How many times have I warned you about “commoditization?”

That’s where you take something that once took a little bit of skill or art, and turn it into a mass-produced kluge of the SoS – same old shit.

One of the most notable victims of becoming a commodity? The High Art of Swearing.

Elaine and I got to kicking this one around t’other night sitting in the sun room, watching 11, yes that’s right 11 deer wander through the well posted “No Hunting” front yard.

She was describing someone she’d bumped into at the store as being “Looked like he’d been pulled the wrong way out of a knot-hole.

I got a kick out of that, since it was one I hadn’t heard before. But I quickly regained my standing with “head on thon like a bastard calf” which had been worked around to [so and so} is “no better than a bald or bastard calf…”

Late comic guru George Carlin explained the problem with people being limited to things like the “eff” word. He asked “If you really don’t like someone, why would you tell them to go enjoy one of Life’s greater joys….like it’s punishment!”

Point well taken.

So I decided in the interest of raising the art of insult from the lousy level of urban rap, we could try to be just a little more creative round here.

I suggested someone might be described as “Uglier than pig afterbirth…” Elaine says that’s too close to “You old sow…” which is a common polite insult. Along the lines of “You old hide…” which is a cowboy insult/greeting.

Biddies, of course, are old, useless chickens being kept alive for stewing. Chicks are young, and I told Elaine she was still at the good-looking fryer stage. She said I was looking like a friar, too.

Which gets to the point this morning: If in your travel’s you’ve come across a fine bit of high insult or invective, please feel free to share it.

And to share back in advance, you might try calling someone you know “Elephant Phlegm” and report back to us.

More Site Changes

OK, now I have done it:  Moved into the current century by putting a bun ch of social(ist) media connectors.  The most requested one is the “email to a friend with summary” but there are more.

On the color:  Would it be more pleasing to have the sides of the page be something like that light blue from the logo, not the dark blue?

Let me know and yes, I will try to keep up with the social stuff better.

Massive Antenna Follow-Up

Maybe this massive new antenna wasn’t such a good idea, after all.

How so?

Well, if you remember we did go through four days of work, including a stuck scissor lift a couple of times putting up the 746-foot long monster antenna last week.

It’s 186-feet from the 4:1 balun at the feed point down to the southeast, and from the balun the #10 AWG stranded insulated wire runs 560 feet up to the Northwest.

No, that’s not the problem.

It’s the signal reports from other hams around the world.

Sunday morning I got up to play with the radio while it was still dark. My reward was a 20 db. over S-9 signal out of the Honolulu area…so when my buddy (and long-time reader) Hank gets an HF radio fired up with an 80-meter antenna, we shouldn’t just be able to communicate: With this kind of signal strength I should be able to warm up his coffee as well.

Same kind of reports from everywhere: 30 over S9 out of Mexico City and 20 over 9 in Florida, and so forth.

This is really a “spoiler antenna.” That means if I can hear a station, they can hear me.

Talking to the earthquake net real close to the resonant point of the antenna (3817 KHz LSB) it’s 20 over most everywhere except where people’s antennas are oriented anywhere near my location.

Buddy Jeff from the local ham club says he’s heard of one other antenna like this – it was a several wavelength loop antenna. That, he said, was just like talking on a directional beam antenna on a big tower, but getting out like that in all directions at the same time.

Curiously, on the 20-meter ham band (14 MHz) the antenna is quieter than the 20 meter beam. But signals are louder until the beam is aimed right and then it’s a toss-up, but with less fading with the mega-antenna.

The research will continue, as time permits…but like I said, it’s definitely a “spoiler” like the original Henry Amplifiers and radios of the Art Collins or R.L. Drake type that even today will keep up with all but the most ridiculously over-priced “rice boxes” out of the Asian radio makers.

Got a new theory of war, thanks to ham radio.

It occurred to me that we need wars once in a while so we can change country names in order to keep the DXCC pursuit interesting. (The DX Century Club is for people who have talked to more than 100 countries…helps to know that.)

I lost track of a lot of my old cards, but I wonder if my contact cards from The Congo, Laos, and so forth would still be recognized today?

My son, also an Extra Class ham will be down in January which is right about the peak of the 80 meter and 160 meter DX Season…Maybe he can snag a Worked all Continents on 160 while he’s here.

Yikes! Open Enrollment

There’s a good part about making it to retirement age: If you worked enough, you can get Medicare.

There’s also a bad part: It takes on the order of hours to wade through the choices available if you live in a major city.

Back on the bad side, out here in the woods, there are fewer choices to select from. A quick glance at the numbers this year show that we will be able to pick from a) An Outrageously Expensive Plan, b) a Nearly Useless Plan, c) A Total POS plan, and d) An Overpriced plan.

Like last year, we will likely go with D.

The open enrollment period for Medicare funs until December 7. Which is too bad. I have a periodic lube, oil, and filter with my Doc a few days after the Open Enrollment period ends.

I don’t know about you, but I’d sure like it if my Doc would tell me which plan he figures would work out best for me, and take a stab at Elaine’s options, too.

I’m sure they won’t want to get involved, since Medicare supplements and plans are insurance products and that’s just more schooling, another bunch of tests, and paperwork.

But I can dream, right?

Since out choices out here seem to be limited to picking a Part D prescription plan, Medicare Advantage Plans seem to live in big cities with enough bodies to make sense, our selection process is somewhat truncated.

It’s a good idea when you take your pills on Plan Selection work day to leave them all out so you will have the medication names handy to put in the forms which seems to have something to do with price. But even that is sketchy.

Oh well…back to slogging through it…write when you get rich,