31 January 2008


From The Other Side of Kim comes a link to this gem.

Friend James, who remarked the other day that I have not been posting much of late, should especially appreciate the charges that were filed.

Before you know it they will be posting insurance ads at his site.

30 January 2008

The Taxman Cometh

I worked half the year at one company and half the year at another.

Because of that my income from each place was taxed at a lower rate, but my combined income from both places, plus my retirement pay, puts me in the next higher tax bracket. I'm not quite in the class of evil hated rich, but it looks like I'm into UMC territory. I just wonder where it all goes.

The end result is, I owe an additional 1 large more in taxes than I have already paid. All this on a single income, no less. I now have a big BS flag to wave at those who claim "You can't make it on a single income these days."

I have now become a supporter of Mike Huckabee because of his stand on the Fair Tax. Since only RINOs are running, I might as well get something for my trouble.

28 January 2008


The hair loss has begun.

It wasn't unexpected of course, but it's still quite a psychological blow. She had gotten it cut because she couldn't care for it anymore, and now it's deserting her.

I held her as she cried, holding a handful of hair from her brush. I told her it will grow back, and that I will love her even if she never has hair again. It didn't seem to help much.

The good news is that the chemo drugs are working. Chemo is primarily used to keep the cancer from spreading in the bloodstream, it targets any rapidly growing cancer cell and destroys it. This will keep the cancer localized so that the radiation will kill it off.

The bad news is that hair and nail cells are also rapidly growing cells, and the chemo drugs do not differentiate between them. They simply can't tell the difference. This is why the hair falls out and the nails get brittle.

I can't say if the Propel sports water would have helped or not because she hasn't been drinking it. She was sick on the first day she had chemo, and had been drinking the Propel all day. Now the two are linked in her mind, so she doesn't even want the Propel. It may have helped, it may have not, there is no way to tell now.

Her doctors are very happy with her progress, they are talking remission without surgery now which is different than what they were saying before. This is a good thing. Of course that means the treatments will drag on longer, which means more rounds of chemo, which means a longer time before the hair grows back. That's not so good.

But she is feeling better, less pain and easier breathing. I think her positive attitude has been a definite help. I'll feel better when she feels better, I'm hoping it won't be very much longer.

27 January 2008

More About Trains

My first attempt to secure a 4-6-2 Pacific was an Atlas model made by Rivarrosi. I'm not a big fan of Atlas by Rivarrosi as a result, the frames are made of cheap pot metal that gets brittle as it ages. The loco I got had a badly broken frame and bent drivers, was missing the meshing gears and the motor. It has since been disassembled, maybe I can do something with the pieces one day.

I have another Pacific on it's way to me, a Model Power unit, as well as a Bachmann Spectrum 2-8-0 Consolidation. I have two of the standard Bachmann Connies, so I am going to be able to compare the running characteristics of them. I expect to be pleased going by all that I have read.

I didn't really need the Connie (according to The Management I didn't need the Pacific either), but I couldn't pass up the price. I just missed out on a Kato Mikado from the same source, I didn't really need it either but it's supposed to be a sweet machine and I wanted to check it out.

My plan is to designate the Pacific as the passenger locomotive and relegate the resulting standard Connie to freight duties. As it was bought for that purpose in the first place, it's not really a demotion. I'll have to change the shells back from red (custom painted for the passenger consist) to black, but I have the extra shells just so I could do that. It makes the existing two Connies appear to be six, a quick shell change and I have four more completely different locos.

The two Bachmann Northerns I have are reclining in the roundhouse, waiting for the day I have large enough curves to be able to run them comfortably. The SF unit with the standard tender is a good runner, it has been remotored and crawls nicely. The UP unit has also been remotored, but in the UP's case the remotor didn't go as well as it could have. The worm gear is off-center and doesn't mesh right. I have to get a new worm gear from Northwest Shortlines and have it redone.

That leaves the Spectrum Connie. I have no idea what I'm going to do with this loco. Probably freight duties as well. I have Spectrum F-7B units that I really need to have A units for (trying to convince The Management is a different story altogether) because they are soldiering on with a pair of standard A units, and one unpowered A unit, to make AB pairs. They see occasional duties, whenever I want to pull long freights or when I want to "update" a bit.

I also have some of the Bachmann old-timer 4-4-0 Americans, an entire fleet of them, including the rolling stock to make either a UP or CP freight or passenger train, as well as a tourist era consist of open passenger cars and a gondola with benches. They get run occasionally.

