Where's Hazel? Pet Hazel. Scratch Hazel behind her
Almost Q'Fest Time
>>> will take....but it seems certain we will
not make Quartzfest.
>> You will not be the only ones not there. More on
> *Is it "later" yet?*
Getting so by the minute. Late enough I suppose. I have
already circumcised my planned excursion from a fortnight
to about nine days. Mike will not be going. Spencer died.
Tom is incarcerated in the PHX VA psyche ward and Sue is
living with friends in Deming, Dave and Joyce (NU7DE
secretary) are Wintering in Box Elder South Dakota,
Virginia and Cliff moved into a prefab/stick house/park
model and sold their RVs, Bill is tied up with rads and
chemo and caring for Camilla... That about leaves Jack and
Nancy who have to drive all the way from Winnipeg, and me
and Hazel. So I will just have to vote my Self in for
another ten year term of office. That nine days I
mentioned a moment ago just became seven and counting...
How many more before I decide not to take the bus...
Parents took their 10 year-old to the doctor regarding the
boy's unusually small penis. Doc examined, found all to be
functional, said: No problem; just feed him pancakes. Next
morning Billy sits down for breakfast—big stack of
pancakes on the table. "Are these all for me?" Mom says
"Take two, the rest are for your father." Later, in the
bath, Billy points to his nuts and asks: Are these my
brains? Mom replies: Not yet, wait 'til you reach puberty.
While i am not sorry for or ashamed of what i said/wrote,
in my defense i have to say that after all these years of
practicing, and honing my skills and bedside manner, i am
finally getting to really be a curmudgeon, geezer class.
be nice to get back to my own city before society
makes me disappear. It might be heartbreaking too, but
there are some things so sad and wrong that it is only
right to let your heart break over them. —T.A.Pratt
QuartzFest at Mile99 and Counting
Finally arrived, a week late and seven dollars short.
First report from the front indicates 400 rigs and 700
people(?) here. Sure does look crowded. I'm not alone
after all; David and his Chow are here too.
The new radiator on The Cat in The Back of The Cat
Drag'd Inn seems to be working well. Further
inspection is in order and a top-up of the coolant but
that will be later, when the frost is off the radiator
cap. Not really that cold, but cold enough for
gloves whilst cutting up the beast for the Hobo Stew.
During the drive yesterday I passed a sign for Parker
AridZona, and Parker Road, and they reminded me of Parker
Vincent, father of Lee Vincent, author of Ten Years on
The Rockpile. Lee's second book had for a cover
photo a picture of me sledding down the Yankee Drift. He
inscribed my copy: “I finally made you famous.” I
wonder where that book is now.
New normals to accommodate... The new radiator runs a lot
cooler than the old. Perhaps it is not clogged with
mineral deposits? But not that cool. The primary
temperature gauge is reading 30 degrees cooler than the
secondary and my IR test thermometer.
Cloudy and cool morning does not bode well for solar
insolation nor solar shower. I guess that means I should
not work up a sweat today.
2018i29 Mile99 Getting on the road to Tonopah
One reader has asked about the picture at the bottom of
my previous letter: In that photo I am sitting at the
Weather Desk, in the Weather Room of course. On the far
wall are the weather the chart recorders: The top two
record wind speed from the pitot-static anemometer and
between them is the deicing heater control. Below the
heater is the recording thermometer. The rack just visible
at the left edge is the 34.02 mHz transmitter with which
we made contact with the PWM WX office eight times a day.
I'm not sure what I had in my hands.
The Cost of Being an Anachronism
Bank: Paper Statement Fee; Diet: Extra Pounds Added for
Snacks; Newsletter Subs: Fee for Paper Copy plus Postage;
Old Truck (and bus) Fuel Mileage: Prob'ly still a
trade-off in my favour.
Mr Webster says: “Anachronism: 2. a thing or
person that belongs to another, esp. an earlier, time.”
I'm learning tho. With my US$400 Smart Phone and extra 20$
a month data fee I can now save a postage stamp (and help
cut the throat of the Postal Service) every time I
electronically deposit a cheque. But I like paper and
write and mail 20-30 letters a month. (Some folks actually
write back so I'm not the only anachronism hereabouts.)
