhaps brake cleaner. I asked what he thought about water but he really didn't think water would do it.
I was a little annoyed and may have said a couple bad words while I was driving away. (I have got to watch that problem.)
I decided I would move my pallet while I was at it.
I thought it was kind of funny that the whole metal cutting and moving process was stopped due to molasses on the tractor forks and I admit to a bit of humor at the thought of them actually standing there waiting for me to clean the forks.
So I found an unfrozen water hydrant and hosed them off.

The uncle made another trip to tell me I needed to use brake cleaner.
I decided to take a little longer.
Then my employee was instructed to pick up all the drips of molasses off of the driveway.
Apparently I did not get all the molasses off of my phone. It made kind of a soft focus effect. If you look in the background you can see some of our crap. We have more!!! We love crap!!!

I could not longer be angry or annoyed.
It had gone into the realm of the surreal or is it absurd.
My employee did a very good job of shoveling the gravel.
My uncle was happy with the emplyee.
I know he heard me swearing. I have got to stop swearing.
I just had to come into the house an make another post. Sometimes I can't contain all the joy and happiness bubbling within me!

An employee update

My helper has been quite sick. This is true. He is frequently ill. I suspect it is due to 1. His great bulk, 2. His way of dealing with stress, (see (1))
A week or so back he took couple days off and just reappeared yesterday. This morning he texted me that he had an appointment at 10 a.m.
It is kind of funny but mostly sad.
As you may know he was about to get evicted.
He needed to come up with $1,000.
Sunday the dairyman next door called up looking for my helper. When the helper was hauling manure from the dairy he got the dairyman to loan him the $1,000.
Security on that loan is my stacking bill against the dairy.
I am so embarrassed I didn't have the nerve to tell the dairy fairy he is on his own in collecting.
I so need a business manager!

An obscure book- Revolt in San Marcos by Robert Carver North

I found this book in GoodWill a while back. I thought it looked interesting.
Yesterday I started reading it while waiting for my daughter to learn how to play guitar.
Not a lot of info on Mr. North.
I suppose Collieguy has already read this book.
I read the first couple chapters and am depressed already. The natives have revolted and killed the senor and looted the hacienda. Of course they fought over the stallion which then broke a leg and they killed the cow that gives milk for a BBQ and the burned the Senor and his family in the chapel.
I suppose one question could be made about the failure of Dios to rescue the Senor but I was thinking more of the very fragile link between the genteel 21st century folks in their comfy chairs and the stone age folks who killed the only milk cow in 100 miles for a BBQ.
A particularly apt read in light of the Occupy association of Useful idiots occupying the Port of Portland yesterday.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Who reads this thing anyway?

Ok, someone just started following me as it says there are 39 followers. Pumice is now at the front of the list but I've followed Pumice for a while and commented back and forth.
The other day I checked my statistics and there are 34 people who check this blog every day. According to the stats they are the same people-returning customers so to speak. There are also some 20-30 random hits from my local internet provider but they are not always the same.
There are a couple odd fellows from from Canada who check frequently and some character from the Albany Mennonite Home who also checks about every day. Probably a has that "old-timers" disease and forgets to shut his computer off...
Then there are random hits based on searches for key words like, can cows walk down stairs, and "alien farmer sex party," and why the click on the Lazy Farmer when doing a search for the latter is beyond me.
The Other McCain has sent me 896 hits this year and I thank him very much!
I think it may be a bit off the usual interest of conservative blog readers. But I also get links from The Eye of Polyphemus, The Griper, and some fellow whose blogger photo shows him holding what looks like a chicken.
All in all I get around 3500 hits a month. I don't know if this is good or bad. I have not been commenting much on other folk's blogs and have not been looking for new blogs to comment on. I suppose I should.
Kind of interesting to look at the stats. I don't know what they mean.
I guess I just I hope someone got a laugh out of the Lazy Farmer today.
I'm going to bed. Seems like a good enough home remedy for me!

A Sunday Rant

I did not go to Church today. My wife proclaimed me sick yesterday and asked my brother to find someone to replace me in the service.
So, I have been home in bed mostly but I did mess around with the wireless network so we can listen to Christmas music on internet radio.
I see a pickup come into the driveway and pull up to the hay shed. We have a combine and the truck full of feed and the Mixer/grinder and another truck in front of the hay. It is raining and cold. I've been sick as you all know.
So my cell phone rings. It is the hay customer. He has been here before. He knows I generally go to church on Sunday. He knows it annoys me to do hay sales on Sunday. He knows how much hay he has left.
But yet he persists. To be fare he does load the truck himself. But this is not the first time the hay has been blocked and I have not answered the phone.
Why can't hay and feed customers figure out they should call before they can see the bottom of the feed barrel or they are down to their last bale of hay?
What is wrong with just leaving folks alone on Sunday afternoon? Unless you have pie or "home remedy," or want to listen to the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, or want to be friendly (without a hot tub).
Why is that so much to ask?

