Monday, March 31, 2008

Horrible tales from the Belgian Congo

Yes it is a sad commentary to see how the white colonialists treated the blacks in the early part of the last century, however; after viewing these recently discovered news items, you may see that the Blacks had things a bit more in control as will been seen by the coordinated action against the greedy speculator Tin Tin.

What will happen?  It's hard to say.  I can only report these old news clippings as they come to me from my secret European sources and I disavow any sentiment toward either side, other than to say it wouldn't bother me if someone shrunk Tin Tin's head.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

"Toss me a cigarette..."

That's Paul Simon talking, or I should say singing from a song called America.  It's a pretty tune where Paul and "Kathy" are off in search of America and seem to get as far as Michigan or Pittsburgh on the strength of a pack of smokes and a couple of fruit pies before heading home to NYC. on a bus. They are smoking on the bus.
Now if you have ever seen Paul Simon playing himself on Saturday Night Live or playing someone like himself in a Woody Allen movie, you know that he would be the first person to bust someone for smoking out loud, once it became The Thing to do.
That's why I think it's funny that he is singing it forever .  Just goes to show you that smoking is cool.  Now you may have lost a friend or relative to tobacco related illness or know someone who is sick from cigarettes and won't stop smoking.  If you are in this fix, then you may not think smoking is so sharp, but it is.  I never smoked until I was in the service.  I did because there was something extremely satisfying about firing up a Lucky Strike after some action.  The taste brought back memories of hot coffee and breakfast and the old days camping at the lake.  The fact that I never drank coffee, ate breakfast or camped at a lake in my life didn't matter.
It was some magic cigarette mojo that eased your mind.  I'm not sure why cigarettes took a notion to start killing people.  Maybe they started putting too much weird stuff in them.  I don't know if you have ever smoked cured tobacco from NC, but it's pretty tasty and doesn't have a cigarette odor to it.   Looking back, it doesn't seem that smoking became a killer until cigarettes got to be such a huge business with about a million brands fighting for the smokers dollar and with that many in the fray it was only a matter a time before the inference was made that smoking might in fact be bad for you, so all kinds of new filters and 'Lite' brands came flying out.  "Are you smoking more, but enjoying it less?" we were asked.  Well I don't know about that Jack, but people sure started to get sick more than they had in the past and the disease was traced to smoking.  Was this some kind of reverse placebo?  Tell people something will make them ill, so they feel bad?  Hard to say.  I certainly have seem some gross over reaction to smoking back when it was legal in certain parts of a bar.  I always figured if you were close enough to people smoking pot to get high yourself, that would be the definition of bothersome  secondhand cigarette smoke; meaning there are lots worse pollutants out and about on a daily basis.  People take to the strangest notions.  I got heart disease 8 years ago and stopped smoking. For my part, I haven't looked back, but I don't scamper away when someone lights up.  Back to Paul Simon.  He didn't get his cigarette because "... we smoked the last one an hour ago."  Just something about little Paul smoking on a bus in a rather nonsensical song written with a very high hand got me thinking about how quickly things can flop around from good to bad.  Then of a sudden, I realize that in counting the years between the notion behind Simon's words and where things lie today, I'm running down more than half a life time.   Gosh,
it really does seem like yesterday that people smoked every place and no one noticed.  I guess when you can stuff a whole era into your mind and then examine it from every angle, you better start watching your step for you may have lived long enough. (Wonder if it would change anything if Garfunkle wrote that song?)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Friday, March 28, 2008

He's really glad to meet ya! (Very much so)

Oh oh! Its a Ghost! (silent 'T') Sure it's Casper The Friendly, but he's still a ghost and even though he is cartoonish with a bubblehead and expressive eyebrows  he is destined to walk the earth in search of a friend before he can rest.  Kind of begs the question of what happens to his friend?.  I lived in a house with a ghost in it and the thing was not the least bit friendly.  In fact, it would stomp around the halls and go dragging right by the bedroom where I slept causing me to flee in panic.  The ghost never got me and I was damn glad to get out of that big scary old place.  I wish I could have confronted the source of the sound because it was a real physical noise of someone dragging something and the father of the family who lived there before had died while out in the woods cutting a Christmas tree.  Kind of get the impression I'd be seeing a rather confused looking semi transparent man with a tree.  Trouble with that is it would open up a whole lot of theological and scientific seams plus throw the light of suspicion on my ability to tell the truth.  In the long run it's a better ghost story than factual sighting.  Still it gives one pause to wonder what happens if ones death is unexpected or particularly tragic and not totally resolved.  I mean this guy with his tree would show up any time there was a big commotion at the house.  His family had moved.  Not far, but away and all the hoo ha of another big family moving in and raising hell seemed to excite the "spirit".  Oh well, I only had a chance to solve the whole riddle of life and death and blew it cause I'm a chicken.  That's the whole of it I guess.
Our whole field of cosmic misunderstanding may be laid at my cowardly feet.  Well, God knows I'm sorry!  Never said I was perfect, just Texino.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Texino vs The P Trap

 That thing is called a P Trap.  If you have a drain in your home you have one.  If you kitchen sink is slow to drain there is likely an obstruction in the U shape part. In the old days before PVC a plunger tool might be a help, however if you have PVC (plastic) pipes coming out of your sink, a plunger is not a good idea and here's why.  There will be a pipe coming out of your sink  and another pipe will go between it and the part of the P trap thats sticking straight up in the air.  OK?  Fine.  Now all that is holding that pipe to the bottom of your sink is a plastic washer that holds a plastic nut that screws onto one end of the connecting pipe and then the same thing happens at the bottom.  Now everything gets right and tight but are no threads on the piece of pipe coming from the sink just the washer is holding it by compression.  A good hefty plunge can pop that sucker lose and give you a sink full of water right underneath in the cabinet.  Ugh.  Speaking of sinks full, I should add that there is always water in the P trap because not only is it used for catching diamond rings and such, but it also serves to keep poisonous sewer gases from coming in through the pipes and killing you.  I am telling you about the water because the very best way to clear up the drain situation is to simply take the P trap out and clean the junk out or it.
Your modern P trap can be handled by simply unscrewing the plastic  nuts an making sure you have something to catch any excess water remove the U shaped part and take it out sir and run a hose though it till it is clear.  Then replace the washers and put it back together.  They sell all the stuff at the hardware store and a P trap replacement is pretty much a one trip deal.  Some of you may have a chrome plated brass P trap.  It will be held in place by nuts but they will take a monkey wrench or slip joint pliers to get loose.  They may have washers, but teflon tape is a must here.  Just wrap some around the threads and you will not have to over tighten the nuts and damage the washers.  It is important to understand that when you see mental pipes you may be dealing with professional plumbing which is hard work and requires special tools.  So be prepared to make at least three trips to the hardware store if metal is involved, and you might as well get a couple of things to keep handy.  One, a water shutoff tool. Its a metal bar with a t handle that lets you shut off the water at you meter because you various valves are probably corroded and if you break one it will be easy to fix if the water is not spraying all over.
You also need two pipe wrenches, a gee flash or work light, some kind of propane torch and a big long lighter for relighting water heaters.  Those things and a tool for undoing the plastic nuts on flexible supply tubing for toilets and sinks and you are ready to plumb.  You would be surprised what you can do.  I got my dual sinks draining like Niagara falls and in only cost me .29 cent for each washer.  Less that $5.

So even if you are suffering from strange medication changeover.  Don forget. Fixing stuff is what we are good at, so before you spend huge money ask me or just google what you want to do and do it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

There's More Pretty Blogs than one

I spent the entire week being worried over the whereabouts of my friend.  I emailed her several times.  I called her home long distance.  I emailed her kids.  I emailed her brother, who answered saying he thought she had one off to her island home for a week and was having trouble getting on line.  Well since this home is actually on an Island and one cannot get there without a reasonably sized boat or a ridiculously small plane, plus strangers who are not greeted by a resident are, as a rule, killed and buried in the sand by the Island's ubiquitous "handyman" and his tractor of all trades, I decided to just wait it out.  That decision reached, I retreated into my  "Cave O' Hits"  and recorded music, until my pal returned to her mainland digs and resumed to commune.   So, says I. "Thanks for the heads up on your trip"  Says she "It was all in my blog."  Oops!

So I realize that I have gotten so involved in my own writing that I have not been paying attention to one who reads my stuff all the time and is a damn good writer her own self.

I fucked up.  I don't plan to get so self involved again.  My recent writing is just stuff.  If you want to write well, you had better listen to what other people are saying because you don't own the words.  They are only there for the sharing.

T Texino
Dog House

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Six Days in a warehouse...

