The Cost of Being an Anachronism

Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE On The Road Again — The Cost of Being an Anachronism

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

2018 April (only a month late) — Greetings Virtual Travellers:
Where's Hazel? Pet Hazel. Scratch Hazel behind her ears.

Almost Q'Fest Time

>>> will take....but it seems certain we will not make Quartzfest.
>> You will not be the only ones not there. More on that later.
> *Is it "later" yet?*

Getting so by the minute. Late enough I suppose. I have already circumcised my planned excursion from a fortnight to about nine days. Mike will not be going. Spencer died. Tom is incarcerated in the PHX VA psyche ward and Sue is living with friends in Deming, Dave and Joyce (NU7DE secretary) are Wintering in Box Elder South Dakota, Virginia and Cliff moved into a prefab/stick house/park model and sold their RVs, Bill is tied up with rads and chemo and caring for Camilla... That about leaves Jack and Nancy who have to drive all the way from Winnipeg, and me and Hazel. So I will just have to vote my Self in for another ten year term of office. That nine days I mentioned a moment ago just became seven and counting... How many more before I decide not to take the bus...

Parents took their 10 year-old to the doctor regarding the boy's unusually small penis. Doc examined, found all to be functional, said: No problem; just feed him pancakes. Next morning Billy sits down for breakfast—big stack of pancakes on the table. "Are these all for me?" Mom says "Take two, the rest are for your father." Later, in the bath, Billy points to his nuts and asks: Are these my brains? Mom replies: Not yet, wait 'til you reach puberty.

While i am not sorry for or ashamed of what i said/wrote, in my defense i have to say that after all these years of practicing, and honing my skills and bedside manner, i am finally getting to really be a curmudgeon, geezer class.

It might be nice to get back to my own city before society makes me disappear. It might be heartbreaking too, but there are some things so sad and wrong that it is only right to let your heart break over them.  T.A.Pratt

QuartzFest at Mile99 and Counting

Finally arrived, a week late and seven dollars short. First report from the front indicates 400 rigs and 700 people(?) here. Sure does look crowded. I'm not alone after all; David and his Chow are here too.

The new radiator on The Cat in The Back of The Cat Drag'd Inn seems to be working well. Further inspection is in order and a top-up of the coolant but that will be later, when the frost is off the radiator cap. Not really that cold, but cold enough for gloves whilst cutting up the beast for the Hobo Stew.

During the drive yesterday I passed a sign for Parker AridZona, and Parker Road, and they reminded me of Parker Vincent, father of Lee Vincent, author of Ten Years on The Rockpile. Lee's second book had for a cover photo a picture of me sledding down the Yankee Drift. He inscribed my copy: “I finally made you famous.”  I wonder where that book is now.

New normals to accommodate... The new radiator runs a lot cooler than the old. Perhaps it is not clogged with mineral deposits? But not that cool. The primary temperature gauge is reading 30 degrees cooler than the secondary and my IR test thermometer.
Obs WX Room Instruments
Cloudy and cool morning does not bode well for solar insolation nor solar shower. I guess that means I should not work up a sweat today.

2018i29 Mile99 Getting on the road to Tonopah

One reader has asked about the picture at the bottom of my previous letter: In that photo I am sitting at the Weather Desk, in the Weather Room of course. On the far wall are the weather the chart recorders: The top two record wind speed from the pitot-static anemometer and between them is the deicing heater control. Below the heater is the recording thermometer. The rack just visible at the left edge is the 34.02 mHz transmitter with which we made contact with the PWM WX office eight times a day. I'm not sure what I had in my hands.

The Cost of Being an Anachronism

Bank: Paper Statement Fee; Diet: Extra Pounds Added for Snacks; Newsletter Subs: Fee for Paper Copy plus Postage; Old Truck (and bus) Fuel Mileage: Prob'ly still a trade-off in my favour.

Mr Webster says: “Anachronism:  2.  a thing or person that belongs to another, esp. an earlier, time.” I'm learning tho. With my US$400 Smart Phone and extra 20$ a month data fee I can now save a postage stamp (and help cut the throat of the Postal Service) every time I electronically deposit a cheque. But I like paper and write and mail 20-30 letters a month. (Some folks actually write back so I'm not the only anachronism hereabouts.)

