Friday, April 24, 2015

Progress report...

Progress report...  Yesterday was consumed with a modification to my Rincon ATV, to add a 12V accessory socket to the rear.  I also modified my sprayer (which has a 12V electric pump) to fit that.  Result: I can now tow the sprayer behind the ATV, which is much better suited to that job than the riding mower I previously used.  The sprayer has big pneumatic tires, so now I can take it over rough ground to attack weeds.  That's going to come in mighty handy!

Today I worked for a while clearing brush again, down in the southeastern corner of our property.  We've got a couple of 50'+ black willows there that haven't been taken care of for at least 20 years.  Those things have branches that break easily, so the trees are full of broken branches – some of them 8" or so in diameter!  We had rain come in, though, and that put a stop to my work outside.

I also installed the oak handrail on the stairway between the first and second floors in the barn.  I've been putting coats of polyurethane on the railing for the past week, one coat a day (top and bottom separately).  The handrail looks great and it's strong as all get out.  I'm glad to have it there.

The past few days, as it started to get warm, I noticed that the second floor of the barn has been getting mighty warm.  If it's warm now, just think what it will be like in the summer!  There's no ventilation up there now, so I've ordered a gable-mounted attic fan that's solar powered.  It comes with a fairly large (50 watt) roof-mounted solar panel.  That will be an interesting job :)

The field south of our house was planted in alfalfa about 10 days ago, and it's just starting to sprout.  The field north of our house was planted with an alfalfa/grass mix just yesterday.  In both cases the farmers are praying for rain in the storm that's just started wetting us down.  We've gotten very little so far, but the forecast (over the next three days) is calling for close to an inch...

Bipartisanship is decreasing...

Bipartisanship is decreasing...  Is that to be lamented?  The author of this article seems to think so.  I'm not so sure, myself.  Decreasing bipartisanship means less compromise deals get done.  Less compromise deals means less overall legislation.  Is that bad?  I think not!

“A Strangely Funny Russian Genius”...

“A Strangely Funny Russian Genius”...  Essay by Ian Frazier in New York Books.  A passage that caught my eye:
Russia is the funniest country in the world. Some countries, like America and England, are funny mostly on purpose, while others, like Germany and France, can be funny only unintentionally. (But that counts! Being funny is tricky, so any way you do it counts.) Russia, however, is funny both intentionally (Gogol, Zoshchenko, Bulgakov) and unintentionally (Vladimir Putin singing, as he did at a televised event a few years ago, “I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill”). Given the disaster Russian history has been more or less continuously for the last five centuries, its humor is of the darkest, most extreme kind. Russian humor is to ordinary humor what backwoods fundamentalist poisonous snake handling is to a petting zoo. Russian humor is slapstick, only you actually die.
Thanks to my work in Estonia and Russia, I've gotten to know a few hundred Russians (including ethnic Russians who happen to live in Estonia).   The paragraph above jibes with my own experiences with Russian humor.  I've been struck by the everyday fatalism of the ordinary Russian, and also the prevalence of dark humor.  Reagan retold some good examples, at right.

Quote of the day...

Quote of the day...  From the one, the only Cecil Adams, writing in The Straight Dope:
“Meanwhile, somewhere a civet is rubbing its scraped perineal glands and thinking: Ah, sweet revenge.”

Things I trust more than Hillary Clinton...

Things I trust more than Hillary Clinton...  Via my pistol-packing mama:
  • Mexican tap water
  • A rattlesnake with a "pet me" sign
  • OJ Simpson showing me his knife collection
  • A fart when I have diarrhea
  • An elevator ride with Ray Rice
  • Taking pills offered by Bill Cosby
  • Michael Jackson's Doctor
  • An Obama Nuclear deal with Iran
  • A Palestinian on a motorcycle
  • Gas station sushi
  • A Jimmy Carter economic plan
  • Brian Williams news reports
  • Loch Ness monster sightings
  • Prayers for peace from Al Sharpton
  • Bill Clinton interviewing for an intern
I'll add a few of my own:
  • Obama's economic policies
  • Eric Holder's prosecutorial judgment
  • Harry Reid's trustworthiness
  • Nancy Pelosi's bipartisanship
  • Greek bonds
  • New York Times' editorials
  • Iranian nuclear development
  • Putin's intentions

They made it!

They made it!  The “Wil can fly!” Kickstarter project hit its funding goal late yesterday.  They're on their way!  Now they've got 10 days more in their funding campaign to get a little extra...