Wondering about wild grapes

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Remembering One of My Old Jobs.

I have done a lot of things in my working life, but my 17 plus years at Pullman-Standard was my first job other than a summer job cooking Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Pullman-Standard was a railcar building company with its own diesel engines and rail system to move cars around.  A lot of the raw material came in by rail and of course the just built finished railroad cars were shipped out by rail, so there was a need for their own railroad.  Although I spent most of my time there working in the engineering department as a design draftsman, designing the dies, tools, jigs, and fixtures needed to make those cars, my first couple of years was spent in the labor gang and that meant I got to do a lot of different things.  You could say that one of my duties was working as a "Gandy Dancer" and then later as a brakeman on their railroad.  Today's post is about Gandy Dancers, well more so about their tools.  Here is a picture of a team of Gandy Dancers doing their jobs:

Before the large machines, which can lay track and ties all at one time, it had to be done by hand, and when I did it way back in the early 60's, we did it by hand, too.  So I know first hand how to do it.

Most important for any job is the tools, and so it was during my Gandy Dancer days.  The first thing that needed to be done was get the rails and the ties into position.  There were tongs that were designed to carry rails and others for ties.  In the picture below, the big tongs on the left were for ties and the other for rails.  Two men, one on each handle, were needed to handle those heavy items:

The most important item was the spike which held the rails to the ties.  A team of Gandy Dancers would drive these into the ties with the lip of the spike over the bottom flange on the rail:

And of course we needed something to drive them in with, and we had specially designed hammers that could drive the spikes very close to the rails:    

 So, I bet you never guessed that I was once a Gandy Dancer, did you?  Now tell us, what was oddest jobs that you or someone you know, had?  Yes, it is fun to reminisce, but I don't think. . no, I know for sure that I don't ever want to be Gandy Dancer again.  Now, you all dance a jig and have a great day, you hear?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Facts That May Surprise You

First, let me tell you I got all of the following facts from this site:

These facts have no specific order, the locations in this blog are all random.  I thought that they were all quite surprising to me.  Since they wouldn't copy and paste in this posting the way I wanted them to, I just typed them all in by hand.  Here is the first one:

"There is a poisonous plant that leaves the victim with a smile on their face at the time of death." . . . Well, if you got to go maybe that is the way to do it if it leaves a smile on your face. . .

"It would take about 1,200,000 mosquitoes to fully drain the average human body of blood." . . . I believe that there were times I had 999,999 mosquitoes attacking me at one time.  Dang, I didn't know I was that close to death.

"Some Chinese soldiers learn their 'perfect posture' with pins in their collar" . . . Ouch!!  I don't think I need that perfect of a posture.

"Wrap rage is an actual condition when you feel extreme levels of anger and frustration because you are unable to open product packaging." . . . My wife just asks me to open it, so that I have the pleasure of feeling the rage.

"Sniffologists have the job of sniffing armpits.". . . Wow!!  I never knew there were such jobs available, but I would not ever apply for that job, would you?

In 2007, a Bosnian couple found out that they had been cheating on one another in online chatrooms... with each other!!. . .  How embarrassing that would be!!

Now, this last one confirms what I have thought for years (grin).

In the US, people can be rejected from joining the police force if they are too intelligent. . . . Enough said.

Sure hope you got a chuckle out of the above and maybe learned something, too.  But, most of all, I want all of you to have a great day, you hear?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Wondering About an A-Bomb Blast Suvivor - Twice.

What if I told you that there was a fellow who survived two atomic bomb blasts?  Not just one, but two!!  Back when I was only two years old (1945) the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan that caused Japan's surrender.  The theory behind this was that if the war drug out a lot longer, there would be a huge loss of lives so the dropping of these two bomb was thought that it may possibly save lots of lives.  Somehow, I believe that their math was wrong.  The first bomb that hit Hiroshima caused between 90,000 to 166,000 deaths.

Mr. Tsutomu Yamguchi was on a business trip to Hiroshima when, on August 6th, the U.S. dropped that first atomic bomb on that city.  He was within three kilometers of the blast and it ruptured his ear drums, temporarily blinded him, and cause serious burns on part of his body.  It was his bad luck to be on that trip at that time.  Oh, did I tell you where he lived?  In case you didn't guess, he lived in Nagasaki.  Here is picture of Mr. Yamaguchi:

After this, he returned to his home in Nagasaki the next day.  Then on August 9th, the U.S. dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, and he was a victim of the second bombing, too.  What I thought was strange was at the time of the second bombing, he was describing the first bombing to a friend.  This second time, he was again within three kilometers of the blast.  This bombing didn't cause quite as many deaths, maybe up to about 80,000, which is a significant amount by any standards.  Let's hope that weapons of this type will never be used again.  Now, you all have a great day, you hear?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Stages of our Lives

We all go through many stages over our life time.  There is a lot more to it than the old saying that you started out in diapers and you will end up in diapers.  BTW, so far, I have not needed to wear adult diapers and hope I will never need to.  But we do go though different stages, that is for sure.

