Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Both Photos From Here
The Cycle back issue I ordered arrived Monday. Dad's Ads sent it out pretty much PDQ. Other than the musty smell, it's in good shape and the article on the Superbike was just what I was looking for. There are also a couple of other articles about the big Kawasakis in the magazine, along with an article about Kenny Roberts. And as if that's not enough, in '78 they were still featuring dirt bikes in the magazine which means there was one of Ed Hertfelder's Duct Tapes columns in the issue. That used to be the first thing I read when the new issue arrived, but I digress.

Since the article was in the November issue, it was probably written up a few months earlier and was a pretty accurate description of what was being raced during the middle of the '78 season. The wheels were Morris Mags, with a WM7 in the rear. Dunlop tires. Extensive frame modifications, including moving the shock mounts forward, a new neck with tapered roller bearings in the front and ream fit engine mounting plates and bolts. The front brake calipers were from the KR 750 racer. The rotors were Hunt aluminum discs that had some type of plasma sprayed coating. Stock 26 mm carbs that were extensively modified. Lots of neat tricks that required hours and hours of development time. Engine was rated at 130 horsepower.

The bike was tuned/built by Pierre DesRoche and originally sponsored by Racecrafters, as seen in the top photo with Pridmore tucking the front end. I assume that the bottom photo is from 1977, judging from the paint job and the lack of oil cooler on the duck tail. Doesn't really matter. I've got the magazine and the info I was looking for. It ties up a couple of loose ends that were bugging me. No reason now not to get after it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Farm and Workshop Welding


I stopped at Menards on my way to school the other day - no real surprise there, I guess - and on my way to the back of the store to get some spackling compound I stopped to check out the books. I came across Farm and Workshop Welding by Andrew Pearce. This is a really good book. It covers just about everything a guy would want to know for welding around a farm or workshop. It covers cutting: flame, plasma and arc gouging. Welding: gas, stick, MIG, TIG, plastic welding. It goes into a little of the specialty stuff like welding cast iron and TIG brazing. It's a softcover, shiny pages thing that is well worth the money. I found it on Amazon and used copies were going for $31.00 and up. Menards had it brand new for a little more than $22.00.

If you're looking for a good all around welding book geared to the hands-on user, look no further. Shop Teacher Bob gives it a big thumbs up.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pipes and Zombies

I got out into the shop over the weekend and did in fact get a little something done on the bike project. Not as much as I would have liked but a little something's better than nothing. However, I did manage to finish up a job that I've had in the mill for way, way, too long on Sunday. I don't want to get carried away on the bike while I'm waiting for the Cycle back issue to show up, anyway. Actually, I think I'm pretty well locked in on my plan now. The magazine is primarily just for inspiration and motivation. Lord knows I could use a little.

I worked on the pipe a little bit. I made up an aluminum insert/exhaust tip for the end of the pipe. I'm planning on putting a baffle behind it. I can slip the baffle into the pipe and keep it in place with the aluminum end cap. Easy in, easy out, plus dress up the pipe a little. The header itself is an old Yoshimura, I believe. The pipe/muffler they used was just a straight pipe with a little zig-zag bend so it would tuck in well. That's pretty much what I've got in mind also. Paint the pipe and the header with some VHT black and it'll be a done deal. I'm going to try and get out in the shop this week and start hacking away on the tubing for the rest of the pipe.

A couple of summers ago, they were filming a zombie movie locally. One of the locations was the home of one of our coaches at the boxing gym and they filmed a scene at the gym as well. Surly took some still shots that he had posted at his blog (above photo from there). I asked Coach Ernie about it later a couple of times and heard some crazy stories but never that the movie had been released. I asked him about it the other day and, apparently, it has been: Post Mortem, America 2021. You can get a copy for ten bucks. I'm not a fan of zombie movies, and I have a feeling this wouldn't be one of the better ones, but it might be cool to watch it to see Coach Ernie and find out if our gym made the cut.

And speaking of Surly, he dropped his fitness blog and started another one about his planned house projects and other related subjects. It's listed on the right as mostmodcons.

