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Hardpan Curmudgeon SASS #8967

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Everything posted by Hardpan Curmudgeon SASS #8967

  1. When I was a young fella (about fifty years ago!), I took classes in FORTRAN, COBOL, and BASIC. Anyone remember the Timex-Sinclair computer, with built-in BASIC? My first exposure to a “personal computer” was when I worked for a small bank in San Ramon. The boss proudly brought in his new Osborne 1 ~ “It has the same floppy drives that IBM uses!” I first saw an actual IBM PC on a visit to Visa USA about 1982; the dual-floppy unit sat on a small table in its own room. They were quite proud of that li’l beast. The boss then decided we needed a bunch of PC’s; he even splurged on one with a 5mb hard drive. I’d stay after work and tinker with the things for hours; like Rip Snorter above, it put me well ahead of the other staffers. In early 1985 I took a job as a “Methods and Procedures Analyst” with a little company in San Francisco called Bank of America. There we could order a new IBM PC with either a green or amber CRT monitor (users choice!) and an Epson dot matrix printer for $10 thousand; over $27 thousand in today’s bucks. Yikes! My own first computer was an IBM PC Jr. I loved that thing! I teamed it with an external second floppy drive, an RGB monitor. and a small dot matrix Epson, and upgraded the RAM from 64k to 640k by literally buying and installing a bag of chips and jumpers. Two or three years later I sold it to a buddy and bought a “dead” AT clone. Someone had tried to move it without “parking” the heads, resulting in a fatal head crash on the 10mb hard drive. I installed a 20mb drive, and my old buddy Bill made the proclamation “You’ll NEVER fill that thing!” Har! At this point I honestly don’t think I could remember how many of the little marvels I’ve owned. Heck... my NOOK has a version of Microsoft Office installed. And I’m quite frankly amazed (and dismayed) to see what the youngsters do with their telephones!
  2. Mine too. Those things were great! With paper so coarse it had wood chips in it. I can still remember the fragrance, and then there was that HUGE soft core pencil, or a crayon. And by sixth grade the infamous Pee Chee folders.... Innocent times. Sorta. In-school smallpox vaccinations, hurt-like-hell polio shots, and A-bomb drills.
  3. Wow...! If I spotted that thing out in the woods I'd give up hunting. Or drinking. Heck... both!!
  4. On the subject of soup good for a bad cold or other respiratory ailments, Sassparilla Kid swears by Chinese Hot and Sour. Come to think of it... so do I!
  5. ... or as Half-Breed Pete calls it... "Gut Soup!" He won't touch it. "Can I have yours, Pete?" It's actually quite good. Supposedly eaten on Sunday morning for a Saturday night hangover ~ wouldn't know, myownself. I just like it. Or rather, used to; have to limit it now - too high carb content for my A1C.
  6. Curious ~ is that business of kneeling during the National Anthem before football games still happening?
  7. Red and J-Bar's opinions have been my observation in these parts - in spades. (It would be politically incorrect to mention that although this trait is not exclusive to any demographic group, it seems to be more prevalent in some.) When we moved to this area thirty years ago, I took our young Brittany to the vet for a checkup. When we met, he was surprised and actually exclaimed "Oh, my! A Brit!" I asked why he seemed surprised; he said "Well, I am! I might see maybe one or two Brits a year - but I'll see than many or more pitbulls every day, usually in need of mending."
  8. Neighbors posted a description of the event on "Nextdoor" this morning. Interesting... the bolded part was a surprise. Evidently the critter was sent home - "first offense." Had it been my yard and my dog, well... there wouldn't have been an opportunity for a second.
