Sunday, February 28, 2010

Weekend's Over!

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

Pax41 has posted "Any Ice Today, Lady?" one of the many amusing songs to come out of the 1920's. I never thought about it before, but evidently, delivering ice was once a common summer job for college students.

"I Am The Eagle,

There's Blood On My Feathers."

I Think I'll Have A Little Skunk Tartare.
Thanks, Deb. You are now an official True Blue Contributor!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mr. Completely's 2010 e-Postals Have Begun!

Click over to Mr. Completely to read the rules and download your target for "Seeing Stars," the first match of the year. Mr. C has created a contest that will be decided not just by shooting skill, but also judicial application of tactics to maximize your score. It will be lots of fun, and good shooting practice.

Weekend Steam

afd218 posted this threshing scene on his YouTube channel. It appears to be on an Amish farm, based on the clothing of many of those present, and the horses hitched to the bundle wagon. It was shot near Arthur, Illinois.

Last night I found a video of a cute little steam launch running on a stream in New York State, put together a post, and set it to come up right after midnight. I checked it this morning and...nothing! This seems to happen regularly when I set up a post for the next day, so that is why I usually publish the post and then change the time to the next day. Oh well.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Crankin' It Up

"Carry Me Back To Old Virginny" was one of the first records I posted on YouTube, and I never was happy with the way it came through. We had a low quality microphone then, and I used Audacity to take out some of the needle hiss, so the record sounded thin and tinny. It still got lots of hits, though, and lots of comments. It seems that people either love this song or they hate it; really hate it.

James Bland, the author of this song was a well educated, free, black man born in 1854, who made entertainment his life. He wrote "Carry Me Back To Old Virginny" in 1874, and it was an immediate hit. He soon went to work in minstrel shows, and he performed in England and Europe for about twenty years. During his career he wrote hundreds of songs, and he was a pioneer in breaking down barriers into the publishing and entertainment world. He died in poverty from tuberculosis in 1911. By that time, minstrel shows had nearly disappeared.

Alma Gluck was one of the most remarkable singers of the Twentieth Century, and you should look up some of the biographies about her on the internet. I am always saddened to think of her brief career, which ended in the 1920's when she lost her performing voice. The last recordings by her were not released, and all of her records were made during the pre-electric, acoustic era. She died from liver problems at age 54 in 1938.

This recording was made with our good microphone, and no noise removal was done, so you hear this song as the old Brunswick plays it. Just like old times.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Inch by Inch

There are some big goings-on in Washington, Iowa right now. A three story brick building has been picked up eight feet; wheels and drive units are under it now, and it is being moved several blocks, where it will be installed on a new foundation. At first I was incredulous, now I am flabbergastedly impressed. The YouTube video below was lifted from KCII Radio's website.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Nice Ride!

We saw this beautiful Model A Ford last fall when we gassed up at a Moto-Mart over in southern Indiana on our return trip from Boonville. I was a bit surprised that the owner didn't put a drop cloth around the filler. It sounded as good as it looked when he cackled out of there.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'll See Your Paper Target, And Raise You An Explosion!

Derek has been shooting again, and he makes paper targets look a bit ho-hum. This was videoed at last year's Boomershoot; click over to Joe Huffman's blog, and go to the Boomershoot Category.

Gilson Hit-And-Miss Engine At Boonville

Here is a nice hit and miss engine running at Boonville, Indiana last fall. I am just about out of raw video from last year's shows, so I may have to resort to creative writing, or using other peoples' videos. Anyway, this video shows the hit-and-miss governor parts working, so it is interesting to watch.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Early Bird Gets The Ice Worm?

A couple weeks ago I spotted these robins searching for victuals in the frozen landscape of Southern Illinois, and last week robins arrived in Iowa, which is under a blanket of snow. I was reminded of The Ballad Of The Ice Worm Cocktail, by Robert Service.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Don't Miss This Match!

Merle, the most enthusiastic competitor in Mr. Completely's e-Postal contest is hosting a winter pistol match that goes through February 28. Mrs. TBS and I went out behind the barn and each shot the four required targets, and we were both pleased with the performance of her new glasses. Go to this link to print out the rules and the targets, make a trip to your nearest shooting range, scan and send in your entry. Mr. Completely will be posting his first contest of 2010 in March, and Merle's contest is a great warmup for you. Thanks, Merle!

