18 December 2020


I draw your attention to the US Constitution, Article II, section 1, paragraph 2:

"Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector."

Most states appoint their Electors according to the popular vote, but this is by no means the only way it can be done. For the election of 2020 the States have chosen their Electors, the Electors have cast their votes, and Joe Biden, for better or for worse, has been legally elected as the 46th President of these United States.

(As a side note, this illustrates the importance of voting in down-ticket races as well since the State Legislatures direct the appointment of electors, unless of course they allow themselves to be negated by the Governors during times of crisis like a bunch of pussies.)

How long he will  hold that title is another matter. I'm going to predict by January 2022 we will have our first female President. If Hillary is still kicking I would advise President Harris to beef up her security detail. But I digress.*

I believe this election was a massive fraud. I believe that in the six states in question Donald Trump was the actual winner and the Democrats had to resort to extreme measures in order to expand the margin of fraud in order to get Biden elected. I also believe that with the Democrats poised to take control of the Executive Department that absolutely no investigations will be done.

And of course since it is impossible to gather evidence if you don't bother investigating, there will never be any evidence of fraud in the 2020 election.

But the real damage is not in a Harris...excuse me, Biden...Presidency. A President, by design, is fairly powerless domestically, it's the Congress and Senate that makes the real difference. The Congress is held by a razor thin margin and the Senate has, at the time of this writing, yet to be determined (which means the Democrats are still trying to expand the margin of fraud enough to make a difference), and next election I believe the disaster that I predict the Biden/Harris administration will be will cause a shift back to the right in both chambers.

Not that it will make a great deal of difference. I have long since given up hope that the Stupid Party will ever grow a set, but that's a different subject altogether.

No, the real damage is that faith in the electoral system has forever been shattered. Right now the Democrats and leftists (BIRM) are having a huge celebration because they were able to cheat their way back into the White House. Soon you will start hearing the proclamations that there will never again be a Republican President (not that we haven't heard those claims from both sides many times), but there will be, and perhaps the next Republican President will be elected through the same sort of shenanigans that saw this Democratic President elected.

I doubt it, because Party of Stupid, but it could happen.

The biggest issue is that the fraud was so blatantly obvious that you have to be willfully ignorant or such a partisan hack that you don't care as long as your guy benefited to ignore it. At any rate, future elections will forever be tainted by what happened in this one. Since no one is going to prison for it there won't be any reason to stop the shenanigans, and it will just get more and more obvious until one day they are done away with altogether.

In other words, this election was the death of our Republic.

Sorry Ben.

*As January 2022 has come and gone it is obvious my prediction was incorrect on this point.

16 November 2020

Things I Didn't Expect To Have To Do for $1000...

 Last weekend I went to a train show, the first one in a very long time due to all the pan(dem)ic nonsense. That was a good weekend.

Monday I got a text with these pictures:

Eldest Son has had the Subaru since he hit a deer with his Honda. So guess what happened here. Yep, at the same place and near about the same time of day as the Honda. Not as bad as the Honda, it was totaled because there was only one and he hit it at speed. This time there was three, two of them went by and since he was already on the brakes the third one didn't do as much damage. Headlight smashed, fender and hood crumpled and the right mirror cracked. Yes there was definitely some underlying damage because the inner fender was bent, but the frame was still straight.

I got on the Baja group at the Book of Faces and scored a hood and fender in the proper Baja Yellow color. Problem was, it was in Altoona. Well hell, I was going to have the next weekend off anyway so I made a deal. Friday afternoon I tagged the trailer onto the back of the Jeep and off to Pennsylvania we went.

Of course while in Altoona...

That's Horseshoe Curve, on the former Pennsylvania Railroad mainline. It's something of a railroading mecca, being a marvel of engineering and such. But I digress.

Parts loaded Saturday morning and on the road. Back home by suppertime. Sunday morning Eldest Son brought the battered Baja over and we started stripping parts. 

