Sunday, October 31, 2010



Time Devours All Things
Happy Halloween, Everyone!
*Quote via Terry Pratchett - Reaper Man

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Style Saturday - 10/30/2010

gable pipe engine

Clark Gable, smoking a pipe, while working on an automobile engine...


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Makes me cringe...

iver johnson ad 2

Wow... this ad made me really uncomfortable.

The "Safety" part of the Iver Johnson Safety revolver actually refered to the transfer bar system that kept the gun from firing unless the trigger was pulled. Before transfer bar type safeties, if you kept a live round under the hammer in a revolver and dropped the gun, or the hammer slipped from your thumb when cocking, the gun could go off unintentionally. That was the reason most safety conscious cowboys or gunfighters only loaded a six-shooter with five rounds. You kept the chamber under the hammer empty.

It sure didn't mean the gun was safe to let your little girl play with in bed... No matter what "Papa" said.

I love these old small caliber top break revolvers, though. They were very popular during their heyday. Smith & Wesson made similar models to the Iver Johnson ones. Smaller caliber pocket guns were the norm many places when it came to everyday carry for people.

Everyone one has their own opinion on the efficacy of various pistol calibers, and its an interesting debate. It doens't take a genious to realize that .45 acp, .357 magnum, and the like have a LOT more stopping power and one shot knock down ability than the smaller calibers. Its important to remember, though, that people managed to kill each other perfectly well for many years using calibers that most of us would hardly consider carrying today.

William Mckinley was assasinated with an Iver Johnson .32 caliber Safety Automatic Revolver - just like the one pictured in the ad above. Robert Kennedy was killed with an Iver Johnson .22 revolver.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Duck and Cover

nuclear fall out shelter

Shortly before I was born, the US went through the most public of the tense nuclear moments that transpired between our nation and the Soviet Union and her allies. The Cuban Missile Crisis was a scarey time for a lot of people. Particularly the folks living in cities within easy missile range of Communist Cuba. My Sisters can remember the "duck and cover" drills that were a regular part of their emergency training - right along side fire drills and tornado drills.

My Parents and Sisters were living in Houston at the time. My Dad told me once that their next door neighbors actually had an elaborate bomb shelter built underground in their backyard as a result of the nuclear threat.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Troubled by Hysteria?

horse exercise

Some of the old ads that I come across are really strange, particularly the ones promoting medicines, cures, or devices marketed to cure your ills. This horseback riding simulator claims to improve your complexion, protect against stagnation of the liver, and even completely cure hysteria.... And if you have any doubts, the Countess of Aberdeen reports that it gives her "Complete Satisfaction" ;)

I wonder how many of these they sold, and if any survived to modern times.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A weed by any other name

Thanks to all of you that shared your thoughts and well wishes and prayers for us due to my Dog's recent passing. It is greatly appreciated. Now... we return to our regularly scheduled broadcast of the minutia of my life :)

An Ag professor that I had in College many years ago gave a definition of "Weed" that is beautiful in its simplicity:

Weed: An plant growing someplace that you don't want it to grow.

A "Weed" doesn't have to be a noxious, wild plant. A corn stalk growing in a wheat field is a weed is your goal is to grow wheat.

Last year, I grew Morning Glory vines on a trellis on one end of my deck. They made a mass of vines and lots of pretty flowers all summer that year. When fall came, the vines looked really bad of course, and I tore them all down. I liked the morning glories, but opted not to replant them this past summer in lieu of growing something else there instead.

Nobody told me (ie - I didn't do my homework) that some varieties of Morning Glories can be a serious pain in the ass by coming up everywhere via the seeds that scatter when you tear down the vines. I've had them coming up EVERYWHERE this year, starting in the Spring and continuing up to the present. I STILL have them coming up. If you let them go, they will spread and choke out other plants, so I have to pull them out. Not a major job, but it has been continuous. Seems every time I look at the flowerbeds there are more of them to pull.

Their most recent appearance has been in my marigolds:

morning glory marigolds

Granted,... they are pretty. But I hope this year is the last that I see of them.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I ceased in the year 1764 to believe that one can convince one’s opponents with arguments printed in books. It is not to do that, therefore, that I have taken up my pen, but merely so as to annoy them, and to bestow strength and courage on those on our own side, and to make it known to the others that they have not convinced us.
- Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1 July 1742 – 24 February 1799)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday Style - 10/23/2010

From Shorpy -

beach sailing

Awesomeness on a Florida Beach around 1900.

land yacht detail

Tell me the Victorians/Edwardians didn't know how to party in Style :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Please God... Make me a Stone

There will be no Girl Friday tomorrow. My heart isn't in it.