Here It Comes Again!

Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

BSGS98 has posted a great jazz piece by the Original Memphis Five. Jazz Me Blues was recorded in 1931, but it has the flavor of 1920's jazz, and you will recognize some of the players in the slide show.

Notes from BSGS98:


Phil Napoleon - trumpet

Jimmy Dorsey - clarinet

Tommy Dorsey - trombone

Frank Signorelli - piano

Ted Napoleon - drums

The Original Memphis Five under the leadership of Phil Napoleon made their first recordings in 1922. The band also included Miff Mole, Jimmy Lytell, Frank Signorelli and Jack Roth. The personnel changed frequently over the years and at various times included Loring McMurry, Manny Klein, Charlie Panelli, Ray Kitchingman (was the sixth for a while on banjo), John Cali, James Griffith, Red Nichols, Dick Johnson, Ray Bauduc, Louis Katzman, Elmer Schobel, Joe Tarto, George Bohn, Hoagy Carmichael, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey and Ted Napoleon (Phil's brother). Jazz Me Blues (1931) was part of the last recording session for the Original Memphis Five.

Derek Shows Us The Way

Derek, The Packing Rat is one of the Gun Bloggers that I click to regularly. In addition to being an enthusiastic shooter, blogger, and photographer, Derek regularly takes new shooters to the range and introduces them to the shooting sports. Here is his Second New Shooter of 2010 Report; a mother and son who were visiting from Hawaii. Check out the big smile on that kid's face; I think Derek has made a lifetime shooter. Good Work, Derek!

While you are on Derek's blog, be sure to click back through the previous posts to see his photos of the Shot Show in Las Vegas, and of the Gun Blogger Rendezvous in Reno last September.

Friday, February 19, 2010

65 Years Ago Today

My Father-In Law was hard at work.
Thanks, OT. A lot of people are glad you made it through.

Crankin' It Up

Ethel Waters performs "Guess Who's In Town" on the flip side of last week's Crank Up. This song was also recorded on August 21, 1928.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

65th Anniversary Ceremony Tomorrow at the National Museum of the Marine Corps

A special ceremony commemorating the 65th Anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima will be held at the National Museum of the Marine Corps at 11a.m. on Feb. 19, 2010. More than 500 Iwo Jima veterans and their family members from across the nation will attend the ceremony, honoring those who fought in one of the most famous World War II battles. Co-hosted by the Iwo Jima Association of America and the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, the event will include remarks from Gen. James T. Conway, Marine Corps Commandant, and Medal of Honor recipient Barney Barnum as well as performances by the U.S. Marine Band. (BusinessWire)

Read the entire press release HERE.

Hercules Engine Lineup

Last year marked 100 years since the beginning of the Hecules engine line at Evansville, Indiana, so the Southern Indiana Antique Machinery Club had lots of Hercules engines popping along at their June show. One collector had his collection all fired up at once, so I had to take some video. Note that the dark green one in the last segment is throttle governed. You can see the rocker moving regularly instead of being held by the governor.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ruger Single Action Disassembly and Reassembly

I recently discovered that Ruger Firearms has a YouTube channel, and they are posting some very instructive and helpful videos for fans of the Ruger line of firearms. Here are a couple that I enjoyed watching, and I am really impressed that Ruger is so willing to show their customers how to work on these fine products. Ruger single actions normally do not need to be disassembled by owners, but once in a while a part may break, or the action may be fouled with dirt, necessitating a teardown for thorough cleaning, so you should watch both of these videos a few times and memorize how your single action revolver fits together. Thank You, Ruger!

Monday, February 15, 2010

"Time To Wake Up Now"*

This video reminded me of an essay written by MacKinlay Kantor in which he tells about one of the bombing missions he was on over Germany, and of the aftermath of a V-2 strike on London.
"That’s what happened if you were within a certain radius of the spot where a V-2 came down. You died quickly and explosively, but it was only air which killed you: blast air. If a building fell on you, you would be squashed flat, but this blast air came just as hard as a building falling on you. It crushed your chest and still it didn’t leave a mark. ...
...So you stood beside her and you said, “Wake up, dear. Please wake up.” You said it very softly so as not to awaken her too abruptly; but she didn’t stir; and you had to keep whispering it and whispering it with your lips and in your mind."

