A light, airy, effervescent, blog of grave consequence. (NOT!) Dedicated to those of us who must respond to negative stimuli by Chernobyling (entombing in concrete) our innermost thoughts.

Location: Slaughter, Louisiana, United States

A semi-gruntled corporate reliability engineer trying to make ends meet while keeping my wife happy, and myself out of the asylum.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Caught Off Guard

At work, I'm the leader of the North American Mechanical Equipment and Machinery Technical Network. As such, I moderate and develop content for a sharepoint website for our group. I started a forum on the site in case others had questions and wanted to get them to our broad audience quickly. There isn't too much activity on it so I started writing "Quick Tips" about various and sundry Maintenance and Reliability subjects.

I had forgotten I'd written this one until it recently received a very good technical reply from one of our other engineers. I don't think it's obvious unless you actually know, that I wrote it on the day I made the decision to have Shelbie put down last July.

  • Quick Tip #7: End of Life Decision Making
    We've all seen this. The equipment has been in use for as long as anyone can remember. It is remembered to have been very good for a long time, but recently it has become a bad actor because of chronic, creeping small failures. It was probably well designed and rather robust compared to newer replacement equipment. Though it generally continues to serve its intended purpose, it is causing increasing stress to those who maintain it and is no longer functioning at a reasonable level.

    Substantial overhaul has been considered, but was never justifiable for one reason or another and those responsible for the equipment's continued operation know that it is only a matter of time before something very expensive fails and causes a very painful situation for all involved.

    There is a source of pride for those who can effectively fight the fires and mitigate the effects of new failures as they happen, but the decision that must be made is inevitable.

    It is time to put the old girl down.

    From a critical equipment standpoint, understanding the true reasonable lifespan of each piece given its individual operating conditions and expectations, and integrating a replacement strategy into your maintenance/asset plan well in advance of the point that the equipment begins to show significant deterioration can improve your likelihood of properly rebuilding or replacing the equipment at a convenient time of your choosing rather than hastily thrashing to get the plant back in production when the equipment finally fails to function of its own will.

    In an ideal world, these types of plans would be in place from the initial installation of the equipment in your plant. In the real world, most of your equipment will be somewhat or even substantially along its lifecycle curve before any thought is given to developing a replacement strategy. How far along the curve your critical equipment is will determine how much emphasis should be placed upon developing appropriate end of life strategies.

    From a budgeting as well as a production continuity perspective, it is better to refurbish or replace equipment a year too early than a month too late.

    As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

    July 20, 2016

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Burn it Down. Burn it All Down.

Something I wrote on September 12, 2016 but never published.

I didn’t mark yesterday by doing anything special. And let’s be honest, the last several years, all I’ve done is change my Facebook profile picture to the falling man and link to an essay I wrote the evening of the attacks in 2001 that is posted on my blog. Yay symbolism.

I’m nearly beyond caring about this country anymore. I think the best thing that could happen to it right now is if it were to be broken up into four or five separate countries. I believe we have reached the point of no return and that America, and American exceptionalism as I knew it are dead.

I know people who, from a human perspective, would be comfortable stating that a Shih Tzu is identical in every way to a Cane Corso.

I know homosexuals who don’t have a problem with importing millions of people who believe that throwing homosexuals to their deaths off tall buildings is a religious mandate.

I know people who are comfortable erasing history because history makes them uncomfortable.

I know young couples who don’t have a problem importing millions of people who at best will ensure there will be no jobs for their children and at worst will be raping and murdering those children.

I know NFL fans who emote vociferously about the awful protests by players during the National Anthem, but who don’t mind supporting, with their hard-earned cash, the league that allows the protests and indirectly supports BlackLivesMatter and the killing of Law Enforcement Officers.

I know women who don’t have a problem importing millions of people who believe that the victim of a rape should be punished for being raped and that women should not be allowed to drive.

I know people with opinions about race relations who think they should be taken seriously even though they have always lived in areas with demographic profiles that make 1950’s Vermont look “diverse”.

Turn out the lights, the party’s over. You’ve got your sportsball, celebrities, drugs, and booze to keep you distracted. If that’s not freedom, I don’t know what would be.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Buy American: A good idea in theory if not practice

One of the policy positions that Trump espouses is "Bring jobs back to America". He says he will make Apple build all its products in the US as an example. Sounds good, right? Only to the economically illiterate.

