Monday, December 30, 2013

Some icy poetic just-ice

On my last post, I posted about record low temperatures in Antarctica. After I did that post, a research vessel got stranded in an ice floe that blew together and froze solid. The floe is approximately ten feet thick. The ship, the Akademik Shokalskiy, is trapped behind about twelve miles of very solid ice. So far, they have not been able to make a trail through the ice, some of the worlds largest ice-breaker ships have not been able to penetrate the icy barrier.
Akademik Shokalskly
The ice-breaker Aurora Australis was the first ship that came to the rescue. It became trapped in the ice for a short time but it was able to break free. The two ships are within clear sight of each other, and there is helicopter transportation in case of a medical emergency, or as will probably happen, they will have to abandon the ship.

From the "Expeditions Online" website: The Akademik Shokalskiy is a fully ice-strengthened expedition vessel built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research. This class of vessel is world renowned for polar exploration, because of its strength, maneuverability and small passenger numbers. The Shokalskiy provides comfortable accommodation in double and twin cabins with private facilities. All cabins have outside windows and ample storage space. On board there is a combined bar/library lounge area and a dedicated lecture room, where the science team and expedition staff will present a programme of talks.

The ship is of Russian registry and has the following specifications:

  • Classification: Russian register KM ice class
  • Accommodation: 50 berths 
  • Shipyard: Finland
  • Main engines: power 2x1560 bhp (2x 1147 Kw)
  • Maximum speed: 12 knots (2 engines),
  • Cruising speed: 10 knots(one engine)
  • Bunker capacity: 320 tons
I really shouldn't criticize, but some things just scream for criticism. First, it seems that we often read about ships in trouble in the Antarctic seas. Is it really worth all that risk? I have several dear friends that have taken Antarctic cruises. They loved them. they came home with great stories about how they saw ice and penguins... Did I miss something??? I can make ice in my own kitchen refrigerator. You can see Penguins at almost any good zoo. There must have been millions of dollars rescuing these Antarctic adventurers. Who pays for that?  I don't like risk. I won't even risk going on a roller-coaster unless my wife calls me a sissy then I have to, any man will understand that. If people want risk, why don't they do it accomplishing something worthwhile? Like become a volunteer firefighter. Why not save a house or a life? The rewards are immeasurable.

Second: I got carried away on "First". Second: The boat only has 3,120 horse-power that's only 8 times more horsepower than a GTO. Now you see why I call it a boat. It doesn't even have enough horse-power to move the boat, let alone plow ice. Give me a break! Obviously it was built exactly for what it is... being stuck in the ice.

Third: Top speed 12 Knots? People can run that fast. To call itself a ship it should be able to do at least thirty knots. A real ship could do 40.

This 418 foot ship can sustain 45 knots or 52 mph. Photo Dennis Griggs

The thing that I actually find to be the most hilarious about this story is that the boat is in the Antarctic on a scientific expedition studying "Weather Change", formerly known as Global Warming. Karma anyone? Or, Maybe better, hoisted on their own petard.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Indisputable Cold Facts

Indisputable Cold Facts

I’ve had the itch to do a post lately, but it seems like everybody wants to argue over every little detail anymore…. Sooo… I decided to give you some indisputable facts to ponder. Of course, somebody will want to point out what is wrong. I call that arguing with reality. It happens a lot, as you probably know. People believe the darndest things, with no proof what-so-ever. But, such is life.

I read way too much, so I find things out that usually only gets me into trouble. Like, the other day, I was reading that the coldest temperature in recorded history was recorded near the South Pole.

From the British publication “The Independent”, (that’s why All the esses instead of zeezzes)
“Newly analysed data showed the temperature plunged to -93.2C (-135.8F) in August 2010 breaking the previous record for the coldest ever recorded temperature.”

“They made their discovery by analysing global surface temperature maps using data from remote sensing satellites. After studying 32 years' worth of data they found that temperatures had plunged to record lows on dozens of occasions on a high ridge between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji on the East Antarctic Plateau.”

“The new record low temperatures smash the previous low of 128.6 F (minus 89.2 C), set in 1983 at the Russian Vostok Research Station in East Antarctica."

Being a refrigeration guy most all of my life, I worry about cold things. Just the other day I was working on a blast freezer that runs as cold as -30F degrees. I’ve worked on several freezers through the years that ran at -30f. They are cold as all-get-outta-here. Even with arctic garb you can only work a short time inside. So, I got to wondering how cold the real world got. I discovered that the U.S.A got down to -41f in some places last week in the cold snap. To me that is just plain un-survivable! How do they do it?

Just for grins I got the weather forecast for the North Pole. It’s considerable warmer up there. I guess it always has been. Even though the South Pole is land, the North Pole floats on ocean water. And, most of the land masses are in the Northern hemisphere. That changes the temperatures considerably. So… the day I checked it was only -31f. Right now it is -21f. You could check the current temperature at the N.P by clicking HERE:

They say that the Polar Bears are running out of ice to float around on, but I guess that time will tell. Right now they don’t even need ice-picks to get to the seals. It seams to me that it would be fat city for the bears. But… I’ll leave that to the scientists and all the blogger trolls that know everything that there is to know. I’m just going to stick to facts!

