Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Well, I'll Be Hornswoggled!

The Wonders Of Botany

Guess you're never too old to be doing some learnin'.

Know what this is?? A Loofah. Most of you have probably scrubbed your hide with one.

Now, I had always assumed a loofah was the dried-out carcass of a sea cucumber, or at least some kind of phallic coelenterate or echinoderm. At least it had to have its start dunked in seawater, right?

Nope, not a bit of it. Turns out it's a vine-grown gourd that's been peeled & dried:

Friday, June 29, 2012

Oh, Gamal, Not The Scotch!

Scenes To Make A Grown Man Cry...

Somewhere in Islamistan, the powers-that-be decide to clean up the moral character of the land.

Alas, this involves running all the liquor bottles under a steamroller.

Gadzooks, at least let me pull the scotch out of the pile. I'll take it out of the country, and you'll never see it again!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

King Of The Wild Backyard

Memories Dredged Up From Years Past

Man, you think of some weird shit while squatting on the can at 3 in the morning...

I can't even begin to recall the train of thought that led me back to Dallas, TX circa 1975. Somehow I got to thinking about the backyard on the house on Woodleigh Dr. and the amount of time I spent out there.

As backyards go, for a seven year old boy, it was pretty sweet. Here, let me show you:

1) An old 1950's era bomb shelter. If Dad left the key to the padlock where I could find it, you could open it up, raise the #$&%@# HEAVY lid off the hatch, and climb down a vertical metal ladder to a small antechamber, which led to a tubular shelter with double bunkbeds chained to the walls. It was dank, musty, ill-lit, and a wonderland for a small boy. If we'd stayed in that house, that SO would have been my teenage AngstLair.

2) Back Door & Kitchen Window

3) Climbing Tree. OK, many backyards have climbable trees, but this particular one held a seven year old boy most every day it wasn't pouring down rain. I got really good at using the fence to get up to the lower branches, then scooting up out of Mom's reach. I could even get up there with a glass of iced tea in one hand. Only fell out once, as I recall.

4) Fort Plywood. Dad built a fort for my sister & I out of probably 20 sheets of plywood, then decorated it with cans of Krylon spraypaint. I remember getting really pissed when I learned the next owners of the house tore it down and used the wood for a shed.

5) Outer Mongolia. Zero shade, and hotter than blazes. (That tree was MUCH smaller back then)

6) Shady Acres. Held a couple of large mimosa trees (messy!), and was almost always cool & pleasant. Mom & Dad had their yard furniture and a hammock back here.

But let us speak of tents, for that was the original (ahem) intent of the post.

My late-night woolgathering aboard the throne had actually led me to think about this old tent that was in that backyard.

All I could remember about it was that it was made of heavy canvas, had a Davy Crockett picture on one side, and was held up by some wretched arrangement of a really wobbly 4-way ridgepiece, wingnut clamps and rough wooden dowels. Oh, I also remembered that it was usually as hot as an oven inside, and smelled kind of funny...

Thanks to the Intertubes, if it ever existed, you can usually find a picture of it. And I did:

Dunno who the kid is. The top photo had a 1953 date, which would fit the Coonskin Cap Craze that swept the USA. The color photo, OTOH, had a writeup that attributed the tent to the Franklin Picture Frame Company in 1943.

Where's the tent now? Lost to time. Probably left out to rot, and eventually trashed. I'd bemoan the loss, but in truth, it was a really crappy tent...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Defective Dog?

Wag The Dog In An Asymmetric Manner!

A question for you dog owners...

My neighbors have this little terrier named Sonya. I suppose it's a rat terrier, but it's got a bit of Jack Russell coloring, and is probably a Heinz 57 variety mutt.

It's friendly enough once it got to know me. It used to yap and growl at my ankles, but now it wanders up in the morning for an ear-scratch before trotting away on whatever doggy business it's up to.

I was watching it tool around the yard the other evening, amused by its high-stepping gait and diligent sniffing of almost every square inch of the yard. Something wasn't quite right, and it took a minute to figure out.

Finally, I spotted what was out of kilter... The tail was out of line. Instead of emerging out of the body dead-center above the bunghole, the whole tail assembly was offset to the left about an inch, or about the diameter of the tail at the base.

WTF?? Is not the tail just an extension of the spine?? The dog's back seems perfectly straight, and it has no discernible problems walking or running.

Very weird... Any ideas? Perhaps the pup got her tail in a twist at birth??

Monday, June 25, 2012


Yay! I Won Something!!

Well, how's this for some good luck!

I went by my favorite cigar shop last Thursday, and they were having a San Lotano event. Big discounts on boxes, and giveaways of swag if you bought lots of sticks.

