Tomorrow Is The Start Of The Eighth Month…

In the Roman calendar, before a couple of rulers named Julio et Augustus decided they needed to declare their godhood with months named after themselves. So they shoehorned July and August in the calendar and the dog days come a couple of months early.

And now we are almost in the tenth month of our modern, illogical, politicized calendar. It should be getting cool, but but most of the coolth is still up north.

At least it turned cool enough early enough to keep the late season him and her-icanes away. Which was very good. Durned if I am not tired of those things. I don’t know which is worse. Hurricanes or blizzards.

Given a choice between being frozen to death or blown away – I pass! Tornados are bad enough but they don’t tear up a whole state. Hurricanes do! And blizzards can sure freeze a whole state. Been there and done that. Both, or all three, actually, but on the whole I think I prefer tornados. Blizzards are for the birds.

Where I come from, one minute it’s bluebird weather and the next the snowflakes are flying, and the ducks are frozen into the stock pond. A a few minutes after that the power goes off and stays off for the duration.

You better know some good card games and have plenty of coal for your cannonball heater. Because you are going to be there for a while, so unless you have plenty of fuel, plenty of food, and some good companionship you will be in trouble.

Reminds me of Pike Williamson. Pike and his bride celebrated the big 60 years of living together back in ’52. Somebody asked Pike why their marriage had lasted that long.

“A prairie winter is a good time for a honeymoon. You stay cooped up in a ten by twelve shanty for five months with a woman and you will either stick with her for life or never want to see her again.”

The only thing worse than waiting out a blizzard was waiting on a pay telephone. You remember telephone booths. Those wooden boxes that were always arranged so the door was on the other side from where you were. I always figured they built them on swivels, with an automatic gadget to make the back point in your direction. So you couldn’t tell whether they were occupied.

Whether they were occupied! They were never occupied unless you were in desperate need of one. And when you needed one they were always occupied. Of course, the occupants were not always putting the booth to it’s intended use. But they always seemed to get relief, one way or the other.

I suppose that’s why they had those aluminum contraptions by the side of the street, instead. Now, the old rotary pay phones almost always worked. But those new style punch button phones were on the Civil Service plan. Only about one in five worked.

I think that accounts for the popularity of cell phones. Pay phones are hard to find, and they mostly don’t work. And you aren’t out of trouble even if you do find a phone that works.

Some folks claim the art of conversation is dead – but they have never seen a teenage boy talking to his crush on a pay phone. You need to make a call, urgent, gotta call the office or you got a customer waiting on you.

Find a telephone. Teenager grabs it before you can get to it. Drops a quarter in the slot. Dial. Leans against the booth. Waits. Then it’s talk, talk, talk. The only break in the action is when he scratches his behind or pops a pimple or two.

You know that drill. Kid reaches up and squeezes one of the acorn size lumps on his cheeks. Pus sprays all over the receiver, but he’s oblivious. If he notices he’s left anything on the phone he just rubs it until it doesn’t show.

But you drove twenty miles and spent the better part of an hour finding this phone – so you are going to wait him out. He can’t talk forever. You think.

Thirty minutes and he finally moves something besides his jaw. He shifts the receiver from one ear to the other. And it starts all over again. After another half hour he shifts back to the other ear.

I will have to admit cell phones have their place. But it gets mighty scary when you meet a Lincoln Navigator on your side of the road, and as you sail into the ditch see the driver has a cell phone stuck in her ear.

Oh well! The British edition of news of the weird says a British comic has come to the rescue of a damsel in distress. Railroad employees put a 75 year old woman on the wrong train to the right place – and the conductor demanded she buy a $230.00 ticket or get off the half empty train and wait by the track for her proper ride.

The comic quickly passed a paper sack around and collected enough for the fare. Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, the comic was apprehended for begging.
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And if you have found 21,009 lost cattle, the British Home Office would like a ring up. Whitehall has lost them and cannot seem to find them anywhere. Do you suppose they are with Bo Peep?

At any rate the Nanny State cannot even properly cow sit. I suppose they never heard of a round up, either. Maybe because it’s so hard to take your dallies on an English saddle. No horn, short stirrups, and darn near no cantle!

A butcher in Barking, I suppose that should be a Barking Butcher, an interesting mental picture, has been cited for excessive noise while chopping his wares. The cleaver and saw disturb his neighbors. Who moved into the area knowing of the noise from the shop. The chop shop owner says he’s emigrating.

An Islington (Lunnon) fish n’ chip shop owner is outraged at the parking po-leece. He has leased a private parking spot and the meter maids keep ticketing him for parking in his leased space. So he’s charging the parking wardens an extra ten percent – and making them wait 30 minutes extra for their order. It has not affected his business, parking po-leece are paid by the hour, whether they are parked or not. Nice work that, if you can get it.

And a 12 year young London kid has been fined 100 pounds for sick in the street. He says he was too far from the dustbin to make it before he had to – the parking coppers say it was only a few steps. So he has to pay – and Mama is checking out jobs and housing in Brisbane. At this rate there will be no Brits left in England.

On this side of the pond, the Lone Star Towing Company of Dallas is accused of hiring parking attendants to collect ten bucks and flag Texas State Fair-goers into various private lots until they were full. And then erecting “no parking” signs and towing the vehicles. That’s pretty good work, ten bucks to park and another two hundred to get your car back. With a five hour wait in line for the paperwork.

Which reminds me that there are four kinds of homicide. Murder, manslaughter, self defence, and commendable. Seems like that park n’ tow scam should come under commendable.

Back in 1948, Hugo Gernsback’s Radio Craft published an article about rockets. One of Von Braun’s cohorts wanted to give rocket fuel a high negative charge, attracting the charged fuel toward a positively charged screen, resulting in MUCH higher exhaust velocities than conventional rockets. As in 3 to 5 Km per second up.

Since thrust is the product of efflux mass X efflux velocity, such an engine could deliver much more thrust with much less fuel. A Canuck outfit has just demonstrated the first working model. Maybe we will not need that space elevator after all.

Also on the science front, a new bacteria has been found. Candidates Desulphorudis lives 3 Kliks down in the rocks of a South African goldmine – and is unique in that a DNA check finds it has no terrestrial relatives. Plus, C. desulphorudis is completely alone in its alien environment. T’ boffins claim it’s DNA is so strange it might be an alien life form – or a model for one.

Another new deep rock bug, D. Auxivator, gets its energy from radioactive decay in the rocks around it. It converts CO2 into oxygen and carbon, and leaches nitrogen out of the environment. This tough bug has the capacity to make everything it needs to live from the rocks it lives in.

Oh, the Tranquility Lodge of the Free Masons is discussing a meeting. The Tranquility Lodge has been meeting at random Lodges across Texas, but they want to meet in their own lodge. Located spang in the middle of Mare Tranquilitis, the Sea of Tranquility.

And yes, that Tranquilitis is on the Moon. Buzz Aldrin claimed the Moon for the Texas Lodge back in 1969, so other lodges that wish to stake out a satellite territory will have to take it up with the Big Hat boys from the Lone Star State.

STranger

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