Wondering about wild grapes

Monday, April 30, 2012

Wandering to the Baytown “Royal Purple” race track-Part 1

Yep, I made my yearly trek to the Top Fuel Drag Races and got there and got back in one piece.  I must be getting old because when I got home and ate supper, I had trouble staying awake to watch it on TV.  In case you ever want to watch them, they are on ESPN and I believe there will be another one next week.  Usually they have two weeks between races.  Anyway, I am going to show you some pictures that I took when I first got there.  Getting in is easy, they remove the toll from the toll road and close the road in front of the racetrack for one way traffic only.  They direct you into this huge parking area and I was anxious to get into the race area that I forgot to count the rows to where I parked.  No problem, I found it; was only a couple of rows off, but spotted it.  Of course it took a lot longer to get out of the parking lot than getting in

I always go out to the pit area and walk through and get up close and personal with the cars, pit crews, and drivers.  I will show you some pictures I took in the pit area today and tomorrow I will post the ones I took of the race.  This first picture is of the winning top fuel dragster, but I didn’t know it at the time; I can’t see into the future.  Morgan Lucas drove his Geico car to the win and a big trophy and lots of money.

Of course what would a drag race be without John Force and all his drivers and cars?  One of his drivers, Mike Neff, won the top fuel funny car race.  Here are the pits of John and his son-in-law, Robert Height:
And just a little bit further in is John’s other racing daughter, Courtney.  Ashley took leave to raise her new baby and Courtney is filling in for her and doing a great job.
If you don’t think this is a big event, here is a picture of just one of many streets lined with pit crews.  I would bet that there are more people associated with the cars than the amount of paying spectators.  This huge “city” should have disappeared by now.
Another top fuel dragster:
Here is Ron Caps letting a spectator get her picture taken with him.  He is a friendly fellow and came in runner up.
Here is the Kalitta team getting their car ready for the first race:
And here is my wife’s favorite driver, Greg Anderson who drives a Pro-Stock car.  The Pro-Stock cars run the full quarter mile, whereas the top fuel cars only run 1000 feet.
There are a lot of neat cars sitting around and this is one of many:
OK, that is enough for today.  Will show you some race pictures tomorrow.  You all have a great day now, you hear? 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nice day for the race.

I remember when I was in Junior High School, I was walking down the hall and the Principal was walking along near me.  He said “Nice day for the race”, and I just nodded and said yes it is.  A few seconds later I ask him, “what race?”  And of course his reply was “the human race”.  I never have forgotten that.  Well, today is a nice day for the human race and also the once a year N.H.R.A. Top Fuel Drag Race at the Baytown race track.  Yep, you guessed it, I am going.

I have been purchasing the same three reserved seats for years, but this year my customer that was suppose to go had to back out.  Can you believe that I couldn’t find anyone to go with me?  Well, I one good thing, I will not be crowded.  I enjoy those races and watch them on TV every time they run.  The VCR will tape it today, because I will not get home in time to see the first part.  Of course I will know who won the races (grin), but will watch it anyway.  Maybe I will wave to myself.

You all have a great day, I am going to.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Wondering about a little 1950 style humor.

We went to the Cut & Shoot Post Office to get our mail yesterday, as we always do, but yesterday we stopped at The Cut and Shoot Tourist Trap.  I told you about that place back a few weeks ago. They always have new and different things in there.  Although a lot of the same stuff was there, they are always hunting new stuff to stock their two large buildings.  I found this box lying on the counter.
Of course I ignored it but then my curiosity got the best of me and I went back and opened it up.  Wow, never expected what I saw.  I have been told that my curiosity would get me in trouble some time, so it was a tense moment and I opened it very, very slowly.  And there IT was!!!!

This product was made quite a few years ago and it had a copy write date of 1950 by H. FISHLOVE & CO. of Chicago.  It even was registered at the U.S. Pat. Office.  The back of the box had an address form and a place for a stamp so that you could mail it.  It also had a note at the bottom saying “Postmaster:  May be opened for postal inspection.”  Now that may be an unique way of advertising a product, let the postal workers look at it and I bet news of this product spread fast throughout the postal service and their families and friends.

Oh yes, I suppose you want me to show you the contents of the box.  Now you know I had to keep you waiting, isn’t the suspense killing you?  Or did you skip ahead and take a peek and forget about reading all the great words I have written since the first picture?  OK, here it is:
Are you sure you are ready?

Yes, well then OK.

