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This article was originally published in December of 2012. It was rewritten and posted to Direct Dirt in August of 2014. Please update your links.

Happy July 3rd! Today is not a holiday, but tomorrow is Independence Day in the United States of America. The United States FlagIt is a day we celebrate our independence from British rule with cook outs, parades, great fanfare, and fireworks. July 4th, Independence Day, is the deepest, core, singularly American holiday we have (we share Thanksgiving with Canada). Regardless of religion, background, or political affiliation, Independence Day is a holiday that Americans all celebrate together.

At least until recently.

I am astonished to learn that certain municipalities in this great country have decided to celebrate the 4th of July, today, on the 3rd of July! What? Surely their calendars were misprinted!

No, as a matter of despicable disparagement toward our great nation, these municipalities have taken it upon themselves to move a nationally celebrated holiday to another date. Of course, they all have their own outrageous excuses to mutilate our national heritage, but I believe it is unpatriotic and inexcusable.

Is it too presumptuous and idealistic of me to expect states, counties, and municipalities to conform to our national heritage, our national holiday? Should we simply look the other way and hope this is not happening? Should we simply flock like sheep to these inappropriately scheduled events simply because village XTC or city NQS has chosen it to be so, with blatant disregard for our country? Will we just accept it when they begin to celebrate New Years Eve on December 30th and Memorial Day on the 1st Monday of May simply because they choose it?

Or should we be true Americans and stand up for what is right? Should we stand up for what our forefathers defiantly sacrificed their blood, families, and even their lives to give to us? I say NO to these mini-ocracies. I say we should protest by NOT celebrating false holidays with them. Instead celebrate with America, celebrate patriotically on the declared holiday with the rest of this great nation. Be one with your country instead of out of step.

If you celebrate our great nation today, please realize you are taking part in an asinine celebration of our county’s dependence on Great Britain and you are tarnishing the ideals and memories for which this great nation stands. Think about it.

To the rest of the intelligent and patriotic citizens of the United States of America, I wish you all a happy Independence Day, tomorrow, the 4th of July.

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This article was originally published in June of 2012. It was rewritten and posted to Direct Dirt in August of 2014. Please update your links.

After a significant hiatus I am returning to my blog. I have changed publishers and hope to bring a great deal of engaging writing to my audience through this conduit. Social media outlets play their part, but are not as verbose or enduring as a blog post. I frequently hear, “Oh, I must have missed that on Facebook,” about even the most significant, life changing updates posted with dozens of comments and “Likes.”

It is my plan in this revived blog to bring a short burst of product reviews. Fret not, this is not to be a product review blog. However, there are so many products on the market now days, which, quite frankly, are crap. This has made me uncomfortably cynical to the point that I am shocked when I receive a product which actually lives up to its billing. There is no use screaming about garbage products; poor quality is normal fare these days. But when something in worthy, or even exceptional, I feel it is worth sharing.

You may wonder where I have been the last few years. I took a page from the life stories of my elders and built a house*, by hand, myself. When I say “myself” I do not mean that I did not have help from family members and dedicated friends. May I add that when someone gives up their day off to come put themselves into a horrible place to work on nasty sewer pipes, that person is a really good friend. But I digress from the story. No, I mean by “myself” that I did not buy the house, I did not contract it, I did not even sub contract it. We did have someone else run the HVAC ducts and install the carpet, but that is all. My wife and I like to say, “if you see it, we did it.” The county inspectors used rarely heard words like, “hard core,” “exceptional,” and “fantastic,” when reviewing our work. We only got one single red tag on the project (a flag that something does not meet code), and that was on the HVAC ducts – done by the professional we hired. It is my steadfast belief that “professionals” just do not care as much as a home owner and are used to cutting corners so they can get to the next job (and the next paycheck). I on the other hand, will accept nothing less than up-to-code perfection on my work. This, coupled with my minuscule work force, sheds light on why the project took over three years to complete.