From the Farmers Almanac, ( The Farmers Almanac is always right!):
"Winter temperatures at the North Pole can range from about -45° F to -15° F, with the average temperature coming in at -30° F. The average summertime temperature is a balmy 32° F, warm enough for its famed ice floes to begin melting (salt water has a lower freezing temperature than fresh water, causing it to melt at or below freezing).
As punishing as those temperatures may be, though, the North Pole actually has nothing on its southern counterpart at the other end of the globe. With an average winter temperature of -79° F, the South Pole is a great deal colder than the North Pole. The record low temperature at the South Pole is -117° F, recorded on June 23, 1982, while the record high is only 7.5° F. In general, temperatures at the South Pole average 30° lower than the North Pole.
So why is the Southern tip of the Earth so much colder than the Northern tip? The answer lies in the geography of each location. While the North Pole is, by definition, located at sea level – there is no solid land at the North Pole, only a series of icy formations in winter – the South Pole sits 9,000 feet above sea level. Higher elevations are colder than locations at low altitudes, because seawater acts as an insulator, holding in heat from the sun and warming the air around it. Because the North Pole is nothing but seawater, it is able to retain heat more efficiently than the high-and-dry South Pole.
What may be surprising, though, is that the coldest place on Earth isn’t found at either of the poles. The coldest temperature ever recorded, anywhere on the planet, was -128.5° F at Vostok, Antarctica, on July 21st, 1983. Vostok is a Russian Research Station about 800 miles from the geographic South Pole. Located 11,444 feet above sea level, Vostok is higher than the South Pole, and colder on average, at -67.4° F, than the South Pole’s annual average of -56.4° F.

But of course that record was broken as shown above.

Next post: Land Masses

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Reggae Weekend in Garberville.

Fun was had by all some!

Well, it obviously doesn't start with the artist.

Janis and I have been working hard, but happily, all summer. Mostly using weekends to try to catch up on all of the "Undones". Just this morning she said, "Lets do something just for ourselves today, and do something just for fun". I thought that was a good idea. Janis' flower boxes, that are normally fabulous, have been a little sick. I usually put on about three times the fertilizer that they are supposed to get, but this year I didn't even get the time to get any fertilizer. Her flowers look like crap. So, I thought that I would take my free time to get some flower food. As I drove through town I glanced at the store, to my surprise we had been tagged.

At first I laughed. I thought well, if it isn't one thing, it another. Then of course I got mad, just short of foam coming out of my mouth, and smoke coming out my ears. I contemplated how incredibly lucky the punks were that I didn't catch them. I thought about what I would say and do. slowly it occurred to me that I didn't really have a plan for this sort of rudeness. All that I know for sure is someone would have gotten hurt... Hopefully not me...

I continued to get flower food, then headed back to town. I called Janis to come look at her store. She was also bemused.

I was just thinking that the building was starting to look a little weather-beaten, but being short of time I have put off painting until this morning. Now my "day of fun, just for us" was fading. I got my ladder out, and my paint pan. I didn't have any of the right paint, but Good old SoHum Builders was open. I took a painted drain pipe down. They mixed and matched the paint for me. I only got a gallon because I wanted to make sure it was right. I zipped up the ladder and had the graffiti painted off in about ten minutes.

I was with a certain amount of glee that I thought about how hard these dipshits had to work to paint this crap, and how easy it was cover up. The graffiti just worked as a great primer. He who laughs last laughs best! HA HA belly-laugh HA!.

So, as it ended up, I did do something that I enjoyed today!

As an addendum: The Mateel had a town patrol this weekend for Reggae on the River. I sincerely think that they tried hard to protect the town, but with the kind of people that they have that come to these events, there is no way that they can cover everything. Good God only knows what would happened without a town patrol. I have no way of knowing for sure that the graffiti is even connected to Reggae...but it smells an awful lot like a duck.

The bottom photos are what the building looked like after a 10 minute paint job. Hey, it doesn't look great, but sure feels good. At least I know that the color will work when I paint the whole wall. There was some paint left over so I left it on the roof. Someone used the paint to leave their own message about what they thought about the taggers. Boy, do I agree!

These photos are the only thing left of most of the tagging. The photos are crude, I used my cellphone. If anybody wants to use them it is okay! Just say thanks. That way I don't have to do all the paper work that CNN requests.

To copy: If you have a real computer, just right click and follow the options. To make to a photo full size, left click to enlarge.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Riddler

Here's a little something for you to do while you are waiting for more history. My wife used to love to solve these riddles, but now she just tries to stay ahead of working at our store. It's kind of a riddle in itself. 




There are no tricks, just pure logic, so good luck and don't give up. 

1. In a street there are five houses, painted five different colours. 
2. In each house lives a person of different nationality 
3. These five homeowners each drink a different kind of beverage, smoke different brand of cigar and keep a different pet. 



1. The Brit lives in a red house. 
2. The Swede keeps dogs as pets. 
3. The Dane drinks tea. 
4. The Green house is next to, and on the left of the White house. 
5. The owner of the Green house drinks coffee. 
6. The person who smokes Pall Mall rears birds. 
7. The owner of the Yellow house smokes Dunhill. 
8. The man living in the centre house drinks milk. 
9. The Norwegian lives in the first house. 
10. The man who smokes Blends lives next to the one who keeps cats. 
11. The man who keeps horses lives next to the man who smokes Dunhill. 
12. The man who smokes Blue Master drinks beer. 
13. The German smokes Prince. 
14. The Norwegian lives next to the blue house. 
15. The man who smokes Blends has a neighbour who drinks water.