Ground Hawg Daze
“There is NO
MORAL ISSUE with stealing from a store that forces
you to use self-checkout, period. THEY ARE CHARGING YOU TO
WORK AT THEIR STORE.”
Weather Forecasts Early Warming Trend
The past few days I have been under the weather with
101-102 temperature. And that is me, my temperature, not
the sky. Feeling better now. I went searching for the
"feed a cold, starve a fever" aphorism and ended up
loosing five pounds in the process. I rather enjoy the
weight loss but that was one hell of a diet.
Hurricane Hazel Discovers Selfies
“That'll teach him to leave his Smart Phone in my napping
Boy Scout Day (archaic)
Paul and I had an excellent yesterday for driving
from Tonopah to Deming and return. Leaving Tonopah shortly
after 05h00, we fueled through Tucson eastbound just after
sunrise and kept right on going. Truck load of Sue's Stuff
from the Gillig headed for Deming. Long drive to say the
least. After unloading everything and a few minutes of
chatter we went to an Italian lunch with Captain Hook and
then hit the road westbound with a goal of Tonopah by
sunset. The second stop for fueling around and trading
drivers was at the same Pilot. I missed seeing Cliff and
Virginia but just as well since we were already running
later than planned. Dark and cloudy in Tonopah this
morning and I need to get out and clean up the truck and
cover the load of stuff destined for Yuma.
Much more apropos than all the Nineteen-Eight-Four
in the news: Nudists wear clothes—its practical.
“Early explanations were about practicality: “I always
have something to sit on.” But is it really more practical
to carefully tie a sarong around the waist than to just
casually drape it around your neck or over your shoulders?
I also noted that most of these women carried some sort of
bag that would easily have accommodated the thin sarong.
Clearly, practicality didn’t seem like a valid
But some part of what he relates is spot on. In my
travels, earlier when I was travelling, I noted a lot of
people wearing rather than carrying towels. Especially the
kids. I questioned one senior adult on the scene and he
related that having the kids wear shorts was easier than
getting them to drag towels around all day. Now those
grownup kids are wearing sarongs?
Some how this PC'ness and "Nude Etiquette" has got to
change. Perhaps as with Non-Smoking and Smoking areas,
Crying Rooms in churches, privileged parking for small
cars... we could have segregated seating on the lawn and
restaurant: "Droolers" & "Dryers" maybe?
Perhaps scattered about the venue, alongside the Doggie
Doo Disposer Dispenser, there could be Disposable Seat
Covers. Just like in certain public toilets? Only the
center could be intact. Available accessories could
include a ribbon to tie, as a sun bonnet or hat, under
your chin; some string and a stick so kids could fashion a
kite; a twistie-tie so at the completion of a repast in
the restaurant you could collect your left overs to take
home. Perhaps I should write Mr Deschênes.
The Farthest South Banana Bread
In Yuma this weekend to rehash resell relive Quartzfest
at the Yuma Ham Fest. Many of the same folks are here and
much of the same ham radio stuff to buy and sell again.
David, for instance bought a radio yesterday that he will
clean up and resell today for a tidy profit.
To satisfy the unvoiced demands of my World Famous Male
Banana Bread Fan Club I made a loaf this morning and it
came to me whilst basking in the rosy glow of my gas fired
oven that this is quite likely the farthest south banana
bread, of either gender, produced by The Cat Drag'd
Inn Bakery. I had to adjust my recipe according to
the Low Latitude Directions by tilting the bread pan every
so slightly to the north.
Hamfest in a War Zone.
One Ham's Junk is Another Ham's Date Shake. I took three
tubs of tangled wallworts, atomic clocks, pocket PCs,
DC/AC inverters, and diverse other "stuff" to put in the
free pile, or the dumpster.
We were told that no hazmat could be placed in the
dumpster and that included electronics but along the way
another NU7DE'er observed that some of the junk in my tubs
had value and I should make a fourth pile with price tags.
So I did. Ended up selling enough free junk to purchase
five gallons of Diesel and two Date Shakes on the way back
The Ones Have It. K1LPI and K1OIQ held an NU7DE dinner
meeting to follow up on the NU7DE Annual Meeting at
Q'Fest/Mile99. The Saturday afternoon potlatch consisted
of pot roast, pot atoes, tom atoes, and of course stale
bread and old wine. All so good we had the leftovers in an
omelet Sunday morning. Thank you for being there Dave!
