Wondering about wild grapes

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Zodiacal Light

How many of you have seen the Zodiacal Light? How many of you know what it is?

First, let me say that there is disc of interplanetary dust surrounding the Sun that stretches from the Sun’s corona to the Kuiper Belt and beyond. The inner part (out to the asteroid belt) of this cloud of dust is called zodiacal dust.

As stated in Astronomy magazine, “The zodiacal light glows in the shape of a huge pyramid above Earth’s horizon. The light arises from sunlight reflecting off dust grains in our solar system’s zodiacal cloud.”

You can see this with the naked eye. Of course, a dark site is the best, since it does not shine extremely bright. It sort of looks like a bright city just over the horizon on a hazy night. But to see the zodiacal light, it must be clear and dark.

Take a look some evening or morning if you can see the horizon where no city is located. It would be located near where the sun sets and rises. You must look just before dawn while it is still dark or in the evening just after it gets dark.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Wife’s Projects – Part 2

As promised, I am doing this blog on some more of my wife’s recent projects. She just started a new one yesterday. She purchased three big terracotta pots to be used to transplant the plants that were sent to her by very good friends after her Mom passed away. So, of course, last night she was putting the base paint on them. All three are a different color. Then she will probably paint flowers or something on them.

I did have to chuckle a little. She takes empty containers and paints them a terracotta color and then paints flowers on them (no, I didn’t take a pictures of any of them - - yet). Now, she takes real terracotta pots and paints them another color. Just like a women, has to change everything - - - of course for the better.

OK, enough talking, let’s get to some pictures. This first one is what she did to an empty plastic coffee container. It is a faux cement pot:
Knowing her, she just couldn’t be satisfied with a plain white pair of shoes, so of course some pink paint takes care of that:
She can also make rugs, and of course they have to be colorful. I laid some of them out for these pictures. That is a king sized bed they are laying on to give you a perspective of size.

The next five pictures are close-ups of the rugs.

As I said in my last blog, she does a lot of other things. I don’t have any pictures (yet) of any of her other work.

She is efficient and fast. For example, remember the blog I did on the Christmas snow on Galveston beach? Well, when it turned cold so quickly, I complained about the cold wind and wished I had a warm scarf. Well, the next thing I know, she had crocheted up a very long, heavy, and warm scarf for me to wear. It sure kept me warm and gave me that special “warm” feeling.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Wife's Projects-Part 1

My wife is a multi-talented person. She always has at least one or two projects going all the time. She can crochet with the best of them. She weaves, has a knitting machine and a knitting form that looks like loom, she paints beautifully, she creates things out of items that would be thrown away, she designs and makes greeting cards, she uses scrap-booking ideas to make things other than scrap books, and I could go on for ever, but want to show you some of her work.

Since space is not available for everything, today I will show you a sampling of some greeting cards that she has designed and made. All are one of kind and hand made. Sometimes, I do the poetic verse inside the cards.

This first one was made and sent to my Aunt:

This one is a group of Halloween cards:

The next two are close-ups of the Halloween cards:

She just loves to paint flowers and as you can see, she does a really great job:
The last three photos are close-ups of the cards with the flowers.

Well, I hope I brought some beauty into your life this morning. I am very proud of my wife's talents, even though she is very modest and says she is not good and needs a lot of improvement. Tomorrow I will show you some of her other projects.

Monday, September 27, 2010

MH Update

I want to thank everyone with all the great suggestions for finding the problem of zero oil pressure in the motor-home’s motor. Therefore, I believe you all deserve an update and maybe some additional information. I also want to thank “Shadowmoss” for letting me know that I am not the only one that has had a problem with an extra seal ring.

The reason I didn’t see the oil that was sprayed out of the filter seals was two fold. First, I didn’t crawl back under the vehicle. At my age, that is always a chore and it takes me a few days to recuperate. The second is that it is dark under there and the motor-home is parked on a driveway made from spreading crushed concrete from the tail gate of a dump truck. Those small chunks of rock absorb liquids and 5w-20 is the consistency of water. Even when I did crawl under it to put the Motorcraft filter on, I didn’t see the oil in the gravel, but did see it sprayed on the underside of the vehicle. When I removed the filter, that is when I discovered the extra seal.

