Memories and Changes

I was reading a favorite blog, this evening, when I was reminded of autumn while in high school. back in the early '80's we lived near a small town in rural south western Ohio. About 40 miles upriver from Cincinnati and about 10 miles north of the river. It was a good place to grow up. I have often times, since, lamented it was a good place to be from.

We lived on roughly an acre in a ranch style house with a full basement. The large two + car garage sat atop the cistern. Rain water was collected from the roof. With no city sewage or water, summers could be a bit of a challenge.

I recall how, of an autumn, we would take the trailer over to a neighbors just so my dad and the neighbor could watch my brother and I muck out the sheep barn. All that 'sheep dit' would go into the compost pile. I would spend weekends of the entire month of September turning and mixing those trailer loads into that huge compost pile. Once I was 'big enough' my father had me using the troy built tiller to help mix the dit into the compost. In Mid-October the last of the harvest of our 1/4 acre garden would be collected. Heavy black plastic was run out to cover the garden area for winter, after tilling everything under. An additional 'strip' was tilled across the uphill edge of the garden so that water rolling from the yard would be caught and let to slowly seep under the black plastic. Snow rarely stayed on that plastic.

Come the first warm (45 degrees F) weekend day in Late February or early March, we would be out there with the pitchforks and wheel barrows to spread that compost pile onto the garden. Then we would water it down. Just a gentle watering to wet that rotten mix of steaming growth goodness. And again we would cover with that same black plastic. The next warm weekend, I was out there with the tiller mixing all of that into the ground. As I tilled, my siblings were spreading more compost behind me. In one day I would make four or five passes across the whole garden.

It is odd, how I hated those days, but now I long for them. I wish for the smells of the kitchen as my mom would be canning. My hands ache now, like they used to from stringing beans or winter peas or shucking corn.

Once particular weekend in October stands out. The weekend before we had finished everything except for the late squash patch. I remember Dad had planted a squash we had not had before. Kushaw, he called it. A hybrid mix between yellow crook necked squash and pumpkins. We brought one in, cleaned in out, saved the seeds for roasting and dried some for next season. While I was turining the crank and making home made vanilla ice cream, Dad was frying up some of that kushaw with butter (real butter) and brown sugar with a bit of cinnamon. It made a wonderful smell. He fried it up till it was stringy and gooey and served it hot over that ice cream. Damn, it was good. It was a good dessert to have after our dinner of spaghetti squash with spaghetti sauce. I guess we could have been no-carb/lo-carb before it was popular.

There are a lot of things I miss from back then. The lack of bills, like rent and insurance. The simpler living and the hard work. But I also like the things I have now. I have a good job in computers. I have earned the respect of peers in my chosen job field. I have accomplished a lot in the 20 years since I left that ranch house. and I long to go back to it.

I wonder if I can find a good job in Cincy?



Truth in advertising and packaging

A little something to read and think about. What have you put down the sink, today?




Hammer Control and Usage

OK, as promised, a posting on general blacksmithing. Please keep in mind these are techniques I used to learn and still use to 'warm up' when I have been away for a while. Your mileage will vary.

Let's start with the hammer. The hammer is the blacksmith's primary tool. The hammer is used to apply localized force to move and reshape the metal that is being worked.

Start with a short handled hammer, or 'choke up' on the handle. The handle should be smooth and just large enough around that your fingers close around it comfortably. Hold the hammer loosely. The thumb, web, forefinger and middle finger should be the tension providers, creating a circle of light pressure. This circle of pressure should be just tight enough to keep the hammer from sliding out of the hand.

With the hammer held in this fashion, stand comfortably at the anvil, with your feet about shoulder width apart. I find that I am comfortable standing slightly in front of the anvil, the tip of the horn pointing towards the inside of my left thigh. This puts my body at an angle to the face of the anvil of 30 to 60 degrees. This angle will change depending upon what I am working on. The face of the anvil should be at a level that the flat face of the hammer is flat on the anvil surface with your arm comfortably extended.

