Woodpile Report: Round #1

[Three weeks ago I admitted my “keep the pipes thawed” initiative was off to a slow start. However, firewood is not a sprint it’s a marathon. I recently made some (limited) progress.]

Round #1:

A friend had trees interfering with a fencing project. They had to go. Was I interested in free wood? Hell yeah!

A plan was formed. I’d fell the trees. (I happen to be good at directional felling.) My friend would do traffic/safety duty (it was near a road), buck the logs, and use his equipment to move stuff around. (He has a garage brimming with implements of diesel powered hydraulic awesomeness. All hail mechanization!)

Time was of the essence. Alas, scheduling put me on a course to failure. I had to wait for the weekend and arrived late in the afternoon. I worked like a dog but just couldn’t get enough done before sunset.

That said, there’s more to life than stacking consumables. I had fun. These trees weren’t big but they were many and adjacent to a road. One by one I dropped ’em where I wanted ’em. Like a boss! No sawyers, tractors, powerlines, or cars were crushed. Yay me.

I burned my time littering the area with felled trunks instead of amassing bucked & split firewood. In the end I gathered one paltry trailer load of the good stuff and then the light was gone. At least the fenceline was cleared.

End result? One trailer’s worth of unsplit rounds. A fair haul but going Paul Bunyan for hours had allowed me to form unreachable mental visions of a mountain of firewood. There was still plenty of wood to be had but it was not fated to be mine. The next morning the world of work intervened. I abandoned my share of all that wood and hit the road. I was two hours east of home base before I realized I’d brought a chainsaw with me (still sitting in the truck’s back seat) and yet I’d forgotten my toothbrush. (I guess the only good thing about TSA is that I’ve never accidentally brought my chainsaw on a commercial airline.) A few weeks later I returned home to split and stack what I had and mourned the lost opportunity of the other trees.

End result? Half a cord of moderate quality wood. It was a good try but I just didn’t have enough time to get serious.

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Quote Of The Day

I’m a little late noticing it but it’s still a gem:

“The core of being awesome is this: ‘I wanted to do it, so I found a way and did it.'”

The rest can be found On A Wing and a Whim.

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Today I Can’t Ignore The Bullshit (But Tomorrow Will Be Better)

The election cycle’s stupid is already flowing. The press is in heat for their BFF party and begging for a quick grope under the bleachers. Unbiased journalists like former White House Communications Director George Stephanopoulos, Imaginary War Hero Brian Williams, and America’s State Sponsored Pravda Analogue are busily examining why Fox News is the work of Satan. Fox news is making bank while their competitors languish. Newspapers employ semi-literate journalist majors to write half assed articles about why Americans are dickheads. Their customers, possibly tiring of being called dickheads, turn to Facebook for news. Thomas Sowell writes eloquent pieces about why journalist majors are semi-literate and gets a small loyal following and constant haranguing by folks that can’t abide a black conservative.

A third of the populace is terrified by Trump’s hair and another third is delighted to see the first third quaking in fear. The remaining third missed the whole thing while playing with their smart phone.

Skeletons are coming out of closets (mostly Hillary’s). Skeletons are being stuffed back in closets (also mostly Hillary’s).

Six campaign volunteers in an Iowa Dairy Queen will be questioned by a reporter who pretends that unemployable 25 year old unpaid interns grok the concerns of a long haul trucker with three ex-wives, a pipeline roughneck with a bad back, and a devout sewer inspector in Walla Walla. Later, everyone will pretend to care about New Hampshire.

One party will carefully pretend it doesn’t want to outlaw guns. The other party will carefully avoid mentioning sex.

Everyone will discuss gay cakes and the role of the family. The $18,390,342,665,743.85 debt, like Volvemort, will never be spoken aloud.