  9. Dammit, here we go again. I came home late tonight to flashing police lights next door - three Sheriff's Department cars. Never a good sign. Before I got in the house a voice called to me from my gate. The neighbors - a middle aged man and his young adult son. I walked over to the gate and they filled me in on what was happening. Evidently, someone's pitbull had broken through my back fence and attacked some chickens, then broke through the dividing fence and attacked and killed one of their dogs - a small terrier type family pet that their kids delighted in playing with. The deputies have been keeping an eye on the pitbull, waiting for Animal Control to arrive. They finally showed up about 0100. Damn, but this really frosts my hide. I understand that they can be good dogs; however, in these parts too many people buy the beasts just so they can say they have the "baddest dog on the block," never work with 'em, just put 'em in their back yards and throw food at 'em. Sometimes intentionally aggravate them to "make them mean." This will be the fourth time in the ten years I've lived here that some idiot's pitbull has broken into my yard - literally knocking part of a fence down. Several chickens have been killed, along with a couple of cats; one of mine I managed to save, after it was severely mauled and had a femur snapped. Another time some poor cat took refuge on the roof of my Mercedes, and the damned dog ripped the grill off the car, either trying to get the cat or just in frustration. At one point the neighbors to both my north and south had pitbulls. The southern neighbor flat out told me "if that dog [it was his son's] ever gets in your yard again you SHOOT that sumbidge! He will HURT you!" Shortly after, the dog died of allegedly natural causes. The dog from our north side broke out and found his way into our yard, evidently intent on killing chickens or cats. My son, Sassparilla Kid, was so pissed he charged out the door armed only with a rope, and literally lassoed the creature. He drug him home and tied it to their gate with a very short lead. When the neighbor showed up and saw the dog, he had the nerve to tell my son that he needed to leave the dog alone - it belonged to his cousin, and his cousin would not be happy to know his dog had been roped and tied. The Kid just looked at the guy and said "you tell your cousin that the next time that dog gets in our yard I'm going to just shoot the bastard!" He meant the dog, but the neighbor evidently thought he meant the cousin, too, and delivered said message to said cousin. Cousin and dog were never seen again. I have been known to wear a pistol when doing yard work or gardening, just in case... and if one comes at me I will not hesitate to dispatch it.
  10. Almost. Robert Shaw played Quint, the captain. It was Roy Scheider's character, police chief Brody, who uttered the famous "bigger boat" line.
  11. I read the book a couple years ago, so Sassparilla Kid and I saw this the day after Thanksgiving. Anyone else...?
  12. The Streak Nineteen Hundred and Seventy Four and Five were interesting years. History has recorded a number of mildly interesting events, such as the official end of the Vietnam War, the President of the United States resigning; Rubik’s Cube and Pet Rocks being all the rage, and the Australopithecus Aferensis skeleton named “Lucy” was discovered in Ethiopia. However, nothing would equal the phenomenon that peaked in 1974 and 1975: Streaking. Now, Streaking was not new; indeed, the activity had been observed throughout history – and even before, as noted in my own family history, dating (actually, NOT dated) back to the family lore tale of our ancestor Ugh “Goosebumps” Chaney, who had bolted from his cave buck nekkid one winter evening to leap screaming into a nearby pond, evidently in an attempt to put out the flames that had taken root in his beard and hair. It is said that he’d gotten a mite too close to his cave fire in the hope of melting away them chill-induced goosebumps. But 1974 saw Streaking reach a new pinnacle of popularity. Long fashionable on the campuses of college and universities worldwide, this year saw it move from isolated incidents to the league of mass Streaks – shockingly, in some cases, co-ed even. I shudder to think of the activities that would lead up to such displays; and will not even dare to consider follow-up behaviors or actions, barring arrests. Several times a week, some incident or t’other would be reported in the media, ranging from the stodgiest of daily newspapers to even the six o’clock news. Shocking, I say! And of course we made light and fun of the happenings. Naturally, hard to resist. In spite of the spate of occurrences, my own observations were limited to a mere two. Relatively minor events in the grand scheme o’ things, but nonetheless memorable. The second (I’m going to save the first for last) was a Saturday in June of 1975. My work buddy, Paul Weiser, and I had somehow come up with a pair of decent tickets to the Giants game. It looked to be a promising game, with the Mets’ Tom Seaver pitching against the Giants’ Tommy Toms and Jim Barr. Well, the home team lost; Seaver was magnificent and the final score was 5 – 0. But the game was fun. Interesting, actually. At one point about the third inning, the announcer broke from calling the game to blurt out the PSA “To the owner of the yellow Volkswagen, License 264-HKH, your lights are on!” Gee, folks were much more caring back then – nowadays, people would just look at it and laugh about some poor slob pushing his ride home. But everyone in the stands DID laugh. I groaned, muttered a bad word or two, set my beer in the holder and got up. “Off to the loo?” Paul asked. “Nope,” I replied. “Off to turn off my lights.” Paul looked at me with surprise. The surprise expression quickly turned to one of sadistic delight. “That was YOU?” he literally bellowed. “All my life