As a society that loves saving a few pennies and generally skipping sales taxes by shopping on, or getting the same stuff cheaper at the WalMart rather than the local dry-goods stores, (if they even exist anymore), I refuse to believe that we will enthusiastically embrace spending at least five times more to buy similar products that were made in the USA.

An example: I needed new underwear and socks. Instead of grabbing them at Walmart like I always do, I decided to see if I could find an American company that sells what I needed. I was able to find a couple after a bit of searching and I bought my stuff from two of the online retailers. was one of the companies. was the other.

They shipped the products quickly and there seem to be no obvious issues with the quality although the Union Label whites say "Don't bleach" So I guess they will be grays eventually.

Fit is good and, though they use old-school tags rather than the recently developed printed tags that Hanes and FOTL are now using, I noticed no comfort problems.

Here's the issue.

If I had shopped at Walmart, I could have gotten the 7 pairs of underwear for about $10 and 12 pairs of socks for also about $10. (Obviously made in China, or Pakistan or some other country.)

The 5 pairs of underwear and 6 pairs of socks that were Made In The USA cost------ wait for it----

$120. (Including a couple dollars for shipping.) These are standard issue white briefs and typical athletic calf high socks. Nothing special at all.

Obviously, the prices would go down a bit if they were able to sell a higher volume, but if you are truly serious about buying American, the opportunities are out there. You just won't because it costs too much.

I won't bother to get into the effects of retaliatory tariffs and other silliness.

We still need to end immigration of all kinds and deport all those in the country illegally. Then let the job market stabilize. Wages will have to go up for the jobs that current illegals are doing in order to get Americans to do them which will in itself drive up prices. But that price I'm willing to pay.

I'm not sure, though, that I'm willing to pay 6 times as much as I currently do just to say my underwear was made in the USA.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Another one bites the dust.

Have had a crappy gum tree at the corner of my driveway for a long time. I'm sick of it. You haven't lived until you've stepped on one of those spikey seed pods barefoot. So it had to come down.

The Before:
 photo SAM_0861_zpsxwbcxl3i.jpg

The During:
 photo SAM_0862_zpsxywtkmj2.jpg
 photo SAM_0863_zps9xgpuk9c.jpg
 photo SAM_0864_zpsqptvxj7v.jpg

It was at this point I was standing on the top rung of the ladder holding onto the tree to get the last big driveway side limb. I didn't have a good stable perch to undercut the limb so of course it grabbed my saw and thrashed it into the concrete from 40 feet up. I don't think the warranty is going to cover this:
 photo SAM_0865_zpsmjgoslu6.jpg
 photo SAM_0866_zpsx4vwfw1d.jpg

What could possibly go wrong?
 photo SAM_0867_zps1rizuzpl.jpg

 photo SAM_0868_zpspmseqpq7.jpg

Guess I could have used this to limb the tree and saved a few bucks.
 photo SAM_0869_zps9rusxpm8.jpg

Monday, June 01, 2015

Getting ready for the show

Power Tour is coming to town on June 12, so as I'm traveling a bunch lately, I figured it was time to see how the old girl cleaned up. I hit some of the light scuffs with ScratchX and then did the whole car with a Clay Bar. Then I hit it with spray on wax. I think it came out pretty good for about 2 hours of work.
 photo IMG_5615_zpsori6exro.jpg
 photo 344244d7-8417-434f-a407-28da89c19f37_zpstl6sjdc7.jpg
 photo IMG_5620_zps0vjc2k9v.jpg
 photo IMG_5618_zpsddbucgon.jpg
 photo IMG_5617_zpstgxe0x7c.jpg
 photo IMG_5616_zpsqqn4xuah.jpg

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Been awhile again.

The curse of Facebook I guess. Anyway, just a picture of the new springs on the rebuilt shocks for the front end of the 37. Also the new wrench.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Freshly Painted Dash 8

Friday, November 07, 2014

The Toy.

Big toy, but toy none the less.

Safe and Sound

Happiness is a snoring Shih-Tzu in your lap while you telecommute to work.

That is all.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Boy. How time flies...

I've been remiss in updating this thing lately. Facebook proves to be to easy. So, it looks like I need to start to write over here again. In any case, I'm posting today from the Admirals Club at St. Louis, Missouri. Finally heading towards home after a whirlwind tour of Europe, Scandinavia and the subcontinent.