I'm completely enamored of the 6x60 San Lotano Oval, so I plunked down a wad of Jacksons for a box, and got entered into a drawing for more swag. It was my first time buying an entire box at an event.

Looks like it paid off! They pulled my ticket out of the hat, and I won a Xikar cigar cutter!

MSRP for the cutter looks to be about half the cost of the box, so I definitely made out OK.

Now, would it be too churlish to offer to trade the cutter in on a fancy quad-torch lighter??

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fitz Special Candidate??

I Certainly Have The Belly For A Belly Gun...

For some reason, I've been thinking about making a Fitz Special.

No particular need for one, I just like the historical aspect, and my buddy Zibig would giggle his ass off if I started toting around a tiny little snubnose revolver.

Anyway, this showed up at Collector's Firearms:

An older Charter Arms Bulldog in .44 Special. It's already had an inch of barrel chopped, the front sight ground down and the hammer bobbed. All I'd have to do would be cut the trigger guard to shape:

They've also got a newer version, the Bulldog Pug, but I'm a bit leery of anything Charter Arms made in the last decade.

Maybe I'd better wait for an old beater Colt to show up. If I get a Charter Arms .44 Bulldog, my neighbor's dog might start talking to me and telling me to go kill people...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Physician Phriday

And Thospital Thoisday...

Ugh. Two whole days of doctors.

My semiannual checkups at the General Practitioner (actually an Internist) and the Cardiologist happened to occur on two consecutive days. Since both usually involve protracted sessions of waiting room waiting and exam room sitting, I went ahead and scheduled two days off so I wouldn't be in any hurry to get back to work.

The Cardio visit on Thursday I usually wouldn't mind so much, except it's at the Memorial City hospital professional building, which means it's as crowded as Calcutta. Parking usually involves hiking several blocks in 99 degree heat. This makes El Capitan very, very angry, which in turn raises El Cap's blood pressure and occasionally makes his ticker go pitty-pat in odd (but mostly benign) ways, neither of which is advisable just before an exam.

Anyway, part of the taking a day off strategy was giving myself enough time to relax & cool down before they hooked me up to all the wires and the Machine That Goes *Ping*.

Besides, the EKG nurse is a smokin' hottie. You just hate to be a sweaty wreck while she's roaming around your carcass.

Today at the GP's was more of the same. I wasn't lucky enough in the random nurse draw to get the cat-eyed redhead. Man, she's a cutie, even if she's barely old enough to vote. She can stick me with needles all day long...

Overall, things look as good as they can for a mostly sedentary 43 year old fat guy. Several years back, my doc started throwing medication at my blood sugar right before it crept up into diabetic levels, and as a result I haven't progressed into full-on Type 2 diabetes, & managed to lower everything down into the safe zone. My pancreas is no longer trying to self-destruct, and that keeps me off the blood-testing/insulin roller coaster ride.

Of course, losing more weight would help, but LOLA skipped town a while back, and we're not currently on speaking terms.

So, by the numbers:

BP 128/74
A1C - 5.9
Cholesterol - 189
HDL - 60
LDL - 109
Glucose - 98

It's a notch or two higher than 6 months ago, but that's consistent with eating prepackaged crap instead of rabbit food. Sigh. Back to the salads, I suppose...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I'm Never Going Outdoors Again!!

The Horror!! The Horror!!!

OK, this could indicate that PETA has a covert biogenetic lab somewhere on the East Coast, and they're plotting to make us all eat bunny food FOREVER!!!

I'm terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought...

From ABC News:
Allergic to Meat: Lone Star Tick May Make Vegetarians of Some

There's a new weapon in the war on meat: a tiny tick, whose bite might be spreading meat allergies up the East Coast.

A bite from the lone star tick, so-called for the white spot on its back, looks innocent enough. But University of Virginia researchers say saliva that sneaks into the tiny wound may trigger an allergic reaction to meat -- agonizing enough to convert lifelong carnivores into wary vegetarians.

"People will eat beef and then anywhere from three to six hours later start having a reaction; anything from hives to full-blown anaphylactic shock," said Dr. Scott Commins, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. "And most people want to avoid having the reaction, so they try to stay away from the food that triggers it."

One minute, you're enjoying the succulent flesh of a roasted pig. The next? You're condemned to a life of tofu and vegetables.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go bathe in a pool full of insect repellent...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Bookmobile Arrived!!

This Ought To Hold Me Through The Weekend...

The Big Brown Truck Of Happiness arrived two days early!!

Woohooo!! I do loves me some!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to stick my nose in a book or two.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Old School Hottie

"You Know How To Whistle, Don't You, Steve??"


