Wednesday, November 30, 2022

This and that

Playing with a new toy

I purchased an electric fence tester and fiddled with it today. What a nice tool! 

My only gripe so far is that I have to keep the unit warm to keep the 2032 battery happy.

Just goofing around I found a couple of issues. I am still baffled by a neutral wire that reads as having 300V which is weird.

I found a tag end of wire that was touching the hot-wire and some hot-wire that was touching the ground.

Another puzzler was some poly baling twine that I had used to tie up a hot wire and it was conducting electricity. Maybe some moisture or bird-poop made it conductive? Distilled water is essentially non-conductive so maybe it was irons ions that washed out of the support.

That adds another maintenance item to my list of things to do; to cut all of the poly-twine supports and tie-in a real (ie, one that will not retain moisture) insulator.

The wire on the ground was caused by a deer squeezing between the hot-wire (bottom) and a ground wire (with deer hair on it!!!). I assume the deer's timing was sub-optimal and it got poked by the fence. It took off like a top-fuel drag-racer and left hair on the fence and a wire on the ground.


I found myself needing some 35mm ID by 2mm CS, silicone rubber O-rings. I finally found some that were in nitrile. I also found some that I think are the right dimension that are used in breast-pumps. I ordered both and they will arrive within the week.

The other options were all shipping out of China and delivery times are on the order of a month.

Recovery times

I was supposed to run today but it is very windy outside AND it looks like I need two days of recovery between runs. My Plantar's Fascitis is flaring up and I need to get religion about stretching.

Southern Belle

Southern Belle is working a few side gigs while she is up here.

That gives me the early morning shift with Quicksilver.

Clayton and Krystal: Hardscaping and gin-poles

“Where did you learn about cement work, young man?” Betty asked. “I thought you did landscaping.”

“Landscaping is most of what I do. But I also do ‘hard-scaping’” Clayton said as he jiggled the mud to settle it and work the air bubbles out.

“What is ‘hard-scaping’? Never heard of it” Betty said.

“Anything in the landscape made of concrete or bricks. Patios, barbecues, retaining walls...things like that” Clayton said.

Of course she wanted a fancy job. Clayton set the wire mesh and mixed the concrete. He opted for the accelerator and mixed that in. He poured to within ¾ of an inch of the top of his form.

Then, an hour later, he mixed S-type mortar and added red tint and accelerant. Betty wanted a dusty-rose “picture frame” to match her wallpaper.

Clayton pressed milled, wooden moldings into the goop to give it a pleasing profile and bring it up the final ¾” and provide the lip around the perimeter to capture errant embers that might escape the stove.

Then he gave Betty strict instructions to not mess around with the pour.

Exiting his truck back at Ed and Alice’s, he heard his skid-steer running back in the swamp.

Cursing, he jumped back into the truck and drove down the two-track to the swamp.

There, he saw Ed driving the skid-steer and another geriatric patient down in the swamp doing the damnedest thing with a couple of lashed poles.

Ed shut down the skid-steer as Clayton pulled up. Ed’s big smile melted off of his face when he saw Clayton’s anger.

“Just what the fuck do you think you are doing with my skid-steer!?!?!” Clayton demanded.

Ed just looked at Clayton. His face was impassive and he didn’t say a thing.

“We will talk later” Ed finally said.

“Bernie. I think we are done for today. Thanks for your help” Ed said.

Bernie shot Clayton a quick glance and then melted away like fog under the morning sun.

Cooling down, slightly, Clayton could look around and he noticed that the skid-steer was not where he had left it on Saturday. In fact, it looked like Ed and Bernie had turned in a fair day’s work.

And it hadn’t been just the easy ones, either. Clayton’s memory was that the next patch of logs were a mess of jack-straws and a barrier of snags.

“Maybe better we don’t talk until after we have had something to eat” Ed said.

Then Ed walked back to the farm-yard, not wanting to be in the truck with Clayton.

Dinner was conducted in a strained silence.

A half-hour after eating, Clayton said “OK, I had time to calm down. What happened today?”

“Bernie came over. He used to be a lumberjack and a millwright. He was showing me how to use gin-poles” Ed said.

Clayton scratched his head. “What’s a gin-pole?”

“Well, that is what I asked and Bernie said it would be easier to show me” Ed said. 

Same idea, but instead of attaching to the far end of the log, Bernie attached to the near end which lifted it up over obstructions and pulled it forward.

“It is kind of like using a post sorta like a pole-vaulter. You plant one end in the ground but loose enough so it can pivot. You point the other end toward the log, but at an angle. Then you run the line around the top of the post and angle down toward the end of the log. When you pull, the post pivots and lifts the end of the log up.” Ed said.

“I can’t see it in my head” Clayton said. “Wouldn’t the post just fall over?”

“That is when Bernie showed me about lashing two posts into an upside-down V” Ed said. “He just ran the tow-cable around the V where it was lashed and then down to the log. Worked like a charm, even where there weren’t any live trees to rig to” Ed said.

“You are going to have to show me” Clayton said, intrigued in spite of himself. “But it can’t be tomorrow because I have to go back to Betty’s and finish up.”

“I was wondering…” Ed said. “Iffin we were careful, can we keep using the skid-steer?”

“This weather isn’t going to last forever” Ed said.

Conflict warred within Clayton. “I don’t see what the hurry is. We are almost done in the swamp” Clayton said.

“We are almost done pulling the logs out of OUR swamp. But lots of folks got woods filled with dead ash. In fact, Bernie is one of those folks. An’ there is a lotta folks gonna get mighty cold this winter if they don’t have something to burn…” Ed said.

Clayton looked over at Alice. She was letting the men thrash this out. But he could feel her judgment hanging in the balance.

Clayton exhaled.

“Do you promise to take it slow and take lots of breaks?” Clayton asked.

“About that” Ed said “I was thinking about Carl, one of my other coffee-drinking buddies. He has woods on his property too. Maybe Carl and Bernie could take turns with the riggin’ ‘cause that is heavy work and I do all of the skid-steer work.”

“Would you be OK with that?” Ed asked.

Clayton knew he had lost the battle. “Just be careful. I can replace the skid-steer but I can’t replace you or your buddies.”

Next Installment

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Modern exurban habitat may foster tick and flea borne diseases

There is some evidence that the modern, suburban/exurban habitat fosters tick and flea vectored diseases due to it being inhospitable to mid-sized predators.

Snakes are chopped into confetti by mowers as they hunt in tall grass and run over by motor-vehicles as they sun on streets.

Cats are kept indoors and/or declawed. Lovers of wildlife have been brainwashed to loath feral cats. It was not a hard sell because you only have to see a cat ambush one of your songbirds that you have been feeding to feel the hate.

Dens (often under brushpiles) for fox are bulldozed.

Senile trees with nesting cavities for kestrels and small owl species are cut down due to litigation risks.

It is difficult to establish a direct A ==> causes B relationship between rodent populations and tick-borne diseases because there are time-lags in the dynamics. Without an effective level of predation, a given species of rodent grows without "damping". Tick and flea populations grow. At some point diseases become widespread and crash the rodent population. Fleas and ticks abandon dead rodents and infest live ones. As the number of live ones continues to crash, the fleas and ticks migrate to pets and humans.

Link to a site with plans for nest boxes suitable for kestrels and small owls. Key points: 3" diameter entrance hole, 10" wide dimension lumber, mount it high or inaccessible to raccoons.

Fine Art Tuesday


The First Kiss (1891)

Salvador Viniegra y Lasso de la Vega (November 23, 1862 – April 29, 1915)

Monday, November 28, 2022

Heat-treating steel


Time-Temp-Transition (T-T-T) diagram for iron-manganese-carbon alloy
One of the miracles of the 20th century was the "science" of heat-treating alloys to produce a range of mechanical properties.