Long policy papers will be written by the unfortunate 25 year old unpaid interns who weren’t pretty enough to be shipped to an Iowa Diary Queen. They aspire to one day have their own wikipedia page but will never pay off their student loans. Short slogans, meanwhile, will be written by 50 year old, well paid PR flaks who drop cash on advertisers that enjoy the quadrennial bonus money. Etcetera…


I haven’t had much to say about it. As 2016 drags toward us like a shambling zombie I remind myself that watching a marionette promise sunshine isn’t the same as looking out the window and scanning for clouds. For those times when I fall off the wagon, please forgive me.

Today is such a day. Forgive me.

The tone of politics has changed in my lifetime. Americans always bitch (and I think that’s healthy) but the bitching seems more bitter each year. I remember disagreements about politics in all eras but I never felt quite as hated as the last decade or so. I’ve had a hard time articulating what changed. The Z-Man sums it up better than I:

“I was born into a country where people, who were like me, tried hard to win my vote. I now live in a country where people who hate me and are nothing like me chase the votes of people who hate me. “

Exactly! Candidates who are nothing like me will spend most of 2016 pursuing the votes of people who hate me. I’m stuck standing around like Rodney Dangerfield. What’s wrong with my vote? Doesn’t anyone want it?

Also, for all of my joking about urbane yahoos and 25 year old unemployed interns, I don’t hate them. But they hate me. Not for anything personal. I’m hated because I live in reality. I feed pigs, butcher them, and make bacon. I cut firewood because it’s cold in the winter. I go fishing. It doesn’t get more real than that. People who go apeshit over a safari in Zimbabwe tend to find my very existence inconveniently and diametrically opposed to them. Not my opinions but my very existence. Some of us, when faced with a differing viewpoint, might ignore it or try to learn from it. Others might try to isolate the heathen and stamp him out.

I’m not alone. If you’re reading my blog, there’s a good chance they hate you too. Keep your head down or scream at the incoming tide as you see fit. I wish you the best of luck.

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Garageneering: Time Travel: Alternate Universe Ending

One response to my last post was the following:

“My bet is that the redneck’s pit bull woulda had a mouthful o’ nuts as soon as you stepped on Dumbass’ hand.”

Challenge Accepted!


Horatio Thaddeus McSweeny, hereafter known as Dumbass, was having a fine day. He’d gotten a great deal on Bungalo Paneling, had scrounged a truckload of junk from Grandma’s old house trailer, and also acquired some bent 2″x4″ studs by tearing down a rotten shed. He was going to combine all this shit to make his garage the talk of the town.

The paneling, which was composed of recycled Chinese newspapers and ground corncobs, wasn’t supposed to get wet and it wasn’t supposed to be tacked up on bare studs. Then again what’s the point of being a redneck if you don’t flout convention? He’d left the paneling in the rain for two days and now he was going to tack the soggy mess to bare studs because… Well because by God you can’t tell a man like Dumbass anything! He smiled.

Just then there was a disturbance in the space time continuum and some freak from the future showed up. Future Guy seemed uptight. He ranted about taking measurements and using a level. Dumbass did have a level but he’d used it to pry open a stuck barn door and now it was as crooked as Nixon. As for measurements? Math is hard.

He’d let Future Guy ramble but then things got violent when Dumbass reached for another beer. Luckily, Spike came his rescue.

Spike was a 3 month old Pit Bull that had just showed up one day. He never figured out which of the 37 children adopted it. None of them seemed to claim him. The dog was already huge and growing quickly. It answered to the name “Get Your Ass Over Here”, spent most of the day licking his balls, and had recently eaten a barn cat. Now the dog had Future Guy by the balls and that was awesome. Ha!

Future Guy muttered “I’ll be back” and vanished along with the dog. He left behind a backpack filled with change and a toolbox. Dumbass, happy to be free of both the dog and Future Guy, hefted the backpack and hustled toward his car. This was at least $500 and he knew just what he was going to do with it!

