Suffer the Old Cougar, Sheena’s Special Needs, and the Things on My Memory Card

I don’t have too many strange little pieces of kitsch lying around, but this is one of them.  I even know where it should have been at one time.

This is a ’69 Cougar.  The emblem, above, that I happened upon in some yard sale crap box, is the same as the one on the LF fender.

I never was a true believer in old Detroit iron.  I’m still a bit of a car snob- I love, but can’t afford and don’t want to deal with the high maintenance on the European stuff, so I am happy with a utilitarian Toyota that is easy to maintain, reliable and efficient and I leave it at that for now.  Unless I come into money and can buy that ’69 FJ40, the ’69 Karmann Ghia and the ’83 GTI I’d like to have to play with.

Even back in the ’80’s when all the other motorheads were into Camaros or Mustangs or (heaven forbid) anything Mopar, I was playing with VW Rabbits and air-cooled VW rail buggies.  However, if you are/were into old muscle cars, the ’69 and ’70 Mercury Cougars were somewhat rare, and are aesthetically very cool.  Mom actually had a ’70 Cougar, with a 351 Windsor no less- the one she sold way too cheap because my cat, LeRoy, decided to take a leak all over the back seat.  As part of the same eliminatory session, LeRoy also left a huge dump right on the driver’s seat.  That’s why you never leave the window down.  Leaving windows down on any unattended car in Ohio is a bad idea for a number of reasons.  First, it can get jacked that way.  Second, it can rain anytime, regardless of what the “forecast” indicates.  Third, outdoor cats may mistake your ride for an upholstered toilet.  No matter what she tried, the piss smell just wouldn’t come out.  LeRoy lived outside because he wasn’t neutered (I was only a little kid and couldn’t afford to get the poor cat’s nuts cut so he could live in the house) and now I know why neutering a tomcat is pretty important if you want him to live inside.  Male cat urine does not ever come out of upholstery.  “Little Trees” don’t help, either.  The dude who bought that old Cougar freely admitted to having no sense of smell. He smelled worse than the interior of the car to begin with, so I understand why he could have cared less. It was a good match.

LeRoy looked like Morris the 9Lives cat, but Dad hates cats, so LeRoy it was, since that’s Dad’s middle name.

LeRoy (in spite of having my Dad’s rather unfortunate middle name- Grandma sure had a sense of humor) was a really cool cat.  He was about Fanny sized- 16#-17#, and I could do anything with him, up to and including putting him in doll clothes and walking him around in a doll stroller.  He actually was a street cat, but he knew where the food was (I did bring him food) and he was one of those twisted big cats that liked little kids picking him up and playing with him.  Leave to me to attract the neighborhood misfits and strays.

Speaking of misfits and strays, we have discovered why Sheena is so difficult and seemingly incorrigible.  On top of all her other issues, Sheena is deaf.

No wonder she doesn’t listen.  She’s deaf as a post.

I don’t know why we didn’t figure it out before.  She follows the other dogs and will usually do what they do- but when there’s no other dog to watch and she can’t see a human, she’s lost. She does not respond to anyone if they’re behind her and she can’t see them. You can’t wake her from sleep unless you touch or shake her- sounds do not wake her up. I had thought she was just an incredibly sound sleeper, but that is not normal dog behavior.  A dog that can hear will be roused from sleep by a loud noise close by.  She is also much more intent on being able to see everything than a normal dog.  Jerry is having a dog trainer come out to evaluate her tonight to see if she might be able to learn sign language since she is so visually focused.  I have found some information that deaf dogs can learn commands in ASL, which would be a good learning experience for the other two dogs also.   In a way I feel bad because we simply thought she was mentally off, but for being deaf and having to navigate that way she compensates amazingly well.  Fortunately she already has some things working to her advantage.  She is able to follow the other dogs and work off their visual cues and body language, which is beneficial for a deaf dog, and in some instances (case in point) a deaf dog living with hearing dogs can cue in on their behavior and adapt so well that no one can tell they’re deaf.  Sheena has no fear of humans and she’s very trusting- probably because she knows that the humans have the food.  I am anxious to see what the trainer has to say when he works with her.

I took this pic whilst getting Jerry’s lottery tickets at the Speedway (gas station) last night.  Getting stoned in a Mom van.  Go figure.

I do find some funky things to photograph.  I wish there had been digital cameras back in the ’80’s.  Then again, maybe not.

The boy can sleep- and drool- anywhere.

Like father, like daughter- they were both napping.

