Monday, October 24, 2016

Redneck Ops

So Yeah

One thing about a redneck, at least this redneck, whom my wife married thirty years ago by mistake, they want to do all the stuff, wreck things build things etc., but they also want to die of natural causes in bed at home. The story of the life of a redneck is about strong forces in opposition. I have made seventy years old, so in a world of confusion and general upset, I think about that a lot. A redneck has to stay alive to be a good redneck. There is no such thing as a dead redneck. Consequently, there is a philosophic challenge to being a redneck. For instance, say you like working on cars, it is redneck to work on cars, and one way or another in consequence of need or enthusiasm, you end up working under cars without the wheels on more than you'd like, that is a challenge to staying alive. It is a challenge to staying redneck. Therefore, it is worth thinking about. Did Solomon think about it?  I guess not. But Solomon was a despot, and a redneck is a freedom loving man; the one thinks about this, the other about that. On the other hand, though Solomon wouldn't know a cam from a crank, he might know his dromedaries.

To put it in a philosophic framework, your redneck, when he or she--because nowadays we have redneck girls--a friend of mine was bragging to me about his gearhead daughter the other day, she is a carting champ and he is proud of her--when he or she arrives at a purple dot day, such as when he reaches seventy, he wants to continue on to the next purple dot day, such as when his eighteenth grand kid will be born. And so on. And he ain't gonna do that if he is crushed one lazy afternoon under a two ton vehicle.

I think it is philosophic and well worth thinking about, and I have thought about it a lot over the years. How can I jack that thing up so I can get out that nasty assed leaky gas tank without the car falling on me?  You've got Descartes and Wittgenstein and Spinoza, Plato and Aristotle, but you've also got to jack that car up and muscle out that freakin gas tank. Sorry!  That's the real world.

For what it is worth to all you gearheads, garden variety mechanics, shade-tree bullshit artists, this is the system I have worked out.

First off, if you can leave the wheels on, do so. That is nice, and there is a lot of work you can do on a car with the wheels on. Some people even build platforms with raised chocks, like aircraft chocks, made from sturdy two-by-sixes, to lower the wheels onto. With handbrake on and engine in gear, the vehicle is not going anywhere.

For a long time I liked the idea of cinder blocks. You set them up as you would if you were building a wall. They are supposed to bear the weight of a wall, that is what they make them for. The compression strength of a cinder block is 1900psi. That means that if you put it down holes up, as you would if you were building a wall, and put a sturdy board over it and 2 two-by-fours all common sense would seem to indicate that it wouldn't crush under the weight of a common automobile and certainly not under my 3,000 pound Focus. I wouldn't prop up a cement truck or a six-wheel Silverado or an F-350 that way, though. So it depends on what you are planning on propping up.

But gearheads warn about cinder blocks. They crush. Apply any lateral force and they may tip and crush. If you are banging on and manhandling an exhaust system, what you will be applying is lateral force. But I like the way they set up. They make a solid base on any surface. Since I don't have a cement driveway, I have a packed-down gravel driveway, I cut 3 foot by 2 foot squares of 3/4in plywood to set the blocks on, and a board and two 2 bys and I made a slotted 2 by to prevent crushing the door sills on the vehicle. I think that would be fine for jobs when you don't work underneath. You do most jobs from the side. The gas tank or filter you have to work underneath. They are buried somewhere in the middle of everything. You've got the tires off, and throw them underneath, too, and if worst comes to worst, you won't be under it, and you'll have a good place to catch and jack it up again.

Even if the tires are on, cars nowadays don't tend to have much clearance. Even the skinniest person I know can't crawl under my Subie or my Focus. You have to jack it up and if either of them did fall, it could hurt. The Subie has about 6" clearance. You might not die right away. If nobody knows you are under there, a redneck somewhere in the back 40, you could be in for a long stay, and then die slowly. You might have awhile to say your prayers.