(Click pics to embiggenate!)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Presented Without Comment

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Funk

Almost Forgot To Post Anything.

Not a lot to say. Should have been a good day. Paycheck hit the bank. Full tank of gas. Nurse hit the vein the first time while drawing blood at the Doc's office...

Even the usual Friday afternoon weirdos kept their distance at work.

Still, something's not right.

Well, there's still two beers in the fridge. They may not help.

But they sure won't hurt.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Father's Day Gift Ideas

Assuming Your Dad Is Alan Quatermain Or Hans Gruber...

A couple of interesting selections in today's "New Arrivals" at Collector's Firearms!

First up... A double rifle in the manly & effective caliber of .500 Nitro Express!

Manufactured by Merkel, this particular rifle is supposedly the prototype for the .500NE Merkel double gun.

The pictures just don't do justice to how burly a big double rifle is. Unlike a double shotgun, with thin walled tubes which should float through your swing, a double rifle feels more like a length of iron pipe. An exquisitely blued and engraved iron pipe, but definitely hefty and robust.

With each cartridge roughly the size of a Brinkman AA flashlight, you'll have no problem dropping anything in its tracks on whatever continent you happen to find yourself on. In fact, if you find yourself in a time warp to the Cretaceous Period, this ought to do a number on most wandering sauropods & therapods.

It ain't cheap. With sales tax, you're looking at just under $12,500. Oh, and each shot will cost you about $16.

(Click To Embiggenate!)

Next up is a Kraut buzz-gun. A Heckler & Koch MP5 in 9mm, good for most two-legged critters, providing they're not wearing body armor.

This one comes with a lot of BATFEIEIO paperwork. You'll need a tax stamp for the auto sear, for the suppressor, and for the short barrel. That's $600 and several months of paperwork even before you drop just short of $20,000 once you pay the tariff plus tax.

Still, it'll run through 9mm ammo like shit through a goose. I've shot one in giggle-mode (without a silencer), and it's about as much fun as you can have while standing upright and with your pants on.

So, if you've got some serious wherewithal to treat Dad, here's the way to do it!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Island Hopping, The Sequel

Who's The Blonde Stranger? Oh, Cousin Jo Got A Dye Job...

Yet another family reunion has come & gone down in Galveston. All went well, and no wandering toddler was consumed by a pelican.

Mom's clan gathered for a repeat stay at a big ol' rental house close to the Galveston Seawall, and 21 of us hung out for two days and swapped family stories.

There was some beach-goin' and Jet-Skiing amongst the more adventuresome (and younger) crew, and much porch-sittin' and jawin' for the oldsters (of which I now qualify).

Many of the planned activities didn't quite go as intended. Trying to get that many people on a set schedule is worse than herding cats, it's more like herding cocaine-crazed chipmunks.

Dad liked it so much, we're going back for his side of the family's get-together next month. Same rental house, and probably the same controlled chaos for 48 hours.

Ah well, it's all good. Beats a generic Holiday Inn in suburban Houston.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

A Stitch In Time

Tales Of Automotive Woe

Don't you just LOVE throwing away money?? I know I do!!


OK, before I begin the rant, here's the backstory:

Sometime in elementary school, either 2nd or 3rd grade, I can remember having a lesson on some common maxims or sayings. You know, things like "The early bird gets the worm", and "Too many cooks spoil the broth".

I remember being particularly puzzled by "A stitch in time, saves nine." I just couldn't get my head around it. My teacher explained it over and over, but my (even back then) excessively pragmatic brain just couldn't grok the non-grammatical proverb.

See, if it had said "A stitch made now saves making nine stitches later", *THAT* I would have understood immediately. As it was, it just didn't make sense. Nine what? Lives? People? Shirts? And why nine? Why not three or five, or twelve?

So, fast forward 30 years. I still haven't caught on.

I had a new muffler put on the truck a year ago. The old one had rusted into oblivion, and the dual tailpipes had gone a bit walleyed and were banging around the undercarriage.

So, $400 was spent, and a new Flowmaster can was installed, and we're back in business.

Then, about 3 months later, the welds holding the tailpipe hanger straps broke loose from the frame, and my tailpipes started dangling. Damn. Hate when that happens...

Now, a smart man would take it back to the shop that installed it, and have them redo it.

I am not that smart man... I must have a touch of OCD, 'cause I hatehateHATE dicking with my daily routine to go have the truck out of commission for a day.

So, begin 9 months of crawling under the truck every month or so, using coat hangers, baling wire, pipe hanging straps, and old swingset chain to do a slapdash job of hanging the tailpipes and keeping the beater on the road. If I owned a welding torch, this might have all been avoided.