Looks like the high this week will be a little above freezing. Not great weather for working on motorcycles in a barely heated shop, but I need to scratch that itch. Like always, steady by jerks.

Think Spring!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cold Or Not, I'm Building A Motorcycle

Photo From Here

Now that's Italian - Guzzi in front of the Coliseum. 

Not Italian, but this is what's been paying the bills. This is one of the hydraulics trainers in the lab where I'm working now. All of the items you see pictured are fastened to a metal peg board by the new and improved system of pegs, replacing the old plunger and grommet system. Your's truly has been swapping them out. Each item requires the removal of four plunger/grommets and the installation of three fixed pegs (black) and one locking peg (yellow). Not a hard job by any means. Just a whole bunch of parts that are a little bit oily. There are four of these boards plus some additional stuff. I've about got the job wrapped up - been an interesting diversion from my normal routine of broom pushing. We moved a large model of a power plant in a couple of weeks ago. I'm awaiting word on what my responsibilities will be on that one. Lots of dusting for one thing and then some repair work, I would assume. 

Regardless of what the weather brings this weekend, I'm getting out in the shop and doing something. I'll never get that 900 done by sitting in the house all the time. When I built my roadracer for Daytona, I spent lots of time in the shop during the winter. Of course, I had a better heater in my old shop, but I lit the bike off for the first time by pushing it down the snowy alley when it was about 18 degrees. Loaded it up a couple of days later and Surly and I headed south, first to Talledega and then Daytona. My plan for this weekend was to get the rear wheel and the swingarm pulled off  so I can bridge the arm and see what it'll take to widen the wheel. However, I ran across this:

I've been looking for this magazine or at least the article about the Superbike for a few years now. I subscribed to Cycle magazine for years. Probably would still be if they hadn't  folded up. I had this issue in a cardboard box with a bunch of other back issues I had saved. Unfortunately for me, I had the box at school and I think some kid lost it or took it home with him, whatever. Of all of the old magazines, however, this is the one that I would have kept no matter what. It's got a really great write up on the Vetter Superbike in it. Highly unusual to see an in-depth article describing all the modifications on a current race machine, then or now. Anyway, I found a place that had a copy and it's ordered. Wasn't really cheap, but I think now that I have a blueprint, I might just turn my 900 into a 1978 Kawasaki Superbike. Probably have a little trouble running a number plate over the headlight on a street bike but other than that, shouldn't be too tough. Not so sure about the total loss ignition system. You can see the sidecover in the photo above that replaces the stock alternator cover. I made and sold a few of those back then, so I made myself one and kept it. I've already bought the second disc for the front brakes. I think the Superbike used Lockheed calipers instead of the stock ones. My bike has a Suzuki fiberglass fender on the front. Don't know about finding a good stock metal fender but a fiberglass one would be easy to come by. I've got a steering dampener like the one in the photo. I had it on my frame when I had the sidecar attached to it.  So it looks like I've got most of the parts and some of the frame mods are already done. I can't remember what they did to strengthen the swingarm. I don't think they used  rectangular tubing like mine is, but rather, I think they opened up the tubes and welded in a piece of flat bar, as odd as that sounds. I'll find out when the magazine gets here.

I'm excited now. Cold or not, time to start working on that old dog. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Welder Guy Shirt

I got myself a new tee shirt, as being modeled in the photo by my lovely assistant, Ms. Dining Room Chair. I need another tee shirt like a dose of the clap, but a "Welder Guy" shirt rocks. Special 79 is hawking these things to help fund a trip he's taking to Born Free to showcase his work. It's out west and he's out east. Not cheap to get yourself and a motorcycle across the country. A double sawbuck will get you one and that includes shipping. Help a really talented fabricator out a little and get a cool shirt in the bargain.

The Missus and I went out of town for the weekend. We stopped outside of Indy and met my niece for lunch at Jersey's Cafe. Not the place a vegan would normally seek out but they have some kind of tree hugger sandwich that I ordered. Not bad, but I really would have preferred one with pastrami or corned beef. Or maybe the baked potato bowl smothered in chili and cheese. All the sandwiches were about six inches high and everything comes with cheese. As my old friend Mr. Rivers used to say about another subject, "Not good for you, but good to you".

