Saturday, October 31, 2009

Scary Things in the World

Am I the only person who finds certain uber conservatives terrifying? Like zombies, they are trying to eat everyone's brains and they just won't die.

'They' were in office for 8 years, made themselves exempt from all the 'rules' of a civilizied nation by torturing hundreds, if not thousands, of human beings. The worst of the bunch have not slunk off to hide. When I see the sneering face of that trigger happy nut case Chaney, I want to scream. He needs to go up on charges for war crimes. He belongs in some big nasty prison with Bubba, Jose and Big Daddy – if you know what I mean. He should find out what water-boarding really feels like.

Rush Limbaugh is the scariest of the bunch. I mean it, wasn't he arrested for buying drugs over the internet and doctor shopping? Then he's touted as the head of the Republican Party. (Wrong orifice if you ask me.) But real people in Congress and the Senate appear to be taking orders from this creep. Why is anybody listening to this idiot? He's just another drug addict. He should have gone to jail. At the very least he should drop into satellite radio obscurity like the greasy guy who did all the strippers in NYC, then dropped from the ceiling on an awards show as 'Fart Man.'

Fox News is another thing that scares me. They are the evil right-wing extremist propaganda machine. How do those talking heads sleep at night? We all know that it sucks to be a wage slave. Thank God I'm not one of them. I wouldn't be able to look in the mirror.

This is the big night, Halloween – when the dead are supposed to walk the earth. Maybe some restless spirits should visit Chaney and Limbaugh, a private 'Nightmare on Elm Street.' That would even up the scales a bit.

With that happy thought, I shall sign off.

Happy Halloween – or Samhain if you prefer.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's a Guy Thing

This is the link to a weird little video of a guy 'running the Dragon' on a kid's HotWheel Tricycle. It's the kind of thing that makes a woman shake her head and hope the duffus's mother never sees the video.

I think it is a good illustration that men don't think like women do. And that young men - well - they just don't think. All that testosterone and nothing better to do on a Saturday night.

Another way to run the Dragon

Friday, October 23, 2009

Healthcare – Now We’re Getting Somewhere

I've been silent on the issue of healthcare, though I've been listening avidly for signs of progress. We are finally seeing some forward motion. Even though the 'Party of No' is dragging their butts like a spoiled puppy, leashed for the first time.

I have only written one letter to my Senator, back when he insulted Judge Sotomayor during the confirmation hearings; I went from TV to PC and expressed my outrage at his rudeness. I also told him that healthcare needed to include a public option – God knows Kentucky needs one.

Half the people I know are going to the free clinic because they can't afford to pay $150 up front to a doctor. I couldn't afford that back in 1994 when I was working and had insurance. I went without healthcare for several years until I got deathly sick, a savvy friend took me to the mini-ER here in town. They fixed me up with prescriptions and I was back on my feet in 3 days.

I'm looking forward to the day when 'Medicare part E' covers people in itty bitty businesses. I think our economy will explode with one and two person businesses. I can't tell you how often I've heard "I'd quit this rotten job if I didn't need the health insurance. I could ____ full time and make more money than this."

That's my point for the day. If so many people weren't chained to their desks by health insurance there would be more small businesses, hundreds of thousands of small businesses. Even in God-forsaken places like Ashtabula (one of the most depressed places in America) every Italian restaurant would be able to offer health insurance. (Of course there they would have to find a doctor who wasn't chemically impaired, or incompetent. Who knows, if there were enough people complaining maybe the quacks would get run out on a rail. Tar and feathering would be more effective than suing the idiots.)

This president is pretty darn smart – the poor man is going gray already – he's had so much crap dumped on his head. But maybe, just maybe, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it's not the train.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Set back for Smudge and Patty

Smudge and Peppermint Patty

Sometimes with farm animals, it's one darn thing after another.

I had Patty settled with Smudge. The two of them in the flock with the rest of the poultry, everything appeared okay. But two days ago Smudge was attacked by something, perhaps an over-amorous drake, that laid her back open.

We treated the wound. (Vet's don't see chickens under any circumstances. Which pisses me off.) Put her and poor bewildered Patty in a nice, safe, clean cage. They are doing very well on a diet of chick starter, scratch and kitchen scraps.

One of the things that frustrates me about farm life is that animals seem to get stressed, then something worse happens to them. Stays tuned on this one. I'm looking into options for keeping Smudge and Patty safe. These plans include taking the drake in question to the flea market.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Duck Hatched Chick - Update

While we were off playing on the motorcycle the duck and chicken stayed in a pen by themselves. Monday while I was catching up on my barn work, I let them out. I could tell right away that things weren’t going well. Panda the duck was off with the other ducks, not paying any attention to the chick.