This was understood in a not-so-scientific way for hundreds of years. For example, Moorish sword makers in Toledo, Spain understood that if you ran a yellow-hot blade into the body of a strong slave it would become much stronger while if you got cheap and ran it through the body of a skinny slave it might not be so strong.

Spurious conclusions were drawn.

Progress was made when steel samples of uniform chemistry were tested under controlled conditions. After a specific heat-treatment, the mechanical properties were measured and samples were polished and acid etched to provide insight into the granular structure.

One of the vexing things about heat-treatment is that different grain-structures have different mass-densities due to dimensional changes. If those dimensional changes result and if it proceeds through the part unevenly, the part can warp.

Two results that are not very intuitive are Mar-tempering and the temperature-history to create fine pearlite.

Some bright young metallurgist, looking at the bull-nosed shape if the iron-manganese-carbon T-T-T chart realized that he could rapidly cool a part from a high temperature to about 300C in a molten salt-bath (typically a mix of sodium nitrate and potassium nitrite) and hold it in the bath until the temperature through the section had become constant. Then, he could pull it out of the bath and let it gently air-cool. Air cooling is so gentle that all portions of the part walk through the austenite-to-martensite transition simultaneously.

Toolmakers rejoiced. "Air-cooled" tool steel is expensive due to the exotic alloying elements. Less expensive alloys could be "air-cooled" with Mar-tempering protocols.


The thing about fine pearlite is that it makes small chips and can be machined relatively inexpensively with carbide tools. Pearlite is also ideal for later heat-treating because the iron carbide goes rapidly into solution.

High-strength, near-net-form parts can be cast of nodular iron. If the proportions of casting-to-sand are well tuned, and if there is a "buffer" in the process, then the cooling castings can "dwell" at about 600C long enough to become pearlite through the vast majority of the section, facilitating machining and later heat-treatment if required.

Clayton and Krystal: Mission Creep

Krystal’s phone rang. Looking at the Caller-ID, she saw it was her new friend, Betty, from church.

“I hate calling people on Sunday afternoons because it should be a family day” Betty apologized. “But I have a problem and I hope your husband can find some time to help me with it.”

“I wanted to get ahold of you before all of his time was scheduled” Betty said.

“What is the problem?” Krystal asked. “Maybe it is something I can help with.”

“I need to have the wood-stove pulled out of my shed and installed” Betty said.

“Nope. I can’t help. That is definitely a job for Clayton” Krystal said.

Hearing his name, Clayton’s eyebrows went up.

Handing the phone over to him, Krystal said “It is one of my new friends from church and she says she needs help.”

Clayton wasn’t sure how he felt about being put on-the-spot but figured the least he could do was listen to her problem.

“I have a wood-stove in my shed that I need to have set up in my parlor. I have stove-pipe and the hardware and the original instructions. What I don’t have is the strength to move the stove and….my doctor doesn’t want me to climb up on ladders” Betty said.

Clayton could tell by her voice that she was “not a spring chicken” as Ed would have said.

Clayton looked over at Ed and said “Can we take tomorrow morning off from the wood-lot? One of the neighbors needs help putting in her wood-stove.”

Alice elbowed Ed and said “Of course you can take a day off to put in a wood-stove.”

Clayton showed up at Betty’s house just as the sun rose on Monday morning.

“I never installed a wood-stove before but I can read instructions. Can you give me a walk-through of where it is going and where all the parts are?” Clayton asked.

“No problem” Betty said.

Clayton’s heart sank as saw the scope of the task.

Betty’s house was a 115 years old and it had been at least fifty years since they had heated with wood. The wood-stove was a brute with an 8” exhaust pipe. Betty wanted it installed near the center of her “parlor” and the chimney pipe run horizontally out the exterior wall and then up beyond the roof.

Against all odds, Betty seemed to have all of the required hardware, thimbles, hangers, tees and elbow.

Carefully reading through the installation directions, twice, he determined that she did not have the fire-bricks for lining the wood-stove and that she needed a fire-proof pad on the floor. The directions gave Clayton an appreciation of the functionality of 10’ high ceilings in old houses like Betty’s.

Clayton was in the building supply store in the next county to the north when he got a call from Ed.

“Hey, my buddy Bernie came over and he wants to look at your skid-steer. Are you OK with that?” Ed asked.

Clayton was trying to do the math in his head of the cost-effectiveness of buying a bottle of concrete accelerator versus buying quick-set concrete.

Betty had been unbending that she wanted a one-piece, concrete pad for the wood-stove to sit on. She told him of a neighbor how used bricks that had used concrete flags, laid up dry to isolate the stove from the floor. Over time, the flags had worked apart and an ember had dropped between them and ignited a fire.

Not only did she want a one-piece, concrete pad but she wanted steel mesh in it so if it DID crack, the crack would not grow wider.

On the other hand, there were some things Betty was very laid-back about. When Clayton asked if he could move the horizontal run of stove-pipe over 9” to get directly beneath a joist, Betty was fine with that.

Clayton was resigned to the fact that the two-hour “move her wood-stove out of the shed” job had grown to two days. Fortunately, Fritz, her husband had kept his tools meticulously cleaned, oiled and organized.

“Yeah. Yeah. Sure” Clayton said, distracted by trying to keep all of the pieces of his shopping list in his head.

Next Installment

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Prehensile Eyebrows


I like this Youtube channel (Peppergeeks) because both principals have prehensile eyebrows.

As a straight, heterosexual I think the young lady is almost as cute as Mrs ERJ. Naturally, I focus on her more than on the guy.

However, both of them exhibit prehensile eyebrows. You can turn off the sound and the show is amazing. Or you can leave the sound on and it is still amazing.

We live in a great country when people can grow peppers and hundreds of thousands of viewers can tune in just to watch their eyebrows.

Breaking News: Top 8 NCAA Football Teams

Breaking news: The end of season, top-rated NCAA football teams are:

#1: Yale

#1: Harvard

#1: University of Colorado

#4: University of Tehran

#5: University of Maryland

#6: Evergreen University

#7: University of California, Berkeley

#8: Oberlin College

Hat-tip to Dominion Voting Systems for providing an advanced look at the post-seasons ratings.

Cherish is the word...

I, (Groom's name), take you, (Bride's name), to be my wife,
to have and to hold from this day forward;
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish, till death us do part;
according to God’s holy law.
In the presence of God I make this vow.
    -Traditional Marriage Vows

Fungible: def

1.) Individual units are essentially interchangeable and are indistinguishable from one another.

2.) Easily replaced or exchanged.

Seven Cow Woman

There lived on an island a man with three daughters. The oldest was a great beauty and the middle daughter was witty hostess and a fine house-keeper. The youngest was the cause of the father's despair as she was neither beautiful nor witty.

One day, a traveler from another island approached the father to ask for the youngest daughter's hand in marriage.

It was the custom of the archipelago for the father to ask for a bridal-gift of one cow. Given his youngest daughter's impediments, the father was hesitating to even ask for a single goat.

The father was stunned when the traveler offered SEVEN COWS!!! Of course the father immediately agreed and the marriage was concluded within minutes of the father taking delivery of the cows.

Several years later, the father was traveling about the islands and decided to see if he had any grandchildren. He had avoided the gullible traveler and his youngest daughter because he feared the traveler would be angry with the father for having taken advantage of him.

The father was stunned to see that his youngest daughter had become radiantly beautiful...far more so than his eldest daughter...and she had become a hostess of great renown on the island. Indeed, she had many happy and courteous children. Far from being unhappy, the "gullible" traveler thanked the father profusely for "hiding" his wife from men who were incapable of appreciating her beauty.


