May 21, 2015

If you don't know who Peter Follansbee is...

Check this out. Peter Follansbee is a guy who specializes in 17th Century woodworking techniques. I dare you to go to this blog and not like what you see.

VW Underdogs

The stop frame on this YouTube video should be the back of a VW bug rebuilt by the guy who is the focus of this video clip.

April 22, 2015

Tool Shop

Every now and then I visit an estate sale to see if the house has a workshop out back. If I find one, I'll seek out old tools, like a bit and brace set, a hand saw, or a plumber with gout.
Often times, a man now dead from self abuse or old age, will have stored his various nuts and bolts in a coffee can, cigar box, or in his ear canals to block out the shouts of his wife. It's the odd man who builds scaffolding behind his house or between himself and an honest day's work.
They say there's a tool for every job, but not a job for every tool, or my cousin Maynard would not be grown to his couch cushions. Maynard is married to Pauline Willamet, who is from Junction County and is known to repeatedly say "if you see my husband, tell him the birds are dead." To this Maynard replies "not now honey, I'm sorting my sheet metal screws, and can you bring me a bowl of cold goose beaks".
Maynard and Pauline have a son, Lucius, who collects Civil War dentifrice and proudly displays his newest acquisitions on a shelf above his Evel Kneivel Foosball table.

Fighting Cocks

My two new pair of pants are back from the tailor, and neither is appropriate to wear to a cock fight. So, I will slip on a pair of dungarees and march into the event with the confidence God gave a lemur with cataracts.
The betting will be heavy, especially as it concerns the age of the concession stand hot dogs. The small metal booth will be guarded by a guy named Tiny who dabs at his sweaty armpits with copies of the Chicago phone book.
I will order the foot long dog and a bag of chips, then cry when the attendant can't accept my gold card. Taking my place near the barbed wire arena, where men rub tattooed elbows and discuss which is more dense, arterial blood or motor oil, I will smile.
The competitors will enter the ring and have their foreclaws unsheathed. Then the same will be done to their roosters. After I've placed my wager with a man whose face is on the side of his head, I'll lose and promptly pay my debt before slinking back to my car via a drain pipe.

April 17, 2015


When I retire, I should like to explore my genealogy. Who among our lot had two nickels to rub together and was one of them wooden? My great, great grandfather died famously died wearing his confederate uniform at Gettysburg, not from the actual battle, but from wounds sustained when he staged a reenactment the following afternoon. When his body was searched, it was discovered that instead of bullets, his Enfield musket was loaded with almonds. Before he died, he managed to throw three of them out of the barrel and into the lunch of a nearby Union soldier, leading to the invention of pralines.

On my mother's side, there are several incidences of death by farm machinery and one great Uncle who was crushed under a falling set of encyclopedias. The women on that side are strong, and can crack walnuts between their knees, which explains why the men will only enter a room by walking sideways. The cousins are numerous enough to defy counting, and one noted male once traveled to the Middle East and used such poor language that the Library at Alexandria was rebuilt so it could be burned down again in protest.

My father's side suffers from bouts of heart disease brought on by a deadly mix of salty foods and profound disappointment at not being able to open jars. Many were so destitute they considered mud a food group, and if they did not clean their plate, were immediately sent to their room to count spiders. My paternal grandmother's house was kept so cold in the winter, the blankets were often seen putting on extra sweaters. She wore red shoes, most notably at funerals, though at her own she was curiously fitted with scuba flippers and a sombrero. She was fun loving and kind and on one memorable occasion, drove us swimming lessons and would wait under water for us to finish. On the way home, she took a sharp curve, the momentum of which flung the passenger door open, launching a neighbor girl into the bushes.

My maternal grandmother was affectionately called Meemaw, but one grandchild with low self-esteem insisted on calling her Youmaw and would only correspond with her via letters penned from under a wrecked school bus.

April 14, 2015

Sunday, April 12

George and I drove to Target to get bubble bath, diapers and chicken thighs. The bubble bath was endorsed by Sponge Bob Square Pants, a cartoon character who has no internal organs but an encyclopedic knowledge of the Battle of Gettysburg from the point of view of a roof rat. The diapers were store brand and guaranteed to hold enough fluid to quench the thirst of a diabetic pharaoh. The chicken thighs were delicious, once you chewed through the blue jeans.

I had developed a strategy for carrying George into the store which involved the street never touching his feet, or any other part of his body, save the occasional eye tooth. The trick was to roll a cart up to the van where George could be lifted from his car seat into the cart in one fluid motion. An earlier version of the technique involved two motions, one fluid and the other gas, but was scrapped following complaints and not a few fainting spells. Once inside, George would move between the child seat portion and main portion of the cart with the grace of a jackal playing a harpsichord. Passersby would think to themselves, "what is with that child, and where can I find the processed cheese"?

On our way out, I stopped by Starbucks to buy my wife April an iced latte, and was proud when one barista commented on George's cuteness, but reality set in when she then paid the same compliment to a stack of napkins. Not wanting coffee after my urinary tract filed a class action suit, I bought a lemonade at a nearby burger joint drive thru while George sat perusing a pamphlet on toddler emancipation.

My friend Andrew texted that I could come by that afternoon to pick up some guitar and mandolin making supplies, and would have included harmonica making supplies had they not been devoured by a hellmouth with asthma. Rushing home to deliver April's coffee before she asked me to put my belongings in a trunk bound for Jupiter, I navigated the streets of my neighborhood with an alertness usually attributed a fox munching on bath salts. George commemorated my efforts by pouring apple juice onto his lap and decoupaging the pages of Goodnight Moon onto his pet crayfish.

When I parked in our driveway, George expressed pleasure at being home, yet disappointment that our front yard remained painfully without a trampoline or quartet of frogs singing Happy Birthday to an Adder.

Unlocking the front door, I stepped over a funeral procession for a moth who had caromed headfirst into our porch light following a long night of drinking. My heavy footfalls drew the ire of the moth's Uncle Simon who was rehearsing his eulogy while sitting on the lap of a yellow jacket.