Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dry Duck

This Duck Towel arrived from Melody. It is nearly 3 feet wide and 6 feet long. Right now, it decorates the backrest of my living room sofa. I admire the simple clean lines of the artwork.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Rod's Duck Farm News - January 2009

Read Your Rod’s Duck Farm News – Tooo Many Form Letter Words January 2009

“Nothing is as funny as a duck.” - Antonin Scalia – Justice, US Supreme Court
News Flash: December 15, 2008 – President Bush DUCKS shoe!

Happy New Year!!!!!
Nowadays you can even Google Rod’s Duck Farm to discover items of duckological interest. I’m having trouble coming up with more plays on the word DUCK so I’m having to work on parts of ducks ….. like the duck’s bill.
-A duck was flying along and got hit on the bill by a hail stone. Another duck asked, “When are you going to get something done about that ding in your bill?” The first duck replied, “I’m headed to the bill-ding maintenance department right now.” J heh, heh, heh ….. yuk, yuk, yuk …..hahaha!

Anyway, if I haven’t seen you in a while, it’s not that I don’t care, I’ve been doing things like:

CHICAGO: Every two years in September, on the even numbered years (like 2008) there is an International Machine Tool Show (IMTS) at Chicago. This year, the students had conflicting schedules and opted out of attending but I went, armed with student questions. In particular, students wanted to know what ceramic cutting tools are made of. It turns out that ceramic cutting tools are just like grinding wheels – made of aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, or cubic boron nitride. Cubic boron nitride is billed as being “the same as diamond” despite the facts that it is only half as hard as diamond and is not carbon based. Pushing the tool company engineers and VP’s revealed that it is “the same as diamond” with respect to cost.
TULSA: “The Dark Knight” is a movie, not about ducks but, about Batman. It was playing at the Tulsa IMAX theater. Perhaps there was a novel statement. If so, it was lost in the unnecessary levels of noise and violence.
ARKANSAS: We had a rainy spring and summer. It loosened the ground and tree roots so that when the remnants of Hurricane Ike came through about 2am, trees were uprooted. Our power was out for about 12 hours. We visited Sharon Gann in Van Buren. Lying in her back yard was the 2nd largest pecan tree in Arkansas. It was about 4 feet in diameter at its base.
NOT GERMANY: . Leta Mae, Eric, my mother, and I went to Stuttgart (Arkansas) Nov 28th for the Wings over the Prairie International Duck Calling Championship Festival. There was a caricature artist. I am now captured with Duck Lips …. see www.rodsduckfarm.blogspot.com (the December 1, 2008 posting).

WAL-MART $1,500 to Machine Shop Program
Bill Megee, Alumni/Advisory Committee Member, used his influence through Wal-Mart Optical to obtain an Educational Grant to the Machine Tool Technology program. Wal-Mart Optical uses computerized milling machines to makes lenses for prescription eye-wear. The grant will provide tooling for the machine shop program’s milling curriculum.