Behind him, the 37 children descended on the toolbox. Dumbass paused. Should he save some tools for himself? He saw one kid grab a 4′ level and wield it like a baseball bat. Two other kids had swiped a set of carpenters squares and were hurling them like boomerangs. Another group of kids were squabbling over a pile of tape measures. One little girl was using a new hammer to drive drill bits into the dirt. Nah… let the kids play. Dumbass had bigger fish to fry!


Back in the current time Adaptive Curmudgeon was gingerly prying a dog’s teeth from his crotch. The dog, disoriented from time travel, submitted quietly and retired to a corner of what looked like a Mad Scientist’s Lab. The dog began to lick its balls; something that it did for hours.

Curmudgeon limped to a stool, sat down gingerly, and pondered his next move. He couldn’t go back to the same point in time and simply shoot the dog. For one thing the mutt, once it was pried from his privates, was just a rambunctious puppy. It seemed likeable enough. For another thing, if you go to the same exact moment in time twice you will be haunted for all eternity by the ghost of Gene Roddenberry. This was an established time travel fact.

It would be best if he could return to roughly the same year though. An adjustment of a few days or weeks was no big deal but he was running low on the components necessary for big recalibrations to his time machine; specifically eye of newt and another AMPEREX 4-250A Vacuum tube (which would be destroyed during the process). He had a stack of tubes but they weren’t cheap. Even worse was the matter of newts. Hunting newts takes too damn much work and their eyes are teeny tiny little things so you need ’em by the bucketload. His back ached just thinking about it. And it had to be done manually. If he tried to buy eye of newt on e-bay the NSA would know. That would be the end of his time machine… again. “Rookie mistake” he muttered under his breath. Everyone who has a time machine knows about the newt thing but the Curmudgeon had learned the hard way.

Soon he’d made his plan. He scrawled his message in chalk on the side of a hefty piece of metal; something big enough that he was sure Dumbass would find it. (The metal turned out to be the exhaust manifold from a 1956 DeSoto. Every Mad Scientist’s Laboratory has a few Desotos, it’s just common sense.)

“WELL PLAYED. MY NUTS ACHE AND YOU WIN THIS ROUND! HOWEVER, IF YOU USE THAT BUNGALO PANELING YOU WILL REGRET IT.”

He tossed the manifold in his time machine and launched it into the aether.

Then he picked up the phone and called Tactical Tom. Tom, who never used his real name (probably because it was Eggbert) was so paranoid and reclusive as to make the Curmudgeon seem gregarious. Curmudgeon didn’t make the call without reservation. Even the act of contacting Tom would require four phone calls, a countersign, and a clandestine meeting at a pre-arranged location which would almost certainly be inconvenient. However, the man was a genius at the art of dog training.

Curmudgeon eyed the gangly mutt in the corner. It was trying to lick mercury out of a test tube and leaning against a charged 600 amp power supply. He was going to need a trainer.


At midnight, at an undisclosed time, at an undisclosed location, on a dark bridge, a man and a dog started walking east. The dog stopped to pee on every lightpost. Curmudgeon hunched his back nervously. His dog training friend was always an inch from freaking out. Would this be the night?

“Stop right there!” Came a disembodied voice.

Curmudgeon stopped. Tom was probably trying to decide if he was a Russian spy. Tom never got over the fall of Soviet Russia. Some ideas sort of stick with a man, at least a man as sticky as Tom.

“I’ve got a dog. I need him trained. I’ll pay.” Curmudgeon shouted into the darkness.

“Pay? How? With useless fiat currency? You haven’t got enough gold to hire me and the Russkies could have followed you! You shouldn’t have used my telecommunicator.”

“It’s a phone and just because it’s a landline doesn’t mean it’s encrypted!” Sighed Curmudgeon.

“What? Wait! They can tap my landl….”

Speaking quickly, hoping to interrupt what would certainly become a rant, Curmudgeon let fly: “I need this dog trained right now! Drop everything and do it! I need this dog to be well behaved at all times. Except…”

“Except what?” Came Tom’s voice.

“…except in the presence of Bungalow Paneling.”

“Really?”