Hints from me: 
1- It really is easy if you have a logical mind.
2-Make a chart.
3-You don't have to be Einstein to solve it

I'm not going to post the answer for a few days because some people cheat!

answer, click on link below:

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Gathering

This painting (circa 1872) by John Gast called American Progress, is an allegorical representation of the modernization of the new west. Here Columbia, a personification of the United States, leads civilization westward with American settlers, stringing telegraph wire as she sweeps west; she holds a school book. The different stages of economic activity of the pioneers are highlighted and, especially, the changing forms of transportation.

There seems to have been a great gathering of the old regulars here lately. It feels good. Fred has been over here lately trying to "Stick a fork in me" for being a dead blog. Hummmpphh!

I have often said that I've heard at least five versions of every old history story. What I've learned from that is to always keep an open mind and not presume to judge what really happened, or who was at fault. I fully realize that many opinions often shape history more that fact. Those that need to understand what I'm talking about need look no further that what is happening in the Trevon Martin / George Zimmerman case. Everybody is willing to have an opinion. Most are based on their heritage or experience, very few are based on facts, simply because many facts are not readily apparent. It would be nice to know what happened. I want to have a strong opinion, but I know that the only thing that I know for sure is that I simply don't know all of the facts. I'm not even going to render an opinion on the jury's decision. The only thing that I'm fairly sure of is that they came to the best decision that they could have with the very limited base in solid facts. I'm assuming that they had a "reasonable doubt".

Those that presume to judge history, on their even more limited base of facts, are only exposing how foolish that they can be. Again, I eagerly want to sort it all out and place a definitive claim that I really know what happened. I don't, neither do you. I do know that a lot of Indian people were brutally killed, poisoned, hung, beaten, burned, stolen from,and run off. Sadly, I also know that many white men were brutally killed, poisoned, hung, beaten, burned, stolen from, and run off. Life was not easy in the mid to late 1800s.

Many of my ancestors killed Indian people, but many of my ancestors were very instrumental in saving the lives of the remaining Indians. Do I carry any Burdon of guilt, or do I carry any joy of helping save the Indian people? No, the only thing that I carry is an incredible burdon of having deep history in this little South Fork of the Eel canyon that I love. Many, with very little knowledge, like to wave the finger of shame and blame. They only show how foolishly naive that they are.

The white man and the Indian "Buried the Hatchet" long ago, back in the late 1800s. We agreed to get over it as best we could. Granted, it was a tenuous truce, but it was a truce. We have moved to become great friends today. The Indian people are revered for their heritage and knowledge, and Indian people nowadays are proud to be Indians. Many non-Indian people try to emulate them. I'm happy with that. I hope that everybody could be happy that we get along. Indeed many of my greatest friends are Indian, and many of my family members are Indian. I'm good with that...

If you want to dig up history, I often remember how upset I was the Attila the Hun killed and drove my family out of Europe, then we were driven away from England though economic and religious persecution. We came to the United States to start a new life. Unfortunately we were out-bullied in new England to the point that we had to find a new place to live. The U. S. Government said "Go West Young Man, we will take care of you"

"Go West, young man, go West. There is health in the country, and room away from our crowds of idlers and imbeciles." "That," I said, "is very frank advice, but it is medicine easier given than taken. It is a wide country, but I do not know just where to go." "It is all room away from the pavements. (Horace Greeley)

We went west to find our fortune in the Golden State. The gold fields proved to be brutal, rife with disease and dishonor. The U.S. Government seems to have lied, just when we needed them most, they left to fight a war on slavery. We had to move on. We found a little valley on the South Fork of the Eel. We discovered that there was no longer any place to run away from our problems or persecution. We drove our stake and decided we owed it to posterity to survive. Some of us even made it!

Now, we have some of our old regulars checking in. Spyrock has always interested me because I'm am inherently drawn to story tellers. Spy's story has been a story of great discovery. I have seen his story morph with the more that he learns about his own history. One of the reasons that I find him to be so interesting is that he has had family members killed by Indians, and, his family has killed Indians. His family and those same Indians have married each other. He is a descendant. He can judge and sort out what happened in history with out having to place blame and guilt. That fog of uncertainty does not apply to him. He only seeks truth, which anybody that studies history knows, is damn hard to find.

Judge not, lest thee be judged.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Mathew (Bible)

Even though I am not much of a "believer" I have found some great wisdom in the Bible.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Just to keep my toe in the doorway.

Hi! I'm sorry that I haven't been a very responsible blogger, but as you know, facebook has pretty much overshadowed blog-sites. However, I dearly miss all of the commenters that we have here.

My life has been going so good that I should be ashamed of myself. The store is doing extremely well. Janis is healthy and happy (It's really scary when she is not upset about something.)

My 90 year old mother finally got herself some new hearing aids. She can hear fairly good now, as long as there is not too much background noise. The doctor blocked the volume knob so she can't turn them down or off. The Doctor wants to get her used to being able to hear again. I think that the doctor must have a pretty good understanding of how older people act. For instance, my mother will read a book in the dark before she will turn a light on. "Oh, I can see good enough". Stubborn!