He had already bought a set of headlights, so as soon as the old fender was off we commenced to straightening what we could of the inner fender. That went fairly well and the replacement fender went on without too much fuss, but when we put the headlight in we found the radiator support on the right side had been pushed back about 3/4 of an inch. We tried to pull it back with brute force but the distance was just too great, so we cut a couple of spacers out of steel brake line and put longer bolts in it.

The hood and mirror went on without too much drama although now there is a definite mismatch because the right mirror is black and the left one is body colored. It might be easier to just paint the left mirror black instead of trying to match the paint, but the results are acceptable.

We started around eight and were done about 11, not bad considering we had to make a trip to the parts store in the middle. It's not perfect but it's pretty close, the paint actually matches and if you don't look at it with the critical examiners eye you wouldn't be able to tell anything had happened to it until you saw the mismatched mirrors. Under the hood isn't too much more obvious, the only real clue is when you look at where the headlight mounts to the radiator support but I think we did a fairly passable job putting all that together as well. The headlight is nice and solid, but one thing we did miss until we were done is the lense on the right foglight is cracked. It's missing the cover, too, but that isn't anything new. I had to replace that foglight once before, so I'm sure I can find another one again. What the hell, it's not the only scar that little trucklet has.

He has a bid in to buy back his totaled Honda, he thinks he can replace the front clip on it and put it all back to rights. The insurance company short-changed him on it, it's an SI but they only paid him for a regular Accord. They do that, I know a guy that had a Shelby convertible get run over by a truck (he was OK) and the insurance company would only pay him for a regular GT. Dealing with insurance companies is just like dealing with the mob but at least the mob is more honest about it. I hope he will get that Honda back and fixed soon so I can have my scoobytruck back. I like the Jeep but it isn't as comfortable a ride as the Baja.

He's a bit paranoid now going through that stretch of road, so maybe he can avoid impacting the deer population any more. At least with vehicles.

28 October 2020

Since Last We Met

Family is still fine, Dad is still doing well without meds, Eldest Boy hit a deer with his car so he has the Subaru (the AC issues turned out to be a worn compressor clutch, I pulled the compressor clutch off of the one I got with the replacement engine and it's working fine now except for still always being on), and the birthday trip to the East Broad Top went fine. It was a beautiful weekend to run with the top down in the Mustang, and I try not to miss the chance to do that whenever I can.

Orbisonia Station, East Broad Top, Rockhill Furnace PA. The "Orbisonia" sign is gone, possibly forever since apparently it wasn't present during common carrier operations and the railroad's new management has decided to back date a bit and then move forward as if the railroad had never shut down. 

That means, among other things, that the EBT's signature ballast, cinders from the long gone iron foundry, is being replaced with crushed stone. It is somewhat sad, but the crushed stone is a superior material and the railroad's new management determined that had the railroad continued to be a going concern it would have been only natural to upgrade to the newer materials as time went on. I certainly can't argue with the results, the trackwork in and around Orbisonia hasn't looked this good for a very long time.

The window crew's project for this work session was to install the windows we had rebuilt the last work session into the freight house. This finishes up the restoration efforts on that structure, just in time for the railroad's grand re-opening weekend which was August 13. It was a Thursday, but it was chosen because that's when the EBT re-opened the first time for tourist service in 1960.

 Don't say you weren't warned. This sign from the railroad's common carrier days still hangs in the freight house.

Memories of rails past. These ghostly impressions were from rails that have long since been removed when the trolley museum opened in the wye.

The freight house windows, rebuilt and repainted, now hang back in their proscribed places. It is a marked improvement from where we started. The funny looking wooden blocks above the window were from where the original knob and tube wiring was removed, the EBT had an on-site generator at one point but of course it is all on commercial power now. There is currently no power in the freight house, I don't know if that will change in the future but if it does it will get all modern wiring.

The side windows were a bit of a challenge. The window under the shutters had no frame at all, it had rotted away over the years. Previous restoration efforts put the basic framework back in, but all of the supporting structures for the window sashes had to be built and installed as well as the restoration of the windows themselves. Interesting note, these are the windows that were pinned together with wooden dowels, there isn't a single nail in either sash.

