Monday, March 25, 2013

Cedar Key Back in the Day

Back when I was a kid, we lived in Cedar Key for a year.  My Dad was Principal of the school.  Not the High School.  The Whole School from Kindergarten through High School.  The house we lived in was old and had been through many a storm.  In reality it was sort of a ramshackle hell hole but it was beyond cool for us kids. That was before they outlawed so much of the commercial fishing.  People on Cedar Key went out into the Gulf in little boats and brought home fish for a living.  It was real.   I always had a soft spot in my heart for the old Cedar Key. 

Always eager to broaden my cultural horizons, I was reading a book called "Tellable Cracker Tales" last night.  Its a collection of short stories about life in the old Florida.  You can find it in tourist traps all over the State.   In one story, an old man is telling a visitor about how his youngest son is the only one that ever amounted to anything.  The punch line is that the boy never wanted to be anything but a lazy, good for nothing bum and he's the best one of those there is but it was the old man's assessment of the second son that caught my attention.

Number two son had gone "to the seminar" and learned how to be a preacher.  He got ordained and the church sent him to some little back woods congregation.  The next year, the whole church demanded that he be sent someplace else so they sent him to another church in the middle of nowhere.  He barely lasted a year there too.  The whole congregation got together and demanded a new preacher. 

In desperation, the church sent him to Cedar Key to pastor a church there.  A year went by and nobody complained.  A second year went by and there wasn't a peep out of anybody.  By the time the third year was coming to an end, the old man just had to know if his number two son was actually making good at bein' a preacher so he got on his horse and rode all the way to Cedar Key to find out.

He got to town and sat down near the water under a shade tree and started whittling.  Pretty soon, one of the locals stopped by to greet the stranger.  The old man said that he'd heard they had a mighty good preacher in town and asked if that was true.  The local said that the preacher was all right.  Something about the way he said it made the old man dig a little deeper and he asked if the whole town didn't think a lot of the preacher.  The local answered that it wasn't that he was a great preacher.  It was just that nobody in Cedar Key really wanted a preacher at all and he was the closest thing to no preacher that they'd ever had.

Not too long after my Dad had retired from the Army Reserve and from everything else did, he told me that he often wished we'd never left Cedar Key.  He said that as backward as it was, it was the only place that had ever hired him and then didn't try to tell him how to do his job.   I'm not sayin' that my Dad wasn't any better of a Principal than the old man's son was a preacher.  I've met too many people who worked with him and too many of his students who still have nothing but respect for the man to think that.  I'm just thinking back on Cedar Key and the kinds of folks that used to be there before it became all touristy and yankified.  That old story sure rings true.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Day by Day

Mr.Muir  does have a gift of discernment

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Excellent Observation

You might notice that Chevy doesn't make the Vega any more.  Nor the Chevette.  Nor the Cavalier.

Brand names of products that are unliked get changed to that the negative associations with them don't carry on to the *NEW* *IMPROVED* replacement in the line up.

Read it all at:

View from Under the Desk

Ruth's Revenge

Put the finishing touches on the Jeep and took her around the block for her maiden voyage after the major refit.

The vibration from nowhere is gone.  When I had the rear driveshaft redone, they found that the yoke was bad.  It was allowing the universal joint to slip from side to side maybe 1/32."   They built a new driveshaft from scratch and the vibration is gone.

The new steering shaft works great.  No more turning the wheel 1/8 of a turn before anything happens.  Its like the steering wheel is  actually connected now.

I managed to figure out where to set the transfer case shift levers to get it into low or high.  I'm not sure about four wheel drive yet.  The left front hub doesn't want to lock.  With one side locked and one side free, its hard to tell whether the wheel is turning the front driveshaft or the driveshaft is turning the wheel.   Probably just stuck in too much grease.  A little cleaning and regreasing and it should work fine.

It does appear that I  managed to damage the heater core when I moved the engine.  It leaks and it didn't leak before.  A dab of solder and a longer heater hose will make short work of it.

More significantly, the transmission wouldn't shift out of first.  I suppose the governor might be stuck or the plastic gear that turns it might be chewed up again.  It was too hot under there to check so that will have to wait until tomorrow afternoon.  If its the governor its no big deal.

The really puzzling thing was automatic transmission fluid coming out of the transfer case.  It doesn't use ATF.  It uses 90 weight.  ATF is coming out the back of the transmission and filling up the transfer case.  That's an odd one that may take a little thought.