Well, actually, Mobile, McIntosh and Hannibal. Got a lot of good work done this week, but about an hour ago, my brain decided it was closing up shop. No amount of caffeine can pep me up at this point. So I've got a hotel in Mobile for the night and will be heading towards home after I rest.

Only travelling two days next week, three days the following, then have two weeks free prior to travelling the entire months of December beginning on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

And to think that six weeks ago I had no travel scheduled until the end of the year.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

First visible work on the Merc.

I started refurbishing the wheels this afternoon. Zip strip, wire brushes and lacquer thinner. The first thing was to clean all the brake dust out of the holes in the rim. Sheesh. What a pain in the ass. At least PB Blaster would cut the stuff enough for it to be wire brushed out

The after stripping, and a little rubbing compound I hit it with a rattle can of satin clear.

I didn't take a before picture but it was much worse than this one:

 photo SAM_0665_zps78489d8d.jpg

Here is the finished product. I'm pretty happy with it.

 photo SAM_0664_zps1d3368a6.jpg

Saturday, March 08, 2014

"New" Car

Picked up my latest project yesterday. A 1986 Mercedes 420 SEL. Fairly cherry for a 28 year old car. Needs small things to make it perfect, but is completely solid.

 photo IMG_3983_zpsb19f0c55.jpg

 photo IMG_3984_zps055f3afd.jpg

 photo IMG_3980_zpsf30de7a0.jpg

 photo IMG_3985_zps7116044d.jpg

 photo IMG_3981_zpsc014dc82.jpg

Wednesday, March 05, 2014


I severely dislocated my left wrist on February 6, while correcting some construction flaws in my attic. I'm glad I had fallen onto my back and was pinned as I didn't get a chance to look at the position my hand was in. All I know is that the sensation when it popped back into joint is not something I ever need to experience again.

Everything worked properly and there was no acute pain, so, of course, I carried on with my business as usual.

After an entire three-day weekend working on various and sundry automobiles, and given the weather change we experienced Monday morning, the wrist had become quite achy and annoying. So much so that on Tuesday morning, I bought a splint and stopped by the local minor-emergency clinic for an x-ray.

Surprisingly, they found no damage so the pain is the result of the lingering bone bruise, which, I guess, is better than the alternative, but this still sucks.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Actions have Consequences - Or, How Free Speech can get Really Expensive

Seems that there is a brouhaha bubbling about the A&E network's decision to suspend a star of one of its insipid TV shows for comments said star made to a "magazine".

First off, the "programming" peddled by this A&E network has been routinely terrible for a long time. I honestly cannot remember the last show I watched on the A&E network. They have moved the programming I generally like to History or the Discovery group.

Second, print "magazines" still exist? Who knew?

Finally, regardless of what you may think of the Duck-Dork's opinion, he does have the Constitutional Right to express them in any manner he chooses. He could have done a naked interpretive dance on the fifty yard line of Tiger Stadium and it would have still been protected as free speech.

What the Duck-Doofus does not have is a protected right to freedom from repercussions.

No one does.

If the A&E network's marketing schmucks feel that paraphrasing the bible is against their religion, and offends a core advertising demographic, the A&E network has every right to remove the offender from their programming. (Or cancel the silly show altogether.)

Also, if the A&E network's marketing schmucks have mis-understood their advertising demographic and a subsequent boycott and protest causes them to rethink their suspension of the Duck-Dingbat, that is just fine, too.

I guess what it comes down to is this, "Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and has the right to express it. But if you have one that conflicts with your employer's current worldview, you might reconsider expressing it if you rely on that employer for your chosen lifestyle."

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Incognito, Martin, and the collapse of the Family

This crap that is going on about the poor millionaires down in Miami is rather interesting to me. All of the mainstream commentators are missing a potentially significant point; That this whole thing is a hoax.

Given the level of divorce and outright illegitimacy in the black community in the US, why has no one asked if Martin grew up with a father figure in the household? That father figure is who would generally teach a maturing boy to handle problems like this. Martin is reacting like he was raised by women and always got whatever he wanted if he whined hard enough.

We have raised nearly two generations of ALL Americans who have been taught that everybody is equal and you are a winner even if you lose.

This is all bullshit. Some people are better at things than others. Some people learn faster than others. This is the case. Period. Children need to be taught that losing hurts and if you don't like it, then you need to improve yourself, not tear down others.