And we wonder why so many young women are angry and mentally ill.

It is even sadder that they are actively complicit in doing this (i.e., becoming fungible) to themselves.

From the male standpoint, being married to a good woman is like having a box that accepts $1 bills and spits out $20 bills. It is baffling that most men keep feeding the box pennies and some stoop to cutting the pennies in half.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Taylor Swift: Better than knock-out drops

In sales, the marketing team strives to create unique, competitive selling points. If you are selling elevators you will own the market if your elevator is faster or quieter or more downwardly ventilated (farts drain out the floors) than your competitors.

As a human being, my unique, competitive selling point has been that I am boring to the point of invisibility. Nobody can remember me because they fall asleep within milliseconds of my starting to converse with them.

Alas, I now have competition: Taylor Swift

The buzz on the Internet is that Taylor Swift songs knock babies out like a double-dose of roofies in their formula.

I saw this with my own eyes. Quicksilver was cranky. Southern Belle opened up a Taylor Swift play-list on her phone and seconds later Quicksilver was on her way to the land-of-nod.

Frankly, I suspect that it was to escape the music and the saccharine, sibilant, repetitive lyrics.

So, if you find yourself watching your grandkids, put in your hearing protection and find a Taylor Swift play list.

However, I am not responsible to any damage done to your grandkids' psyche, intellect or morals.

I'll show you mine if you show me your's

Each block is about 3000 square-feet in area

On my list as potential varieties to trial in next year's garden:

Baker Seed Company

Johnny’s seeds

Territorial Seeds


  • Sweet Red Roaster pepper 
  • Nadapeño
  • Thunder Mountain Longhorn pepper
  • Joe's Long Cayenne pepper
  • Sandia hot pepper
  • Wilson Sweet watermelon

This list is a living document and changes from week-to-week.

Belladonna's boyfriend is fond of hot foods and he volunteered to help evaluate the hotter peppers. The Cayenne types will be isolated by distance from the sweet peppers as they are the same species.

Items with an asterisk are varieties that were grown in the past and I liked them.

Miscellaneous notes:

I was surprised nobody suggested any scent-hounds for the trip across America. No love for Coon Hounds?

Running: I ran 1.5 miles Wednesday and Friday. I am up to a blistering (sarcasm font) 14 minute miles. I intend another 1.5 mile run on Sunday and then will ratchet up to 2.0 miles on Tuesday, weather permitting.

I figure that being even more over-weight than I already am will be harder on my joints than a little bit of running. That, and running is supposed to be good for the ticker.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Dogs, horses and travel routes

Getting back to our hypothetical trip across early North America:

Suppose you are the leader of a party of five. Every man will bring a dog.

What breeds? What gender?

The dog must be able to keep up with horses and go 20 miles a day, day-after-day-after-day. It must be relatively impervious to the weather. It must be able to push through tall-grass prairie. It should serve dual functions, hunting and security. If it is too big it competes with humans for food. If too small it will not meet the minimum requirements.

If it can do something special (like run really fast or catch fish) it has more trading value for its stud service. On the other hand, Native Americans had no domestic livestock and bulldogs and herding dogs would have no special value to them.

From a portfolio approach, having several different breeds or crosses has advantages.

For example a Whippet X Fox Terrier would be faster than any of the Native American dogs and would be in demand for stud. A tracking hound would be useful for finding wounded game and so on.

Travel (and rattlesnakes) are hard on dogs and it would be useful to regenerate the pack while en route so including at least one bitch is mandatory.


Horses require forage. Most of early America was covered by trees. Horses are not tall enough to to browse tree leaves. Route planning must comprehend open, prairie land and time of year.

Grass is the "gasoline" that horses run on. Meadows were relatively localized in pre-colonial America. Grass could be reliably found where burns happened (lightning strikes or man-made) or flooding had killed trees (beaver dams). Most of the premium, cool-season pasture grasses are NOT native to North America.

Very roughly speaking, up the Potomac river to Cumberland, MD...then west to Morgantown, WV. Build a raft and float down the Monongahela river to the Ohio.

Extent of pre-settlement tall-grass prairie. Native Americans maintained tall-grass prairie by burning

Ohio river to the Wabash river, leave the raft and travel north until you hit tall-grass prairie. Then travel west.

Over-winter somewhere in central Illinois or northern Missouri.

Then west to St. Joseph, Missouri in late-winter or very-early spring. Then follow the Oregon trail, pushing hard to get across while the grass is still green and nourishing.

An alternative would be to hit the Mississippi and travel to about Memphis and then head west. Splitting the difference takes you across the Ozarks.

What changes would you propose?

Adult content...

Her back arched and her hands clenching the bed sheets, her breath came in great, hissing gulps.

Her feet flexed convulsively and then great sobs of sound escaped her as she thrashed uncontrollably.

Story continued beneath the fold...


While the popular image of Pilgrims dying is primarily focused on starvation, it was a combination of starvation, scurvy and other diseases that caused 50% mortality the first winter.

Scurvy is a cluster of symptoms related to low Vitamin C levels in the body. It can occur as quickly as a few weeks in some patients but typically manifests after several months of reduced vitamin C consumption. The diaries of the Pilgrims suggest that many of them had symptoms of scurvy before they landed at Plymouth Rock.

Research in England during WWII tested zero, 10mg/day and 90mg/day of vitamin C. Their goal was to determine how much Vitamin C to put in lifeboats and to ration the amount available among the civilian population.

The data from the experiment was recently reanalyzed using more sophisticated methods than were commonly used in the 1940s and they came up with a different conclusion that the original researchers.

The original conclusion was that 10mg of Vitamin C vastly extended the period of time before symptoms of scurvy showed up. The researchers used the strength of newly healed cuts as their metric. Yes, that is right. They cut the test subjects and then ripped the cut apart about a week later. People were tough back then.

The study also determined that once symptoms appear, the higher level (90mg/day) resolves those symptoms very, very slowly.

The more sophisticated analysis suggests that the 90mg/day is required to indefinitely delay the onset of scurvy in the general population.

They didn't know what they didn't know

The sad thing is that the Pilgrims had the means to avoid scurvy at their feet the entire time they were on land.

Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) is water soluble and nearly every green plant has some ascorbic acid in it.

Fresh Eastern White Pine needles in mid-winter have an astounding 200mg-to-400mg/100 grams. A cup of tea a day made from one teaspoon of chopped White Pine needles would have probably been enough to delay scurvy until springtime when green foods became readily available. A cup a day made with ten teaspoons of chopped White Pine Needles would have been required to reverse scurvy symptoms...and even then improvements would have occurred slowly. Source

Violets, some species of which offer green leaves all winter long, were measured at 130mg/100 grams.

Rose hips vary considerably in Vitamin C content but the pulp of most species is probably similar to that of pine needles.


Today there are many Eurasian "weeds" that have naturalized in North America.

Garlic mustard, Chives, Yellow Rocket, Ground Ivy, Chickweed and Plantain are all viable sources of Vitamin C in the winter.  Source

Sprouts are also a possibility.

Clayton and Krystal: Judging a book by its cover

A few women drifted out of the door to visit their vehicles.

Another woman slid a box from beneath the table by the sink and pulled out a gallon of water and two coffee makers. Noticing that Krystal was watching, the woman explained “The water here is hard enough to pound nails into an oak plank. Coffee tastes better when made with soft water.”

Within a minute a pot of Columbian “leaded” and de-caf were gurgling.