The Last Straw-Why I officially now kind of dislike Apple Computer Company

I have owned Apple products forever, it would seem. I started out with a Mac Plus and moved up to a Mac SE followed by a PowerBook 180.
Mac were easy to use and network. While software appeared to be limited, in reality it only meant that you didn't have idiotic programs like "My crappy database designer." Instead there was Filemaker pro, Excel, ClarisWorks, Pagemaker, Superpaint, and Photoshop.
I admit to being pretty annoyed when they went to OS7 but I loved OS9 and would still use it if I could. I've been somewhat nonplussed with the incarnations of OS10 but I love the fact that my computer has not locked up in months. In fact, I have an untitled notepad file that has been open since Thanksgiving and I've never got around to saving it.
I've been officially declared "sick" by my wife and am home by myself on Sunday. So, I finally got around to configuring our wireless network so that we can listen to Christmas music off of iTunes in two rooms at once.
It was all pretty simple till I got to my wife's iPad.
This is why I dislike Apple.
The company has defined the concept of success in spite of total idiotic choices in product feature implementation. There has got to be a name for it. Apple should be on the scrap heap of history along with Triumph, Studebaker, Minneapolis-Moline, Commodore, and Rambler.
The only thing that keeps Apple alive is the competition. My recent experience with Windows on my GPS tablet has convinced me that Windows is so terrible that it makes Apple look good in comparison.
The iPad, iPod and iPhone are perfect examples of what is wrong with Apple. Each one is almost the best thing you ever used. The problem is in the word "Almost."
So Apple has designated the iPad as a "device" and not a computer. So you must connect it to a host computer to do anything with it. This is insane. It is a perfectly good tablet computer. Why do you need a host computer? And why will it connect to a Windows XP computer but not to a Mac running OS 10.4?
Oh, I know the reason, Apple wants me to upgrade. I don't want to upgrade... So, I guess I will have to use my Tablet running XP to upgrade my wife's iPad?
Then there is music sharing over a network and printing.
The iPad doesn't allow an easy way to print documents over a wireless network? Insanity!
I can print with my XP over my network using Bonjour (an Apple program). This network is a conglomeration of wireless stuff I bought off of eBay and it is a mix of Apple and Netgear and it works just fine.
Then there is the stupid interface on the iPad. How do you turn off iTunes?
The iPad is not the first tablet computer and there are plenty of ideas on how to navigate a page with no keyboard. I'm happy to see that Apple has found a less than intuitive way to do it all.
My wife also has an iPhone. I can't even begin to figure it out.
Now to be fair. My daughter who is 10 can do all sorts of stuff with iPad and iPhone, and they are not current generation devices as we never buy new.
Anyway, I guess I don't really care as I am not buying an iPad for myself and I sold my four shares of Apple when Steve died.
Still, I would like to be able to stream music on my airport network and share a printer with a non PC tablet. Seems like a good idea.
Wish Audion would update but it won't happen as iTunes is almost a good program and has dominated the market, plus it is free.
If FarmerGPS would come out with a program for the android tablet i would buy one of those.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Expletive infixation

So... I went after a load of raw materials to make chicken feed. (screenings they are called). Then I went to the Chiropractor which actually made me feel better. Then I took my daughter to the Asian Buffet which made her feel better but not I. Where we got Bok Choy Boy for 50 cents.
Then I went home to make chicken feed.
It did not work so well. The auger kept plugging and I smelled burning grass screenings.
Then some people came after hay. They always make out the check incorrectly. They were unable to make the connection between me shutting off the hammer mill and me planning on getting them hay. They went to the shop.
Then dad called me four times in a row.
Finally they came back and stared at me for a while.
I got them hay...
Then the bearing went out on the hammer mill. One of two main bearings. It will be a pain in the arse to fix.
I put everything away and went in and laid on the couch. It was 4 p.m.
Now I have discipline my child for not doing her chores even though I asked her like four times if she had really finished them.
Earlier while I was grinding feed. My neighbor was worried about me and brought me some Wild Turkey and Honey as a home remedy. He even brought a glass. He keeps trying to give me a hot tub.
I took a sip and then just drained the glass. I am open to home remedy. He thinks I'm an alcoholic. I replied I was just "taking my medicine."
That was really nasty stuff! It did not make me feel better...
I'm a little worried about that whole hot tube thing...
Have a nice evening.

The sick day that wasn't...

I feel like crap this morning. I had a cough and the sweats yesterday. My 92.9 year old father has been coughing for a week so I figured it was but a matter of time before I worried myself into a fever. Which I have done.
My daughter is looking out the window at the frost. She thinks it is beautiful. It is covering the ground almost like snow. There is a layer of fog above the trees and so everything is white. The air and the ground.
I have to make chicken feed today. So, I have to start the truck with the 6-71 Detroit in the cold wet fog. I did not hear fire sirens last night so I am assuming that the block heater did not burn down the shop. I suppose that is a good thing... Then I have load my old boxes and pallets on the truck and take them to the neighbor where I will get more 800lb boxes of vetch, oats screenings and wheat screenings. I need to also get some camolina or canola mean but I can't afford it. Perhaps I can find more clover screenings.
The Paul Bunyon-esque fellow is also coming to work on the carport. He refuses to take money for his work but needs some hay. I asked him yesterday if he was angling for free-hay-for-life and he said he was. I suppose this will end badly.
On the other hand a fellow who didn't pay me for a year and a half gave me advance payment for 25 ton of hay and so I can actually pay my rent and the stacker payment both. (I think)
My neighbor was laughing at me yesterday. I had to go and move our combine and borrowed truck out of his shed. They are not so new.
I told him that one day I would be a well off and successful farmer and, and, and, and, well I had nothing to say at that point.
Finally I just sputtered out that I would be a lot less pathetic and went back to work.
Last week the daughter and I went to the zoo.
I commented that I thought it was odd that the Giraffe was outside in 40 degree weather. I'm not so much of an expert but I planted for a fellow who takes in old zoo animals and he told me of the difficulties in keeping a Giraffe in the cold wet Oregon weather.
I guess he was right.
They killed him. Click here to read an interesting blog by MaxRedline. Scroll down a bit to read the short section about the giraffe. I tried calling my zoo animal rescue friend but he didn't answer. I would try again but I have short attention span.
A photo from last week...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Look at this! A rent-a-cop blog!

