the gRumpcAst

Not for the mearly gloomy or the slightly crabby, the gRumpcAst is for the professional grumps. We feature rants, raves, dreams and some amazing music to provide a yang to the yin.

Archive for the 'safety' Category

Safety Third

Flickr Image by Phil Gold

For a former firefighter/EMT, you might find it surprising that I’m a “Safety Third” kind of guy.  While I believe that considering safety is important, my priorities are…

  1. Love
  2. Adventure
  3. Safety
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First campfire of the season

Late Sunday night:

I love fire. For 25 years, I was a fire fighter until I retired as an Assistant Chief.

I have a fire ring in my yard, heat my house with wood, and consider myself one of the firedogs  at community bonfires.

I really like making fire.

Summer in Florida is all about heat, humidity, biting insects and did I mention humidity. It’s really no time to make fire. Fall is the prefect time. Some Floridians prefer the springtime with it’s show-off blooming goodness. I understand and appreciate spring, but autumn is incredibly wonderful.

Pay attention you folks who are thinking that Florida is paradise and how there are all those foreclosed houses and all…this place is not for sissies. The humidity is exhausting in August. We have bugs the size of small dogs and don’t get me started on the snakes and alligators.

None the less, I (heart) the silly place and fall is my favorite time to be here.

My fire tonight wasn’t the first of the community this fall, but it was my first one. I paired the fire with a tasting of three sour mash bourbons. While sour mash has a rich history in the South as good moonshine, all mine were tax paid and legal. We did an Eagle Rare, a Maker’s Mark and an Evan Williams single barrel 1997. The Eagle Rare was sweetish with a aftertaste similar to Scotch. The Maker’s Mark was smooth and wonderful. The Evan Williams was amazing.

Bourbon is, for certain southerners, a holy sacred elixir. It was the ‘crack’ of an earlier generation.

The best thing about the beginning of fire season is that oyster season is just around the corner.

Sunday morning update:

No hangover despite sour mash tasting. I consider this a sort of positive health checkup.

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Bicycles and Death

Ghost bike image from flickr user ( kurtz ) and is covered by a creative commons license.

Ghost Bike

I just received word that a young friend and neighbor was killed this evening in a accident while riding his bicycle. In my city, and most of the US, there is not a whole lot of transportation planning that focuses on bicycles. Instead, it’s all about the cars and trucks.

I was already pretty pissed off about how bikes are treated in my local transportation system. I have a brother and a son who commute on their bicycles every day. I commute on mine every now and then.

The death of this boy is a tragedy in my community and in my city. It’s a tragedy for his family and friends. We all handle grief in our own way. I’m planning to channel mine into being a pain-in-the-ass to the politicians and bureaucrats who claim they work for me on the issue of bicycle infrastructure in our transit system.

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Don’t bother asking a grumpy old guy. He’ll be rude and tell you what he thinks anyway.

Recently, a neighbor asked about the wisdom of cutting a tree that was leaning against what she thought might be a power line.  Here’s my response: undefined  

It’s never a good idea to touch anything resting on a power line.  If the line is charged, there’s a good chance that you could be badly shocked.    Even if the line is dead or a low voltage line, it’s under a lot of tension and has  a lot of potential energy stored up. Think “spring’.After Hurricane Kate, a group of neighbors decided to cut the 10 inch oak tree that had fallen on the phone line at the top of “Incredibly Steep Hill.  The phone line hadn’t snapped but was under a lot of tension.  Six or 8 of us got on the tree; half on one side of the phone line and half on the other. One brave soul started up his chain saw and said, “Get ready y’all” as he moved toward the tree. He got about  7/8’s of the way through the tree before there was a loud cracking sound and the tree started reacting to the energy of the string.  It flew up in the air taking the chain saw and the guy holding on to it, up and over,  into a sort of summersault.  Somehow the chain saw managed to land without cutting off anybody’s foot.  The rest of us were tossed to either side of the tree. The guy who did the flip landed pretty hard.  I can’t remember if he passed out but I do remember that he was acting weird enough that he agreed to go to the ER.  So no, don’t go all do-it-yourself on overhead utilities.  If it’s a power line, or if you’re not sure, call the power company.  If it’s telephone or cable TV, call those folks.  Of course, if it’s sparking and you’re worried about the woods catching on fire, call 911.  Image source:  Wikimedia commons.      

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