Ground Hawg Daze

“There is NO MORAL ISSUE with stealing from a store that forces you to use self-checkout, period. THEY ARE CHARGING YOU TO WORK AT THEIR STORE.”

Weather Forecasts Early Warming Trend

The past few days I have been under the weather with 101-102 temperature. And that is me, my temperature, not the sky. Feeling better now. I went searching for the "feed a cold, starve a fever" aphorism and ended up loosing five pounds in the process. I rather enjoy the weight loss but that was one hell of a diet. Hurricane Hazel Selfie

Hurricane Hazel Discovers Selfies

“That'll teach him to leave his Smart Phone in my napping space.”

Boy Scout Day (archaic)

 Paul and I had an excellent yesterday for driving from Tonopah to Deming and return. Leaving Tonopah shortly after 05h00, we fueled through Tucson eastbound just after sunrise and kept right on going. Truck load of Sue's Stuff from the Gillig headed for Deming. Long drive to say the least. After unloading everything and a few minutes of chatter we went to an Italian lunch with Captain Hook and then hit the road westbound with a goal of Tonopah by sunset. The second stop for fueling around and trading drivers was at the same Pilot. I missed seeing Cliff and Virginia but just as well since we were already running later than planned. Dark and cloudy in Tonopah this morning and I need to get out and clean up the truck and cover the load of stuff destined for Yuma.

Much more apropos than all the Nineteen-Eight-Four olympics hooo-haaa...
Sarongs in the news: Nudists wear clothes—its practical. “Early explanations were about practicality: “I always have something to sit on.” But is it really more practical to carefully tie a sarong around the waist than to just casually drape it around your neck or over your shoulders? I also noted that most of these women carried some sort of bag that would easily have accommodated the thin sarong. Clearly, practicality didn’t seem like a valid rationale...”

But some part of what he relates is spot on. In my travels, earlier when I was travelling, I noted a lot of people wearing rather than carrying towels. Especially the kids. I questioned one senior adult on the scene and he related that having the kids wear shorts was easier than getting them to drag towels around all day. Now those grownup kids are wearing sarongs?

Some how this PC'ness and "Nude Etiquette" has got to change. Perhaps as with Non-Smoking and Smoking areas, Crying Rooms in churches, privileged parking for small cars... we could have segregated seating on the lawn and restaurant: "Droolers" & "Dryers" maybe?

Perhaps scattered about the venue, alongside the Doggie Doo Disposer Dispenser, there could be Disposable Seat Covers. Just like in certain public toilets? Only the center could be intact. Available accessories could include a ribbon to tie, as a sun bonnet or hat, under your chin; some string and a stick so kids could fashion a kite; a twistie-tie so at the completion of a repast in the restaurant you could collect your left overs to take home. Perhaps I should write Mr Deschênes.

The Farthest South Banana Bread

In Yuma this weekend to rehash resell relive Quartzfest at the Yuma Ham Fest. Many of the same folks are here and much of the same ham radio stuff to buy and sell again. David, for instance bought a radio yesterday that he will clean up and resell today for a tidy profit.

To satisfy the unvoiced demands of my World Famous Male Banana Bread Fan Club I made a loaf this morning and it came to me whilst basking in the rosy glow of my gas fired oven that this is quite likely the farthest south banana bread, of either gender, produced by The Cat Drag'd Inn Bakery. I had to adjust my recipe according to the Low Latitude Directions by tilting the bread pan every so slightly to the north.VTOL, Yuma. This is not
                a drone.

Hamfest in a War Zone.

One Ham's Junk is Another Ham's Date Shake. I took three tubs of tangled wallworts, atomic clocks, pocket PCs, DC/AC inverters, and diverse other "stuff" to put in the free pile, or the dumpster.

We were told that no hazmat could be placed in the dumpster and that included electronics but along the way another NU7DE'er observed that some of the junk in my tubs had value and I should make a fourth pile with price tags. So I did. Ended up selling enough free junk to purchase five gallons of Diesel and two Date Shakes on the way back to Tonopah.
NU7DE Dinner in Drag
The Ones Have It. K1LPI and K1OIQ held an NU7DE dinner meeting to follow up on the NU7DE Annual Meeting at Q'Fest/Mile99. The Saturday afternoon potlatch consisted of pot roast, pot atoes, tom atoes, and of course stale bread and old wine. All so good we had the leftovers in an omelet Sunday morning. Thank you for being there Dave!