Of course which story do I click on?
Of course it happened in Amarillo...
Some years ago I when I hired high schoolers I had a very polite kid working for me. He was just a little too polite, and a little too"yes sir" for my taste. I just didn't trust him.
Then there was the "misunderstanding," about free gas from his previous employer. Then there was a "hot for teacher" scandal at the high school.
His mother was tearfully testifying about the loss of her son's innocence.
Innocence my arse. He stole gas...
So the when kids were telling me about "doing" the secretary at the HS. I gave them two tidbits of advice. 1. Don't tell me any more about it! (tell it has been over for a few years) 2. Don't tell anyone else about it! 3. Don't admit anything when this all goes public because it is kind of like killing the golden goose. Well, that was three tidbits of advice but they didn't understand the thing about the golden goose because they were illiterate maroons who did not realize they had hit the proverbial sexual jackpot and were so incredibly stupid that they later ruined the whole thing by demanding more sex. Then they pretended to be victims. The little shits were not victims and someone should of beat the living snot out of them. They got away with doing wrong on several levels and were rewarded by those in authority. Which is more of a problem with this society than anything else.
The problem is the double standard we accept in our culture. You know Nike shoes are no better than Sears but yet you pay more money for them. You know a 15-year-old boy knows more about sex in 2011 then you know. In fact you have a sex ed class to insure that.
You accept S..... G..... and Justin B.  having a relationship which has gotten high school kids on the sex offender list.
Mayor Sam Adams can nail an underage intern-or whatever he was.
But there are select exceptions...
I do think it is funny when the teachers get caught with underage boys. (When it is a girl and a teacher I am highly offended as I have a daughter. But, I do not claim to be a fair and balanced blogger. And I am also sexist and think it is a different matter when it is an underage girl)
What I find interesting about it is the lack of character shown by the boys. The ones who get caught also are the ones who quickly rat out the teacher which brings up these question in my mind.
1. Do the kids fall for the teacher like a moth to the flame because of the same lack of character that causes them to immediately turn on the teacher and claim victim status when confronted?
2. Are the teachers who get caught sex addicts who make poor choices in who they choose for sex because they are really screwed up people? That didn't make sense... Let me say it this way. Is it proof that they need mental help by how easily they get caught? Poor choice of victim indicates guilt?
3. If you were a boy who had no "Christian" values why would you not nail your hot teacher. But, does that same lack of a solid belief system not give you the strength to resist interrogation? The Christian values would be the only reason to confess. If you were true to yourself and had universal humanist values would you not protect the source of your pleasure.
4. Should you teach your kid to resist interrogation? If so how do you distinguish between lying to state authority vs lying to parents?
5. Is there a double standard in this concept? You choose to break the law but you do not rat out your friends. But, I grew up on books from the turn of the previous century, ideas like "God, Honor, Country," and "death before dishonor," and the "Just So Stories," and "Will James, Lone Cowboy."
When my daughter went back to public school I told her to stay out of controversy and to never admit there is a shotgun in the house. She said she didn't want to lie. I said, "but do you remember exactly what happened?" She said, "not always," and I said, "well then stay out of it.. until you talk to your parents."
I have been debating on teaching her how to lie effectively but I suspect that would come back to haunt me. For example, reporting the truth slightly out of context to make a "white" lie. Or imagining a different story in your head until you are confused about the real story, or just doing it "Hilary Style" and not remembering. Or just keeping a safe and happy spot in your head.
When I was in trouble in middle school and in high school I would just imagine the teacher or administrator who was interrogating me naked and taking a poop. Or I would imagine building something step by step in my head which would cause me to give all sorts of confused and conflicting answers and make me unreliable.
I really must not tell her those things...
I will tell her to just start crying and sobbing, "I miss my Grandma..." Oh, I already did that... Wonder if it is working for her.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's a wonderful life part IV