When using the hammer to strike,do not 'push' the hammer into the project. Instead coil the hammer hand up, rolling your arm up. The head of the hammer will be near the ear. Let the hammer gently fall, unrolling your arm in the process, the hammer will accelerate as the hand lets the hammer 'snap' into the project. Use the recoil from the blow to roll the arm up again. This technique will help you hammer all day long with less wear and tear on your shoulder and elbow.

To test the 'square' of your blows, the anvil height and how to 'adjust' for different thicknesses of material, take a couple of pieces of soft wood, such as pine to the anvil and hammer into them. Just a few strikes will do. Now look at the impression made by the hammer face. Is it 'tipped' as in one side is deeper into the wood than another. This will tell you if you are dropping or lifting your shoulder and if your wrist is straight.

Use these steps to help adjust how you hammer and enjoy.

P. Blacksmith



My Quotable Of The Day:

"I have accomplished so much, with so little, for so long, that I can now build anything, in no time, with nothing."

Sounds like a sever case of burn out.


The downfall of the US Socialist Seminal Injection

The end times are upon us! Run now! This post is filled with general ramblings and hatred of the 'Best Game in Town' known as our Federal Government. This posting also represents the second of our most important rights: The right to speak as I feel and believe. The first and most important right is being able to leave, of course. Rather than leave, I would rather contribute to help FIX it.


This wonderful link and related story is a bit incorrect. Of the 80 or so million babyboomers out there, I am willing to bet many are already drawing SSI checks. The many times forgotten disabled. But let's get back to the meat of the story.

Kathleen Casey-Kirschling has filed for EARLY RETIREMENT. This person has been chosen to represent the opening of Pandora's box that is Social Security retirement benefits. This is just the beginning. I predict that within 2 years, our government will try to 'fix' Social Security by stealing more of my money (and yours) to pay for their promises. It reminds me of the Pyramid/Network Marketing schemes I have seen over the years. It also reminds me of a statement I once heard my Civics/American History teacher in High School say: "It's like robbing Peter, to pay Paul, for the trick Mary turned". (He did not know I was listening.)

I have heard several times that Social Security is broken (I just look at my paycheck and can see that!). So far I have only heard ONE decent idea on how to get it fixed. That idea was to put the socialists in the senate, congress, white house and courts onto SSI. There is one MAJOR downfall with this idea. The only way these socialists know how to 'fix' anything is take more of my money and more of your money to throw at the problem. I am already seeing a nearly 40% tax burden on my checks. I earn a decent living for where I live. I have NO Children, so I get no tax credits. I do not own my own house. I do not have a four-year college degree. I see another person down the street, earning less than I, with nine (yes, 9) children, all under the age of 12. He drives a new car. Her minivan is only a year old. and he BRAGS about how little he pays in taxes and how the 'gummint' is paying so much for him.

This family collects money from my pay check in the way of additional socialist programs of taking from the middle to pay the short end. (They are commonly called Welfare, Food Stamps, Head Start and Public Education.) Instead, I would VOLUNTARILY buy this guy a 12 pack of prophylactics if it meant reducing taxes for all of us. Hell, I would even spring for the glow-in-the-dark Trojans!

And while I'm on the subject...

THAT will be saved for a future post.

Well, that should be about enough, for tonight. I'm at work and not able to concentrate on my writing. Let's see what else we can gripe about, tomorrow.


Sleep is over-rated

Evidently, I am on a mission. In the last week, I have gotten no more than 12 hours sleep. The demands on my time will be declining after this weekend.

With working grave yard shift, packing, moving myself, unpacking and setting up in the new apartment (barely started), assisting my roommate with packing and loading trailer, and his motorcycle, and ... and ...

Let's just say, I'm definitely running on auto-pilot at the moment.

Odd thing though, is I believe myself to lucid. Or is this what a state of delusion feels like?

I'll have more to say in a few days, folks. L0ts of notes about lots of things to discuss.