Given the gravity of the possibilities, you might do some thinking about it. Garages have lifts, and the contractors build them under rules. Back yard mechanics have to think about it because they will normally end up protecting themselves. If they have a friend who shares their interest, that is always good. I have found friends are helpful to a point, and then, since the vehicle doesn't belong to them, they would after awhile rather depart. Even professional mechanics each have their own harrowing stories. Every so often in rural Maine somebody gets in a bind that way. The wifes go out and buy six ton jack stands and three ton jacks. The stupid redneck they married is always under the fucking beast tinkering on something.

When you put this problem to them, no matter how enthusiastic they are, every mechanic will say, "So yeah. It can get bad."  The "so yeah" is pregnant with a thousand possibilities. "Well, I tend to get them on the jack stands, and I kick them and shove on the car enthusiastically, then if it doesn't seem to bother, I take off the tires and get to work."   "So yeah", don't use cinder blocks.

Here is my method, and after seventy years I am still alive. First of all, you can't tell me not to crawl under a car, I am gonna do it as long as I figure the odds are in my favor because I am too cheap to pay the friendly neighborhood mechanic, who isn't too bright anyway; and whether he'll fix my car is debatable. But I look at the situation, whether tires are on or off, wonder if I scream "Help" will it mean anything to an uncaring world, or whatever. So yeah, this is what I do. Get a nice heavy duty jack. I spent a little extra for mine. I didn't buy the rock bottom el-cheapo version. Find good solid jack points. The owners manual will help you some, for the rest there is always common sense. The oil pan, for instance, does not make a good jack point. But any chassis part does. So find a good, solid chassis part, which I hope isn't bedeviled by body rot. I once put a hole through the floor of an Oldsmobile, thereby ending its practical life. But it had an extreme case of body rot anyway, and it was on its last days. Luckily when the jack went through I wasn't underneath, though I was in a seriously bad and reckless mood at the time, having observed that the Olds, which still ran fine, probably would never pass another inspection. It was a '96, and I had driven it for the better part of ten years and now was the end of a good thing. (Great in the snow.)

After jacking her up, you can place the jack stands in a good solid place where they won't slip off. The place I like to use is where the owners manual tells you to put the jack when you are changing a tire. But that isn't all I do. Then beside the jack stands I put a cinder block and load 2 bys till they reach within a quarter inch or so the height of the jack stands. I figure if the jack stands wobble and shift, the car will fall on the cinder block and that will hold it long enough for me to squirm out. I am a great believer in backing up. If one thing suddenly doesn't work out, perhaps the other one will. I am convinced that when I do it this way the car won't fall on top of me. You can't tell me otherwise but I know it is still a theory and though it has worked for me since I first started banging on cars fifty years ago, it may not work for me tomorrow. That's the way it is. It is true philosophy. Sometimes people say, "Well, as a rule."  Meaning, though it has worked a thousand times there is no definite proof that it will work the one-thousand and first time.

So yeah, you get into these situations. A nut is seriously stuck. You put a pipe on a breaker bar, but you can't swing it because damned if the jack stand is in the way, and you are not in a good mood and maybe the car stopped suddenly on a little hill. It's these details that make the difference on that first time after the thousand. So yeah. When a neighbor met his maker he was sitting up under it, and the car crushed down on him, bending his body over like a pretzel. I hope that he didn't suffer for very long.

So yeah, think about your jack stands every now and then.  When you get too old to wiggle around under cars, then metaphysics.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Trumpy the Pig at the Bazaar

A funny thing happened on the way to the bazaar: Trumpy the Pig quit his birther notion, blaming it on Hillary. Everybody is in an uproar, but facts aren't what this election is about. It is about an invasion of black and brown people, a funny religion, a wall and terror. The only way to kill Trumpy's terror is to create a greater terror. Okay, let's take a look at Trumpy himself.

