More Central Ohio White Death, More Funky Victorian Pics, and Other Odds and Ends

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I’m still trying to figure out this Rube Goldberg device.

This contraption, which I think is some kind of spinal correction device (?) could also have afforded some tactical advantage when other kids are chasing you down to kick your ass.   I can see where it could be a sort of almost skateboard without the board.   I love Victorian ingenuity.  Strange thing is that even in the early 1980’s (and I’m not sure whether or not this is still being done in schools) all the girls had to get checked for scoliosis in 7th and 8th grade.

The scoliosis check was not what I’d call a good time.  All the 7th and 8th grade girls were herded into the gym, (wearing those hideous gym suits, or in my case, since I had a Doctor’s Note permanently freeing me from gym class, a t-shirt and shorts) lined up in alphabetical order, then we either had to unzip the gym suit or pull up our t-shirt and let (supposedly) a nurse trace our spines with her finger and verify that our spines were straight.

If you were found to have scoliosis (a couple of girls did have it) then you were sent to an orthopedist who would fit you with a full torso brace with metal stays and tie up straps that you had to wear 24/7 for two or three years unless you wanted to become a hideously deformed hunchback.

scoliosis brace

Imagine having to wear this continuously – all through high summer.  Oh, the stink!

I’m glad my spine stayed straight.

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This is one of the snow piles outside of Target.  It’s 5°.

But, as always, they set up the swimsuit racks the week after New Year’s!

The City of Columbus, I must say has been doing an abysmal job in clearing the snow.  ODOT got the freeways cleared right away, but the major through roads that are the city’s responsibility, by and large haven’t been touched.  I have to wonder what the hell they’re doing with all that income tax money, since the state and the surrounding localities are seeming to cope pretty well with snow removal.  I know that corruption and graft and union thuggery run amok in Mayor Coleman’s hizzy.  I’m surprised he didn’t ask for emergency money from his homeboy Obama to clear out Downtown.

It didn’t used to be that way, and it’s sad.   The illustrious Mayor-for-Life Coleman has ran the police department into the ground, presided over (and approved of) the corruption and vice and absolute lack of accountability in the schools, and now the city can’t seem to get the crews out to clear the freaking snow.  Coleman will keep on getting re-elected though, because a.) there’s no term limit, and b.) he kisses up to the gimme crowd.  While everyone (me included) who can moves to the freaking suburbs because of the uncontrolled druggies and rampant crime-but if you work in the city limits (I do) you still have to pay income tax so this gimme-appeaser and cronies can keep on subsidizing the gimme crowd.   The worst thing about living in the suburbs is that I can’t vote against this shyster when he runs for (and gets elected) mayor again.

So much for the Things-I-Can’t-Change.

I have been somewhat remiss as of late in not posting more of those postmortems that people just can’t help gawking at.  It’s bad that I am so bored that I’m trolling postmortems again, but it is February.  What else am I supposed to do?  February always makes me think about death.  Maybe it’s because I have to go to the BMV to get my car registration, and that’s always depressing.

dead sisters

The only way I’d ever been that close to either of my sisters, voluntarily, is if I’d been dead– which I think these two are.

Generally, if either of my sisters had been that close to me when I was a little kid, it was because they had me in a headlock, pounding me with whatever sort of pointy or heavy object that was handy.

I am surprised that I actually survived childhood with only minor scarring and disfigurement.  The psychological damage- well, the Prozac does help.

creepy old woman

Gam-Gam died in 1890, but those eyes are still watching you!

I know it’s morbid, but I think the postmortem pics are a forerunner of the Open Casket Funeral, which I find most distasteful in almost every instance.  I can’t get the images of my grandmothers in their coffins with badly done makeup, in those awful pink nighties out of my head, let alone the image of Aunt Ellen (the non-makeup wearing Pentecostal) slathered down with day-glo orange lipstick and all dolled up as if she were headed for the Oompa-Loompa Prom.

I told Steve-o to cremate me when I die, but knowing him (and I’ve said this before) he will have me taxidermied and made into a coffee table.

