Friday, April 21, 2017

"I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it." - Mitch Hedberg

The goat pen is mucked out with fresh straw down. The chicken coop is cleaned with fresh straw down. The thistles are all sprayed with weed killer, the canopy down and stored, MoHo vacuumed, and the second of six raised beds protected from hungry deer. I think we're ready.

I wish I had welding skills. Besides all the car restoration tasks that would be easier I'm constantly coming across general tasks here on Baker Rd. that could be done better and/or faster if I could weld.
I can't, so I get creative, often with PVC pipe.

Marta's husband David made her a really cool goat stand that's like a small table with an adjustable crook in which she can secure the goats head. That pretty much immobilizes them for things like trimming hooves, prepping them before kidding, and the like.
Here's my version, made out of PVC pipe, an ABS sewer line clean-out cut in half, a hitch pin, and a couple of hours of playing MacGuyver.
The leather belt came from Goodwill for $2. The pipe is a pipe within a pipe so it's adjustable up/down, the goat's head goes in the ABS "cradle", and the leather belt goes over the goat's head to hold it secure. Now that it's all done I can see that even at the shortest setting it's too tall, but I can easily cut it down.

With the beetle-infested trees gone we have an area down by the creek that gets sun almost all day and is perfect for our raised bed veggie gardens. The fenced area up by MoHo is still too shaded by trees that remain.
I didn't want to spend the $$$ to fence this area down by the creek so it was time for more creative thinking, this time with PVC pipe and some left over chicken wire. The frames are light enough that Pam, who's in charge of the garden, can tilt them over for access to the bed for weeding and harvesting. And I think it will keep the deer from eating it all up.
I'll finish making and covering with chicken wire the frames for the other three beds, and then add two more beds that Pam says she'll fill up with veggies.

What does this car from 1934 look like? If you answer, "a VW Beetle" you'd be correct. It was the creation of Josef Ganz, a German engineer who thought a small efficient car with design characteristics he developed, including swing axles, a center spine, and rear-mounted engine, would make car ownership possible for the German masses.

He was, of course, correct, both regarding his unique design and his goal. Just one problem: Joseph Ganz was Jewish. So he was arrested and then had to flee Germany as Hitler's efforts to destroy the Jewish people took hold. His design was appropriated by the Third Reich and Hitler charged Ferdinand Porsche with building a car for the masses, a car that was clearly a knock-off of Ganz's published design.

Only two of Ganz's "Standard Superior" cars are known to exist and the most complete car has been heavily modified over the years with panels from other Eastern European cars, probably as replacements for panels damaged as the car was driven. Two men are now working to restore the Standard Superior to its original condition using crowd funding to cover the high costs of their work.

Joseph Ganz died in 1967 in obscurity in Australia.

Time to go give the goats their evening allotment of grain and alfalfa, and then get some packing done. We have an early flight out of Portland and a 2+ hour drive to the airport. Ugh.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

"My CD was released in 1985, in return for two German missionaries and a Dutch urologist." - Emo Phillips

They did a story on the local news this morning about a Starbucks somewhere that had a run of over 130 people "paying it forward" by paying for the order of the person behind them in the drive-thru lane.
Yeah, the "pay it forward" and "behind them in line" confuses me, too.
But how does the person at the window know what the person behind them is going to order? I normally get a tall Americano which I think is the cheapest drink Starbucks sells. (doh!) If the person behind me orders a grande foo-foo with extra cream and three shots the going to cost about three times my Americano.
If they have two windows - order and pay - I get it. But at least the outlets I go to only have one, so the person behind me (I've never used the drive-thru, so that's a hypothetical) hasn't given their order yet.
What am I missing?

And as long as we're working financial issues, someone please explain to me the sense behind rent control. That's a hot issue in Eugene right now as demand outpaces supply and landlords raise rents to take advantage of the imbalance. Oh dopey me, I thought that's the way the free market system worked. It is with tomatoes, pickup trucks, and tofu. If I sign a one year lease doesn't that mean my contract with the landlord gets renegotiated 12 months later, and that one or the other of us risks market driven pain? How is it that the govt. gets to override that most basic dynamic in this area? Doesn't rent control disinsentivize (or however you spell that word) the construction of new rental housing, thus exacerbating the imbalance?

