Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ready for Santa

christmas 2010

As usual, the day after Thanksgiving is Christmas Decorating day here at Castle Paladin. What wasn't "usual", was the fact that it was a beautiful, sunny day. Normally its windy, cold, and drizzling rain/sleet when I'm trying to put the lights up.

The Christmas Cuss Count was remarkably low this year :)

The big tree in the front yard is a Red Oak Tree. I planted it there around Christmas time the first year we moved into our house.

We've been here a long time :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Balls... I haz them.

Now Brains, on the other hand, I may need a little help with.

This is Pete:

coyote deck resized

I don't normally name Coyotes that I come in contact with, but I spent so much time with this one last week that I thought it appropriate to give him a handle. Pete had been cruising a neighborhood looking for targets of opportunity - as coyotes are prone to do. He was jumping over short chain link fences, going from backyard to backyard looking for garbage, pet food, small dogs and cats.... pretty much anything that gave a positive calorie return on the investment of effort.

As you can imagine, this behavior was causing the residents more than a little concern. Which is a polite way of saying it sent them into bug-shit hysterics.

He was startled by one lady in particular, and had taken refuge under the 10' x 30' deck in the backyard of an unoccupied home when I found him. This presented tactical problem for me. I couldn't just leave him where he was, 'cuz the neighborhood was so whigged out by his presence. I also couldn't get to him with any of my regular "tools" since he was so far back under the deck. He had about 50' of area where he could exit the deck - which was a lot of area to try and cover as far as setting up to catch him was concerned.

I called for assistance from my partner, Cwn, and we worked on him for about an hour. The general game plan was to get him to exit the deck in a specific spot where one of us would be waiting with a net or catchpole to snag him. As with many of the best laid plans, however .... this one went tango unicorn despite our best efforts.

Pete eventually dashed out of an unprotected end of the deck and made a break for the nearest section of fence. This turned out to be the only 6 foot high wooden portion of the fence, where the gate was. He probably could have jumped the fence, but he made a tactical error and tried to wiggle under the gate instead. By the time I reached him, he was already halfway out of the yard, with just his rear legs and tail still visible. Everything happened really quickly, and I instinctively grabbed his tail with my hands to stop his escape.


Fortunately, my partner also has a considerable set of cajones, and he was right behind me while I wrestled with the coyote. He was able to help me net him when I dragged the much displeased beastie back into the yard, before Pete had the opportunity to express his displeasure by eating my face.

Here he is on my truck:

coyote bin resized

All in all, it turned out well - though I don't recommend this method of apprehending coyotes or any other wild animal. I was pretty confident in my ability to anticipate his moves and avoid being bitten - however, this is really crazy to do if you aren't used to such things.

Animal Control is not for the faint of heart.

Here's a very short video of me releasing him from the truck later that day in an unpopulated area. Sorry for the poor quality of the vid. I was shooting with my regular digital still camera:

Sunday, November 28, 2010


You see I believe in freedom. Not many people do, although they will of course protest otherwise. And no practical definition of freedom would be complete without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the other are based.

-Terry Pratchett - Lord Vetinari in Going Postal 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Style Saturday - 11/27/2010

This week's Style Saturday is for my female readers who patiently endure Girl Friday and her lopsided, female-centric subject matter.

cary grant

Cary Grant has always been an icon of style and class, for me. I'll admit to a having a little bit of a man-crush on him. Who wouldn't?


I've enjoyed every Cary Grant movie that I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of them. I like them not only because they are generally very good films, but also because Cary Grant dressed and carried himself with a style and air that you don't see everywhere today.

He aged pretty good too...


Friday, November 26, 2010

Girl Friday - 11/26/2010 - Han Ga Eun

This Week's Girl Friday is another Korean Model, of whom I know absolutely nothing....

Han Ga Eun

hge 5

Hit the Jump Link for more, or forever be branded as being Anti-Multi-Cultural...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wile E. Coyote

Busy week this week, so this may be my only post aside from Girl Friday on Friday. Lots of holiday going's on, and work is pesky.

We've got several calls recently regarding this guy:

cropped and shrunk

That's a coyote that's obviously not doing to well. Seems like an animal in this poor of physical condition wouldn't be that hard to catch, but appearances are deceiving. He can still run, and his evil coyote genius is still working its mojo. Even with two of us working him, he still maintains several escape options where ever he happens to be.

Maybe I need to browse the Acme Supply Company catalog and see about picking up an Anvil or Rocket Pack....