Someone caught me working. See, I have pictures to prove it. ;)

 Someone also caught me looking for the windows to arrive to be installed. The frame has been restored and painted, and all that is left is for the sashes to be installed.

The finished product, just in time for opening weekend. Sadly I wasn't able to make that event but by all reports it went very well. I will make the time to go up there again to ride when the steam locos are back in service. The railroad is currently working on both 14 and 16 and hopes to have at least one of them in steam for 2021.

That will be a great day.

28 July 2020

Still Alive

The annual Hades Family Run to the Beach has been canceled for this year.

Every year Mrs Hades' family has a beach week in Myrtle Beach SC starting the last Sunday in July. My father in law has a time share there (yeah, I know, time share, but if he didn't have it he would never take a vacation) and we go down to join in the fun. For the past couple of years we have rented our own room, and we haven't used it even once.

Last year was an epic year. My folks came out for it, along with my younger sister and my aunt, and they took our room. All of my kids made it down for a day, including the one from Wyoming. A good time was had by all and it was likely the last time my kids will see my Dad, he's not dying or anything but due to disability his travel days are about done.

Speaking of Dad, he was diagnosed with leukemia last year, prompting an unplanned Thanksgiving trip, but he stopped taking his meds a couple of months ago (with his new doctor's approval) and now Doc thinks he may not have had it in the first place. She is suspecting something else instead (something that non-medically trained me can't pronounce), which isn't as serious. So not all news in 2020 is bad news I guess.

This year due to the EpiPanic of 2020 (yeah, you can count me on the side that is throwing the BS flag, sure people are dying but I suspect the numbers are heavily skewed...or screwed, as the case may be, and the fear really pisses me off) and the fact that Mrs Hades got a new puppy ("Anything but a chihuahua" I said, so guess what she got) and the resort has a no puppy policy the room will be empty. I did try to get it rented out to cover the cost, but no one else was interested either so it sits empty.

So instead I am taking a trip up to Pennsylvania to do some volunteer work on the East Broad Top Railroad. It's been a while since the last time I was up there, Youngest Boy and I went up before I retired from the USN in 2004, but I did do some volunteer work there a couple of weeks ago. I took the Jeep, but that's not a trip I'll gladly make with it again; that Jeep is a real beast on the interstates. I have an appointment tomorrow to take the newly-engined Baja to the Subaru dealer to hopefully get the air conditioning straight (it works when it wants to; it is always on (problem one) but when it is hot outside the time between the off cycle and the on cycle gets rather long(problem 2)) and I'll take it next weekend, it's a much more civilized ride for the distance involved. And, if the AC doesn't get fixed it will be a good trip for the Mustang,it doesn't get the miles on it that it used to before Mrs Hades came along. Either way, Mrs Hades has approved the trip (she's not coming along, if she were we would drive her car as usual) as a birthday present.

Yeah, August the Deuce will mark my 54th orbit. Yay me. Beats the alternative I guess. Which is a reminder that Laura has been gone now for 10 years. I still miss her but I am loving my life with Mrs Hades, which seems to be a bit of a contradiction, doesn't it?

I think that should catch us up now.

02 June 2020

It Lives

I just couldn't bring myself to get rid of it. So when a motor came up on the Baja forums from a 2003 that was being parted out, I jumped on it.

 The old engine came out

 The new engine went in

I ran out of parts at the same time that I was out of places to put them

and when the oil, coolant, and freshly charged battery went back in it fired right up. I did have an O2 sensor go bad while it was sitting around, so I have it on order and I will pick it up and put it in tomorrow.

The hard part will be learning how to drive it again. It is certainly a different beast than the Jeep.

And speaking of the Jeep, it has not been neglected either. It got a new top this past week, a very nice twill top that looks a lot better than the old torn up vinyl top, is quieter (relatively speaking, driving a soft top Jeep has been accurately described as driving in a tent) and the windows are clear so the inside rear view mirror is actually usable.

And since I'm off for the next two days, Mrs Hades has a fence building job in mind for me. That will be different from being under the hood of cars, I guess.