For those of preschool age, their mommies and daddies (and other close family members) are the most important people in their lives.  After they start school, their world expands dramatically along with adding other important people to their lives.  These could be teachers or other students or both.  As they get a little older, boyfriends/girlfriends are added to their list of special people, then that list of girlfriends/boyfriends narrows down to only one special one.  With some people, there are different "special ones" over time and with others, there was and is only one.  I have been married to my "special one" for over 50 some years, and she is still my very special one.

Do you remember your first special one?  Oh come now, I know you do but maybe you don't want to admit it in writing in case your current special one gets jealous.  If you are brave enough, let's hear about your first or second or best special one, and have a great day, you hear? 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wondering If Big is Better?

Is "BIG" better than "small"?  Well, I guess that depends on what it is and the circumstances.  Is a big diamond better than a small one?  A small exquisitely cut diamond would be better than a big badly cut diamond. . unless the big one was really big.

What if humans were only about three inches tall and the rest of the flora and fauna were the same as it is now?  Would mankind still be dominant?  Because of man's superior brain power, it could be possible that a race of three inch tall people could survive but they would have a really, really hard time of it.  Just think, a mouse would appear to be the size of bear and the cat chasing that mouse would be a monster!!  So, there would only be slight chance of a three inch tall human race surviving, if they were lucky enough, but somehow, I doubt it.  So, size does matter.

Now I prefer big plates of food, especially when I am having Louisiana boudin, and that is just what I did a day ago and hope to do it again real soon.  I like big helpings of food and in this case, big was certainly better.  Eating is high on my list of things I like to do.

There are lots of things that are better if they are big.  For example:
a big paycheck
a big bonus
a big helping of boudin or whatever your favorite food is
a big strong cup of coffee
a big screen TV
a big orchestra
a big "little" black book, if you are single
a big set of tires if you are an off road mudder
and last but not least - a big heart full off love

Please add to this list, I know I have just scratched the surface.

I didn't post a blog yesterday, did anyone miss me? (grin)  Now, you all have big day and enjoy yourselves, you hear?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Wondering About My First Blog

I have no special reason, no anniversary date, nothing to make me want to go back and look at my original blog posting, but for some reason that is exactly what I wanted to do this morning.  I went back and noted who commented on my very first blog.  Would any of you want to guess who was the very first to comment?  Well stand up and take a bow Hermit Jim (http://hermitjim.blogspot.com/), you were the very first and to think, you still comment on my blog.  Thanks for sticking with me all these years.  You, my friend, write a fabulous blog.

Here is a link to my very first blog:

Do you remember why you started blogging?  I suppose that there are as many different reasons as there are bloggers.  Old Ben of the "Ben in Texas" blog got me started.  Ben passed away a few years ago and I still miss him.  We used to communicate both by phone and by internet through emails and blog postings.  I even made a trip up to see him.

OK, back to the subject, here is a list of people who commented on my very first blog:  HermitJim, Ben in Texas, Looking, Kathie, Sissy, and MsBelinda.  I am not sure what happened to some of them.  HermitJim and MsBelinda are still posting great blogs, I know Ben in Texas passed away, and am not sure what happened to the others.

I see that Billy Bob of "Billy Bob's Travels" posted a blog about old cars.  Boy did that bring back memories of my younger days and my '57 Chevy Convertible.  Hey Billy Bob, here is a picture for you, maybe it will bring back more memories.  Dang, I am young looking in this picture:

Sure wish I had that car back.  I had rear skirts on her and a rolled leather back seat out of Buick.  I felt like a king driving that royal wagon. . . Now, you all tell us some of your memories and about your first blog and why you started blogging, but most of all, have a great day, you hear? 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Sequel to Yesterday's Blog

 Today I am posting a sequel to yesterdays blog about privet.  Not only do they look pretty and their strong aroma is all around, but they also leave their signs by dropping small white petals all over the place.  Here is a picture of the privet next to wild grape vines and my steps down from the deck.  See all the white petals on the steps.  Almost looks like we had a light snow:

And a picture from another angle:
How about a closer picture:

Oh heck, just one more:

As you can see, each little flower comes off all by its self.  Since they were used to living in a tight group, I would think they would get lonely going out in the world on their own.  They didn't get far, at least they haven't yet, but if we get some wind or rain they might get a little further.  Now, you all have a great day, you hear?