Thursday, June 25, 2009

When Steam was king

Ken Elder down in Carthage, NC has quite a collection of steam and gasoline engines. Here are a few pix that I shot a couple of years ago at his show.

The first two are called "oil engines" since they ran on kerosene.

International Harvester "Titan"


Hart Parr, forerunner of Oliver


Now we get to the steam engines:

Avery Undermount


Geiser "Peerless" Z3, the biggest engine Geiser made. And they didn't make many of them.




Reeves in front, Nichols & Shepard behind




40-140 Rumley The figures are horsepower ratings. The first number is drawbar horsepower. The second is belt horsepower. And the ratings were figured differently then gasoline horsepower.




J.I. Case


Sawyer-Massey, a Canadian engine



The Westinghouse "upright". A vertical boiler engine.


And just to show that there's nothing new, here's a Lansing 4 wheel drive steam engine.


And last we have an A.D. Baker engine. The Baker engine was one of the most technologically advanced steam engines made.

How guv'ment works

It is a slow day in the East Texas town of Madisonville. It is raining, and the little town looks totally deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt and everybody lives on credit. On this particular day a rich tourist from the East is driving through town. He enters the only hotel in the sleepy town and lays a hundred dollar bill on the desk stating he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

As soon as the man walks up the stairs, the hotel proprietor takes the hundred dollar bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to pay his debt to the pig farmer.

The pig farmer then takes the $100 and heads off to pay his debt to the supplier of feed and fuel.

The guy at the Farmer's Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute who has also been facing hard times and has lately had to offer her "services" on credit.

The hooker runs to the hotel and pays off her debt with the $100 to the hotel proprietor paying for the rooms that she had rented when she brought clients to that establishment. The hotel proprietor then lays the $100 bill back on the counter so the rich traveler will not suspect anything.

At that moment the traveler from the East walks back down the stairs after inspecting the rooms. He picks up the $100 bill and states that the rooms are not satisfactory. Pockets the money and walks out the door and leaves town.

No one earned anything. However the whole town is now out of debt, and looks to the future with a lot of optimism. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the United States Government is conducting business today.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

And it came to pass...

And it came to pass in the Age of Insanity that the people of the land called America , having lost their morals, their work initiative, and their will to defend their liberties, chose as their Supreme Leader that person known as "The One". He emerged from the vapors with a message that had no meaning; but He hypnotized the people telling them, "I am sent to save you. My lack of experience, my questionable ethics, my monstrous ego, and my association with evil doers are of no consequence. For I shall save you with Hope and Change. Go, therefore, and proclaim throughout the land that he who preceded me is evil, that he has defiled the nation, and that all he has built must be destroyed."

And the people rejoiced, for even though they knew not what "The One" would do, he had promised that he would bring change, and they proclaimed "Yes We Can".

And "The One" said "We live in the greatest country in the world. Help me change everything about it!"

And the people said, "Hallelujah!! Change is good!"

Then He said, "We are going to tax the rich fat-cats,"---- And the people said "Sock it to them!" "---- and "Redistribute their wealth."

And then He said, "Redistribution of wealth is good for everybody"

And the people said, "Show us the money!"

And Joe the plumber asked, "Are you kidding me? You're going to steal my money and give it to the deadbeats??"

And "The One" ridiculed and taunted him, and Joe's personal records were hacked, publicized, and ridiculed; though no crime could be found.

One lone reporter asked, "That shouldn't be, isn't that Marxist policy?"

And she was banished from the kingdom!

Then a citizen asked, "With no foreign relations experience and having zero military experience or knowledge, how will you deal with radical terrorists?"

And "The One" said, "Simple. I shall sit with them and talk kindly to them and show them how nice we really are; and they will forget that they ever wanted to kill us all!"

And the people said, "Hallelujah!! We are safe at last, and we can beat our weapons into free cars for the people!"

Then "The One" said, "I shall give 95% of you lower taxes."

And one, lone voice said, "But 40% of us don't pay ANY taxes."

So "The One" said, "Then I shall give you some of the taxes the fat-cats pay!"

And the people said, "Hallelujah!! Show us the money!"

Then "The One" said, "I shall tax your Capital Gains when you sell your homes!"

And the people yawned and the already slumping housing market fully collapsed.