If you can't handle something, then find something else to do that you can. You can't all be astronauts or ballerinas. Your childish dreams mean nothing if you won't understand that you may suck at something and that IS your fault, not anyone else's.

My best guess is this 6'5" 325# weenie didn't like being away from mommy, and he and his family found a way to get him back home and make some money in the process.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I've posted this before, but once is not enough.

I slept through September 11, 2001. I was working night shift on an outage at my paper mill and arrived home about 8AM that morning, had my usual four fingers of bourbon and hit the sack as I had to be up by about 4PM to get back to work.

Dee Snider had a morning radio program out of one of the Hartford stations back then and I always listened to him. I fell asleep with the radio on. I remember waking up about a quarter to nine and Dee was saying something about a plane hitting the Trade Center. I didn't think much of it, shut the radio off, and went back to sleep.

When I awoke at four that afternoon and turned on the TV my first thought was, "They finally did it." as I instantly recalled listening to the first attack in 1993 live on WCBS 880 radio while I waited to pick up my youngest sister at St. Bernard High School.

The rest is history, I suppose.

That evening, there was work to be done and we set to it. I took a few minutes and walked outside near the clarifiers and wrote the following. It has not seen the light of day since my original email, which according to the copy my mother kept, was sent at 10:34PM, 11 September, 2001.

11 September, 2001
New Milford, CT
10:34 PM

Well, the sun has set on what will soon come to he known as the largest cliche-fest in the history of recorded media. A second "Day That Will Live In Infamy" has passed and all we are left with are disbelief, anger and shock at the fact that we, the only Super-Power on this earth, are ultimately vulnerable. There is but one correct response to this provocation - swift and utter destruction of all parties involved. Advocating that, however, is not my reason for writing.

I walked around outside this evening and peered at the stars. They were all I saw. Normally, there are many strobes and beacons visible because of all of the air traffic in this part of Connecticut, sixty miles from the epicenter of today's events. Their glaring absence is a stark reminder that something has changed. That our seemingly insular existence has been breached so easily and so thoroughly is mind-numbing.

All that remain are questions. "How am I supposed to explain to my children that we really ARE safe, and it's OK to go to sleep tonight because nothing is going to happen when I'm not even sure of that myself?" "How can I put into words the horror that comes from the realization that we, as a nation, may have just lost more people in the span of a few hours than were lost during our entire ten-year involvement in the Viet Nam war?" "Are these tears of rage or tears of sorrow that well up when we view the carnage left in the wake of these hideous acts of cowardice?" To these questions, I have no answers. To a few others, however, the answers are clear.

"Will we pull together as a people, putting aside the differences that suddenly seem so insignificant, and support our leaders as they make the necessary, harsh decisions regarding the pursuit, capture and punishment of all parties responsible for today's atrocities?" Emphatically, Yes.

"Will we, as a people, recover from these events and become a stronger and more cohesive nation?" Emphatically, Yes.

"Will we, as a people, continue to take for granted this wonderful democracy that allows us so many freedoms and abilities?" By God, I hope not.

Isn't it amazing how suddenly the great cultural divide that has split our country in twain seems like a mere rivulet in the sand? Our opinions may place us on opposite sides of an issue, but we, as a people are still on the same coin. Our country has recently been described as divided. Now is the time to unite. For the future of our children, we must stand as one.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Woodpecker is Back

 photo -3976_zpsc7dabb3a.jpg

 photo -3975_zpsbc10be49.jpg

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tiny Frog on the Porch

 photo -3971_zpsc75de352.jpg

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Mass Shooting on Mother's Day? Where is the media this time?

So down in the fabulous city of New Orleans yesterday, there was a mass shooting that injured at least 19 people, many of whom were children. It doesn't seem to be making all the headlines on any of the big national news stations. Nineteen people shot. Several children shot. At a public parade. On Mother's Day.

Odd. Sounds pretty newsworthy to me. At least maybe 75% as newsworthy as the last one the media and governmental flunkies found so interesting.

I just can't seem to figure out why no one would be treating this one like the tragedy it would appear to be.

Can anyone help me figure it out?

 photo new-orleans-suspect-picture_zps604717d4.jpg

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Red Headed Woodpecker

 photo -3967-1_zps7ebec7a6.jpg

 photo -3968-1_zpsd3931079.jpg