My heart is broken, truth be told. I'm on vacation from work this week, and I've done little but wander the homeplace crying like a baby off and on for the past two days. I'm kinda drained.

My faithful companion, and loyal friend - Angus - has reached the end of his walk with me.


A couple of months ago, his health started to deteriorate due to age. It started as an occasional dragging of one back leg and had steadily progressed to severe lack of coordination for both back legs, complete lack of appetite, and general lack of ability to get around. On the occasions when he did manage to get up and about, the cataracts in his eyes were so advanced that he had to navigate the house and yard by memory more than anything else. 

I made the remark in a post a couple of days ago to the effect that there are times when you have hard choices to make -  and you have to make them. I made that choice this week. I had to come to grips with the fact that I was keeping him here for me, and not for him.

Angus was a loving member of our family. He never showed an aggressive tendancy toward any member of my family throughout his whole life. He was particularly fond of Bailey, as she was a constant source of tidbits to eat. She thought it was the funniest thing to toss him a french fry while he waited patiently for the treat that he knew would come eventually.

However, he was fiercely protective of us and distrustful of other people. A lot of elements went into that, but they aren't important now. Suffice to say that he was not a fan of the Vet's office, nor were they of him on the occasions when he had to go. Trust me, when a 100+ pound Rottweiller is upset - its not a happy place to be. The stress it would have put on him had I taken him to the Vet to say goodbye, was something that I couldn't do to him. Easier, perhaps, on me. Definitely harder on him. I owed him more than that.

As a result of my profession, of course, I have a built in work-around. So this morning in the comfort of familiar surroundings, his noble head on my lap as he had spent so many hours over many years, I gave him the peaceful end that he so richly earned. He's at rest in my backyard now, next to his buddy Gus, our Schnauzer who passed several years ago. They both would have liked that, I think.

I truly wish that I could wax more eloquent about his life and what he meant to us. He deserves that too. Probably doesn't mean as much to anyone beyond my family, of course, but still...  Right now, though, I'm having trouble just seeing the computer screen through what's left of the tears, and all I can utter are uncreative variations on the word fuck.

Not gonna be around the blogosphere for a couple of days. Saturday Style and the Sunday Quote are in the queue for the weekend. See y'all in a bit.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Incredible Pumpkins

pumpkin predator

If you're not familiar with Ray Villafane's work, you really should give his stuff a look. This guy takes simple cutting tools and creates masterpieces in pumpkins, sand castles, and all sorts of sculpture/carving media.

Hit the jump to see more...

Monday, October 18, 2010

I am Pro-Life, and here's why.

Yeah... This is gonna be one of those posts.

The Pro Life vs Pro Choice debate is one of those areas that can really push people's buttons. Its not my intention to do that here. I'm not out to make anyone feel bad, or angry, just for the Hell of it. I completely understand how strongly many people feel about the issue of abortion. For many, its an intensely personal subject that has affected them directly. I'm very close to several people that have had abortions. They aren't bad people, or I wouldn't love them as much as I do. I'm positive that the decision to have an abortion is often arrived at after many hours of agonizing, conflicted, and painful thought. For some, its an offhand decision. For most, though, there's a great deal of soul searching that goes on beforehand.

I get that.

My personal views on abortion have changed pretty drastically over the course of my life. I thought it might be useful to myself, and maybe some of you, if I sketch out exactly where I stand on the issue today - and how I arrived at this place. This will ramble... 'cuz that's how my brain works.

Before I begin, though, I'd like to take a second and address something that I've personally been told on more than one occasion. To paraphrase: You're not a woman, so you don't understand the intensely personal nature of the decision made by a woman when it comes to her own body. You don't have ovaries... so your opinion obviously doesn't matter as much.

To that, I can only say Bullshit.

Hit the jump if you want to read the rest....

I'd kick in the extra...

harpers weekly march 15 1862

From Harper's Weekly, circa 1862. I wonder immediately how effective this was. The price seems really low, until you remember how much people actually earned per day back in those days. It was very common to see ads for guns and related gear in "regular" magazines and newspapers until very recently.

How odd do you think it would be today to find an ad in Newsweek or Cosmopolitan for bullet proof vests, or handguns for that matter?

