Bob and Marilyn's Weblog
December 2016
Who could make this stuff up?
December 21
I just watched Barbara Starr, sometime Clinton News Network reporter and fulltime Shrillary shrill, report with a completely straight face that General Mike Flynn has denied meeting with an Austrian neo-nazi group IN 1954!!

In related news Sean Wilson, the mayor of Buchanan, has never been involved in organizing a pervert sex ring involving penguins and baby kangaroos.

Its going to be a very entertaining 4 years.  It will be a lot better once we give the children currently in charge of our country the boot but that will have to wait.  I don't suppose boy wonder will be nearly as anxious to invite The Donald to dinner as he was to invite the Big Zero.  I remember when Ronald Reagan came to Ottawa to meet with Ed Schreyer and the real Trudeau - who knows what they found to talk about but I gotta think that the dauphin prince and The Donald have even less in common.
Cats and Cars
When Karla lived with us on the acreage east of Nipawin there was a red laser spot that lived there and bedevilted George II.  The spot used to reguarly appear after a meal.  It lived in a register on the south end of the living room.  At least it must have lived there because it always appeared in the register and when it was tired of playing that's where it went to escape the cat.  George II used to regularly go sit beside the register guarding us against the appearance of the evil red spot.

Who knew that we were living with a red spot right here in Buchanan?  George III has been on guard against the evil spot which it turns out lives in that register, just inside the front door.  It only rarely appears but Georgie keeps a close eye out for it.  When she first moved in we didn't think she liked to play too much because she appeared oblivious to the little fuzzy mice which her predecessor absolutely loved.  The appearance of the red spot changed all that.  She still hasn't figured out how to play chase but she kills the hell out of the little catnip mice and the spot gets a real workout whenever it is brave enough to appear.
Like all cats, she wants what she wants.  Most of the time she's content to sleep on her blanket but when she wants to be in a lap she will contort herself into positions that can't possibly be comfortable
The basement bedroom is coming along nicely.  The basement was previously "finished" with that gawdawful 1960's panel board on the walls and a suspended ceiling.  Eventually all of that is going away but in the short term we have boxed off a bedroom with drywall.  Marilyn is slapping mud on the boards and sanding up a storm.  By next Christmas we should be able to lay a heavy guilt trip on the kids until one or more of them relents and comes for a visit.  Right now if we managed to guilt them into visiting they'd have to sleep in the bathtub or on the pool table.  
When I look back it doesn't seem like I accomplish a lot each week but I seem to be busy.  I've been organizing my Feb trip to Mexico and its mostly come together now.  I'm still waiting confirmation that the money I wired to Alamos to secure our rooms has been picked up and delivered to the owner of the house we are renting.  Other than that I think I'm ready.  My new 10 year passport arrived in the mail yesterday so I don't have to worry about that for a long time.  We met with Dick and his daughter the last time we were on the coast.  His kids were initially opposed to him travelling but appear to have relented and are now supportive of the trip. As long as he lives until Feb and remembers to get on the plane we should be good to go.

I've also been patching up my antique Lincolns.  I had the 2001 on the hoist for close to 3 weeks but finally got it down last week with new brake pads & rotors and new rear wheel bearings.  The other one is in the shop now with the dash torn apart.  It doesn't make enough heat and I'm not sure exactly why.  I hoped replacing the thermostat would cure it but that didn't help.  There's something called a "blend door" buried deep in the dash which is a known failure point and it may in fact be my problem but I'm hoping it isn't because I'll have to literally remove the entire dash to get to it.  The problem could also be the EATC which is Fordspeak for the climate control computer.  That's a relatively simple replacement & it needs to be replaced because it occasionally goes into a spastic routine where it jumps from fahrenheit to celcius repeatedly for no reason.  I've got a replacement unit ordered and I'm hoping I get lucky and it cures the heat problem as well as the spastic display.  If not I'll be taking pictures of a tore apart dash.
December 2016
Fords rule
December 15
Even though I've got one Lincoln torn apart in the shop and the other one waiting to go in the shop I'm still pretty happy to be driving Fords.  I just saw a Dodge ad on TV that was advocating street racing. The weird part is that the street racers are two middle aged guys with their wives and kids in the car.  Now that may be the best target audience to understand the concept of street racing but it seems like a weird message nonetheless.

And they're running that Chevy truck ad again that says (I'm paraphrasing now) "Our truck cabs are so noisy that we had to come up with a special noise cancelling system that blasts extra sound into the cab to disguise the road, wind and engine noise that you would otherwise hear".  Friends don't let friends drive Dodges or Chevvies

Ruling Class Arrogance
We had quite a bit of brake noise on the trip to the coast with the 2001 Lincoln so I picked up a complete set of pads and rotors on the way home.  I was pretty sure it was time for new rotors because the brake pedal had been pulsing for a while.  Sure enough when I got things pulled apart there was a lot of rotor wear.  I don't have the tools to measure it but they were clearly out of spec so it was time to replace them.