I took it for drive yesterday, and everything worked as it should. The engine sounded good and seemed to have the same power it had before, but there are no mountains in East Texas to try it out on. Did stop and put 20 gallons of gas in it. Will fill it up when I head out somewhere. For now, I just wanted to get some fresh gas in it.

I am planning to take it in for State inspection sometime today. I will add to today’s blog when I get back to let you know if it passed or what else may be a problem. Till then, keep your fingers crossed for me. Gee, I wonder where that saying came from and how it got started?
OK, so far so good. Inspection went through without a hitch. Still seems to run OK. Now, maybe I will use it some.

See Ben's comment below. He found the explanation of crossed fingers for me.

Was a little late getting in to get the RV inspected. Had to wait on the UPS man. He was to deliver my Inventor Suite 2011 program discs today. Didn't want him to just leave them lay outside if I was not at home. That is not a cheap program. It takes eight (8) DVDs and a good graphics card. Will install that later, maybe. . .

Thanks again for all your support with my motor problems, which turned out to be a crazy nut behind it all. :-)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Whispering Pines

There is a place in the Pennsylvania forest that is very near to both Cook Forest State Park and Clear Creak State Park that is way back off the road. A place where you can go to relax, get away from the sights and sounds of this modern world, take walks in the woods, roast marshmallows or make “somemores”, go hunting, do a little trout fishing, or just commune with nature or dear friends and relatives. This place, a camp, is called Whispering Pines.

Why that name? There are a few large old pine trees that surround the camp and the wind whispers through them. There is a large open area (front yard) with tender vitals for the deer to munch on and a bubbling, crystal clear creek with native Brook Trout where the deer can drink.

Behind the camp is a hill where grow some of the best tasting huckleberries (wild blue berries) that you could ever eat. There are times when you can pick your fill and still have plenty left over for the wildlife. I know; I have stuffed myself with them.

You don’t have to worry about being interrupted by a phone call. There are no land lines and you have to walk to the top of the hill to get cell phone service. No TV, either. That is what makes it great. One has to entertain oneself. Above, I listed a number of ways to be entertained. My favorite is sitting around an outdoor fire, marshmallows or somemores and coffee at hand, just staring into the flames and chatting with loved ones.

One time way back when my oldest son was starting out hunting, we went up there for a day of archery hunting. My son was well camouflaged and hidden in a nice spot beside a creek. When I went to get him, he had a good story to tell. A deer had jumped from the opposite higher creek bank and landed so close to him that it knocked the arrow off the bow he was holding. It is stories like his that make hunting much more fun.

There are a lot of funny, interesting, and strange hunting stories I can tell you, but you will have to wait for another time. As for now, we will just keep whispering about Whispering Pines and wishing we were there.

This first picture is of the Whispering Pines camp building as it was in 1999, the last time that I was there for a visit:
One of the favorite things to do is take walks in the woods. On one such walk we came across this old camp. A little run down and I bet it would be hard to heat in the winter time:

Also, on a walk, I found this old stone foundation. My cousin says it may have been an old mill since it is beside the creek and there was suppose to have been one around here somewhere:

And the final picture is of my Pick-Up and my wife and her dog sitting on the tail gate. It was so nice out side that we slept in the back. Had foam mattresses and was quite comfy, but not much head-room:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Motor Problems

Just wondering if anyone can give me some advice. Since I had a couple of eye operations and some other problems, my motor-home has been sitting since April when I went to Terlingua. About a week ago or so, I drained the oil and changed the oil and filter. Since I didn't want to just start the motor and not drive it to get it up to temperature, I just let it sit.

Today I went out to take it in for inspection which runs out this month. When I started it, the bell went off and it said to check my gauges. I had no oil pressure. OK, takes a little time to build up pressure, so let it run for a few seconds. Turned it off and restarted it, same thing. Let it run for about 20 seconds or so and shut it down. Do not want it to seize up on me, so will not run it for very long.