My cousin Karen is writing a history book with pictures. Basically it's about the sawmill camps and the kids that lived there. She is printing the recollection of the people involved. She wants me to do an "Ernie Chapter". I'm am honored, but none the less overwhelmed. I am hoping that when she gets it done she will do a book signing at our store. Wunt that be spiffy?

Anyway, just wanted to keep the doors open here and I enjoy all of your comments. Please feel free to talk about anything... Oh, by the why, I still have that really great post waiting in the wings. I just need to find some more history on it. If I fail, I am going to post it anyway, with hopes that some of you out there can fill in the blanks for me.

The photo above was added just to increase intrigue. Were you intregued? It is a muchroom growing at the base of a plum tree. "Oregon" will appreciate this, he loves mushrooms.

 I put some comments in the "Gypo" post below.  

Earnestly yours,

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Redway Fire Department Barbecue Sat. May 25, 2013

Wow, that time again! Fun and food will be had by all at the barbecue. This is a fundraiser for the fire department. Few organizations give so much to their community as a volunteer fire department, now is your time to give back! Please join the firefighters for a good meal at a good low price. You cannot even make the the meal that the firefighter provide at home for the price that it is provided. Plus, there will be a dessert available at the dessert bar, and beverages available at the beer bar.

The barbecue is deep pit cooked pork and beef, cooked for 10 hours. Guaranteed to be the best, the most juicy, the most flavorful food that you have ever eaten or you will be given another helping of food.

There will be music provided by the Twango Macallum band. They will be outside this year, so it will be quiet in the dining hall, plus they will be able to crank up the volume outside for a greater music experience.

See all of your friends that you may not have seen in years, and make new friends. The barbecue is a great community melting pot. Many old friends come to the barbecue, and bring their friends with them. See you there!

Serving Noon 'til 7:00 PM. Saturday 25th. Memorial Dy weekend.

Friday, May 10, 2013

You know you're a gypo logger when....

Ross Sherburn asked me to make a link to an old logging story that I told a few years ago. I looked it up and read it. It's anazing to me that I can even talk about logging without all the bad (Good) languge coming back. Who says "you can never go home?" First read the link then come back and read the rest of this post. Maybe some of you old gypos can add to the list.

Click on link: >  Lloyd Padon, CATskinner

1- You know that you are a gypo when you can cuss-out sombody across the canyon with sign language.

2- You know that you are a gypo when you take a link out of the CAT track rails to keep the tracks on the idlers to get through the season.

3- You know that you are a gypo when you weld the corner bits on the blade because you can afford the bolts.

4- You know that you are a gypo when you can tie a figure-eight knot in an 1 1/8" winch line cable in less than five minutes.

5- You know that you are a gypo when you can hear a limb falling like it was the loudest noise in the woods.

6- You know that you are a gypo when a water bag with no diesel on it is the most valuable tool you own.

7- You know that you are a gypo when You know how to make a three choker bridle to pull a big log.

8- You know that you are a gypo when you've had to use a CAT to pull a truck out of a landing.

9- You know that you are a Gypo when you have to race your fellow loggers to the bank on payday because only the first two thirds of the checks were good.

10- You know that you are a gypo when you rub mud on the rot in the end of the log and hope the scaler won't notice it at the mill.

11- The scaler at the mill knows that you are a gypo and will cull ANY log when mud on the end, whether it's rotten or not.

12- You know that you are a gypo when the rest of the crew makes you the butt of their jokes and you know thats a sign that they like you.

13- You know that you are a gypo when you go the work and talk about women all day, then go home and talk about logging.

14- You know that you are a gypo when you know that your not making any money but you don't quit because that would be admiting defete.

15- You know that you are a gypo when you go to Reno and win Two million dollars and you are happy because that means that you can log another year.

Your turn!

Monday, May 6, 2013

New Motor in old truck

So.... here's what I've been doing lately. What you are looking at in the pictures that I've posted is a new engine, new radiator, new heater core, new starter (NOT rebuilt), new water pump (NOT rebuilt), new intake manifold, new distributor, new plugs and wires, and new hoses. It probably would have been easier to have said that everything motor related under the hood is new but the throttle-body injectors and the computer controls.

My current service truck is one that I bought in 1990, but it's a good truck, so when it developed engine problems I decided to fix it rather than buy a new one. ( Much to my wife's chagrin.) She has been trying to talk me into buying a new truck for the past four years. I wish that I would have listened to her, it would be paid for by now, but, I would also be seventy thousand dollars poorer. (You didn't think that I was going to buy any cheap-assed truck did you?)

I live in Benbow at the bottom of Benbow hill. When I get up in the morning I go out, get in the truck on a cold morning, then go full throttle up Benbow hill on a cold engine. My wife does the same thing. Needless to say I have to change head gaskets on everything that I own every 60 to 80 thousand miles. You have no idea how many head gaskets that I have changed. I would list them but I almost lost you in the first paragraph with my list. I dare not chance a list that long again. It was rainy and wet this winter when the gaskets on my truck went out again, so I just kept adding water until the weather dried up a little.  The last time that I changed the gaskets was at eighty thousand miles. The truck now has one hundred and eighty thousand miles. I seem to get way more mileage out of my repairs than the factory engines gets. I credit "Copper Coat" head-gasket compound. They seem to go about one hundred thousand miles.