And He said, "I shall mandate employer-funded health care for EVERY worker and raise the minimum wage, and lower the white collar wage. And I shall also give every person unlimited healthcare and medicine and even transportation to the free clinics."

And the people said, "Give me some of that!"

Then he said, "I shall penalize employers who ship jobs overseas."

And the people said, "Where's my rebate check?"

Then "The One" said, "I shall bankrupt the coal industry, and perhaps even the oil industry (Cap & Trade/Carbon Tax) and though electricity rates will skyrocket, we shall soon build wind farms and solar power stations and drive green cars that I shall mandate in Detroit!"

And the people said, "Coal is dirty, coal is evil, no more coal! But we don't care for that part about higher electric rates."

So "The One" said, "Not to worry. If your rebate ($10/week) isn't enough to cover your extra expenses ($3,000/year), we shall bail you out. Just sign up with ACORN and your troubles are over!" "Only the fat cats will have to pay."

Then He said, "Illegal immigrants feel scorned and slighted. Let's grant them amnesty, Social Security, free education, free lunches, free medical care, bi-lingual signs and guaranteed housing..."

And the people said, "Hallelujah!!" And they made him King!

And so it came to pass that employers, facing spiraling costs and ever-higher taxes, raised their prices and laid off workers; though they sold much less of their products. Others simply gave up and went out of business, and the economy sank like unto a rock dropped from a cliff. The banking industry was destroyed. Manufacturing slowed to a crawl. And more of the people were without a means of support.

So "The One" again blamed the prior administration, extended unemployment benefits to a year, bailed out his favorite banks, and then took over the banks and auto industries. "The One" said, "I am the "The One" - The Messiah - and I'm here to save you! We shall just print more money so the government will have enough!" "Surely one trillion dollars will make everyone happy." And immediately the Fed complied and the money presses roared.

And China reconsidered their one trillion dollars of loans to the US ,, and threatened to call in their debts. Other foreign trading partners said unto "The One", "Wait a minute. Your dollar is not worth a pile of camel dung! You will have to pay more.. for everything.. as your dollar becomes worth less."

And the people said, "Wait a minute.. That is unfair!!"

And the world said, "Neither are these other idiotic programs you have embraced. Lo, you have become a Socialist state and a second-rate power. What factories are not owned by your government are owned by us. Now you shall play by our rules!"

And "The One" said "Americans are arrogant, divisive, and derisive!" "We will listen."

And the people cried out, "Alas, alas!! What have we done?"

But yea verily, it was too late. The people eventually set upon "The One" and spat upon him and stoned him, and his name was dung. But the once mighty nation was no more; and the once proud people were without sustenance or shelter or hope. And the Change that "The One" had given them was as like unto a poison that had destroyed them from within, and like a whirlwind that consumed all that they had built.

And the people beat their chests in despair and cried out in anguish, "Give us back our nation and our pride and our hope!!"

But it was too late, and the once-glorious "Home of the Brave and Land of the Free" was no more..

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Down in the Valley

If you can call 8400 feet of altitude "down". I guess it's all relative...

Just got back to Carolina from a week in Colorado. Meant to get down to Santa Fe and meet up with Pauls, Labrat and Stingray but it didn't happen. I had a case of the "tired" the first of the week and we ended up sticking close to the ranch for the duration.

Anyway, a few pix:

Coming up Hard Scrabble canyon into the Valley you start to see the Sandre de Cristos in the distance.








And then you drop down into the Valley:


You come to Silver Cliff first and then Westcliffe. The towns run together and you really can't tell where one stops and the other starts unless you see the signs. Silver Cliff was the original mining town. Then the Denver & Rio Grande bought cheap land outside the town and established Westcliffe. Gradually all the business migrated to the rail head as the railroad had known they would. When the mines played out, Westcliffe became the dominate town and is now the county seat of Custer County.

And this is how the Sangre de Cristos (Blood of Christ) got their name. When the sun is just about to rise over the Wet Mountains, the Sangres turn pink.


And sometimes when the clouds are just right you get this kind of sunrise:








And conversely, this kind of sunset:




There has been enough rain in the Valley this spring so that the wild flowers are spectacular!








Now the last two aren't from this trip, but they show the Sangres in the winter.

First is Spread Eagle Peak:


And then Gibbs Peak:


Not a bad view out the back door, huh?