Picture from Dave's camera photographed by passing by stander.

Big Horn High

Greg from Edmonton came to saunter on Saddle Mountain. He was here last year about this time but this was anything but a rerun. We went into the east side of the saddle to find the Super Solitude GeoCache and the Big Horn Sheep watering hole. From the sheep tank, these guys were atop the ridge just about due south. Picture was taken with Greg's camera; the sun up and to the right. Over a few minutes time as many as ten animals were seen coming up from beyond the ridge to the right of the central nub, crossing to the left—with a few of them jumping onto the nub—and then descending through the dark gully to the left. Very spectacular!
Big Horn Sheep on Saddle Mtn. Photo by Greg.

Social Faux Pas of the Week

I was struggling to time-share talking to Mike on the radio, talking to Mark F2F in the shop, and work on a pop-up toaster at the fix-it bench, when my incredibly smart phone announced "incoming text message" by playing the first five notes of the Close Encounter's theme  (d e c C G; or, in solfege: Re, Me, Do, Do, So...Learn the signs for Do, Re, Mi, and So, perform the second Do lower, around waist level, and you can communicate with aliens yourself, should the need arise.). Picking up a hot toaster by its power cord is like picking up a cat by its tail but I managed to swing the toaster out over the trash bin and unceremoniously drop it.

Mark was aghast! Aren't you forgetting to save that toaster for your friend in New Mexico? That Toaster Lady you told me about, the one you asked me to save toasters for? Cos she's building a toaster fence or a monument to "Toast"?

I stood there staring at the hot toaster melting its brow into the side of the plastic vapourizer for fully five seconds before the penumbra parted. Oh tihs! (Skip to the next paragraph now if you are below fifth grade reading level... "tihs" is Backwards Code for "shit", a word not allowed in literature for children.)

Now I was aghast! Can you imagine me discarding a toaster? Forgetting why I should keep a toaster? Was that a Senior Moment or what? Especially after asking Mark to save toasters for me (...and telling him the whole storey about the Toaster House at the intersection of the Continental Divide Trail and u.s.60 in Pie Town, and the toaster fence, and what being "Toast" meant...) when it was his turn to people the fix-it bench.

With great chagrinity and humblarity I pulled the toaster back from the jaws of the crusher and placed it reverently in my tool bag where I will be sure to forget it until whenever...

And in case I forget later or don't do anything else stupid enough to warrant writing about beforehand... Coming in a fortnight to a calendar near you: Remember /The Fourteenth of March/ Day!

This makes me feel almost homesick...

Check out this spectacular short film from atop Mount Washington! Maine Public videographer Brian Bechard travelled to the top of "The Rockpile" and produced this great piece.

"Lived there" is more like it. For most of seventeen years my NH driver license had 6267 Carriage Road, Sargents Purchase, as my address. Over all I spend about two/thirds of that time on the summit.

Mar1o Day

Nine people shared three pizzas and played Mario games at the Tin-Top. Thanks Mike!

You Can't Go Home...

Mount Washington is like that. There is a mystery, an aura, about the summit that draws one. Nagging for return. But such a return is a two-edged sword. I would like to walk in those White Hills again but I don't want to see what changes the years and "progress" have wrought.

Tea on The Hazmat List

My rant, in summary, concerns my attempt to purchase a box of tea; usually I buy a case of six boxes, two or three times a year. My favourite tea is a spiced chai from Celestial Seasonings, a basically good company in ColoradO. They have a website and their webstore is run by some other outfit of which more later. Celestial's Chai is sometimes found in grocery stores and is also sold on Amazon. Used to be "fulfilled by Amazon"; I bought my previous several cases from Amazon, but this time around my order to Amazon was handed off to a somewhat less than excellent store front operation.

From time to time I can find this Chai in a market but as with Ben&Jerry's Coffee ice cream, for some reason both are increasingly harder to find. Also true of Cabot's fine "Seriously Sharp Cheddar" from Vermont.

Back to the Chai. I placed my order on the Amazon site to be delivered to my address of record: 313, tonopah AZ 85354-0313. Immediately Amazon, speaking for the third rate store front, says: "We cannot ship to a Post Office Box. Please change your shipping address or delete this item from your order." There now appears a little text box with RED letters implying with increasingly typical poor grammar that among other things tea is considered a hazardous material.