The two women came back from their trip to the parking lot. One carried a foil-covered sheet cake. The other carried in a tray of coffee-cakes on a cookie-sheet.

Alice and Krystal were centers of attention. Janet volunteered to be Krystal’s wing-man and did the introductions. Alice, unencumbered by Krystal, mingled on her own.

Betty, the woman who brought in the sheet-cake was the first person Janet introduced Krystal to. “Hi Betty. This is Krystal. Her house burned down and her family is living with Ed and Alice while they get back on their feet.”

“Oh dear! That is terrible” Betty exclaimed.

“It could have been worse. At least we were not in the house when it happened and Clayton was able to salvage his tools” Krystal said, fudging the time-table a bit.

“Tools?” Betty asked. “Does he work with his hands?”

“Yes” Krystal said with a sparkle in her eyes. “Clayton is what you call ‘handy’. He can do about anything with his hands if he sets his mind to it.”

“My goodness. It is good to have people like that moving back to Lolium.” Betty asserted.

Krystal glowed. It was so unlike her family who disparaged anybody who was not doing “something on the Web”. Here, Clayton was valued for who he was.

“And she has a baby” Judy added.

Hearing that, the woman placing the coffee cake on the table turned and introduced herself. “Hello! My name is Cecelia. Please, bring your baby the next time you visit our church.”

“Oh, I couldn’t. She is teething and can be fussy” Krystal said.

“Tosh!” Betty said. “We have all had children and grandchildren. Some of us are have great-grand children. You will probably have to fight to pry the little darling out of our arms.”

In very short order, Krystal found herself with a paper plate with a slice of pecan, brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom coffee-cake and a slab of German Chocolate cake with a ½ inch thick slab of rich, home-made frosting troweled on top of it. The weight of the treats required two-hands lest the plate collapse. Judy had to carry her coffee cup for her.

Janet helped her back to her chair where Krystal savored the delectable “its only Bisquick” coffee cake and the rich cake. It gave her a chance to listen to the women chatter and bring each other up-to-date on what was happening in the community.

It seemed but a minute for her to eat every last crumb and to exchange pleasantries with the women when Alice’s phone rang. It was Ed. “When are you coming home? Its almost lunchtime!”

Alice playfully rolled her eyes. “I guess it is time for us to go. Ed forgot where the refrigerator is.”

The other women chuckled in appreciation. At least Alice HAD a husband. Several of the women were widows.

Walking out of the door, Krystal found herself carrying a foil covered paper plate and if her nose was any guide, it held massive samples of left-over cake and coffee-cake.

Krystal counted it as a rousing success. She felt far more plugged into the community. She had several phone-numbers and offers to watch Mattie if she needed baby-sitting services.

“Well, what did you think?” Alice asked on the ride home.

“It was marvelous. I have never experienced anything like it. Too bad it is closing” Krystal said.

“What! What did you hear?” Alice asked, alarmed. This was news to her.

“I didn’t hear anything” Krystal said. “But it just makes sense. There were only about a dozen people there and I can’t see how they can pay the bills to keep the place open.”

That gave Alice a much needed belly-laugh. When she finally regained her breath (Alice not being a tiny woman) she said “I needed that.”

“How much do you think it costs to keep that church open?” Alice asked.

“Well, you have to pay the preacher and rent and the lights and taxes” Krystal said. She knew a little bit about businesses.

“And everybody there is just SO poor” Krystal said.

“What do you think the preacher is paid?” Alice asked.

“I dunno” Krystal said, unconsciously mimicking Alice’s manner of speech. “Maybe $50-to-$60 thousand a year. That would be at least a thousand dollars a week”.

“What if I told you Preacher Mike works full-time as a Diesel Mechanic and preaches as an unpaid sideline?” Alice said. “He feels it is something he is called to do. If you ask him, he will point out that Paul sewed tents while spreading the Gospel and he doesn’t feel he should accept anything Paul didn’t.”

Krystal said, “Well, labor is the most expensive part of running a business. But what about the rent. That much space in Lansing would be at LEAST $500 a month.”

“The next time we visit I will show you the signage by the parking lot” Alice said.

“The church in part of a county park and the Historical Society is proud of the fact that the church has been in continuous operation since 1886. They rent it to us for a dollar a year” Alice said.

“Doesn’t the ALCU get bent out of shape by that?” Krystal asked.

“I am pretty sure nobody asked them for their opinion" Alice said. "The park rents the church out to the Historical Society to manage and the Historical Society rents it out to us.”

“And besides, what gives you the impression that we are all so poor?” Alice asked.

Krystal blushed. “I don’t know. Maybe the clothes the women were wearing and the old cars and trucks?” She really hadn’t given it any thought.

“Well, a few of them do have to watch their pennies” Alice said. “But there are a few of them that own at least a section of farm-land, free-and-clear. One of them owns almost four sections.”

“Is that a lot?” Krystal asked.

Alice shot Krystal a glance. It was a serious question.

“A section is a square-mile, 640 acres” Alice said.

“Is that worth much?” Krystal asked.

“Depends on the market. Prime Michigan farmland don’t hold a candle to prime Ohio or Iowa land, but some of it went to auction last month and got $6500 an acre” Alice said.

Alice could see the gears turning in Krystal’s head. “What is that, like a million dollars a section?” Krystal asked at last.

“That is 4 million a section” Alice said.

The rest of the drive home was silent.

Next Installment

Fake News Friday: Biden solved grocery Inflation


President Joe Biden solved the problem of grocery inflation.

From now on, a "pound" will be defined as the amount of cheap ground beef you can buy with $5.

Problem solved. The price of food cannot go up!

Thursday, November 24, 2022


I am thankful to be here. The accident in April was too close for comfort. I am thankful not so much for me but because it would burden Mrs ERJ.

I am glad I have a granddaughter.

I am glad Southern Belle is alive and here in Michigan. The reason I started donating blood again is because she needed four units when she gave birth to Quicksilver.

I am glad Mrs ERJ still puts up with me.

I am glad my kids get along with each other, mostly. They are playing Euchre right now and I may lose a few heirs in the process. Yes, they can be a bit competitive.

I am glad society is holding together as well as it has.

In the extended family, we had the usual assortment of replacement parts, infections, a brush with the Big C. So far we all survived.

I am thankful that Mom is still with us.

I am thankful that I have clear title to about 10 acres of fertile land.

I thank you, my readers, for reading my drivel and busting my chops when I error.

God is good.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Crossing America: Trade goods

Some fellow named Kim is re-running his "Crossing America" feature where he asked his readership to suggest a three-gun battery to cross the Continental United States prior to 1776.

To get the obvious question out of the way, today I would choose an SKS loaded with alternating 123gr Hornady Interlocks and FMJ, a Glock 19 with 124gr Speer GoldDots and a Ruger 10/22 with a Magpul synthetic Hunter X-22 stock and 25 round magazines and whichever ammo it shoots best. There are thousands of defensible choices and my choices might change tomorrow. There are very few wrong answers.

My spin on the hypothetical exercise is what trading goods would you take?

Let's assume that this will be a regular pilgrimage on your part so you don't want to leave too many dead bodies in your wake. Also assume you are traveling with a small party of men in their twenties-and-thirties, scouting out places to settle.


  • Fishhooks and line
  • Fish nets
  • Steel needles and #69 Polyester thread
  • Cayenne pepper powder
  • Peach seeds
  • Watermelon, muskmelon and cucumber seeds
  • A good dog to stand stud. Maybe a beagle or German Shorthair (tough job, but somebody has to do it)
  • Pure caffeine powder
  • High-grade cannabis
  • Utility-knife blades
  • Strontium aluminate glow paint
  • Butane lighters
  • Aspirin tablets

What do you folks think?

