Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holiday Classics

Ok, perhaps not classics at your house, but they are at mine.

image With Thanksgiving comes the annual watching of Joe Dirt. I'm not exactly sure how this tradition started, but it has persevered. For some reason we love the Joe Dirt (and we have to call it "the Joe Dirt" for further unknown reasons). I think it's because the movie is so quotable:

"Your talking to my friend all wrong."

"See that peanut? Dead giveaway"

"It rubs the lotion on it's skin or it gets the hose!"

"Home is where you make it"

"You are an underachievement nexus of the universe."

"You're gonna stand there, owning a fireworks stand, and tell me you don't have no whistling bungholes, no spleen splitters, whisker biscuits, honkey lighters, hoosker doos, hoosker don'ts, cherry bombs, nipsy daisers, with or without the scooter stick, or one single whistling kitty chaser?"

Joe Dirt teaches us to keep on keepin on, to make the best of bad situations, and appreciate what we have. Yes, it's a formulaic sophomoric stupid David Spade comedy. But I love it.

image Then we move on to "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" with Jim Carrey. This movie is highly underrated. Carrey is nothing short of brilliant as the Grinch. Some innuendo and jokes fly right over the kids heads, but the movie speaks to the heart of what Christmas should be about. Widely panned when released, this has become a DVD classic.

image Then we have to watch "A Christmas Story" at least twice. For Christmas this year I got both a Leg Lamp ornament AND stocking, so I'm set until the wife lets me get the real thing. This movie is so true to life and universal. It speaks to the boy in all of us grown men, taking us back to a time when the most important things were BB guns, bullys, and friends. There are days, even weeks, when I'd give anything to be back there. My new goal in life is to visit the museum in Cleveland where they've restored the house that this film's interiors were shot in.

image And lastly we have to watch "A Christmas Carol", probably the most remade of any holiday movie. Not just any version, it must be the one with Alastair Sim and NOT colorized, thank you. There has never been a better Scrooge than Sim, and never a better cast of supporting players. It's long been a family tradition to watch this late on Christmas Eve, with only the Christmas tree is providing light to the room. Scrooge's transformation from frump to caring human never fails to move me to tears.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Must-Have Shop Tools

This is the minimum tools needed for any  well equipped home Shop or Garage.  All of these are needed to do good job. 

SKILL SAW: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.
DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted part which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say,
''What the...??''

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age.

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.

BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

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 your future becomes.

VISE-GRIPS: Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

WELDING GLOVES: Heavy duty leather gloves used to prolong the conduction of intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub you want the bearing race out of.

TABLE SAW: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles with the speed of a ballistic missile for testing wall integrity.

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.

EIGHT-FOOT LONG YELLOW PINE 2 X 4: Used for levering an automobile upward off of a trapped hydraulic jack handle.

E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool ten times harder than any known drill bit that snaps neatly off in bolt holes thereby ending any possible future use.

BAND SAW: A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to cut good aluminum sheet into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.

TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect.

CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 24-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A very large pry bar that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end opposite the handle.


PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids and for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.

STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws.

PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.

HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to make hoses too short.

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent to the object we are trying to hit.

MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while wearing them.

DAMMIT TOOL: Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling ''DAMMIT'' at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need.


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