Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pre-Teen Wit And Art

We have a large white-board at the house. Our grandchildren can entertain themselves for long spells writing goofy things and drawing pictures. It is so refreshing to witness the minds and wit flowing from the young and impressionable.

Recently they had their fun at the board and left an assortment of interesting notes and cartoons.

Interesting point

What is 'Lol' ? . . .  look out Lucy!
This brought a big giggle among the young'ns. . .  I don't get it.

A good one!

Underlying point: Why worry (I guess)

Or fluid retention.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Making Silk Purses Out Of Sow's Ears

By now you know I've stumbled on a quarry of old wood, salvaged from a hundred year old house.

I have used the chestnut to lay a floor, build kitchen cabinets, two nightstands, a coffee table, a 4x8 foot dining room table, a vanity, many knick-knacks and trays, and the latest project is a shaker style serving table.

First you've got to remove the nails, then one hundred years worth of crud from the grooves.

Then choose the better sections of the wood that does not show termite damage, is badly twisted or bowed.

Very little wood is this bad.

After I designed and formulated a plan of attack (mostly in my head), I start building the sections. The tapered legs came first, the front next, followed by the rest of the box, (sides and back). Then the shelf ten inches off the floor, and finally the top. All is pocket-screwed and glued together.

The table top I created out of various woods that were originally in the wainscoting (walnut and some rose colored wood that no one recognizes), and chestnut flooring. Not all the wood used is the same thickness. The old wainscoting is just a bit thicker than a half inch, while the flooring is a heavy one inch thick. I glued the thinner woods to some old larch boards to get a more substantial thickness. After that, I cut the pattern boards into two inch strips, and their various lengths.

The entire top is biscuit-glued. Squeezing in four directions was a nightmare.

Lots of gluing, sanding, staining and varnishing later, I gave birth to what some folks call furniture.

Notice the random width flooring the piece is on. Tongue and groove chestnut, honey oak stained.

The top has four coats of 'Hard Rock Table Top Finish'. Super hard and super shiny.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rubber, Can Be A Blessing

I’m sitting here trying to think how rubber impacted my life as a kid.             ––Blank. I can’t think of anything made of rubber. --No, wait a minute, my slingshot used strips cut from a tire tub. 

As a kid we didn’t have rubber garden hoses. We watered out of a watering can. Wagons had wooden wheels. Toys had wooden wheels. Bicycles had rubber tires, but I didn’t own one until I was eleven. 
Bubble gum has rubber in it. How great is that invention? The first piece of gum I chewed long and hard. Real long, I could not figure out when to swallow it. Nobody told me you couldn't eat it.
In the early '50s, I remember solid rubber tires on electric postal trucks in the city of Munich. Solid rubber tires on beer barrel wagons. My stepfather used an ax to chop up old truck tire to burn to heat the water on washday.
However, I never saw an old tire used just to save the rims of a rusty bike.

This bike is to be pushed only. It is used to carry whatever needs transporting; a bunch of bananas, a bundle of sticks or a sack of sweet potatoes. Look at it, the tire is as flat as a pancake, hardly any rubber left.
Here in America one can hardly give away a bike. Donation places are full of them. (I guess bikes and video games do not blend) 

. . . Count your blessings my friend, and have a merry CHRISTmas.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

SMILE ––'tis the Season

Let me introduce the newest members to our family. . . . . You may agree:                                  As group they are a cheerful bunch.

This little group is a collaboration between my wife and me. I had some 6x6 pine posts left over. I band-sawed 6 eyeballs from an one inch dowel, painted black. Their noses are reshaped shaker pegs. My wife then showed off her design and sewing skills, and in no time whipped up the scarves and stocking caps.

Take a closer look as we introduce:

SNOOPY with his nose turned up.

DROOPY with his nose turned down

and POOPY with his nostrils flared.

Of course, Poopy is the baby.

Have a blessed CHRISTmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Revenge Is Sweet

Revenge is sweet. I have used that line before, but it sure isn't biblical.

