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Hardpan Curmudgeon SASS #8967

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Everything posted by Hardpan Curmudgeon SASS #8967

  1. Small pig. Tasty pig! He went on Friday night at 10:oo pm, and came off this afternoon (Saturday) at 4:30 pm. Large chunks of wood were burned in a firepit, then coals shoveled into the "pit." Low and slow. Cooker architect Sassparilla Kid, the birthday girl's big sister, and yours truly.
  2. Jobs College presents many challenges for young adults. The academic hurdles, of course. And the social battleground was something the high school band, athletics, 4H, and sock hops barely prepared one for. No, college life came with an entirely new set of objectives and life requirements. And some of those required something even more nebulous – responsibility! Why, we suddenly were responsible for, well, for ourselves! Although there were a few exceptions, most of us were responsible for feeding and clothing ourselves. Doing our own laundry. Grocery shopping. Buying our own clothes – although one fella, Bill, took this to a level foreign to the rest of us… it seems he had access to his dad’s account at Brooks Brothers. But even Bill had to work. Sorta. Bill was one of several guys in the frat who majored in Recreation, of all things. And a few of these fellas found employment in that field as playground directors, baseball umpires, brewery hospitality room staff, pizza waiters… and even security guards for some of the non-recreation guys. Hank did that for a while – security guard. Stationed in the giant pumpkin office at Fairyland, in Oakland. After hours. For a short period. That job lost its glamour the night he settled in with a bottle of Old Crow, and started playing Johnny Cash at full volume on the office phonograph machine. Without realizing that it was piped throughout Fairyland on the loudspeaker system and had Johnny serenading the entire neighborhood. At about 0130 in the morning. Hank and Half-Breed Pete both cooked chicken for the Colonel for a while. Evidently, they didn’t care for it, and both moved on after a few weeks. But I do recall them both telling me how if a few choice hunks of gospel bird hit the floor, they’d just get left there and kicked about until near the end of the shift. Then, they’d get picked up and tossed into the fryer, and added to the last buckets of the evening. O Yum! Hank later found gainful, full-time employment with Uncle Sam, marching and doing KP at Fort Polk, Louisiana. That lasted until they decided his knees were too shot from football injuries to march, much less slog through rice paddies. So they sent him home. Upon his return, he quickly found employment in a local abattoir and made more money than anyone else in the frat. Not an enviable gig! Now, Half-Breed Pete was another story. I won’t say that he wasn’t ambitious, but he did seem to consider his being Kappa Phi Delta “House Mother” as sort of full-time employment. His compensation was free room and board; “care packages” from home and occasional part-time, temporary jobs provided him with what spending money he had. Enough for essentials and a date every once in a while – a career philosophy he followed throughout his life. And then there was me. My first college job was on-campus, working for the college’s Audio-Visual Center. Yup… I was a projectionist. The kid who showed up and presented films for classes, back in the day when we literally had 16-millimeter sound projectors. This was a one-semester contract assignment, after which I could re-up or move on. Although it was interesting, and I got to see a lot of films I would have most likely never seen otherwise, I did have a sense of adventure that demanded something more. Ah well, I was young. And though the world may not have been my oyster, it was at least an adventure; I figured I’d muddle through. After all, I’d worked through high school – weekends working for an electric company (until a union rep ran me off); sanding and painting on a wealthy electrician’s yacht; summer job working for the Navy at their supply depots, and even the Post Office. I even worked for the Post Office during the Christmas break my first semester at State. I parked cars, shoveled stalls at the Cow Palace, washed dishes, passed out handbills…. But one of the most memorable short-term jobs I endured was Candlestick Park. Oh, Candlestick was a wonderful and fun place to visit, even though it tended to be a mite chilly. Actually, at times downright cold. The only baseball park I'd ever been where one would wear a parka and drink hot cocoa or coffee at night games. Still fun for spectators, but an absolutely AWFUL place to work. At least for the clean-up crew working after Giant’s games. Well, I’d gotten word that Allied Maintenance had the contract for cleaning the stadium and was hiring broom-pushers. Pay was at the handsome sum of seven bucks an hour and all the dropped change you could find, so I wasted no time in signing up for this plum and lucrative pursuit. Ah, but then, this is California. And just like back in 1849, the lure of gold turned out to be highly tarnished. First, unless we bought a ticket, they would not let us in until the bottom of the ninth inning – or the end of the game, whichever came first. After all, they certainly could NOT have these guys watching any baseball for free, no