“Yes, when the dog sees Bungalow Paneling I want it to attack everything… Wait. There will be kids around. Ummm, I want it to attack everything taller than 3′.”

“You want me to train a dog to be a furry IED in the presence of a certain kind of building material?”

When he said it like that, it seemed ridiculous. The Curmudgeon was ashamed. Obviously it was impossible and also…

“I’ll do it!” Shouted Tom.

“Well OK then.” The Curmudgeon agreed. “Here’s your payment.” He set a duffel bag on the ground.

“What is it?” Tom sounded suspicious; which is what Tom always sounded like.

“Well fiat currency is out so I got you some cool stuff that I think you’ll enjoy. I picked it all to match your interests: A case of Billy Beer…”

“But how did you…”

“A Sears Home PONG game, mint condition…”

“Really that’s so cool…”

“An unsanctioned Disney poster of Mickey Mouse flipping the bird and saying ‘Hey Iran, fuck you’.”

“Oh wow! I lost mine and never found a replacement. How did you…”

“A mint condition 1979 Dungeon Master’s Guide…”

“Hey, that’s a totally legitimate form of entertainment and also…”

“And now for the most valuable stuff… sixteen mint condition Star Wars Action figures still in the box.”

“They’d better not be counterfeit.”

“I guarantee ’em. In the case of the zombie apocalypse…”

Tom blurted out the rest of the sentence “…action figures will be currency. I’m glad you understand now.”

“There’s a seventeenth action figure. Chewbacca. But I opened the package”

“You what!?! Are you mental?”

“It was totally cool. I had to play with it! I mean that’s what it’s for. Also you’re the one shouting from a canoe tied to a bridge abutment so don’t call me mental.”

“Hey you don’t know where I am! That’s tactical information that you don’t need to…”

“Whatever, I also threw in 5,000 rounds of .22 ammo, a half pound of junk silver, and a case of Mountain House . ‘Cause I’m nice and dogfood ‘aint free. So we’ve got a deal and you’ve got six months to train him. I want this dog to go apeshit in the presence of Bungalo Paneling… Oh, and also the AMC Gemlin. I hate Gremlins.”

“Paneling has a scent. How I to teach a dog to recognize a Gremlin?”

“Train him to recognize the scent of failure.” While not a helpful answer, The Curmudgeon was sure Tom could figure it out. The guy was the best dog trainer in the world.


Back in the 1970’s Dumbass glanced at the crooked garage wall. The paneling was sagging and it made him nervous. He’d gotten six threatening messages from Future Guy and they all mentioned the wall. Each message was chalked on a car part and babbling about level walls and proper materials. The future obviously sucked. Dumbass sure as hell wasn’t going to install a vapor barrier and hang up drywall just because some freak was making violent threats. Dumbass prided himself on never changing his mind.

Besides, Future Guy had been a boon so far. The backpack full of change had made a good down payment on his pride and joy. With a bargain interest rate of 14% and only 55 more payments the shiny yellow AMC Gremlin was his! It sure was pretty.

It was up on blocks right now. In the six months he’d owned it had broken down four times. Even Dumbass, who considered foreign cars evil because of their metric parts, had to admit AMC was having quality issues.

At each break down he’d fixed “Hot Yellow” as he called his car. He’d grown to love his car more with each repair. There was duck tape on the rear window, a wire holding the hood down, and a paper clip jammed into the radio. All excellent examples of Dumbass’ ingenuity.

This time he’d stripped the oil pan bolts with an adjustable wrench (who has time to find a socket?). The oil pan had been leaking since the car was made anyway. Since the bolts were stripped maybe he should just hit it with a hammer? Or cut it apart with tin snips? Buying a proper wrench set was, of course, out of the question.

He heard another disturbance in the space time continuum. He was getting used to them. When would Future Guy give up? Then he heard a growl. Spike was back!