Hope you got a chuckle out of that.  You all have a great day now, you hear?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Wondering about my broken steps

Remember when I told you that I broke my steps into the motor-home?  There was a long shoulder bolt that broke off at the shoulder.  The treaded part was three eighths diameter thread and the upper part was half inch diameter by three inches long.  It holds the gear that lifts and lowers the steps.  The bottom cover plate that the head of this shoulder bolt rests on, was bent also.  I fought that thing for a couple of days and finally was going to give up and try to get the whole unit out and take it to the RV repair place.  If I couldn’t get it out, then the RV would have to go to the shop.

I squeezed back under the coach and was about to remove the bolts that held the step assembly into place when I decided that with all the electric and other stuff that it would be more than I wanted tackle at this time.  So, I decided to give it one more try removing the broke off part of bolt.  The main problem was that it broke off up inside a cover plate that had a hole just big enough for the shoulder bolt body to fit through.  I considered buying an Easy-Out and a drill to match and drill a hole in the broke off bolt, pound the Easy-Out in, and then unscrew it.  But, before I headed out to the parts store, I decided to try one more time.  I found the skinniest needle nose pliers that I had and tried to get a grip on it.  The pliers kept slipping but finally got hold enough to start turning it.  I could only turn it a wee, wee bit at a time.  It took awhile and my arm was cramping badly, but I was smiling all the time.  Took the bolt and plate up to the RV place and they now have it on order and it will be here the middle of next week.  Phew, glad that is over!!  Now I wonder if I can remember how it all goes back together???  You all have a great day now, you hear?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wondering about a chance meeting.

Like a lot of people do, my wife and I shop at Wal-Mart for our everyday groceries and maybe some other items that we may need or can’t do without.  In fact we were there yesterday while the dogs were getting there monthly grooming and I heard a voice behind me calling my name.  I turned around and to my pleasant surprise it was Buzz, an old acquaintance that I hadn’t seen in quite a few years.  The last time was when a fellow employ where I used to work passed away.  He and his wife and my wife and I attended the funeral.  I met this fellow back around 1984 when I was manager of engineering at Conroe Forge & Mfg. Co.  He owned a company that sold a lot of products for the manufacturing industry, and we used to use a couple of the products that he handled, mainly Finkle forge die steel and hot work tool steel along with some other types of specialty steels.

It seemed that after that, throughout my working career and also while in business for myself, I purchase steel from this man.  It has been at least 10 or so years since we have talked.  We plan to not let that much time go by without seeing each other again.  In fact, we have now traded email address and phone numbers and will keep in touch and will also plan to visit each other now and then.  This time we got more at Wal-Mart than we had planned on.  I guess the saying is true that you never know who you will run in to at that store.  Now you all have a great day, you hear?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wondering what astronomy has done for you?

If you think that the science of astronomy hasn’t done anything for you, you have another think coming.  As you know, I have some telescopes and every once in awhile I like to look out into space.  My teachers back in grade school were predicting that when they told me to pay attention and quit gazing off into space.  So, what has all this space gazing done for you?  Well I am going to tell you about some of them.

Let’s look at Einstein first and his general theory of relativity.  Back in 1971, scientists decided to test his theory by loading cesium atomic clocks in jet airliners which flew around the world, once eastward and once westward.  I am not going into details but the experiment worked and from it the global positioning system we so much depend upon today was born.

Astronomers trying to detect signals from evaporating black holes (predicted by Stephen Hawking) developed equipment that turned into today’s wireless internet.  Now, I bet all of you have used these two systems and some of us (me included) depend on them a lot.

There are many more technologies that we use and take for granted today that was born from astronomy or our small ventures into space.  Some have been very helpful in the medical world.  A study of the Sun’s chemical composition turned into a treatment for cancer and in constructing the James Webb Space Telescope, technology was created to enable physicians to optically map your eye almost instantly instead of hours like it used take.  So you see, the spin offs of astronomy have affected everyone.  There are many more advances to its credit, but I have things to do.  So you all have a great day now, you hear?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wondering about the repairs.

I spent most of the day getting broken pieces off the RV and the rest trying to find parts.  I can see so far that finding parts will be a problem, most stuff, like the power step system is sold as an expensive total unit.  I also found out when trying to find sockets to remove nuts and bolts, that they are metric.  I looked the company up on the inter-net that made the step unit and it is here in the U.S. so why use metric?  They do sell some parts on line, like the gear that the shoulder bolt holds on (may need that, too), but the bolt is not listed.  I tried to call but was answered by a computer, must have been past closing time, and it was, at least here and the east coast.  Will do some more research today and make some calls.  I did go to an RV repair place and they took a picture of the bolt and told me to call back with the make and model number of the unit.  I am going to tell them to hold up until I see if I can get the broke off part out.

I got the screws for the lighted hand grab.  Since it was knocked crooked and the screws were pulled out at an angle, I will put a piece of cording in the screw holes to act as filler for the threads to make sure they get a tight grip.  After I get it back on I will take a picture of it for you.