 We're not to that point yet but I may decide to put the 4 speed back in it.  I have most of the hard-to-find parts and the new cross member should work with it.  In times past I got good at rebuilding the 4 speed.   The main things I hated about it were the "gate" for the shifter and the hydraulic clutch.  The gate was a sintered metal washer with a gap on one side.   Very prone to breakage.   If it breaks and lands in the wrong place, it will break teeth off your cluster gear.  Jeep didn't put any extra teeth on them so that can be a big problem.  The hydraulic clutch slave cylinder was too close to the exhaust and it would get fried on a pretty regular basis.  Between the lathe and the welder I can deal with that too.  Just more stuff to think about.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Rzhev Slaughterhouse

Historians consider the Battle of Rzhev "one of the bloodiest in the history of the Great Patriotic War" and "Zhukov's greatest defeat". Veterans called this colossal battle, which continued for a total of 15 months, "the Rzhev slaughterhouse" or "the Massacre", while the German generals named this city "the cornerstone of the Eastern Front" and "the gateway to Berlin". By their territorial scale, number of participating troops, length and casualties, the military operations in the area of the Rzhev - Viaz'ma salient are not only comparable to the Stalingrad battle, but to a great extent surpass it. The total losses of the Red Army around Rzhev amounted to 2,000,000 men; the Wehrmacht's total losses are still unknown precisely to the present day. Why was one of the greatest battles of the Second World War consigned to oblivion in the Soviet Union? Why were the forces of the German Army Group Center in the Rzhev - Viaz'ma salient not encircled and destroyed?

Read More:   Amazon

Looks like an interesting read.  I ordered a copy on January 9 and it hasn't been shipped yet.  With all the spam and crap I get from chicks named Svetlana, you'd think Svetlana would send me her book when I actually asked for it.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Damn Good Question

Where is Rear Adm. Chuck Gaouette?

Admiral Gaouette was abruptly removed from command of the John C. Stennis carrier group and "reassigned" right in the middle of the attack on the embassy at Benghazi.  The Navy says for  “inappropriate leadership and judgment.”

Almost simultaneously General Carter Ham, former head of U.S. Africa command, according to official reports suddenly decided to "retire", while on duty and in command, on-site in Africa.

Since then there has been speculative rumors of everything from the two of them were actively in a coup plot to depose Obama to they both refused to stand down their intent to send immediate help to the beleaguered Americans fighting the raghead attackers in Benghazi.

Read the Rest at Plan of the Day

I'm sure its just coincidence that the Admiral and all the survivors have fallen off the face of the earth.

Brass Catcher 101

A real blog explains the concept of the Brass Catcher

Brass Catcher ala Wirecutter

One of these days I'll take the time to learn how to embed video

B-17 X Smart Car

Ran across this picture while looking for a B-17 picture to go with the last post.  It got me thinking about what a B-17 would look like if designed for our new, "green" armed forces.

No room for bombs but it would sure get good fuel mileage.

Its No Wonder the Crews Liked the B-17 Best

On November 23, 1944, spotters of a British antiaircraft unit near Cortonburg, Belgium, were astonished to see a B-17, its landing gear down, approaching their gun positions.  As the gunners put in a call to their Operations Room at nearby Erps-Querps, the Fortress came in fast for a rather rough landing on a plowed field near the gun position.

Read the Rest Here:

Awesome B-17 Story from Bayou Renaissance Man

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Nothing To See Here

Florida Residents Report Mysterious Black Military Aircraft ocala helicopter

March 14, 2013
Florida Residents Report Mysterious Black Military Aircraft ocala helicopter

More people are seeing what was not long ago a snickering pejorative for the establishment media.

It used to be a favorite pastime of the establishment media and its snobbish intelligentsia to poke fun at the "black helicopter crowd," who they dismissively wrote off as loons and conspiracy nuts. More recently, the Department of Southern Poverty Security has insisted most of them are white racists bent on destroying the country.

Now that the Pentagon and the feds have stepped up their effort to militarize state and local law enforcement and conduct in-your-face military operations at civilian airports in the dead of night and stage mock strafing of civilian traffic in populated urban centers, more and more people are seeing what was not long ago a snickering pejorative for scriptwriters with degrees from the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. reported on Tuesday a number of people in and around Gainesville, Florida, seeing not only black military aircraft, but "mysterious military-style aircraft."