His twisted message is about the superiority of white America. Everybody knows, says the message, that this colored, big-eared guy who has been president for forever isn't worth much. He is a stooge of the funny religion and dark countries. Look at Cuba! It makes you think, don't it? Putin is a better leader than he is. Trumpy no longer cares if the press is following him. He can leave them totally out of the picture, slime through the debates with outrageous lies and he can still win the election. He can say anything he wants. He might even skip a debate or two because why bother, there is no advantage to it. He builds his popularity around machismo, which appeals to American Patriarchy. It is hard to battle because it is all state-of-mind. Besides, "Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it." It is a fearful tale of a solitary hero.

I wish I could understand where he got the idea of making his corps fear. But then, that's what a bully does. It comes naturally. He often doesn't seem that much in tune. But he must be, right?

I have always thought racism was fundamental to the American temper. They go along against it, but then, you know… And right now a great majority of Americans,–this has surprised me, the number, I knew it was there but the number–, though the minority may plead otherwise, fear that America will take on the look of a third world country. It's appearance will be multi-racial, there will be a peasantry from Mexico or anywhere, and they will fuck up the old white bloodlines, and they will despoil white American maidenhood, and that is more than many Americans can handle. Secretly they want a white despot like Putin who won't allow such a thing to happen.

(The young folks who run the media are hiding this "trend" from themselves. They avoid discussing it, even the black youngsters who absolutely should. Liberals think it is too odious to talk about. They cringe, avoid it. When Trumpy called Marco Rubio "Sonny" or "boy" or whatever it was, I knew.)

And that's how Trumpy will present himself. He may veil the terms, but they must be clear enough for his corps to know. His philosophy is a dumb, playground mixture of Norman Vincent Peale and the KKK. It is spur of the moment philosophy. Maybe he will say: I don't think I can build a wall, Mexico won't pay for it. And that will be okay because at least he tried. Is it his fault that Mexico won't cooperate like it should? And besides, the fix is in. Brown and Black people have done it again. Maybe we should invade. With these new generals we will be able to. "I alone can fix it." And this will solve the problem of rapist brown people from Mexico. You don't have to be clairvoyant to figure it out.

Now what will he do with the debates? Will he decide to avoid them because how can the coverage be fair? They will check his facts but not Hillary's facts; they will rig the debates against him. How can he win a debate in such an unfair system? Why don't they check Hillary's facts? Well they don't, and our hero is getting beaten by an unfair system. This is what I mean by state-of-mind. Trumpy the Pig preys on it.

One woman I work with is absolutely convinced that Hillary's people will organize busloads of "blacks" and they will invade the polling stations, they will come up even to her own little town and they will vote for Hillary again and again and nobody will know about it, and because the system is rigged, nobody will stop them. She can't be talked out of this belief. I laugh at her and the only way I have been able to connect with her in any way is by suggesting that maybe she ought to go someplace quiet and sit down and figure out how that would happen. She says she did that and now she has even better ideas about how the system will do it. So her hero, the hero of the people, Donald Trump, will fall by treachery.

Also, the server has the mythic power over her like Pandora's box from which great evils will pop out. They will pop out of this server and they will threaten her family, her children and she can no longer feel safe. I am afraid to ask her what she thinks Google is. Maybe she should ask the FBI. Nor do I think her ideas are that unusual.

Now the birther issue comes up. It is more of the same. That won't stop. The thought has always occurred to me that Trumpy the Pig DOES NOT WANT THE JOB. He'd much rather dick around showing people his properties. I must be missing something. That is another legend of the America temper: the job seeks you. Soon he will be forced to stop dicking around with his properties and take on the job that the American people have thrust upon him.

You can theorize all day. Trumpy is definitely a noble patriarch, and Hillary is the little woman. Oh come on, how can the little woman be President? I mean really.

Another good question: how can Mike Pense, who has seemed to me reasonable, except for the mild stench of evangelical racism he hides, stomach hanging around with that nut. And to think it is only gonna get worse. But Trumpy has been blunt about abortion and the Supreme Court. And it goes with his general racism that he doesn't like gays. If you are Evangelical, there's nothing more you need to know.