You guessed it, one morning I forgot to add water. I was going up Benbow Hill, the temperature started getting into the red, then as I crested the hill it when from hot to... bam... cold. NOT GOOD. I changed the head gaskets but exhaust was still blowing into the water jacket. Cracked heads. New heads are expensive. used heads and rebuilt heads are risky. New heads on and old engine is a foolish waste of time. My wife started to gloat. "I told You so". So I decided that before I bought a new truck that I would shop a little for a new motor. I found out that the Mexicans down south of the boarder build a darn fine GM engine in the factory that NAFTA gave us. I shopped around a little and found that I could buy a new engine shipped from the GM factory back by the Great Lakes.... and a new engine plucker-lift for @ two thousand dollars. Any thoughts of rebuilding my own engine, like I've always done in the past, went out the window like the little birdies in the cartoons.

So, I ordered a new motor and bought the rest of the stuff at the local Napa store. The engine arrived in about a week and a half, Three days later I gave birth to a brand new engine in my truck. I started it and it purred like a kitten. I ran the RPM up to 1800 RPMs like everybody does when they start a new motor. I ran it for about 15 minutes. It had a small exhaust leak on the manifold doughnut. I though that it had started running a little funny, and it was lunch time. So I shut it off to cool. When I came back I fixed the exhaust leak and started it again. It ran real good at first then slowly started running real rough, like it was getting way too much fuel. I let it idle down to check things, but when I got out of the truck it chugged to a stop. I tried to start it again, but it wouldn't turn over. My first thought was the starter, but I put a wrench on the front engine pulley. It's really called a vibration dampener, but I'm trying not to lose you here. The motor was way stiffer to turn over than it should have been. My elation turned to a very sick stomach. So, I did what I always do when I don't know what's wrong. I took the motor apart, clear down to the short block. On my way there I found that the vacuum tube that senses the intake manifold pressure had burned in two. That is why it was running way to rich with fuel. I took the heads and the timing chain off to check the bearings on the camshaft. It was fine.

The reason that the motor was hard to turn over is because the wet fuel mixture going into the cylinders had washed the oil off the cylinder walls. One squirt of oil on each piston and the motor was loose as a goose. That means that it turned over real easy. I'm trying really hard to not lose you here... After oiling the pistons, I slowly turned the motor over, imagine my joy when I found absolutely no scoring on the pistons or cylinders. I did a little victory dance over my great good fortune. Then I remembered that it was really not that great good and fortunate to have my fuel mixture control tube burn in two.... As most mechanics know, working on a motor is a combination of extremes, good luck, bad luck, and bad language. I had a friend that claimed that no one that didn't know how to cuss could ever be a good mechanic. I know that statement is probably not true, but I take great comfort in the knowledge that I can cuss with the best of them.

So, I put the motor all back together. I was extra careful to route the vacuum line to the mixture control away from anything hot, I fixed the loose connection on the starter. HEY... the starter is in a really bad place! I couldn't see the loose connection!

I checked everything multiple times, then I started the the engine. It runs very, very smooth. I took it on a forty mile trip, going through all the break-in procedures. You all know what they are. They go from never over rev it, don't ever go past half throttle, only drive it downhill for the first fifty miles... to... drive it like you stole it. I tried to come up with my own compromise. It must have worked, the engine runs perfectly. The truck will go up Benbow Hill at half throttle, and do 65 MPH. What? You didn't expect me to admit speeding did you.

One more thing. When I was kid, my dad was a good mechanic, and I had the opportunity to work on many things. I was lucky enough to have known Pete Star, a mechanic in Briceland who owned the Briceland Garage and Shell gas station. he had the reputation of being the best mechanic far and wide. He was adamant about doing clean work. If your work wasn't clean enough to eat your lunch off of he didn't even want to see you in his shop, and he meant it. By the time that I got through working on my motor I could have worn white clothes and kept them clean. I always seem to get some strange joy out of clean work, that, and I always think of Pete Star and my dad.

Now the test: Did you read this whole thing? Give yourself 10 points if you did. If you understood it give yourself 5 more points. If you are female give yourself 10 bonus points. What is your score?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

SURPRISE!!! I'm back. At least for a few minutes.

Well, it's been a long time since I've been able to blog here, It's been so long that I even miss myself. It's heartwarming to see that some of the old faithful commenters still drop a note to say "Hi" and keep in touch.

I would tell you about my schedule but it would make you cry. I may be busy, but my life is going well, (With the exception of a few minor bumps), I've been having fun and I am happy, thank-you for being concerned. I've also have a few problems with carry-on sentences. I hope that all is well with you all-too-faithful-readers. Wow, are you patient!

I started blogging for quite a few reasons, I got sick to death of trying to watch television. Just when you get really interested in something they would pause for a few "Important Messages". I usually flipped through the channels while I was waiting for the "important message" to be over, but, by the time they were through with their message I would have forgotten what I was watching and be onto another program, only to be interrupted by another I. M. (Important Message) Dang, those messages are just too distracting, no more continuity in watching a program. But, I did get so good at channel-surfing that I could follow at least three programs at a time. The frustrating thing about that is, that ALL of them take a I.M. break at the same time, at the final less-than-dramatic-conclusion. Then it occurs to me that I missed out on all three stories by being distracted. The next morning I would ask someone how the stories ended. None of them knew, they all started switching channels just like me. It must be universal to do that. My wife tells me that it's only men that channel surf. But, what does she know, she actually watches a program all the way through with the sound on and everything.