How many mobile clinics would $11B pay for?

According to this study, it costs between $300,000 per year and $2,500,000 per year to run a mobile clinic. That cost includes depreciation.

If you zoom in on primary and primary/preventative care then the range is between $500,000 and $800,000 per year. If you go with the high cost and the average of 4000 patients per year then you end up with a cost of $400 per visit, with all costs in.

The study estimates that mobile clinics have the potential to save roughly $35 for every dollar invested for every Emergency Room visit that is eliminated.

$11B would pay for 13,750 mobile clinic-years.

A conversation

I gave blood today and I spent part of it sitting next to a Marine who put 20 years in the service and spent six months in Fallujah. Talk drifted toward the situation in Ukraine. I dropped the $11B = $100 of debt for every household in the US.

He made the comment that there are Vets living on the streets and under bridges who are grossly under-served. A few dollars in the right places could go a long, long way.

Then, the conversation drifted to how the pro-abortion forces started up mobile abortion clinics to patrol the state lines next to states with more restrictive abortion laws. That made the national news.

So if Illinois, for instance, is all about spending tax-payer money to serve citizens of Indiana, why can't they cough up enough dough to put 35 mobile clinics in the Chicago Metro area that focus on providing services to Vets living in Illinois? At 3.2 million households that would only cost $10 per household.

Dental care, blood glucose screening, mental-health services, basic skin-wound care, prescription maintenance, vouchers for hot meals and showers and hand out bag-lunches, discounts at martial arts dojos and gyms, warm clothes ... experiment.

Every $11 billion in spending adds $100 of debt per household


Hat-tip Dad's Deadpool for the meme
There are about 110 million households in the United States.

Every $11 billion in deficit spending adds $100 of debt per household.

$91 billion in debt adds about $800 of debt per household.

Congratulations, America: You now have a credit-card with an $800 balance on it that will never be paid off. Instead, you (and your children and grandchildren) will be making minimum payments on it into perpetuity.

And you did not even get a tee-shirt.

Low sperm count and fertility issues

A typical article at Epoch Times on the subject

Same article at Zerohedge no registration required

Sperm counts dropped 60% in humans in the last 45 years.

This occurred across nearly all countries scattered across the globe.

There is no "control" data for domestic animals which would rule out most ambient, environmental factors.

One factor that is rarely (never?) suggested as a potential cause is the explosion in the availability of porn and self-gratification wasting those swimmers.

Smartphones are everywhere: Even the slums of Indian, Nigeria and Kenya. You only need a tiny bit of signal to download pictures. 

Twenty-six years-old? No job? No future? No girlfriend? No problem.

Maybe calling them "stimulus checks" was correct in a Freudian kind of way.

Clayton and Krystal: Maccabees

Krystal’s first impression of the Lolium Missionary Bible church was that it was impossibly small. While she was unschooled on churches in general, the ones she remembered from the city could seat a thousand or more people. They also had gymnasiums and classrooms and music rooms and daycares and….

Parking the car, she saw about a dozen other vehicles in the parking lot.

Walking up the wood-chip covered path she noted the new paint and the shiny stove-pipe running up the side about ¾ the way down the long wall that ran away from the parking lot.

Stepping into the building, the first thing she noticed was that it was all one room with a slightly raised platform at the far end. She was not great at guessing dimensions but she realized the space was not much more than what you would find in a two-car garage. The ratio of the width-to-length was about two-to-three.

The floor was made from massive, smooth, unfinished planks and the opposing walls were tied together by iron rods and turnbuckles at the roof-beams to keep the side-walls from splaying outward.

The windows were many paned, clear, beveled glass on the east wall with tinted glass on the west windows.

There was a book-rack just inside the door that contained Bibles. In the corner on the other side of the door was a small room that she assumed was the “facility” with a small sink and table beside it.

Near the altar was a cast, concrete pad with a slightly raised lip around the edge. Based on the firewood stacked nearby, that pad was where the wood stove would be put in the winter. The end of the stove-pipe that stuck through the wall nearby was stuffed with fiberglass batting.

Otherwise, most of the room was empty except for several rows of folding chairs leaning up against one of the walls.

Coming through the door, Alice and Krystal were met by the preacher. "Hello, my name is Mike" he said.

He appeared to be in his early fifties with very dark brown hair lightly sprinkled with gray. He had brilliant, sapphire blue eyes that Krystal was sure came from contact lenses. He was wearing a simple, black, button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled-up and black slacks. Krystal’s feminine appraisal was that he had been a total heart-breaker in his younger years.

As she was shaking his hand, she heard a familiar voice. It was Janet!

Janet asked about Charlie and Krystal told her that Charlie was happy in his new home although he was a “total magnet” for burs.

Then Krystal asked, “How is your sister?”

Then racking her mind she added “...your sister...Judy?” half guessing.

“Still hanging on” Janet told both her and Alice.

Looking around Krystal counted eleven older women (not including Alice) and three men not including Preacher Mike.

Preacher Mike suggested that the congregants check their Bible to see if it included the apocrypha because the day’s first reading would be from 2 Maccabees, Chapter Seven. The apocrypha is not included in all printings of the Bible.

A few women, including Krystal, moved back to the rack of Bibles to select one that included the apocrypha. Krystal waited at the back of the line, not wanting to inconvenience any of the regular church goers.

When she reached the rack, she found herself drawn to a leather covered Bible. Its cover had a patina from decades of being held in-hand and read. The place where gold-leaf lettering had been was worn and unreadable. There were countless yellow sticky-notes wedged between the pages.

Opening the book she marveled at the archival quality paper and noticed that the book included the apocrypha.

Walking back to where Alice was sitting, Alice indicated that Krystal should sit in the folding chair between her and Janet. Krystal complied.

Janet startled when she saw the Bible that Krystal had selected. “That was Judy’s!” she said.

Then she held up her own Bible which was its twin.

“I can take it back” Krystal said, taken aback by the intensity in Janet’s voice.

“No, no. Keep it. Judy would want to to be used and to go to a good home” Janet said.

Preacher Mike started the service by inviting the congregation to stand, if they could. Then he led with a short simple prayer from the six-inch-high altar platform.

"First and Second Maccabees was written about two hundred years before Christ was born. It tells of the Israel Nation resisting Greek culture. Judea was a backwater country at the fringe of civilization and Greece was the center of culture and near the center of power." Preacher Mike said.

"The Maccabee wars started when a Greek official demanded that a Jewish priest make sacrifices to a Greek god. The Jewish priest killed the Greek official and the war was on." Preacher Mike said.

"2 Maccabees, Chapter 7 is a story where an evil king tortures and kills seven brothers, one at a time, because they could not violate God's laws."

Then Preacher Mike asked if anybody in the congregation wanted to read the first five verses of 2 Maccabees, Chapter 7.

One of the women raised her hand and started reading in a clear voice that carried. Krystal guessed that she had been a teacher at some point in her life.

When “the teacher” had finished reading, the preacher informed the congregation that the fact that there were seven sons was significant. The number “7” implies completion or perfection in the Bible which tied back to God's seven days of creation in Genesis.

Five verses at a time, the congregation read through the entire chapter with the preacher layering in commentary between each segment. Nothing big, just a few observations or pointers on how the story would have been perceived by he people of the time.

He repeated verses 22 and 23 for emphasis;

"I cannot tell how ye came into my womb: for I neither gave you breath nor life, neither was it I that formed the members of every one of you;

But doubtless the Creator of the world, who formed the generation of man, and found out the beginning of all things, will also of his own mercy give you breath and life again, as ye now regard not your own selves for his laws' sake."