Enough sitting in front of the computer, got to go get to work.  Or, I guess I could call BillyBob to come and help.  Then it would never get done, we would just go fishing (grin).  If you have been keeping up with his blog, he has worse RV repair problems than I do and I don’t envy him at all at this time, although I have envied his life style.  You all have a great day now, you hear?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wandering back from the flea market.

We waited until this morning to come home.  The two days that I tried my hand for the first time at selling, was a great success.  Do you believe we sold everything?  Yes everything.  When we decided to stop for the weekend, another dealer bought the very few things we had left.  That was a learning experience for me and I now have a better appreciation for the vendors who do this every weekend.  Saturday and Sunday were complete successes along with the great weather.

Today, coming home was different.  It was a disaster.  To start with, everything was going fine.  I got all the slides in, the levelers came up into the “stored” position, and the motor started right up.  I backed the motor-home out and pulled it up into the main parking lot so I could go get the Jeep and hook it on behind.  Got it hooked up, the safety cables hooked to both, and the electric plug from the MH to the Jeep plugged in and all worked.  I headed back into the RV and that is when everything started turning south.  I opened the door but didn’t wait until the steps came the whole way down into position.  Just jumped on them to get in and broke something.  Now they wouldn’t go down or up.  Looked under them at the mechanism and saw that I had bent a plate and the gears were pulled apart.  So, for now, I manually held the steps in the up position and tied them there with a rope.  It as only a few miles to home base.

I got in and was ready to start and remembered I had again to put the transfer case in neutral.  Since I had it locked up, I borrowed my wife’s key to unlock it (mine was in the Jeep’s ignition to unlock the wheel) and get its drive train in the tow position.  After we got home, I discovered that I had lost my wife’s key.  Too late to go back since they were resurfacing the parking lot at the flea market this morning.

I then decided to pull in the other side of my drive way loop and turn it around near the house.  I discovered after three or four back-ups, that it was going to be almost impossible turn it around, so decided to back it out.  When I got to the sharp curve I hit my electric pole.  Dang all I needed was more damage and a nervous, upset wife.  I just pulled it back in and didn’t bother to turn it around.  Now I got more work to do on it to try and fix the damage as best I can.  I feel like I just drove 6000 miles instead of the few miles out to the flea market.

Hey, I am home.  I will not be bored since I now have lots to do.  So, you all have a great day, and hope it goes better for you then it has so far for me.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Wondering to the flea market, but different.

Sorry I am so late getting my blog published today, but we spent yesterday loading up the RV with all kinds of stuff that we could live without.  Early this morning we hit the road for the flea market and got there about 07:00 this morning.  We rented two tables for two days plus electric for then RV.  They didn’t have 50 amp but did have 30 amp.  Got parked and started to unload the stuff for sell before setting up the RV.  I couldn’t believe it, the other dealers and a few antique shop and resale shop owners descended upon us before we got half the stuff out.  We were almost completely bought out within the first hour and even though there was not many people out today, we got a fair amount stop at our tables and most bought something.  The one fellow said that we had priced things way too low.  I told him we did that on purpose because we wanted to get rid of a lot of stuff.  I then said that any contributions would be graciously accepted.  He didn’t say anything more about the prices but did purchase a lot.  Like I said, we are here to get rid of things, not to make money.  The money part is just an added benefit.  About 13:00 I went back home and loaded up the Jeep with some more stuff to get rid of tomorrow.  I may not post a blog tomorrow, since I will be busy and have to get out of here shortly after they close.  Doesn’t give a person a lot time to get a motor-home ready to get back on the road, like get the our slides back in, the Jeep hooked up behind the RV, the levelers up, everything loaded up, the dogs all accounted for, and all the little things you got to do to get back on the road even though you are only going a few miles.

I enjoyed doing this.  My wife did it years ago, but this is my first time.  I had a ball talking to all the people.  Anyone who knows me, knows I love to talk.  I am tired out but feel good.  I had fun, put a dent in our stuff, and paid rent here plus some.  Tomorrow will be all profit, so to speak, if you can call it that considering the original cost was way, way more than what we are selling it for.

You all enjoy your weekend and as always, have a good day.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The war on vegetation was a draw.

I waged war on the vegetation that sneaked across the border and invaded my driveway from the ground up to higher than I can reach.  I fought that war most of the day yesterday except for a trip to town to restock the refrigerator and pantry with supplies.  Got the stuff I cut down by hand (no power tools) picked up as it was getting so dark I couldn’t see.  I now have two huge piles both over 8 feet tall.  I wander how long it will take nature to shrink these down to something useful?  Actually the war ended in a draw.  There is still stuff that needs cut back or down but I can hardly walk.  I hurt all over but my left knee went out and now the only way to walk without too much pain is to walk like Chester did on the original Gunsmoke TV series.