There is no point in removing the tea from my order; there would be no order without the tea. So I change the shipping address. I have a list of several variations. "Postal Drawer 313" is one. My order gets past the trap and is accepted this time—for about five minutes. Then comes a note from Amazon to the effect that "...your order has been canceled due to a technical difficulty." Several variations later I write to Amazon. I'll spare you the boiler plate drivel of several paragraphs that finally says I should write to the storefront operator.

It is not that these places "cannot ship" to a post office box. The truth of the matter is that they WILL NOT ship to a post office box. Partly the Postal Service's own fault. The Postal Service cannot/will not compete with the likes of UPS and FedEx. These little storefronts have contracts with UPS or FedEx, that preclude their use of the Postal Service. But the irony of the situation is that UPS and FedEx, when out-of-their-way-delivery suits their economies, both often deliver their packages to the loading dock of the post office who then put a package-waiting notice in my post office box 313 anyhow.

My tirade with Amazon and the storefront went on for a few exchanges. Finally I went to Celestial Seasoning's website and looked up their Chai. The page indicated my choice was Out of Stock. I went to their Contact Us link and wrote: Is tea really a hazardous material? When will you have your Chai back in stock? Will you ship your Chai to my 313...

No answer to my three very specific, very simple questions. Really now, even a ten-year-old writing from Bombay in Hindi accented English could have composed: "No. Next week. Yes." Instead I receive another three poorly written paragraphs of boilerplate thanking me for writing to Celestial Seasonings, apologising for any inconvenience, and promising a few coupons to be sent to my post office box. Their letter also said, in what must have taken considerable effort of originality, that they, Celestial, did not handle orders placed on their website but that all such orders were fulfilled by their contractor storefront and that they had forwarded my letter to them.

Another day or so later I receive a lengthy note from the storefront operator that likewise avoids addressing my questions. In an effort to simplify I reduce my questions to two: When will Chai (and I spelled out the product name and sent the URL of the page) be in stock? Will you ship to my post office box address?

At the end of their letter: “Have I answered your concerns? If Yes, click here. If No, click here.” I click No and we go round the block again. Another day and I get what at first appears to be a personal note but really isn't asking if I had a satisfactory response from … would I please call … so we can discuss the matter, and if you have further response please be sure to include your case number in the subject so we can properly address your concerns. Here we go again. I wrote rather strongly, just short of profanity, that they still had not answered my two very simple questions. Haven't even alluded to my two very simple questions. A Yes or a No would be nice. Even an “I don't know” would at least acknowledge that my letter had actually been read and comprehended.

Somewhen along here I took a more detailed pasted together version of all this to my local postmaster and asked him if tea really was on the Postal Service's Hazmat List along with perfume and lithium batteries. After a weekend of research he allowed as how the BIG RED letters were a poorly written catch-all CYA statement. Tea was Ok to send through the U.S. Mail.

By now three weeks have past. My supply of tea is approaching critical. The reserve stock is gone. Out of curiosity and a little desperation I revisited the Celestial Seasonings site and find that my Chai is no longer “Out of Stock” and so proceed to place an order for one case of six boxes (20 bags/box, 120 tea bags; enough for about four months).  Guess what... My order is refused. They “cannot ship to a post office box”.  I gave up. I redid the order using the street address of the post office.

Saint Patrick Was An Irishman?

I think I told you about Mario Day so this is about Saint Patrick's Day. Which also included Toby's and Roger's birthdays and CJ's too.

Michael was contagious so he was obliged to eat his corned beef and cabbage with a surgical mask in place—that was really messy. We were going to consign him to the next yard downwind, on the other side of the fence, in the open range where the pigs and the coyotes play, but since he is such a voluble conversationalist, and that the weather was getting colder and windier as we waited for the carrots to soften, the rest of us voted to let him in the house. Paul is also contagious and has his older sister and her husband visiting, so he elected to stay home in bed.

I'm mostly still busy cleaning out the Gillig and trying to decide if I will stay around here all Summer and tolerate the Global Warming or contribute to same by driving the Inn Over My Head all the way to Maine.