Since the yard was full of poultry I didn’t get excited about it, the barn cats have learned to stay away from little babies, because moms are quick to attack. After a couple of hours I could hear the chick peeping outside while Panda was in the barn eating. I went out, chased the little black chick into the mint patch. She came out with a name – Peppermint Patty.

Then I put Patty in with Panda and the others. She milled around, still peeping loudly. I debated if I should let her be, or chase her down to put her in the brooder. While I was working on the chores she seemed fine. So I let her be, wondering if she would attach herself to another bird, or stay with Panda.

By the time I put the horses to bed, there was no sign of Patty, but Panda was strutting around with the drakes. I got out the flashlight, looked in the usual bedding places, but couldn’t find her, and couldn’t hear her. I was afraid she’d gotten eaten by something.

This afternoon, the weather is raw and wet. I’m out with the dogs when I heard Patty peeping her loud distressed call again. Sure enough, she was following a disconcerted duck. I chased her around the pens, not able to catch her until she darted under Cookie the barn cat. Cookie looked embarrassed, her feline dignity compromised by this little scampering fluffy ball she couldn’t swat. I scooped the struggling Patty up, she was cold and shivering. Not a good thing for a two week old chick.

So Patty went into the brooder, under the big warm light bulb, while I finished letting the horses out. When I returned to the tack room, there was silence. Patty was under the light, quiet for the first time since she’d left the nest.

I checked her an hour later; she was making happy chicken noises, pecking away at the food.

I’m not a poultry expert. Therefore I’m calling off the experiment. I don’t think that Patty was happy as a duckling. She was constantly making unhappy peeping while she was with Panda. Now she’s warm and making happy chirps. That’s good enough for me.

Patty will stay in the brooder until she’s big enough to survive in the big pen, or until Smudge hatches her brood. Panda is not a good enough mother for this little bird.

Odd things happen - like Smudge's entire nest of eggs has vanished. They were all marked with green food coloring, which has made the mystery even wierder. However, setting 'new' eggs would mean Smudge spending another month with little food.

So, I've taken the opportunity to give Patty to Smudge. Yep, took the old eggs and slipped Patty under the clucking hen. This should work out for both of them. I noticed that Patty wasn't happy at first. She kicked up a fuss. I finally turned off the lights and stuffed Patty back under Smudge's wing. That shut her up.

Poor little chick is confused already.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Dragon of Deal III

Pinstripe Day

We had breakfast at "Our Daily Bread" again. The place was packed with bikers, and of course, Carl. Talking to him is half the fun of breakfast. He's been to California, freely admits that he got homesick and came back 'home' after nearly 40 years of kicking around.

Robinsville is very small. It's built in a valley, surrounded by mountains. I'd guess the year-round population is under 20k.

This is not a good day to go riding; it is cold and overcast with occasional showers. So today we are back at Deal's Gap with the PT Cruiser. Dennis is going to pinstripe it. I was able to get the cash to do 2 colors. He is going to use blue and red on my silver Cruiser.

He asked me if I was going to let him go crazy. I asked what he was going to do, and he walked around the car saying 'I'm going to put something here, here, here and here.' I could only nod my head because I couldn't speak. My car is never going to be the same. This is going to be FUN! I'm so excited!

We've got the video camera and the digital, as well as this laptop, so I'm going to document the process. I'm having a hard time behaving. I want to follow him around like an overexcited Pomeranian puppy – yap, yap, yap, yap. Instead I walked to the restaurant where I'm going to stay for a few more minutes.

This is the finished flourish for the back of the PT Cruiser. As you can see it turned out very nice. There are more pictures, but I'll have to do a complete workup later.

I love this. He must have put 14 separate flourishes on the car.

Bob left to run the Dragon again.

This was supposed to be my day to shop for goodies. However, it doesn't get any better than these beautiful flourishes. Every time I look at the car I will remember where I got these.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Dragon of Deal’s Gap II

Hubby was up by 4 am – damn the military!

I got up around 8 am. He has been gathering ideas – mounting the movie camera on the bike – and generally behaving like a hyperactive child on chocolate. The mountains are misty and it's COLD! I've got long johns and other cold weather gear. I'm cozy for the moment, the room is warm. I hear voices, better get a move on.

We went into Robinsville for breakfast. There is a little house tucked off the main road called "Our Daily Bread". They have wonderful breakfasts, good coffee and occasionally serve Squirrel Gravy. (No, we didn't taste it, though it was highly recommended.) We got to chat with Carl about local life.

Then it was back to the motel to suit up. The mist has burned off to a light haze and the roads are dry. Hubby's chomping at the bit to get going.

Our first destination is Fountana Dam – the second largest dam in the USA at 500 feet tall. We climbed to the top, its amazing. The water off the other side is a deep dark blue. There is a line where the water line has fallen, that looks 10 feet high. This is a TVA dam, one in a string of lakes that follow the mountain curves like dark blue/green jewels.