When I started replacing the rotors though I discovered that the parking brake shoes were pretty well trashed too.  Actually they were completely shot on the driver side and not far behind on the passenger side.  So that held me up for a day or two waiting for new shoes and while I was waiting I noticed that there is some oil seeping on the passenger side.  That means the seal is going out and that usually means the bearing behind the seal is on its way out too.  I guess at close to 300,000 km the car is entitled to some serious parts hanging.  And its really not that big a deal.  I'd hate to be paying a shop for my time but the parts aren't that expensive.  I won't end up replacing either axle but even if I did I could change all the brake parts, both axles and the bearings for well under $1000 which is still only a couple months' depreciation for most people's daily drivers.  

The 1997 Lincoln is in fine shape but it must have a pretty cold thermostat or perhaps its just getting weak.  We've had several days of -30 weather and made a couple of longish trips in those conditions.  The cabin never gets warm - its bearable but I wore my big mitts because my hands were getting cold so I definitely need to get to the bottom of that too.
"Green" hypocrisy
I don't think the "green" energy acolytes always lie.  A lot of the time they're just too stupid or too blinded by ideology to know that what they are preaching is pure bunk.  Here's a simple test to understand whether you are talking to someone who truly cares about the environment or just another green nitwit: if they don't support nuclear power generation then they don't understand jack shit about the world and all their green bullshit boils down to simple socialism.  Here's why:

Until we're prepared to give up our TV's, warm houses in the winter and air conditioned houses in the summer, constant internet access, electric lights, turkey dinners, etc, etc we need hydrocarbon generation of electricity.  The greenies would like us to believe that solar and wind can replace all that nasty dirty power generation but that's pure nonsense.  You can make power when the wind blows and you can make it when the sun shines but we demand power 24/7.  The green lie is that a wide grid will even out fluctuations in the wind but the sun only shines about 8 hours a day at this time of year and the wind claim is an equal this graph from Gridwatch in the UK clearly demonstrates.  
What the graph clearly demonstrates is that the grid needs to adapt to either significant wind power generation or zero wind power generation in the space of 24 hours.
We can't store electrical power in the quantities the grid requires.  Perhaps that technology will be developed but currently it doesn't exist.  To my knowledge the only practical means of storing large quantities of electricity is hydrogen.  You use the surplus electricity to electroyse water into hydrogen and oxygen.  Then when you need the power again you burn the hydrogen and use the heat to generate electricty.  The minute I see someone make a (profitable) business case for windmills or solar that includes hydrogen generation then I'll take those technologies seriously.  Until then they're just more of the same pixie dust that propelled the lesser of 2 Trudeaus to power.

Currently when those windmills stop producing power or when the sun goes down something has to pick up the slack.  More accurately when those so-called green sources start producing power SOMETHING HAS TO SHUT DOWN.  And what do you suppose gets shut down? HINT - its not the evil "dirty" hydrocarbon power that the greens love to bash.  Those plants are the base level producers - the nature of the technology is that they need to run 24/7 - they don't start and stop - they just produce.  The plants that get started and stopped are the hydro plants.  So when you advocate for wind or solar you are in effect arguing to shut down hydro plants.  Just to hammer home the point you are arguing to replace economical proven environmentally friendly technology with expensive unproven technology.

Currently the only technology that can replace hydrocarbon production of electricy is nuclear.  So until you hear someone advocating new nuclear builds you haven't heard anyone arguing against "dirty" coal or natural gas production of electricity.
The ruling class
I'm sick and bloody tired of the notion that governing requires some peculiar skill set which is unobtainable unless you spend your life in government.  Give me a break already.  I've been watching the media frenzy over Trump's Secretary of State appointment.  It is astonishing to me that anyone could seriously believe that a man who ran one of the largest international corporations would be somehow incapable of understanding the complexities of international affairs.  The truth of the matter is that business is infinitely more complex than anything a bureaucrat could ever imagine.  Tillerson is in fact incredibly overqualified for his new role.  Considering the pay he has been accustomed to and what he will be entitled to he would be justified to consider Secretary of State a volunteer position.  The market pay scales are a good indicator of the demands of the job.