A very large warehouse.  Somewhere in Oakland, CA.  The warehouse was full of army men, the type that get blown up wholesale in a war movie that calls for a lot of dead soldiers.  In other words, replacements. I don't remember very much about this warehouse other than it was huge and went on for ever in all directions, and there were little islands of bunk beds.
The were in groups 6 or maybe 12 but the didn't seem like a crowd because the space was just gigantic and even though there were easily 1000 men in there all the time it was not very loud.  No horse play.  
We stayed there longer than normal because of the six day war.  It started the day I reported to the Oakland Army Terminal and they held everyone up until it was obvious they weren't going to need to blow up any or our guys over there and then they started shipping us out to Vietnam.  Being a replacement you flew over on a civilian jet and it took about 27 hours
19 off  them flying.  Seems like you had to go a lot of places, although Vietnam is pretty far away; sort of between China and India, so you had to go to Seattle and Japan and Okinawa first.  Guys who shipped over with their unit mostly went by boat and that took a long time and was no fun.  I think I would have liked it though.  I ended up making that trip a couple of times, but never got warehoused like that first time.  For some reason after all these years, and I think about Vietnam a lot, it has occurred to me that a portion of the boy live stock in that big warehouse never came back. How many?  Can't say.  When you get killed in a war though, you go from person to  garbage pretty quickly.  I mean, your buddies will make a big deal about getting you out so the enemy don't cut your dick off, but once the boys at graves registration get you well they handle a body pretty rough.  Got to or they would go mad.  I'd say they are already mad and mostly drunk any way.  They bag you and tag you and put you in a tin box and God only knows how they send those boxes back except they end up in Delaware which is where Graves Reg HQ.  is and where they start treating the bodies like normal dead people again.  From there they to off to get buried.  But no one gets to look, so you got to take the word of graves reg that the body in the box is whom they say which BTW is the function of those dog tags soldiers wear.  If you see a set of real dog tags you will notice one has a notch in the end.  Well the Graves Reg. guys take that and sort of well wedge it between your teeth except they make sure it will stay.  Then when the body gets to where it's going they match the tags.  Well that's what they do. I didn't make the rules.  Maybe someone should write a book or a movie about that part of the service.  Some times I think if people new a little more about your day to day war time, they would not be so pleased with themselves sending the boys and girls off to prove a point.  So back in june of 67, it went something like this:  "Better hold off on that shipment for a week Bob, the Jews might need 'em."  Oh the price of freedom is a heavy coin.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Fat Heads