What do you think is the trouble? Could the new filter be bad? Sitting without running after the oil change, could that have made ports or screens clog up? Did my oil pump shaft break. Don't really know what to do or where to start.

This morning is our monthly ham radio breakfast and afterward, I will stop by the Ford dealership in town and pick up a Motorcraft oil filter and replace the Wix that I just put in. The motor is a Ford V-10.

Ben gave me some suggestions, so hope it is something simple. Any and all advise would be appreciated.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Price of Gas

I know, everyone complains about the price of gasoline. I remember when I was in high school, that gas could be had for as low as $0.24 per gallon. When I graduated in 1961 the national average was $0.31. In 1991 it was $1.14 per gallon. Now, well you all know what you pay now.

I picked these years as an example for a reason. I was working at Smith International, Inc. in 1991. The price of gas was going up and there were a lot of complaints. All of my co-workers were moaning about how expensive gasoline had become and maybe they should trade in their big old vehicles for teeny weenie little ones. One of them said that he remembered when gas cost only two bits or so a gallon.

Being one of my co-workers in the engineering department, I had a fairly good idea of what his income was. So I explained the situation to him. I told him that most of us at that time (1991) earned a salary from $3500.00 to $4500.00 per month. Let’s take the average of $4000.00 per month. $4000.00 per month times 12 months equal $48,000.00 per year. There are 2080 normal working hours per year, so dividing $48,000.00 by 2080 gives us an income of slightly over $23.00 per hour. Now, how many gallons of gas can you purchase for one hours worth of work? $1.14 divided into $23.00 gives us over 20 gallons per hour of work. That is a sizable amount.

Now let’s look at the early 1960’s. During summer vacations from college I worked the fist summer for $0.80 per hour, the second summer for $0.90 per hour, and the third summer $1.00 per hour. Using the average of $0.90 per hour and $0.31 per gallon in the above formulas gives us less than 3 gallons per hour of work.

I got a better job after that and my hourly income jumped to $2.10 per hour and gas prices went way up to $0.35 per gallon. This calculates out to 6 gallons per hour of work.

Now tell me if gasoline is really so expensive. Go ahead; figure it out for your income and today’s price. Then go back in your working career as far as you can remember and check it then. How does it compare to other products? When gas was 35 cents a gallon, how much was bread or milk or meat. Everything is relative. Let us not over react.

Don't forget to wish Billy Bob a happy birthday today.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hermit Jim’s Redneck Rules

Ok, I can’t resist. I just read Hermit Jim’s blog, “Even Rednecks Have Rules…!” and just had to let you know that I have always been part “redneck”. As far back as I can remember I was always “out of doors” and in the woods. I loved hunting, fishing, canoeing, hiking, camping, and all that good stuff. (First sign of maybe being a redneck)

For example, when I was in 6th grade, my Dad would drop me off at school early in the morning so I could go to the gym and shoot baskets. Back then the seniors looked like adults to me, and some of the ones on the varsity basketball team where there practicing. They would shoot baskets for a dime or a quarter a shot. I was pretty good and since I would win most of their money, they wouldn’t let me in on their little “contest”. So, the next year, I tried out for the Junior Varsity team and was accepted. Was just getting into a practice schedule after school when hunting season came around. Yep, you guessed it, I quit, since practice interfered with my after school hunting. (2nd sign that maybe I was a redneck)

The first car I purchased was a 1957 Chevy convertible with a built up 283 engine. It had a “full race” cam, solid lifters, shaved heads, a spring loaded Hust floor shift, and it could turn 8000 rpms. I shifted at 7600 to 7800. (Third sign, yep maybe a redneck)

This was all happening in Yankee land. I wore cowboy boots and hats. My boss wanted to know if I owned horses. (4th sign)

After a move to and short stay in Michigan, I finally made my way to Texas. Dang, what a disappointment, most guys wore sneakers and baseball caps. Something wrong with this picture, but it didn’t change me. (5th sign)