I’ve heard such announcements, but NEVER actually KNEW someone who left their lights on and here I am, in Candlestick Park, and my buddy is the one! Har har har…!” I made my way to the gate, arranged my re-entry, eventually found Otto, my li’l ’73 Super Beetle, and shut off the lights. I crossed my fingers, and managed to get the engine started. After letting it run for a few minutes to re-charge the battery, I returned to my seat. Sure ‘nuff, I had to put up with some more good-natured but sadistic ribbing from Paul before turning my attention back to the game. Hullo… what’s this? My gaze focused on Seaver, on the mound. But this just wasn’t right – he had his back to the plate. His arms were crossed, and he seemed to have an eye-lock on the second baseman, Felix Millan. How odd! VERY unusual indeed! Then Paul blurted “Look!” and pointed, and there was the reason for Tom’s apparent disgust. Down on the field, running the bases, was a streaker! Just like in Ray Stevens’ song, The Streak! There he was, clad only in sneakers, racing flat out and rounding second with a whole cadre of security personnel in hot pursuit! Needless to say, the streaker was traveling much more lightly than his chasers, like a rabbit escaping a pack of overfed and under-exercised hounds. He actually did a couple of running pirouettes, either to check on their progress or to taunt them. Or both. At any rate, they ultimately did catch the gentleman (assigning the term loosely, of course) – but only because he ran out of bases and seemed a tad reluctant to dive into the dugouts. That was kind of amusing in itself; once they had the culprit cornered, there appeared to be confusion over what they should do – handcuff him? Wrap ‘im in a blankie? Lend him a long coat? Tie him with a long rope and lead him out on a leash? Obviously, no one wanted to touch the dude – and I surely don’t blame ‘em! Somehow they finally surrounded him, and the entire scrum made its way out of the arena without anyone else’s eyes being scorched. Mets won – five to zero. Okay, back to Episode One: December of 1974, the week between Christmas and the New Year, on a very cold, drizzly, foggy Pacifica day. Bill “Wynuts” Wyant and I were at home in our shared apartment just off Skyline Boulevard. Ed “Lurch” Darnell was visiting, and we were enjoying the warm indoors with Irish coffees, snacks, and playing with my new Christmas toy – a TEAC cassette tape recording deck. That was a ton o’ fun, copying music on LP’s to tapes we could enjoy in our automobiles – both in album format and mixing songs in a manner disparagingly described by some wag at work as “Canned F M Radio.” So there we were, mellowing out with coffee and Jack Daniels’ whiskey and good tunes, when Lurch suddenly leaped to his feet and announced “I wanna streak the strip mall!” “Well hell, Ed. If ya wanna go streak the strip mall, go for it. We’re just fine staying right here.” Next thing we new, there was a somewhat drunken Lurch, wearing nothing but sneakers and a grin, headed out the front door. We gave it not a second thought, focused on that black-labeled bottle and the stack of records. About an hour and a half later, there came a subdued knock at the door. Now, who in’ell could that be? I stood, then walked to the door and opened it wide – no one was there. I glanced about a bit and then, just as I was shutting it, a head leaned out from around the corner. Lurch! “Oh My Gawd!” he managed to get out between chattering teeth and bluish lips. “Thank the Lord I finally found the right apartment!” Evidently, he had somehow managed to get himself lost in the frigid London-thick fog and drizzle that typically enveloped the highlands of Pacifica. And, in pursuit of a safe return to the warmth of his buddies home, had knocked on several wrong doors. Eeek! At this late date, I don’t recall if the “Eeeks” were Ed’s or the residents of the numerous “wrong knock” doors or a syncopated medley. We got Ed indoors, and both Bill and I noted that his entire hide had taken on a bluish tinge matching that of his lips. We steered him to a hot shower, and when we were satisfied that he was safely thawed and dressed, we gave him a warming drink or two and a snack. And when he returned to his normal pink color, we sent him off home to his sweetie, with a promise that he would remain there for the rest of the weekend. Oh… and by the way, unmistakably, “shrinkage” is an observable fact. To my knowledge, although he had many other adventures, that was the extent of Lurch’s streaking career.
  13. But... but... but, is the sun o'er the yardarm?? "A traditional nautical saying to indicate that it is time for a morning drink. It was generally assumed in northern latitudes the sun would show above the foreyard of a ship by 1100, which was about the time in many ships of the forenoon ‘stand-easy’, when many officers would slip below for their first drink of the day."
  14. What J-Bar sez! I have a couple of those critters.... well, I may not have them, but they live here.
  15. My old pard and closest friend Hank loved his Ma, of course; however, it would be an understatement to say that she drove him nuts. Many a time he would have pulled his hair out over her - if he had any left to pull out. (Hmm... perhaps that's WHY he was so thin on top?) Actually, she seemed to have that affect on many folk. Personally, though, I got along with her just fine. Well, Hank passed in 2019. Some joked that at last he was going to get some peace, as his mom was still steaming strong. This last June we celebrated her 100th birthday. About a month ago I had a call from Hank's son ~ "Sad news, Uncle R.; Grandma went to be with Dad last night." Perhaps irreverently, the first thought and words outta my mouth were "Good Lord! You don't s'pose he's gonna send her back, do ya??" (I actually wrote and delivered both their eulogies)
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