Domestic Insanity and Drunk-n-Stupid Meet Passive-Aggressive Revenge

I know better.  I really do.

I’ve been somewhat ambivalent about taking Mom and Dad down to NC this Saturday.  I really doubt if Dad should be travelling this far this soon after open heart surgery, and I am freaky about taking him down in places where medical assistance is either not available or, if it is, it is, shall we say, primitive.  My sister lives in the middle of nowhere, and you have to drive through 12 hours of mostly nowhere to get there.  On the positive side Dad goes to his Dr. again tomorrow, and I will know for sure then if he will be OK to go, at least on a medical evaluation.

Another thing about this potential road trip that kind of freaks me is that I’m still having exactly the same issues I ended up in the ER for back in June.  Still have the heart palpitations and chest pain and all that mess, but according to the Dr.s I’ve seen including my family Dr., it’s nothing that’s going to kill me.  Yet.  I am still a wee bit apprehensive about driving continuously for 12 hours- Dad is allowed to drive, and probably will at least part of the way down, (Mom won’t be driving at all because she can’t drive manual shift,) but I’m coming back by myself since they’re staying all week. My sister or my nephew will be bringing them back.

I can’t die yet, because I don’t want to vote Democrat.  Ever.

Maybe I’m already on Obama’s death list and I just don’t know it yet.  Maybe there’s a little note in my medical records that says, “let this one die, so we can have more money to buy more pecker pumps for geezers and pay for birth control for people who should be keeping their legs together to begin with.”  I don’t think having heart palpitations constantly and up to the point of barely being able to catch one’s breath is “normal.”  But what the hell do I know?

Or maybe not?  Who knows?

I do know that I don’t want to go back to the same hospital where they called me Mildred and asked about my (non-existent) diarrhea,  put me in the same room with a howler monkey, and then told me that the reason why I have heart palpitations is because I don’t get enough sleep.  Then I go for the sleep study, get told I have sleep apnea, but not to the point where I need to be on a machine…I’m frustrated on that point.  I still don’t sleep for shit, haven’t for years.  I have to sleep at about a 45° angle to keep from drowning on the snot that drains down the back of my throat.   I don’t think I’ve had a really good night’s sleep since before I was pregnant with Steve-o- and he’s 21.  It doesn’t help that I have Tipsy McNumbNuts, who smokes like a chimney, screams like a banchee after a 12 pack or so, and has a taste for bad country music in the middle of the night, conspiring against my nightly repose.

Drunks should come with warning labels.

Jerry was on a roll last night even for a Monday.  I hope the boys at the shop are enjoying Tuesday Hangover Jerry today, ’cause it’s going to be a good one.  I hope they’re at least as loud and obnoxious as he was last night.

His TV, cable box, DVD player and stereo have been carefully configured (by me, he can’t figure out electronic anything) to be very simple to operate.  There is one button on the remote that turns the TV and cable box on and off.  It’s very simple.  Push the power button, TV and cable box turn on simultaneously.  Push the power button again and the TV and cable box turn off.  It’s not rocket science.  It is, however awkward at best to plug all this stuff in so that it works correctly.  I know what plugs in where, but I’m not particularly fond of the gymnastic feats I have to attempt to get the right things plugged into the right places.

It’s too hard for some people.

For some reason only known to God and maybe another drunk, finding the power button on the remote was too difficult for Jerry last night.  He wanted the TV off. So he unplugged everything- even unscrewed the freaking coax off the back of the TV and unplugged the AV leads from the DVD player for some bizarre reason.  Hey, kids, alcohol kills brain cells, just so you know!

Then to make it all the more entertaining, after prattling on all night last night on various rants and assorted nonsense, he’s sitting in the bed whining this morning that “the TV won’t turn on.”  Well, no shit, Sherlock, you unplugged every single wire you could unplug from every single AV device you have…

“Well, I need to watch the news,” he pouts, (insert Eric Cartman voice here) “and if I can’t watch it in here I’ll just use your TV.”

Oh, no you won’t.

Suffice to say as Jerry is a smoker with essential tremor, the world is Jerry’s ashtray.  To top that off, not only do I not want my bed to be full of stale beer farts and cigarette ashes, he doesn’t know how to operate my TV either, and I don’t need that screwed up too.  If he wants his little hole to be a fetid filth den, fine by me, but I like clean, fresh-smelling, burn-hole free sheets and a TV that works.