P. Blacksmith


"No Pain, No Gain"

"No pain, no Gain"
my Drill Seargent barked
as I forced my body to meet my will
I looked deeeeep
deep down within myself
but to find a door to which only I held the key
beyond this door was a well spring
feeding my pain and agony
supporting doubts of myself
beyond this was another door
to a small quiet room
in this room stood a table
upon which perched a chest
the key to the doors opened the chest
inside the chest was my insanity
I fed the pain and agony to the insanity
and the insanity grew
and my stamina grew
the pain meant less
the world less real
soon the chest was over flowing with insanity
the small quiet room saw chaos
I felt no more pain as the outer room fed more
and more I grew
Volunteers were wanted
mission critical, chances low
Train and train some more
fight cut and bleed, but feel no pain
the insanity ran higher each day
the pain was no longer mine to contain,
but mine to give
to share
to force unto others, deserving
or not, I cared not
the night came
the helicopter lifted
quietly we dozed, not knowing where to land
the alarms sounded in my ears
the ropes fell past the skids to the trees below
down we slid, barely in control
sliding to a stop, only to run away
and disappear into the night
radio contact and silence ordered
last chance, no recall
point of no return, orders given
marched through the night
armed and crazed black shadows
lethal nightmares come to visit earth
bringing tastes of hell to the land
past the farm we went, seeking cover and shadows
shadows within shadows we moved
checkpoint met, schedule behind
double time across the open field
and into town
find the house by the towel on the fence gate
from the alley entry
check the door, no lights no sounds
gentle winds enter the house,
master and mistress found
children drugged
quietly crept to the door
lights bright discovery made
burn in hell
mother takes a 9 and starts shooting
down we dove
grenades out the window
explosions and stunns
out the door we run, children under arms
parents keeping up
leader hit, down he went
man on field of battle is never left behind
fire starts, the house is a blaze
over shoulder the leader goes
shooting at those behind us, as we cover our trail.
down the alley, all hell is loose
this is our element, for we are insane
garage we enter, car is hot wired.
in the family goes
I am guarding door
as medic sees to lead
lead can't walk
noise is heard,
engine cut
door opens
side arm up
barrel of rifle fills my vision
empty hammer click as I pull the trigger,
looking into eyes of innocence
flash of light and red spray
a boy no more than 14, no longer
car is started
two in trunk, shooting as we leave town...
under the bridge, grenades bounce
leave town, heading south
ditch the car
carry leader on my back, as we go back north
20 klicks we march
through the woods, across the hills
catch the ride home
target collected and delivered
leader healing and fine
debriefing done
depression I fall as I wade
through the insanity
and looking for the pain
no pain for what I have done
innocent eyes haunting my every day
numb to the gaze of dead innocence
missing any humanity
sub human content
super human pain threshold
surreal words and thoughts
the insanity is winning
fights every day
battles within unit
broken arm and fight on
bleeding gash and fight on
searching for myself
the insanity has hidden me
crashing blow to my head
knife to my leg
stumble to the door for which only I hold the key
fumble and fall through the open door
into the full folds of my insanity
crawl across the floor
as I float within my own mind
through the chaos I crawl like a mountain climb
fighting any and all outside as I fight the insanity within
into the small room of chaos I go, locking the door behind
alone imprisoned with my insanity
hospital bed and straps
needles and tubes
I revel and vacation within my own delusions
nothing to be done
physically healthy but damage will heal
words I hear and laugh
more surreal than ever before
haunting eyes of dead innocence I see
to the edge I walk
and into the abyss I stare
I shout and swear
deny it all and hold it all close
finally I step back
the abyss is not for me
to rule it is not enough
into the box I put all my insanity
forcing it back in, like a fog
denser it grows
heavy it lays on the floor
within the chest it swirls and spins
making lightning strikes to the sides
my prison is lightening
I see the face of death
with innocent eyes staring back at me from within the chest
chest is locked and closed, but small whisps still leak out
the floor is clear
the doors are locked
and up I climb
mount everest but a anthill
and still I climb
today I continue to climb
as my sanity is forever in danger
my rage just below the surface
18 years have passed
and still I see the face of death with innocent eyes
of a 14 year old boy
know my hand did that
my body answered the call of my will

Other People's Morality

Why is it that the ignorant people seem to be flocking into my life, right now? The last two weeks have been pretty rough for me with the loss of a grandfather then to return to my apartment, only to face packing boxes.