I also wonder what the $2 difference in price separating the "Officers vest" from the "Privates vest" covered?

Sunday, October 17, 2010


"Holy Crap... I can't believe I'm 46 years old!"


Paladin, Master of the Gridiron - circa 1970

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Style Saturday - 10/16/2010

Several years ago, my Wife and I bought a little 1960 Scotty Camping Trailer. We restored it with the thought that we would use it on camping trips. It turned out really well. Fate conspired against us, though, and we had to sell her before ever taking her out on a single camping trip. I made money on the deal since I did all the work myself, but it always bothered me that we never took her out on the road.

For a couple of reasons, it isn't convenient for us to travel right now. Over the next couple of years, though, we should be free to stretch our legs beyond just "day trips". I've thought about buying another vintage trailer, and I've also considered building my own teardrop camper from scratch.

If I really want to stretch the Style evelope, though, I'll work up something like this:

neverwas haul steam powered victorian mansion

That's the Neverwas Haul, which is a small three story victorian mansion on wheels - steam powered, of course.

Practical? No.

Badass? YES!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Girl Friday - 10/15/2010 - Isla Fisher 2

This week's Girl Friday is certainly worth another re-visit:

Isla Fisher

isla fisher

Hit the Jump to see the rest...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Exercising to Extremes

Cycling with Death

Reginald and Charles were increasingly concerned about Harry's obsession with exercise and body fat....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Knock, Knock...

iver johnson ad

Its interesting to me to look at old advertisements. Issues of Women's safety and gun rights were just as important back in the day as they are right now. Its funny too, how "Tramp" was almost solely applied as a description of Men in those days, while today it is almost exclusively applied to Women - with an entirely different meaning :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Halloween is coming....

Headless Dogman

This halloween costume ROCKS!

For a long time now, I've had an aversion to "cute" animal stuff on the internet. I've seen some pretty sad and hideous things as a part of my job over the past 16 years, and I've had to do a lot of hard things emotionally.

A Lot.

We're talking stuff that will wreck your soul if you let it in. The fact that it has all been necessary only helps so much, you know? My first week in Animal Control, I was trained in Euthanasia by having to euthanize a litter of 12 week old lab puppies.....  Welcome to your new career.

I guess as a defensive mechanism, I closed myself off to the cute puppy pictures  and funny captioned kitten stuff that you see everywhere out here in the intarwebs. Recently, though, I'm coming out of that funk and I'm able to appreciate the humor and "Awww.." factor - at least a little bit.

I don't know why that is. Maybe its the fact that I've not had to work in an actual shelter for the past several years. I'm almost entirely in the field now, and I'll never work daily in a shelter again.

I'll walk away before I'll subject myself to that again.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Road Trip 10/09/2010

Well.. we made a run over to the usually great flea market in Bowie, Texas on Saturday. The weather was absolutely AWESOME! However, the pickin's were slim. At least for me. Still had a great time, just nothing caught my eye this time around.

I did catch a glimpse of something in a weedy field just south of Bowie, off hiway 287. I was interested enough to detour on the way back and investigate further.

Pontiac 2 resized

I love old cars. That's a 1950's era Pontiac Eight. I haven't researched it yet, so I don't know the exact year. All the glass was intact and it looked like most of the stainless trim was still there and salvageable.

Pontiac 1 resized

Man, you gotta love that stuff....

She wasn't alone, either. Right beside her was one of my "Dream Cars".... a 1959 Chevrolet Belair:

belair 1 resized

Awesome shape for a weed-lot survivor. All the glass was good. Didn't even look to be delaminating at all. The curved glass on these girls front and back is tough (expensive) to replace. Trim looked really decent too, or at least restoreable. The Cats Eye tail lights are so awesome on the 1959s.

belair 3 sepia

I've been in serious lust for the 1959 Belair and Impala body style for the longest time.

And no... I didn't even try to find out what they wanted for either car. I was afraid that it might be close to what I was willing/able to pay. As anyone who has done ANY type of restoration will tell you, the real cash drain doesn't actually start until AFTER you buy the vehicle and get it home to work on it.

Maybe one day...

Sunday, October 10, 2010


This is a bit longer than the quotes I usually post here, but there are so many people who really need to take this to heart:

Many complaints are made of the misery of life; and indeed it must be confessed that we are subject to calamities by which the good and bad, the diligent and slothful, the vigilant and heedless, are equally afflicted. But surely, though some indulgence may be allowed to groans extorted by inevitable misery, no man has a right to repine at evils which, against warning, against experience, he deliberately and leisurely brings upon his own head; or to consider himself as debarred from happiness by such obstacles as resolution may break, or dexterity may put aside.