As humans we have a propensity to rejoice if a wrong was made right. Even to a point when a criminal is executed for his crime. We say, good, he had it coming to him.

Now, I’m not a member of PETA. But I totally agree not to treat animals out of meanness or out of shear brutality for the joy of watching them suffer. This I believe applies to all animals, pets, in the wild, and even insects. When God gave man the charge to have dominion over all the animals, it implied to eat and sustain mankind and also be a good steward of what He has given us.
I’ve gone for a walk on a nearby country road and spotted a feed sack discarded along the side of the road. When I looked in it, I saw the carcass of a young doe, her hind quarters and loins were the only portions missing. The vile, so-called hunters didn’t even dress the animal. On another occasion I spotted the carcass of a young doe with only her tenderloin stripped. What kind of animal does this to an animal?

The Revenge
God also gave us a sense of humor. For a family of moose (meese?) to string a human onto the roof of a vehicle sort of makes you look at the hunting thing from a different angle. This photo came to me via e-mail. A lot of you have seen it before. As so often though, I had to make a few comments about it.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

High Heels Vs Sneakers


Let me see now, what shoes would look good on me?
With the help of my wife I listed some types of foot coverings available for presents at Christmas. We came up with: sneakers, high heels, flats, pumps, wedges, spikes, flip flops, slippers, walking shoes, running shoes, soccer shoes, dancing shoes, dress shoes, hunting boots, hiking boots, foul weather boots, work boots, steel tipped boots. 
Imelda Marcos (the wife of former Philippine President) owned over three-thousand pairs of shoes. I venture to say she didn’t even own any boots to go with that soooo necessary need of 3000.

These two pairs of shoes shown, I enlarged out of photos shot at Cusco, Peru. The two boys were begging. They showed off a few tricks they had taught a pair of pigeons sitting on their shoulders. It was obvious they were not out for us to notice their shoes. Cusco is a city 11,000 feet high in elevation. Though near the equator, it is always jacket weather. Not to mention the nights are cold.
Notice the toes hanging out. (top picture) What about the straps on the sandals? Check how thin the soles are. Are they hand-me-downs or what?
Are most of us saying, “Bah humbug” to those kids? 
May I suggest to check out some Christian charities and adopt some of these children. Check into the charity’s ratio of actual assistance to the needy versus administrative costs. Some of the so-called charities in this country chew up your contributions as much as 80% for administrative costs. (Buildings, staff, office space, commercials etc.) Only 20 cents out of the dollar you gave goes to cause! 

Let Christmas come from your heart all year long. Has the Lord blessed you with plenty? If so, be a good steward of those blessings.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kindness, It Doesn't Come Naturally

Recently, we took the train to Washington, DC to attend a concert at the Kennedy Center.

On the way up, five college students were busy moving about the train, getting snacks, then drinks and so on. Of the five young people, three were young ladies, and two young men. Two of the girls were pretty, shapely and well dressed. One was loosely dressed, obviously trying to hide a life of eating too many gravy biscuits. Always, and I say always, the pretty girls led the way, followed by the two males, admiring you know what, and the odd one out made up the caboose. Why? The chubby girl most likely has always followed others just to be a part. Why couldn't the guys say to her, "Come up here with the other girls? Why couldn't the two pretty girls include her and let her lead the single file procession, up the isle on that train? . . . INSTINCTIVE SELFISHNESS.

After the Brahms and Beethoven concert, a bus was furnished to take the crowd back to the subway station. You can imagine, the bus was packed; standing room only. Most folks, squeezed onto that bus were elderly. Dozens had to stand, hold on to straps. Surely some had bursitis and couldn't hold to straps. Some used a cane, they stood and wobbled as the bus weaved through the streets. AND YOU HAVE GUESSED IT. Four young persons sat on the bus's bench, right in front of us, laughing, texting and jabbering. NEVER even considering to offer their seat to an elder. . . . SELFISHNESS  

Kindness is impossible if you have made yourself god in your life. This sounds ridiculous, but if your life evolves around you, there is no use for kindness. Some may be kind to a certain person to obtain something they want, or wind up with a benefit that will further their desires, powers, or position. True kindness only comes from abandonment; that is a dismantling of self.