Will someone suggest BACON control? That may be an idea I could get behind.

I spoke too soon about having Sally's driver side window fixed. As I drive it gradually slips down an inch or two. It seems I need a new regulator, the mechanism that effects the up/down movement when the window crank is turned. This is a not-uncommon problem, esp. on the driver's side of older cars. Reproduction regulators for '66 Mustangs are not expensive, readily available, and reportedly an absolute bugger to install.
But all work on Sally will wait until we're back from MI. We both have dr. appointments two days after returning, both are at 1:15 p.m., and at dr.s nowhere close to each other. So I'm not going to start a repair that could mean Sally isn't drivable for my appointment. I'll order parts in a few days so they're here when we return and tackle jobs after those dr. visits.

We had some errands to run in town and the forecast called for rain until noon. Because my to-do list is all outside tasks we decided to go into Eugene this morning. I didn't buy new work boots to replace the split open pair I have now because they're stoopid expensive.
Duct tape.
The underwear I need was also too much money.
(not duct tape)

I have the honor of performing the wedding ceremony for Liz and David next month in Phoenix. This is a complete win/win because not only do I get that joy but I (we) get time with kids and grandkids. The problem is that I don't have a suit. The one suit I owned we gave away a year ago because it hung on my like an oversized feed bag. I'm considerably thinner than I was a decade (or more) ago when I bought it. So we went to JC Penny and I got such a deal!
They don't sell suits anymore, they sell separates. Buy the coat in the size you need and then matching pants the same way. Sure makes sense compared to the old way. I worked in a mens' clothing store for two years while in college and we were forever having problems with guys who needed a suit in a size 46 but couldn't fit in a 41" waist slack (the standard drop is 5"). In my case the drop is 5" but that puts me in a waist size that is hard to find. So is a wife who's a seamstress, but I am blessed with the latter.
Walked out with a pretty decent suit that fits well for under $170. That's about half of what I thought would be required, but they were on sale for 40% off. I guess suits aren't selling well these days.
Underwear apparently is.

We need rent control for underwear!
(You know what I mean, so just put that thought out of your head.)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

"Before I refuse to take your questions I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

Today I learned that our word pundit comes from the days of colonial England when they mispronounced the Hindu word pandit, meaning "learned one."

What did the farmer say when his horse died?
"Funny, she never did this before."
I'm not sure what that means, but it's worth remembering and pulling out at just the right time.

Last night at small group we talked about the early years of our marriages and how the blending of two sometimes disparate backgrounds progressed. Kim said she grew up in a very clean and neat home and that Greg admitted, years later, that he sometimes left his bath towel on the floor just to drive her crazy.

I also grew up in a "neat freak" home where everything was proper and precise. My mom had/has a great sense of decor, and her training as a classical musician meant our home, even though very middle class, was what I'll call classy. We weren't allowed in the living room except on Sundays, dinners were occasions for learning the finer points of table manners (left hand in your lap, holding utensils correctly, and "please pass the...."), and certainly NO running in the house.

Pam...not so much. Hers was a far less formal home with plaid carpet in the finished basement. (Yes, really.) Vegetables all came out of a can, table manners meant belching was generally frowned upon, and indoor basketball games should be confined to two-man teams.

On the way home we talked about how our blending went and neither of us remembers any conflict or turmoil. We've long since arrived at some kind of middle ground. We have art on the walls, towels are folded properly and hung up after a shower, the bed gets made every day, and we use silverware.
But we also live in the woods, raised chicks and baby goats in the house, and have learned to live with the mess of bringing firewood into the living room for the wood stove.
(My mother is horrified.)

What is the advantage to the now extinct gate shifter? I've read that they're wonderful to drive, but not why. It seems like it would make finding the gate/gear more difficult with quick shifting, yet before the days of paddle shifting and electronic clutches it was the standard for high end super cars.

I think I need to drive an older Lamborghini with a gated shifter to find out why they're so nice. Don't you agree?

I drove Sally to the coffee shop and to the feed store this morning and we're definitely making progress. She starts, runs, and stops reliably and has a surprising amount of pep for a six cylinder. I think I'm going to shorten the manual choke cable I installed; there's too much flex. But the idle speed seems to be dialed in correctly. And the interior is looking almost spiffy. I'll order the new door panels while we're back in MI so they arrive shortly after we return.