Great numbers who quarrel with their condition have wanted not the power but the will to obtain a better state. They have never contemplated the difference between good and evil sufficiently to quicken aversion, or invigorate desire; they have indulged a drowsy thoughtlessness or giddy levity; have committed the balance of choice to the management of caprice; and when they have long accustomed themselves to receive all that chance offered them, without examination, lament at last that they find themselves deceived.
—Samuel Johnson, 1751

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Style saturday - 10/09/2010

Steampunk Style Part 2

Continuation of last Saturday's Steampunk Women's attire.

steampunk girl 6

Click the "Read More" link below to see more...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Girl Friday - 10/08/2010 - Olivia de Havilland

This week's Girl Friday is the answer to the trivia question: Name the only cast member from Gone with the Wind that is still living.

Olivia de Havilland

olivia de havilland

Click the "Read More" link below to see the rest of this post:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Rock - Faster

Sorry for the Blog dry spell. Haven't had the desire, nor much time to post.

I did see this trailer today, and thought I'd pass it along. I like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, even if most of his movies have been pretty crappy. There have been a few moments among them, though, that give me hope that the next one will be good. I'm often disappointed, but hope lingers still :)

This is a trailer for a movie called "Faster", that is suppose to come out in November. Looks like it has potential... At least more so than "Tooth Fairy" or "Return to Witch Mountain" did.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Flea Market Picks

We took advantage of the cooler temps this weekend and made the trip over to "The Big Show" - the enormous flea market in Canton, Texas. First time we've been since early summer when it got too hot for decent folks to walk about without bursting into flames.

Great weekend for it, even if the crowds were there in full force. Everyone seemed to have the same idea that we did. We got there early in the morning though, so it wasn't too bad parking.

I picked up this antique Arvin heater.

arvin heater before

I've looked at these before, but never pulled the trigger. I love the design, with its Art Deco stepped exterior and chromed grill. Reminds me of a robot head... or maybe a medieval jousting helmet :) The heater still works, but the switch is broken. The unit stays on whenever plugged in and won't shut off. Should be an easy fix, once I decide what color I want to paint it.

Best part was the price: $1.00!

My Wife bought a couple of interesting old jars - which is her flea market addiction. She also pick up an antique wooden typeset tray. In the early days of printing, when you had to manually set type in a printing press, they used these trays to hold the printing block that were inked to make the images and text on paper. We hung it on the wall of her craft area, and she's using it to store/display ink stamps that she uses in her crafts and scrap booking.

typeset tray

All in all, a great day. Next weekend is the smaller, but still productive, Trade Day in Bowie. If all goes well and the weather cooperates we'll hit that one next.

So much junk.... so little time!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


God does not play dice with the universe: He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who *smiles all the time*.
-- (Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman, Good Omens)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Style Saturday - 10/02/2010

Steampunk Style Part 1

I like steampunk as a visual art form, but I don't engage in living a "steampunk lifestyle" or anything. I certainly don't dress the part myself. There are old fashioned elements to how I dress most of the time, but nothing that you would consider "Steampunk". Male steampunk attire is a bit flamboyant for my own tastes. At least what I've seen of it.

Steampunk Women's Fashion, on the other hand, ROCKS. I really dig the throwback to Edwardian and Victorian fashion, but with a more modern sensuality added. Probably not a dress code you could apply to the workplace - unless you work someplace really unique - but for a night out and about it definitely turns heads.

Does mine, anyway :)

steampunk girl 18

Click the "Read More" link below to see the rest of the post:

Friday, October 1, 2010

Girl Friday - 10/01/2010 - Mila Kunis

This Week's Girl Friday starred in one of my favorite movies of the past couple of years, and was surprisingly good in it:

Mila Kunis

Mila Kunis Book of Eli 1

I'm also trying out a new feature on The Reluctant Paladin. For posts like Girl Friday, that are photo-intensive, I'm going to put a page jump break near the top of the post. This blog is set to display the seven most recent posts on the front page. That makes for a looong first page if you pull up the entire blog instead of just an individual post.

Hopefully, the page jump will help the folks who come here via the main page. Just click the "Read More" link below to see the post in its entirety: