Why I like Country Music

Songs about boots and Wranglers and trucks and cars, even Trans-Am’s – NO songs about bicycles or spandex or Tour de France or Triathlons or what you did in College.
Songs about wet t-shirts and rivers – NO songs about the Environment, elite suburban neuroses, or ways to “save the planet.”
Songs about smoking and drinking, especially drinking – things that are un-popular and un-acceptable among the Trendy Sub-Urbanistas – NO songs about diet and exercise, trans-fats or identity politics.
Songs about the USA, the USA kicking-ass, and the USA having a good time – NO songs about world-citizen social-justice hippie death-fantasies like, “If I had a rocket launcher” or the glories of Socialism.
I like it.

Still Chill

A month ago it seemed we were in the middle of Summer already, but after a few last-minute Winter storms that our proximity to the high Sierras engenders – where anything can happen weather-wise – we’re in a bit of a cool and calm spot between cloudbursts and lightning.
Spent yesterday messing with the phone. It’s an older 3G Sony-Ericsson with a dollop of extra RAM that held a bunch of old-old numbers on the SIM card. I attempted (and finally found) a way to look and catalog them through the ‘puter – and deleted a bunch from Die Alte Bayaryanlandeschaft. Not really interested in the new phone stuff -don’t need or have use for a handheld pocket-pal companion everywhere.
I’m not really much of a phone-caller anyhow, anymore. Prolific communication by that means has not been significant since High School when a 30-foot cord engendered long and private conversations on the basement steps of my parent’s hear-everything home.
Moving forward we’re signing on Monday morning and close of escrow for “The Ranch” is on Tuesday – which needs some telephony and interwebbery to marginally sustain life, not just the monster Sansui receiver and Klipsch porkys. We’re up another couple hundred feet at 1600’ but not on a hilltop, and the view is of pastureland instead of airplanes and rooftops. Still the skyscapes should be worthwhile and it should be generally quieter instead of hearing the roar of traffic below. Sound travels UP, and at the top you get a lot more than what you’d maybe expect.
It needs a new shed for the 42″ mower, to replace the ugly plastic thing that eroding and collapsing under the harsh Western Slope UV’s as we speak and watch. And there’s a list of physical chores as noted on the inspection report: lag-bolts for the ledgerboard that the sparkling new decking is attached-to, not just screws/. So I’ll be crawling and tunneling like in Stalag 17, underneath the Trex with my DeWalt drill and impact driver. Arrgh! Hot-dipped zinc-coated galvanized, stainless steel lags! Arrgh! Maybe some of these LedgerLOKs? Need an appropriately sized black impact socket. And there’s an outlet that needs its polarity reversed, and…
But it’s a sunny and cool and clear Sunday, and the rains have left things sparkling. Hangtown was yesterday down the hill, but I just couldn’t brave the crowds to be a part of that mix-up. More of an Enduro kinda guy anyhow, if any of that remains. Would like to meet some new ridin’ buddies, the old gang are far away and all fixated on that narrow ribbon asphalt with oncoming vehicles and a stripe down the middle. Hey, there’s a lot more potential for fun: whoops and jumps and soft meadows to crash-in – so many-more places where there’s NOT road – the woods and trees await!

Vintage Tunes


Michael Miller Mid-Century Modern Atomic Turquoise Fabric

I was thinking (yes, a dangerous venture on my part but inevitable) that the horn tweeters in the Forté speakers are an unstoppable force, no amount of fabric tacked over them will mute the tones that emerge. And similarly the bass is a wave-form that begins in the cone but forms its true height outside the envelope of the enclosure, somewhere hopefully in the room where listening takes place. Otherwise it’s like standing by the speaker-stack at a concert and just feeling the lumpy-thumpy notes of “Boris the Spider” pass through your abdominal cavity and shake your gizzard. What special “speaker-cloth” is needed for such extremes? And in case it matters anyhow, the backside of the cabinet has the passive radiator that allows it to breathe, so breathing is not an issue. But I am not an audiophile, and there are perhaps many places where this theory could be wrong.IMGP2112_xMidCentury
I was just thinking (there’s that dangerous word again) of covering the speaker grilles with some impossibly fab hipster mid-century atomic fabric.
Hmmm. Pre-visualizing is good, it could be a bit bright and frightening. Where’s my black-velvet painting…


Going up to Chico tomorrow for a (2-HOUR) drive to see a man about a late 70’s Sansui MONSTER receiver. Lights and wavy-wand meters that go back and forth. I’m really not an Audiophile guy, my ears are tin – but/and like a ’78 Bianchi all-Campy Nuevo Record — blah-blah — it’s something I would have simply been totally unable to afford at the time as a lawnmower pusher-guy and campus food-service pot-washer. And I was a good pot-washer, and a better student than my dormitory-mates who were simply trust-fund babies awaiting their turn at the next elite enterprise job-slot. I had to work. But I was still just a chump.
My affluent College-Contemporaries bitched about the relative ~and~ competitive merits of their exotic turntables. And then here comes me: THE Doofus: scratch-scratch. I was not a very popular,, thumb-fingered guy. But all that techno-electron tail-sniffing left me in awe, because I didn’t even have a circular piece of vinyl for which to spin. I was between worlds and never had records to begin with (Records? Not even my own Immigration and Naturalization papers). People with enviable “collections” – serious the round black damn things weighed a tonne, too much, and took up too much space, but mainly they also cost too much. Stuff I did not have I also did not rally miss, because I knew at any time I could be gone and they would still be butt-sniffing. So I went to Vienna with nothing musical. Maybe I was lucky to be a fool – I was footloose and fancy free in more ways than I even knew.
But now I’m going up to look at a sound-machine of epic proportions, to drive a couple crazy speakers for the now-other house — up in the piney woods, because I have walls to paint and floors to fix, and a whole new project in which to live…….

Directionless Travel

Back in the late 70’s when I was tramping around and wasn’t sure which road to take, where to go next, or even when to move-on, I would often pull out a small pouch with three Chinese coins from a shop in Chinatown, and consult the I-Ching. Fat lot of good it ever did, but it was a kind of time-out to acknowledge I had no clue. I didn’t pray to God for directional guidance, I prayed to Him for protection and perspicacity. The two things He couldn’t necessarily give to an idiot, a fool, and a knave I asked for – and the one thing that might work, I didn’t. I think I eventually got it but I wish I had prayed for Math skills and an ability to easily understand numbers…
I had messed-around with Tarot and other systems of divination including Color and Personality cards since Jr. High (probably weighted with significance because it had an unmlaut) – and you must include the dreaded and thoroughly bogus High School Career Guidance-Center Test among such methods of divination.
Later with enough knowledge and experience about how such ephemera workd, I probably could have set-up shop letting people tell their own stories back to themselves. As it was I eschewed a University path in “Psychology” mainly because I wanted to see how Society and Civilization actually worked and functioned, not how we wished it did. Apart from the Madame Zelda’s of the world who hustle poor shlubs for big sums of money, the method is mainly an internal reflection pool that draws up it’s own signatories from a person’s own internal daemons – and I kinda hustled myself. But there was a lot of that going around in the 70’s, really a lot.
At least I didn’t get into crystals and interplanetary nutzoid stuff, and my experience enabled me to avoid the Ashram-path to perpetual poverty and a pauper’s indulgences, or the amplified brainy aspect of Heaven’s Gate Scientism. Young people shouldn’t seek-out this pseudo omniscient “wisdom” crap but in a world of extreme competition with pressure for success, pressure for companionship, and pressure for acceptance, it appears as shortcut to at least some kind of Status and Achievement — and it’s been around ever since some idiot ate a green bug or a bad piece of barley and saw lights in his head – and didn’t die from it.
Somehow it didn’t kill me either.
UPDATE: It also REALLY didn’t help much either — not in companionship or achievement, and it leads to a lot of blind alleys worse than any DOS D&D game, black as night and fewer clues. I wish I had done something different or had some skills that provided work and a bit of money, but I was unemployable and couldn’t even get a job in the relative comfort of Retail, so I did manual labor.

Enola Gay

One of the things my dad mentioned in a brief “sermon” when we were visiting at the Homestead on Christmas, was that our friend Earl who died a few weeks ago was the substitute/alternate pilot for Paul Tibbets on the Enola Gay.
Earl mostly flew the Navigator seat because he was so good at numbers, a skill that advanced him greatly at Lockheed after the war when he patented a number of aeronautical processes etc., and also because everybody in the aircraft wanted to get home on the dot and dime instead of landing in the ocean – but he had the pilot’s wings for a B29 and was well qualified to fly it – and he was the next name on the list.
After the cessation of hostilities and before demobilizing he flew missions that dropped pallets of materials and food to guys on the beach who had been released from Japanese POW camps. They were in pretty rough shape.
Godspeed you greatest-generation, and thanks for the Liberty – I wish we had kept hold of it better.

It Fits!

Despite some internet chatter and misgivings this awesome, semi-old, Marine Corps OK3CS bayonet from the Afghan/Iraq Theater fits my Mossberg 590 just fine. Locks on very tight in fact. WOOT!
USMC Combat Bayonet
“From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli…” Too bad our recent escapade in Tripoli turned out so disastrously, the Current Administration is a one-man wrecking ball – our soldiers and sailors and corpsmen and airmen (and women each-too) deserve so much better.
UPDATE: the Marine bayonet is a bit longer (8-inch blade with a 1-7/8″ serrated section vs. 7-inch blade) and a bit stronger than the Army M9 unit, so good.

Wet on Wet

Another drencher is coming (UPDATE: upons uns right now) and Folsom Lake is up seven feet in the last week, and from 17% capacity last January to %37 now. Yay water!

Lake Oroville now stands at 32 percent of capacity, while Lake Shasta is at just 31 percent. California will need a lot more rain and snow to break the drought.
But the recent rain has improved prospects for gold panners, said Brad Sankus, who was mining Sunday along the South Fork of the American River near the Salmon Falls Bridge.
“It’s fantastic,” Sankus said. “It’s really moving stuff around. That’s what we need for gold panning.”

Gold? Yes, GOLD!
(**UPDATE: Wettest December in seven years to-date, on record. We’re doin’ good.)
In this Obamaconomy every bit helps… Reminds me of the Carter Era but without the weird and gaudy vehicles of AMC: the Gremlin and Hornet, and the terrarium Pacer. AMC was an exquisitely American company conglomerated from refrigerators and vehicular obsolescence, an automobile company formed by the 1954 merger of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and Hudson Motor Car Company. They gave us the staid Rambler, and later the rakish Javelin, the blimpish Matador, and the hot-rod AMX. What do we have now by comparison? All those $3,000 Corollas that started coming in on the wave of Japanese Import-Invasion are settled in land-fills by now.

My dad bought a 6-cylinder Rambler station wagon with his meager Pastor’s salary in ’62, and we drove it down to Ensenada (which I barely remember, being only 4 or so) and then all the way across-country (when I was 5) to a Baptist Mission conference in Green Bay Wisconsin. Along the way I saw the Badlands of South Dakota and the faces on Mt. Rushmore – and other sights like the green Sinclair Dinosaur gas-stations. I remember Mom driving through the night in Nevada as we kids slept in back, and the sound of sprinting jackrabbits, drawn to the light like moths, hitting the undercarriage. *thump* *thump-thump* You don’t stop for jackrabbits. We drove through a torrential Mid-West thunderstorm in Nebraska and saw a lightning bolt flash to the ground in the middle of a farmer’s field, halfway between us in the car on the wet road and a small farmhouse. A plume of smoke arose as the crash of thunder filled the station wagon. Dad said something about, “Probably a small blob of glass out there,” and drove on at the recommended 65mph speed-limit. I learned that 60mph was, “a mile a minute” and both my timekeeping and math skills advanced. We stopped at gas-stations with 10-¢ soda pop-dispenser, one where the bottles lay in a column of chilled air behind a tall, thin, glass-door, held back by metal yokes. You had to read the cap to choose between Coke, 7-Up, Root-Beer and Dr. Pepper, and then forcibly yank-out the soda you wanted after you heard the sound of the coin-drop. There were some weird flavors and mysterious brands back then too. On hot days and without a dime, sometimes we just opened the thin door and stood in the chill breeze of the machine.

My favorite was 7-Up, but a few years later when we were overseas there was only Coke and Fanta Orange. There was no root-beer except what might be made by local soda-pop entrepreneurs. Locals made soda from tap-water and local flavors, colored with fluorescent dyes and bottled with bottle-caps. Hand-bottling technology hasn’t changed since the Gold Rush days and you just need fizzy water, a lever, and the expensive part: caps. Sometimes the local pop-caps were picked-up off the ground re-used since that was an expensive bit of formed metal. At small shops selling “Coke” you also had to check and see if the bottles were re-used and that the cap was un-bent, because in a miserably poor country and an effort to save money and make a bit more, people would simply mix up their own batch of fizzy-brown stuff for sale. There were no sanitation or hygienic standards as such, or health inspectors – except for the Big Ugly-American Company Coca-Cola that also made Fanta. Drinking anything bottled besides that stuff could set-back your Typhoid-Cholera booster shot a ways and have you lying down puking your guts into a basket in between running to the bathroom with convulsive diarrhea. Also no using the ice or drinking iced-beverages – you didn’t know where that water came from, and in a miserably poor country with incredibly polite and friendly people, none of them wanted to offend you, so you would always be assured and re-assured by vendors and servers that everything was “pukka and top-notch.” Good times. (Various UPDATES.)

Gray Saturday

IMGP1903_x1000Awoke around 4:00AM in the dark to the sound of pelting rain. At 6:00 the light had barely come-up and the gray was thick all around. This time we’re not above the crud and in the Light. Wet, cold, rainy-gray days with mist in the gullies and down between the ridges always reminds me of Boarding School. Not much to do, and all that is lacking to really fix the reminder is a touch of dysentery or a fever. I spent a few days in the Dispensary at different times. It was a mini mock-hospital with a nurse and white, enamel-painted steel-framed beds separated by curtains. It smelled like disinfectant. One night I was there for fourteen stitches to my hand where I had cut it open on a broken bottle in deep grass while we were at the lower playing field, playing Capture The Flag in the dark. There was usually one or two sick boys attempting to eat barley soup, and recovering from some disgusting tropical ailment like worms. The medicine you have to take for that makes you weak as a dog.


There was even plenty of .22LR in evidence, and big and little canisters of powder! Problem being they had 2018 prices attached. I came across no Ninja Tacticool Operator Slings, and the sole Ontario M9 pig-sticker was going for New York prices. But there was a bunch of great old lever-guns in archaic calibers, some sweet M1 Garands and a variety of old single-actions – and many friendly faces. I bought a bunch of raffle tickets for a nice AR Upper from the NRA guys, and had a fine time chatting. Next time I should walk around with a chipped coffee-cup and dribble-stained t-shirt – would have fit-in right well too. It’s a small-town show with some gemutlichkeit to it. I counted things I already had, and in better shape – including antique ammo – maybe next year I should set-up a table?