OK, I am going to warn you that I may be real late posting a blog tomorrow, so don’t get worried about me and call 911 or something.  I have to go and get stuff ready for what we have planned for this weekend so will keep this short.  Don’t worry I will let you know by writing a blog sometime tomorrow or tomorrow evening.  If not, I will catch up Sunday or Monday.  You all hold the fort down and have a great day, you hear?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wondering why I am still in here.

It was all I could do to drag myself back in the house to write this blog, but I didn’t want any of you worrying that I fell off the roof or something worse.  Yesterday and today have been such perfect days weather wise that it is very hard to stay indoors.  The weather doesn’t get any better than this, believe me.  I am going to keep this real short and get back outside to try and get some of the outside work done, like trimming back the jungle that is trying to swallow my driveway and my house.  Pretty soon, if I don’t wage war on the vegetation, I will have to move out. . .

OK, now you all know that I am alive and kicking, I am going back out with my coffee and clippers and saw.  If I don’t show up tomorrow, you will know that the vegetation won the war.  You all have a great day now, you hear?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wondering about too much to do.

Dang, things just seem to keep piling up.  I got so very much to do I will have to live to 150 to get it all done if not longer.  See, the big problem is that I keep moving slower and the projects keep piling up.  Time sure flies by, I guess I wound my clock just a little too tight but not tight enough to stop it - -  yet.  I start one project and notice another that needs done first and then neither of them get done at all.  Now I know that none of my readers would ever let things happen like that, right?  Most of my projects get done just good enough to get by until I have time to put the finishing touches on them.  Yeah, that never happens, the finishing touch part.

One example is my office.  I have been wanting to take the old carpet out and replace it with those snap together simulated wood flooring pieces.  I have done that in most of the house and it looks real good and holds up well.  So, what is the trouble you ask?  To start with, I built a desk that two people could work at if needed.  It was an engineering marvel.  It worked great for me all these years of working on my own.  When I moved into the new house, I had to take it apart and re-assemble it in my new office.  This thing is 8 feet long and 6 feet wide at the widest part and has multiple levels.  It is made out of three quarter inch plywood, a pretty good grade with smooth surfaces.  I don’t know if you can even get that good of plywood any more.

This office of mine has become a storage place for all my stuff.  No logical order, just piled in here.  Dang, the more I talk about this project the more I think I will try to finish up some other easier project.  Like the hot water heater (that is not correct, why would any one want to heat hot water.  It is a water heater.)  I never put the screen guards around the bottom where the flame sucks air and I have never put a cover on the water heater compartment.  I am starting to hurt just thinking about all I have to do.  Not a good thing, this getting old.  Hey, that sounds like a good enough excuse to complain (and maybe not get it done).  What do you think?

Now just have yourself a great day and try to do what you want to do to day, you hear?  It is lotto day here, so I guess I may go buy the winning ticket and then pay someone to do my chores for me.  Sounds like a plan to me.  Guess I will hold off on the projects until I see if I win or not (grin).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wondering about large to small numbers.

All my life I have worked with numbers.  Doing engineering design work mandates that, whether you are working with the deflection of beams or wind load or shear or tensile strength of materials.  Some of these numbers are huge and some small.  I have designed teeny, tiny (those are engineering terms you know) stuff with tolerances only a watch maker would appreciate to huge towering structures (OK, you want an other engineering term – “big”  or “BMF”) that you could play a foot ball game in or tall exhaust stacks or huge turbine air filters and silencers.  So size is a relevant thing.  Just look up in the night sky with a telescope and peer into the vast universe or look through a microscope to the invisible tiny world that lurks there.  Size goes both directions.

OK, a couple of trivial facts relating to the size of a number.
100 billion are the estimated number of planets in the Milky Way, our home galaxy.
1 second is how long the U.S. Naval Observatory will delay official clocks at 23:59:59 (UTC) June 30, 2012, to keep official time consistent with mean solar time.  I talked before about the earth’s orbit and its rotation changing.  So by this June it has changed another second.  Oh well, will any one notice?
You all have a great day now, you hear?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Wondering about a talented member of the family.

Last night my wife was talking on the phone with her brother and sister-in-law who live in Pennsylvania.  They told her about their granddaughter (my wife’s great niece) who was a whiz at doing the Rubik’s Cube.  She is nine years old and is really good at solving the Cube.  Here is a video that her Dad (wife’s nephew) posted on You-Tube of her solving the puzzle:

We were in Pennsylvania last summer and we had a picnic out at Moraine State Park on the shore of Lake Arthur with my wife’s brother and family and she was there with her sister.  Very cute, intelligent, and well behaved girls.  We enjoyed the visit with them.  Here is picture taken at that picnic showing the two girls, their Dad, and my wife and me.