Christmas was a marvelous time at the Duck Farm. Rare and exotic ducks of all kinds showed up under the tree. Thomas Leech discovered two duck coins - a Lucky Duck Penny (penny with a Duck and logo rolled onto it) and a one ounce silver “coin” from the Crabtree Mint featuring a Duck riding a jetliner, reading a book entitled “Duck Book”. To top it off, the tail section of the jetliner is embossed with my initials, RW.
My Step-Mother sent a shower curtain emblazoned with Wood Ducks, Mallards, and Green-Winged Teals plus an Audubon Green Winged Teal Bread Tray, and a set of Ceramic Salt & Pepper Shaker Ducks. Crystal made sure I don’t have to sit around in the dark with a life-like Duck Candle and a “Belly Brights” Duck (a plush duck that incorporates a push button night light). If my humor seems dry, maybe it is because Melody sent a giant Duck Towel, about 3 feet x 6 feet. Dave & Cristine must have known I was getting Duck coins – they gave me a very stylish Duck “piggy bank”. Amanda & Adam unearthed an electronic Quacking/Dancing Duck and Amanda sewed up two comfortable Duck pillows. Syble & Elbert unveiled a delightful wooden decoy-style Duck and a very cute Duck coffee creamer. Diane Bradberry revealed a patriotic ceramic “rubber duck”. Marsha has been doing arts & crafts and made a Duck Christmas Wreath. Familiar with my mid-day culinary habits, Mark Evans provided Duck Lunch Sacks. Sharon & Mike sent a Christmas card with a Ducks Unlimited return address label. From my Mother’s horticultural congregation escaped a darling Duck planter. Earlier in the year, Leta Mae delivered the literary wonder, an electronic/quacking book called “Quacker’s Crackers”. Marie Becker was walking around the Buffalo River when a stone shaped like a duck’s head called out to her. Tom Freking discovered the lair of the graphic character “Super Duck.” Steve Renfro uncovered some Semitic lore, not quite as old as the Dead Sea Scrolls. An individual named Dudu Geva, Israel’s most famous cartoonist, had a dream – to turn Tel Aviv into a city of Ducks. In his memory, they inflated a giant duck atop the city hall building. Though he died in 2005, Ducks will always be remembered by their Dudu.
David White & Steve Renfro are both credited for the observation of the August 31 Great British Duck Race – ¼ million rubber ducks were released into the Thames River. Perhaps all that wetness has something to do with the Huggies diapers Duckmercials, noted by Dave Renfro. Aflac continues to have marvelous duckvertisements to include their SuperDuck. Even Wal-Mart is getting in on the action with a duct tape ad featuring the Duck from Duck tape. You might have seen the “Are you smarter than a 5th grader?” episode where Duck was the answer to the question, “Which word is both a noun and a verb?” Leta watched a 1994 movie, “Blown Away” that featured a wind-up duck as an explosive timer. The TV news, on October 15th noted that Duck appetites were the benefactors of a bunch of Humbolt Squid mysteriously dying. Another news program noted California’s “duck & cover” drills for earthquakes. On TV Show episode “TreeHouse” – mama duck taught baby ducks to grow up and fly. I even made a Duck discovery of my own …. at the DollarTree store there were gift boxes with rubber duck images imprinted on the sides. I’m having to learn a bit more Italian …. Nonna means Granny, Papera means Duck, and Mondo means World. I have heard folks call their grandmother “Nanner” but now I suspect the term to be a poor pronunciation of the Italian “nonna” instead of a bad attempt at “banana”. There is an Italian Duck blog by “Nonnapapera” = Granny Duck. The Blog is www.mondopapera.blogspot.com = Duck World.
Research and development continues in the world of wind power. For large scale power, there is money and a lot of solutions to the problems of electrical power generation. For small yard ornaments generating low amounts of power, finding rectifiers, voltage regulators, and storage devices that will withstand variations in windspeed, vibration, and temperature are challenges. Thomas Leech keeps getting closer to a suitable circuit.

At last!!!! It is OK to be a Vietnam veteran. Rather than having Veterans Day grouped together with Thanksgiving, this year Veterans Day was celebrated on Veterans Day at NTI. (Veterans Day is a re-naming of Armistice Day, the end of World War I, the 11th hour of the 11day of the 11th month). Also, the Golden Corral restaurant chain had a free dinner for all veterans. And the Veterans Hospital has become more helpful. And the State of Arkansas has reduced rate automobile license plates. Woo-Hoo!!!

Drugs: You have probably seen the emails and rumors about Tylenol (acetaminophen) being dangerous. As it turns out, acetaminophen overdose is one of the most common poisonings worldwide. The good news is that recovery is likely if treated within 8 hours of the overdose. The bad news is that symptoms often do not show up until 12 hours after overdose. On Monday December 29 I stopped by the local hospital to see Jonathan Fuller. He was in a critical care unit under armed guard as a suicide risk. He commented, “I wasn’t trying to commit suicide, I was just trying to get high. Now I need a liver transplant. Nobody told me that Tylenol would do that!” Of course, lots of things besides Tylenol have associated risks (the difference between poison and medication being the dosage rate). The best way to get high is to dress up like a duck and go sit around at a petting zoo – everybody will love you and you will be alert enough to realize it!

Russians invaded Georgia …. remember that? Sort of like the country western tune, “Devil came to Georgia.” The US waited for the matter to resolve itself – sort of like when the US invaded Atlanta, Georgia. But that was a long time ago.

The world’s economy is in an interesting state of flux. Prices bounce around with 100% price changes accompanied by silly excuses. The big companies go bankrupt and the courts rule that the firm should reorganize by closing out their books and starting up a new company – the old stock holders get nothing, not even stock in the new company. Interest rates are down so much that retirees have not only lost their stock but are having to spend their retirement savings. Young men trying to raise families find themselves unemployed, living in homes and driving cars that are worth less than what is owed – their option is to join the military. Of course, the presidential elections show that people didn’t want a dollar – they wanted change!
Fortunately we aren’t having a banking collapse …. well, I got a note in the mail that my AG Edwards money, that was purchased by Wachovia, is now owned by Wells Fargo. The $16 in cash is supposedly alive & well, waiting for me determine a good investment option for it. I will be glad to see the securities companies, mortgage companies, and insurance companies moving into HUD housing. They are already on disability income.
I remember the President-Elect focusing on affordable health care for all Americans, etc., etc. Now that he has met more personally with the CIA and Pentagon he is saying things like, “Iran is a genuine threat.” I think maybe Obama is correct ….. afterall, “not-being-blown-to-bits” is essential to good health.