“The seven sons’ testimony are like the petals of a flower and the mother’s words are the center of the flower that joins them together” Preacher Mike said.

After the first reading the preacher had them open up to Luke 19:12 to read Luke’s version of the parable of the master who entrusted his servants with gold coins while he went on a journey.

The same protocol was followed. Various volunteers read five verses which were usually followed by some comments from the preacher.

After the readings were finished, the preacher left the altar platform and sat in a chair next to a younger woman who Krystal assumed was his wife. Then Preacher Mike asked the congregation “Which of the seven sons did you identify with the most?”

That started a dialog in the congregation. When it was winding down, Krystal ventured "I identified with the third son."

Preacher Mike asked "Any particular reasons?"

"Yes. He had to know what was going to happen to him. The first son could not be sure. And the third son still chose death" Krystal said.

Krystal paused to organize her thoughts and really appreciated that nobody jumped in before she finished speaking.

"And he probably never thought he would be the oldest son, the head-of-the-family. If he had folded the rest of the family probably would have followed suit and he would have been very important."

"It took a lot of courage to not only face death but to give up the prospect of being the head of the family" Krystal said.

"The biggest thing is that he faced death with serenity. That is something I have seen in some of my patients and it is something I wish I had" Krystal said.

The rest of the congregation nodded in agreement. One of the women, Betty, chimed in "Well said."

The discussion then morphed into a discussion of the reading from Luke. The consensus was that the master was very harsh. Discussion wandered all over the place. One woman noted that the account of the death of the sons atoning for the sins of the Israel Nation seemed to anticipate the death of Jesus dying to atone for all sinners.

Another tangential discussion involved parallels between Maccabees and the tension between traditional American values and "the new world order" being imposed by media and the UN.

That caught Krystal's attention. She thought she was living in times totally unique in human history.

For the most part Preacher Mike let them talk. He had to remind one woman to let other have a turn and he redirected one wandering line of discussion back to the readings.

After an hour of discussion, Pastor Mike ended the discussion by standing up and observed “When reading the Bible, it is important to pay attention to the context of both the surrounding text and to the times.

“For instance, at the time Maccabees was written, boys were preferred to girls because girls left the home and moved in with their husband’s family. Having sons meant that you had the help of your daughters-in-law with the chores of getting water and firewood and kneading bread. If you had no children or if you only had daughters then you had to do all of the work even when you were old. And sometimes you were left homeless when your husband died before you did."

At this, the elderly women were nodding their heads. They knew about hard work and outliving husbands.

“The odds of raising seven sons to adulthood were astronomical back in the days before modern medicine.”

“To do so was to show that you were very, very favored by God.” Pastor Mike said. “These readings teach us that God sometimes extracts a very high price from those He loves the most.”

Then the service ended with a prayer.

Then it was followed by a social-hour.

Next Installment

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

More ground meat

Twenty-seven more bags of ground meat into the freezer today.

I ran it through the coarse-grind plate twice and it went much, much faster than the coarse followed by the fine-grind plate.

I wanted to season them with taco seasoning but was over-ruled by the women.

We are outnumbered a thousand-to-one. Zeus and I are the guys and Mrs ERJ, Southern Belle and Quicksilver are the women. "It ain't the size of the dog in the fight...."

We are running out of room in the freezers which is a good problem to have.

Joke: If young heifers wear "calf-length" skirts, what do old, over-weight cows wear?

Three reasons "Sassy" boss-gurls cannot find guys


1.) Narrow dating pool. Highly successful women still expect to marry "up" and expect the man to pick up the tab. There are not that many men who bring home a quarter-mil a year, year-after-year.

2.) Men who are in that narrow dating pool are generally attracted to younger, hotter women who are not "sassy" or have a big "boss-gurl" attitude, i.e. disagreeable and proud of that fact.

3.)  What is left is tainted. The women have "settled" for a string of relationships-of-convenience and the men who might be interested "haven't taken good care of themselves".

Bottom line: You assumed that you could have it all. Bad guess.

Sausage report

We nailed the saltiness and cayenne. Of course, those will vary by a person's or family's tastes.

Not enough sage by a long shot. Maybe that will come in as it sits.

Not well enough mixed. Flavor varied bite-by-bite.

I thought it was too finely ground but Southern Belle rated it highly.

Not enough fat. Good sausage should be fat enough that it can be placed on a dry, seasoned, cast iron skillet and fried without it sticking.

Fine Art Tuesday



Monday, November 21, 2022

Breakfast Sausage

Image pilfered from HERE

Is there a more perfect food than breakfast sausage?

I admit that bacon is every bit as good in a different way. But cooked breakfast sausage doesn't shrink like a 60-year-old willie in thirty-below-zero weather.

It is fabulous by itself or with a classic breakfast of three eggs, over-easy, hash-browns and toast with raspberry freezer-jam. It is instant flavor in any kind of soup.

Any kind of beans can be improved with breakfast sausage...except (maybe) coffee or cocoa beans.

"Modern" people have the vapors because sausage has 20% fat but fat is essential in cold weather or when doing exceptionally heavy work. Lumberjacking and digging dirt by hand cannot be done on arugula, kale and green tea.

Same deal with salt. Heavy work makes sweat and the salt needs to be replaced.

Sausage is the near equivalent of pemmican, losing a step on the original by requiring refrigeration....or winter temperatures.

Sausage can be made from nearly any kind of meat, provided sufficient fat is added.

I was able to jolly Southern Belle and Mrs ERJ into grinding up a batch of breakfast sausage. We ended up netting 28 pounds. Southern Belle packaged them in quart freezer-bags, one pound per bag. Each lump of sausage was smashed flat and scored with a cross to to make it easy to break into 1/4 pound pieces.

We left a pound out of the freezer for "quality control" testing tomorrow morning. The recipe I used was pretty simple. On a per-pound basis I used one teaspoon of non-iodized salt, about the same of rubbed sage, a 1/4 teaspoon each of black pepper and cayenne. I also threw in some fresh sage that I had on-hand and some rosemary for the same reason. The amount of seasoning will be just a bit lighter than that because we ended up with more sausage than anticipated.

The "art" part of making sausage involves the sage. Rubbed sage can be very fluffy or it can clump...measuring a "teaspoon" is a very imprecise thing. Dried seasonings need some time to rehydrate and for the flavors to diffuse into the blend.

Expect a report tomorrow on first impressions.

Seeing what is blinding obvious

A portion of our electric fence runs along the north side of the "garden annex". That run of fence is about 200 feet long.

Tall weeds are a problem as they put a parasitic load on the fence. That is less of a problem for a powerful fence charger but our second back-up charger is about 0.3 Joules.

The dilemma I face is that I hate giving up productive ground.

And then it occurred to me that planting June-bearing Strawberries through woodchip mulch is a viable option. I have to keep the weeds down anyway and being next to the garden they will get watered.

I doubt that I will forget to turn the fence off more than once. It is worth an experiment.

One hundred June-bearing strawberry plants runs about $50 and the same number of day-neutral varieties are about $60/hundred.

Clayton and Krystal: Churches and interview rooms

***As some of you may have guessed, I got a lot of help on the lawyer bits. While the person who helps me is extremely modest, I am comfortable pointing out that I have no imagination and Ken Aarons' name resembles that of the brilliant lawyer (and blogger) who guided me through these bits.
All errors are mine.***
“Have you ever gone to a church?” Krystal asked Alice, out of the blue.

“I used to go pretty regular, back in the day” Alice admitted.

“Why did you stop?” Krystal asked.

Alice thought back. “I got busy and just sort of fell out of the habit” she said.

“If I wanted to go to a church, where should I go?” Krystal asked.