So at 6:30 this morning I’m back in the filth hole smoking lounge that is his room, behind the dresser, untangling wiring, plugging everything back in and moving the various electronics back to their proper places.  20 minutes later he was watching the stinking news on his own TV.  I could have wrung his neck.  Maybe it wasn’t nice of me to keep on muttering “dumb ass,” but it’s not as if Jerry being a dumb ass is a secret or anything.

I call ’em as I see ’em.  Then again, I’m fully aware he was raised by wolves.

I know he’s pissed at me for volunteering to take Mom and Dad to NC this weekend instead of frying my patoot off at the campground (I like going down there, but not when it’s supposed to be 95° and hotter all weekend.)  He’s pissed because he will have to remain sober so he can go back home Saturday night to take care of the dogs.  So all week long it will be passive-aggressive revenge (and as much drunk-n-stupid hijinks as he can stand to perpetrate) just so I know how much he will be “suffering” in his weekend sobriety.

The Meow Game, Communicating With Others, and True Believers

The Meow Game from Super Troopers

I have no idea where people get the idea that it’s in any way beneficial to get lippy with cops.  I know some cops like to play mind games with people to see how they’re going to respond, which positively terrifies and paralyzes me.

I have a difficult enough time under normal circumstances carrying on a conversation face to face without freaking people out.  I don’t get the nuances of eye contact (generally I avoid eye contact lest I be accused of staring,) and I also have real problems with sending the right body language.  Non-verbals for me are a learned skill from years of observation and interaction and do not come naturally.  I have to consciously think about and orchestrate all my non-verbal signals constantly when I deal with people face to face in order to communicate effectively.  For most people eye contact and physical gestures come naturally, almost subliminally, without thinking about it.  For me, if left to my own devices, I would simply observe others with a bit of a catatonic stare until or unless I have something to say.  Electronic communication is so much easier for me because I can simply concentrate on what I would like to convey rather than worry about whether or not I’m staring into space or standing at a weird angle.

I may not be responding, but I do hear you- with some reservations.  If I want to, and if I’m not focusing on whatever song’s stuck in my head, that is.

So my interactions with law enforcement (fortunately for me they have been precious few,) are usually limited to staring at the ground or off to the side and saying “yes, sir, Officer” at the appropriate times.  I’ve only gotten out of a speeding ticket once, and that was because I was working as a driver and the cop knew my boss.  Knock on Formica or whatever that plastic looking stuff is, but the last time I got busted for any kind of traffic violation I was nine months pregnant (my son was born on the same day they would have wanted me to appear in court) and was pulled over for running a yellow light.  Of course the cop could obviously tell I was preggers- I looked like a battleship- but all I could do was keep from giving him the stink-eye, sign the damned ticket and keep on going.  I don’t do tears on demand. Even when crying is the correct response, I usually can’t.  I break down after the crisis has passed, and sometimes it takes years for the tears to find their way out.

This strategy- even if I would dare to try it- is not open to me.

I don’t think that crying is the correct response when you get busted anyway, but it works for some women.

I just didn’t have the physical energy or the emotional strength to explain to this primadouche just-out-of-the-academy-looking-for-someone-to-bust cop that going through a yellow light is legal.   The cop didn’t need to know I wasn’t supposed to be driving at all, (I had pre-eclampsia, had been in and out of the hospital for sky-high blood pressure, and was supposed to be on strict bed rest) but I had to go out because my POS ex was too lazy to go to the grocery store, or to help unload the car, or really do much of anything else besides suck up valuable oxygen and whine (yeah, I sure know how to pick ’em, but Jerry is a nominal upgrade to some degree- at least Jerry showers regularly and he hasn’t morphed into Jabba the Hut.)   I sent the bastards their check for $125- because knowing the good-ol-boy system in the town I’m from, you might as well just pay it, because who is the judge going to getting paid to believe? (This was before the days of surveillance cameras everywhere, so I had no way of documenting for posterity that the light was yellow and all that.) It would have been my luck- even had I not been in the hospital that day- that the cop would actually have shown up in court and I’d had to pay the ticket and court costs too.  Sometimes local government sucks just as much as government in higher places.

I can go on with this subject too, but suffice to say I don’t have the gold, so I don’t make the rules.  Too bad.

I am a really paranoid driver, partially because of that incident.  I’d like to drive like I did when I was a young punk out on the back roads, where your worst fear would be running off the road into a drainage ditch, where your nominally decomposed corpse might be found in a few weeks, but those days are over.  The cops have GPS and helicopters now.  Besides, a Yaris isn’t exactly a rally car.

Unless you’re in Thailand.