If he avoids getting hit by a car, it may still be another week or two before his condition deteriorates enough to make capture a half way decent proposition. In the meantime, we'll continue to get frantic calls from residents who happen to see him out and about.

Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving - be safe and I'll be back to blogging as soon as possible.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Nothing in this world can take the place of persistance. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

- Calvin Coolidge

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Style Saturday - 11/20/2010

With all due respect to Basil Rathbone, Tony Stark Robert Downey Jr., or any of the others - -

jeremy brett best holmes evah

Jeremy Brett was clearly the best Sherlock Holmes EVER.

The piercing stare, the manic slightly tipping out of control obsession, the borderline sociopathic disconnect with the rest of mankind, the genius intellect... Brett nails it with a style that makes the others look stiff by comparison.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Girl Friday - 11/19/2010 - Rhonda Fleming

Sorry for the scarcity of posts this week. I started out with an intestinal bug or something (yuck..), and family/work kept me busy as usual. Next week may be even worse, with the combination of Thanksgiving Holidays and a protracted work on-call rotation.

Girl Friday perseveres, however, thanks to Blogger's ability to pre-schedule posts :)

Those of you that have been around here a while are aware that I have one or two "things" in regards to the fairer sex - as in, "I have a thing about women with/wearing/doing ______".

Ok, who am I kidding. I have a whole grocery list of "things". One of those things happens to be Redheads. This week's Girl Friday is one of my favorite redheads of all time:

Rhonda Fleming


Hit the Jump Link for more Auburn Haired Awesome...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hello World

Sometimes I feel cold as steel
Broken like I’m never gonna heal
And I see a light, a little hope in a little girl.

Hello world ...


Sunday, November 14, 2010


Political equality is against nature. Social equality is against nature. Economic equality is against nature. The idea of equality is subversive of order.

-Edmund Burke

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Style Saturday - 11/13/2010

I know they aren't comfortable. I know that, if carried to the extremes found in tight-waisting, they can be very damaging to a woman's internal organs. I probably wouldn't wear one either, if I was a woman.

But, damn it, I can't help but like corsets.

electric corsets

What the heck is an "Electric Corset"?

Hit the jump to see and read more....

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I read a book once that described an attack on the US by terrorists using missiles launched from freighters just off the coast. That's actually been the plot of a couple of different books. Sometimes the missiles are carrying small nukes, sometimes bio-weapons, and sometimes they carry EMPs that disrupt our power and technology grid by exploding in the atmosphere.

I'm not an alarmist. I take rational, reasonable steps to prepare my family and loved ones against potential disasters of all sorts. I think to do otherwise is foolish and cruel and irresponsible.

When I saw this news story today, it really gave me pause. Video is embedded below, if you haven't seen it yet. There may be a short (10 sec.) ad at the beginning.

Navy says its not theirs. Airforce says its not theirs. Pentagon says it wasn't a foreign military power. Everybody seems to be scratching their heads, if you believe the public statements.

I don't know what the source of the missile will turn out to be. I do know that I am troubled by the fact that it launched so close to the US. 35 miles is well within the range of even quirky scud missiles. I'm also bothered by the fact that either we actually don't know where it came from, or the military didn't think it necessary to come up with a rational cover story if it does turn out to be one of ours.

Bullets, beans, bottles, and bandages.... just in case.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bi-yearly chore...

The time change this past weekend brings with it a chore for me that's really a drag. One of the million things that I mess around with in my workshop has been clocks. I know absolutely nothing about the brass geared internals of old manual wind up clocks, but I love the old cases.



Sometimes I'll find old clock cases that are missing the "guts", or have internals that are in really awful conditon. I"ll refinish them and fit them with quartz movements, some of which chime.


mantel clock

Its enjoyable work, and it led me to creating some of my own clocks from scratch, or out of parts that were never intended to be clocks originally ...

brass gauge disassembly

brass gauge clock


Kitchen clock

I've had to swear off of clocks, though. First of all, 'cuz I don't have room for any more in my house. Second, its a major bitch to have to take them all down, reset the time, and change out the batteries for the movements twice a year. All total, we have 8 clocks that require this at every time change, not counting the several more around the house that just "look pretty" - but that I don't bother to keep running.

I promise myself that I'll resist the next time that I see an old clock case with potential at a flea market.... but I think you and I both know how weak willed I am when it comes to old stuff :)

For those readers who are new here: If you're interested in seeing other odd things that I tinker with in the Workshop, click on the "Workshop" link in the "Labels" list in the right hand column of this page to see more.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


"… it is a principle of his that no man who was not a true gentleman at heart, ever was, since the world began, a true gentleman in manner. He says, no varnish can hide the grain of the wood; and that the more varnish you put on, the more the grain will express itself."