siree Bob! While the crowd was clearing out, we’d report in; when they were gone, we were released to start work – but only after a mad rush to the dugouts to swipe the team manager's lineup cards. Then we would set to. Each man was issued a barrel, a scoop, and a push broom. We'd select a section, start at the top and sweep each row to an aisle, sweep the aisle down, then scoop up the trash into the barrel... haul the barrel to the dump station. Mind you, this was back when the stadium was still open on one end, and it was WINDY! Often the wind would change directions, whip around and blow the trash back and we'd have to start over. And to keep it interesting, they'd turn the lights off; we'd literally work all night in the dark. If we were lucky, it would be a rare clear night with a full moon. That didn’t happen often, so we’d eat a lot of carrots and rely on the dim security lighting. Some of us would clip an Army surplus, right-angle flashlight to our belt. So there were two classes of workers - college kids and winos. You had to work a minimum of three hours to get paid (in cash!). The winos would work their three hours, collect their $$, and head to the liquor store. That left us kids with most of the work, so we did get in a bunch of hours. Often, we’d start before the sun set and finish up well after sunrise. But hey – you could make as much as eighty bucks! Of course, we would have to wait a few hours for the liquor stores to open. The job did get better when I met the fella in charge of cleaning the press boxes. During a chance encounter at a water fountain, we struck up a conversation. I don’t recall his name, but I discovered he was a cousin of Joe Tavaglione, one of my frat bros. He promptly drafted me to be his "assistant," which meant cushy duty! We'd clean the press boxes quickly, then avail ourselves of the sports reporters leftover beer and food - fried chicken, pizza, hot dogs, ice cream, and other savory treats. From that point on 'twas a fine time indeed! Sadly, baseball season always does come to an end. And for some reason, I decided to not stay on for football. The Forty-Niners would have to find another chump to clean up after their games – I was done. Candlestick was cold and miserable enough during the summer, and I had no intention of freezing my joints (and other tender parts) all winter. “Hey, Rocko!” said Fast Eddie. “I’m quitting my job in the mailroom at Western States BankCard! There’s gonna be an opening, if ya want it – I’ll put in a good word for ya!” So, I hie’d myself on down to the sprawling building near the wharf and signed on. Starting pay was a staggering four hundred and twenty dollars a month – and we got to work indoors, with heat and lights! Life was GOOD! That was a fun job; most of the crew were guys around my age, and we had excellent work habits. When we eventually moved to a new building, the ceiling tiles literally sagged in areas under the weight of all the collected beer bottles tossed up there after propping one open with a broomstick. Lunchtimes usually included a beer or two, or when we were feeling more sophisticated, a sub sandwich washed down with a screwdriver or even martinis, usually consumed while seated on the steps of the sewage processing plant around the corner. Then came the day when two “over martini’d” fellas decided to get into a fight over a piece of pipe. This pipe was used to squash down computer paper in the decollating machine. Anyway, these two were about to start hammering each other and the boss, an elderly gentleman of around fifty or so, was freaking out. Somehow, I had a flash of divine inspiration, and asked the two guys to “just hang on ‘til I get back!” With that, I rushed out to my car and fetched a hacksaw that I just happened to have in the trunk toolbox. I then amazed the two wannabe pugilists by using said hacksaw to turn that length of pipe into two. They were both happy, instantly resumed being best buddies, and the boss was so impressed with my not-quite Solomon wisdom that in short order he promoted me to “lead mail clerk.” Wow! The promotion even came with a raise, which I quickly declined. Seems it literally put me into a higher tax bracket and resulted in lower net pay. But that was okay – the boss pulled some strings, had the job re-classified, and I eventually realized an extra five bucks a week. Sadly, though, it ended the lunchtime martinis. Closest I could get after that was making large batches of rum- and bourbon-balls to bring in at Christmastime. But I was on my way! Sorta. I would have never dreamed that this would lead to a banking career, and that over twenty years later I would step down from a position as a department head and project manager with a vice-president grade with a major international bank. And sometimes I reflect on those carefree days pushing a broom at the no-longer existing Candlestick Park. That was a heck of a lot more fun than banking! I came, I saw, I lived
  3. Close. Actually was acquired by Apple after distribution got messed up by covid. Greyhound was initially scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on June 12, 2020, by Sony Pictures Releasing, but was eventually canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic after previously being delayed indefinitely. The distribution rights were then sold to Apple TV+, which released the film digitally on July 10, 2020.