Eric is having some 1st hand experience with the unemployment business. Along with 31 of his coworkers, he found himself to be a free agent, just a couple days before Thanksgiving. Although he applied for unemployment benefits immediately, he has yet to see a dollar of that money. He has been applying at machine shops regularly. One shop read his resume and said, “We don’t need any help but I see you can weld and repair welders. Here’s a broken portable welder. You can have it! Fix it! Use it! Sell it!” Maybe it is a kinder and gentler world.

Dave Renfro did his part to change the world. He brought his library to the machine shop for folks to pick through. There were books on everything imaginable. Eric picked books on guitar making and playing. Next thing you know my mother gave Eric a guitar. Perhaps Eric will be a musician or welder? Actually, he’s planning to take a computer drafting course.

Lots of folks have sinus problems. An article I read years ago, by an old country doctor, explained what everyone already knows …. (paraphrased) “nasal problems are an irritation for which people seek medical relief. The problem is that there is really very little in the way of a cure. But I did manage to soothe a lot of folks and make a bit of money selling salt-water nose drops at a nominal charge. I bought bottles with droppers and had labels made up that said, `Sodium Chloride Solution – place two drops in each nostril as needed.’ Nobody knew that Sodium Chloride is table salt. They were very impressed with the results and would return for refills.”
Sister, Sharon, once worked as an inhalation therapist. Patients would be treated for respiratory (breathing) problems by breathing a special prepared mist (of salt-water). All agree that living by the ocean and breathing the "good ocean air” is excellent for sinus problems. A daily swim in the ocean is even better …. some folks go a step farther to say maybe we didn’t evolve from monkeys so much as we crawled up out of the ocean … maybe we used to be kelp or something?
Sharon researched a simple way for folks in the midwest to have the nasal benefit of a swim in the ocean. You can see the “sinus rinse” video at www.neilmed.com
It is a squirt bottle, specially designed for nasal irrigation (to squirt salt water up one nostril and out the other). NeilMed comes with pre-measured packets of sodium chloride (salt … ¼ teaspoon). You get the bottle and 50 packets of premeasured salt for about $10 at Wal-Mart. I would guess that some folks might use Sea Salt to make it a more natural thing. Even more natural, do nothing and just live with a “stobbed-up-doze” (stopped up nose).

The angels keep getting lonely and calling folks to heaven. Rita Megee and Retha Skaggs have both joined their ancestors. Rita Megee you know as the chief executive of the Bill & Rita Megee Foundation for the Preservation of Duckological Artifacts. Retha Skaggs was wife to Leta Mae’s brother, Doyle. Like so many others, Bill and Doyle are both pretty busy figuring out which half of them is gone and which half is still here – and what to do with what is left.
Bill asked, “How does it work …. when somebody remarries and their spouse is in heaven? What happens when everybody meets up in heaven?”
Leta Mae had the best answer to that: “In heaven, everybody is happy. For one thing there is plenty of time and no jealousy. So the number of mates is inconsequential.”
“What to do next?” is a fairly common question. Psychological studies indicate that stress is hard on people and that major changes cause stress – the loss of a spouse, the loss of a job, getting a new hose, anything that arouses emotion. The idea is to limit the amount of stress on has per year. The loss of a spouse generally considered to be enough stress for one year. Getting new houses and cars – making long term commitments for the first year increases stress. Of course, when the house burns down with the car in the garage …. you’ve got to live somewhere!

TROUBLE SLEEPING – (sign: will work for sleep)
If you have just awakened from a 20 hour nap and can’t go back to sleep, probably 8 hours of some kind of activity resembling exercise would help. If it is 11pm and you have been up since 4am drinking coffee, maybe quit drinking coffee at about 7pm would help. On the other hand, if you are simply tossing and turning, wondering if the dogs are scattering the trash and thinking about how to get back at an evil co-worker and feeling a bit guilty about eating all the ice cream … then you may be a “stay-awake-and-worry-aholic”. The first step is to decide that you really do want to quit worrying and start sleeping. The next thing is to occupy your mind with …. boring? …. thoughts.
Santo Ciabatta explains things this way: “The human mind cannot really concentrate on two things at the same time. Since you can’t do that, when you try to do it anyway, the body rebels - the act of trying to concentrate on two things at the same time results in an unexplainable psychic experience.”
Santo continues, “That’s really the way the Catholic Rosary works. There are prayers and mysteries. The prayers are just prayers, like the Lord’s Prayer (our Father who art in heaven …). The mysteries are visual images of the life and times of Jesus, such as those painted by Michaelangelo – the manger scene for instance. So, you concentrate on the image while earnestly praying the prayer. It causes a kind of sensory overload that makes you feel good.”
A lot of folks fall asleep trying to get through the prayers of the Rosary.