Why do we teach young children that there is a Santa, then sign the package from 'Aunt Lois'? . . .  Because, we want the thanks, the praise, the reward! We, the grown-ups want to keep track of what was spent. . . . SELFISHNESS

Why do we send Christmas cards wishing them a Blessed Season AND sign the card? . . . We want to be recognized. In a sense we say, "Look you've got your card early enough so you can send me one." I say: send the card, wish them a Merry Christmas, and don't sign or put a return address on the envelope. Then the recipient will say, "Who likes me enough to buy a card, spend 44 cents to mail it, and don't want anything in return?"

One more point. Do you only say "Hello" after someone said so to you?

Matthew 5:46-47


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sardines On Strawberry Shortcake


Some people like to live HIGH ON THE HOG.

Don't forget about us folk that like it LOW ON THE HOG.

The highfaluting people like their pork loins, their pork chops, their baby back ribs, and their hams. The common folk, and I'm proud to be in that group, can savor the delicacies a bit lower on the hog.

How about a hunk of sows belly, smoked, cured or just plain, cooked with your cabbage, sour kraut or soup beans. If you want to go a bit lower on the hog, take the snout, the ears, the jowls and the tongue,  chop them up, cook them with vinegar, salt, peppercorns and bay leaves. Let it set, it'll jell. Garnish with a sprig of parsley and a have of a hard boiled egg, you got a Julia Chiles masterpiece.  Yum, yum!

A little lower are the knuckles. Lot of gristle (Glucosomine), little meat, plenty chewing. To suck out the marrow of the bone is the best part.

How about the INNERDS. The brains, the lungs, the kidneys, the sweetbread, the liver. A major yum yum if it's done up right.  See my book.  PS, soak the kidneys in salt water for a day or two to remove the urine flavor.

My well experienced taste buds have evolved to a status of renown, making me a connoisseur of the world's most exquisites delicacies.

Just look at them precious little fish tails, delicately pickled in wine sauce, invitingly hanging from the kaiser roll. The taste explodes in ones mouth, etching an unforgettable memory.

As you may assume by now, whenever my wife and I are in a "Fancy" restaurant, I tend to order the "Unique" special. Well, at such places, she often moves to sit alongside of me, to avoid having to look at what was presented on my plate. She doesn't like fish eyes staring at her. Nor does she like to see little turtle feet, with cute little toenail, waving at her.

This delicacy (above), was presented to me in a restaurant in Florence Italy. Proudly titled "Stuffed Chicken Neck." The skin of the neck was filled with a picante mix of ground, white chicken meat and spices, baked, then sliced.

What you see below is the verification of authenticity of the sacrifice the fowl in the matter had to make. Standing erect, on my plate, was the head of the chicken, who's stuffed neck I was about to savor.

My wife moved to sit alongside of me. (I don't know why, you couldn't see the eyeballs. They were toasted.)

Yum, yum!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Shuttle Launch. . . and the Rocket's Great Glare.


With the launch of the Sputnik spacecraft by the Russians, and then followed by orbiting the first human, Yuri Gagarin April 12, 1961, (my 21st birthday), the Russians put the American's get-up and know-how to the test. The embarrassment of us, the USA, not being first, prompted President John F. Kennedy to vow to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade (1969). AND WE DID. The Russians were left behind and we roared into the lead and stayed there.

It saddened me to hear our shuttle program has been disbanded. The entire space program always was a point of highest pride to us Americans. Now, if we want to send a man into space, we have to ask the Russians to let us hitch a ride. Something not right here.

We had the privilege of witnessing a shuttle launch.

Booster rocket separation. . .

Booster drifting, on parachutes, into the ocean, to be reused.

Since president John F. Kennedy, PATRIOTISM was the glue. In order for this country's glue to stick again we need to pull together as a people. When we tear each other up, the enemy just smiles.    

If you don't like this country, . . . LEAVE.    I dare you to find a better one.