The ads on TV can be very annoying also. I don't know Corky Cornwell that well but what I do know about him is good. Personally he's a good guy to be around. But dang, his commercials send me diving for the mute button. For some reason a guy dressed up in a clown suit yelling at me to buy something is not my idea of a pleasent TV viewing experience. I guess you would have to have seen one of his commercials. My wife can just sit there and watch one of his commercials all the way through without any squirms of anguish. I think that she must be deaf.

I watch "Storage Wars", or what ever it's called. I know that it's phony, but I get a kick of watching Brandy give Jerrod a bad time. Plus... Brandy is kinda fun to look at. (don't tell my wife, I have her convinced that she is the only person in the whole world that I recognize as being a female) They find things in these old storage lockers that any clear-thinking person would know that there is no way in heck would ever be found in a storage locker. Boy, they must think that I'm dumb to believe all of that stuff, but I love it when Jerrod opens a box and tells Brandy, "wow guess what this is". Ha, I know what he found... the same dang thing that he always finds... a commercial. Then I start channel-surfing and never get to find out what Jerrod found. My friends don't know either, because they started switching channels also. Sometimes I go back just to see Brandy give Jerrod a bad time, but then they open that suit case and find another commercial lurking inside. Back to surfing.

Well, most people would guess, by now, why I don't watch much TV anymore. Remember "Have Gun, Will Travel", "Maverick", Gunsmoke", "Ed Sullivan" or "The Johnny Carson Show"? You could watch the whole show with only one mid-program commercial. We ate dinner on TV trays at the living room couch. We would all pee before the programs started, because the bathroom would be to crowded at the mid-program commercial. Boy, Those were the good old days!

So... I started blogging to keep up with local community affairs. The blogs started out to be just news and conversation. They were not stuffed with commercials and other annoying interruptions. Boy, those were, also, the good old days! I always wanted to write book about "The Lost Years", back when loggers were heroes helping to build America by providing lumber and jobs. Not much is really known about the time between the early settlers and the Marijuana boom that infiltrated the South Fork canyon. So, I thought that I might try to learn to write... I'm not any better now than when I started. It's true... old dogs don't learn new tricks. I'm just as bad now as I was I high school when I failed English Composition. The only difference is, now, I just don't care. So, I write from the heart and the way I would normally speak, most people get it. I always get a kick out of people that point out how I should have said it... Obviously they know what I said or they wouldn't know what they thought that I meant to say. Dang, now even I'm confused.

I started reading other blogs, some anonymous, It was very entertaining at first. NO commercials! I soon noticed that, even though there were no commercials, the anon ones were overtly for, or against, something without saying who they were. I was always struck by the cowardly approach that they took. They would bitch endlessly about what was happening in their world that they didn't like. They were either for or against something like the commercialization of the "Balloon Tract", the bums in the wetlands, or the pros and cons on making a railroad into a playground for the yuppie set. I always thought that there should be a yuppie tax to pay for all of the supposed entitlements. But, that just comes from working my ass off my whole life instead of trying to find a place to ride my bike. I usually laugh out loud when they refer to themselves as "Thomas Jefferson", or some other famous person that once wrote anonymously... More often than not out of a fear for their lives. I keep recalling the time that Dan Quail compared himself to John Kennedy. Lloyd Bentson easily put Quail in his place by saying:  "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy." I think of that everytime that the anonabloggers refer to themselves as some great figure in history. We all know who the great figures in history were. "Anonymous" is just "Anonymous". Believe me, they are no Thomas Jeffersons.

I have a tendency to mostly read the blogs by people that sign their name. Eric Kirk, Kym Kemp, Fred, Rose, Hank Sims come to mind, among many others. I don't always agree with them, but I always admire that they sign their names to what they say. But, how do we keep honest people on the blogs? They need an income somehow, so they sell out to advertisers. Sadly, the advertisers are clumsy. They place their adds across your field of vision so you have to read it to get rid of it, or you have to move it all over to see past it. I really don't know how they expect this to gain any customers. Myself, I make a mental note to NEVER buy anything from an advertiser that is so pushy as to interrupt a good blog read, then I do my best to avoid their product. Maybe I'm alone in this way of thinking, but I keep remembering all of my fellow channel surfers that leave the advertisers behind, most often to not return. If I had a blog I would not allow any advertising on my blogsite. Oh, Hey, I do... Do you see any advertising on this page? You are very, very welcome.

The other thing that bothers me is all of the new technophiles that think that they can produce a blogsite. They use some neo-whatever for a program that won't operate in any kind of existing equipment. Then They have the audacity to blame your tools. "What??? You don't have Google Chrome or Fire Fox? Boy are you dark-ages". The latest was to criticize my Android system phone. "What???, you don't have Android Four-Bazillion? how archaic". (It's a poor workman that blames my tools)

Maybe I did this post just to bitch, I don't really know, but I'd bet a lot of people "Get It".
 P.S I still have a great post in the wings... I promise. You will be amazed. Back when I was a kid they called that line a "Cliff-Hanger".

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I been workin' on the Railroad.