 To make an extremely long story short, last week we received our county certificate of occupancy and are now moving in to our new place. Since the massive project took over three years to complete find it hard to accept that the project is over. With a clear goal as my primary focus for years, it is a weird feeling trying to get back into what would be a normal schedule for other people. There are so many things I have put off and missed out on that I am now overwhelmed by the number of things I need to address. Still, I am filled with pride over our accomplishment, and I am really enjoying the benefits, the payoff, from all the hard work.

 Other major milestones which I do not mean to understate are the birth of our son, becoming extremely active in amateur radio, and becoming the president of a 501(c)3 corporation (I still work full time as an engineer too). It is all too much to go into in this return blog post, but it has been an exhausting and enriching few years. As I now start a new life phase, I hope you will enjoy frequenting this small beacon of light in an increasingly dark world.

 *Our “new house” is actually an addition on our old farm house. The overall square footage of the addition is 2000, while the original farm house was only 1000, for a total of 3000 square feet (total). The change was so significant to the house, we have long called this project our “new house” albeit somewhat misleading.

Today’s absolutely priceless blog is from Possum, a guest writer. Here he harkens back to a discussion we had earlier in the blog, in which was mentioned the Poppyism, “There’s no use in being a horse’s ass unless you can prove it.” Here he expertly examines the hidden gravity of the phrase:

While mowing the lawn last night, I had a chance to dwell on something that Kyle had shared with me. There is something about the sound of a Briggs & Stratton that brought on a new level of enlightenment. Let me share with you my newly found knowledge of this profound Poppy-ism: “There’s no use in being a horse’s ass if you can’t prove it.”

The beauty of this phrase is that one can easily call someone a horse’s ass and get away with it. The conundrum of being something and not being able to prove is so confusing that the horse’s ass never quite catches on. It has also occurred to me that this phrase is so flexible, it can be used in nearly any situation. I’ll borrow the triadic thought process from the philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel to describe how fully universal this phrase is.

Thesis Mode – Here we use the phrase to state the obvious as the facts present themselves.
Example: Ken does something really stupid. Then I say, “There’s no use in being a horse’s ass if you can’t prove it.”
Here sarcasm is used to express that Ken indeed has proved to be a horse’s ass by his actions.

Antithesis Mode – Here we use the phrase to negate the obvious as the facts present themselves.
Example: Kyle comes up with a creative solution to a problem. Then I say, “There’s no use in being a horse’s ass if you can’t prove it.”
Here sarcasm is used to express that Kyle is a horse’s ass because he has taken an action that seems to have disproved this fact.

Synthesis Mode – Here we use the phrase to point out a null case where no facts are present.
Example: I ask Lee, “What do you think about that?” Lee replies, “Hmmm”. Then I say, “There’s no use in being a horse’s ass if you can’t prove it.”
Here sarcasm is used to express that Lee, while taking an action, has done nothing to prove or disprove that he is a horse’s ass; but he is indeed a horse’s ass for riding the fence.

Wow, what a lot of fun and work we had tonight! Karen started the first outside-the-barn leading lesson with Shoshone this evening. She was doing the well known rump-rope method, which resulted in a kicking, running, hissy fit (the horse was pissed too).

Once Shoshone’s fit was over, I took over and worked with her, direct halter. I know that’s not what you are supposed to do, but the lesson had to go on. If she disliked the rump rope that much, we would just have do it another way, because the lesson was going to happen one way or another. With the direct halter, once she realized she cannot shake me, we began to work together remarkably well. Okay, well, that’s quite laughable. I’m just psyching her out. She could toss my scrawny butt across the pasture if she only knew it.

It turns out she actually stands still very well for me, which was surprising to us. Through (a LOT of ) patience and perseverance, I motivated her to actually walk all the way around the barn with me, without having to give an inch at all, which we felt was excellent for her first real lesson. I know the direct halter is not the way you are supposed to do it, but my thinking is that the lessons need to be flexible. Find what works and use it.

I had really hoped that Karen would be the one giving the lessons. She is an infinitely more experienced horseman than I. But she told me she just isn’t strong enough and she thinks I’m more insightful. I suppose that as with all things, it will work best if we do it together.