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“Looking beyond the embers of bridges glowing behind us
To a glimpse of how green it was on the other side
Steps taken forwards but sleepwalking back again
Dragged by the force of some inner tide”-  Pink Floyd, “High Hopes”

Perhaps it is true that one can never really go back home again, but in another sense it’s also true that one can never really leave.  It’s amazing how our society forgets the past so quickly, and repeats its mistakes so readily.  Memory, if anything, should serve as both a harbinger and a teacher.

I think we do ourselves a disservice when we neglect the study of history.  It may not be a good idea to continually live in the past, and I have to guard against this, but to deliberately seek a sort of live-in-the-now amnesia isn’t very healthy either.

I’ve learned to be careful which bridges to burn and which ones to leave standing, although I can’t say I’ve mastered the art of moving forward, or of knowing which pieces of the past are worth holding on to, and which pieces are things I need to let go.

hitler empty seat

I’ll have to remember to check the empty seats in my car for Hitler before I go.

nerve pills

I think I’d be hella nervous if I were approached by a giant talking frog. But I’m paranoid like that.

Clandestine Observations, Weed Whacking While Drunk-and-Stupid, and Hooray for Technology!

I never realized how much more affordable covert surveillance equipment has become in the past few years.  Some of Jerry’s drunk-and-stupids would be positively You Tube gold.  The time he tried to start a fire in the fireplace with gasoline would have been right up there with the stuff you see on World’s Dumbest or 1,000 Ways to Die, only flashpoint doesn’t kill you, (usually) but it does burn off body hair.

Speaking of 1,000 Ways to Die  today I had to explain to some Uncle Dad (ill-educated backwoods redneck) that there’s a reason why one does not install a remote start kit on a vehicle with a manual transmission.   Something about disabling the neutral safety switch (the gadget that keeps you from starting the car unless you have your foot on the clutch) is one of those Not Very Good Ideas.  Just color me ethically cautious, but 20+ years in automotive have made me both cautious and cynical when considering the average person’s ability to understand simple directions, i.e. being 100% sure the car is in neutral when you try to start it without having your foot on the clutch.   If I’m telling you a particular modification is not a good idea, chances are I’ve either tried it (lots of experience in the School of the Burned Hand) or observed the carnage when someone else did.  I spent way too many years of my life in mechanical shops and in close proximity to body shops. 

It  does beg the question why would anyone want a remote start kit (even if you don’t drive a manual transmission car) to begin with.  I don’t want my car running without me in it.  This is Ohio, and winters can get cold, but it does not get cold enough here to warrant letting any modern car run unattended for any length of time.  That’s why vehicle manufacturers came up with all the nice innovations such as computer controlled idle and timing and electronic fuel injection.  The electronic controls make the necessary adjustments to idle, timing and fuel mix to adapt to the ambient temperature, so that puppy is going to start and run even if it’s cold.  Start the bloody thing and take off already, that’s how newer vehicles are designed.  It heats up quicker that way (both the engine and the heater, which gets hot because the cooling system from the engine gets hot) and it saves gasoline.  It’s not like back in the day when you had to play with carburetors and chokes and mechanical distributors and such, only to put the car in gear and have it stall out if you didn’t let it sit and idle and get relatively warm first.

Believe me, I don’t miss carburetion or conventional ignition one bit.  The scary thing is I am old enough to remember both- and know how they (are supposed to) work.  Rube Goldberg had nothing on 1970’s and 1980’s (blecch!) domestic carbureted vehicles’ fuel and emissions systems. It’s a bloody engineering marvel if and when they DO work.  Most of the time they didn’t, especially in the the depth of a wet, cold Ohio winter.  There’s a reason why nobody is still driving their old 1982 Chevette- many reasons, actually, but I don’t think there are very many of those old turds left that still can be driven- even if the floorboards by some Act of God failed to rust through.