Also stopped at a Tim Hortons for a cup of coffee while we were buzzing around in Ohio. If you're a hockey fan, you've seen the name Tim Horton  painted on the boards of every NHL team. If you're an old hockey fan, like me, you remember Tim Horton when he played. The Tim Horton stores used to be just donuts and just in Canada. Now they're a cafe and bake shop and in the U.S. When my buddy Kevin and I ran the Detroit Half-Marathon a few years back we ran by a Tim Horton's right after coming out of the tunnel, if I remember correctly. I offered to run in a get us a couple of sinkers and then catch up but I guess my buddy figured running 13.1 miles was tough enough without a couple of donuts weighing him down so he took a pass.  Owning a Tim Horton's would be good, though. Get out of education and into donuts. Don't know what a franchise would cost, but putting your money in the bank or the stock market these days is pretty futile. I've invested a lot of money in donuts over the years. Should have invested in the franchise instead. The wallet would have gotten fatter instead of the waistline.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cimarron - Good For Westerns, Bad For Cars


The Cimarron is such a timeless machine. 
Saw a dude rolling hard in one on my way to work this morning, 
and it still looked just as shitty as the day it rolled off of the 
assembly line.

Blood Falcons had this posted a couple of weeks back - same vein as my post about my old Safari Wagon. What the hell were they thinking? A pig with lipstick is still a pig. Or in this case a Chevy Cavalier.

If you really want to beat yourself up or are a student of the dumbest things General Motors ever did, you can check out the history of the Cadillac Cimarron here.

If you want a better Cimarron, check out the one with Glenn Ford or the earlier one with Richard Dix.

Have a good week.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

First V.D., Then TB

That's Valentines Day and then Torch Braze. I repaired a saw vise for Surly the other night at the college using the torch brazing process. The Intro class I'm teaching covers Oxy-Fuel Cutting (OFC), Oxy-Acetylene Welding (OAW), Torch Brazing (TB), Shielded Metal Arc Welding  (SMAW), and Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), also known as MIG. There are over two hundred welding processes, all of which have some sort of capitol letter, abbreviated form. There are new methods, like Friction Stir (FSW), and archaic ones like Atomic Hydrogen (AHW). I can usually navigate among the alphabet soup of the most common abbreviations but I don't profess to know them all, or even to have seen many of them. Not much opportunity to see electron beam welding (EBW) in my neck of the woods, for instance, but Torch Brazing? I've got that mastered.

The saw vise is made from cast iron - perfect application for brazing. I'm not sure how old the vise is, I couldn't find any markings on it. That in itself is rather unusual. Anyone with the ability to design and cast something like this made from multiple parts would normally have taken pride in the job and included their name someplace. It's got the typical black enamel finish that covered most of these types of tools. Might be it was sold under several brand names. They would put on a gold decal that stood out nicely on the black paint to identify the seller, rather than the maker.

It was easy enough to repair. Grind a little bevel on both sides of both pieces and grind the "casting skin" back from the edge of the crack a little. Preheat the parts a little and then slowly bring it up to welding/brazing heat - kind of a dull red. Bring the brazing rod into the joint and it should flow into the joint as the temperature of the rod comes up as does the temperature of the cast iron. You never want to overheat the part because you'll burn the brass or the cast iron and the filler metal will never stick to the base metal after that without grinding it off and starting over.

After my paranoia post, kind of good to get back to project postings. I have been staying busy, though. I welded up a clutch arm for a little Ducati last week but forgot to get a picture of it before my buddy picked it up. He modifies the arms, with my help, by making them longer. He then slots the case out for clearance and makes a little bracket for the clutch cable outside of the case rather than internally. This gives much more leverage to the arm making it easier on the hand to squeeze the clutch lever on the handlebar. Seems most all of the older Ducatis required some muscle on the clutch lever. My 750 is like that as well.

Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy V. D.

Happy Valentines Day. My mom and dad were married on Valentines Day. Married by Rev. Valentine in fact. Their marriage lasted 42 years before ending in divorce - just a little heartwarming tidbit for you on this Valentines Day. The Missus and I will have been married 42 years in about a month. That's good enough to tie but not enough yet for the win. Most people probably don't think of marriage as a competitive sport but it really is. If you want to stay at the top of your game, you have to practice and more often than you'd like you have to take one for the team. They say married people live longer. Maybe. Maybe it just feels longer. I'm thinking the Missus and I should be able to go the distance, however. Sure hope so. She's taken more than one for the team over the years. Definitely deserves better but I'm what she's got. 

 Just as true now as when this was written, probably more so, in fact. What the world needs now is love, sweet love. So pull your head out, appreciate those who love you and be good to them and yourself.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This, That And A Little Paranoia

Photo From Here

I saw this at Self Contained Living the other day and got a chuckle out of it.:
Oh, side note to the anonymous commenter who doesn't like the fact that I burned the straw- I don't care what you think. The ash from that straw has a huge benefit for the garden and reduces the waste laying around here rotting, stinking and drawing vermin so button your liberal lip, save the planet somewhere else and keep your "greenie" crap for the city folks who might give a shit what you think because they're too ignorant to know anything about growing their own food, keeping the compost pile balanced or keeping the farm clean from bacterias and disease.....
Nothing like a little polite social intercourse via the internet.

And while stumbling around in the blogosphere I found this at Big Ring Circus:
There is still time for me to be a real writer. It might be too late for you to become a trapeze artist, but the circus still comes to town. 
There you go. Proof that it's still possible to find a little inspiration on the internet, as in the above sentence. Probably won't find it here, but it's out there mixed in among the bad Facebook photos and the pornography.

And in the scary news department obtained the old-fashioned way by reading a newspaper, in this case the Wall Street Journal, there's an op-ed piece about the proposed E-Verify law. I find this real scary and I'm only slightly paranoid. Basically the intention of the law is to catch undocumented workers but it would cost small businesses and those of us who pay taxes, enormous sums of money with only limited results - typical big government approach and solution. However, cost issue aside, here's the real kicker:
If the system goes national, it may well mutate into a catch-all method of ascertaining American's identities. A similar fate befell the Social Security number, which was created solely to distribute benefits.
Imagine all the ways government could repurpose an electronic system supposedly capable of verifying our identities. After employment eligibility, airports, voting booths and office buildings might well be next. How long before we will need E-Verify's blessing before attending college, signing up for Internet access or buying a legal firearm?
Even if you don't keep checking the sky for black helicopters, that'll give you something to think about. And when you couple it with this next one, also from the WSJ, you too can start building a bunker:
According to the Justice Department white paper obtained by NBC News, the U.S. can kill a citizen who is "continually planning attacks" for al Qaeda when an "informed, high-ranking" official decides that the target "poses an imminent threat" and capture is "infeasible."
 From the leaked white paper, though, we get the drift: Americans may have constitutional rights, but the realities of war and the right to national self-defense trump individual rights when the executive branch is picking the targets.
So after you get your official E-Verify chip implanted, if some big muckity-muck says you're a threat to national security they can just send the sniper out for you and the show's over. Even if I wasn't a little paranoid, this definitely ain't helping. And apparently, I'm not the only one. I bought some new hiking boots from Cabela's and figured as long as I was ordering, I'd get some .22 shells. I do some plinking and varmit shooting so as long as I had a coupon for cheap shipping, I figured I might as well throw something else on my order. Only problem was, they're all out of .22 shells. So I checked Brownell's and Midway also. Same story. Only thing any of them had was the really high priced target ammo. So I went to the local "we've got a little bit of everything" store and checked there. Same thing. I understand that no-one has any black rifles or .223 ammo. Or any high capacity magazines. Or .45 ACP. Or .308. But .22 long rifle? That's just plain crazy.

