Monday, March 16, 2015

Frontgaters

Today, boys and girls, Uncle Willie is going to introduce you to a new term – Frontgating. “What is that?” you say. Well allow me to explain.


I have prepared visual aids (Don't worry my doctor said they are not contagious).



Everyone knows that tailgating is when you , or someone else, drives too close to the back of another vehicle. This is a bad thing. Most states have a law that states that for every 10 miles an hour there should be one car length between you. They sometimes state it in terms of seconds, but I like the length rule. For example if you are going 10 MPH you should be 1 car length away from the car in front of you. At 20 mph- 2 car lengths and etc. At 100 MPH you should be on a racetrack or the Autobahn not a US highway.

 

However, frontgating is when someone, hopefully you are smart enough to not do this, swerves in front of you within inches of your bumper.

For example: I am driving down the interstate. I drive an 8 – 14k pound truck depending on what I am towing. I am in the right hand lane doing the speed limit. In the left hand lane is a wall of 80,000 pound semi trucks. Idiot driver comes down the on ramp matches my speed right beside my truck. IN front of me is 5 car lengths, behind me is 40 miles of clear lane. Idiot driver speeds up, swerves in front of my truck, and takes a layer of chrome off the bumper, then slows down. Idiot driver is frontgating. IT should be legal to slam into Frontgater and push him into the trees.





Another example: I am in said 8-14k pound vehicle on a 4 lane road (it doesn't matter which lane I am in). I am approaching a stop light. In front of me is enough room for me to stop and not spill my coffee and a bus load of orphan kindergarten kitten nuns (OKKN). Behind me there is enough room for a 747 to land. Idiot driver in the other lane traveling the same direction as I am roars up beside me, sees the opening between me and the bus full of OKKN and swerves in front me me causing me to lock up the brakes, spill my coffee on the windshield, and then stops short of the OKKN. It should be legal to exit my vehicle and empty my thermos full of scalding hot coffee on the heads of these frontgaters.
(I just noticed I left the Justice off the last frame)

Yet another example: I am piloting aforementioned large heavy truck on a 2 lane road. Ahead there is a side road intersection with a stop sign. As I approach at the speed limit (55 mph) I see a vehilce - usually an older luxury type automobile driven by someone who came of voting age during WWI or any aged person with a cell phone stuck to their head - approach the stop sign, almost stop, then slowwwwwwwwwly pull our right in front of my truck. As I leave skid marks on the blacktop, and my jockeys, they accelerate to approximately 1/3 of the speed limit and stay there. They pay no attention to the loud horn on my truck or the multiple tires on the truck and trailer attempting to peel the pavement up. These Frontgaters should be beaten with a stop sign until they understand the error of their ways.




Then there is one more class of Frontgater. He is more dangerous than the rest. I am driving the leviathan down the interstate. There is one of those super long on and off ramps to the left that is about a mile and a half long. On this on/off ramps there is a car – usually already wrecked, undoubtedly uninsured, meandering along, is a driver who does not know what mirrors are for. Nor is he capable of turning his head. He trots down the lane and gets almost in front of my truck and changes lanes. When my horn sounds ( and at that point his head is about even with it) he swerves back into his lane, accelerates slightly, then pulls out again with only the sound waves from the horn separating us – and slows down. It should be legal to run this Frontgater over, take his wallet and any loose change from his car, set the car on fire, and take his pants.

What brings these things to light. Well today I had to drive to Charlotte. Fortunately we did not have the trailer so I was right at 8000 pounds. Every single one of those examples happened during the trip.

I have a set of 150db air horns in the shop. This week they are going on the truck. Along with possibly a pneumatic ram to swat the Frontgaters off the earth.




Disclaimer:Uncle Willie does not condone road rage violence to be used in the instance of encountering a frontgater. This blog isin no means a legal document. If you attack a frontgater – no matter how satisfying it may be – you will be arrested and put in a jail cell with a guy named bubba who things you have a pretty smile. This goes for women too. Drive safely – don't be a frontgater!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Alone time





I had a music instructor that once told me that people have too much noise in their lives. Everywhere is a TV, radio, or phone begging for our attention. He was right.

I firmly believe that people have lost the ability to be quiet. They have lost the ability to sit with themselves and think.

I like the radio. I have one in my truck, but when I am by myself I rarely have it on. I would rather think while I drive.

These thoughts went through my head while I had the bittersweet joy of mowing the front yard for the last time this season. Mowing has always been my time. Time to be left alone. Time to think. Time to sing old songs and mangle the words with no one to laugh.