That is whacked, but I guess with enough suspension mods and such, you could make  a Yaris into a rally car.  But mine is more geared for basic transportation, and as a forum for my mobile political commentary.  Since I have to drive, and I’m pretty slow, some people just might get an education just from reading the back of my car.

German does sound scary, but remember, English is a derivative of German.

I enjoy language and its nuances, probably more so than most because I don’t do well with the non-verbal and emotional sides of communication.  Interacting with dogs has helped me immensely because in order to communicate with them I have to cue in on their non-verbals, which are easier to read because theirs are far more exaggerated than humans’.  I learn a lot from them.  Subtlety is not their nature.

Sheena is as subtle as a freight train.

This morning I was thinking about all the personalities in history who were true believers- in all the wrong things.  I can’t help but to observe that it really doesn’t matter if your heart is in the right place, if your head is up your ass.   A good example of this phenomenon are the crazy people who think that if they die in the process of killing “infidels” that they go to heaven and collect 70 virgins.  Faith is not something that comes easy to me, but I would find it hard to believe that God intends for people to completely check their brains at the door.  Why would God have actually bothered to give us brains if He didn’t intend for us to use them?  And then there’s Dennis Kucinich, for whom logic cannot offer a suitable explanation.  There’s plenty of shithouse-rat-crazy people out there who will believe any sort of clap trap if the right talking head is blathering away (Obama supporters who still don’t get that he’s anti-American, the Heaven’s Gate followers, white supremacists, and so on.)

I wonder if the Visitors have picked him up yet.

I think I get it why so many analytical/rational types are secular humanists.  They get the logic that good is better than evil, but they can’t prove or disprove the existence of a Creator or Higher Power.  The only problem with secular humanism is that it degrades into utilitarianism very quickly.  There is no room in a utilitarian economy for the aesthetic- for beauty, or art, or emotion.  Even though I’m a rational type, even I need something beyond the get up, go to work, go to bed routine that most of us are beholden to.  To deny there is a sphere beyond our understanding is to indulge in the ultimate human hubris- to claim we are the be-all, end-all of the universe- when our best secular explanation for creation involves an ex nihilo big bang from the depths of nowhere.  I’m not a creationist in the 6 days, Adam and Eve made from real mud, wandering naked in the Garden with all the wild animals sense.  It would have been cool, but I don’t think creation happened that way. I don’t take the Garden account of Genesis as being literal (I do believe it to be a beautiful allegory) but I think it does tell us much about the Whom involved, if not so much the How or the Why.

Naked with all the little critters of nature.  Just imagine all the mosquitoes and fleas in places where insects are totally unauthorized.

I would rather acknowledge and embrace the mystery.  I would rather take Pascal’s Wager and assume that God IS, than to have to live in a world having decided that He is not.  While I cannot prove His existence, I cannot disprove it either, and I’d rather err on the side of embracing the mystery.

Belief in and of itself is neutral, but I think that God gave us brains to inform our beliefs, so that we are neither beholden to blind emotionalism or locked into pragmatic utilitarianism.

I do find it a bit ironic that the same people who will defy thousands of years of moral teaching vehemently despise those who still think there is value in that moral teaching, and are enraged when traditionalists speak out.

I’m OK with admitting there are black and whites, and I will gladly share my take on morality should anyone ask.  I know people disagree with me, and vehemently on some issues.  That is their prerogative.  There are some people who don’t believe morality is relevant any more and nothing I say- or that I can back up with scientific fact- is going to change their opinions.  If you want to have a relationship with a Ford Escort, or dress like a furry, or pretty much whatever, as long as you aren’t killing people, you’re not charging me for it, and you leave me alone, knock yourself out.  Just don’t expect me to announce to the world how wonderful your life choices are.

A Moral Quandary, Humor in Unlikely Places, and Victorian Ways to Die

  I do not like him, Sam I Am.  I’d rather vote for green eggs and ham.

Alright, here lately my emotional (yes I do have some) and thought lives have been a bit of turmoil lately.  Yesterday, I discovered, to my disbelief and disappointment that not only is Obama going to be sliming around in Ohio yet again, he’s also showing up at Capital University.  For those not familiar with the Columbus area, Capital is a Lutheran university (that gets some of its funding from the Lutheran church) and also the home of Trinity Lutheran Seminary.