You all practice on the cube and see if you can beat her.  I am not sure if I ever solved that cubic puzzle.  You all have a great day now, you hear?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Wondering who all reads my blog.

Have you ever wondered who all reads your blog?  Seems the only ones I know for sure read it are the ones that leave a comment.  When I visit and read a blog, I usually leave a comment, but not always.  Sometimes I am limited in time, sometimes I have nothing to add of any importance (but this usually doesn’t stop me - grin), and in a few cases I am on my tablet and it will not let me comment for some unknown reason.  The later happens rarely but has on a couple of blogs that I follow.

Speaking of following blogs, why doesn’t all the blogs that I follow show up on my blog?  They show up on the dashboard but not on the blog itself.  I always pick the “follow publically” button.

Anyway, back to the original subject of wondering who views my blog.  It has been a long time since I have checked my stats, so did so yesterday and decided to see where most of my page views came from.  Of course the biggest share came from the United States, but it was the second place country that was a surprise to me.  Which country would you think it would be?  It was Russia, and I totally didn’t expect that.  I figured Canada, England, or Australia would have been number one.  Goes to show you that you just can’t guess where your viewers live.  Try to guess yours and then go look, bet you will be surprised, also.  Let me know what you find out.  I am also curious if that figure will change over time.

You all have a great day now, you hear?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wondering about collecting.

Are you a collector?  I use to be.  Between my wife and me, I believe we have collected just about everything.  I collected stamps when I was a boy.  Didn’t everyone back then?  When I was in college I collected nickels.  Whenever I got a nickel in change I put it in the groove that encircled my dorm room that you were suppose to hang picture frames from.  I figured that way, I would never be broke.

My wife collected dolls.  She had a couple of thousand of them until she just up and sold them all.  She also collected Garbage Pail Kids cards.  Remember those?  It just seems things keep collecting around us, everything that is except money (grin).  I started out years ago with one used three inch telescope and now I have a bunch of telescopes of all sizes up to a big sixteen inch one.  We both have collected a lot of other things over the years.

Now that we don’t actively collect things it seems that things just seem to collect around us.  Most of it is junk, but of course, it is OUR junk and we have saved it for some reason or another.  Now that I am on the twilight side of life, I see no reason to collect things, but still have an attachment to what I have already collected.  Knowing me, I will probably bring something else home, something that would either go with my “collections” or just something new and different.  Why do people do things like that?  I am sure none of you collect things you don’t need, now do you?

Well, I got to get moving.  Today is Saturday and it is flea market day.  Have to go see what I can’t live without or what would go with my existing collections or would make a good start to a new collection.  Heck, after I die, someone else can get rid of my “collections”.  You all have a great day now, you hear?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Wondering about Jimmy Capps

Last night I watched “Larry’s Country Diner” TV show on RFDTV.  It, by far, is my wife’s and my favorite TV show.  Larry Black is the host.  The announcer who tries to tie things together is Keith Bilbrey.  And Nadine (http://www.nadinenadine.com/) always stops in for a visit; I wrote a blog about her before.  They have special guests from country music artists each week.  But the guy who fascinates me the most is “The Sherriff”, Jimmy Capps.  I could listen to his guitar picking for ever!!  He has to be the best country music guitar picker in the world, in my humble opinion.  If you listen to him play you will agree.

Google Larry’s Country Diner, Nadine, Jimmy Capps, etc. and see all the great things you can find from videos to facts.  You all should watch this show, if you like good old fashioned, clean country fun and music.  Some of the funniest things happen when they make mistakes, but they keep the cameras rolling and you see it as it is without any editing.  It is really good, clean fun.

Now, you all have a great Friday the Thirteenth, you hear?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wondering about some old songs.

Did you ever have some really old (I mean ancient) songs running through your head.  There are two of these that continually pop up and go through my head.  The one that has been doing that today is “Chickery Chick”.  Do any of you remember this song?  Well I could sing it for you . . . but don’t think I will.  OK, the next best thing, here are the words for the chorus:

“Chickery chick, cha-la, cha-la
Check-a-la romey in a banaika
Bollika, wollika, can’t you see
Chickery chick is me?”

I first head it in the late 40’s when I found one of those big thick old 78 rpm records at my Grandma’s house with it recorded on it.  I used to play it over and over again.

Another song that I liked back then was K-K-K-Katy and the chorus of it 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-c-c-cowshed,
I’ll be waiting at the k-k-k-kitchen door.”