We now have law enforcement officials and a few of the states saying they won't enforce proposed federal laws. There are more guns and ammunition in the hands of civilians than in the military. You don't hear about militias anymore but I'm sure those guys are just laying low. Somebody bought all the black rifles, after all. Maybe that's why the push to bring all the troops home - to bring them to bear here at home. Remember Waco? Ruby Ridge? How about Wounded Knee? Or this one, just a couple of weeks ago, where there actually were black helicopters. And this isn't the first event of this type. How about Miami and Minneapolis? Holy Horseshit, Batman! Now I'm starting to scare myself, but as Brother Johnny used to say, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you".

I'm going outside - thought I heard a helicopter.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Train Photos

I went to see an exhibition of photographs by O. Winston Link yesterday at Purdue. I met my buddy who is working on his PhD there and we had lunch (he picked out a place with some vegetarian offerings, bless his heart) and then we checked out the exhibit. Man, that Link was a photographer in every sense of the word. The photos were all razor sharp, the lighting was phenomenal, as was the composition. The printing quality was, likewise, excellent. I would assume that many of the negatives, especially those taken at night, would be pretty tricky to print in order to get all the shadow detail and keep from blowing out the highlights. I think I counted 34 photographs in all. Many of them I'd seen in books or magazines before but when you get a chance to see them up close, no doubt then what all the fuss has been about all these years. 

Great afternoon. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Thinking Spring

I saw this 900 at Bike EXIF. That's one pretty motorcycle. It was put together by a Japanese outfit that's looking to get $37,000.00 for their effort. More than a little rich for my blood but they definitely nailed the look. I picked up a Motorcycle Classics magazine and found an ad in there for Z1 Enterprises. They sell parts for these old Kwackers as well as other Japanese bikes. Things like the missing tank badges that I have to decide to install or just mud over where they're supposed to go on mine. Motorcycle Classics is a nice magazine, by the way. I'd subscribe but I just get too many things coming here to try and keep up with as it is. 

This one was at Bike EXIF as well. I used to have one of these. Mine was pretty well clapped out when I got it. The shifting drum was snapped in half so I picked it up cheap. First motorcycle I ever worked on where I had to split the cases. Good experience for me. I used to really enjoy turning wrenches back then. Not so much anymore but the desire to work on things without having to hurry up all the friggin' time is bringing some of the joy back. Just need a little more warmth from Mother Nature. It hasn't been a bad winter here by any means, I'm just a big sissy boy now, I guess. I'm going to have to come up with decent heat for my shop if I'm going to get anything done over the winter months. I finally get rolling on a project and then I have to back off because it's twenty degrees out there. Maybe a little advance planning before next winter - kind of like the carpenters getting a couple of houses started and closed in before it gets bad out so they can keep working through the winter. Of course, if I get busy the rest of the year, maybe I could just take the winter off and work jigsaw puzzles and read magazines while camped out in front of the fireplace.

In the meantime, I'm still thinking gardening. Just by chance, I stumbled across The Good Food Revolution by Will Allen yesterday at the library while looking over the new book section. The book is the story of Growing Power and how it all came about. It's a good story - urban farming and supplying locally grown, healthy food. I checked out Growing Power's website and found that Mr. Allen was in my neighborhood for a speaking engagement just a few weeks ago. As Mr. Natural said in my last post - Sheeit - I would have loved to have heard him. Anyway, it's a good book about a good subject by a guy doing good things. 

I'm going to keep thinking spring - the season for love, motorcycles and gardening. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Thoroughly Confused Now

I just finished reading Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It by Gary Taubes. Very interesting book that basically turns everything you ever thought you knew about getting fat upside down. The calories in, calories out theory? Tossed out. In it's place, to lose fat, you need to eat fat. He even makes the case for putting a little lard back in your diet. I know that replacing lard with trans-fats/hydrogenated oils was a bad thing. That's what made the cheap sandwich cookies I used to eat by the handful so bad for me but I never considered eating lard or the fat around the edge of a pork chop as being a healthy way to go. In a nutshell, according to the book, carbs are bad, fat and protein are good. If you want to eat healthy and have your weight in check, stay away from the cereal grains, eat a little leafy green stuff and have a hamburger as long as you spit out the bun.