When Eva Angelini heard the roar of aircraft engines on Saturday night, she ran outside to see the sort of black aircraft the corporate media insists only make an appearance in the feverish imagination of paranoid conspiracy theorists. "We ran out and looked up in the sky and right over our heads, very low, the sky was filled with black aircraft which were flying without lights," Angelini told

Other residents in the Ocala area reported seeing low-flying military aircraft over the last few days. Linda Aguiar, Gainesville airport spokeswoman, said the aircraft are part of an operation being conducted by the Department of Defense. No word, however, from the guys who train – until recently on military bases and away from civilians – to kill people and break stuff in the service of international bankers, as Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, said way back in 1933.

Part of the operation seems to be a deliberate attempt by the Pentagon to keep civilians in the dark. "Reports of black military-style aircraft buzzing the Ocala area were rampant over the weekend and into Monday, but no one seems to know what they are doing in the area," reports.

When asked, the military said they don't conduct exercises at three in the morning. "We have some P-8 Poseidons training in the area, but they wouldn't be up at 3 in the morning. Other than that, we have nothing going on at Pinecastle (the bombing range in the Ocala National Forest) and again, they wouldn't conduct operations at those hours," said Kaylee LaRocque, a spokeswoman for the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville. also reported no operations out of the MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

The military, however, admitted the Canadian military is training in the area. "The only thing we have are some Canadian F-18s training in the Tampa area," said Airman Michael Ellis, of the MacDill public affairs office. "There are no helicopters assigned to the base, so they are not ours and we would not fly at those hours. Those fall in the quiet hours which start at 6 p.m., I believe."

Local government is clueless, of course. It isn't unusual for the military not to inform local government about their operations, especially those violating "quiet hours" supposedly enforced in consideration of tax payers who foot the bill for expensive black helicopters said not to exist by the establishment media. If the Department of Endless War and Misery wanst to violate the spirit of Posse Comitatus, though, and use local law enforcement in their operation – for instance, establishing military style checkpoints – the Pentagon and law enforcement will usually roll out a statement for public consumption or, at least, provide some sort of facile explanation after civilians complain.

"We have been receiving a number of calls over the weekend and numerous calls on Monday from citizens reporting military aircraft. We have no official information on what they are and what they are doing," Sgt. Angy Scroble of the Ocala Police Department told

Residents wanting to know what's going on have posted messages on the Marion County Sheriff's Office Facebook page. The cops are, naturally, in the dark on secretive military operations using "mysterious" black aircraft.

"We've checked around with emergency management and we have no idea who it is," Capt. James Pogue said.


It turns out Airman Michael Ellis of the MacDill AFB public affairs office wasn't in the loop.

The mysterious "aircraft, which have been buzzing the area since Saturday, are coming from the University Air Center at the Gainesville Regional Airport as part of a larger training exercise in South Florida conducted by the U.S. Special Operations Command, based at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, said Maj. Mike Burns, a public affairs spokesman for the command," reported after filing the story linked above.

The United States Special Operations Command, according to a Wikipedia write-up, conducts several covert and clandestine missions, such as unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, psychological warfare, civil affairs, direct action, counter-terrorism and War on Drugs operations.

"There are no exercises in the Ocala area, but Ocala is directly in the transit route," Burns told the website. He would not say why aircraft were taking off from Gainesville for exercises in the Miami area.

As noted above, the military used Blackhawks to stage simulated warfare in a densely populated downtown Miami earlier this year. They fired blank rounds of machine gun fire, staged strafing runs while troops rappelled from choppers and set-up road blockades.

"All over the skies of Miami at night, just a few days ago," Karen De Coster wrote in January. She said the "event was for the purposes of `meeting requirements,' preparing for overseas military drills, and making sure the equipment is in check." cites a military press release issued by Miami Dade County. It "advises that the exercise includes the use of military helicopters and simulated gunfire. The training is meant to prepare participants for combat missions in urban areas and to prepare forces for upcoming overseas missions, according to the release."

One resident told he was in fear for his life. "I turned and ran" after special op helicopters flew over his house at tree top level. "That's not right what they are doing," he said.

Had No Idea My Sister Bought New China

If she did, she put it on our Mother's credit card like everything else

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ruth's Resurrection

I lost track of how long ago it was that I made some modifications to the Jeep that I wished I hadn't made.  Ol' Ruth ended up with fenderwell headers and flowmasters but that required moving the engine and some other stuff that was counterproductive.