Then there is the narrow gauge. You may have noticed the occasional EBT pictures scattered here and there. I have three narrow gauge locos, two of which are EBT prototypes and one which is a narrowed Bachmann 4-4-0. The other two are built on Marklin chassis, one is a 2-6-0 Mogul and the other is a 2-8-2 Mikado. The American was the cheapest and easiest to build, the Mogul has a scratchbuilt superstructure that started with a Bachmann smokebox, and the Mikado is built from a Republic Locomotive Works kit.

The Bachmann hauls a mixed passenger and freight consisting of a narrowed Bachmann combine, a Microtrains boxcar and an RLW flat trailed by a narrowed Bachmann bobber caboose. The Mogul, EBT#1, usually hauls the President's car, the Orbisonia, parlor car #20 made from a Bachmann coach, but occasionally gets pressed into freight (box and flat cars plus bobber) or passenger (two or three narrowed Bachmann coaches plus the Orbisonia) service, and the Mikado, EBT#17, hauls the rock train of ten RLW hoppers, one RLW boxcar and a RLW caboose or Combine #15 made from a MDC Overton coach and combine.

I'm saving my nickels and dimes for a couple of Fast Tracks jigs so I can build my own turnouts in N and Nn3. That's an expensive startup, but it gets cheaper with every turnout that gets built.

I'm going to go run some trains now.

26 January 2008

Kiss of Death

The New York Times has now endorsed the candidacy of John McCain.

Actually, they say right out that they don't truly like any of the Republican candidates for President (big surprise), but that one has consistently crossed (or should that be double-crossed) party lines to vote with Democrats.

McCain-Feingold, the Kennedy immigration plan, the criticism on the management of the Iraq war, and his stand on global warming are all quoted, just before the money shot:

"That doesn’t make him a moderate, but it makes him the best choice for the party’s presidential nomination."

Actually, all of that disqualifies him for the nomination in the eyes of staunch Conservatives. The fact that the Times likes him just puts the icing on the cake.

23 January 2008

Big Sigh

You may have noticed that the Fred! campaign button is gone.

Gone, too, is any chance the Republican nominee will be a conservative. Fred! and Duncan Hunter were the only ones, and now there are none.

Duncan Hunter just didn't have enough name recognition, which made this race Fred's to lose. And he did. Just like the KosKids found out, a strong Interwebtubiethingie presence does not mean a strong overall presence. You have to pound the pavement and get the word out in the actual world.

I haven't decided yet if I am going to write Fred! in, become a single-issue voter and go with Mike Huckabee because of his support of the Fair Tax, or if I am just going to vote Democrat.

Why Democrat? Because if I am going to have to put up with a left wing leaning stinking pinko in the Oval Orifice, I would rather not have one that hides behind a Republican label and pretends to care about conservative values.

You know, things like securing the border, reducing the tax burden, reducing the size and scope of government, and enforcing the Second Amendment?

It's funny the politicians can't figure this out. They are losing, not because they can't convince enough independents to vote for them, but because they have turned their collective backs on their base.

Ronald Reagan ran as a conservative, twice, and won, twice. The Reagan Revolution is not dead, it has been abandoned by the politicians.

19 January 2008

Save the Second

For those of you in Virginia lucky enough to have Eric Cantor as your Congressman, I salute you.

He's got a good idea here.

It would be worth your time to add your name.

Not All News Is Bad News

Mr Fixit, who has been traveling through the valley, has had some good news. Stop by and offer congratulations.

On the home front the docs say she is responding well to treatments and they predict a full recovery.

10 January 2008

Please Help

Pardon me, but could you help a fellow American down on her luck?

09 January 2008

New Link

Your attention please.

One of my favorite blogs is Hammer's, but up until now for reasons unknown even to me I have not put in a link. That oversight has been corrected. Go, read, enjoy.

As you were.

In Sickness And In Health

Chemo started yesterday. She was sick last night, mostly because she delayed taking her anti-nausea medicines until later on in the day. She has a medicine regimen for the rest of the week. Next Tuesday will be another round of chemo, then more medicines for the rest of the week. After that two weeks off, then we start all over again in February. After that the surgery.

The chemo drugs are administered via IV. She was supposed to have a medport installed but the company I work for changed insurance carriers at the beginning of the year and the new carrier will not cover it, so she has to have them via traditional IV's instead.

Of course I'm not allowed to be worried at home where she can see it.

That's why I have a blog, I guess.

03 January 2008

Home Again

Florida was nice but it's good to be home again.

The weather was great there except for the last day, which was COLD! Cold in NC as well, and we battled the wind all the way up.

95 wasn't bad, so we made good time - 8 hours for this trip instead of 12.

Now to unpack, back to work Monday.