The last AARP magazine had a diet in it based on a seventeen year study in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health. According to the study, eating whole grains reduces the risk of colorectal cancer, drinking two to three cups of coffee per day lowers the risk of premature death by 10 percent, dietary fiber is important in staving off heart disease, infections and respiratory illness, and drinking a glass of wine daily can reduce the risk of diabetes. Most of what the AARP/NIH diet proposes is just about diametrically opposed to the Why We Get Fat book. About the only things they seem to agree on is to drink plenty of water and stay away from the sugar, especially the high fructose corn syrup.

What's a boy to do? You would think that by now there would be some sort of consensus among the dietitians, nutritionists and doctors that would be a definitive answer. With millions and millions of dollars spent on losing weight and research into heart disease and diabetes, how can there be so much conflicting information?

I talked to a former neighbor at Christmas time. She turned 90 in August. I went to a funeral recently for another former neighbor who passed away at the age of 94. Both of these ladies lost their husbands years ago. Neither one of them ran marathons and I would assume ate the same things that their husbands did while said hubbies were still alive. How'd they manage to out live them by thirty years? Does it all boil down to genetics? Smoking, drinking, job related stress, not eating enough pork chops, eating too many cookies? Or is it, as I'm beginning to think, that besides the genetic factor and stress, the key to a healthy diet is just quit eating commercially prepared foods? All that crap that has been processed to death by removing anything good and replaced with sugar or salt, MSG, or the god-awful high fructose corn syrup that seems to have made its way in to just damn near everything on the grocer's shelves. Maybe irradiated foods and bovine growth hormone, just aren't good for us. OK, that last one just seems to be too easy. Maybe we need to try Mr. Natural again:

Both photos from here

Looks like that didn't help any. I'm going to keep fine tuning my diet and working on the garden. I think the answer might partly lie in the dirt out back. Even if fresh vegetables aren't the only answer, the relaxation from working in the garden should cut down on the stress.

And since February is Heart Health Month, as a public service I give you this:

Syptoms of a Heart Attack

Not all heart attacks begin with the sudden, crushing chest pain that often is shown on TV or in the movies. In one study, for example, one-third of the patients who had heart attacks had no chest pain. These patients were more likely to be older, female, or diabetic.
The warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack aren't the same for everyone. Many heart attacks start slowly as mild pain or discomfort. Some people don't have symptoms at all. Heart attacks that occur without any symptoms or very mild symptoms are called silent heart attacks.

Chest Pain or Discomfort

The most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. This includes new chest pain or discomfort or a change in the pattern of existing chest pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest that often lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. The feeling can be mild or severe. Heart attack pain sometimes feels like indigestion or heartburn.
The symptoms of angina (an-JI-nuh or AN-juh-nuh) can be similar to the symptoms of a heart attack. Angina is chest pain that occurs in people who have coronary heart disease, usually when they're active. Angina pain usually lasts for only a few minutes and goes away with rest.
Chest pain or discomfort that doesn't go away or changes from its usual pattern (for example, occurs more often or while you're resting) can be a sign of a heart attack.

All chest pain should be checked by a doctor.

Other Common Signs and Symptoms

Other common signs and symptoms of a heart attack include new onset of:

•Upper body discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach

•Shortness of breath, which may occur with or before chest discomfort

•Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), vomiting, light-headedness or sudden dizziness, or breaking out in a cold sweat

•Sleep problems, fatigue (tiredness), or lack of energy

Not everyone having a heart attack has typical symptoms. If you've already had a heart attack, your symptoms may not be the same for another one. However, some people may have a pattern of symptoms that recur. The more signs and symptoms you have, the more likely it is that you're having a heart attack.

Obviously I don't have the answers to the nutrition puzzle but I do know a little something about having a heart attack. Nothing to fool with. If you think it might be happening, get to a hospital. It might turn out to be nothing but don't bet your life on it.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Weekend Update

Found another cool panel van/transporter here. In fact it's all about trucks. All kinds of trucks. Large and small - nothing but trucks.