Dumbass watched in horror as Spike found himself in a garage with Bungalow Paneling walls and an AMC Gremlin in the bay. The dog went berserk. Dumbass’ 37 children scattered but Dumbass was doomed. In the midst of the bloody attack blood got all over the Gremlin’s vinyl interior.


After sending the dog back to the 1970’s, Curmudgeon walked out to the garage. Had the gambit worked? With a glance he knew.

The walls weren’t even drywall. Oak! Solid oak! Lovingly worked with expert joinery and elaborate moulding. Curmudgeon ran his hands over the woodwork, which glowed with a deep lustre indicating it had been rubbed down with expensive linseed oil weekly… for decades. Maybe the dog thing had been overkill? The rest of the structure was just as nice. It far outclassed any reasonable garage. The Curmudgeon wept for joy.

Above an elaborate stained glass bow window was a mahogany overlay “In Memoriam For Horatio Thaddeus McSweeny who died here with his beloved Hot Yellow.”

Ouch! Curmudgeon shuddered. Spike must have been fearsome indeed.

Then Curmudgeon rolled down the garage door and saw it. Embedded in the ceiling, covering the entire bay, with tiles lovingly placed by expert hands, was a fresco; vaguely reminiscent of the works of Michelangelo. At the base there was a rampaging pit bull with glowing red eyes and blood on its paws, as if to represent Hell unbound. In the middle, Horatio Thaddeus McSweeny, with a halo over his head and a bent screwdriver in hand. At the top, resplendent in obvious reference to the hereafter, Jesus at the wheel of a bright yellow AMC Gremlin.

The Curmudgeon reached for a jug of gasoline and a pack of matches. Apparently he was going to have to build a new garage, starting now.

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Garageneering: Time Travel: A Plot Twist

One of my commenters has mentioned something about rednecks and pitbulls as a hole in my perfectly reasonable plot. There will be a new alternate, alternate, post shortly.

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Garageneering: Time Travel

The retrofit of a decrepit garage was going poorly. The Curmudgeon, being Adaptive and all, realized the solution to this wasn’t in the present. It was with the dipshit that made the mess in the first place. So he retreated to his mad scientist’s laboratory (you mean you don’t have one?) and built a time machine.


Scene:

The 1970’s. A redneck with two teeth and a can of Bud light is working on a garage. It’s new construction. The walls are bare 2″ x 4″ studs.

The man has a net worth of eight dollars, and that includes his car. Orbiting the man are 37 children of all ages. A crooked wheelbarrow is propped against a barrel. There’s a twelve pack of beer in the wheelbarrow. A child is in the corner peeing. An AM radio is playing a speech by President Carter; “This intransigence by Iran will not go unpunished. Also I have lusted in my heart.” As with all things Carter, nobody listens.

The man is happily flailing away with a saw. Then he drops it in the mud and motions toward some kids. “Get me that paneling.”

Seven children charge over to a huge pile of freshly purchased paneling. It was on sale at the lumber yard for a very steep discount. It has been sitting in the rain for a week. The kids drag a floppy panel through the mud to their father. In a swift motion he slaps it against the studs and without the slightest pause tacks it up with 245 tiny nails. On one side it overlaps the stud. On the other side he has nailed it over a kid’s foot. The kid extracts her foot and scampers off.

He holds out his hand for the next panel. This one he hammers up even faster. It’s not quite flush with the other one so he adds more tacks.


Whoosh!

A six foot sphere of plasma expands from a pinpoint and takes form. Children flee, the redneck drops his beer and curses, six dogs and a housecat run for their lives. As suddenly as it forms, the sphere vanishes. In it’s place, fully clothed, carrying a backpack, and holding several items, is your’s truly; The Curmudgeon.

The redneck is terrified. He’d run in fear but first he reaches for his dropped beer can. The Curmudgeon steps beyond the can and plants his booted foot on the redneck’s outstretched hand.

“No!” Commands the Curmudgeon.

“My beer?” Squeaks his victim.