OK, how many vehicles do you have to have in your front yard to be a redneck? How many do you see in this picture:

This is what my front yard looked like a dozen or so years ago when looking out my window. There is my Ford F150, my Ford Ranger, my Dodge Ramcharger 4x4, my (wife’s) Chrysler convertible, my motorcycle, my canoe, and just off to the right out of the picture was my tractor. (6th sign)

The final sign was when my son was killed and his casket was taken to the grave side services in the back of Ford 4x4 pickup with his wife driving and his son riding shotgun. Of course the radio was playing country music. See my comment on Hermit Jim’s blog where I describe this event a little more. (7th sign - a real redneck)

Then my wife’s good influence started working on me. We got a new home and a front yardthat has grass and a real driveway with only the motor home and the Jeep Liberty sitting in a designated parking area. Guess she cured me of being a “redneck”, just when I was getting real good at it (grin). (8th sign 0 redneck – got my neck white-washed)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Starlight

What?!?! I can’t believe it!! I read on John Wells’s blog “The Field Lab”, that a Terlingua landmark, the STARLIGHT THEATRE Restaurant & Bar is closing. Their last night will be this coming Saturday.

I thought that the atmosphere was terrific and the food some of the best I have had. I was there back in late April of this year. Their venison burger with chipotle sauce was fantastic, along with everything else. I was pleasantly thinking of my next return visit, but alas, no more Starlight. I am saddened by its closing. Another icon of the American Southwest - gone.

Terlingua will not be the same.

I took this picture of the front of the Starlight:

And this was taken inside one evening that I was there. It didn’t seem to be lacking in patrons.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Virus Protection

Had s little trouble with a virus protection program and got to wondering if anyone else has had the problem.

We have a Dell laptop which came with McAfee. There were a few things that we didn’t like, so decided not to renew it when it ran out, but replace it with another brand. Well, a couple of weeks before it was due to run out, it automatically renewed itself. Didn’t know it was going to do that, but when my wife turned it on one morning it had already done so.

Well, as I found out, I couldn’t cancel it on line, so had to place a phone call. You ever done that? Dang, I think they make you wait with the phone to your ear for what seems to be days and weeks, just to get you to change your mind and hang up. I fooled them; I just hit the speaker button on my phone and hung up the receiver. Then I could go on with whatever I was doing on my desktop computer. Later I did get to talk to someone and they said that they would remove the charge to my credit card. Which they did, so I figured that it was over with – wrong.

Since we still had 10 days or so left on the subscription, we were in no hurry to install another one. It just so happened that I purchased one yesterday to install next week.

Late last night, just before my wife was going to shut the laptop down, she called me over and said to look at the window that popped up. It was a McAfee window and it said that your new updated program had been downloaded and would be installed with the next restart. WHAT!! I had cancelled that and had got my money back. So now, if we would ever turn off that computer, the next time we started it, McAfee would install itself.

I quickly went in and removed the McAfee program, which by the way required a re-start. Loaded the new anti-virus program and will now have to check my credit card to see if I got charged again for McAfee.

Just think of all those old computers that you scrapped. They probably have active virus protection on them unless you actually cancelled it. Since the bills show up at different times of the year on the credit card, it can slip through unnoticed. Never, ever make anything automatically renewable. You and your heirs will be paying for it until the end of the world, or until you get a different credit card number.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nothing to say

Some days a man just doesn't have anything to say.

Today is that day for me. . .

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Scenic beauty or not.

Well, here I go a wondering again, this time about what we perceive as beauty in nature. Myself, I see beauty in each blade of grass and each grain of sand, but like most of us, I see beauty in some things more than others. For instance, there is beauty in an all blue sky, but add some fluffy white clouds and it gets a little better. Add a setting sun with all its additional color and it gets even better. Of course, maybe you prefer the pure blue sky.

For today, let us just consider landscapes. It seems to me that most of us think the most beauty is where there had been some traumatic and explosive geological events. Erosion by wind and water, upheaval of huge layers of rock, volcanic action, and many more cataclysmic geological actions all tend to create what we perceive to be beauty.