In the last 4 days I have met 3 new people that were appalled and vocally disappointed when they recognized I walk a different path.

The first was one of the kind gentlemen I hired to assist with moving me. Due to the unexpected delay caused by the out of state memorial service, I hired a moving company to help pack and relocate my belongings. One of the young men was in my bedroom when he came across the pentacle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentacle) I made. (Review previous postings for photo.) At which point he took a closer look around and realized he was in a room with multiple candles, an incense 'ashtray', and wall hangings of Celtic knot designs. The young man, we shall call Josh, was quite upset. He was so upset he actually pulled a small New Testament bible from his jeans and started reading scripture in my home. He refused to touch any more of my 'tainted' belongings, until they had been blessed and the evil banished from me and mine. Oh, but the issue continues with young Josh. Young Josh starts bucking against the instructions of his employer of putting away his bible and do his job. Josh starts spewing forth a great fount of ignorant blithering of evil and persecution. Statements of magic being the work of the Devil and how I must be possessed by the 'Great One', himself to have such arcane paraphernalia laying about. To shorten a long story, Josh quit/was fired from his job for failing to exercise the agreed upon duties of his position. Josh even tried to recruit away the other young man assisting. Josh left the apartment, only to return a few moments later to request a ride to another part of town.

Today I met the other two, at the same time. I was at a local branch of a major chain store. There is a "Neighborhood Market" a few blocks away from my new apartment. As I'm walking across the parking lot (the Dr. told me to get more exercise), I stop to help a woman whose bag of groceries had busted, spilling about the ground. Chasing down roll-away oranges is not something I wanted to do, but it was the 'right' thing to do. Returning to the scene, I'm helping re-bag the spilt groceries into other bags when my pendant falls out from under shirt, as I bend down to pick up a few items. The older woman whose groceries we were picking up noticed the design of the pentacle and made polite mention of it. The younger woman (still old enough to be my mother - so 60ish?), whom I assume to be the daughter of the older lady just goes nuts on me. She gets so agitated that she actually hit me with her purse. Demanding I step away from 'Nanna'. Of course, this is assault, but who am I to press charges? There was really not much danger to me, unless she lost her balance and fell on me. I stepped away. 'Nanna' was nice and friendly and non-judgemental. The other woman was just mental.

I am starting to see a pattern, not just from these three people, but the experiences relayed to me by others, also. As 'We' start uniting and become a large enough entity for the government to be called to toe on meeting equal rights, 'We' start catching more and more guff from the public. As the Wiccan/Pagan/non-Christ based beliefs start getting more air time and published in more mainstream media 'We' will become larger and better targets for these types of attacks.

I don't advertise to people I don't interact with daily, my interest in arcane beliefs, my curiosity for a different answer, my desire to find a solution to the mysteries of life and the universe that rings honest and whole in my heart. The people know these things about me. A few are graduates of seminary schools and we will debate, not argue the differences in our beliefs. I wear a small pentacle on a string about my neck. The pentacle is nearly the same diameter as a quarter. I'm a balding, overweight, 40 year old white guy, with glasses. My clothes are appropriate for what I am. The only wording on my shirts is to advertise some company or service related to computers. I have no tattoo's or piercings.

In discussion of these events with friends, this evening, a common thread started to become visible. The world we know, here in this town is changing, and it is not for the better. Several comments were made regarding choices and options. Amendments and Constitutions and Bills were also deliberated. It was finally decided there is little we as individuals can do, that we are not already doing. Be who and what we are. No need to publicly advertise our beliefs, but instead to step up and be what the Ideal American of the 50's was supposed to be. Friendly, supportive, helpful and wholesome. Give no quarter by providing nothing to be pointed out.

Now all of this has been a wonderful exercise of public image management for a group of largely alpha personalities participating in the nations fastest growing belief system. My ultimate question is: Who decides what is or is not moral? I have been told the public, as a whole, through the vote determines morality laws. But with the number of sex scandals in the elected offices of late, can we count on this being true?