Here is MacKinlay Kantor's entire essay: 


Time To Wake Up Now---1945


That chilly March afternoon we got back from Germany around four o’clock, and promptly I went to my barracks and packed up for Paris.  I was leaving the 344th Group of medium bombers, based at that time in a windy valley stretching from Cormeilles to Genicourt.


The 344th- especially the 495th Squadron, with which I had been flying-boasted a swell bunch of boys, and I was sorry to leave them.  (Editorial Note by Author, 1967—Funny.  Every squadron I ever flew with, in two wars, seemed like “A swell bunch of boys.”  Shows I’m queer for squadrons.)


But more than that I found myself worrying about a gang of Germans I had never even seen or talked with.


Maybe they were good Germans; I didn’t know.  I was convinced that a lot of them must now be good Germans in the traditional sense of the word (borrowed from our pioneer past:  i.e., the only good Indian is a dead Indian).  The trouble was, I couldn’t decide just how good those Germans at Olpe were, in the more ordinary sense of the word, before our B-26s came flashing overhead that afternoon.


We hadn’t intended to go to Olpe.  We had been briefed for a target called Bad Oyenhausen, away up northeast of Hamm.  The boys made a lot of cracks about this, naturally:  they said they’d rather go to Good Oyenhausen, if such a place there were.  Bad Germans, good Germans, Bad Oyenhausen, Good Oyenhausen…it was all rather mixed up in my mind.


As we twisted along the narrow road toward Paris in Colonel Witty’s car, I considered the facts of the matter.  Some friends named Durato and Fender and Brady were riding with me, and we had a bottle of rather green cognac.  Fender had finished his missions that day, so of course he was planning a celebration; indeed was already embarked upon it.  I could talk with the others, and take an occasional swig with them.


I wished that I could get over being concerned about those Germans at Olpe. 


I had flown with a very sharp pilot named Ehart, and I remembered how we all cussed when the order for diversion came crackling in over the radio.  We were across the bomb line by that time, or almost.  I know that we were across the Rhine, and in those faraway days of March our bomb line still lay close to the Rhine.  A bomb line is an imaginary barrier set up for the protection of ground forces; it is changed from hour to hour.  You cannot drop your bombs on the nearer side of the bomb line: only on the farther side, for fear of killing your own troops on the ground.  Sometimes mistakes are made.  That’s the way General Lesley McNair got killed.


Anyway we were diverted, and at first we thought we were going to have to turn around and go home, but more information followed.  We were told to attack Olpe instead of Bad Oyenhausen.


That was fine.  Olpe was close at hand, and Bad Oyenhausen was a long way off, and we had been warned about a lot of Luftwaffe in those northeastern areas.  So we would proceed at once to Olpe and get rid of our bombs on top of the road junction there; and we would receive credit for a mission after all. And we would be home before we had expected.  As the RAF would say, “Good show, good show!”


Well, we reached Olpe in short order; our window-ship was right ahead.  When I saw his bomb doors pull down, I went back and opened the door into our bomb bay.  I had always enjoyed watching bombs fall on our enemies.  In the 17s I never got to see much of that sort of thing, because there I flew as right-cheek gunner in the nose.  Our bomb doors were wide open when I looked, and patches of cloud scudded past a couple of thousand feet beneath.  Even as I looked, the bombardier pressed his switch up forward, and the big brown plummets sank rapidly and purposefully toward the overcast.  Then miraculously clouds opened  to admit them.  And I saw Olpe—a little place with a lot of peaked gable roofs, pinkish tile roofs, such as they have in most of those towns in western Germany.  I thought again, “Good Show,” and closed the door, and went up front to watch the flak which was already beginning to appear in startled black and silver buffets ahead of us and below us and to the left. 


Also I started to worry about those Germans on the ground. 


