Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy 3-0!!!!! Here's your Jeep.

I've been busy for the last few days.  I've been working furiously to finish up a major birthday present (A JEEP) for someone who turns 30 years old TODAY!!!!!

NFL Safety Bob Sanders hits the big 3-0 today.

I've been a fan for a long time.  Here is the license plate from one of the cars when I was still in Michigan.

However, Bob has a well known problem; he's injured a lot.  During his seven seasons in the NFL, the Colts have played 112 Regular Season games and 13 Playoff games.  Of those 125 games, Bob has only played in 48.  It's been really bad the last 3 seasons where of the 53 Regular and Playoff games, Bob Sanders has only played in NINE games.  Bob's style is extremely aggressive; and his bones, muscles, and tendons are apparently made of fine crystal.

So as a fan who wants to help Bob improve his robustness, I decided to give him Cool Hand Luke.  Cool Hand Luke (or Luke for short) is my Jeep.  Similar to Bob Sanders, my Jeep has not seen a lot of action lately.  In 2010, I only put 11 miles on it.  Ferrari 250GTOs get more miles just being pushed around museums than my Jeep got in 2010.  

My 1995 Wrangler has just under 61,000 miles, but they have been HARDCORE miles.  Yet, nothing has EVER stopped it.  Regardless of the smackdown that the trails of the US and Canada apply to my little Cool Hand Luke, it has always found a way to "Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome" as Gunny Highway would say.

Here is a quick PARTIAL list of smacks, little Cool Hand Luke has gotten off of the deck from:

1)  Snapped a front U Joint/Axle in Sault Ste Marie --  We just hack sawed off the carnage at the knuckle, zip-tied the inner axle up for additional support and drove out of the trail in 2WD.  We used 3WD as needed (courtesy of our front AirLocker).  Then, we drove the 300 miles home where I put a new (pre-owned) driver side axle in.

2)  Ripped a front spring mount off of the frame in Tellico, NC.  It happened late on a Saturday night, and rather than try to find someone to weld it up on Sunday, I went to Wal-Mart and bought 2 feet of chain and an adjustable link.  I wrapped the chain around it and drove it home to Michigan where I welded the spring perch back to the frame.

3)  In 1996, I buried it in Fall Creek in Indianapolis when I hit an unexpected DEEP hole.  The water level was over the airbox (no snorkel, you know), so the engine died right away.  After standing for a moment in the icy cold April water, I tried something I never expected to work:  the winch.  Guess what....the winch works under water!!!!  Who knew?  I pulled out about a hundred feet of cable and winched across the creek.  I pulled the drain plugs to empty the cabin.  I sprayed the distributor cap down with WD40, verified there was no water in the engine, and fired that little four cylinder up.   VROOM!!!!  I drove the 10 miles home and replaced all of the milky fluids.

4)  A few years ago when a rear differential grenaded at highway speed the dissipated energy shredded the driveshaft and ripped a shock mount off of the rear end.  

 Being only a few miles from home, I rolled under the Jeep on the side of the road and disconnected the rear driveshaft from the Transfer Case.  I Then I jumped back in, threw the driveshaft in the passenger seat, pulled the Tcase lever to High4, and drove home with Front Wheel Drive.

See, my Jeep is unstoppable.  It gets hurt every now and then, but he NEVER leaves the game.  Somehow Cool Hand Luke goes all out, yet lives to drive me home and see another day.  THAT'S the lesson Bob Sanders needs to learn.  Run Fast, Hit Hard, Crush The Opposition.... but hold back just enough to not kill yourself.   I believe Luke can be Bob's mentor.  Having Luke around can help Bob, by Raising Hope when he feels down.  

So a couple of weeks ago I decided to do the Dirty Job of replacing the rusty fuel tank skid plate and present Luke to Bob today, on his 30th birthday.  

Then, over this past weekend, the Colts made the very sound business decision to release Bob Sanders.  Hell, the guy has only played 9 games the last three seasons... who can afford that?!?!?  Let's move on.  Having Bob Sanders on the team is like owning an amazing Ferrari that needs its gearbox replaced every time you back out of the driveway. 

So since Bob Sanders is no longer an Indianapolis Colt, I am NOT giving Cool Hand Luke away to him... even if today IS his 30th birthday.  I suppose I could offer it up to anyone else with a birthday, but what if it was a girl and she wanted to paint it pink and purple????  Pink Jeep Tours may be a big deal in Sedona, but who ever heard of a Pink Birthday Jeep named Cool Hand Luke???? 

No, even during the years like 2010 where he spent more time landscaping (winching bushes out of the back yard) than he spent on the road, Luke is much like my dog... he's all mine.  I bet if I gave him away, I would find him in my driveway the next day after he ran away and came home in the middle of the night.

Bob Sanders, I hope you have the best birthday ever.  I still think a mentoring Jeep could help, so if you want I can help you shop for one of your own.  It's your birthday, so pick out whatever color you want.  It's all yours, so you can even choose an automatic.  WOW, an automatic???  Well, let's not go crazy...      

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!!!!

Between "Storage Wars" and "American Pickers," America's TV junkies have been getting broadcast proof that folks do hang onto all kinds of worthless junk. And it has made me give more respect to the OCD folks that seasonally "snap" and clean out the closets, throwing away everything they find that isn't nailed down.

Yet, even the most hardcore possession-purging, dumpster-filling non-hoarder alive today would surely hang on to a few things from their past. Most would at least keep their Tinker Toys, Cabbage Patch doll, or their Calico Kitties.

We Galoots hope that old tools make the short list of items that even the "Clean & Purge" crowd would keep.

Followers of Skiving Off realize that I have a thing for Panther Saws, and a few days ago another showed up on Ebay.   (The auction ends tomorrow).

I sent off an email to the seller asking for some additional information, and I was delighted to get a response from Wanda in Alabama, telling me the story of how this saw arrived on the open market. Apparently, a few years back Wanda purchased the saw along with a box of hammers at an estate sale because her father collects hammers. Wanda's dad didn't want the saw, so she decided to keep it, simply because it was intriguing. She and her family called it "The Mad Monkey Saw" because without the preconceived notion of a big cat, the carving does look as much like Lyman F. Baum's Flying Monkeys as it does a panther.

Now a quick statement about Wanda's Ebay listing. I think she did a really good job of listing the saw, considering that she is not a tool collector. She describes all of the defects that she sees along with lots of pictures. She did not attempt to disassemble the handle from the blade or do any chemical treatment to bring out the etch, which likely would have done more harm than good. Instead, Wanda described what she sees and provides enough photos for anyone to realize with 99% certainty it is a genuine Panther Saw.  I think this is a good thing.

Panther Saws are rare, but it's hard to quantify.  We still don't have accurate census data on Panther Saws. For the last three years I have talked about starting a Panther Saw Registry, just to finally get an idea of how many of these kitties are out there, but alas, I have still not done it yet. I just haven't had a chance given most of my free time is spent building a 3 bedroom ranch home out of Tinker Toys to house my "crazy cat lady" Cabbage Patch doll and her hoards of Calico Kitties.