OK, I have a few examples. Look at this first picture and I am sure we can find some beauty here:

Now, look at this picture taken on Interstate 40 just as you leave New Mexico and get into Arizona. Don’t you think that you can find some more beauty in the cliffs and rocks than in the flat prairie?
Now take a look out the motor-home window at this scene:
Now compare this picture to the next four pictures below. Do you see any more beauty below than in the one above?

OK, one last time. This is a picture of where nothing cataclysmic ever happened except a dust storm or two:

And these last three show the aftermath of a lot of terrible past events:

Now, tell me, where do you see the most beauty in nature. I also love a thick lush green forest and sparkling brooks, and, gee whiz, I guess I love everthing in Nature.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Solar What!

Ok, I have visited “The Field Lab” and seen John’s solar panels and devices. I have been to the Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona deserts and have seen solar panel arrays, some on the roofs of buildings. I have seen solar panels on RVs. I have seen pipe and tanks painted black to heat the liquid contents, that is considered solar. I have heard of solar screens, to cut down on the heat in an area.

Solar means anything from the sun, but lately, it seems to mean using the sun’s energy for our own purposes. So, when I see a sign advertising something solar, you know what I am thinking of.

My wife and I went to the post office yesterday and I noticed a sign painted on a store front window. It said, “Solar nails”. I looked at my wife and said, “What?”

Since the sign was on a place where women get a manicure, she sort of ruled out that it was something that you used to attach one board to another. So, she said that it was when they glue little solar panels to your finger nails and you can get your batteries charged when out in the sun. OK, good explanation. I got to get me some of those for the next time I go to Terlingua.

Now, I am a wondering what the other type of nail would be if it were solar. Would there be no more need for hammers? Just let the sun’s energy push the nail in? I wonder how long that would take.

Of course if I was to get those Solar Nails glued on to my fingers, when I am pounding the other type of nails in with a hammer, I would probably hit both types of nails. Sometimes I am all nails, no, I mean all thumbs.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Really Old Songs

When I was a young child, every weekend my Mother, Father, and I would go to my Grandma’s home in a little railroad town along the Allegheny River. Some of the first memories I have of those trips is getting the big old 78 rpm records out and playing them on the Victrola. It wasn’t the kind with the big horn where the sound came out, but a larger upright unit where the top opened up to put the record on and the crank was on the side. Later, they got a large floor model radio that had a 78 rpm turn table on the top that would play one record at a time.

One of those songs that I listened to was “Chickery Chick”. This version was done by a big band with what sounded like a girl’s quartet or trio. The words to that song’s chorus keep running through my mind. I can even remember the tune. Here are the words:

“Oh! - Chickery chick, cha-la, cha-la
Check-a-la romery in a banaika
Bollika, wollika, can’t you see

Chickery chick is me?”

I don’t know when that song was recorded, but those records were old then and I was only around 4 to 6 years old at the time and now I am 67.

Back in those days, everyone liked music and played an instrument or sang or both. Another song that keeps going through my head was one that I heard my Mother’s family singing a lot back at the same time I heard the above song. This song (I looked it up on the internet) was a World War 1 song.

Its name is “K-K-K Katy” and the only part of it I remember is the chorus which went like this:

K-K-K-Katy, beautiful Katy,
You're the only g-g-g-girl that I adore;
When the m-m-m-moon shines,
Over the c-cowshed,
I'll be waiting at the k-k-k-kitchen door.

These two songs are still in my memory after all those years. Maybe it is because there was a happy feeling that went along with the songs and the experiences at the time I heard them.

Does any one else remember these two songs?

Do you have any really old songs that stick in your head?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Computer Storage

No, this isn’t an instructional page on what to do to your computer to put it in storage, it is about all the stuff that a computer can store. Do you remember your first computer?

Let’s take a look back. When I went to college, the university had only one computer and it took up a huge room and that room had to be air-conditioned. Its storage device was punch cards. Am I giving my age away?