Picture from Dave's camera photographed by passing by
Big Horn High
Greg from Edmonton came to saunter on Saddle Mountain.
He was here last year about this time but this was
anything but a rerun. We went into the east side of the
saddle to find the Super Solitude GeoCache and the Big
Horn Sheep watering hole. From the sheep tank, these guys
were atop the ridge just about due south. Picture was
taken with Greg's camera; the sun up and to the right.
Over a few minutes time as many as ten animals were seen
coming up from beyond the ridge to the right of the
central nub, crossing to the left—with a few of them
jumping onto the nub—and then descending through the dark
gully to the left. Very spectacular!
Social Faux Pas of the Week
I was struggling to time-share talking to Mike on the
radio, talking to Mark F2F in the shop, and work on a
pop-up toaster at the fix-it bench, when my incredibly
smart phone announced "incoming text message" by playing
the first five notes of the Close Encounter's
theme (d e c C G; or, in solfege: Re, Me, Do,
Do, So...Learn the signs for Do, Re, Mi, and So, perform
the second Do lower, around waist level, and you can
communicate with aliens yourself, should the need
arise.). Picking up a hot toaster by its power cord is
like picking up a cat by its tail but I managed to swing
the toaster out over the trash bin and unceremoniously
Mark was aghast! Aren't you forgetting to save that
toaster for your friend in New Mexico? That Toaster Lady
you told me about, the one you asked me to save toasters
for? Cos she's building a toaster fence or a monument to
I stood there staring at the hot toaster melting its brow
into the side of the plastic vapourizer for fully five
seconds before the penumbra parted. Oh tihs! (Skip to the
next paragraph now if you are below fifth grade reading
level... "tihs" is Backwards Code for "shit", a word not
allowed in literature for children.)
Now I was aghast! Can you imagine me
discarding a toaster? Forgetting why I should
keep a toaster? Was that a Senior Moment or what?
Especially after asking Mark to save toasters for me
(...and telling him the whole storey about the Toaster
House at the intersection of the Continental Divide Trail
and u.s.60 in Pie Town, and the toaster fence, and what
being "Toast" meant...) when it was his turn to people the
With great chagrinity and humblarity I pulled the toaster
back from the jaws of the crusher and placed it reverently
in my tool bag where I will be sure to forget it until
And in case I forget later or don't do anything else
stupid enough to warrant writing about beforehand...
Coming in a fortnight to a calendar near you: Remember
/The Fourteenth of March/ Day!
This makes me feel almost homesick...
Check out this spectacular
short film from atop Mount Washington! Maine Public
videographer Brian Bechard travelled to the top of "The
Rockpile" and produced this great piece.
"Lived there" is more like it. For most of seventeen years
my NH driver license had 6267 Carriage Road, Sargents
Purchase, as my address. Over all I spend about two/thirds
of that time on the summit.
Nine people shared three pizzas and played Mario games
at the Tin-Top. Thanks Mike!
You Can't Go Home...
Mount Washington is like that. There is a mystery, an
aura, about the summit that draws one. Nagging for return.
But such a return is a two-edged sword. I would like to
walk in those White Hills again but I don't want to see
what changes the years and "progress" have wrought.
Tea on The Hazmat List
My rant, in summary, concerns my attempt to purchase a
box of tea; usually I buy a case of six boxes, two or
three times a year. My favourite tea is a spiced chai from
Celestial Seasonings, a basically good company in
ColoradO. They have a website and their webstore is run by
some other outfit of which more later. Celestial's Chai is
sometimes found in grocery stores and is also sold on
Amazon. Used to be "fulfilled by Amazon"; I bought my
previous several cases from Amazon, but this time around
my order to Amazon was handed off to a somewhat less than
excellent store front operation.
From time to time I can find this Chai in a market but as
with Ben&Jerry's Coffee ice cream, for some reason
both are increasingly harder to find. Also true of Cabot's
fine "Seriously Sharp Cheddar" from Vermont.
Back to the Chai. I placed my order on the Amazon site to
be delivered to my address of record: p.o.box 313, tonopah
AZ 85354-0313. Immediately Amazon, speaking for the third
rate store front, says: "We cannot ship to a Post Office
Box. Please change your shipping address or delete this
item from your order." There now appears a little text box
with RED letters implying with increasingly typical poor
grammar that among other things tea is considered a
There is no point in removing the tea from my order; there
would be no order without the tea. So I change the
shipping address. I have a list of several variations.