Another simple sleep-inducing trick is similar to hypnosis – the snap of the fingers. It goes like this: probably when you were a baby, somebody was determined that you were going to sleep. They kept winding the music box, playing “Lullaby” over and over until you finally fell asleep. Even better, maybe the music box included some kind of animation … You could have your very own animated music box or musical mobile …. listening to music and observing the image, feeling good, going to sleep. Sometimes something as simple as a music box can be a psychological cue that snaps one to slumber.

At any rate, “mind-numbing repetition” of something intermingled with concentration on “what comes next” can result in sleep. Perhaps one might memorize the stories and pictures of children’s books, “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” “The Three Little Pigs,” etc. Maybe one could visualize each kind of duck in alphabetical order and mentally recall the sounds of the different ducks.

But it all starts with the realization that one is awake and needs to engage in a sleep-inducing activity.

Leta Mae’s clothes dryer was 20 years old when I scavenged it … 30 years ago. Recently, a modern new-looking dryer showed up next to a dumpster. When I plugged it up, I could tell why it was where it was. It made a terrible grinding /screeching sound, like an explosion was imminent. It turned out that the fan that blows the hot air was loose, rubbing on its housing. Now Leta Mae has a dryer that matches her washer. If you are in need of a good clothes dryer, a 50 year old brown one that can be repaired using cheap industrial parts – boy do I have a deal for you! You can have it! Use it! Sell it!
Eric’s 1988 Celebrity has about the same engine as my 1988 S-10 Duck Truck. The Celebrity’s “check engine soon” light would come on until the engine warmed up. But until that time, the speedometer/odometer would not work and gas mileage was terrible. One would think the culprit to be a speed sensor but the problem turned out to be a programmable-read-only-memory (PROM) chip in the electronic-control-module (ECM). Since those two things have to work together in an engine designed for operation in the central United States ….. the good thing was that $60 at the salvage yard got an ECM with PROM whose ID numbers matched Eric’s, solving the problem.
The 1988 Duck Truck GT had what seemed to be either a fuel pump problem or an intermittently loose wire. Sometimes it would run, sometimes it wouldn’t. Almost always it would run if you had patience to stand there with a squirt can “fuel-injecting” it. As fate would have it, the distributor has sensors and electronic controllers in it. Now and then, my distributor was telling the Duck Truck’s electronic brain that the engine was not running – therefore, the fuel pump and sometimes the ignition should be shut off. A rebuilt distributor ($150) was about the same price as buying and replacing the sensor and controller.
The 2008 Duck Truck AC was plagued with the same problem as most trucks – the places to tie ropes were inconvenient. So I installed cleats, like you use to tie ropes on boats. Woo-Hoo!
After enough eardrum ruptures and a clogged eustachian tube, part of my eardrum decided to grow on a path of its own, back into the inner ear. That kind of growth is called a colesteotoma. It needs to be removed because it could grow into the brain. January 23rd, I’m scheduled to have an operation. I was scheduled to have the operation on January 9th but the doctor cancelled. Hopefully he’s feeling better by the 23rd.

If people spent more time thinking about ducks,
They’d spend less time thinking about other things!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

For Red Dirt Mule

Here is an interesting set of footwear for the shoe fanatic - Duck Slippers. Perfect for the beach or for showing off your manicured toenails while keeping most of the foot modestly covered. Also you don't wear a hole in the skin between the Big Toe and Index Toe as with Flip-Flips. This item is all the more attractive, being Italian shoes. Granny Duck (Nonnapapera) has them on the DuckWorld (Mondopapera) blog.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

This Little Light of Mine

This duck came from Crystal. It is called Belly Bright Duck. When you push the belly, it lights up. It is a Duck security light. At night, when ghosts and goblins come around, I push the belly button and the light comes on. Then I throw it across the room. Whatever is in the room can not keep their eyes from following the light traveling across the dark room. Ghosts and goblins become so disoriented by this scheme that they disappear.
If you are having trouble with night-time monsters, this is the Duck to have!