Meanwhile north of the border we have children operating the levers of government with all the chaos that implies.  We've got a childlike illegal immigrant in charge of reforming how we elect our government and like most teenagers she thinks she is smarter than the entire committee she appointed to investigate that change.  We've got a prima donna PM who has never worked a real job in his life but is now certain he understands how our economy works better than anyone else in the country.  The children in charge are about to impose a business killing carbon tax at the same time they legalize the consumption of marijuana.  Like all children they lack self control and they don't understand what is really important in their life.  

And in the category of same old same old we now have the parliamentary ethics watchdog investigating the Prime Minister's corrupt fundraising activities.  The last time we had an ethics scandal was - not surprisingly - the last time we had a Liberal government.  It was Jean the Cretin who was being investigated then.  It seems to me the kid got his attitude from his father, his brains from his mother and his ethics from Fidel Castro.  Its going to be a long three years until we have at least a shot at getting his useless ass tossed from office.  He's missing most Question Periods already - I wonder if he'll even bother attending the House next year.  Evidently its a lot more fun touring around the world handing out my tax dollars to corrupt foreign governments.
Home again
December 4
We made a fast trip back to the boat last week.  I had a doctor appointment Monday morning in Saskatoon so we left early for that and by noon Monday we were heading west out of the city.  Monday night we were in Golden and we caught the 1:30 ferry out of Tsawassen on Tuesday.  I had talked to a kid who has opened a marine consignment store in Sidney about selling our spare anchor windlass so we stopped there to drop it off but when he saw it he decided it was "too big".  "Big" seems like a good thing to me when it refers to any ground tackle but I didn't argue.  At the same time I picked up two exhaust mixing elbows at Gartside Marine.  Then it was on to Jim & Judy's for supper and some wine before finally arriving on the boat around midnight.

Everything on the boat fired up normally and as I recall we slept pretty late Wednesday morning.  The new exhaust elbows needed to be painted before I could install them so that held up the project for a while.  
Dust Bunnies & Boats
Somehow we worked in a trip to Comox because I was still concerned about whether my 93 year old travel companion was really coming to Mexico.  Since the sole purpose for me going to Mexico was to accompany him I wasn't anxious to go without him and I wasn't 100% sure he was serious about making the trip.  Fortunately when we got to Comox Dick's daughter was there and she had taken charge of the trip.  Clearly its going to be an adventure because Dick has slipped a bit but he has a ticket and we are going so now I can get serious about organizing things in Alamos.  
That's the defective starboard exhaust elbow above.  The chip below it fell completely off when I started to remove the elbow.  If you look closely you can see the aneurism that was forming on the bottom of the elbow.  It definitely would have failed "soon".  Maybe we could have got away with taking Grace & Al for a short boat ride or maybe we could not have.

On the left is one of the new elbows installed.  The port side elbow was in much better shape than I expected so I saved it for a spare.
The honeymoon may finally be over
The adoring Canadian media seems to be losing patience with the dauphin prince.  And about bloody time.  His slavering devotion to an evil communist tyrant caught the attention of the international media and may have been the last straw even for such stalwart acolytes as the CBC and Macleans.  The spectacle of an arguably illegal immigrant lecturing MPs about committee behaviour and electoral "reform" is just another nail in the coffin of an intellectually bankrupt Liberal government led by an airhead media darling.  We're stuckk with the stupid SOB for another 3 years but those years will be more bearable if there is at least some level of scrutiny on his brainless actions.

Its about bloody time because we have serious issues to deal with.  JT's carbon tax has the potential to destroy western Canada the same way daddy's NEP did 35 years ago.  Whether or not we accept that mankind is causing planetary warming the cold hard economic reality is that Canada going it alone to eliminate the use of fossil fuels isn't going to make any difference.  JT and Dizzy May's protests notwithstanding our emissions are insignificant against China's and those of the US.  

Last week's announcement regarding Kinder Morgan, Northern Gateway and the Enbridge expansion was moderately encouraging but the cynic in me says that the Libs expect Kinder Morgan to be defeated in the courts anyway.  I hope I'm wrong.   The Enbridge expansion is extremely good news for Saskatchewan and it appears to be flying almost completely under the radar which is good news.
The cat and the mayor
Marilyn asked the former mayor if he would keep an eye on the cat while we were away.  He's best friends with the neighbours' dog so it seemed a safe bet he might like the cat as well.  And he came faithfully to check on her but she never showed herself the whole time we were gone.  Gary said he knew she was around because the food was disappearing but he never saw any other sign of her presence.  Yesterday when we got home he came for a visit and finally got to meet the cat.  

In hindsight it occurred to me that Gary may have actually seen the cat while we were away but not recognized her as, in fact, a cat.  She does look remarkably like something you might sweep out from behind the fridge.  
The new cat.  At least I'm pretty sure that's the cat - its hard to tell.