I had Lunch with our new 2nd District Supervisor, Estelle Fennell, the other day, and I was somewhat excited to find the she had been appointed by the Humboldt Co. Board of Supervisors of be our representative on matters of railroads into Humboldt County. As many of you already know, there has been some talk about building an entire new rail-bed, on an entirely new route, East and West, from Eureka to the Sacramento valley, while abandoning the existing Eel Canyon, flat ground, rail-bed that is already an established right-of-way. I’ve probably already tipped my hand of the route that I prefer, more information on that later.

I am a big fan of large machines and technology, like trains. I am also a big fan of fishes, critters, and the environment. In the interest of full disclosure, I include my good friends the human beings as part of the environment. I feel that the world is way over-populated at this point already, and we need to start addressing what we need to do about world population. Are you ready to get of the world? Neither am I. That leaves us with convincing the young breeders of the world to try to limit themselves. Good luck with that. I can be rather pious, in that I only produced one offspring. However, that offspring produced two children and one of them produced one more. You see the dilemma. I am now responsible for three replacements for myself in this world. As you might guess, I am very happy with my offspring replacements, so you began to see the population dilemma.

Back to the subject of railroads. I told Estelle that I was a big proponent of rebuilding the Eel River Canyon railway. First, it is an established right-of-way, there will be no land acquisitions, no major excavations, and most of the historic problems of building the original rail-bed have stabilized. Some people reel in horror at the thought of a railway down the Eel canyon. Their first thought is the environment… mine too! But, give it some thought. Many will point out all of the problems that have been related to the Eel canyon rail. Some will point out all of the debris that has been caused and left by from the rail. Old rail cars can be seen dumped in the river and abandoned. Many old bridges have been pushed aside and abandoned, not to mention all the old coal loading stations, water tanks and equipment from the steam locomotive days. Some trash was hauled off, but a lot was simply abandoned.

My thoughts are that the trash left behind will never be cleaned without a railway to haul it off. We no longer live in the early twentieth century. The new rail will not be constructed in the manner of the early rail. The rail-bed that is left is stable, with a few remarkable exceptions. A new rail should be constructed with concrete rail-ties similar to what the rest of the world uses. Creosote rail-ties are no longer allowed to pollute the river. The trash left from the old railroad could be cleaned as the new rail is completed. The slides that are in the canyon now are historic slides that were there as far back as history itself. They may have been aggravated by the railroad, but they were there first, and, indeed, they are still there, some many years after the trains have been gone. They will be there thousands of years from now. Truth! The good news is that we have had much more soil added to the north coast hills than we have lost. The soil in Petrolia is four feet higher, and Kings Peak is 16 inches higher after the great earthquake in the early 90’s. We are NOT going to run out of dirt folks. Erosion on the North Coast is as natural as, well, erosion on the North Coast.

As I said earlier, this is no longer the early twentieth century. We no longer kill the Indigenous People, and we have made several improvements in technology also. We have technology to avoid land-slides. Viaducts, similar to the one in front Native Lady Rock in Sonoma County, and closer still, the Eagle point Viaduct south of Myers flat are used to get past slides. The Twintrees bridge, south of Benbow, has an active slide that goes under it moving into the river. We can leave the historic slides alone and go past or over them. We now have the technology.

So, now that we have come up with a plan to clean up the trash, leave the slides alone, and get rid of all the creosote rail ties, you are now probably thinking that it will never work because it will never make any money. Europe is probably a poor example to use right now, because there economy is in the pits, but most travel in Europe is by rail. Their rails don’t make money, they are built by the governments, similar to our highways. The only place that highways are owned by big business is in major cities like Los Angeles. We will need a Government subsidy. Maybe Obama will give us some economic recovery money. Think of how nice it would be to have some legitimate jobs and good wages in Humboldt County again, just one more reason to go down the Humboldt Eel river Canyon. If you still doubt the rail will bring us prosperity, just remember how prosperous Humboldt was when we had a rail.

I’ve heard much ballyhoo about Short Sea Shipping. If S.S.S. is so viable, why aren’t they doing it? There is already an ocean route and many, many ships. The short answer is handling, time and poor economics. There are already well established routes along the coast of California. The big need is a method to move freight inland without reloading it off Short Sea Ships. Plus docks are already too crowded. S.S.S. would only add to the dock congestion. We will never see a viable Short Sea Shipping without dock space in the southern harbors. If you think that it is possible, think it all the way through, and give me a plan. I don’t see it happening.

Humboldt Bay has been a historic shipping point up until very recently. The bay has not, nor will it ever be crowded by ships. The bay is a large place. Dock space will always be the limiting factor. There will be plenty of room for cruise ships and tourism. The further dredging of the harbor will be paid for by the increased shipping.

The economics of a passenger railroad will probably be prohibitive, but my fondest hope would be to have a passenger quality railway through the north coast. We have such wonderful trees and such a beautiful country. Wouldn’t be great to connect the world to Humboldt County? Can you imagine a slow speed rail tour through the redwoods? Say, about forty MPH. We don’t need a high speed passenger rail, we need a view. Glass top rail cars up the Eel canyon. Those of you that get fogged out of the Arcata Airport can catch a train up the canyon from San francisco.