  4. Early last month I asked for a suggestion or two on a mobile smoker Sassparilla Kid wanted to build. Well... it has the smoker, a 3' x 8' "Santa Fe" style grill, and a three-burner propane stove. Still to be installed will be a water tank, wash station, storage, and a few other odds 'n' ends. And paint ~ plan is for a high-heat, satin black "barbecue enamel." Even though it's not quite finished, tomorrow it'll get moved to our late pard Hank's family's ranch and this weekend will see its first use - cooking a pig on the Santa Fe side for his son's daughter's First Birthday Bash. A fair amount of "re-purposing" was accomplished. Although he fabricated the grill and the trailer from new material, the smoker was once a butane tank, the handles are sprint car torsion bars, the smokestack was two 3' lengths of scrap 6" pipe, and the wheels and tires used to be under his 4wd Toyota pickup. The crank wheel for the windlass on the grill is the old steering wheel from our 1964 Massey Ferguson 135 - it'll probably get a "suicide knob." Various other parts and pieces were re-formed from miscellaneous scrap. And thanks to everyone who offered up advice and comments! Started with a derelict 300+ gallon butane tank Hatches cut and first meat racks installed 5' X 10' sheet of steel becoming the Santa Maria style grill Fabricating the trailer (with electric brakes) Firebox (formed from a flat sheet) installed Firebox door Cutout for smokestack, and smokestack "hot glued" in place Coming together Ready for launching and final fitting. Note adjustable 2" stainless "pig spit;" rotisserie motor at back. Yum!
  5. Yup. I was grumpin' about this very thing just a few days ago - here.
  6. What they need to make this thing a success is to emplazon it with a politically incorrect (Grump! ) but OH so cool early Savage logo!!
  7. Newsom ("Guv'nor Hair Gel") is quite good at ignoring facts, the obvious, and even common sense if it doesn't dovetail with his own view of the californian utopia. [Graphic courtesy of Missus Subdeacon Joe]
  8. Here we go again: Governor Newsom endorses even stricter gun control after string of mass shootings Sheesh. What a maroon.
  9. Mind if I ask where you found the DVD? I've been on the lookout for it since the movie was first announced; only recently did I see it at Amazon for something approaching forty bucks - and now it's "Not Available."
  10. I suspect that somebody's boss may have been a tad miffed....
  11. So Sassparilla Kid tells me that they had an unusual call at the shop today. Fella who knows the boss called up and asked if they had any floor sweeping compound he could borrow. "How much ya need?" "Well... how much ya got?" "We have a full barrel - how much do ya need? did you guys have a spill?" "Uh... yeah... a bit of hydraulic fluid. Can we borrow the entire barrel?" 'Bout a mile from the Kid's shop. Now at the shop. Seems someone forgot to fold the boom when they loaded it ~ hit the overpass at 50+ mph. Truck and lowboy trailer kept going (although not far). Excavator made an abrupt stop. Oops!
  12. I bought moulds back in the early seventies that came in those boxes, but I'm pretty sure that they'd been in use for some time. I think J-Bar's spot on. Edit: Found this on Ebay, appearing to be about the same style and labeled as 1950's vintage:
  13. Not worth remembering. All rap. Do not understand how that's even considered "music." Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige. Whoever they are.
  14. Today, Walmart in Fresno: Great Value Cage Free Extra Large AA White Eggs, 12 Count (2.0)2 stars out of 15 reviews15 reviews $7.3861.5 ¢/ea
  15. Rihanna's the halftime show? Sad, but prob'ly an upgrade from last year's program.
  16. Okay, BW, answers below. By the way... it was over twenty years before I could face another rhubarb pie. But now they're Sassparilla Kid's favorite. Did Pete’s hair grow back? It did! Actually, he always was a hairy booger! Did Chris and Pete marry? They did, just not each other. Ultimately, I did facilitate a "reunion" of sorts with them. Pete had been living in Arizona with a "significant other" for many years. Sadly, that gal passed on Halloween of 2020. I'd heard that Chris was unattached at that time, made some calls, and they did have a reunion of sorts that lasted a couple of years. If so, are they still married? See above. Chris lives in Utah; Pete is near the california central coast. They exchange text messages on occasion. Did Chris ever forgive Hank? She did! Hank and I found our way to Pete's abode; that in itself was an adventure. We followed his directions to literally the end of a road, crossed a footbridge over a raging stream in flood stage, through an ancient graveyard, and finally found his house - with a placard on the door declaring it "Condemned" almost twenty years earlier. Yikes! Anyway, Pete and Chris showed up the next morning bearing sacks of groceries. Chris felt so bad that she decided to skip her class and prepare us a grand and muchly appreciated breakfast. Does Chris find it funny, now that years have passed? She does. I actually spoke with Chris just this morning; she asked me to send her more stories. Do any of you still drink strawberry Daquiris? Strawberry... no. Uh uh. Ain't gonna happen. However, another frat brother and I once devoted an entire summer to researching and developing the perfect daquiri. And we were successful! The winner...? Peach! This one was the winner based on a number of factors, including ease of preparation: • Dump a half-dozen or so canned "peach halves in heavy syrup" into a blender. • Fill with ice. • Pour in a bunch of the "heavy syrup*." • Add as much rum as ya like. • Kersplash in a fair amount of orange liqueur; this can be Triple Sec, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, or whatever. • Whip it up to a slurpee consistency, serve and enjoy. Mebbe float a mint leaf on top. *A classic daquiri recipe calls for simple syrup; the peach syrup from the can is a perfect, flavored substitute and contributes to the ease of prep. Be advised - these are sneaky drinks. Very refreshing on a hot day and go down easy. People have been known to disappear after a few....
  17. Here ya go, @Cactus Jack Calder! (And yes, this is a true and factual account of the incident) HALF BREED PETE and the RHUBARB PIE Hardpan Curmudgeon One springtime many years ago, Hank and I decided we were long overdue for a visit to our ol’ pard, Half Breed Pete. So, after a warning phone call, we packed up our toys and toothbrushes and hit the road for the drive from Pacifica to San Luis Obispo. Several hours later, we found ourselves at Pete’s girlfriend’s house in Los Osos. We’d never met Chris before, but to our absolute delight she turned out to be a great cook, and was just plumb tickled at the opportunity of puttin’ on a spread for her beau’s buddies. And that’s where the troubles started. After we stuffed ourselves silly we retired to the “sittin’ room” to visit, relive some memorable adventures, and have dessert. Hot, blue-ribbon quality, Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. Served up with a scoop of homemade ice cream and hot coffee! Just the memory makes my nostrils flare and mouth water. But it also sends shivers up my spine. Chris cleared the wreckage of dinner and dessert, and excused herself, sayin’ that she had a test the next day and needed to get to bed early. With that, she left us to our own devices - something she would have NEVER done had she known us better. Especially Hank. Well, with our bellies full but our minds still sharp, we soon realized that we needed some post-meal libations. Oddly enough, we discovered in the kitchen all the components necessary to construct multiple batches of strawberry daiquiris. Not our normal sauce, mind you, but certainly adequate. So there we were, a-drinkin’ daiquiris and visitin’, on into the wee hours, when someone came up with the brilliant observation that re-heated leftover rhubarb pie would go along with them strawberry daiquiris just fine! With that, Pete and Hank shambled off to the kitchen with a promise of returning soon with a fresh batch of drinks and that wonderful pie. And I foolishly let those two go off alone together. Then, about eight minutes later, a most amazin’ thing took place. I just happened to look up at the closed folding door that separated me from the kitchen, when suddenly, appearing almost in slow motion, it bulged toward me like a soft spot on an old tire. Thin sheets of flame licked briefly but frantically through the gap surrounding the door and the seams between the panels. At the same time, the entire house shook, accompanied by a VERY loud ka-boom-WHUMP! The windows all rattled (at least one cracked), and several carefully hung pictures crashed to the floor. My first thought was, “Oh my GAWD!! They’ve been playin’ with black powder and have blown themselves to BITS!” I struggled to my feet, and stumbled off to the kitchen. Now, before I tell you what happened, I have to describe these characters: Hank was the embodiment of Yosemite Sam. About five-foot eight and built like a fireplug, with flowing mustachios, boots, jeans, vest, and usually a hat. Looking like the SASS marshal himself. Pete, on the other hand, looked kinda like a six-foot tall Fidel Castro with a broken nose. (Legend has it that Hank presented him with the beak several years prior in a college football game, but we have yet to see supporting evidence). Hank was well barbered; Pete had the Fidel whiskers, bushy eyebrows, and not long but shaggy hair. It seems that when they went into the kitchen, Pete set about arrangin’ the fixin’s for another batch of daiquiris, while Hank walked over to the stove and twisted the oven knob to 350 degrees. He then followed Pete around the room, chattering at him while Pete worked on the drinks and gathered up the rhubarb pie. After a while, Pete wandered off in the direction of the stove with pie in hand. He set the pie on the counter near the stove, and, while hank rambled, dropped to his knees in front of the stove. Hank stopped talking, and began to watch intently, wonderin’ just what the heck Pete was a-doin’ on the floor. Suddenly, Pete yanked open the oven door, pulled a large Blue Diamond ‘Strike Anywhere’ from somewhere behind his whiskers, and sez “Hank, did ya light this yet?” Well, Hank hadn’t. All he had done was turn the thing up to 350 degrees, or at least opened a gas supply capable of fueling the oven to that temperature. “Uh, nope....” Hank said. “But what I did do was....” And before he could complete the sentence, Pete leaned his whole upper body into the oven (it was quite large), reached all the way into the back, and struck that Strike Anywhere. Hank later described what happened next. When Pete apparently fired up that Blue Diamond, it ignited the gas in a most convincing manner. Hank said that, again almost like in slow motion, a gigantic ball of blue flame expanded out of the oven like a