"Postal Drawer 313" is one. My order gets past the p.o.box
trap and is accepted this time—for about five minutes.
Then comes a note from Amazon to the effect that "...your
order has been canceled due to a technical difficulty."
Several variations later I write to Amazon. I'll spare you
the boiler plate drivel of several paragraphs that finally
says I should write to the storefront operator.
It is not that these places "cannot ship" to a post office
box. The truth of the matter is that they WILL NOT ship to
a post office box. Partly the Postal Service's own fault.
The Postal Service cannot/will not compete with the likes
of UPS and FedEx. These little storefronts have contracts
with UPS or FedEx, that preclude their use of the Postal
Service. But the irony of the situation is that UPS and
FedEx, when out-of-their-way-delivery suits their
economies, both often deliver their packages to the
loading dock of the post office who then put a
package-waiting notice in my post office box 313 anyhow.
My tirade with Amazon and the storefront went on for a few
exchanges. Finally I went to Celestial Seasoning's website
and looked up their Chai. The page indicated my choice was
Out of Stock. I went to their Contact Us link and wrote:
Is tea really a hazardous material? When will you have
your Chai back in stock? Will you ship your Chai to my
No answer to my three very specific, very simple
questions. Really now, even a ten-year-old writing from
Bombay in Hindi accented English could have composed: "No.
Next week. Yes." Instead I receive another three poorly
written paragraphs of boilerplate thanking me for writing
to Celestial Seasonings, apologising for any
inconvenience, and promising a few coupons to be sent to
my post office box. Their letter also said, in what must
have taken considerable effort of originality, that they,
Celestial, did not handle orders placed on their website
but that all such orders were fulfilled by their
contractor storefront and that they had forwarded my
letter to them.
Another day or so later I receive a lengthy note from the
storefront operator that likewise avoids addressing my
questions. In an effort to simplify I reduce my questions
to two: When will Chai (and I spelled out the product name
and sent the URL of the page) be in stock? Will you ship
to my post office box address?
At the end of their letter: “Have I answered your
concerns? If Yes, click here. If No, click here.” I click
No and we go round the block again. Another day and I get
what at first appears to be a personal note but really
isn't asking if I had a satisfactory response from … would
I please call … so we can discuss the matter, and if you
have further response please be sure to include your case
number in the subject so we can properly address your
concerns. Here we go again. I wrote rather strongly, just
short of profanity, that they still had not answered my
two very simple questions. Haven't even alluded to my two
very simple questions. A Yes or a No would be nice. Even
an “I don't know” would at least acknowledge that my
letter had actually been read and comprehended.
Somewhen along here I took a more detailed pasted together
version of all this to my local postmaster and asked him
if tea really was on the Postal Service's Hazmat List
along with perfume and lithium batteries. After a weekend
of research he allowed as how the BIG RED letters were a
poorly written catch-all CYA statement. Tea was Ok to send
through the U.S. Mail.
By now three weeks have past. My supply of tea is
approaching critical. The reserve stock is gone. Out of
curiosity and a little desperation I revisited the
Celestial Seasonings site and find that my Chai is no
longer “Out of Stock” and so proceed to place an order for
one case of six boxes (20 bags/box, 120 tea bags; enough
for about four months). Guess what... My order is
refused. They “cannot ship to a post office box”. I
gave up. I redid the order using the street address of the
Saint Patrick Was An Irishman?
I think I told you about Mario Day so this is about
Saint Patrick's Day. Which also included Toby's and
Roger's birthdays and CJ's too.
Michael was contagious so he was obliged to eat his corned
beef and cabbage with a surgical mask in place—that was
really messy. We were going to consign him to the next
yard downwind, on the other side of the fence, in the open
range where the pigs and the coyotes play, but since he is
such a voluble conversationalist, and that the weather was
getting colder and windier as we waited for the carrots to
soften, the rest of us voted to let him in the house. Paul
is also contagious and has his older sister and her
husband visiting, so he elected to stay home in bed.
I'm mostly still busy cleaning out the Gillig and trying
to decide if I will stay around here all Summer and
tolerate the Global Warming or contribute to same by
driving the Inn Over My Head all the way to Maine.