Container ships are designed to offload onto rails. A ship could offload a container that could go pretty much through to Salt Lake City with no more handling. Small rock mining operations along the Eel canyon could be done with limited environmental impact. We have hard rock in the main Eel that makes premium concrete. A passenger rail would be the Crème de la crème. So give me a railroad, or birth control. As a good friend of mine once said: “Poverty is the number one pollution”. Humboldt deserves a railroad and the prosperity that it can provide.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

If you still love me...

I have had a particularly GOOD day today, I found the keys that I had lost, I found the ticket to a party that I had lost, and several other really good things happened. Some days are just like that, you can fall face-first into a cow-pie and come up smelling like a rose. Today was one of those days, so, I feel inspired to write a paragraph or two. Then, I got to thinking, it’s been so long since I wrote anything, maybe nobody wants to read anything anymore.

 In the Wild West, back when there weren’t too many rules of etiquette, there was a test to test how welcome you were in the bunk house or the saloon. You would throw your hat in through the doorway. The condition the hat came back out the doorway told you how welcome that you were inside. If they threw your hat back out clean it meant that you were welcome inside. If your hat came back out stomped on it meant that you were probably going to be frowned upon. If the hat came back out torn up it meant that you would be stepping into a fight inside. If your hat came back out with a bullet hole through it, it meant that you might be better-off to get back on your horse and keep riding.

I got to thinking about how information was passed back in history, back before text messages, back to when the pace was slower. Back when you weren’t given the gratification of instant information, like we have nowadays. Sometimes it would take a pony express rider a day, or even two, to deliver a letter. So, information moved slower back then. The old-timers would leave messages, like a stick leaning against a tree might mean “we’re not home right now, so don’t spend all day riding out to the ranch house”. Information was crude but functional. I got to thinking about the old song, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘round the Old Oak Tree”. I started wondering where that expression came from. I’m sure that you’ve heard the song, made famous mostly by Tony Orlando and Dawn;

 I'm comin' home, I've done my time
 Now I've got to know what is and isn't mine
 If you received my letter tellin' you I'd soon be free 
Then you'll know just what to do if you still want me
 If you still want me 

Tie a yellow ribbon 'round the old oak tree 
It's been three long years Do you still want me?
 If I don't see a ribbon round the old oak tree 
I'll stay on the bus Forget about us Put the blame on me 
If I don't see a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree 
 Bus driver, please look for me 'Cause I couldn't bear to see what I might see 
I'm really still in prison, and my love she holds the key
 A simple yellow ribbon's what I need to set me free
 I wrote and told her this: 

 Now the whole damn bus is cheering
 And I can't believe I see 
A hundred yellow ribbons 'round the old oak tree
 I'm comin' home I'm comin' home, I've done my time
Now I've got to know what is and isn't mine
If you received my letter tellin' you I'd soon be free 
Then you'll know just what to do if you still want me 

Tie a yellow ribbon 'round the old oak tree
 It's been three long years
 Do you still want me?
 If I don't see a ribbon round the old oak tree
 I'll stay on the bus Forget about us 
Put the blame on me
If I don't see a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree 
 Bus driver, please look for me 
'Cause I couldn't bear to see what I might see
 I'm really still in prison, and my love she holds the key
 A simple yellow ribbon's what I need to set me free
 I wrote and told her this: 

 Now the whole damn bus is cheering
 And I can't believe I see 
A hundred yellow ribbons 'round the old oak tree 
I'm comin' home 

So, I thought that I would tell you where the expression might have come from, who really knows, history has many tales, some even true.

The story of yellow ribbons goes back centuries. The Puritans wore yellow ribbon and yellow sashes onto the battlefield in the English Civil War. It is thought that the yellow ribbon tradition came to America with the Puritans. During the American Civil War women would wear yellow ribbons as a sign of faithfulness to their beloved that had gone off to fight in the war.

 There is another story that I remember reading a long time ago about a white ribbon of forgiveness. I looked it up. ( I told you that this was my lucky day ) As luck would have it, I found the complete story on Wikipedia, so I copied and pasted it here. (Get out your hankies, this will make even to toughest person moisten up)

. …"A friend of his happened to be sitting in a railroad coach next to a young man who was obviously depressed. Finally the young man revealed that he was a paroled convict returning from a distant prison. His imprisonment had brought shame to his family, and they had neither visited him nor written often. He hoped, however, that this was only because they were too poor to travel and too uneducated to write. He hoped, despite the evidence that they had forgiven him. To make it easy for them, however, he had written to them asking that they put up a signal for him when the train passed their little farm on the outskirts of town. If his family had forgiven him, they were to put up a white ribbon in the big apple tree which stood near the tracks. If they didn't want him to return, they were to do nothing, and he would remain on the train as it traveled onward. As the train neared his hometown, the suspense became so great that he couldn’t bear to look out of his window. He exclaimed, “In just five minutes the engineer will sound the whistle indicating our approach to the long bend which opens into the valley I know as home. Will you watch for the apple tree at the side of the track?” His companion said he would; they exchanged places. The minutes seemed like hours, but then there came the shrill sound of the train whistle. The young man asked, “Can you see the tree? Is there a white ribbon?” Came the reply, “I see the tree. I see not one white ribbon, but many. There is a white ribbon on every branch. Son, someone surely does love you.”

So, just for old time sake, I tied a yellow ribbon on the top of this blog. I surely do miss the good times that we have had on this blog.