On the way home from the coffee shop I used the speedo app on my phone and learned that when Sally's speedometer says I'm going 50 mph I'm really doing 55 mph. That's a 10% difference. So is that same 10% going to apply when Sally says I'm doing 60 mph, or is the curve exponential? (I have no idea if that's the right word, but you know what I mean.) The way to find out is to GO 60 mph, but the roads between the gas station and home didn't allow for that. And at this stage in our relationship I hesitate to push the girl to that speed.

The good news: the gas gauge works! The new sending unit I put in the tank fixed that problem. AND, the gas tank isn't leaking.
Alas, the heater core is, so the carpet on the passenger side is soaked. That, in turn, fogs all the windows. Old cars, old people. We both require constant maintenance.

I watched an auction on BaT for a 66 Mustang today and the reserve was NOT met at $117,500! OK, it was a Shelby GT 350, but other than that mine's the same.

Monday, April 17, 2017

"We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes non-work." - Milton Friedman

This has been a very good day!

  • I mucked out the barn and the goats didn't dump the wheel barrow after I had it loaded.
  • I made a deer cover for the raised bed that Pam plantedSaturday. It's a PVC frame that I'll attach the chicken wire to tomorrow. I didn't really have a plan, just made it up as I went along, but I think it's gonna work well. 
  • I worked on getting the irrigation pump installed but stopped because I'm missing one fitting that I'll get tomorrow.
  • Then I went to work on Sally. I got the pin and hole lined up inside the door, took one of the smaller hairpin clips I got yesterday, and in ONE try got it installed. ONE!! The window now rolls all the way up, and even better, stays there. 
  • Just as I was finishing that up the UPS driver showed up with the O-ring for the gas tank fix. I worked very carefully and deliberately, following the advice I got off the Vintage Mustang forum, including packing the O-ring groove with Vaseline. It all went together smoothly (that scared me), and then I poured in about 6 gallons of gas. NO LEAKS!! I stood there for about 15 minutes just staring at the ground underneath the car exulting in the absence of gas coming out of the bottom of the tank. I've seen that once already and it ain't any fun. 
I didn't put the door card back on after fixing the window regulator because it's ratty and needs to be replaced. Same on the passenger side. But I don't want to order them now and have them delivered when we're in Michigan, so I'll order them from there so they arrive shortly after we get home. I did use some 0000 steel wool to polish up the chrome handles and cranks and they cleaned up nicely. 
Sally's coming together!!

After that list of unmitigated successes - OK, except for the pump install, and that wasn't a failure as much as a delay - I decided not to push my luck. So I went across the creek for a walk in our woods just because it's so pretty over there. Especially with the Alders beginning to bud and the spring running full bore. 

Pam made a good dinner and then we watched some of the British shows we record from PBS. We like "DC Banks," which was tonight's feature event. British cop shows are nothing like ours and a lot better. Almost no violence, no car chases, no sex or innuendo. Just a crime and an eventual solve. Pretty cerebral by comparison, which is to say it's targeted to adults instead of 14-year old boys. Add "The Coroner," "Dr. Blake Mystery," and "Midsomer Murders" and we're all set. The BBC version of Sherlock Holmes is good, too, but not our favorite. 

Now, bedtime. Tomorrow we'll spend the morning in town, starting with Pam at Bible study and me at Starbucks writing in section four. Then to the feed store and the hardware store to get more PVC supplies for the irrigation pump. Back into town at 5:00 for our small group gathering. Tuesday's are busy. 