Capital is known for its prestigious law school and its high academic standards, so it would stand to reason that they would want the opportunity to host a sitting president (though it’s a shame that the president they’re hosting is the Worst Ever.)  But when I got wind of who was promoting the event- Obama for America (what an oxymoron there, but I digress) I was truly disturbed.  This is not going to be a chance for Christians to ask Obama the hard questions regarding defending life, the economy, foreign policy and national defense.  It’s going to be another KoolAid swilling Obama-love fest- otherwise he would never have agreed to show up.  Now I know how the people at Notre Dame must have felt when Obama invaded their campus.  But no matter how much I loathe his policies and how deeply I believe he is evil and wrong, after much soul searching, prayer and thinking it through, it’s probably good that he is speaking there even though he will be spouting off the same rhetoric and lies as always, and the “other side” will not be represented.

Romney visited the Capital campus back in February and spoke (though he didn’t call it a “rally” necessarily, he didn’t travel to what most people consider to be Cow Town for leisure.)  So at least I know that both “sides” are getting an opportunity to speak, which tempered my response quite a bit.  After all, law is all about debate, and even if one “side” is fatally flawed they do deserve to be heard.  What grieves my heart (and yes, I do actually sort of have one) is that political rhetoric from either “side” requires people to engage critical thought.  A critical thinker is very likely to see the techniques Obama uses to deceive people and to call him out.  I know I’m tired of the blame game and the race baiting and class warfare that Obama relies upon, because I see it for what it is.  He has no vision other than failed socialism, and nothing to offer except the promise of being Santa Claus to the entitlement crowd.  My fear is that there are still too many people who have not engaged critical thought and who still believe the lies even though the evidence is clear that Obama’s policies are failed.

Why not try thanking God that Americans were never really into the guillotine?

Yet, as we’ve seen with Obama’s court jester, Joe Biden, he’s becoming his own worst enemy.  Biden is simply a dull buffoon whose singular talent is making an ass of himself, which is funny.  At least Biden provides some comic relief.  Obama is humorless even when he screws up, but the more frustrated he gets and the more threatened he feels, the more he says stupid things- stupid things that he knows better than to say, but that he actually believes, such as the “you didn’t build that” epithet directed at small business.  The more pandering, strident and vicious Obama gets, the more his true colors shine forth.  This venomous snake is going to grow some longer fangs.  Obama will get nasty, and he will go ad hominem even more than he already has.  Maybe for the first time some people will wake up- but not until Obama offends their emotions.  Some people are going to need to move beyond the myriad logical arguments against Obama, because some people don’t rely on logic before emotion.  The emotionally oriented people out there might just need to see his frustration and experience that red fire of hate for this country and what it stands for as it shines in his eyes.  It will come to that point as “Emperor” Barry sinks lower and lower in the polls and more and more people aren’t afraid to stand on the roof top and scream, “The ‘Emperor’ is NAKED!”

Obama’s going to self-implode.  And he’s going to do it to himself.  As much as I detest him sliming around Ohio, especially at a Lutheran seminary, the more he opens his mouth, the more he’s going to incriminate himself and alienate the electorate.

Let him keep on spewing his tired rhetoric and hot air.  He’s standing in his little boat, shooting holes in the bottom, and wondering why it’s sinking.

On a lighter note, I think Obama might want to consider a new frontier:

(It’s OK if you want to leave early, as long as you take Joe and Hillary with you.)

I am more fascinated with postmortem photography and other creepy stuff from the Victorian era than I should be.  I’m not the only one though, because there are positively tons of this stuff all over the internet.  Actual prints (rather than the .jpg scans that I troll for) of people who died 150 years ago go for big money, even if you have no clue who the dead people are.  Most of the people in my family were too poor to even afford taking pictures of dead people, so I don’t have too many pictures taken before 1960 or so of my actual relatives available to me.  Dad has a box of Grandma’s old pics, but he’s not had time to go through them to identify the ones he can so I can scan them.  Most of those pics are from the 50’s and 60’s.

Probably the worst things about the Victorian era were the daily presence of death, and the really nasty ways people died.  Today most people don’t die from a case of Montezuma’s Revenge, but in those times crapping yourself to death was a very common way to die.  Cholera, typhoid and typhus were all common mechanisms of death brought on by ignorance of hygiene and squalid living conditions.  Infant mortality was sky-high because if a child developed any type of dysentery it usually led to death, as well as scarlet fever, rheumatic fever and measles were common, and deadly.  Antibiotics were not discovered until the 1940’s.

If a person were injured in an industrial or farm accident their chances of dying were pretty good as well.  The only treatment for a mangled limb was amputation- if the shock of the amputation wasn’t enough to kill you, the infection that set in your stump usually did.  Sepsis and communicable disease killed more soldiers in the Civil War than were killed in combat.