As it was, the redneck engineering (There! I Fixed It!) would hold for a few weeks, then time, vibration, metal fatigue and galactic entropy would cause everything to wiggle loose and fall apart.

That came to a screeching halt yesterday when I heard a merry clanging behind my bumper. I didn't lose the left tailpipe, but it was a near thing.

So, gotta get it welded. No choice this time.

Went to a muffler shop just down the street. It only cost $35 to get it tacked back up, and only took 20 minutes. That 1 year old $400 Flowmaster muffler? Completely fucked up. Gonna need replacement. All due to those pipes swinging about and me not doing anything about it.

Damn it. A stitch in time saves $400, dumbass...

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Project EBR: Just About There!

Sporter? F#%& No, This Is An Assault Rifle!

This is my rifle!

There are many like it, but by God, this one is MINE!!

(Click to embiggenate!)

I probably should have waited until daylight and taken the photo outdoors. It's hard to get detail on a black rifle! I've got the brightness level cranked 50%!

All that's lacking now is a red dot sight and a dozen more magazines full of ammo.

And a carry case, and reloading gear, and a bipod, and a foregrip, and a flashlight, and some mag pouches, and a load bearing vest, and a... (ad infinitum)

Monday, June 04, 2012

Elevator Hell

I Want To Work In A Small One-Story Office!!

Damn! They did it again! Bastard elevators!!!

I'm sure they eat the souls of the trapped peons foolish enough to ride in 'em. If I wasn't so adverse to exercise, I'd start walking the stairs!

I've written before about our Boxcars of Doom, Groany, Creaky, Jitters, Slowpoke, & Deathtrap.

Three times now, Deathtrap has attempted to consume my corporeal form, and add my soul to the Damned-by-Otis collection.

The first two times, I'd get on, press "X", and have Deathtrap deposit me at "X"+1.
The elevator doors would always hesitate before opening, and then refuse to close again until you hit a higher floor's button.

Just now, I got on at "X"-3, pressed "X", and GLORY BE! The elevator actually stopped at "X". Unfortunately, the doors only opened about 2 inches, and then it wouldn't do anything. A co-worker in the elevator lobby helped my try to pry the doors open, but they weren't budging.

Then, without warning, the doors slammed shut, it dropped down to "X"-5, only the readout said "X"+6! At least the doors opened, and I was able to escape with my soul intact.

I'd write the building management to complain, but they're in on the demonic plot. I'm fairly certain I saw the floor buffer crew spray down the liquid wax in the lobby in the form of a huge pentagram...

Friday, June 01, 2012

GiGi's Heater

One From The Memory Vaults

My maternal grandmother (GiGi) has been gone for a decade now, but rarely does a day go by when I don't think about her. Man, she was a tough old bird...

After my grandfather died in the early 1970's, she picked up and moved to sunny Florida, and took over as the manager of a retirement hotel in Hollywood, FL.

I really need to ask Mom how she got the gig. I knew she was a nurse for years & years, but obviously she had a diverse skill set.

We'd go visit GiGi most summers while she lived there. It was a great time to be a youngun, just blocks from the beach, and having all summer long to explore the gator farms, watch wrasslin' at the local arena, and get toasty brown on the sand.

The only fly in the ointment was Pierre. Pierre was Gigi's shit-colored poodle, and that dog hated me. The feeling was mutual.

Anyway, one day Gigi sent me to her suite for a pack of cigarettes (Vantage, with the blue bullseye logo) out of her desk drawer. I hated to go in there without her or my parents, for fear that damned poodle would take a chunk out of my ass.

So, I tiptoe into the room, and that dog commenced to growling at me. I sidled over to the desk, and tried feeling inside the drawer while leaning over the desk, keeping as much of it in between me and that demonic poodle.

Naturally, all I accomplished was pushing the carton further back inside the drawer. So, I dashed around, yanked out the drawer, and revealed a hidden surprise...

GiGi had a pistol!! Who knew??

I didn't know what it was back then, but it was a Smith & Wesson Model 61, the 'Escort'. A tiny little 6 shot .22LR autoloader. Functionally it's almost identical to the S&W 2214 I owned a few years ago.

I wasn't foolish, I knew I was supposed to leave it alone. Or, at least leave the trigger alone.

Yeah, I contemplated shooting that dog... I think the dog knew it, too. Pierre kept his distance, and an uneasy d├ętente existed for the remainder of the summer.

I wonder what happened to that pistol? I imagine she left it in Florida with the new manager. I might ask Mom & my uncle at the upcoming reunion!