Who?  Well the fat heads are the people whose overall mindset is what keeps
actual American Citizens dying in these crazy wars that you sort of hear about.
Sort of hear about?  Well yeah, I'd say that.  Like where is the 82 nd Airborne pounding the ground at the moment? Or the 101st Screaming Eagles?  The 1st infantry?  The 1st Cav. (Airmobile)  This ain't loose lips sink ships stuff you know.  It's just the TV doesn't say because The Fat Heads don't want the word out that our storied fighting groups are just tooling about being used for target practice by Johnny Arab.  Are you holding your head and saying, oh no not again?  Well you may as well because The Fat Heads learned back during the War Between The States, that there was good money to be made by a stay at home Fat Head so long as the bullets kept flying and the bombs kept bursting and even if a war happened to stop, there was something called R&D that paid pretty good money to modify the tech from the previous conflict and make it more powerful and expensive for the next war and woe be it to anyone who tried to keep there from being a next war.  Take a second if you will and bring in the Ghosts of Woodrow Wilson and Jimmie Carter.  You say Carter's not dead? Sure he is, he just don't know it. Now here are two great men who tried to set an example of peace.  Mr. Carter Even tried to be Green!  Plus he was every bit the fundamental Christian G.W. Bush would like to be.  He just did it by honest work and setting an example of the Christian life.  Wilson's work on the League of Nations was masterful and he was proud to believe he could have ended all wars, until the Fat Heads stabbed him in the back and dashed his dream.  And Mr. Carter?  He was dismissed by a neurologically defunct B movie actor and his wife who knew how a queen should live, and as the Carters we ushered out the back door of the boarded up mansion, the curtain went up on 8 years of Fat Head theatre where they were so comfy they didn't even need a war and things looked so peachy that just about every potential Fat Head there was joined the Republican party.  Well the Ronnie Show finally had to leave town.  At their convention no one seemed to notice that rather than a speech they folksy Prez put on a hi tech video of his accomplishments narrated as he strolled and rode around his wild-west ranch and ending it walking away from the camera with his arm around "Mommie" who reaches out and gives him a pat on the butt as he says "...And I think we did a pretty god job." Oh Jesus fucking Christ, the Fat Heads cheered  their fat heads off.  For a fucking movie by a fucking movie actor reading voice over while the actual man was Ga Ga. Didn't matter because they had the big MO behind them and elected a former CIA chief who knew exactly who he could get  a war going with and did it it the grandest fat head style chasing Iraqis all over the desert and blasting the crap out of them with smart and very expensive weapons.  You will remember the Patriot missiles that couldn't miss?  And all those briefings where "TV guided" things went right through the doors windows and down the chimney.  Well it turns out things were not quite as accurate as all that, but what the hey?  We ran those stinking towel heads... well you know what I mean.  One thing though.  The jr. Fat Heads and the Thick Heads could not figure out why didn't we chase evil Sadam back to Baghdad?  Well, a lot has to do with how this story started, and I'll get right to it  Still in Iraq #1 we had plenty of Fat Head Dollars to be made putting out those oil fires and restoring infrastructure and all that jazz.  The reason we just stuck with that fat head business was Mr. Bush #1 had been around and he knew the secret.  The secret is not going to make you very happy regardless of what size hat you wear.  But damn the lies and full speed ahead.  Lets build a metaphor, OK? Fine.  No suppose you had a gang of scrawny little british kids and they had been playing some type of game for ages.  Something Americans don't play or even understand at all; like Cricket.  Well these boys could be really good but say a German school moved into their neighborhood and they had a team that was just as good but had the advantage of regular meals and warm clothes, so they were bigger and stronger and they would win enough games to always be on top.  OK.  We suppose we were to bring three men over from the USA: Michael Jordan, Joe Montana and Barry Bonds, each one at his peak and each one with a huge fortune.  Before too long, with the help of these super athletes and their money, the British boys would find a way to come out the over all winners. Well the great wars, the world wars, have sort of been fought like that.  Our side won, not because the Americans were the smartest fighters but because we had the inexhaustible supplies from Fat Head business and the foolish patriotism drummed into the real Americans by their Fat Head bosses. Plus our allies had been fighting wars for thousands of years and really just needed the infusion of unlimited wealth and plenty of guys in green.  Don't buy it?  Well just look at the wars we have attempted to prosecute on our own;Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, The Drug War... See a pattern?  Maybe we are not the big time winners the Fat Heads tell us we are.  Remember, it really doesn't matter to the Fat Head Confederacy if we keep losing these wars;  so long as we don't see the truth of the matter and stop fighting for Fat Heads.  What might happen if we did that.  Did what?  Admitted that we can't win a war against a determined insurgent population who is not trying to take our stuff but just trying to work out their inner turmoil and just come home.  That's right.  Say fuck it Johnny Arab, you fix it and we will talk business.  Well the Fat Heads would not care for that in the least, but, being fat heads they would get to work on bringing some some sort of big dollar can't lose business to ground.  Wouldn't it be swell they decided to make some highly efficient car or some medical cure?  Could that happen?  Of course it could.  The Fat Heads are really just a big machine tool factory of sorts.  They have just been profiting of war for so long that it's hard to change the product and of course as long as we believe that we are ace war winners, a status quo will exist. Admit that we can't win a game of checkers against these non-enemies and see how fast the  industry develops  the tools for our cleaner greener and better future.  Why?  Sooner or later another real war will pop up and after all, a Jeep's just a kind of car and if it's electrically powered and made of composite material it will bring a good price on the defense market.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

the sun will not set on simple ideas

No, it won't and helps to see the point, if you have traveled around the world sort of quickly.  Say from Panama to Japan to India to Europe and so on.  Never stopping long; just moving at a pace where the sound of each day's subtle shifts in  pitch don't come as a surprise. I mean the change of the rail road's sound at the grade crossing and the fire brigade's banshee moan suddenly becoming that "hee haw" two tone or do the cop cars sound like alarm clocks and do kids march to school?  If you have traveled enough those simple sounds in the traffic of life can tell you where on earth you may have started the day.  Of course jet planes and ocean ships are generic  but so are the sky and sea to a land traveler.  No the sun does not set on a traveler, it just passes over his way and comes back again to remind him to listen up for some symptom or look for a sign that he's someplace else where it may be time to mind his manners in a different mode than the day before.  To travel about is to learn lots of customized style but rarely find any big answers.  If you want to know where love goes, what blue sounds like or how to recognize Wednesday, well I don't think you will find the answers to those things anywhere outside of your own mind and that means you will have to brave the dark because the sun sets on your mind every night.  Of course the more you travel, the less you notice the dark hours because you get good and tired!   I have been meaning to hit the road so I don't think so much.  Probably do me some good.  I'll send you a card.