I imagined many old ladies, and they were simple dumb honest souls.  They had the kind of wrinkled Teutonic faces which you see on old farm wives in Pennsylvania counties…their teeth gone, the flesh on their lips all squeezed like brown flower petals around their thin mouths; and their little blue eyes were bright, as I thought of them.  They wore lace caps, or maybe shawls over their heads, and they liked to keep coffeepots warm and ready on the backs of their stoves.  They had flowers growing in spring gardens and maybe there were kids who called them Grossmutter.


Then I started worrying about the kids.  I saw them with yellow hair and engaging little faces, and I imagined them playing with cats or maybe picking up bright pebbles in the road to play with on their mother’s doorsteps.  I put myself down in Olpe.  I stood around while the bombs went wham and the bricks flew this way and that way, and the concussion blasted my ears.  I thought I heard people crying. 


This wasn’t like bombing those flak gun positions south of Limburg, which we had attacked the previous Sunday when I was flying with Tal Pearson.  Then we were after our old flak enemies—those bastards who threw the black-and-silver at us, and had at one time or another torn to bits certain airplanes that we loved and certain people who rode in them—people whom we loved also.  No; and it wasn’t like attacking a Jerry fighter field or a locomotive works which had been reconditioned to make Messerschmitts.  This was attacking a town with harmless civilians in it.  Our bombs had undoubtedly closed (for the moment) a very important transportation bottleneck.  But a lot noncombatants must have been killed. 


These thoughts lingered unpleasantly with me all afternoon.  They didn’t vanish even after we reached the cool tired misshapen boundaries of Paris and felt a thin spring sunset on our faces.


I went to my hotel lugubriously.  When I found that I couldn’t have a room to myself I was more lugubrious than ever.


The concierge shook his head, and got out a register with a long list of names on a certain page.  “All the singles are taken.  You’ll have to move in with someone who’s already registered in a double room.  Do you know any of these people, Monsieur?”


Halfway down the list I saw the name of Grammer, S.


“Is that Stan Grammer from Press Wireless?”


“Mais oui.”


“O.K.  I’ll move in with him.  I’ve known him for years.”


And so I had, and so had most of the other correspondents in the ETO.  Stan Grammer is a dapper Englishman, middle-aged, and he manipulates Press Wireless with a skillful hand.  I used to know him in London earlier in the war, when he wore civilian clothes, when we used to play poker down at the Savoy night after night while the sirens screeched outside and the windows shook in their casings.


Now Stan was wearing an American correspondent’s uniform, people had told me, with his Raf wings from the last war neatly stitched on the right breast of his blouse; and I supposed that he must be having a very good time in this war, because I was sure that he rather liked war.


The concierge said, as the porter gathered up in my bags, “You are fortunate.  You will have the room to yourself, after all.  Monsieur Grammer is with the Army at the Front—has been, for weeks.”


About ten o’clock I finished with dinner and with what reading I had to do; I crawled into one of the two beds in our room, and smoked for a while.  I contemplated the miscellaneous chunks of luggage piled on top of the wardrobes, and I guessed rightly that Stan Grammer’s room was a repository for stray bits of personal belongings left there by other correspondents who had drifted off in one direction or another.  I say, I tried to count the pieces of luggage and speculate as to their contents; but I couldn’t get those old Grossmuttern and minor yellow-haired Maedchen out of my head.


Finally I turned off the light and went to sleep, but that gang of Germans came all the way from Olpe and climbed into bed and crowded me.  They were dead and bloody, and still crying as if their hearts would break.


Then I was awake, and it was twelve o’clock.  Someone was pounding on the door which I had bolted before I went to bed.  I got up and tramped groggily to the door and I looked out into the hall.  There stood Stan Grammer and a porter with Stan’s luggage, and we blinked at one another for a few seconds and then I welcomed him into his own room.  The porter went away, and still Stan and I were saying that it was good to see each other again.  I got out what was left of my cognac and we had a couple of drinks. 


“How are things up at the Front?” I asked him, but even then I was wondering why he had that big wad of cotton sticking out of his right ear. 


“Front, hell,” said Stan.  “Who said I’d been at the Front?”


“The concierge.”


“Nonsense. I’ve been home; on leave, in Britain.”


I told him, “I’m going over tomorrow or next day, to go back to the 305th.”


He made a wry face.  “See that you go quickly to Chelveston, old boy.  Don’t linger in London.  It’s not nice.”