It’s all going to be OK…well maybe not so much…grab that rusty saw, Dave!

I would wonder how many people got tetanus from having a limb chopped off with a rusty saw.  People died from tetanus back then, as well as from rabies, tuberculosis, syphilis, you name it.  And worst of all, they only bathed three or four times a year.

Brains! Brains! Brains!

Fanny, Fanny Fat Cat, Vintage VWs, and Pithy Remarks

Fanny’s attempt at making me stay home from work

Fanny has always been a large cat.  Even when I first found her as a kitten beside a rural road out in Fairfield County, Fanny was, shall we say, solid.  When I took her to the Vet to have her checked out and then spayed, the Vet’s comment was “That’s going to be a BIG cat.”  That’s sort of how she got her name- once the Vet had verified she was female.  It is somewhat difficult to discern the gender of young kittens- males don’t have their pee-pee half way up their bellies like dogs, and they don’t grow visible balls until they’re several months old.   I once had a female cat I originally thought was male so (before I was aware of her true gender) I named her “Bill.”   So now I don’t name a kitten until I have the Vet verify the gender.  I had been playing the song “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen, and once it had been determined she was female, the name Fanny just sort of fit.

Our Vet is very familiar with barn cats.  Usually those are the kind of cats that end up as her office cats.  In this area most barn cats are large, silver tabby cats.  One of her office cats- Fat Albert- is almost two of Fanny (male cats are generally larger than females) even though Fanny would be large compared to most male cats.  Apparently if a quasi-feral barn cat is spayed or neutered, taken inside, treated to a temperature controlled environment free of most predators, and fed a decent quality catfood, they grow very large.

The odd thing about Fanny’s size is that while she is over 15# which is too fat (and yes, I have to try to do something about that) she is also large-framed, so at least the fat is sort of spread out.  Fluffy-Butt (or FB as our tortoise-shell Angora is usually called) is about seven pounds and is a “normal sized” cat.  She eats more than Fanny.  Isabel, who is elderly, and has always been tiny (right around five pounds) eats more than either Fanny or FB, and I’ve been supplementing her with high-faluting old-cat food and wet food in the mornings to keep her from losing weight (the other cats just get plain old Cat Chow.)

Metabolism is a funky thing.  I wish I had Isabel’s.

I’ve also been somewhat neglectful in sharing pics from last Saturday’s VW show- there were indeed some tasty cars and I took a load of pics (if you are into classic VWs, the share site is here.)   There was one car there that was a dead ringer for the 83 GTI I had once.  I am still kicking myself in the ass for trading off that ride:

I had an ’83.  This is an ’84, which was the identical model.  Black car, blue interior.

Yes, it was for sale, but I don’t have five grand to blow on a car to play with. 😦

The name “Honda Killer” is very much deserved on the first generation GTI, because the cars were heavy (compared to most front wheel drive econoboxes) and geared low, and had the advantage over the Civics of that day because Civics still had carburetors and 1.6 engines.  The GTI had a crude form of electronic ignition- no more distributor points- yay!- as well as the Bosch CIS fuel injection (mechanical, and still required idle adjustments from time to time, but it was a port fuel injection) as well as a larger 1.8 engine with a higher compression ratio than any of the Japanese stuff.

I should have never sold that car.

Anyway, I was delighted at the number of old transporters and split windows at the show.  This particular show is one of the largest in the Midwest- but the Midwest is not particularly kind to the preservation of vintage cars of any type.

Got to love the old Transporters- but you should be a technician if you plan on owning one.

The ’47 was not only rare, but very tastefully restored.

This ’67 Ghia has a very sweet engine compartment.

I would like to have a Karmann Ghia myself. Dad has a very tasty ’69, but he took his ’77 Convertible to this show because the Ghia needs some touch ups on its restoration (it was restored almost 20 years ago.)

It’s pretty much straight stock, except for the paint colors.

Hopefully this weekend will be quiet and peaceful.  It would be nice, but probably won’t happen.   I know I’m already being railroaded into going with Jerry to the campground with two dogs tonight (though Sheena staying at home will be a reason for me to scoot out before he gets too drunk.)  Clara enjoys going to the campground, and she’s easy to handle.  Lilo is easy enough to handle too.  Sheena isn’t bad on a leash, but she doesn’t listen as well as the other two, and she’s not at all compliant with Jerry.  So Sheena will stay home tonight and I will make it to the car and escape, hopefully before he’s shitfaced.