There is the possibility that Trumpy is an all right guy, he is just losing his mind.

Scared yet? There's more.


Author: <Paul Gigas>

Created: 2016-09-17 Sat 11:38

Emacs 24.4.1 (Org mode 8.2.10)


Monday, September 12, 2016

More Trumpy the Pig

Liberal thinking journalists are by nature cowards. They have never been friends of Democracy. One thing about Rush, who claims he is a Conservative, he is not a coward. If he were in Russia, he wouldn't shut his mouth. Of course, in Putin's Russia he would have been rounded up and sent to Siberia. A big mouth conservative Marxist? I don't think so. Rush, who is up and down on Trumpy the Pig, depending on what Trumpy has done in the last few hours, has moderated in the last few years. Maybe I have been lucky because when I end up listening to him once in a while when there is nothing else on the radio, he has seemed less excitable. But there are moderates in the media, and the moderates, who play with celebrities on morning television, tell you Trumpy is a tough interview. They make up all sorts of involved, inaccurate analogies. They pride themselves in their conciliatory lack of excitability. Why don't they admit it? Trumpy is not a tough interview. He is like a bully on the playground whom these press people are afraid of. Point out to Trumpy that Putin is a despot and all the guys in the Kremlin were despots. And then call him Trumpy and laugh at him. I'm sure they will never do that because they're cowards. Besides Trumpism is a state-of-mind and it has nothing to do with facts. What this election will come down to is if America is ready to break into American patriarchy and elect a woman. It won't be the economy, it won't be the server, the illegals, brown or black, it won't be Russia or ISIS, it won't be the KKK, it will be if America is ready to move on with gender.

Here's how you deal with Trumpy. First of all, you put a hard question to him, like all simple, unthinking people, his face gets red. His body language toughens. DO NOT CONTRADICT! Even while Matt Lauer was glad-handing him in such an obvious way, Trumpy's face was turning a ghastly shade of red, and I believe he was sweating. (Why did not anyone notice?) I for one would have given anything to have anybody remind him, "Trumpy, Putin is a despot. All those guys in the Kremlin were despots and before that they had Tsars. They are a sorry bunch." (Could it be the "moderate" press secretly loves a despot?) But there he was, red-faced, packing, and glad-handed.

One good Trumpy trick is to snarl and turn back on you, "Want me to tell you what Obama does?" (That may have been a key moment in the evening, maybe in the election. Lauer seemed to blanch and he continued on. Was it a worry about time or just plain fear?) And of course if you have any courage at all you immediately say "yes". That is the oldest playground trick in the world. "You know what YOU do?" It is sheer intimidation. Immediately putting the reasonable person on the defensive. "Say, 'Okay, tell me,'" and then the bully will ahem and haw, bring up some totally ridiculous impressions without any factual truth, they will sweat, and bluster and look ridiculous. It was like on the playground, there were the smart kids and then there was the bully. The smart kids were easily intimidated, and they rarely rose to the occasion because they didn't want to get slammed. Don't forget, Trumpy the Pig is packing. I wonder if he is REALLY packing, like right now? But Matt was probably worried about losing his job. The bully always knows who can be bought and sold and who can be bent down. Talk about pay for play! It has nothing to do with factual truth. It is more about after the election. Anybody who would like to buy real estate from that guy, good luck.

I could go on and on. Why don't they ask him how he plans to deport millions of people? Why don't they insist that he answer? Why don't they threaten and bully an answer out of him? How do you do it in a "nice way"? Are these people who are about to be deported going to run to Trumpy the Pig and turn themselves in? What are these safe havens? Who is going to be deported? What does it all mean? Meanwhile, what happens to big data, what happens to my cell phone and my server, and do I get deported when I will tell you to your face you are Trumpy the Pig and a big, fat hoot. He has to answer these questions. On the other hand the press has no problem dealing with Hillary. They put up all sorts of excuses why they are being unfair to her, why they are refusing to move on, though she has given the same answer to the same questions for fifteen months now and nobody has been able to prove anything. Of course they don't have a problem, she is a woman and women are not bullies. Even though the press may be acting like assholes, they are not going to lose their jobs. But Trumpy is gonna get you. I wonder how many people he has ruined? We will never know.