I have always enjoyed mowing. I think I spent most of my teenaged years behind one mower or another. I mowed about 10 yards a week. Not for the money, although the root beer and snickers fund was nice, but for the time alone.

For several hours a week my companion was a single cylinder push mower, the grass, and the fresh air. As I have gotten older my weapon of choice has moved up to a twin cylinder riding mower. It seems that my back doesn't like a push mower much now.

As I rode around in circles I was thinking to years ago when I would put on my tennis shoes, grab a gas can, my mower, and a ballcap, and head off across the neighborhood to mow yards. It was hard work. Our neighborhood was anything but flat, but I enjoyed it.

My dad always told everyone that I hated mowing. I didn't tell him I liked it for fear he would have found a way to make it harder. Maybe barefooted carrying weights. So I kept my enjoy met to myself, and somethow that made it more enjoyable. And made the time to think sweeter.

Today everyone has a personal entertainment system attached to their hips in the form of the smartphone. They have wires hanging from their ears that drain their brain. They cannot think. They have to be entertained.

To be honest I had a Walkman. And I listened to it, but not when I mowed.

As I pushed the mower around with its blade slicing through the grass, turning the tangled green blades into a smooth carpet, I could think. I was left alone.

If a child now has to mow a yard it is inhumane and social services gets called. If a child has to sit in silence they will explode. But to me it is one of life's little pleasures.

I recently made 3 trips to Mississippi. 600 miles one way. For the majority of that time the radio was off. The engine was entertaining enough. As the miles slipped under my tires I relaxed. I thought. I worked over problems. I came up with answers. I was alone with myself.

So take some advice from someone who enjoys the silence. Turn off the TV, turn down the radio, unhook the headset, and enjoy the time alone. It will be uncomfortable at first. You will hate the silence, but after a while your brain will engage and you can think.

Sit and watch the sunset. Watch it rain. Just enjoy being
alone.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Quality time.




It is pouring rain so I am in the house today. I don't feel like wading through the yard to do anything out there.


Recently my wife had been gone a good bit. She is taking special education teaching classes and is at the point where she is doing an internship at a local school. So on Mondays and Thursdays she is gone from 7:30 – 3:30 and on Tuesdays (today) she is gone from 7:30-9:00 pm. I am not complaining because it gives me lots of quality time with Heath – the 2 year old.

Heath is a unique child. I know every parent says that about their kids, but everyone says it about Heath. He likes to be by himself. When he is around other kids he finds his own place to play. And he is completely independent. I think if he could open the pantry and reach the peanut butter he wouldn't need us at all.

Today we went in the front bathroom to tend to the ducks (you don't keep 10 ducklings in your bathtub?) and Heath materialized behind me with two slices of bread. I have no idea where they came from. But after I filled the tub with water we fed it to the ducks. When I went in the kitchen the loaf of bread on the counter was still closed up. I honestly think the kid has a stash of food hidden somewhere.

A short time later I heard a sound and went to check on him. He had poured some fruit loops out on the floor and was eating them like a cat. I have no idea how he got the bag of cereal. Maybe it came out of his stash.


After the ducks had their 20 minutes of swim time I drained the tub. Heath didn't bring any food. He did help me get the water bowl back in the tub and fill the food dish. I think he would sleep in the tub with the ducks if I would let him.

A short time ago he found a pair of 3D glasses that we got out of a junk car yesterday. He thinks they are cool.






Finally I get a break – he went down for a nap. Maybe I will have time to put on some pants. I have been chasing him around in my bathrobe all morning.



Or maybe not. Just as I was looking for the publish button I heard a thud followed closely by a scream. Heath had climbed out on the bookshelf next to his crib and fallen off. He injured his pride, but is fine otherwise. I may need to hold off on the pants till he is actually asleep.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

I am back, sorta

Well it had been a while since I blogged.

 I have no clue if anyone even reads my blog anymore. I only had two regular readers and I think they are both locked in an asylum now.

 Life has been interesting in the last 4 or so years. I have bought a new truck, sold both my old ones, had a child (well not actually me but my wife did – I helped) he is now 2, accumulated new friends, bought a ton of tools, and got into old garden tractors.

 Today I spent my time outside in my workshop cleaning up the mess.

 In the past few months I have bought 2 large toolboxes full of miscellaneous (spelling that word is the only thing I remember from accounting class in high school) tools and they were dumped into a pile in the floor.

After pushing the 80? Craftsman riding mower, that has been in my way for a year, out into the cold windy world I got busy cleaning. I have no idea how many screwdrivers I have now, but I think I could start a store selling them and become rich. After sorting through that pile I got sidetracked and started playing online on the shop computer.