It does bother me that here lately I’ve been at the point where human interaction is wearing on me really heavily.  That’s a warning signal that I need solitude and that I’d better arrange (somehow) to get it.  Last night poor Steve-o, who is rightfully excited about his upcoming opportunities, called to chat and was going on and on for almost an hour.  Usually I enjoy discussion on all things automotive, especially with other motorheads, but even he was wearing on my patience.   I was trying to finish laundry and was in the process of stewing tomatoes- stewing and freezing is how I preserve them so they don’t go to waste- and I’m just at the point where I need to get away from people for a little while.  I’m not nice when I’m crispy around the edges.  I have some new books I’d like to read without being interrupted and all that.

This world is not geared toward the introverted soul who needs a little contemplation and quiet now and again to stay sane.

I’d almost like to arrange a couple of days where I can stay at the campground- during the week when it’s quiet.  Jerry goes down there for the social factor on the weekends, to get wasted and hang out with his friends.  I would go down there so I could turn everything off and keep from interacting with anyone except maybe Clara.

Dogs have them too, but still.  Why can’t they put something in Mountain Dew that will clean the young punks’ teeth instead of rotting them?

A good argument for parallel universes?

It always cracks me up when I observe vegans who own cats.

Cats are obligatory carnivores.

So if you own a cat, you’re feeding it catfood, which has to contain at least some meat.

Victorian Death, Memento Mori, and the Stop and Gawk Factor

I don’t know about “useful” or “reliable,” at least not today, but I’m sure fascinating would be an appropriate adjective.

I know that I’ve more than a passing interest in history- especially the Victorian era and the 1940’s- but as I was watching (yet another) documentary on Abraham Lincoln I learned where some of America’s most bizarre funerary traditions come from.  Being the curious sort that I can be (especially on the macabre or just plain weird) I decided to research a bit more.

Embalming is not a new science, and wasn’t a new science in Victorian times either.  The ancient Egyptians and some other desert cultures were into embalming due to their beliefs concerning the afterlife, but until the 19th century it was seldom practiced in European cultures.  In the US, embalming was a common practice during the Civil War (a whole industry sprung up around preserving dead soldiers so they could be sent home and buried) and even President Lincoln   was embalmed (the only way he would have survived the train ride back to Springfield in sort of one piece) but it fell out of favor here in the US until the early 20th century, when open casket funerals became popular.  Some of the chemicals used in 19th century embalming would certainly not be looked upon favorably by today’s regulatory agencies.  Arsenic was one of the more popular preservatives.

The Victorians were big on postmortem pictures too, which if nothing else, to the modern eye are nice little reminders of the concept of memento mori (remember your own mortality.)  It’s hard enough for us today to grasp the concept of mortality because most people die shoved off into a hospital or nursing home.  It would offend most modern sensibilities to go around taking pics of dead people.  Why the open casket funeral – a custom I find distasteful- is so popular in a culture that denies the reality of death, I’ll never know.  Jessica Mitford offered her insight on the subject in the book, The American Way of Death, which I highly recommend.

Most of us find the idea of taking pics of dead people to be creepy, but if you couldn’t afford to take a pic of your loved one when he/she was alive, you’d find the scratch to have someone take the pic when your loved one died, because that would be the only tangible memory left.  Hopefully the photographer would make it before the loved one started to rot.  Some photographers were very skillful in the art of “restoration”- retouching the pictures to make the subject look a little less dead, while others weren’t so good.

The eyes!!!!  Zombie Baby’s gonna eat me!

I think some photographers tried to feign “life likeness” by the angle of the shot, etc.  I can’t tell if this little girl is dead or not:

If she is alive, she’s not too thrilled about having her pic taken.

For me these kind of visuals are in the same category as the impulse to stop and gawk when driving by an accident on the freeway.  Everyone does it.  It’s not a phenomenon reserved for Central Ohio during rush hour.

I live just down the road from a Moose club, a VFW and two bars.  I get to witness DWI busts every freaking weekend (and sometimes during the week) from the comfort of my front porch.  Last week the cops nabbed some poor dude in a Chevy Cobalt who had gotten stuck in the small ditch just a few yards from my house.  Cobalt Dude was so blitzed he couldn’t touch his nose with his finger, (let alone walk the line) and upon inspection he had a pocket full of drug paraphenalia that was splayed across the decklid of the cruiser and photographed.  It was the same cop who, a few years ago, had dragged Steve-o in at 2AM- the one who’s about 6’8″, and I’d say a good 300#, and has a bit of an attitude.  So it was no surprise when Officer Titan asked this unfortunate lush and/or stoner to lean up against the cruiser, then to hold out his right hand (promptly cuffed) and then his left hand (brought together with the right and also promptly cuffed.)  Cobalt Dude not only got to ride in a police car, he got to go to jail too.