I got a call from my uncle yesterday morning. After 30 years of the parts house building falling down, yesterday was the day to repair it.  To be fair... I've actually been working on the wall a little bit at a time for two years and this year was the year to repair his section.
Next call was my father who was having computer problems. He leaves stuff on his keyboard and it auto types so he had page after page of spaces in his price list.  I fixed it but then there was another problem. It would not "print."  Not printing has become a catch phrase for most problems computer related in my father's vocabulary. (Note, he is almost 93)
He would click  on the 2011 price list to open it and then exclaim that it was not right and it would not "print right on the screen." This meant that 1. Something in the file had changed due to the scissors setting on the keyboard for a day. Or, 2. it was the wrong file.  It did not mean the printer was not working.
After observing him opening and closing the file about five times I asked him if he really thought that it would just change back on its' own. He chuckled a little and said he didn't suppose it would, "but the correct file had to be there, it was there this morning."
So, I checked the recent documents tab and decided it must be price list 2010 and so I opened that file. Dad was still focused on clicking the 2011 file and completely missed what I did to get the 2010 file.
"There it is!" He exclaimed, "Where could that have been... Oh for pity sakes," he said.
I started to explain but then thought better of it. When I left he was trying to replicate his previous success.
Do you have to have melting clocks to qualify as surrealism?
I had find some used lumber for my Uncle and also get some sample bales of hay from Gopher Valley. So I thought I would pay my rent at Muddy Valley. I was on Muddy Valley road and realized I didn't have my checkbook. I had a nice visit anyway.
Later, I had to pick up Lulu from school and meet her mother so they could go to the dentist. I got halfway to my wife's school and realized I did not have my daughter...
Lulu thought it was pretty funny.
My wife said I should probably not tell her when I did stuff like that. 
I guess she wold rather me be late because I am a butt head than late because I am mentally challenged...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A crock of poo-poo

I wonder if anyone who makes policy ever talks to anyone outside their little world? Actually I wonder of anyone who makes US policy ever pulls their head out of their arse and looks around at all. Other than to stick their nose up the behind of someone from a foreign country who hates them.
Today I sold some chicken feed to a very interesting person of Hispanic heritage today. He kept referring to the USA as "we and us," and has almost no accent so I am assuming he is native born USA. I didn't ask his citizenship status as I figure that is somewhat impolite.
He and I have been discussing money making ideas and his goal of retirement by age 45. He is looking for some ground to plant blueberries and has been advising me on my goal of planting strawberries.
He says the latest news is that "China" is renting ground in Mexico and planting berries and vegetables.
They are leasing or renting ground for pennies and paying just a little over average wage in Mexico. The locals are quite happy and are rethinking their illegal trek to the USA for jobs. Golly! what a good idea!
China is doing what the USA should have been doing since the end of WWII. They send advisers and investors and they help people around the world. They don't turn their corporations loose on the people to totally rape the country. They have a long term plan. I am sure it is for their benefit and pain may come later. But, they are thinking long term. Plus, the PLA probably knows how to deal with the drug gangs. Perhaps we should leave that one alone...
He also had some pretty depressing comments about who is making money off the drug war. The law is pretty well set up to foster corruption and it is working quite well in that respect. But, I think I'll let that subject go for now. Way too depressing to even talk about. And after the latest baloney with the ATF I suspect it is all true.
So...the US and Mexico have been neighbor's for a few years now, and we have not figured a way to make mutually beneficial economic arrangements?
Mexico has oil reserves, minerals, silver, lots of cheap labor and they generally like us.
Instead, we are fighting a war in two countries on the other side of the world which are no where near important to our economic health and national security as the countries next to us and we think it is a good idea?
Plus, we are allowing people into this country from those countries who want to convert us to a religion which won't even allow women to drive a car, but we won't even come up with a guest worker program for people from Mexico.
Then we have the idiots who are so anti-immigration they will push for a national ID card and really intrusive crap like E-verify but can't step back and see the big picture where economics and supply and demand are creating population movements that can't be controlled by fence and in a free society. (formerly free society)
Of course it is all academic at this point because when China moves to Mexico for cheap labor there will no longer be an illegal immigration problem or any US grown produce farms in any border states so we won't have to worry about a guest worker program either.
I had a little chat with another Hispanic fellow who works for the neighbor. He says the Coyotes are demanding more money now. They have expanded into kidnapping. There are stories of $20,000 payments to get the rest of the person that was attached to the finger you just found on your doorstep. He thought it was no longer "Coyotes" but gangsters  doing the smuggling.
Hell in a handbasket was the phrase that came to mind...
Of course if the illegals stopped all those taxes that get paid to the fake social security numbers would no longer go into the general fund... Social services would not be able to expand based on the number of people without insurance or jobs. There would be fewer "oppressed" people for the liberals to love. And I'd sell less chicken feed.

Friday, December 2, 2011

People are stupid and I hate Wallmart part II

Some time ago I bought basic starter train set for my daughter. It was a Thomas The Tank engine set made by Tomy or Tomica World. I found it at GoodWill for $10.
It had blue plastic tracks made out of a virtually indestructable  plastic and a very simple connection that you can just turn the track over to get right and left curves and switches. The trains were battery powered and were the same gauge as all the other wooden train sets.
So...They sold out to Trackmaster which makes a more positive snapping track which looks like a finger pincher to me.
They sell them at WallMart of course.
We have a huge garbage tub of the blue Thomas/Tomica tracks. There are tons of the Tomy accessories on ebay and they are selling cheap. I've got a few listened and they have no bids at all. I am a little high but I may just start playing with the set again. Don't really care.
So we are supposedly in a tough economy. If I were looking for a train for a five-year-old I would buy the Tomy system. We ended up with a track that ran though two rooms with switches and stops and sidings. It worked great with the old legos. Hours of fun were had by Lulu and I.
But buying decisions are made by people who made decisions based on packaging and perception. They are not capable of any sort of long term study and they don't really like the kids that much so they don't really care.
Anyway, perhaps I'm just in a bad mood.
Next on the sale list will be Marx cowboys and tin barns. Hopefully Lulu will stop me.
Anyone need a Nerf Machine gun? I have two. Enough to start a war!