“What do you mean?  V-2s?”


“They’ve been damn bad all week.  Look at this.”  Stan touched the cotton protruding from his ear.


“What’s the matter with your ear?  Don’t tell me you got hit?”


He walked around the room, swishing the brown cognac in his glass.  It was chilly; I got back into bed and watched him. 


“No,” he said.  “I didn’t get hit.  It was concussion.  It cracked my eardrum.  It’s painful, and a damn nuisance, too.  I have to keep putting medication in my ear.”


He said, “Larry Rue and I were just coming out of the Savoy when the thing hit.  It was up in High Holborn.  It was just about noon.”


I watched him twisting a tuft of cotton into a sharp point between his thumb and first finger. 


“You know how the Savoy is:  There’s that little court where you come in off the Strand?  We were in that court, and I guess that made the difference.  The concussion gave us a bloody hard wallop.  I didn’t realize anything had happened to my ear at the time; but later it got to making noises and paining me, so I went to a doctor.”


He drank the last of his cognac, put down the glass, and began to take off his clothes.  “God,” he said, “I’m tired! Frightfully tired.  I had a frightful time getting back to Paris, frightful trouble with transportation.  All the damn fools there are in world…I’m sick of this bloody war.  Aren’t you?”


He put on his pajamas and got out the medicine with which to dose his ear, and went into the bathroom.  I picked up a cold cigar butt on the ashtray beside my bed, lighted it, and lay there with my hands behind my head, until Stan came back and began to turn down the other bed,  He said, “We counted one hundred and ninety-six bodies.”


“In High Holborn?”


“Yes,” he said, crawling into bed.  “It was about noon, and all those old clerks and little office girls were just going out for their bite of lunch.  The street was full of them, when the thing came down.”


…It was the girl in the light blue dress that bothered him more than the others, I think.  He kept talking about her after we switched out the lights, and lay there marked only by the orange stare of our respective cigar and cigarette.


It was the little girl in the blue dress, and she had a kind of pink bow on the dress—rather like a necktie—and her hair was brown.


Stan said that they hurried to High Holborn after they had gulped back their breath; and they stood around and watched—watched the ARPs and the ambulances—watched  London taking charge of its dead and its living in that kind of fumblingly, bumblingly efficient manner which London employed in such matters all through the war.  Stan said that many of the bodies didn’t have a mark on them.  No blood, no wounds, no nothing.


That’s what happened if you were within a certain radius of the spot where a V-2 came down.  You died quickly and explosively, but it was only air which killed you: blast air.  If a building fell on you, you would be squashed flat, but this blast air came just as hard as a building falling on you.  It crushed your chest and still it didn’t leave a mark. 


So all the prissy, middle-aged clerks, shabby grey bookkeepers in their shiny office coats, they were laid out in rows on the sidewalk, and so were the women laid out.  The fat old dame with straggly hair, who’d just stepped out of the milk bar around the corner; and the trim young upper-class mother in her rough tweed suit, and the two little kids who had been tripping along the street with her, and had tripped into Infinity fresh-faced and capable by their mother's side.  And all the little Waafs and Ats who had errands in the neighborhood, they were laid out, too—the Ats with the ugly yellow-ribbed stockings which would never worry them again, the blue and khaki uniforms in slow-settling plaster and brick dust.


The two-day-old carnation in the worn lapel; the shabby well-mended shopping bag; the Malacca walking stick; the crumpled pink handkerchief that it cost a coupon to buy.  They were all there on that sidewalk in High Holborn, said Stan Grammer; and distant bells pealed the cry of noon, and dust drifted its powder on everyone who came into the area. 


And there lay the girl in blue dress, the one whom Stan admired, the one he talked about so much.  I guess that maybe he fell in love with her after she was killed…he’d never known her before.


She had brown hair and lashes, and her eyes were properly closed: they weren’t open and staring.  They weren’t the peeled-grape kind of eyes which dead people have so often.  They were just pretty sleepy-time eyes with soft heavy lids and lovely long lashes; and the girl in the blue dress was sound asleep.


…He said that she might have lain that way on a couch.  You could imagine that you loved her, because she was so very young and had such a candy-flower smell about her, and her legs were very pretty too; the knees were especially nice.  You could see her knees because the dress was pulled up rather high as she lay there amid a powder of window-glass.