Arguing with Officer Titan is a Bad Idea.

I need a video camera, though I’ve not bothered to acquire one. The temptation to film Jerry in his oft-performed role as Tipsy Mc NumbNuts is irresistable, and if I had the camera I would do it.  Cruel and inhumane as it may sound, it would be a blast to record his incidents for posterity, as well as the DWI busts I get to witness right in front of my house.  My life is surrounded by YouTube gold.

Which reminds me, I need to try to find a replacement for the magazine tube for his .22 that he lost whilst attempting to clean it while completely effed up.   I tried to tell him that it’s not appropriate to attempt to clean one’s gun after chugging the better part of a NattyPack (30 twelve ounce beers) but what the hell do I know?

Drunks-n-guns: It never turns out good.

Really? What Message Are We Sending Here? and Deliverance (Less the Mountains and Canoes)

Wrong on Many Levels: “Grillz” Candy

Just when you thought candy cigarettes were beyond the pale, we get another frightening candy choice marketed to the unwashed masses.  What’s so terrible about “Grillz?” you implore?  Well here we go:

1. Appealing to “gangsta” culture, which is inherently inappropriate for children.  I can just imagine the kids playing “Let’s Make a Dope Deal.”  Why not just play “Hos and Johns and Pimps” too?

2. Undermining parents’ efforts at teaching dental hygiene.  Eat this candy-rot out your teeth-get yourself a gold grille.  That’s the message I’m getting here.  I’m sure the dentist would love this one.

3. Check out the chick with the downright yellow teeth on the wrapper, as if she’s proud of it or something:

Now you could take it one step further and go directly from ghetto ho to trailer queen:

Still not a role model, even if she does look like your mama.

There’s a certain irony that I got this candy at the dollar store.  They are getting the demographic right- let’s just say the “Baby Einstein” crowd does not generally shop here, and “designer” children aren’t eating candy anyway.  While the One Percent’s offspring are eating organic fru-fru granola made with actual fruit, yogurt and grain, (have to say these days I’m right on that healthy eating train) here’s what the ghetto babies and neophyte rednecks are treated to.

I know my sisters and I munched a LOT of equally disturbing and unhealthy candy- candy cigarettes, Lik-M-Aid, Pixie Sticks, and other stuff that was just plain noxious on the sugar content alone.  The 70’s were the Glory Days of candy though- Tootsie Rolls, Hershey bars, the cinnamon gum shaped like hot dogs, Bottle Caps, root beer penny candy and so forth, but probably the closest things to socially objectionable candy were the candy cigarettes.

In the 70’s, smoking wasn’t considered socially objectionable.  You could tool right on in the supermarket burning one, and even hang out inside the hospital whilst enjoying a Marlboro Red.  The Dr. I went to as a small child smoked cigars in his office.   So nobody really thought the idea of candy cigarettes to be as abhorrent as people do today.

Just another motivational illustration on the “Steve-o, Stop Smoking Crusade.”

I hate smoking, but then the most militant anti-smokers of all are ex-smokers.  He’s turning those lovely crowns (I paid dearly for) a rather nasty shade of pasty yellow, and that sort of torques me.  Jerry, well, he’s incorrigible, but Steve-o is still young enough to ditch the cig monkey and get over it.  He already doesn’t smoke in his car (doesn’t want to ruin the smell of whatever fine leather upholstery the folks at Audi installed in his ride) and doesn’t smoke in the house.  Just take that next step and stop altogether already… but that’s probably my inner Joan Crawford going off again, except that Joan Crawford was a chain smoker.  Never mind that analogy.

Perhaps it was a bit ill advised of me to let Jerry eat Isabel’s food Saturday.  I let my penchant for passive-aggressive revenge get the best of me.  That stuff is $1.10 a can.  There’s cheaper things for Jerry to eat in that fridge. If he’d developed a taste for Miz Izz’s food it would cost me a fortune, when you figure that a can of tuna (intended for humans to eat) is only 70¢.

Over all I can’t complain about the illustrious offspring too much.  I think I might just get him that rebel flag decal he wants.

Some things never change.  You can’t necessarily take the redneck streak completely out.