I hate Wallmart

We went there last night.
I don't think you save that much money. Or, I should say, You don't save enough money to put up with going there.
It is not even the freaky people who go there.
The latest clever ruse to get you to spend $.35 more cents is to put everything in different sized bags.
We were buying dog food. At BiMart and most other stores they put a price per lb in small letters under the main price. At Wallmart they just list the number of lbs per bag.  A 13lb bad of dog food? Or perhaps a 19.3lb bag next to a 17.5lb bag next to a 31.345lb bag? Why not start mixing in the metric system? That will fool them customers fer sure!!!
The funny thing was that when I figured out price per lb there was not that much difference in price, other than the difference between high quality and the stuff we feed our dog.
The same with food. There was a huge display of soft drinks and a good price, but upon close inspection it was a special 20 pack of cans so you really could compare the price with out using some calculations.
I'm in favor of shopping local or regional stores so perhaps I'm just easily irritated.
Taking Lulu to the zoo today.
Told my chicken feed customers to comeback another day...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

They took our Jobs!

Yesterday the Mexican who runs the neighbor's seed cleaning plant brought his friend by looking for a job. Actually, his friend drove him by as I think E. no longer has a license.
I have been reading the website as my daughter asked me about Roanoke Island last night.
I get continual updates in my email from talking about the need for e-verify and how those illegals, They Took Our Jobs!
Here is the deal...
I've had a few people come by looking for work lately.
The one white guy needed more than $15 or it would mess up his unemployment. The other white guy was rather twitchy and I didn't trust him. The third white guy kept telling me how he could run stacker and weld and all his incredible abilities but I already knew he was a moron. The 19 year-old girl who wants a job would be a hard worker and offered to wash farm equipment in the rain in exchange for hay and I actually may get her to help. But she swears, A LOT!
So E. comes by with his Mexican friend who has been spot spraying and doing general labor type work for a neighbor. His English is passable, he has a family, he is polite and seems interested in our farm and what we do. He has a grasp of the concept of farming. He said he does not mind working in adverse conditions and said he does not need a lot of money to start out.
I ask you, which one would I hire?
And, where is my large helper this time of year?
Frankly I don't give a rip if he is illegal. I really object to doing e-verify and double checking his social-security number. I am not the one who left the door open at the US border and I am not the one who makes people wait in line for a week to get a US Visa. E-verify is just an excuse to track every person in the USA. Just like the question of why should I have to prove MY citizenship to get my driver's license renewed. Do I have an accent?
Why does it have to be this difficult?
If I were president I would issue an executive order. All illegals have six months to return to the country of origin. I would set up a fast track visa application where potential guest workers could move to the front of the line if they had a sponsor or proof of employment in the US. The idea would be to make it so they could go back across the border and show their info to the visa office and come back in a matter of days or hours.
Then, if you were arrested for a crime or found here illegally you would be promptly sent back.
I think there should also be a path to citizenship but the applicants would have to take classes in US history and do perhaps, volunteer work, or something.
Just some ideas which I think are quite sensible but nobody on either side of the immigration debate will come anywhere close to anything sensible.
OF COURSE, you know THEY would screw it up....
(THEY-meaning the clever educated folks who know more than you or I)
In the mean time I ain't hirin' no crack heads!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Anyone Remember DAK and Drew Kaplan?

When I was a kid I was always interested in electronic gadgets and sound. The highlights of the holiday advertising season were the Sharper Image and the DAK catalogs. I had already had a few months of the Montgomery Wards Christmas Catalog, but for an interesting look at funny and quirky electronics I enjoyed Drew Kaplan's DAK mail order catalog.
I liked his interesting combination of bulk audio tapes and interesting stereo equipment. Just what would you get if you bought 500 blank tapes? How could you write 500 words about a cassette tape that you could buy at BiMart and make someone want to buy them in bulk though the mail?
He disappeared for a while, there was a bankruptcy, pain and suffering in the 1990's, but I see he is back. On the internet plugging LP to CD conversion. Looks like he has a pretty good setup really. Not sure if it is all a good price. But, it is interesting.
Click here for Wikipedia
Click here to go to his website. I just like reading his copy. I never buy anything!
Click here to learn all about cleaning records!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Why you should get married and have your family at age 19...