By the way, the reason they went with punch cards instead of magnetic tape was because the IBM business machine salesman was a better salesman than the magnetic tape guy. That set us back a few years.

Let’s fast forward to 1980. The most powerful personal computer like the Apple II Plus did not come with a hard drive. A 5 megabyte hard drive cost around $1500.00; that was more than the computer!! Apple used a $495.00 floppy drive disk (could have been the 8” ones, not sure) as a storage device and it only held 140 kilobytes. Yep, we’ve come a long way, baby!!

I got my fist computer in late 1988 or early 1989. It was the “state of the art” with all the whistles and bells. If my memory is correct, it had both a 5¼” and a 3½” floppy drive along with a hard drive. I put my first AutoCAD program on that computer. Wow, has both computers and cad software come a long way since then.

Just think, today we use thumb drives that store more than anything I know of back in 1980. In fact, thumb drives have increased their capacity enough that if you wanted to, you could use one as a supper fast hard drive. I have programs on thumb drives that can be run directly from them. Of course, I also store files on them. But, for safety, I also have external hard drives for my computers to back up everything, just in case.

I have also used Colorado back up tapes and Zip drives. Trouble is, they all go obsolete and you then have to go to another system.

Now, do you remember your first computer, the storage systems, and the changes from then to now?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

She will be missed

My wife’s mother passed away yesterday, September 14, 2010. She was 96 years old. She will be missed.

She was a woman full of spirit and charm. She was full of life nearly up until the end. Always had a great smile and liked to be with people. I am proud that she was my mother-in-law.

We must remember the good times. This is the last picture we have of her. I took it of her and my wife on October 1, 2008, the last time we saw her.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


No, I don’t mean the movie Firefox about the Russian Jet Fighter that Clint Eastwood stole. I mean that eerie glow that you see in the dark of the night. There were a series of books written about life and times in years gone by in the Appalachian Mountains that had the title “Foxfire”. The mountain folk had a lot of tales and superstitions that included that eerie glow.

I had heard of it but in all the time that I spent in the woods, I had never seen it until I moved on this property 26 years ago. One night I saw a greenish glow coming from an old rotting log that I had accidently kicked. It is simply amazing and a little eerie. It seems that it is a bioluminescence fungus.

Not only does the fruiting body glow as in this definition (click here), but the mycelium (the hair like main mass of the mushroom which is many times as large as the fruiting body that we see) also glows. (Click here) I have some pictures of it but can not find them.

The glow coming from the rotting log was coming from the mycelium. There were no fruiting bodies seen. Maybe they had not formed yet. If you kicked the log, it spread the glowing and since the night was very dark, the glow was easily seen by all. Of course, it isn’t bright enough to be seen in the daytime.

It has always been hard for me to grasp the idea that living things can produce light. The lightning bug for instance, where do they charge their batteries? And glow worms? I guess they are the female lightning bug and can’t fly. The males fly around with the guys and the wives stay home. Now how did they manage that?

When I was a kid, way back about 60 years ago, I sent off for a Captain Video glow in the dark belt. When you turned off the lights, it would shine ever so bright. Never could understand that either. There are glowing toys, paint, plants, fungi, and living creatures. The depths of the oceans have produced creatures that use light to attract their food, a mate, or what-ever. The squid can change colors.

There is just so much in this universe that is hard for me to understand, and bioluminescence is one of them.

How many of you have been fortunate enough to see foxfire? If you did, was it the fruiting bodies or the mycelium?

Monday, September 13, 2010


You know, I haven’t had any indigestion since I started on this healthy diet way back a few years ago. Makes one wonder if everyone ate the right stuff, a lot of drug companies would go out of business.

Anyway, I was wondering about that when I remembered reading some facts about digestion in “Discover” magazine. I am going to list some of them here today. I learned a few things and verified some I already knew.


The gastrointestinal tract is a 30-foot tube running from your mouth to your anus. Topologically, (I had to look this word up, didn't mean what I thought) your gut has the same shape as those doughnuts you regularly pass through it.

