Saturday, January 18, 2020

PKO Sterling Cross Flea Market Find.

     I like to go to flea markets and garage sales and look for treasure to sell on Ebay.  I am not much of a fan of jewelry.  I saw this cross and believed it to be sterling.  I thought it might be Russian or Greek Orthodox but was not sure.  And it could be old or not, again hard to tell. I paid fifteen dollars and thought that it was a gamble as to whether I could make any money with it. 

    The fun in treasuring hunting is discovering the history of the things you find.  I have search the internet and have not found a similar item.  I have not come across any thing close.  The cross has six faces.  Probably Saints or Popes and four diamond like stones.  They are not diamonds. 

     When I found the cross, I could not see any makers marks on it.  I After I got in home I discovered on the reverse in very small print  "PKO".  Not much on the internet on "PKO" that I can find.  Finding this mark probable means that it is not old.  It is Sterling and the weight is enough to cover the cost I paid. 

    Unfortunately there is no home run here, just a base on balls.  I like the look of it and may just hang it on the wall. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Promoting the General Welfare

Promoting the General Welfare

These United States were created when a contract was created between the people and a proposed government. The people all agreed to be bound by the terms of the agreement. In the Preamble, one of the stated reasons for entering into this contract was to “promote the general welfare” of the people. There is no greater element of welfare than a persons health.

The common welfare would be enhanced by our government assisting and promoting health care at no cost to the people.

Wait, Don't Stop Reading!

I know what your thinking. Socialist Medicine, right. I never understood why we the people need to label everything. The fact is there are a lot of people in America that make a lot of money in the Health Care Industry and they want to keep us paying for it. I am a true believer in capitalism. It is one of the single most powerful mechanism for improving the living standards of people all around the world. And I have never been much of a fan of he way the government does much of what it does. Sometimes I think that governmental agency intentionally mess things up. But what is more important to you and me that our health?

There is a revolution coming and lots on feet dragging to prevent it from happening. Modern technology will revolutionize medical care. Everyone with a financial interest in health care will resist. Imagine what is now possible. With the advent of the internet the world has never been closer than it is today. We turn on our computers and look and talk to anyone who has internet access. Add to this mix the advent of Artificial intelligence and this is a game changer. Health care can be provided at a cost that has never been available before.

Many years ago if you were sick, the doctor made a house call and treated you. That changed and patients were required to go to the doctor or to a hospital for treatment. Now, the doctor can sit in his office somewhere and you could be seen over your computer or at a local facility were machines were available to monitor your vitals during the exam. The doctor could be anywhere in the world. Right now you can purchase wearable devices that will monitor everything from your heart to your body temperature. These devices monitor your vital signs and alert you and your health care provider if something changes. I'm not even going to talk about remote robotic operations.

Not being a fan of how the government does anything, I would suggest that we as a country encourage and promote non-profit health care provides that are endowed both by government and by private citizens with the goal of being self supportive. There are such institutions today. St Jude Children's Research Hospital comes to mind. Health Care is a big business and billions of dollars of profit gets generated every year. It's appalling to profit off the suffering of others? Why can't we approach this problem in another way.

There is a campaign being waged to mold public opinion and maintain the status quo. Suggesting an alternative to “for profit” health care gets translated into “Socialist Medicine.” Push past the labels. They want to keep the profits rolling in. Don't fall victim to the “Makes vs Takers” propaganda.  Lets rethink health care and make it better.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Vintage Buses in Rural North Carolina

I had to travel to Lake Lure North Carolina in July and spotted several buses along side the road.  Being a bus nut and all, I had to stop and check them out.  The bus owner was friendly and allowed me to look and video his collection.  Here's the video.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Draft of the Opening of Excessive Force

     Standing waist deep, Ted braced against the insistent flow and followed the fly as it drifted with the current.  Watching for the swirl of water that accompanied a trout rising from the river bed.  The air moved with the river, from the west.  The smell of rain was in the air. 

     Fly fishing was a form of meditation for Ted.  He found serenity in its conflicts.  Constant pressure from the force of the water against his body and a lure that floated without resistance on the current.  The reflection of light off the surface and the dark recesses where his adversary lay in wait. He loved the poetry of motion in casting the line.  The raising of the arm, drawing the line up and off the surface, pulling it back over his shoulder, taking in line with his other hand and the moment in time when the line lingered in the air, behind him, then throwing it forward, closing with the opposite hand, whipping the line ahead and watching it roll out across the water.  The voices that echoed in his mind were quieted here.  He could think, feel and reflect.
     Ted kept a wary eye to the west, watching the weather.  Dark billowing clouds at the head of the valley promised rain and the distant rumble underscored the threat of lightening.  Ted made his way to shore and collected Boo who had waited patiently for his return.  Boo was a 14 year old Black Mouth Cur that was Ted’s constant companion. Boo would sit on the shore and watch every cast Ted made.  The river snaked through the countryside nestling up to and running along side Main Street, marking the southern boundary of town, the river soon turn away and ambled down the valley.  Ted and Boo made their way down Main Street along the river’s edge.  People had walked here for hundreds, if not thousands of years.  Main Street was first paved in the early 1900’s. Before it was a street, wagons made ruts in the ground.  The wagons had followed a trace on the land evidencing the passing of travelers on foot. 