The family decided to camp in the living room. I can only guess that it was an off shoot of the occupy movement. Unfortunately we could not find the pump for the air mattress. Then my lovely wife was not feeling well and opted for the comfortable bed.
My daughter was quite excited by the idea of camping on the floor. So....I volunteered.
Never volunteer for anything!
She was going to read to me but we ended up in a discussion of why we have difficulty in large groups of people somehow ended in a discussion of my childhood vs hers.
When I was a kid, the stories told to me by my Grandparents were of steam trains and going to Colorado in a covered wagon and Grandma going sledding and getting her tongue frozen to a fence wire. My parents stories were also of steam trains, farming with horses, the first airplane they saw, the first car, the first radio, first telephone.
But, the stories I tell my daughter are tractors without CABS, the one hand crank phone I saw, tube RADIOS, hand crank record players, typewriters, and cars without airconditioning. In short, the stuff we still use...
It is not like two different worlds. Grandpa is so old that of course that is ancient history. And we just had a foot of snow a couple years ago.
Anyway, I forgot the point of that line of thinking.
The point is... I slept on a sleeping bag on the living room floor with my daughter. I am suffering for it. Every joint in my body hurts. I'd go smoke a joint if I just had a medical card and if being high didn't really annoy me.
Plus we will probably die of radiation poisoning as the carpet is where all the nuclear fallout from the ongoing Japanese reactor fallout collects from our shoes.
Perhaps I will go eat some Chinese lettuce...
I will feel better after five cups of coffee...Then I have to grind some pig feed.
The sun is out!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving day

When I was a lad we always went to a big family Thanksgiving dinner at an old church. The potatoes were always cold but the gravy was usually amazing.
My dad's cousins were all characters. They grew up together on a big farm where they did everything. They had prunes and pigs and cut firewood and grew grain and had a prune dryer and broke horses. In the winter they would cut firewood and load the cordwood into boxcars that went to Portland.
With the advent of WWII the government decided to locate a training base in the area and they had to sell the land and everyone scattered. Thanksgiving was the big get together.
After dinner there was a time for everyone to talk about what they had done that year. There was often a devotion and several hymns were song. As kids we always pretended to hate it all but I will admit it was usually very entertaining.
That era is over with. There seems to be no real shared heritage anymore.
We are going to my wife's sister's house in Portland. She is already up there. She has four sisters and they all like to get together they day before Thanksgiving and make pies and tell each other what to do. They enjoy this a lot but all the talking makes me a bit claustrophobic so I am home.
I was attempting to organize my record collection and vintage stereo, 16mm move, and reel to reel collection, as well as books and computer stuff and Marx toy barns and...and...
I think I will listen to the Legendary Stardust cowboy as I am alone and the Ledge seems to get the cats really agitated.
I bought some new speakers.

They are Dynaco A-25's.
I took Lulu with me to look at them. Before we went in I explained my theory of buying stuff off of craigslist.
First I only had the amount of money I wanted to spend. This was not a lie as I was pretty low on cash and I wanted to eat lunch.
Second I was going to look for something to complement the fellow on to build empathy. My goal was to get him to want to sell me the speakers because I was a nice guy. This was all kind of academic as I was not doing one of those deals where you offer the guy a fraction of his asking price and just walk away. I have been doing a fair amount of research and was pretty shocked at the price of 1970's era speakers on ebay.
I took one look at them and cringed.

They were pretty ratty looking and had funny sparkle grills. Sort of groovy, which is kind of a problem. I'm not so much of a groovy fellow. We don't have any shag carpet in our house.
But they sounded amazing. And they turned out to be the A-25XL model which is somewhat sought after by collectors.

I got Lulu to give me a second opinion. She said I should buy them.
She may have been a big preoccupied by the fellows kitty-cat but she has better ears than I and she lends a somewhat critical eye to the crap I drag home.
So I made my offer and there was silence.
I said, well that is what I've got and if you want to wait another couple weeks and advertise them, just give me a call and I will come back.
He helped me carry them to the car.
He was a very interesting fellow. Collects records and plays music. I hope I didn't offend him.
Then I got home and saw my statement from Case Credit...
And there is the issue of paying my rent. I am glad I am completely anonymous and no one to whom I owe money reads this blog.
Then there is the issue of water leaking around the window frame in the house, and the woodstove I was going to buy and... whatever...
After enjoying a complete album side of the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, I wonder if Sam Adams would not have been better off trying to roust the occupiers with a blast of The Ledge, instead of a blast of pepper spray?
Have a happy day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving...

In order to put us in the mood for Thanksgiving I give you some holiday music...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Over compensated