Did I mention how happy I am that both of today's car projects were a success?!
SO different from the way things went with the truck.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

"Friends are God's apology for relatives." - Hugh Kingsmill

Easter 2017 along the central Oregon coast was a gray day, I thought it interesting that yesterday was warm and sunny and today cooler, cloudy, and with periods of light rain.
What was the weather on that first Easter? Would God have decreed it be a perfect spring day to align with the spiritual significance of that date, or let it be cloudy and cool, more like winter than spring, because the focus was to be on the empty tomb, not external circumstances. (Sermon illustration)

How long did it take Peter to go from depression to exultation? He woke up that morning convinced he'd wasted the last three years following someone who was not the Messiah Peter believed him to be. He'd fallen victim to a cruel hoax, been the fool. Suddenly the women told him the tomb was empty and the angel had declared Jesus risen. He ran to see it for himself, outpaced by the younger and more athletic John. But while John stood outside peering in Peter, ever the impulsive personality, rushed right in to the open and empty tomb. Did he accept the reality of the resurrection at that point or suspect some theft and trickery? The Gospel says John followed Peter in, saw the grave clothes lying there and believed, but it doesn't say anything about Peter's reaction. Later that day Jesus appeared to the gathered disciples with the result that they believed. If Peter had doubts between his visit to the empty tomb and Christ's appearance to the disciples what went through his head in between. Did he wrestle with the two options? Did he come to believe through a process while John arrived at faith as quickly as he'd arrived at the tomb? (Sermon illustration)

And how long did it take the disciples to move from the fact of the resurrection to its implications for them individually and as a group? Certainly they began at, "He really is risen! This is amazing, unprecedented!" Eventually they got to, "This means that...." How long did that take? Hours? Days? Weeks? Did Christ have to guide them to the implications of his resurrection, both theological (sin's penalty paid) and practically (a new meaning for life and good news to be proclaimed)? Did some of the disciples make that journey faster than others? Did some grasp it more fully, more passionately than others? (Sermon illustration)

Total change of topic/tone:
I assume the govt. is capable of far more than we imagine. I've read that the military's GPS and satellite photo capabilities are scary precise with satellites able to read license plates and place them within feet of their location. I'm sure they have computer capabilities to match. So what are the chances that North Korea uses computers to launch a ballistic missile and that hackers deep inside the Pentagon messed with some coding that made the thing explode right after launch?
Imagine the smug chuckling in that room when their satellite imagery showed that fireball. "Take that, you porcine poseur."

Sally's driver side window won't go all the way to the top. It gets hung up about 3" short of fully closed. Yesterday I took off the window and door handles and the armrest, then the door card, and took a look inside. When you turn the window crank a big gear moves an arm forward and back, which in turn causes a scissor-like mechanism to open/close similar to the way a scissor jack works.
The arm has a hole that goes over a pin in the mechanism (called a window regulator) and those two are supposed to be secured with a clip. A very tiny clip that's missing. The opening in the door frame through which I have to insert a new clip is way too small and poorly positioned relative to that attachment point. So when I get the clip from NAPA tomorrow I'll spend too much time getting it installed, and probably drop it down inside the door at least once. I may just buy a half dozen of the little things (20 cents each?) rather than try to fish out those that I lose. But I'll have a working window when I'm done.

Because it's the third Sunday of the month Pam worked with the 2-year olds during the worship service. That meant I was in the worship service by myself, and when that happens I sit in the bleachers (we meet in a big H.S. gym). And when she works with the kids we need to be there early, so I was in the bleachers watching people come n for the Easter service. Some people had obviously dressed up and some were in the same kind of attire they'd wear on any other Sunday.

I don't normally pay a lot of attention to ladies fashion but I couldn't miss it this morning with the Easter dress-up dynamic.
Who decided it was a god look to cut out the shoulders of a blouse or sweater? What an odd fashion trend.
Also, women who don't regularly wear high heels quickly give themselves away when they try to climb into the bleachers.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

"You grow up the day you have the first real laugh at yourself." - Ethel Barrymore

We had a beautiful warm and sunny day. I took full advantage of it by getting the garden boxes ready, doing some work on the goat barn, working on the irrigation pump, and wrenching on Sally.

It occurred to me the other day that we have an entire generation that thinks the primary meaning of the word trolling has to do with hassling someone on the internet.

At lunch I watched the first few minutes of a hockey game between Boston and Ottawa. The Canadians have a much cooler national anthem. I'm not a Canuck and even I'm moved by it.
Hockey is the opposite of baseball. One features frenetic action the entire time and the other ...