Possum and I discuss Poppy’s dimensia:

Me: Did you talk to your folks last night?
Buford Possum: no
Me: They had a really weird visit with Poppy – possibly more bizarre than mine Saturday
Buford Possum: I’ll find them at some point
Me: Briefly (3rd hand), he thought Clara was my Great Grandmother, but remembered Henry. He asked Henry if he had brought the sticks that Poppy was going to use to make the barbcue with (in the hospital). The staff had him tied to a chair (restraints) and he wanted Henry to untie him. Henry had the good sense to look behind the chair and tell him there was a padlock on it and that he didn’t know the combination. Anyway, there was more, but you get the point
Me: When I went on Saturday, Poppy was completely naked and was ready to leave with me so we could go on a trip. He forgot he had a catheter.
Me: “But your mom was supposed to set it all up and send clothes for me. I was so looking forward to a good ride. It’ll be summer before you know it, then maybe we can go to the Smokies.” “Poppy, it is summer, it’s July.” “IT IS?!? I thought it was January. DAMN! Well I’ve been in the hospital ever since I moved up here and I’m looking forward to getting out and seeing GA and learning my way around.” I didn’t bother to mention he has lived here for years. Oh, and on the trip thing, I said the doctor wasn’t ready to let him go and he had the urine bag. “Well I’ll just carry this [bag] and we’ll slip on out of here, we don’t have to tell the doctor.” Now there’s some imagry for you. Me in my work uniform and a 100% naked 84 year old man walking to my car in the parking lot carrying his urine bag and making sure we don’t accidentally step on his cathoder hose…
Buford Possum: That sounds like a scene from a movie
Me: A retarded boy and his dillusional grandfather go on a trip. we could sell that. What would we call it?
Me: The ads could say, “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll hurl…”
Buford Possum: It would have to be a Poppy-ism.
Buford Possum: And that would be the first and last line spoken in the movie
Me: “There’s no use in being a horse’s ass if you can’t prove it.” That’s one of my favorites
Buford Possum: The more I read that, the more I like it
Buford Possum: Thats better than anything Forrest Gump said
Me: Well Karen and Mom went to visit him this afternoon. He asked them to help him get out of the television. Aparently, he is no longer allowed to drive the tractor. He insisted his eyes were open even though they were not.
Me: The doctor asked him the year, he said, 2005 – Great! What month is it? “Monday.” Who is president? “We don’t have one anymore. No, that’s wrong, I’m sorry, it’s FDR.” 😦

Possum and I were recently talking about automotive innovations…

Me: was just outside checking out the HUD on my aunt’s ’04 convertible corvette. I thought it was interesting on it that the ignition switch is in the dash like on my pickup truck
Buford Possum: does it have a ‘start’ button? and what started that trend?
Me: no it doesn’t have a start button, you turn the freakin key
Me: s2000 (honda) is the one with the stupid start button, windows inspired
Buford Possum: one of the germans do that too
Buford Possum: some newer dodge trucks have that
Me: “lame”
Buford Possum: oh I agree
Buford Possum: anything in that ‘pimp my ride’ arena is lame
Me: 48 Chevy panel truck had a start button, but the engineers figured out they could make it more convenient for the user by making the thing they have to turn anyway do it. some marketing guy gets an idea, “Hey let’s have a start button” and 50 years of innovation goes right out the door
Me: “Hey let’s put a hand crank on it.” Then all the other manufacturers add a hand crank on the engine…
Me: Now the Model A has a start button, but it is on the floor and you push it with your foot. I guess Honda will add that next…
Buford Possum: Yeah you’ve showed me that start button.
Buford Possum: I think the head light switch should go back down there
Me: I agree with that 100%
Buford Possum: turn signal too. Maybe people on cell phones will actually use them if its down there.
Me: I was screaming the 9C1 through some switchback curves the other night and wanted to turn on the high beams. It sucked having to take a hand off the wheel to pull back to brights. I thought, “man, that sure is inconvenient.”
Buford Possum: thats sounds like an old NASCAR moonshine story
Me: There is a floor switch in the 9C1, but I can’t figure out what it does.
Me: normal Caprices don’t have it
Buford Possum: somewhere in some municipal police department, there is a small light on a map that goes off and on periodically and no one there knows why.
Me: I wonder when Honda is going to invent the rumble seat…

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