cartoon balloon, totally engulfing Pete’s entire upper torso, then proceeded outward to expend itself against the far wall and door to the parlor. Hank was momentarily too stunned to speak. A few seconds later I crashed into the room, and was greeted by a bewildering sight: Pete, on his knees, with his whole upper body in the oven. Hank standing over him, an astonished expression on his face, sayin’, “Pete. Pete! Are ya okay? Pete, are ya awright? Pete? PETE!?” I was dumbfounded. I instantly grasped what must have happened, and with dismay I realized that my old pal Pete was dead. Done in by a rhubarb pie. Then, we saw movement. Pete was alive! Standing behind him, I watched with horrified fascination as Pete gradually backed out of the oven. Sagging to his haunches, he slowly turned toward us. What I saw next almost defies description. Pete, crouched on the kitchen floor, with an incredibly altered countenance. His eyebrows were all but gone. His eyelashes were curled to a fair-thee-well that could never be achieved by any of the fairer sex. His hairline was severely receded, with the hair remaining on the front half of his head standing straight up. He’d not need a barber for months. His beard, that wonderful, full, Paul Bunyan-proud shrub, was reduced to little more than a Van Dyke. His forehead and cheeks glowed darkly with a thin sheen of soot. And he was smoking! Thick tendrils wafted up from his chin past his temples, reminiscent of a picture I had once seen of Blackbeard the Pirate, he with smoldering matches stuffed in his ears. Pete turned his face. With an expression that at the same time displayed pain, bewilderment, and humiliation, he looked up at Hank. “Oh, DAMN, Hank!” And that’s all he said. Hearing that, and seeing that scolded pup look on a head that could only be duplicated by Warner Bros, I lost it. I couldn’t help myself, and the guffaws burst forth. With the tension broken, Hank immediately joined in, and we soon had tears the size of road apples rolling down our cheeks. Pete, looking more hurt and insulted than before, shuffled to the table, sat down, and sulked. Neither Hank nor I could talk. Any attempts to get words out past our laughter just caused us to choke. Spotting a hanging mirror that had miraculously survived the explosion, I pulled it from its nail and propped it on the table in front of Pete. “Pete! Ya GOTTA look!” I gasped. After a moment, he stole a peek at the mirror, then looked away. Then another quick glance. Eventually, he stared at the still-smoking apparition lookin’ back at him. The corners of his mouth started to twitch. They curled slightly. And finally, despite the pain, they formed a smile accompanied by a low chuckle. Then all hell broke loose! Chris, awakened by the blast and beginning to comprehend, boiled out of her room armed with a short piece of two-by-four, which she hurled at Hank, narrowly missing his head. She shrieked “Blankety Blank It, Hank! That’s my Boy-Friend that got blowed up, and IT AIN’T FUNNY!” She gave Pete a sorrowful and sympathetic come-hither look, and returned to her boudoir. “Uh, fellas....” Pete said. “Yeah, we know” I responded. “We’ll find our way over to your place and sleep. You just stay here and let Chris nurse ya back to health.” With that, Hank and I grabbed our sleeping bags and ventured forth into the night. And we never did get our rhubarb pie. Chris’s Rhubarb-Strawberry Pie Pie crust for double crust pie 2 cups rhubarb, diced 2 cups strawberries, cut up 1 ¼ cups sugar ¼ tsp salt ¼ cup tapioca 2 tsp butter Put the bottom pie crust in a 10 in pie pan. Mix up the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, tapioca, and salt Scrape it into crust, then dot it with butter. Pinch on the top crust, poke a few steam holes and bake at 425 degrees for about 10 - 15 minutes, then back off to 375 for the next half hour or so or until crust is golden. Serve with vanilla ice cream or strawberry daiquiris. Use extreme caution if served with daiquiris. Deep-Dish Pie Pie crust for double crust pie + 3 cups rhubarb, diced 3 cups strawberries, cut up 1 7/8 cups sugar (Just under 2 cups) 3/8 tsp salt 1/3 cup tapioca 3 tsp butter
  18. @Cold Lake Kid, SASS # 51474, thanks for posting that! Just for @Cactus Jack Calder I'll bring it back as it's own; it'll be a mite easier to read.
  19. Of course! Most of 'em, actually, "back in the day."
  20. I suspect that if I looked reeeal hard, I might be able to find one bout the house myowself....
  21. It's pretty bad when the announcer declares a game to be a disaster in the first quarter.... The rumble toward the end was the best part.
  22. I'm trying to recall... but I think my story of Half-Breed Pete and the Rhubarb Pie might be in the dessert section.
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