Anyhow... We all had a good time with Sue's
Stuff-Them-Yourself Deviled Eggs and watching Toby petting
Tecate and drinking the brew of the same name at the same
time. Much of the first couple hours of celebrating the
life and times of Saint Patrick and each other were spent
moving our chairs to stay in the sun as the shadow of the
house crept across the carpeted yard.
77 is a Prime Number Right?
Once upon a long ago, so long ago that I was only just
newly delivered, I had two grandfathers. To wit: Isadore
John Newton, maternal side, and Alfred Josiah Oxton,
paternal side. My mother wanted to name me with one given
name and the other middle name. Other relatives had
different ideas. The debate raged on such that my original
birth certificate states the date and time for "(Boy)
Oxton". Eventually my venerable mother shut them all off
by saying: "Shut up or I will call him Isadore Josiah!" I
cannot imagine what life would be like for an Izzy.
alienation: For the lucky few cosmopolitans, rootlessness
might have meant being at home everywhere – but for those
who felt like permanent exiles, it meant being at home
Doing Naughty on Mi Dia Natalis
I don't know about naughty. Not in my book tho some
prudes would. We went for a walk in the hills. Two friends
with me. One nude, one tolerant. About 4.2 miles in five
hours or so. Then an ale and a nice soak in the hot
spring. We found a number of ancient artifacts—stone
circles, potsherds, grinding slicks—along the way to
replacing the rain gauge at the sheep tank. Good times.
Last year's theme music 76
Trombones has been replaced on the turntable
by this one more in keeping with life in the
skinny-dipping fast lane. Can you guess before you look?
You pro'bly guessed Jack
and Nancy's idea of this sitcom theme but Mikey
suggested this radio
station ID squib. HA! Gotcha!
How About a Funny Storey to End This With...
Back last Autumn city workers in New York City found
during an excavation a multi-pair copper cable ten feet
below the surface. Archaeologists looked and determined
their city had a telephone network fully 150 years
ago. Months later, diggers in Los Angeles found
similar cabling 20 feet down and scientists there
determined the L.A. area had a phone network 200 years
ago. Last week, a Pascagoula newspaper reported that after
digging 30 feet down, a local farmer and self-taught
archaeologist found absolutely nothing... from which he
deduced that Mississippians 300 years ago had already gone
Missed a great photo op this morning.
Stupid @#%$% touch screen #$%^$@... Hurricane Hazel came
at a dash from aft to forward, up on the back of the seat
where she could see through the door window. I followed.
There was a small coyote on the solar panel in the bed of
TinyTruck. Prancing to and fro. I ran back to fetch
"camera". Dark, pre-dawn dusk. "SmartPhone" camera in some
sort of demo mode. Orange dots moving about on the screen.
Words telling me to pinch this and poke that like some sex
crazed nymph wanting attention. Home
Demo was all I could get and to make matters worse I
couldn't comprehend the fucking icons nor read the
occasional word without my glasses. By the time I got my
glasses on and the "camera" out of dancing class the
coyote had made off with the pumpkin bread and was headed
Today, the Feast Day of Saint George, was my annual vision
exam. Incipient cataracts and minor astigmatism are
encroaching upon my otherwise 20/20 seeability.
Not Over Yet? Here's another funny storey...
It seems the U.S.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has a
unique device for testing the strength of windshields on
airplanes. The device is a gun that launches a dead
chicken at a plane's windshield at approximately the speed
the plane flies. The theory is that if the windshield
doesn't crack from the carcass impact, it'll survive a
real collision with a bird during flight. It seems the
British were very interested in this and wanted to test a
windshield on a brand new, speedy locomotive they're
developing. They borrowed the FAA's chicken launcher,
loaded the chicken and fired.
The ballistic chicken shattered the windshield, went
through the engineer's chair, broke an instrument panel
and embedded itself in the back wall of the engine cab.
The British were stunned and asked the FAA to recheck the
test to see if everything was done correctly. The FAA
reviewed the test thoroughly and had one recommendation:
"Use a thawed chicken". The back-storey
from snopes is rather funny too.
Thank you for reading and writing. I really don't know
which way I'm going yet. Or returning. Coming or going.
I'm reminded of Sara(h) the TacoCat. She never knew
either, never figured it out I'm sure.