Here is a link to a blog I enjoy and the one story that incensed me today.
I've been washing farm equipment in the rain. I just moved a large piece of equipment through town in the pouring rain because my very useful and hardworking employee went fishing instead of finishing the field and the fellow I borrowed it from wanted it back. It was kind of embarrassing. I had to apologize for keeping it for two months.
Then while the neighbor was talking to me I just discovered that for the fourth straight year, no one dumped the lorsban out of the insecticide boxes on the corn planter, nor did they clean out the corn. This is also embarrassing as it shows I am a pathetic farmer. Saying that you told your helper to clean it out brings you no glory. Only pity...
I have to wash my two disk mowers, two balers, a rake, and it looks like the stacker.
It is raining. Not just raining but it is pouring.
I have to get this stuff done.
AND I come in the house to dry off and I see that the U of O football coach is getting a five million dollar retirement. You tell me that guy made the world a better place, or contributed anything useful to society and I would be happy to shove a football up your arse. (Unless you are Sam Adams, oh-wait, I'm too old for him!) Actually that is all a figure of speech. I would not want to do anything that unhygienic. I wouldn't even hit you. I'd probably just leave. I might try to get the dog to pee on your tires when you were not looking. I would certainly overcharge you for your chicken feed. Perhaps spike it with some round-up ready alfalfa.
Anyway, I get to deal with all the morons driving up and down 99W with their green flags and the big "O" on the back of their cars. Every one of them is a jerk who is in such an incredible hurry to see college boys touch each other on the bottom that they can't wait five minutes for me to find a wide spot in the road to pull off.
Does anyone really think I want to be blocking traffic on a Saturday?
So when I come into the house to dry off and have a cup of coffee when I'm soaking wet and cold and irritated and I see people so over-compensated for doing so little I get a little annoyed.
Not that I plan on occupying anything other than perhaps the bathroom for a while...
$40,000 a month...
It's a playground game people!
There is no point to it...
After washing a tractor and trying to figure out how to get the insecticide boxes on the corn planter dry-and thinking that I'm an idiot because up to last week I could have just taken them off myself and put them in the barn... And worrying about slugs eating our wheat an annual ryegrass and thinking how stupid it is for me to be washing hay equipment in the rain when I should be working on broken stuff in the shop....
I got to thinking about my rant.
Mike Bellotti is one of the special people. Those who are over compensated by far. This class includes the CEO's of large corporations, sports figures, entertainment stars, and heads of various other agencies and people who are not me.
Whose fault is it that they are over compensated? Would you turn the money down? What kind of a messed up society pays a college football coach 4 million dollars a year? Put that into perspective with the cost of tuition. People end up with thousands of dollars in student loans due to outrageous expense of higher education. A service you buy which has gives you no recourse if do not get what you thought you were buying. A service which has no customer protection at all. You can't even refuse to pay that loan. Of course you can come back which the argument that sports are paid for though private donations. All that argument does is bring to light the corruption that goes on inside the sports programs.
The problem is the utter moral corruption of our society and no amount of yelling at police officers will do a dadgummed thing about it. The only thing that works is capitalism and a return to some sort of moral code rather than this I'm special and the rules don't apply to me BS that has become our cultural mantra. Withhold the funding and the market responds. Give people a conscience and the greed is tempered. Of course the belief system we are going to get is probably going to be a bit painful for those of us who cling to the old religion. Off to the re-education camps we go!
But, I digress. I refuse to spend a dime on sports tickets. I almost never go to a movie. I do not support packaged entertainment and I complain a lot. I'm not sure what else to do but I think a few more people should try. I tell my kid to do the what is right, to be honest care about others.
Not very revolutionary but I really don't know what else there is...
And now, I'm going back out into the rain. Well, perhaps after I do some dishes. My wife seemed a bit tense this morning.

Monday, November 21, 2011

We Go To the Big City and See Joe Ely and laugh at hipsters

In 1989 I saw Joe Ely at the Pine Street Theater in Portland. It was an a amazing show. I think he played every song he ever wrote and sang with such intensity and energy he was drenched in sweat by the end of the show. There were no reserved seats at the Pine Street, in fact the only seating was in the bar so everyone stood to watch the show.  I was right up against the stage.  He gave me a smile and I took his photo. I even got a guitar pick. He seemed like a pretty decent guy.
Last night my lovely and gracious wife took me to see Joe Ely at the Aladdin theater in Portland. It is always a bit of a culture shock for me to leave the farm. I am a bit amazed at how much the guys look like Scruffy from Scooby-Doo and the girls all look like refugees from an 80's punk band. I get the thrift store thing. Yes, we did that back in college when we were trying to be hip and happening and we had so much more insight into world events because we just took lit 101, and had some freaky angry instructor expose the evils of capitalism and Christians and tell us Jesus was a Marxist, and music was so real and all that BS.
It would seem that 35 years later, not much has changed. Other than the fact that everyone under 60 years of age in Portland is doing this and everyone looks the same. It kind of seems that the whole "Keep Portland Weird," slogan is a cry of desperation. What was cool about Weird Portland in the old days is that no one knew they were weird. They were just doing their weird stuff and living their weird lives and then it was cool. If you have to try to be weird you are pretentious.
But, I digress...
We went to bulk Goodwill were I picked up an Irish Rovers album and some not very good jazz. The scruffies were kind of aggressive. It really bugs me to see people throwing books and records around in the bulk bins. I know they are destined for the trash but I am a polite and respectful person.
I found a dual 1019 in a record console. Someone had pulled the cartridge and the spindle, of course...
Then we wandered around the Sellwood area for a while. It has a lot of old buildings and old neon which we think is cool.
But, again I digress...
Joe Ely was at the Aladdin which has the distinction of showing "Deep Throat" for something like 20 years straight. I'm kind of afraid to use the restrooms. However, the kid taking the tickets was probably born the year the Aladdin peeled "Staring Linda Lovelace," and the "XXX" off the marquee and started booking concerts.
So, I didn't get to use my "two for Deep Throat," line that got a laugh 20 years ago when I saw Ian Tyson there.
The opening singer was terrible. Not that she was a bad singer or guitarist. It was that she talked. She tried to affect a "I'm just a poor black child" attitude and she kept giggling and rolling her eyes. She was very good technically but the in between the songs banter sort of ruined it.
Joe Ely was good. The guy is working class. He grew up in Texas and has pretty much spent his life touring small clubs and singing and playing music.
He brought with him only one guitarist. Well, the guy played guitar, mandolin, and slide guitar, and was pretty incredible in his own right.
The sound was good and tight. They played well together. There was a nice mix of old and new songs. My wife got him to play "Down on The Drag," and he said that was a good choice.
The crowd was older. Of course, since the death of FM radio, where would you hear Joe Ely other than KBOO. I heard him on KFAT/KLOO years ago when they were an alternative country station and played albums. I've heard him on internet radio, but you do have to look to find anything non-mainstream it seems to me.
It was over much to soon. He came back and did a couple more songs. He ended it with his song, "have you ever seen Dallas from a DC-9 at night," which was really good. "Down on the Drag," was good.
I just wished he would have played a bit more. Money is a bit tight and this is a once in a couple decade event for me.
It is pouring down rain and we have 50 mph winds scheduled for tonight.
I'm going to bed.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Blah, blah, blah, once more...