I am not sure if I ever mentioned these songs in any of my older blog posts, but to me they are special, and if this is a repeat, it is one that brings back some wonderful memories of my grandparents’ kitchen and all us singing ole songs.

Well, I guess I have showed my age enough for one day, so you all have a great day and hum some of your old favorite songs that bring back warm, good memories, you hear?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wondering if I will ever get my taxes done.

Today, I am going to try to get my tax forms completed, checked over, and sent in.  This was a complicated year for me.  I am not going into any detail here but to say I have a lot of forms to use that I never used before.  One in particular I believe I should have been using in the past.  It would have surely saved me some money.  Oh well, I am not going to cry over spilt milk, just going to wipe it up and get on with it.  So, I am going to cheat today.  NO, not on my taxes, but on my blog.  I am just going to paste a link to an old blog I posted back on August 2010 that you may like or may want to read again.

OK, got to get busy.  You all have a great day now, you hear?  Let me know if you liked the old blog.  I had four bloggers comment on it back then.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wondering about a day’s length.

Well, that is simple enough; it is 24 hours long, right?  Well not exactly, and depending if you are talking about a solar day or a stellar day.  The stellar day is the time it takes the earth to rotate one time in respect to the celestial background and a solar day is what we are most familiar with, when the sun reaches the same spot in the sky for each earth rotation.  45 years ago, the second was defined in terms of the wave length of light and up until recently when some neutrinos seemed to break the speed of light, that was the most accurate (and still is) constant to base time on.  So, I guess that means that the average length of a day is 86400 seconds.

OK, everything seems to be running smoothly but wait, there is always a catch somewhere.  As far as the Earth is concerned it is the Moon that is putting on the brakes.  Because of the Moon’s gravity, it has slowed the rotation of earth down a bit.  Did you know awhile back the length of a day was more than two hours less than it is now.  Let’s see, 2 hours times 365 days equals 730 hours divided by 24 equals 30.42 days.  That means we have to live about a month longer each year to be the same age as you would have been if you lived back 620 million years ago!!  Since I will be 70 my next birthday, if I lived 620 million years ago I would be almost 76 years old instead of 70.

Wow, now I feel a little bit younger (grin), how about you?  All you young people out there have a great day now, you hear?  You have an extra two hours to enjoy it that I bet you didn’t know you had.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Wondering about some interesting people.

This couple decided to sell their home, retire early, and hit the open road as full time RVers.

They and their very cute little Shih Tzu like to travel to flea markets all over the U.S. and sell collapsible vases and really nice jewelry.  They have a 38 foot Luxor Motor-home and they pull a full size Dodge Pick-up with a motorcycle in the bed.  We visited with them both Saturday and Sunday.  Very friendly people who seem to be enjoying life.  They are heading up to Livingston Trade days, next.

One of tables that my wife and I stop at every time we are at the flea market is run by Ed who buys and sells coins of all kinds and a scattering of other interesting things.  He always has a J.O.D. (joke of the day) and he is always a lot of fun and a real pleasure to do business with.  Here is a picture of Ed (the one with the straw hat) and Bob, a coin collector who helps Ed sometimes.

The next four pictures are of the items for sell on his tables:

Just in case you are interested, I scanned his business card:

Ed had a birthday Sunday, and he is older than I am.  He sure doesn’t look his age.  Hope I am in as good a shape and spirit as he is when I get old (grin).  You all have a great day now, you hear?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Wondering why I was laying on the floor.

First off, let me wish you all a blessed and happy Easter.

I haven’t fallen hard in a long time, but I sure did yesterday.  I was carrying a pile of magazines and my right foot slipped on a wet spot on the wood floor.  Both feet went out from under me and I landed square on my back.  At first I thought, “What the heck just happened and why am I laying on the floor?”  I decided not to try to move right off, but since nothing seemed to hurt I was either OK or I was paralyzed.  I slowly started to get up, and to my surprise, I was OK.  I couldn’t believe I didn’t break something, an old man like me who will be 70 on my next birthday falling that hard and not hurting.  Let me tell you, I woke up this morning hurting a lot worse than I did after I first fell, but I was lucky.  I fell flat on my back, which dissipated the force of the fall equally through my torso.  That is what I believe made what could have been a bad experience into one I can now laugh at.  And yes, you can laugh at me, too.  You may as well, a lot of people do.