What kind of a man would go out in public and act that weird? When Trumpy came to Maine he carried on about the immigrants at length, not knowing a single thing about them, not knowing a single one of them, but in terms of the most absurd bluster. (I might add the Maine press was strangely silent. But this is Maine, which is a foreign country. Intelligent people want out of Maine as soon as they can walk. Besides, nobody reads Maine newspapers any more. They are not worth paying for.) Trumpy wandered on stage as if he had just woken up from a long sleep. He looked sleepy. This is too weird. Does he sleep all day on his plane while he is wandering around? Does he take pills? What do we know about this guy? What is he going to tell Dr Oz? The press is afraid to tell you anything or to find anything out. I doubt he had any idea what he was gonna say. It was off the wall and off the cuff. But bullies are like that. They step on your toes, they get state-of-mind. Facts are meaningless. But he looked lousy. I would be afraid, if I ever had a chance to interview him, which why shouldn't I?, I am a blogger and I bet there are a thousand of us on Quora alone or Reddit who would love to get in there and direct toward him a few questions the moderate press will NEVER put to him, I would be afraid that if I asked him where he got his information about Putin and modern day Russia that if he answered at all, he might have a heart attack. In Europe the intellectuals would have burned, excoriated, trivialized Trumpy the Pig into obscurity forever for remarks like that. But in America the intellectuals, except us bloggers, are afraid of their own shadows. But Trumpy knows perfectly that in America he doesn't need factual answers and he doesn't really care about factual answers anyway; all he has to do is go to Twitter and bluster, and his wife blusters, she's so empty headed she can't make up 140 characters of her own to bluster with, and so do his kids, who are good kids, loyal to Papa. But can you win an election via Twitter? That would be a first.

Trumpy is so easy to prick holes in. The hot air seeps out, the bluster disappears. Another bullying trick. When he is alone with you and nobody else is around, he'll almost act rational. Oh, man did he ever suck up Katie Tur one day! He did the same thing to Megyn Kelley, who has gone south since. Actually, a pig can be sweet even. Just ask any farmer. Get him alone. Incidentally, this all cuts across party lines. There are Republicans who are as afraid of him as there are Democrats. I am sure, if Hillary wins, after the election, the Republicans will have plenty to say about their courage in standing up to him. The only people I know of who are not afraid of him are Hillary and Bill. Trumpy says he is studying to prepare himself. Duh! Good luck. One thing about the Clintons is that when faced by endless advertisements, stupid glossing over, inaccurate data, and shilly-shallying journalists, they seem to rise. They don't fall. They seem inspired. It is a gift God gives to some people.

I have for a long time felt that America was ripe for a despotism. It can happen really fast, you know, and I no longer think that America has the strength to fight it off. These may be historic times. It will be interesting to find out who can take the heat, who will end up defending American democracy. And who will be sucked under. Name me one person who will say "No!" When you see somebody strangling the cat, you say, "Stop. You're strangling the cat." They may say, "Oh, he has a bad foot anyway." That doesn't change anything.


(Oh, incidentally, this is all a joke. Just being sarcastic. What's the matter? I can't be sarcastic?)