I may be one of the last surviving women on the planet who knows how to decipher GM carburetor (and differential, and speedometer gear) charts.  Just because I know how to look up the component parts for these old carburetors in the old GM charts doesn’t mean they are available (most probably aren’t) but it’s a quaint old skill, sort of like using a slide rule, or writing a letter using pen and ink.  The guys who play with vintage/classic cars will understand exactly what I’m talking about, but most people will scratch their heads and wonder what the flying thunder I’m talking about.  Have fun rebuilding that four barrel Rochester for your Chevelle.  There are vintage suppliers who still deal with that old stuff, but as for me, progress is a good thing.  I may be many things, and not all of them lovely, but I am certainly not a technophobe- especially as it applies to the automotive world. I want to see a car that gets 100MPG (if it’s not too dorky- like the Smart Car that has no room but still doesn’t get any better mileage than my 4 door Yaris sedan- or expensive I would probably buy it) and for the most part I like the electronics and gadgetry available today.

However, I don’t need a remote start, even if it were safe to use them on a manual transmission vehicle (and trust me, it’s NOT!)  I really don’t mind being a bit cold for a few minutes while the heater warms up, and there are few things I disdain more than wasting gasoline.

Speaking of wasting gasoline in creative ways, I got to observe yet another drunk-and-stupid adventure last night.  Joy!  I am afraid to look in the back yard.  Jerry found himself a very sweet high-faluting John Deere weed whacker.  Now, I don’t get excited in the least about yard implements.  I don’t like yard work, and I’m doing good to even start a lawn mower or a weed whacker.  But Jerry loves yard work, and he loves the lawn tools, with the passion that middle-aged men have for all things lawn, and he gets even more excited about dangerous gasoline-powered toys when he’s good and besnookered.  After a twelve pack, and after Bob showed him how to put line in this particular weed whacker, Jerry was out to weed whack everything.  I stayed in the house with the dogs.  I am only hoping he steered clear of the tomato plants, the eggplants and the zucchinis.  I will have to go investigate tonight when I get home and can see the carnage in the light of day.  I am hoping he kept his whacking activity limited to the weeds around the sidewalk and the hedges, but redneck + alcohol + gasoline powered lawn toy is bound to equal some sort of mass destruction of plant life and anything else he could reach with the whacker.

I need to get some of the spy camera and micro DVR stuff.  Jerry out running amok with the weed whacker would have been priceless You Tube fodder.

Sins of Omission, Synchronicity, and There’s No Escaping Murphy’s Law

I am sure the tome from the 1950’s advertised above has long been out of print, but I bet it’s most informative.  I can only imagine how quaint and tame the descriptions of sex acts in this book might sound when compared to some of the crazy things people do today.  I am sure this book does not contain terms such as, “dominatrix,” “golden shower,” “dirty Sanchez,” or “fisting.”   It may come as news to some, but there was actually sex before the 1960’s.   It was just kept behind closed doors, for the same reason most people keep the vacuum cleaner in the closet.  You know someone vacuums the floors from time to time, but you don’t necessarily want to keep the vacuum cleaner on display. 

In my case, the vacuum cleaner has been in the closet a very long time, but that’s my problem.  Involuntary celibacy is not for the faint of heart.  It is for the troll-like of body, and too soft of heart, however.

Speaking of vacuum cleaners, sometimes that’s the only thing in my life that doesn’t suck…which sucks because the vacuum cleaner is the one thing that’s supposed to suck.  No matter what I do (and I am sure that having three cats, three large dogs, and an incessant smoker doesn’t help here,) keeping the damned thing unclogged takes more time than the actual act of vacuuming.   I would like to pose a challenge to any vacuum cleaner manufacturer.  If you can provide me a vacuum cleaner (that I don’t  have to unclog, replace the belt, or completely rework every three minutes of use) that will actually suck up dog hair and the various other detritus- especially those damned cigarette pack cellophanes that Jerry trails behind him- that ends up on my floors, then you will actually have a decent product that is that is worth the $100-$500 one has to pay for it.  So far I have not been able to find any vacuum cleaner from any price range, manufacturer or design that I deem to be effective.  Let me do your product testing! 