I make it a policy not to blog about politics but a friend of mine sent me a link to a video that took someone a lot of time and effort to create.  It does try to make a political point, but it uses animated characters of a whole bunch of political figures from both parties, past and present, and has a lot of comedy in it.  I thought that some of you may enjoy watching it.  I will leave it up to you if you want to watch it or not, but in case you do, here is link to it:

Now you all have a great day today and don’t eat too many eggs or candy, you hear?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Wandering through the Cut and Shoot Tourist Trap

My wife and I stopped at the Cut and Shoot Tourist Trap that is run by a gal named Judy, an old acquaintance.  She isn’t one to retire and live the leisure life with her dogs, but just loves to buy and sell junk.  She rented a couple of large buildings in Cut and Shoot east of Conroe on Texas highway 105 with a couple of partners which have since run out on her.  She rents out booths and space to dealers or anyone that wants to sell items, old or new.  I don’t see how she manages the high rent that she has to pay without her partners, but she seems to be doing just fine.  If anyone can handle it alone, she can.  The place sells anything you can think of from a full church size organ to old buttons and marbles.  I looked, but I couldn’t find the marbles I lost (grin).

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so here are seven thousand words.  The first two pictures are of the outside of the main building:

This is the second building that contains furniture for sale:

They also have fruit trees for sell beside their big old red fire truck:

The inside has many rooms full of interesting things.  The next two pictures are of the first small room inside the air conditioned building:

And of course before we left, we had to take a look at the baby rattlers.  That is Judy standing beside the steel container.

If you are ever passing by, stop and browse a bit, you may find something that you just can’t live without.  Now you all have a nice a day and we will be heading off to the flea market.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wondering about non-bright shy objects and ET.

I used to think that the night sky was black.  Now I know that the bigger the telescope you use to observe the sky the less dark it appears.  In fact, even with my 16 inch scope, I can’t find an all black area.  Everywhere you look there is light.  It is a marvelous universe, but as it continues to expand the darker it will get.  Just imagine how bright the sky must have been back a billion years or so ago!!

Now that I have said that, I want to talk about “the dark side”.  No, not that either, just had to say that for some melodrama (grin).  Have you ever heard of Bok globules?  When first discovered, astronomers of old thought that they were “holes” in the heavens.  Now we know that they are just huge clouds of gas, but they are different.  They are among the coldest, darkest, densest, and most mysterious clouds known in our galaxy and some of them collapse into a sun-like star.  Also, some people believe that they are a place where we may find clues of extra-terrestrial life; not life itself but a form of AI (Artificial Intelligence).

Why AI?  What better way to explore the universe than with Artificial Intelligence.  Those probes would not need to be programmed to do specific things but could adjust to think things out and figure out what best to do in all situations.  AI can exist in conditions that would be fatal to actual life and could last for a much longer time.  The use of AI would be the most practical method of exploring the universe.  Biological life would have too many limitations.

OK, you say, but what has that to do with Bok globules?  Mr. Seth Shostak of the SETI (search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute believes that is where we will discover our first alien artificial intelligence.  He believes that it is possible that an advanced race may “eventually evolve from a race of biological also-rans into an artificial race of highly intelligent, self-replicating – even self–repairing – machines.”

So, what does that have to do with Bok globules?  He thinks that a near by star could give lots of energy to AI machinery and that the “brain” could face away from the star taking full advantage of the globule’s frigid temperatures.  Sounds like a plan to me.  Glad to hear that SETI is still actively searching new places for alien signals.  They have also widely expanded the frequency ranges that they are monitoring and with today’s powerful computers, can sort though all the noise mush better and faster.

What would be your reaction if SETI announced that it found signs of alien life or intelligence?  Would it thrill you or would you just shrug, and say so what?  Until we get that call from ET, you all have a great day now, you hear?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wondering about life after a rain.

When I was out in the dogs’ yard yesterday after the rain, I noticed some small fungi coming to life.  I snapped a couple of pictures:

Today, I went out and took some more pictures in the dogs’ small fenced in yard.  This next one is the same as the last picture above but a day later:

It doesn’t take them long to mature and then fade away.  Here are some more tiny little mushrooms that I also saw out in the dogs’ yard:

These are so small that if you didn’t look closely, you would miss them.  Just outside the dogs’ fence were some blue wild flowers:

My puppies and I hope you enjoyed the tour of their little world.  They enjoy going out there but when it gets warmer or when it is raining, they prefer to stay in the house.  Not that they are spoiled or anything.  OK, you all have a great day now, you hear?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wondering about the Moon.