And here's a couple of shots of Guzzi cafe bikes. Both photos from Rocket Garage. I dig that top one a bunch. Several more photos of both bikes if you follow the link.

Cold weather here over the weekend, so I got exactly nothing done in the shop. I did manage to knock out a couple little jobs around the shack, however. The Missus bought some new screens for the fireplace. I installed those and fixed one of the brackets that hold the glass doors in place. That was like record time for me. Less than a week after they showed up, the job was finished. I took a couple of more swings at the basement cleanup as well. I want to make a rack of some sort to hold the window screens during the winter. If it stays cold, probably work on that this week or next weekend. Other than moving my saws out of there, that should about take care of the basement until Spring.

Besides the basement, the fireplace doors and going to the gym, the rest of the weekend was spent on hockey, football and reading. Not a bad way to spend a couple of cold winter days, I guess. Other than the half hour out for half time and another half hour for the electrical failure, the second half of the Super Bowl was a decent football game. I wasn't too impressed with most of the commercials except for the one for the Dodge trucks with the Paul Harvey voice-over. More a plug for farmers and ranchers than Dodge trucks but maybe that's why I liked it. CBS could have held back a little with their self-promotion. Regardless of how many commercials I'm bomdarded with, it's not going to help much when it comes time for me to sit down in front of the TV. The reason I don't watch now is because of too many damn commercials. A constant barrage of commercials for cars and telephones and a 4G network hasn't improved the programming enough for me to tolerate, let enjoy, most shows. About all television is good for is to provide some background noise to help drown out the ringing in my ears from the tinnitus.

Looks like the weather will warm up after we get a little snow the next couple of days. I hope so, time to be making some progress on the projects. I'm getting the itch.

Have a good week!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Just Let Me Teach

While busily engaged in killing time while I was supposed to be working in the lab, I ran across these Just Let Me Teach wristbands at Live Long and Prosper.  He said he found them on Facebook. If you go to his blog and scroll down you'll find a link to the Facebook group if you're interested in getting yourself one. While you're there, check out what he has to say about the new governor here in Indiana and what he's done to strip power away from the new Superintendent of Instruction. Is this what educational reform is all about? Petty politics?

I recieved the new Imprimis from Hillsdale College the other day. The lead story this issue is by Nathan Harden, author of Sex and God at Yale. I'm not exactly a prude, in fact, far from it, but after reading this story I can't imagine sending my kid to Yale. Here's a school that definitely needs a good healthy dose of reform. Sex Week? Hard-core porn films, porn star look alike contest? Admitting a sworn enemy of America, a former diplomat-at-large for the Taliban, as a student?

As Mr. Harden mentions in the article: "Yale has educated three of the last four presidents, and two of the last three justices appointed to the Supreme Court. What kind of leaders will it be supplying in ten years, given its current direction?" Click on the link above and read the story - it's short but vital.

There's just too much craziness in education these days. Try this question from the quiz that was linked in at the Live Long and Prosper blog as Exhibit B:

8. Common Core Standards in literacy were written by

a) classroom teachers.

b) child psychologists.

c) university researchers.

d) business leaders.

e) a lawyer who specializes in "standards-driven reform" and someone whose background is in Management Consulting, who once tutored children while studying at Yale.

The answer of course is "e". I do like the fact that not only is the author of the standards a lawyer, he also studied at Yale, home of Sex Week. Even more ironic is the fact that I was listening to Merle on the MP3 as I wrote this and Okie From Muskogee followed by The Fighting Side of Me came up. Besides Stan the Man, we definitely need more Merle Haggard, and Johns - Brother, Wayne and Cash.

On a more positive note, besides the Super Bowl, World Cyclocross Championship in Louisville this weekend. In spite of the two degree temperature yesterday morning, I'm thinking garden. I picked up some cedar 2x6's to start my Square Foot Garden this spring. More to come on that.

Have a good weekend.