In 1966 Mustangs came with both 13" and 14" wheels. If a car came from the factory with 13" and was later fitted with the larger wheels the speedometer and odometer will, as a result, be inaccurate.
Will the speedometer show a speed faster or slower than the true speed??
I tried to figure that out but in 20 seconds I had smoke coming out of my ears from overheated circuits.
I *think* it will show a speed slower than true speed. At least I'm hoping so. Because I think that's what happened to Sally and would explain why, when I'm driving into town on Hwy 126, I'm keeping up with traffic flow but only going 50 mph.
Or not.
I have a speedo app on my phone so I'll find out next week if there's a discrepancy, and if so, how big.

Depending on who you believe President Trump is either making the world a very dangerous place, finally taking action to deal with some seriously bad actors, freeing up the military to do what they do best, or ruining years of careful statesmanship with monster bombs and missiles.

We lost another chicken. We let them out of the pen mid-morning to roam and scavenge wherever they want. As dusk approaches they instinctively go back into the coop and roost. Hence the adage about chickens coming home to roost. I go out about 7:30 to shut the goats in the barn (they also bed down in their safe space) so predators can't get to them and shut up the chicken pen for the same reason. When I did my head count last night I came up one short.
One of the hens has always been independent. For the most part they move in a group from one spot to another as they hunt for bugs, but one hen has always roamed on her own, separate from the rest. But because we have two of each breed we don't know if that's the one missing or if it's another.
And did she just wander off or fall prey to a hawk, dog, or.....

Today I learned the Beetles song "Let It Be," written by Paul McCartney, is NOT a reference to Jesus' mother, but to Paul's own mother, Mary McCartney who died when Paul was 14. It imagines that she comes to him when he's stressed and tells him to just relax and "let it be."
Bet you didn't know that either!
Well now you do.
And that's why you keep coming back!

Friday, April 14, 2017

"The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." - Theodore Hesburgh

I'm wasted. I woke up at 3 a.m. (stupid) and couldn't get back to sleep. I was at Ida Culver House a little before 7 to have b'fast with mom, went back to her unit after that to help her with some tasks, and was on the road a little before 9:00.

Traffic getting through Seattle was easy, but south of Portland it got terrible. I think it was because people got out early for Good Friday and too many of them hit the road right after lunch.
"Slower traffic keep right" said no Oregon driver ever.

I was fighting sleepiness before I was at the south side of Seattle so I spent the entire drive munching on chips & cookies and drinking Diet Coke.

Yep, I'm a mess.

After three days in the hospital getting IV antibiotics for cellulitis dad is settled into the rehab unit at Crista where he gets PT and OT every day in an attempt to increase strength and balance. He's fallen too many times in the last couple of months and one of those falls led to an injury that resulted in the cellulitis. We don't know how long he'll be there but suspect it will be close to 30 days.

That leaves mom on her own in their unit at Ida Culver. Tough.

Yesterday (Friday) was their wedding anniversary...72 years. It's hard for them to be apart, and dad does some things for mom that are pretty critical to her own health issues. When I left her this morning I got the sense that she's scared to be on her own. That made me feel bad about leaving.
And when mom and I left dad after our visit to see him last night he didn't want her to leave.

I'd love to be married to Pam for 72 years, but watching mom & dad struggle sure makes me NOT want to live to be 94! I feel bad for them and their struggles.
Role reversal.

On a lighter note, thoughts on having driven a 2016 Ford Focus about 650 miles:

  • The arm rest is fine if your elbow is at the level of your hips.
  • If it's due for an oil change the dash and "ding-done" will nag the bejeebers out of you. 
  • When the dash suddenly features the "i" icon that typically stand for information it would be nice if it also indicated how to get that information. Important? 
  • The steering wheel has six buttons on the left side to control the cruise control that are each labeled with the standard abbreviations indicating their function. That's good because you're going to have to read them. They are all the same size and flat. If it were my call I'd have made the "accel" button convex and the "coast" button concave, for example. Or put different numbers of raised dots on them. 
  • The readout that tells you your current MPG is addictive. Coasting downhill gets it to 99.9 mpg. I averaged 35.7 mpg for the trip, which I thought was pretty impressive. I didn't stomp on it, but I didn't baby it either. 
  • The seat may be the most comfortable I've ever had in a car. 
  • When you do hit the gas pedal to accelerate the transmission seems to have trouble deciding which gear it wants to be in. 
I'm way past having the mental wherewithal to add anything else to this post. Wasted.