“I am from the future.” Booms The Curmudgeon, “And you have pissed me off!” The Curmudgeon kicks the beer can out of the way, reaches for a device from a hidden pocket, and extracts a cattle prod.

Zap!

“OUCH!”

“Do I have your full attention?”

Rubbing his temple, the man nods.

“Good, from now on I’m going to refer to you by your proper name. You are ‘Dumbass’.”

“Actually I’m Bob…”

Zap!

“…Dumbass is fine.”

“Listen carefully Dumbass. This is for you.” The Curmudgeon hefts a large tool box and drops it on the man’s foot. The man hops back and accidentally crushes his dropped beer can.

“In that tool box you will find several tape measures, squares, small levels, and a big level. A good hammer. New drill bits. That sort of stuff.”

Confused, the man nods.

“Use them!” Orders the Curmudgeon.

Waving with his cattle prod, The Curmudgeon indicates the wall, 2″ by 4″ studs, now with two flimsy sheets of paneling tacked on.

“Are those on 16″ centers.”

“More or less.” Whimpers the man.

The Curmudgeon strides to the wall and pulls a tape measure from his pocket. “It’s 3/4″ off!” He barks.

“Well that’s close enough?”

Zap!

Grasping his electrocuted genitals, Dumbass collapses on the floor. Meanwhile The Curmudgeon is checking the studs with a level.

“I check five studs and three of them are out of level? Now, before you’ve even finished construction? You bastard!” Curmudgeon drops the cattle prod and draws a pistol.

BLAM!

An expertly fired 9 mm round goes through the AM radio. Jimmy Carter’s voice, which had been saying something about ‘negotiate with Iran’ is silenced. Dumbass wets himself.

“Man I hated the ’70s! Fuckin’ Carter.” Curmudgeon growls. Suddenly, as if reminded of another terrible menace The Curmudgeon whirls to check the driveway behind him. He sees a rusted Buick, a broken Chevy, and several parts of a snowmobile.

“Do you own an AMC Gremlin? The Curmudgeon hisses. There’s a dark look in his eye.

“No! No! I swear.” Dumbass begs.

“Good, if I saw a Gremlin I might get upset.”

“What’s with AMC’s?” Dumbass stutters.

As if to answer, The Curmudgeon reaches into his backpack, pulls out a 3′ wrecking bar, and with a single motion, tears a sheet of paneling from the wall. It splits in half at his feet.

“Hey, I just bought that.” Dumbass whines.

Ignoring him, The Curmudgeon reaches into the mess at his feet and tears a tag from the paneling. He begins to read. “5/32 inch Bungalow Paneling... Curmudgeon spits the words out angrily. Precautions: One, Bungalow Paneling is for interior use only… …it may expand or contract with changes in humidity.” He faces Dumbass, “Are you going to heat this garage? Every day? All winter long? Every year?”

“No.” Dumbass is surreptitiously reaching into the wheelbarrow.

BANG!

A bullet hole in the fresh can of Bud Light Dumbass grabbed is spewing crappy beer everywhere. Dumbass instinctively drops it. The Curmudgeon barely looks up from his reading.

“Two, panels must be installed over a solid dry wall... the Curmudgeon leers menacingly at Dumbass and continues, “…Do not install over open stud construction.”

Waving with his pistol he indicates the wall. “Would you say that is open stud construction?”

“Yes.” Dipshit really wishes he had a beer.

“And would you say you’ve installed this crap assed Bungalo shit over open studs? You’ve nailed it up where it doesn’t belong. You’ve built everything in a haphazard manner! Your failure is such that it will piss off future generations.” The Curmudgeon is screaming now. “Some poor bastard in the future is going to have to un-fuck the disaster you’re making right now!

The Curmudgeon pauses, draws a breath, counts to ten, and begins again with no appreciable reduction in rage. Wouldn’t you say that I ought to stop you from your utterly dipshit nature? How can you deny that if I shot you between the eyes… and maybe replaced you with a human being, maybe one who knows how to assemble a proper wall and use a damn tape measurewho could deny that your untimely, bloody, death would make my life, in the future…” The Curmudgeon pauses, trying to manage his emotions, “…better.”