Charles Dickens - Great Expectations

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Style Saturday - 11/06/2010

Vintage French Can-Can Boots

yes we can can

I don't really think its necessary for me to say anything further......

Friday, November 5, 2010

Girl Friday - 11/05/2010 - Hedy Lamarr

You can thank this week's Girl Friday the next time you use a Wi-Fi network connection.

Hedy Lamarr

hedy lamarr

Hit the Jump Link for more Hedy pics...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A word from the Nac Mac Feegle:

"Nae King! Nae Quin! Nae Laird! Nea Master!
 We are the Wee Free Men!
We'll no be fooled again!"

Terry Pratchett - Wee Free Men

It has been a very long time since anyone would dream of referring to me as "Wee", but the sentiment applies just as well to "We Free Men".

I heard a guy on the radio state that "Last night, America Changed". That's not correct. It didn't happen suddenly in a single night.  America has been changing continuously over the last 2 years. Last night wasn't the end. It was just the first battle in a war that will stretch on farther than I can see from where I sit. I got complacent for a long time in my life, and I got the government that I deserved - a crappy one.

This isn't about Republicans beating the Democrats. This has to be about the ideals of Conservatism beating back the madness that is Liberal Leftism - and that war requires us to be ever vigilant, to support those ideals over individual candidates/politicians, to hold "our own" as accountable to us as we do the other side, and to never stop pushing for smaller, more efficient government and less intrusion into our lives by people so very far away.

We ARE Free Men - we took a great first step. Lets see that we keep it that way.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Saw this clip recently, and it looks interesting. Internet shows a release date of October 29, but it's not showing anywhere around my area yet...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Car Envy Much.. and an encounter

My Wife and I got up early Saturday morning and drove over to Oak Cliff to eat breakfast at Norma's Cafe. Norma's is a really cool old diner that's been around since 1956. Oak Cliff, itself, is a pretty interesting place. It was once a very affluent city that rivaled Dallas during its heyday. In fact, Oak Cliff narrowly lost out on becoming the actual County Seat back when those things were decided.

Over the years, Dallas grew to encompass Oak Cliff just as it did many of the other formerly independent cities that surrounded it. Oak Cliff maintains its own special flavor though. There are parts of "The Cliff" that are truly scary. Bad, bad neighborhoods. There are pockets, though, that are wonderful. The Bishop Arts district is one such place, where many of the old buildings have had new life breathed into them and now house shops and art galleries and restaurants.

After a wonderful breakfast at Norma's, we drove around a bit in the aging neighborhoods that surround the Bishop Arts district. Saw some cool old houses, in various states of decay or restoration - depending. I thought this was pretty cool:


That's a hot air balloon gondola on the front porch of a house. Neat. It's wrapped in lights, and I bet it's really pretty at night all lit up.

Also stumbled upon this gem:

1959 buick invicta 2

That's my #1 Dream Car. 1959 Buick Invicta. I can't imagine a car that looks more pissed off from the front. Just look at those angled headlights...

1959 buick invicta

Sweet...... These old beauties always remind me of the original Batmobile from the 1960s.

You may notice the man walking down the sidewalk to the right in the picture. That's the owner of the car. I was standing in the street as he approached. I never came closer than 15 feet of the car. As he walked up, I asked him if the car was his, and complemented him on it. Told him it was a beauty, and that it was my dream car.

He tried to run me off.


My response was to walk to the back of the car and take a picture of the rearend. I generally don't look for trouble. In fact, I go out of my way to avoid it. I wouldn't trespass, and I didn't even approach the car to look inside.

I won't be shoo'ed off a public street by some grumpy asshole, though. With a belly full of Norma's Belgian Waffles, I'm pretty confident in my ability to hold my own.

1959 buick invicta 3

Anyway, when I got home I took a closer look at the rear picture and noticed that it still had the original dealer nameplate attached. "Strayhorn-Lacey Buick" in Dallas. A little internet research showed that this car was bought at a now defunct dealership that is within walking distance of where I took the picture.

I'm a dork, but I thought that was pretty cool.

Oh... and yes, that's the A-hole owner walking away at the top of the pic. I think it may have hurt his feelings that I wasn't sufficiently scared of him to run away. Oh well.... life is full of little disappointments.