You could imagine that she was on a couch, and perhaps you and she had been making love; and then you had both gone to sleep, and then you awakened and looked over and saw her.  She was still asleep—brown hair and white little ears and slim throat and everything.


So you stood beside her and you said, “Wake up, dear.  Please wake up.”  You said it very softly so as not to awaken her too abruptly; but she didn’t stir; and you had to keep whispering it and whispering it with your lips and in your mind.


“She was very beautiful,” Stan said, there in the dark; and then he turned over and rubbed out his cigarette in the ashtray. “Just as if she were asleep.  You couldn’t believe that she was dead. God,” he said, “I do hate the Germans, don’t you?”


“Yes,” I said. 


“Just as if she were asleep.” Said Stan, turning over in his bed and flouncing around until he made himself comfortable.  “You wanted to keep asking her to wake up.  You wanted to say, ‘Wake up, dear. You’ve been asleep a long time.  It’s time to wake up now.’ ”


The smoke arose from his cigarette ash a few minutes longer; I could smell it; I had put out my cigar sometime before.  Finally I heard Stan snoring, and then I turned over and went to sleep.


From: The Day I Met A Lion; MacKinlay Kantor, Doubleday, 1968



Sunday, February 14, 2010

Overheard Somewhere In Iowa:

"I'm getting tireder of this every day!" Well, Back To The Old Grind!

Not My Victrola

"Crazy Words, Crazy Tune" is one of the fun songs that came out of the 1920's, and it is meant to danced to, and sung whenever and wherever you feel the need to burst out into song. This version was posted by EdmundusRex on his YouTube Channel. The singer is Frank Crumit, one of my favorite Vaudevillians. Below is the bio material posted by EdmundusRex along with his video:

Frank Crumit (Sept.26,1889 - Sept.7,1943) was a popular American singer and songwriter. Crumit was born in Jackson, Ohio, the son of Frank and Mary Poore Crumit, and he died of a heart attack in New York City at the age of 53.After briefly attending an Indiana military academy, he entered Ohio University and later Ohio State. He graduated with a degree in electrical engineering.

By 1913, he performed on the vaudeville stage, first with a trio and then a year later on his own, playing ukulele and singing his favorite songs; he was referred to as "the one-man glee club" in New York City's night spots. He moved up to Broadway in 1918 to appear in the musical Betty Be Good. He was a big success there and went on to Greenwich Village Follies of 1920, which featured his hit song, "Sweet Lady."Crumit began making records for American Columbia in 1919, using the acoustic, or "horn," method of recording (he also occasionally added vocals and banjo to recordings by the Paul Biese Trio on the same label). Unfortunately, the broad and pleasant overtones of his voice were not suited to this technology.

This changed after 1925, with the industry's introduction of the microphone. By this time, Crumit was singing at Victor Talking Machine. The new recording method was able to capture the rich tenor sound of his voice and Crumit produced a series of the traditional ballads he loved, as well as a number of his own compositions, which he wrote in the style of his old-time favorites.He met Julia Sanderson in 1921 and began working with her on stage and radio. Crumit was known for his humorous material, particularly his puns. The pair married in 1927 and moved to Longmeadow, Massachusetts. They intended to leave show business, but by 1928 they were performing together on radio as the "Singing Sweethearts of the Air." From Massachusetts, Crumit and Sanderson drove to New York City, a four-hour trip, twice a week to do their radio show. Their nationally-produced radio broadcast was aired over WLW in Cincinnati.In 1930, they continued with a popular quiz show, The Battle of the Sexes, which ran 13 years, until Crumit's death in 1943.

During his last years, Crumit still made records, but they were often different in style from his earlier ballads.Frank Crumit - Crazy Words Crazy Tune (1927)

"New" Dog

A neighbor passed away a few weeks back, and his little twelve year old Terrier was in urgent need of a family to adopt. Mrs. TBS and I are suckers for homeless animals, so we moved Toopee right into our utility room. He is a friendly, well behaved little dog, but we are keeping him on a leash when he goes outside, at least until he believes this is his home. He gets along fine with our cats, and Bart, (above) sleeps with him. When we first caught Bart a few years back, he could have had a dog like Toopee for breakfast.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Mr. Completely's e-Postal Match News, 2010!