A couple of weekends ago, business being slow, I decided it was time to right the many wrongs I had perpetrated and I started putting things together as they should have been put together.

First up was engine mounts.  She had a set of aftermarket engine swap mounts that looked good in the catalog but didn't account for little details things like the steering box being in the way.  I took some 2 1/2 " wide, 9/16" thick steel bar stock and made a pair of replacement brackets that moved the engine forward more than 2" and also placed it 2" higher in the engine compartment.

Next was the rear crossmember.  The original was a big stamped contraption that was ill-suited for the engine & transmission that's in there now.  On my recent trip to Cedar Key I ran into Ruth's long-lost, slightly uglier sister and her cross member helped me decide on the design for Ruth's new one.

That's the slightly uglier sister.

That's the sister's crossmember.  Ruth's new one is made from the same steel stock as the new engine mounts.  I don't have a picture yet because I was working and didn't want to cover my camera in grease the last time I was up under there.

A good thing about a Jeep is that they will usually find a way to help you fix them if you are creative.  I was doing all this without a lift and needed a way to support the transmission without getting in the way of building or installing the new crossmember.  It needed to be safe and sturdy but also needed to allow movement because I was repositioning the engine and transmission as well as removing and reinstalling the transfer case.  Ultimately I just let Ruth hold the transmission herself.  A come-along from the roll bar to a loop of old seatbelt material made a sturdy and adjustable temporary mount.

Next was the transfer case.  I had put a clock in the transfer case because I wanted to rotate it up toward the floor boards for more ground clearance.  Its a Dana 300 and I imagine that if you are reading this, you know what I'm talking about.  They hang down pretty low.  Anyway, because its bolted to a TH 350 transmission instead of the original little 4 speed, that didn't work out either.  It rotated it enough to make the transmission pan block the front driveshaft from reaching the front differential.  Hard to use 4 wheel drive that way.  Out came the clock and back to the stock position went the transfer case.  The lovely bride was most helpful keeping a foot against one side of the case while I "coaxed" it into alignment.  ("Coaxed" = much profanity etc).  I had the driveshaft shortened and put it back in this weekend.   The rear driveshaft is at the shop right now.

Since I had bent the original shifter trying to adapt it to  fit the clocked transfer case, I tossed it and replaced it with the double shifter mentioned before.  That is now in place too.  Any excuse is good if you want a new Jeep part.  Its almost as easy as finding excuses for buying guns.

If I was seventeen and lived in Hog Valley, I'd still want the fenderwell headers.   I'm not and I don't get to Hog Valley often enough to make it worth living with them any longer.  The headers hit the junk pile with a satisfying clank.  In their place, a pair of ram's horn manifolds from a 1965 Chevy 283 will quiet things down a bunch.  I never saw any increase in fuel economy from the headers anyway so what's the point?  If I'm going to finish going deaf I'd rather do it with good music or lots more shooting.

The manifolds came from a salvage yard that puts stuff on Ebay.  They didn't have the flanges for the downpipes with them.  Exhaust system fabricators tell me that's the hardest part to replace.  Kind of a let down but I checked  a couple of places to see if anyone makes a set of reproduction pipes and they sho-nuff do.

These are stainless steel and already on the way.

Somehow or other I managed to lose the hardware for the front driveshaft's universal joints and had to use the rear driveshaft's hardware.  NAPA lists the wrong part for my particular Jeep so I ordered a new set from Quadratech to use for the rear one.  I couldn't see ordering just $15 worth of stuff so I added a new seatbelt too.

Its kind of a part seatbelt, part harness rig.  The ad copy says it bolts to the existing hardware.  Can't see that happening since the existing hardware only has two bolts but I have a welder so hardware will exist where necessary before its all done.  The seatbelt's also on the way.

Looks like I am ready for a productive weekend of Jeep fixing.  About the only thing missing is someone to show me how to get into the fancy new seatbelt.

 Free North Carolina     posted this picture today:

Maybe she'll drop by this weekend in time to help out.  The Lovely Bride needs to go visit her sister anyway.


Sunday, March 3, 2013


Josh Welch is a seven-year-old-boy who attends Park Elementary School in Brooklyn Park. The Maryland school has a breakfast “snack time” and provided pastries on Friday.  Josh was trying to turn his pastry into a shape. Josh chewed his breakfast pastry into the shape of a gun and was suspended for two days.

 Read the whole article