Yesterday I went to the Ag Show.
My sometimes-a-great-helper wanted to go and he has a better truck than I. He used to work for me. In fact, when he was a little tyke he used to ride around on the tractor with me.
He has his own small farm and a hay baling business. He works for someone else now. Someone who is much more successful than I. More acres, nicer equipment, works harder, more entertaining. More specifically, if you remember back a few posts, he is the one who said, "M..., I don't like tequila, I want to grow bourbon."
Lulu had a bad cough the night before and didn't get a lot of sleep and they were having a jogathon at school and she wanted to go to the Ag Show. So we took her along.
She is highly in favor of Cat Challengers. They have a buddy seat, a cooler, and lots of buttons and switches. She has decided I need one. I never even discussed the price.
Later we met up with a long time friend for lunch at the local incarnation of the Mongoloid BBQ. (Where you pick out a bowl full of raw ingredients and they cook it on a giant wok)
The show was kind of depressing. Equipment prices are quite high. There are more government regulations to comply with all the time. I have not lived up to the expectations of most farmers I know.
I saw the regional distributor for this company. He wants me talk my uncle into being a dealer for this brand of grain drill and he wants me to sell them. His company has been bought by this company and he figures his time is limited.
I probably should buy one of the drills and get it all set up and then sell it. It has a little different opener set up than what I have. I think I'll get the 30 footer...
The problem with selling them is that farmers in general are not as clever as they pretend on NewAgTalk. I could demo a piece of equipment that might be the greatest idea ever. I could plant a couple thousand acres in the neighborhood every year and they could see the results, but they will buy a John Deere. Apparently when you own a JD you get a special pair of underwear, not that you need to wear underwear anymore, as your poop no longer sinks. In fact, if you even have to poop, it comes out packaged as organic fertilizer, smelling faintly of fresh printed dollar bills.
But, I digress...
The fellow has been after me for like four years to do it. He says everyone is going from 12ft to 20 foot drills and I could cash in. I am sure he is right. Not sure I am the one to sell the state on cream and red grain drills however.
Now I am going to grind feed.
I went to the show to see if I could find a scales for my feed grinder. It looks like it would be cheaper to just buy a different grinder/mixer.
I think I could build a scales from chinese import loadcells for under $1,000 and buy it all off of ebay.
I may do that.
Have a nice day.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Off to a grand start!

It would appear that the sun is trying to shine. True, we live in a canyon with neighbor's large straw sheds blocking the morning sun, but it sort of looks like a better day today than yesterday.
Yesterday I attempted to make feed.
I say attempted as it seemed all I did was move grain trucks around in the rain. How can you work all day and get soaking wet and actually do nothing?
I don't have a real efficient set up for working outside and in the rain. My feed making setup is pretty mobile and it works best when the sun is out or the hay shed is empty.
I run a hydraulic powered auger off of the 2-155 or 2-135 which I also hook to the feed-mill. I have a electric/hydraulic flow control with the control on a long wire so I can regulate the flow while watching the mill. I dump the barley out of the truck into the auger which feeds the mill. To add other ingredients I just dump them in the back of the truck right over the end gate and that stuff feeds down through top first.
But, when it is pouring down rain you it does not work quite as well. And when people come after two barrels of feed and then a load of hay and then another three barrels of feed and then another two barrels it kind of mixes up the whole routine.
And then if I have to wait for an hour in the rain for them to arrive it makes me grumpy.
So, I accomplished nothing but I got very wet. I have $200 cash in my pocket but that does not seem to be a very good trade.
Update: after getting ready for work and calling the school to tell them my daughter is sick (she coughed all night) I see leaves blowing past the window. Followed by horizontal rain. And the sound of tin blowing off the roof of the old barn.
Perhaps today I will go to the Albany Ag Show, er Willamette Valley Ag Expo. I'm thinking that sound high brow enough I'll wear my short pants.
Wonder if that fellow from Bellfountain will be there. If wonder if he will be wearing his Keens. Will probably be at the BTO booth. Perhaps at the wine tasting...

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