Mr. Completely has big news about his 2010 e-Postal Contest that you must click over to and read. Briefly, e-Postal shooters now may win more than bragging rights because Cheaper Than Dirt! is sponsoring a prize each month to stimulate shooters to enter. No fancy equipment or special skills are needed to enter Mr. C's contest, just basic safe gun handling skills, and a desire to improve your shooting ability. Each month a different blogger will be hosting the contest, so the targets and the rules present a new challenge for you and the other competitors.

The first contest of 2010 will begin on March 1, so click over to Mr. C and read all about it. Cheaper Than Dirt is one of the generous sponsors of the annual Gun Blogger Rendezvous, and they have an excellent blog for firearm enthusiasts, in addition to their great online store.

Just in case you are not familiar with the e-Postal contest, scroll down the left sidebar to see the links for the 2009 contest targets, rules, and results.

Weekend Steam: Triple Expansion

Two weeks ago we looked at the different cylinder configurations you might see on steam traction engines which were built for use on the farm. Triple expansion engines were common on ships, and in industrial applications, and were much more efficient than the engines used in agriculture. These videos give you a pretty good look at the machinery in and around the ultimate in reciprocating steam engines.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Acetylene Danger

A fire fighting friend sent these photos to me in an e-mail, and I YouTubed them for all of the True Blue Fan Club to see. This was a plumber's van in a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. There was a leak;I suspect that the valves on the tanks were not shut off after their last use, and the leak probably was in the hose. Early in the morning the plumber hit the button on his remote to unlock his van, and that set off the accumulated acetylene in the van. The internet news reports state that no one was hurt, but I bet some ears are still ringing. If you use compressed gas, (acetylene, propane, etc.), please remember to shut off the main valve every time you stop work. Bleed the hoses down if there is any chance of leaking gas to accumulate in a closed space.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Secret Weapon

Not too long ago we posted some photos of a nice, late 1950's Studebaker station wagon, with overdrive. I saw on Statcounter that someone came to that post by doing a search for information about rebuilding an overdrive unit in a Studebaker. I wish they would have e-mailed me, because I happen to have the information they need; a 1959 repair manual that covers many brands of automobiles. This book was a great educational tool for me during my high school years, and it gave me the confidence to jump into mechanical adventures that most shade tree mechanics would send to the "Professionals."
I pulled the old book off the shelf and reminisced about my 1958 Silver Hawk. The photos and instructions in the Motor Auto Repair Manual especially helped in the disassembly phase of unfamiliar auto parts. Laying out the parts carefully on clean newspapers kept things orderly, and I was able to rebuild my transmission and overdrive unit without too much trouble.
The freewheeling rollers, and some of the bearings in the transmission had me stumped when I was reassembling all of the parts. How do you hold long roller bearings in a bore, fit in the last roller, and then slide in the shaft without things getting crossed up? The Motor Manual does not tell you how to do this. I called a mechanic who lived a couple blocks from us with my dilemma, and he let me in on a little mechanic secret: Butch Wax.
Butch Wax will hold parts in place when grease will fail. It is great for replacing the needle bearings in U-Joints when they have fallen out, and for many other applications when you need a part to stay put during reassembly. Mrs. TBS found the photo above for me, and this is the package I remember. I probably have an old container just like this buried in one of my toolboxes.
A search on the internet turned up this image of the current package for Lucky Tiger Butch Wax, only they don't call it Butch Wax nowadays. If you ever plan on working on a manual transmission, U-Joints, or other tricky reassembly projects, you need this in your toolbox. Buy it before you need it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hart-Parr Catalog: The Final Installment

This post has the final pages from the Hart-Parr catalog that I was priveleged to copy last fall. These pictures have not been reduced, so click on each one to enlarge, then right click and save to your hard drive for future reference and enjoyment.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Barberchairs Revisited

Barber chairs have a bad reputation for killing people. People who are going to be falling trees need to understand what causes a barber chair, and how to avoid creating them. A barber chair occurs when the tree goes into motion and the hinge wood cannot bend to let the tree fall over. This can occur with a forward leaning tree when the faller makes the front cuts correctly, but then saws from the back, which allows the tree to begin tipping before the hinge wood has been cut to the right thickness. This situation can be prevented by using the Bore Cut to sever the tree from the stump, except for the hinge, and a backstrap which holds the tree motionless until you cut it, releasing the tree to fall.