“That is a tough question” Alice admitted. “They aren’t all the same just like folks aren’t identically the same. Some will be a better fit than others. There are a bunch of them in town. Any one of them would be happy to have you show up.”

“Where did you go?” Krystal pressed.

“Just down the road” Alice said. “Missionary Bible Church. It was the closest one and it fit good enough to help me out.”

“What’s it like?” Krystal asked.

“It probably changed some since I went” Alice said. “But folks would start showing up fifteen, twenty minutes before the service started. They don’t have pews, just folding chairs so you might have to get your own chair.”

“The preacher writes the chapter in the Bible that he will be talking about on the chalk-board so folks have time to find it in their Bible” Alice said.

“What if I don’t have a Bible?” Krystal asked.

“Don’t worry, honey. They got extra” Alice said.

“Why, do you think you want to go to church?” Alice asked.

Krystal blushed. “One of my patients told me that I have too much pain in my life, that I have to make some room for God. I figured going to church might be a good way to start.”

“You know, it has been a while since I have seen some of my church friends. Whaddya say you and I make a morning of it this Sunday?” Alice said.

“How long will it last?” Krystal asked. She had heard horror stories of people spending the whole day at church.

“The service will last about an hour, maybe an hour-and-a-half. The preacher knows them folding chairs ain’t the most comfortable, especially for us older folks” Alice said.

“I’m in” Krystal said.


The interview with the police was anticlimactic.

Ken Aarons, Clayton’s attorney had a pad of legal paper and a folder and sat to Clayton’s left. Taped to the top sheet of the legal pad was a sheet of copy paper covered with lists printed in very tiny font. The detectives sat on the other side of the table.

Aarons made a small check-mark on his paper with a pencil after each question the detectives asked. Clayton stayed on-script.

At one point Detective Willis asked “Why did you move to Lolium Township?”

Clayton responded “Because my Uncle Ed and Aunt Alice invited me to move in with them”

A short time later Willis asked “Why did you move out of Lansing?”

Aarons pressed his right knee against Clayton’s leg to stop him from answering while he scanned the check-marks on his list. Then Aarons said “You already asked that question and Mr Cummins already answered it”

Willis asked, “So what is the answer”

Aarons answered “Responding as his paid legal representative, the answer is the same as last time.”

Another time Willis went fishing “So, if you didn’t torch your own house, do you have any idea who did?”

Aarons again stopped Clayton from answering. “Your question implies that if he cannot implicate somebody else then he is admitting to arson. That is an improper question. Ask it again but ask it properly.”

Willis rolled his eyes. “Do you have any idea who torched your house?”

Clayton responded “No.”

The interview took less time than Willis expected because Aarons cut off any rabbit-holes that Willis would have led Clayton into. In a way, Willis was glad. It meant that he could cold-file the case and move on to more promising cases.

Near the end of the interview, Aarons informed the Detectives “I have sworn statements from Clayton's Aunt and Uncle that he was in Lolium Township the entire day before the fire and the entire night of the fire.”

“I have sworn statements from the neighbor who called the fire into 9-1-1 that Clayton was not at the scene. The neighbor stated that the exits were boarded up when he became aware of the fire and they had not been boarded up during the day." Aarons said.
"I also have a sworn statement from a neighbor who is a night-owl who did not hear Clayton’s diesel truck that night...and she was not watching TV she was reading on her Kindle by the window.” Aarons was holding the sealed envelope in his hand and swishing it through the air as he spoke.
"Can we make copies of the statements from the neighbors?" Detective Willis asked.
"It usually doesn't work that way. I don't OWE you this information but since it all exonerates my client, I am willing to make an exception in this case." Aarons said. 

“I assume you pulled his phone records and they verify that he was not there and none of his texts suggest he was coordinating the fire with anybody else.” Aarons said.

“To charge my client, you need proof that a crime was committed and you need to convince the prosecutor that my client was the most likely person to have committed it. While I agree that Attempted Murder may have been committed, it could not have been committed by Mr Cummins.” Aarons said.

“Is it safe to assume that my client is not a suspect and will not be charged?” Aarons asked.

“I never said he was a suspect” Detective Willis said.
Aarons waited.

“At this time, your client is not a suspect” Willis’s partner, Detective Toast finally said.

“Please send us contact information if anything changes in case we need you as a witness later on” Toast said.

“Thank-you for your time. You are free to leave.”

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Write something every day, they say...

Still here.

Mrs ERJ seems to have caught a cold and I have a tickle in the back of my throat.

We did not go to Mass today due to weather and the colds.

I also reached out to some of my experts to make next week's fiction more presentable.

I slaughtered one of our butternut squash and all of the seeds were unfilled. I don't know if it wasn't quite ripe or if the squash plant had a ploidy issue. That squash was Quicksilvers first solid food. The raw deer liver was nixed by Southern Belle.

Tomorrow night looks like it will be bad for black ice. We have about 7" of snow on the ground and it will be well above freezing tomorrow during the daylight hours and then quickly drop below freezing after sunset.

Drive safely!

Saturday, November 19, 2022

The Good Stuff


Quicksilver was cranky this morning.

Southern Belle needed a shower and I volunteered to hold the little bundle of joy.

No sooner had S.B. stepped into the shower than Quicksilver straightened out her legs, her face turned red and a liquid and gaseous sound emanated from her nether regions. She repeated twice more.

Then she gave me a smug smile that said "I figured it out!"

Lucky me.

Yes. I changed her diaper. Yes, she was much happier afterward.

And, completely without sarcasm, I feel very lucky.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Domestic tranquility and dancing-on-the-slippery-slope

I moved the cattle to a new paddock, one where I have "stockpiled" Tall Fescue.

We had about four inches of snow and are expecting another four by Sunday morning. The paddocks I had them in were getting pretty sparse. I wanted them to really grind it down. The problem is that finding the remaining edible grass under many inches of snow is slow work and I don't want my critters getting hungry and going walk-about; certainly not on the first weekend of firearms deer season.

Southern Belle and Quicksilver like looking out the window and sitting next to the wood-fire. Southern Belle has a cold and Quicksilver is not her usual bubbly self. Maybe she is coming down with something.

Quicksilver didn't warm to me right away. She is about six months old and is not used to men with facial hair.

She is extremely tactile. She likes to grab items and stroke them, turn them over and pass them from hand-to-hand.

I have bread rising in the oven.

Life is all very cozy.

Shredding redundancy

I assume most readers have had the experience of driving around a curve just a little too fast for conditions.

One instant you are in complete control, surfing the raggedy edge and then an instant later Issac Newton are calling the shots.

I remember driving on the newly laid asphalt of Verndale subdivision before the houses were built (1979). Broad sweeps of virgin pavement beckoned. I was doing fabulously until I was drifting around a curve and saw where a truck had tracked clay from the first foundation onto my pavement. In short order my vehicle was flying back-azzward through the trees, fire-hydrants and split-rail fences. 

All I saw in the windshield were the swirling vortices of dirt clods, turf and dust that chased my vehicle's path. I had no inkling of the perilous path I threaded until the next day when I went back to the scene of the mayhem.


A robust society has multiple layers of redundancy. Failures are progressive and telegraph in advance as circuit-breakers pop in the as-designed progression.

I shake my head in dismay as I survey all of the systems that under-gird our (formerly) smoothly running society. The Leftists systematically destroyed and bastardized those finely honed, redundant systems.

The event that triggered this thought was the person who had indulged in weed and then mowed down twenty-five of LA county's class of new law enforcement recruits.

The perp was released from custody.