The moon has been the subject of many folklore, old wive’s tales, and superstitions, and it has been blamed for earth quakes, romantic situations, the birth of babies (refer back to romantic situations), luck or lack there of, and much, much more.  Could any these be true?  Well, like most folklore, there is or was some truth to all of it.
Let us start with earth quakes.  I would say that it could have an affect.  Did you know that the spring tide lineup of the Sun and Moon makes our entire planet flex about nine inches?  That just may be the extra nudge that built up stresses in the earth’s crust needs to create an earth quake.
Now for romantic situations and the birth of babies; you may have to get someone a lot younger than I am to explain the romantic part, but I can tell you what it has in common with the birth of babies.  If the romantic part of a full moon is correct, than maybe the birth of babies is correct, also.  Why, because the average 266 days of pregnancy almost match the 265.5 days it takes for the moon to complete nine cycles of 29.5 days from Full Moon to Full Moon.  Which also means that most conceptions took place during the full moon.

Some other interesting facts are that the far side looks nothing like the side of the moon that faces earth.

When something collides with the moon, whether a meteorite or space junk, the moon rings like a giant gong.

The moon’s orbit around earth never closes on itself; the moon does not end an orbit where it began it.  The moon swivels around us every nine years.

Unlike most of the moons of other planets, our moon does not circle the planet’s equator.

The moon is one of nature’s rare almost perfect spheres.  It is only 4 miles out of round.

The full moon’s surface can heat up to over 200 degrees and can radiate some of that heat to earth’s lower atmosphere raising its temperature .04 degrees.

The full moon is the only heavenly body we know of that seems to be equally bright from the center to the edge.  In all other heavenly spheres, the brightness drops off near the edges.  This brightness to the edge makes the moon look flat.

By the way, the moon always makes an interesting telescopic subject, the shadows are always changing and it doesn’t look the same on different nights.  In fact it can change while you are watching it.

Now, I don’t suppose you will ever look at the full moon the same again.  Wait until next month (May 2012) and the full moon will be the largest and closest until 2014.  You may want to take a look.  Remind me to do so, as I have a tendency to forget things that far in the future.  You all have a great day now and don’t strain your necks looking at the moon.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wondering about a few fun spaced out facts.

You remember back when your parents told you to study hard and learn good math skills that they would be valuable to you in the future?  You don’t?  Well, I bet they did.  Now here is an instance when the math became very valuable in more ways than one.  A NASA manual with James Lovell’s lifesaving Apollo 13 calculations brought almost $400,000.00 at auction.  Not only did the math save lives and the mission, but it sold for a lot of money.

I have a lot of interesting and fun facts to tell you but I don’t want to bore you with them all at one time.  I would rather spread your boredom out over a couple of days (grin).  Now, you all have a great Tuesday, you hear?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Wandering back to the dentist’s.

Yep, going back again, but this time it is not to get a tooth pulled.  The two I got out needed out, and now I have no teeth that line up on the left side of my mouth to chew with, so have to chew on the other side or in the front.  I am going to get them cleaned and then schedule a regime for getting them cleaned every four months or so.  Do you think since I am missing four teeth they will give me a discount?  Was doing that a few years ago until I showed up for my cleaning appointment and my dentist and his crew had vacated and the new tenants couldn’t speak English.  So, it has been a few years since I had them cleaned.  Not good.  This first round will not be very pleasant.  Would prefer to have a tooth pulled (grin), not as painful.

I just don’t have anything exciting or educational or funny to tell you this morning.  I seem to be a little “brain dead”.  Don’t know why, but I seem to get this way a lot more as I get older, but the alternative to getting older is not more attractive (grin).  You all have a great day now, you hear?  Maybe tomorrow I will be able to come up with a great blog that will “Wow” you.  Yea, right. . .

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Wondering about a pleasant surprise.

Yesterday afternoon, we heard a strange motor running and it sounded like it was on the back of our property.  I took a little walk and my son was running a big ole gasoline weed-eater trimming up around his place.  He said he would be up to see me later.  We haven’t seen him for quite a spell.  He also said that his girl friend’s son was cutting my front lot with my son’s riding mower.  My wife and I figured if they all came to visit it would be better to go out and sit and visit in the motor-home so our dogs wouldn’t be a bother.  We hardly ever get company so our dogs are not used to other people being around and it takes them a while to settle down.  As it turned out we made the right decision since my son’s friend’s son had his wife and 9 month old baby with them.  They had come from California for a visit.  Nice, friendly family.

They cut all around the front of my place.  That was sure a pleasant surprise and believe me, I sure did appreciate it.  They told me that there were some new signs of feral pigs being inside my son’s fence rooting under the rabbit cages.  (My son raises show rabbits)  I will have to be on the look out for it or them, think I will do away with any new pigs taking up residence on my place, unless they start paying rent (grin).  They do a lot of damage and are dangerous, especially to our little dogs.  Planting a garden is impossible with them around; well that is the best excuse I can come up with right now for not wanting to plant a garden.  A back up excuse is that we may be out on the road with the RV when things need picked or tended to in the garden.

You all have great day now, you hear?  And don’t fall for any April fool jokes or pranks.