I highly doubt that any vacuum cleaner manufacturer would be able to build a vacuum cleaner that would work for any length of time in my house.  There are just too many opportunities for Murphy’s Law to manifest itself.  First of all there’s the dog hair, most notably Sheena hair.  Sheena is a Husky/GSD crossbreed- with the horrific perennially shedding thick double coat found in both of those breeds.  To make it worse, Sheena’s hair is predominately white, so it doesn’t blend in.  So at any given time, save for right after I’ve vacuumed, you will find tufts of white fluff pretty much everywhere.  The house has been Sheenatized. Lilo also has a dense double coat, but the bulk of her shedding is in spring and fall (or the Central Ohio seasons of Monsoon and Fall Monsoon) so hers isn’t usually as bad.  Clara is the lightest shedder, with the sparser Malinois coat- but during the twice a year blowouts even she can drop some serious hair.

Dog hair is lethal enough to vacuum cleaners, but then you have Mr. Cig Pack Cellophane dropping those nasty bits of clear (and therefore almost impossible to see) plastic all over creation to clog up the works along with the hair.  One may pose the question, “Why doesn’t he throw them away in the trash can?,” to which I must reply, he was raised by wolves.  I am doing good for him to get a daily change of clothes and a  daily shower.  Beyond that, he pretty well leaves a trail of wrappers, cig butts, pop and/or beer cans, wherever he goes.  There is a laundry chute in the bathroom and the whitey-tighties still end up on the floor.  His mother did not train her POMC very well.  I hope I did better with mine.

My favorite Rube Goldberg machine is in the “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” movie- the machine that serves up Pee-Wee’s breakfast, including his smiley face pancake and Mr. T Cereal.

To me, the Rube Goldberg machine provides a wonderful illustration of logical progression- what led up to this and that and finally the final result.   It also is a wonderful illustration of what happens if a step in the progression fails.

For the want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For the want of a horse the rider was lost.
For the want of a rider the battle was lost.
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
I remember these verses from an old book of children’s stories my Grandma had- all instructional tales with a moral to the story, similar to (and included some of) Aesop’s Fables.  Today when I think about these verses it makes me wonder how history would have been different had Operation Valkyrie succeeded, or even more dramatically, had the elaborate chain of events that led to WWI fallen apart somewhere. 
 
Yes, it may sound cheeky, but I wonder what my life had been like had I actually had the proper bait to go trolling for men.  🙂   
 
Then again one cannot forget the condition of synchronicity- all things working in parallel, or what I see to be the overwhelming tide of the will of God that makes the events of history plod onward and forward in ways we can neither control nor fully understand, no matter what  individual human effort is made to prevent or change them. 
 
Personally, I thought killing Hitler was a pretty freaking good idea- but as sadistic as it might sound, apparently there was a reason he lived as long as he did, and a reason why he wasn’t killed by the many assassination attempts against him.  I don’t understand why despots and sleazeballs are allowed to keep on truckin’ and those who really could be a benefit to society either die in what seems an untimely manner, or live out their days in impotent obscurity.  I can’t see the entire picture and I don’t pretend to.  But God is behind it all, whether we see things to be good or evil or incomprehensible.  One of the hardest things for me to do- being a rational type and all- is to stop trying to understand and just believe God has a purpose.
 
Far be it from me to claim to have more wisdom than Solomon, or to question the sovereignty of God like Job. 
 
It can be entertaining to play the history “what if” game- but ultimately there’s no escaping Murphy’s Law.  Humanity has been drowning in its grandiosity and hubris ever since the tower of Babel.  I can’t say Obama is the only human to get caught up in his own hubris, but he’s a good example of it.  I can only hope and pray that by the grace and mercy of God this blathering fool is booted out of the Oval Office- and that the American people have learned a lesson not only about the ways of petty tyrants, but of the folly of “sympathy voting.”  Isn’t it just as racist to vote FOR someone just because he’s black (or half-black) but clearly unqualified to hold the office as it is to vote AGAINST a qualified man simply because he’s white?

I don’t wish even someone as misguided as Obama eternity with Beezelbub, or even scathing, humiliating defeat,  but the way he’s going now it seems like scathing, humiliating defeat might just be what he wants.