While I was playing I found this blog again. So I will update it periodically. And someone may actually read it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Uncle Will's plan to win any war.


1. Send all the reporters home. They aren't in America and they have no constitutional rights in a foreign country. If they want to stay there is no protection provided by the military. They are on their own.

2. If you shoot at our military you will die. So will the person standing on either side of you and the one behind you. If someone near you starts shooting at our troops you had better be moving for cover.

3. If you hide in a building to shoot at our military expect the entire building to be leveled. If you are a civilian and didn't shoot you had better hit the ground running or your dead. It doesn't matter what kind of building you are in. Church, school, mosque there is no where to hide.

4. This is a war. People get killed. Things get blown up. It is a dirty, stinking, rotten business and from time to time it must be done to keep the world safe enough to live in. War is hell – there is a reason people say that, there is nothing nice about it.

5.You have the right to complain, bad mouth, resent, protest, or otherwise dislike war, and that right will not be trampled on. But don't be surprised when your whining, sniveling, cowardly butt is scooped up in the middle of the night and dropped off in the war zone for a few days.


6. If you don't like this country, feel free to leave. We will even help you pack.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I will survive

As a child I became enamored with the World War II when I first discovered the Time Life Series on the war. In the many years since I have been privileged to talk to many men who served in that great conflict. Those who firsthand saw the triumph and agony of those years of war. Those who sacrificed their very existence to secure freedom for the rest of us. Them most poignant of my memories of these discussions were the men and women I talked to who liberated and suffered in the death camps of Nazi Germany.

The survivors tell a story of horrific survival. Stories that would, and should break the heart of the most hardened person. The liberators tell the story of the discovery of the ovens, the gas chambers, the lamps and shades made of human skin, and the emaciated children.

I have seen the marks tattooed on the arms of the survivors. The hollow stare in their eyes as they speak of the conditions and friends lost. I have heard of stories of surviving only on weak soup and small pieces of stale bread. The sorrow of retelling of the loss of loved ones that they had to bury. The cruelty of their captors.

There is nothing joyful about the stories. There is no bright spot in the darkness.

But today I came across a video that was joyful. It was hopeful. It caused me to cry. It was a video of a survivor and his family dancing to “I Will Survive” in front of former death camps, on death trains, and in front of Memorials.

There was no bright spot then, but for those who survived the world is freedom. And for all of us there is hope.



Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Donk-a- what?




Have you noticed lately that the trend for things has leaned to the far side of ridiculous? Everything “stylish” now seems to attempt to compensate for its owners need for attention of any kind. People are walking around with their teeth encapsulated in gold, their necks covered in gold chains. They wear outfits that look like Ray Charles picked them out of the discard pile at Goodwill. Huge sunglasses that completely obliterate any hope of peripheral vision. And they think it is cool. I often wonder what these people will grow up and become then I see that some of them are already adult aged.


But then I see something that hits close to home. I am a car nut, a gear head, a wrench slinger. If it has an engine - I love it. The different styles, designs, and brands of automobiles are a wonderful cornucopia of wheeled art to my eyes. And, to see what people are doing to these mobile Mona Lisas is deplorable.


Driving past a business in Charlotte I am tempted to close my eyes so I cannot see the bright metallic candy green 1966 Lincoln Continental sitting on 24 inch rims with rubber-band tires. It ranks right up with putting a Tyrolean hat and big nosed novelty glasses on Rodin's “The Thinker. It just isn't right.


On one web site I saw a video of some poor undereducated, disrespectful youths who had taken a rare Buick Grand National and put it on 22 inch tires and equipped it with hydraulics to make it lift up and down. My first reaction was to get a big stick and go explain to them why they should never deface my all time #1 dream car. It is bad enough to rape a Honda, or Hyundai – but the car that single handedly put Buick as the head of the performance class for General Motors in the 80's – Beyond despicable.


However, today I saw one of these “donkified” monstrosities that put a smile on my face. On I-85 in Charlotte a donked mid 80s square bodied Caprice came down an on ramp followed by a Ford Crown Victoria. The Vic was fully equipped – state trooper lettering, blue lights, and sirens. I don't know what the car was pulled over for, but I can only dream that among the charges, somewhere, the driver was cited for blatant stupidity, and ruining a great riding old car. Also, in my dream the cop wacks the driver with his baton before walking back to the patrol car.


The Wednesday Willies

I have decided to dedicate Wednesdays to the Willies. What Willies you may ask? Well if you hold out, and don't fall out, you will find out.



The first is dedicated to my wife, Stephanie. I never thought anyone would come into my life and fill it the way you have. You are truly, "An Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground". I love you even if I don't say it enough.