LONG LIVE CELL PHONES, SERVERS AND BIG DATA! I hope that after Hillary quits having to answer to the science-and-technology haters, she gets her own server again. Set one up, and it sure does work slick. Anybody who can't pair a bluetooth headphone to their iPhone is truly a "deplorable". I mean it. There seem to be plenty of them around. More than half.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Trumpy the Pig

Do old men naturally evolve to thinking about politics? No. ISIS is bad but when ISIS is finished there will be another. When nervous fringers see a monument in Trumpy, I see a pathetic overweight carpetbagger with a big jet. He loves that jet. I think that he has been searching all his life for a job that would profit as he rode around in it. He wears a lot of hats, just ask him. I have known rich people like that. He's a simple hard-working rich guy who loves whatever he can put his name on. I wonder if he would actually live in the White House. And if he didn't, what would that mean? Maybe he and wife would change the name. It scares me to think how he might change the decor. Motel modern, like Trump towers? I have never observed a public figure I have thought of more scornfully. How can stupidity be trumped? Why should an old man like myself care? I'll be dead soon, and I have a beautiful late summer evening to listen to. Besides, this is only the beginning. You can't get rid of pigs once they get loose.

But I am thinking about politics. Old men must naturally evolve to thinking. What else can they do? Besides, what's Trumpy the pig gonna do about me? He says he's packing. Kill me? I'm gonna be dead in a few years anyway. What's the difference a few years more or less. But is there anything about politics that is worth thinking about? That is the question. You see one thing, then it disappears, then you see it again maybe a generation or less later. What's the sense in thinking about comes and goes? But a man from India, I think, years ago, once reminded me that there is nothing else than politics worth thinking about, whether it comes and goes or not. Still it is hard. If somebody took upon himself to call me a bigot, for instance, I would burst out laughing. If somebody tried to prosecute me for some hypothesis by means of an email or series of emails stolen from my personal server by a criminal, I would burst out laughing. Some things you have to do, though the doing may seem absurd, like thinking about politics, or they don't get done. Not doing sometimes creates worse problems. Trumpy the pig claims he has common sense. Oh brother!

I don't know enough about American History to say definitely that the present time is different, but I honestly want to say that anyway. Our Maine governor, Paul LePage who is a racist, he happens to hate brown and black people, made a recent unfortunate phone call which is hard to think about it is so ridiculous. I theorize that he is suffering from a substance abuse problem. Trump is a teetotaler I have heard, but you can't tell me that. I feel like an alien from a lost planet. How can you explain this, which makes no sense? My wife and I kid each other about the spaceship from the home planet suddenly appearing to return us back. At any rate, something is happening, and it is happening in front of us. Think of it, this is history! How are the historians of the future going to explain Trumpy? As they have Huey Long or Ronald Reagan or Theodore Roosevelt? But he is not like anybody I can think of. He is Trumpy the pig.

I wonder if Trumpy's game isn't divide and conquer. It wouldn't be planned out, by accident, say. That has been my fear for a long time, that somebody would get elected that nobody likes. LePage never figured it out, but that's how it turned out. Hardly anybody likes him but nobody else could get enough votes to defeat him. We Mainers have especial experience with this: LePage's governorship has been a long story of debacles, fanning fires that didn't need fanning, loud, well publicized self-destructiveness. And now the true fringe racism is revealed. And it is "deplorable", as Hillary says. (I would used a different word: sucks, shits, stinks come immediately to mind.) What did Donald Trump accomplish by calling Hillary a bigot the other day? Every day there is some blatant brush fire started for no particular reason.

So I do carry on thinking about the "deplorable" and the "deplorables". Will politics come down to college grads versus non-college grads, or some other arbitrary fragmentation? In high school in the sixties I remember my fellow mates who didn't know who the vice president was. But they didn't know who the vice president of anything was, and I liked them nevertheless. Today I know people who rant about computers and servers and big data which they believe is the cause of all this commotion. Get rid of big data and everything wrong will right itself again. I don't agree with them, but I don't dislike them. Hillary is the devil in the computer box, she threatens children and families. Moms and Dads cannot sleep at night thinking about it. There are many such people and everyone has their own especial rant. My rant is simply this: how could a man with as many bankruptcies behind him as Trumpy the pig run for president of the US? Why wouldn't he hide his head in shame? How dumb is that? You pay your bills. Why does that sound so strange?