A front cut that closes too quickly allows the tree to gain momentum, then shuts it down; and this will also cause a barber chair. The old methods of cutting trees opened the front up to a 45 degree angle, and that is enough to prevent a barber chair if the tree stands still until the hinge is completed. The two cuts that make the front opening should meet up as closely as possible. If one cut bypasses the other, the narrow gap will close when the tree begins to tip, creating a similar situation to the stump pictured above. The closing of the gap in a bypass is very likely to cause a barber chair, so clean up your cuts before you turn a tree loose.

This video from YouTube clearly illustrates the making of a barber chair, and the results. Luckily, no-one was hurt. The cutter has made an open face in the direction he wants the tree to fall, but he has not accounted for the back lean of the tree. As the video begins he is cutting straight in from the back, and you can hear the saw bog down as the back lean causes the tree to sit on his saw. He must have heard fibers popping, because he ran, so he did do one thing right. This is a classic "Too-Thick-Hinge" barber chair, and the altitude the trunk gains is very impressive right before it drops next to the stump. There is some annoying whining going on by a spectator, so after the guy runs, you may want to turn down the volume.

Review the safety rules in the left sidebar and watch the video to see how to set up a tree while keeping it motionless. Click on the "Chainsaw" label to see all of the chainsaw related videos posted on True Blue Sam. Be sure to click on "Older Posts" at the bottom of each page to go to the next page.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Not My Victrola

EdmundusRex just posted "Do, Do, Do" by Annette Hanshaw, one of the great jazz singers of the 1920's. It's great mood music to start your week.

Another Monday Coming Down!

Back To The Old Grind!

Iowa's Concealed Carry Law

Iowa has 99 counties, and according to Iowa law, the county sheriff decides who may or may not have a concealed carry license. There are literally 99 different concealed carry policies in Iowa, and there are many counties where a law abiding citizen is not allowed the means to protect him/herself.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette recently published lists of concealed carry permits issued by several Iowa counties in December of 2009, and it makes for some interesting reading. The Gazette published the names of permit holders in eight counties; there were 253 new and renewed concealed carry permits in those counties, with only 14 permits going to women. The Washington County Sheriff issued 91 permits in December with 3 permits going to women. Jones County issued the most permits (6) to women, with a total for December of 41. Iowa County was the least discriminatory toward the fairer sex, issuing NO permits for men or women. Linn County and Johnson County showed the worst bias against women; Linn with 1 out of 60, and Johnson with 0 out of 49.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette has performed a great service to muggers, rapists, and other criminals who are looking for safe victims by publishing the names of permit holders rather than just the statistics. The reporter who put this report together should "Man Up" and print the names of Gazette employees who don't carry in order to further protect potential muggers and miscreants. If the Gazette is really concerned about the citizens to whom they sell newspapers, they would be doing some investigative reporting to discover just what the agenda is of each sheriff who issues permits almost exclusively to men.

UPDATE:  Iowa's Governor Culver signed a Shall Issue law which passed the Iowa legislature in 2010.  It comes into effect in January, 2011.  Go Here to read the new law, then make an appointment for your carry class.  Some county sheriffs are more enthusiastic about it than others.  Washington County Sheriff Dunbar is trying to get ahead of increased need for carry classes; Kudos to him!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

No Global Warming, But,

even though I had planned on staying in because of the lousy weather today, I went out to help a neighbor who had a tree across the road. The call emphasized the importance of having my saws prepped and ready to cut on short notice. It's kind of like "An empty gun isn't worth a darn, or whatever." And speaking of guns, Mom reported in from Iowa that she went to the range with one of her friends to refresh the memory of her trigger finger. She shot her .22, her .45, and her friend's 9mm. They shot until her fingers couldn't handle the .22 cartridges in the cold. I should do the same tomorrow.

Each shot is from a low ready position, then acquire and fire. Pretty darn good, I think.