Making new friends

This week is one of those weeks when you find out the benefit of making new friends in high places. Well, let me be more specific. I’m not talking about friends with high political standing. I’m talking about a new friend in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, which is a lot higher than the Flint Hills, by more than 4,000 feet elevation.

I acquired my new friend through this column. His name is ol’ Kasten Flingitt, from Loveland, Colo. And, as it turns out, we have a hobby in common. That hobby is fishing.

Ol’ Kasten read all the time about my fishing exploits and figgered he could make them even more successful by sharing with me a selection of his homemade lures. He makes a wide and colorful variety of the lures from hooks, lead split-shots, colored deer hair, pipe cleaners, and thread — with a few feathers and plastic thrown in for good measure.

We first talked by phone and later corresponded by email. The end result wuz he sent me a box full of a generous selection of his homemade jigs. He even threw in a bottle of “trout oil,” which, he assures me, “just add a drop or two to the deer hair, make your cast — and hold on for dear life.”

I hope the weather warms up a bit before the Big Fall Freeze so that I can try out Kasten’s lures and not have to wait for spring. My Iowa friend, ol’ Pegan Ray, will be here in two days (I’m writing on Monday). Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and we can wet a line without it freezing.


I’ve mentioned numerous times that I’m an “All Thumbs” mechanic. I’m just no good at fixing or maintaining anything mechanical. A good example: Changing the oil in anything is a major chore that I can easily mess up.

I’ve talked about my mechanical ineptness enuf that a sympathetic reader, ol’ “Blue” Thumm, from Lockwood, Mo., emailed me a list of mechanical tools and contraptions and his tongue-in-cheek definitions of them. So, here goes with Blue’s stuff:

• Large Screwdriver: A half-inch wide and 12-inches long tool that makes an excellent motor mount prying tool. It inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the prying end and a useful handle on the other.

• Phillips Screwdriver: Originally used to stab the lids of old-style paper-and-tin oil cans, but in modern usage is best, as the name implies, for rounding out Phillips screw heads — both by hand or with a power tool.

• Trouble Light: A mechanic’s own private tanning booth. Sometimes called a drop light. It is a good source of vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin,” which is not otherwise found under cars and trucks. Health benefits aside, it’s main purpose is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at a startling and expensive rate. More often dark, than light, it’s last name is somewhat misleading, while it’s first name is spot on.

• Timing Light: A stroboscopic instrument for illuminating the stupendous grease buildup on crankshaft pulleys. Otherwise, cleverly decorative, not useful.

• Two-Ton Hydraulic Engine Hoist: A handy tool for testing, then exceeding, the tensile strength of hydraulic clutch lines you have forgotten to disconnect.

• Air Compressor: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning plant or by a wind turbine 300 miles away and transforms in into compressed air that travels by hose to a pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty suspension bolts or wheel lugs last tightened in the Ice Age and noisily rounds the corners off.

• Battery Electrolyte Tester: A handy tool for transferring sulfuric acid from your car battery to the inside of your tool box and the front of your coveralls after determining that your battery is dead as a door nail.

• Drill Press: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching a flat metal bar out of your hands so it smacks you in the chest and flings beer across the room, splattering it up against the risque calendar girl picture that’s been hanging in your shop for 20 years and making your wife mad.

• Wire Wheel: Cleans rust off old bolts and then inevitably throws and hides then in the netherworld under your workbench — also handy for removing fingerprint whorls and hard-earned callouses.

• Gasket Scraper: Theoretically useful tool for spreading mayonnaise on sandwich bread, but usually used for scraping dog do-do off your boot before you traipse it into your home.

• E-Z Out Bolt and Stud Extractor: A tool that snaps off most bolts in their holes and is 10 times harder than any known drill bit.

• ViseGrips: Used mostly to round off octagon bolt heads by hand. If nothing else is available, they can be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

•Hacksaw: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal the cutting result becomes.


Words to intellectually ponder for the week: Consider why folks who handle your money are “brokers,” that what doctors do is called a “practice,” and why, if flying is so safe, are airports called “terminals?”

Have a good ‘un.

Milo Yield


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