With today’s visit to your time,The Curmudgeon continues, “I’m beginning the process of un-fucking the future.” With that he strides to the pile of new paneling, reaches into his backpack for a handful of flares, ignites several, and dumps them on the paneling… which bursts into flame.

The Curmudgeon still has several unlit flares in his hand. “You sure you don’t have any AMC products nearby?” He asks this as if nothing could be more perfect in the world than a road flare jammed in a Gremlin’s gas tank.

“Sorry, couldn’t afford one.” Dumbass shudders.

“Right then.” The Curmudgeon glances at a chronograph on his wrist. “So I’ll be going. Here’s some cash.” Curmudgeon tosses his heavy backpack on the ground at Dumbasses feet. It’s filled with a mountain of quarters, nickels, and dimes. Dumbass looks at the huge pile of change, opens his mouth to speak, and thinks better of it.

“It wasn’t easy to get 40 year old paper money.” The Curmudgeon shrugs. “There’s about $500 there. Spend it on good materials and decent tools. No more ‘Bungalow Paneling’. Be a man and use plywood or something. Also two words, ‘vapor barrier’. And learn to use a goddamn level you chimp!”

Dumbass is delighted at his newfound wealth.

“One more thing. Buy an ounce of gold. It’s like $150 bucks.” The Curmudgeon pauses and gets a far off wistful look in his eyes. “Stuff the gold in the wall somewhere. I’ll use that to get your stupid historical quarters.”

Dumbass is disappointed to know that some of the mountain of change is not his to spend.

When I get to the futureThe Curmudgeon continues, I’m going to check the garage. If it’s still built like an ignoramus might slap together a mud pie, I’m going to come back and flatten this whole structure… with you in it. But if it’s straight and true and well built, you’ll never see me again. Also…” At this The Curmudgeon speaks slowly, as if to impart a fact of great import, “If the garage is in perfect shape in the future I’m not going to go knocking walls down looking for a stupid gold coin. I’ll just assume the coin is inside it somewhere.” The Curmudgeon winks as he says ‘assume’.

A sphere begins to form around The Curmudgeon and he begins to fade. At the last minute Dumbass realizes what is happening and scrambles to his feet.

“What else can you tell me about the future?” Dumbass pleads.

“Don’t buy Betamax!” Comes the reply… as if from a great distance.


Scene:

The present. An Adaptive Curmudgeon is in his garage trying to fix a carboretor. Mrs. Curmudugeon steps in. “How’s it going?”

“Not bad.He smiles. The workshop is spotless and well appointed. Everything is where it should be. Outlets are plentiful, properly grounded, and evenly spaced. He leans against the solid, well built, workbench and grins at the perfectly smooth and well maintained drywall. He sets the carburetor on one of many, ideally situated shelves.

“Didn’t you say something about ‘retrofitting’ the garage?” Mrs. Curmudgeon asks.

“Nah, why bother? It’s fine just like it is.”

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The Ant Has Been Grasshoppering

Last winter I had just the right amount of firewood. This is a miracle of predictive wisdom in a “just in time” warehousing economy. It’s “working without a net” in the redneck economy. Being righteously freaked out I’ve been meaning to cut a shitload of wood asap. Being a normal guy, I’m too overbooked to keep up with everything. So not only is the lawn only half mowed and the pig fence sagging but there’s less than a cord in the shed.

Today I picked up my chainsaw and headed out to rectify the situation. There’s a nearby dead tree that’s on my mental “kill list”. I hiked 50 yards… Scanned the sky… Damn it was hot… I was sweating my balls off just walking… It was humid. No breeze. I set the saw down and just stood there like an idiot.

Fuck it.

I turned around and headed back to the house. There will be other days to cut firewood.

Ned is right. Also, I'm doomed.

Ned is right. Also, I’m doomed.

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