The small intestine contains so many folds-down to the microscopic level-that its total surface area is about 2700 square feet, enough to cover a tennis court.

Maybe it’s just the company. Tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey, is often blamed for post-meal drowsiness, but the proteins in the meat largely neutralize it.

Or maybe it is those dancing sugarplums. Gorging on high-glycemic foods (lots of sugar and starch) can concentrate tryptophan in your blood plasma, boosting its effect.

Most of the body’s serotonin, a major mood-influencing hormone, is made not in the head but in the stomach lining.

The calories you burn simply digesting food account for 5 to 15 percent of your energy expenditure. Protein and alcohol require the most energy.

Formula for a cheap date: Women produce only 60 percent as much alcohol dehydrogenase, the enzyme that neutralizes booze, as men do.

Your stomach’s primary digestive juice, hydrochloric acid, can dissolve metal, but plastic toys that go down the hatch will come out the other end as good as new.

Same with crayons, hair, and chewing gum-all of which will pass through within a few days, no matter what you’ve heard.

You, however, are easily digestible. The pain of pancreatitis comes from fat-digesting enzymes leaking from the pancreatic duct system into surrounding tissues, literally eating you from within.

Water, enzymes, base salts, mucus, and bile create about two gallons of liquid that enters the large intestine. Only six tablespoons or so comes out.

Without the colon’s marvelous ability to recover bodily fluids, animals could not survive on dry land.

This last one is for Billy-Bob’s red-neck relatives:

The loudest human burp ever recorded-107.1 decibels, about as loud as a chain saw from three feet-was produced by Londoner Paul Hunn in September 2008. On TV, no less.

Well now you know more than you wanted to know. There were more listed but some, I thought, were too yucky. (or is it yuckie?)

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I just read an article in my new “Discover” magazine about how a fungus was killing bats and, as I have heard before, amphibians like frogs and salamanders. Not only do fungi live off of dead things, the attack live organisms, people included.

Some experts believe that very few diseases are caused by viruses or bacteria, but the majority is caused by fungi. Fungi (which include molds) create a poison to protect themselves. This poison is called mycotoxin and can cause everything from arthritis to cancer.

Grains, especially ones stored in silos are contaminated. Some grains are contaminated from the field. All corn is contaminated, fresh or after stored. Peanuts are another carrier of mycotoxins. Certified grass fed beef is better for you than corn fed beef. I could go on and on, but will not. It is well known that people get sick who live in mold infected homes.

But, there is always beauty in everything. My wife, Ruth, has always had a good eye for beauty, except when she married me. . . Anyway, she took a lot of pictures of mushrooms and I am proud to show them to you now. All, but the last picture, was taken by her.

I took this last picture under my house. It looked like a wonderland under there with all those huge mushrooms. I had never seen any that large.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Remember!!! See Ben’s Blog and never, ever forget.

I mentioned a couple of days ago in my blog that I was taking three of my dogs to the groomer. Well, while I was there, I saw a bunch of Boxer puppies. Boy did that bring back memories. I grew up with a female brindle colored boxer named Brinda, of course, for her color. Since I was an only child, she was my constant companion from the time we got her as a puppy when I was about 10 or 11 years old until I went off to college. Let me tell you a couple of stories about her.

One time when we went out and left her at home, she found a bar of lye soap and ate some of it. When we came home she started foaming and gagging and when we found out what she had just been into, we thought she was a goner. Rushed her to the Vet and he said he couldn’t do anything for her except keep her comfortable. We took her home and spoon fed her Knox Gelatin and water. She was unable to get up, but after a week or so of constant care, she showed signs of improvement. It took awhile, but she finally got as good as new. The Vet couldn’t believe it.

She loved to tag along when I would go skiing. She would chase you down the hill and usually catch you. If she caught you, she would jump on the ski in front of you and you would go head over heels. Then she would lick the snow off your face.