Anyhow... We all had a good time with Sue's Stuff-Them-Yourself Deviled Eggs and watching Toby petting Tecate and drinking the brew of the same name at the same time. Much of the first couple hours of celebrating the life and times of Saint Patrick and each other were spent moving our chairs to stay in the sun as the shadow of the house crept across the carpeted yard.

77 is a Prime Number Right?

Once upon a long ago, so long ago that I was only just newly delivered, I had two grandfathers. To wit: Isadore John Newton, maternal side, and Alfred Josiah Oxton, paternal side. My mother wanted to name me with one given name and the other middle name. Other relatives had different ideas. The debate raged on such that my original birth certificate states the date and time for "(Boy) Oxton". Eventually my venerable mother shut them all off by saying: "Shut up or I will call him Isadore Josiah!" I cannot imagine what life would be like for an Izzy.

alienation: For the lucky few cosmopolitans, rootlessness might have meant being at home everywhere – but for those who felt like permanent exiles, it meant being at home nowhere.
Petroglyphs on Saddle Mtn

Doing Naughty on Mi Dia Natalis

I don't know about naughty. Not in my book tho some prudes would. We went for a walk in the hills. Two friends with me. One nude, one tolerant. About 4.2 miles in five hours or so. Then an ale and a nice soak in the hot spring. We found a number of ancient artifacts—stone circles, potsherds, grinding slicks—along the way to replacing the rain gauge at the sheep tank. Good times.

Last year's theme music 76 Trombones has been replaced on the turntable by this one more in keeping with life in the skinny-dipping fast lane. Can you guess before you look? You pro'bly guessed Jack and Nancy's idea of this sitcom theme but Mikey suggested this radio station ID squib. HA! Gotcha!

How About a Funny Storey to End This With...What's The Cat Dragging In?

Back last Autumn city workers in New York City found during an excavation a multi-pair copper cable ten feet below the surface. Archaeologists looked and determined their city had a telephone network fully 150 years ago.  Months later, diggers in Los Angeles found similar cabling 20 feet down and scientists there determined the L.A. area had a phone network 200 years ago. Last week, a Pascagoula newspaper reported that after digging 30 feet down, a local farmer and self-taught archaeologist found absolutely nothing... from which he deduced that Mississippians 300 years ago had already gone wireless.

Missed a great photo op this morning.

Stupid @#%$% touch screen #$%^$@... Hurricane Hazel came at a dash from aft to forward, up on the back of the seat where she could see through the door window. I followed. There was a small coyote on the solar panel in the bed of TinyTruck. Prancing to and fro. I ran back to fetch "camera". Dark, pre-dawn dusk. "SmartPhone" camera in some sort of demo mode. Orange dots moving about on the screen. Words telling me to pinch this and poke that like some sex crazed nymph wanting attention. Home screen/camera/goback/camera...

Demo was all I could get and to make matters worse I couldn't comprehend the fucking icons nor read the occasional word without my glasses. By the time I got my glasses on and the "camera" out of dancing class the coyote had made off with the pumpkin bread and was headed south.

Today, the Feast Day of Saint George, was my annual vision exam. Incipient cataracts and minor astigmatism are encroaching upon my otherwise 20/20 seeability.

Not Over Yet? Here's another funny storey...

It seems the U.S. Federal Aviation AdMCM_ChickenCannonCartoon_Chico_Peralesministration (FAA) has a unique device for testing the strength of windshields on airplanes. The device is a gun that launches a dead chicken at a plane's windshield at approximately the speed the plane flies. The theory is that if the windshield doesn't crack from the carcass impact, it'll survive a real collision with a bird during flight. It seems the British were very interested in this and wanted to test a windshield on a brand new, speedy locomotive they're developing. They borrowed the FAA's chicken launcher, loaded the chicken and fired.

The ballistic chicken shattered the windshield, went through the engineer's chair, broke an instrument panel and embedded itself in the back wall of the engine cab. The British were stunned and asked the FAA to recheck the test to see if everything was done correctly. The FAA reviewed the test thoroughly and had one recommendation: "Use a thawed chicken". The back-storey from snopes is rather funny too.TacoCat

Thank you for reading and writing. I really don't know which way I'm going yet. Or returning. Coming or going. I'm reminded of Sara(h) the TacoCat. She never knew either, never figured it out I'm sure.

New Year's Resolutions Censored

Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.gamboling kids

Love, ajo

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Sir Isaac Newton

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Copyright © 2018, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.