      Barely four blocks long and anchored in the center by The Alameda Theater, Main street was a place where a stroll after church was a welcome opportunity to visit with neighbors and friends.  The Alameda was a grand structure opened in the 1930’s built in the art deco style.  The ornate facade included a blade sign reaching upward sixty feet with the theater’s name spelled out in capital letters stacked one upon the other.  It was not a theater, it was a palace to house the nobility of the silver screen and to celebrate the imagining of the impossible.  The Theater was the central landmark of the town.

     Ted’s father and his father before him had walked this street. He passed the building that once held the Five and Dime store, where his grandmother meet his grandfather.  Further down was the old bank building where his mother had been a teller.  She met his father there.  Ted had courted his wife and taken her to the Alameda Theater.  His kids grew up going to the same theater and shopping in all the stores that lined the street.  His roots were deep in this town.  It was a part of him.  There was no place that he would rather live.

     Main street was buttressed by a lattice work of residential streets lined by the elms and oaks planted a hundred and fifty years ago when the town was founded.  The trees had a majestic presence with their branches spreading out and crossing the divide to form a canopy of foliage over the carriage paths that were now paved roads.  Houses with picket fences framed the streets and were loving decorated with ornamental plants and flowers.

     Ted made his way back to his car with Boo leading the way carrying her leash in her mouth as they walked.  People stopped and said hello to Boo. 

“Hello Sheriff.”  A shop owner said as he reached to greet Boo.
“Catch any?” the shop owner asked.
“Not enough for dinner, let’em all go”  Ted replied as he continued his walk home.

Ted’s cell phone rang and the caller ID said it was from the office. 
“Sheriff, this is dispatch, we got a request for a welfare check at the Nielsen place.  Terry’s mother hasn’t been able to reach her is several days and is concerned.”  The dispatcher said.  Can you stop by on your way home?  Everyone else is tied up.”
“Will do, just headed that way now.”

Monday, October 21, 2019

Bung Wrench, Never Heard of Such a Thing

I go to the flea market every weekend and look for interesting stuff.  On Saturday I came across a tool that I had never seen before.  Naturally I bought it.  My first impression was that it was some sort of implement tool.  Back in the day when a farmer bought a piece of equipment they often came with tools designed for the item.  I quickly moved off that idea because of the shape.  It looked like a giant jack.  For those of you who were born after the internet, there was a game played with small metal pieces and a ball.  You threw the ball into the air and picked up a many Jacks as you could before the ball came down and you caught it.  

An item shaped like a jack would not travel well with whatever implement it would have come with.  So not an implement.  I describe the item as well as I could and found similar items on the wed.  This is where I discovered it was a bung wrench for removing the small plugs in the tops of barrels.  Now I know.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Fixing The Old Bus or What Can Go Wrong, Will Go Wrong

I am the owner of a 1960 GMC PD1404.   Its an old Greyhound bus that has been converted to a motor home.  I am trying to get it to move after having sat for fifteen months.  The last time I moved it, I burned up the clutch.  I was in a campground that flooded and while trying to escape the rising water, I got stuck in the mud.  Totally fried the clutch.  I knew that I would have to repair the clutch before I went anywhere.  It took a a lot of work but, I was able to pull the transmission and take the clutch, pressure plate and flywheel and have them fixed.

After I reinstalled the clutch, the bus would not start.  I pulled the starter and had it gone through and now that's good as new.  Still won't start.  Checked the batteries, recharged them and they read the appropriate voltage at the starter.  Still won't start.

I am a little at a loss as to what to do next.

Friday, September 6, 2019

The Old Bus Needs a Clutch and Learning Something New

          Last year I was in a campground that was next to a river.  Great place to live except when the river floods.  I had to move the bus to avoid rising water and I could not get it to go.  I came to understand that the brake pads had sort of rusted to the brake drums.  Eventually I got it moving, but not before smoking the clutch.  To complicate the matter, when I moved to higher ground in the campground, it became struck in uncompacted soil.  The next day, I again tried to move the bus and it would no go.    I had to call for a rig to pull me out of the muck.  Again, I smoked the clutch.  Its hard to tell from the photo, but the wheel are buried and the bus is on it belly
          I decided that I had enough of flood dodging and decided to move to another campground.  I was able to move the bus and discovered that the clutch slipped as I was driving it.  I had ruined the clutch.  I got it parked in its new home and knew that I needed to fix the clutch.  I have replaced clutches in cars on several occasions and had an idea of what I was getting myself into, I thought.  Nope.  That transmissions weights more than my truck.

          I have removed the transmission and had the clutch rebuilt.  I had the flywheel and pressure plates flattened.  I have not put it back together because I am in need of six bolts.  The fasteners for the flywheel to the crankshaft.  Originally I was going to reuse the bolts that came off.  After thinking about it a little, I decided to get new ones.  Here's the rub.  I thought that I could just go out and get grade eight bolts and I would be all set.  The truth is that the bolts as specially design for this kind of application and if I didn't use them, I was flirting with disaster.

The bolts are called Place Bolts.  They are designed to hold in high vibration environments.  I understand that they both stretch and have a special head that makes them suitable for this task.    The problem is that no one local has them.  I sent away and they should arrive next week.  And hopefully, I can get the bus back together.