She was not allowed in our living room. There was couch along the wall just inside the door. Sometimes she would sneak in behind that couch. She did just that one time when we had company and they were sitting on that couch. I guess ole Brinda got bored so she started to chew on the electric cord to the lamp. The big old couch with the company sitting on it just flew forward almost upsetting and nearly throwing off the couple sitting on it. Guess Brinda bit through the wire just right. Surprise, Surprise.

She always knew when it was time for the school bus to drop me off and would be watching out my bedroom window. She wasn’t afraid of anything except thunder storms. I was away at college when I was told that Brinda had died. She passed away during a thunder storm. I have always felt so bad that I wasn’t with her to help her through that last storm.

Friday, September 10, 2010

No Good News Day

Yesterday was not a good news day. A little background first. Back in the middle of August we got news that my Mother-in-law had a bad breathing spell and was in the hospital, she is 96 years old. Then I was told my 92 year old Aunt had fallen and broken her hip.

I will start with my Aunt. She had an operation and they inserted a pin in the broken bone. She came through that just fine and was moved to a nursing home for therapy. Yesterday I was informed that the pin broke. Her choices are two, get a hip replacement or never walk again. The doctors say because of her heart condition and being on oxygen all the time, they do not want to operate. She wants the operation.

Now for my Mother-in-law condition. She was released from the hospital in a couple of days, her breathing got back to normal for her. Yesterday, we got a call saying that she is back in the hospital and is going to be moved to the hospice section of a nursing home. Was told that she may only have a few days left. She has proved the doctors wrong before, lets hope she does again.

I am going to brighten things up a bit by pasting a copy of an email I got the other day. I like to play with words and this says it all, almost:

You think English is easy??? Read to the end . . A new twist

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes. (THIS SHOULD BE 'DIVED' SHOULDN'T IT?)
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear. 19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests. 20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig..

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this.

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP'. It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car. At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.. To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special. And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night... We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP.

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP. When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP. One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so........it is time to shut UP!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I love condiments. When we go grocery shopping, my wife complains because I spend too much time in the condiment section. I have to make sure that I didn’t miss some new condiment that just hit the shelves. I always have to check out the hot sauces, the salad dressings, the picante and salsa, the olives, everything in that wonderful long isle.

If you love condiments as much as I do, you will understand when I tell you how I decide what I want to eat for a meal. I think of the condiments I want and then I try to think of what food will go with the condiments I want. (grin)

Now a-days, my higher than normal blood pressure limits my condiment intake and variety. You know, limit the sodium intake. Just one other downer for some of us over 50. OK, that ain’t a lie, I am over 50. Yep over 50, over 55, over 60 over 65. . . you get the picture and it ain’t as pretty as it once was.

Well, I got to cut this short for today. It is garbage day and I got to get those cans way down by the road. Also, have to take three of our dogs to the groomer. Then, maybe we can go to town and I can walk real slowly down that condiment isle.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nervous Nellie's Jams and Jellies

My cousin Jim took a vacation to Maine. He and his wife had a wonderful time and got cooled off, also. They sent me some pictures of the trip. Some were of whales when they went out on the ocean to watch for them, pictures of the bay, cabins, the park where the Appalachian trail ends, birch bark canoes, and pictures taken at Nervous Nellie’s Jams and Jellies in Deer Isle, Maine.

It was really hard to decide what pictures to show you, they are all so different and crazy. So, I picked a few. I will not try to explain anything in depth, since I don’t know how to explain them accurately. Maybe it is because I am not the brightest bulb in the chandelier or maybe it is because I wasn’t there or maybe a combination of both.

This first one is taken of a chess player. His opponent was just as strange looking:

OK, one could only guess. Is it a Go-Go dancer?

Is this just a horn blower? What is that on his left arm? Is that a wing? Maybe this is Gabriel? Anyway, he has nice shoes.

And is this one for the birds?

A knight or an alien?

Market area?

Must be time for supper.

Steer head?

Looks like my old car . . . or maybe something from the Flying Tortoise (grin).
Hope you got a kick out of these pictures, I sure did. It is amazing what some folks do with junk. don't you wish all the junk-yards looked like this?

See Hermit Jim today, maybe he has the answer to what these guys are.