The arrogant S.O.B.s who are re-engineering society have no appreciation of the magnitude of the forces they will eventually unleash. What cannot be predicted is where the truck will have tracked mud onto the pavement or what other proximal cause will be enough to unleash the building forces of chaos.

They will not be able to stuff the genie back into the bottle.

One friend commented that rebuilding society will require that no stone be left standing on another before we begin. The Left has so polluted and corrupted that the infection must not only be lanced, it must be raked out into the sun, spread paper-thin and irradiated for a generation.

It is with a grain of satisfaction...

It is with a grain of satisfaction that I watch this latest generation of bleeding-edge technology loses its luster.

It happened with Steel, Railroads, Automobiles, generation-by-generation. "This time it will be different..."

Perhaps it will be different. Software is relatively easy to reverse-engineer for an existing user-base who expect a defined look-and-feel. The big investment is creating the user-base. Software is almost free to clone once written, unlike cloning blast furnaces, railway grades and automobile assembly plants.

That suggests that the profitability of running virtual universes could collapse with lightning speed.

My hat is off to Musk for pushing to get clean metrics of real, human eyeballs and adjusting the payroll to match.

Fake News Friday: NYC elevators prohibited from running at night

NYC Mayor Adams issued a press release informing NYC dwellers and commuters that in order to become more "green", he issued an Executive Order that elevators only operate during the daylight hours when solar energy is available.

In the event of clouds, eclipses or random brown-outs, the elevators will be programmed to drop down to the next available floor to ensure passengers are not trapped between floors.

Clayton and Krystal: DNR

Krystal was in the room starting on Dale Mendoza when there was a crash from the waiting room and she heard an aide yelling “CODE, CODE, CODE!”

“What is that?” Dale asked as Krystal rolled him onto his side so she could run the large-bore needle through his abdomen wall on-the-diagonal.

She stopped what she was doing and said “One of our patients is ‘coding’.”

Dale shrugged “What does that mean?”

“It probably means he is going into cardiac arrest” she said.

They heard his body arching and heels drumming against the floor.

“They are using the Automatic Defibrillator” she informed him.

“Does that happen often?” Dale asked, eyebrows furrowed with concern.

“Sadly, it does. Dialysis messes with cation balances in the blood. That can push the heart into A-fib...irregular heartbeats that don’t pump blood effectively.”

They heard more shouting. Then another round of heels drumming.

“Is it as painful as it sounds?” Dale asked. “The Automatic Defibrillator, I mean.”

Krystal compressed her lips into a grimace and nodded that it was.

“Do they have to use it?” Dale pressed.

“Not if you file a Do Not Resuscitate form and wear the wrist-band” Krystal said.

“I want to fill out that form” Dale said. There was no doubt or hesitation in his voice.

Tears welled up in her eyes. “Are you sure?” she asked.

“I was never more sure in my life” he reassured her. “I am ready to go home to Jesus and see my parents and my wife and little Roberto.”

Suddenly, she was not in a cheap clinic in a shabby part of town, chosen mainly because it was near a transfer point for most of the area’s public transportation. It was just her and Dale.

“How can you know?” Krystal asked. “How can you be sure there is anything after...death?”

Dale shrugged gently. “I cannot know for sure. But there are no better offers out there. And Jesus says we only need the tiniest bit of faith. Even a pinch the size of a mustard seed is enough to uproot a tree and hurl it into the ocean.”

“We are a long way from any ocean” Krystal said, somewhat dismissively.

“For God, that is not a problem” Dale said.
"You have a lot of pain in your life" Dale observed. "Maybe you could use a little bit of God in it, too."
Krystal nodded. "Maybe."

Krystal turned Dale back on his side to finish the procedure. “Can you tell me about Roberto?” she asked.


Ken Aarons was coaching Clayton.

“They will ask a lot of questions. I will have pens in front of me. If I pick one up then do not talk” Aarons said.

Clayton nodded.

“I may touch your leg with my foot or my hand if you are saying too much. I am not getting ‘fresh’, I am just getting your attention. If I touch your leg SHUT UP IMMEDIATELY.”

“If I let you talk, take your time thinking about the problem before starting to talk. Most problems can be answered with a “Yes.” or a “No.” Don’t offer any more information than the question asked for. Just “Yes” or “No” “ Aarons said.

“By this time they should have pulled your phone records. They will have GPS information about where your phone went and any texts you sent or received. I am going to ask one more time, will there be any surprises?” Aarons asked.

Clayton shook his head “No”.

“OK, we are going to do some practice. Cindy will read a question and we will pretend she is the detective. We will see how good you are at following instructions…” Aarons said.

Except for having to bust Clayton’s chops for responding to Cindy’s flirting, which was completely harmless, it went better than Aarons expected.

“The detectives will try to get you emotionally engaged, to make you feel safe or smart or make you angry. Emotions make you stupid. Remember, “Yes” and “No” and to stop talking when I touch your leg or if I start playing with my pen.”

“Ok, another quick practice session….”

Thursday, November 17, 2022

From our local CBS affiliate

"Now for some good news on the economy. Retail sales for October were up after a lack-luster September. Fuel and grocery sectors led the way with the largest gains."

Saving lives at the retail level

 One of the "ideas" that I am gnawing on is the transition of Pro-Life from "Wholesale space" to the "Retail space".

Michigan passed Proposal 3 which was in the "Wholesale space" and was a bitter loss for the Pro-Life people. What is done is done.

The battle to save babies must now be fought at the retail level, winning mother-by-mother.


A salesperson working at the wholesale level approaches a corporate buyer and makes his pitch based on price, availability, delivery performance, and secular trends.

A salesperson at the retail level defines the product using a completely different set of axis. For example, a real-estate agent must be prepared to "sell" a house based on neighborhood or curb appeal or interior amenities. Perhaps the buyer is interested in the history of the house or the architect. Maybe they are interested in the land or the outbuildings or the location or the slope/aspect.


It is convenient to talk about "Marketing" as existing on three different planes of sophistication.

The first involves power-selling what you have. If you work for a Yugo dealership then you are going to be hard-selling Yugos to every potential customer who walks onto the lot.

Another example of this primitive approach is a clinic that offers fifteen different procedures but only two of them produce a profit. Every potential patient who walks through the door is inexorably guided to one of those two, profit-generating procedures...much like a fly that lands on the lip of a carnivorous plant.

The second level of sophistication involves the enthusiast-as-salesperson. Our Yugo salesperson moves to a Ford dealership. He loves fast cars and technology. He tries to sell every potential customer a souped-up Mustang or an electric vehicle regardless of what the customer wants or needs. The customer might need (and be able to afford) a 5-year-old minivan but the enthusiast just cannot seem to get past the gimme-a-ticket cars on the lot.

The third level of sophistication involves the salesperson suppressing their ego and ascertaining the client's values. Not just ascertaining those values but helping the client define and prioritizing them. If the client is only interested in houses with a full basement, hardwood floors and oak trim...then that is what the salesperson will show them. If the client wants to buy a house designed by Darius Moon and none are available, then the sophisticated salesperson will show them houses designed by contemporaries of or students of Darius Moon.

Every mother who feels pressured to kill their unborn baby is an individual and needs to be thought of as a "client". The sensitive salesperson will help those mothers explore what events or emotional +++ can be added to the left side of the ledger to be weighed against the assumed positives of abortion. It might not take many pluses. Maybe the thought of their child celebrating a birthday party or learning to ride a bike will be enough. 

Maybe they didn't realize that there is a lot of help in finding parents to adopt your baby. Knowing that they can let their baby live and he/she will still be able to have those parties and bicycle in their new home might tip the scales.

Maybe the hardest thing is to slow down long enough to be able to listen to those mothers.