In places the juxtaposition of road and water make it look like the water is running uphill. The trees have yet to turn, so we don't have the glorious autumn painting the mountains. But the sky is that autumn shade of blue that backgrounds the green trees and the dappling of sunlight on leaf, trunk and road.

The air is still chilly so the heavy leathers I wear over turtle-neck and sweater are welcome. So are the long johns that I'm hiding under my jeans. We meander beside the river or lake depending on which side of the many dams we're on at the moment. Soaring up and down the dips and switchbacks that lead us back to the Dragon we duck in and out of shadows. We stop again for lunch at the Restaurant – Gas Station. This time I've got sense enough to say no to the Onion Rings that kept me up half the night. The pulled pork is fabulous again.

Okay, I lied about the onion rings – I finished off Hubby's. (Which is why I'm still up writing.)

I bought a dragon patch for my jacket, a stuffed toy for my sister and two stickers for the car. When I get the patch sewed on I discover that Dennis does pin-striping. I watch him paint for a while. He's good, the designs are 'old school' he says. I admire and start asking prices. Hubby's not interested, but I want to make my PT Cruiser look just a bit prettier. He says he'd love to get his hands on a PT Cruiser. We talk about colors. When the patch is finished Hubby and I depart, with a 'hmmm' in the back of my mind.

We suite up, ass-up and take off up the mountain into the maw of the Dragon. The M109 has a deep-throated growl that is far different that the whine of the sportbikes or the patented blasting rhythms of the Harleys. This huge machine has more to give than we care to take on this swelling series of swoops and dives that is the Dragon. He's careful on this ride, I don't have to tell him to slow down, so I can kick back and enjoy myself.

We recorded the day on Video – but it's a format that needs to be translated and edited before I can upload it anywhere. I briefly miss the Def Leopard sound track that I was listening to yesterday. Only briefly, this kind of driving doesn't need a soundtrack. The wind makes it's own music through the trees, the muted echo of motorcycle engines and car engines, the static noise of streams. The experience is richer than the most decidant cheesecake!

The air smells of Fall – chilly, with undertones of river, occasional snorts of diesal or bike exhaust. There is no scent of old fish or molding anything today, the air is scrubbed clean and waiting for lungs to breathe it. The mountains are breathtaking, the dappled road snakes before us. Occasionally some young buck passes us on a curve or a big pickup crosses the yellow line. There a plenty of young bloods wanting to break the speed record of the Dragon. (Nine minutes to travel 11 miles and 319 curves.)

We take a break at the lake side gas station. Nice folks here, too. Then we suit up for the return over the Dragon then onward back to the motel. It's been a great day. We're looking forward to Saturday since tomorrow is supposed to be cloudy. I get my email and fuss around d/ling video before I settle in for the night. Hubby crashes out, while I start typing all this up. Since the car is likely to get a custom pin-striping the laptop got the stickers, it looks nice.

I'm yawning – tomorrow is another day.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Dragon of Deal’s Gap

Bikers dream of twisty roads that go for miles up and down mountains, like Highway 129 in Tennessee. It is known as the Tail of the Dragon – 319 curves in 11 miles. That’s right, 11 miles of twists, turns and a few switchbacks. Fate throws in the occasional Semi-truck just to get the old ticker running real fast.

It’s a blast in my PT Cruiser – I can’t wait to see how it feels on Hubby’s Bike.

Let me tell you what we’re up to this time. It’s our anniversary – 8 years of marriage is a milestone for most couples. For us – well, it is a shock and a surprise that a horsewoman and a – arm – motorcycle enthusiast have made it this long.

We started with the M109 on the trailer, but as soon as we got into Dragon territory Hubby unloaded the M109. Temps were in the mid-60’s so he refused to wait to put on jeans and a leather – he grabbed gloves and helmet then assed-up (that’s biker talk for putting rump to saddle) to take the Dragon on – dressed in thin shorts and a t-shirt. I snickered then followed in the car.

We weren’t 20 minutes down the road when he pulled over. Guess why? It was too damn cold to ride without proper gear! Gotta love those ‘I told you so’ moments, they are better than cheap jewelry any day!

So we rode the dragon in separate vehicles. I was talking the curves at a good clip, until I was run off the road by a semi-truck. What a buzz kill. Luckily I’ve still got a full set of reflexes – not bad for darn-near 50. The semi missed both car and trailer, so I continued on.

Hubby was waiting at a nice stopping place. Don’t recall the name; the nerves were a bit stretched. We arrived at our base-camp after about 6 hours of travel.

We are spending this weekend literally in biker heaven. NO – not a strip joint! It’s an ingenious little place called “The Two Wheel Inn” where the average biker can have a cute little room AND a garage for that all-important motorcycle, at an affordable price. The same key opens the room and the tightly locked garage that keeps the bike safe from straying.

Bless her heart – the manager left us an anniversary card.