In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog:

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Bad Concrete

 Reports are surfacing of damaged concrete in the columns holding up the condo in Miami. This explains much, and makes me wonder. 

I worked for years in the concrete construction industry. The work consisted of every aspect of concrete, including the rehabilitation, and demolition of concrete exposed to salt water. The reports state the concrete was spalling, and reinforcement was exposed. 

Concrete is a brittle, and dangerous construction material without reinforcement. Where the reinforcement rod can displace a load, without the "rebar", a crack can lead to the complete failure of the concrete. The failure can be as little as a chipped edge, or as severe as a structural column failing. Both damages are preventable, but the most critical step is in the initial construction. The rebar needs to be far enough into the concrete to be removed from the exposure of the elements. Normally, this is one and one half inch, but in extreme environments, it's increased to three inches. 

The spalls in the reports indicate only one thing: The rebar was exposed to moisture and started rusting, Eventually the rust became so severe, the swelling of the rust caused the concrete to spall away from the reinforcement, and the exposed rebar lost structural integrity without the concrete for stiffening.. With structural components, this is a sign of a possible catastrophic failure, and a wise engineer will inform the owner of the necessity of removing enough of the concrete in a small area to determine the structural capability of the rebar. If there is enough deterioration, the load rating of the structure is lowered to accommodate the reduced strength. This is good for bridges, but with a tall building, the structure itself is the major load, and a sufficient reduction in the concrete strength requires removing occupants until the building can be rehabilitated (probably too expensive) or demolished. 

There are multiple ways to repair concrete, but only two basic methods:

One method is to remove the spalled concrete, clean the rebar with only surface rust, and applying a coat of repair grout. This method is costly, since the removal requires small chipping guns, abrasive cleaning, and preparation of the good substrate for new cementitious material. That, and the expensive methods to gain access to the damaged concrete. Some areas might be at ground level, but others may require scaffolding, or barges. The repair grouts are expensive, and can cost over a thousand dollars a cubic yard.  

The other method, which is required for severely damaged concrete, requires removing the damaged concrete, removing and replacing the damaged rebar, and placing a fiberglass jacket around the concrete. The oversized jacket is then filled with either a high strength grout, special designed concrete, or and epoxy that has a sand filler. Usually, the jacket remains in place. If there is no clearance to allow this construction, false work has to be placed, the damaged structural component is removed, and a new concrete structure is placed. Retrofitting in this environment is a nightmare, and has an unreasonable cost. With the expensive materials added, such repairs are usually only performed on exposed concrete structures, such as a dock.

There are variations of both types of repairs, and combinations of both. The best construction methods prevent the corrosion by the application of coatings on the concrete. The coatings, which some only allow moisture and block salt, let the concrete "breathe". The elastomeric coating doesn't allow salt to penetrate the barrier, while allowing the moisture to transfer through the membrane. The best coatings are flexible, and don't crack with the movement of the concrete. All add costs, and are avoided, unless absolutely required.

The report of exposed rebar, and spalling concrete would have concerned me, if I was asked my opinion. Without being able to determine the extent of the damage, and the fact people were living above this damaged column, if I was asked for my suggestions, I doubt they would have acted on my suggestion, and evacuated the building, since the lost revenue would have been astounding. 

So, how did the building get to this level of disrepair without someone raising a red flag? That's the big question, since the failure led to multiple fatalities. Was the city informed? Were those informed aware of the danger, and if so, why didn't they act to prevent this disaster? 

If I had to guess, there were a lot of people crossing their fingers, and hoping for the best. The owner would hope they could keep on collecting revenue, and eventually sell the property. The city officials would hope their head turning would allow them to retire in the future, and the engineering firm would hope their inaction, or sloppy inspection, would never come to light. My experience tells me this is probably what happened, since that's what usually does happen. 

I have to add to this post to add information that is now becoming available. 

According to newest news reports, the HOA was informed of the damages, and the property owners have dragged their feet, due to the tremendous costs involved. The wait, and further analysis of dangerous conditions, allowed the damage to reach the point of failure. 

One report said that a remediation contractor refused to repair some damage after preliminary work exposed structural members corroded beyond repair. I can understand their concern, since the change requires a detailed new engineering analysis,  a new bid, and the consent of the owners for the work. Such things usually take months, if not years, and the slow monster of the city has to approve everything. 

What I don't understand is how the building was allowed to be occupied after the contractor pulled off the job. At that point, the danger was not theorized, and became apparent. Failing to act, or hiding the information, is unconscionable. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Politics as Usual

 The projections of the next Federal election abound. The contenders, possible outcomes, polarizing, opinions, and posturing fill the "news" with straw poll numbers. Of course, the experts weigh in, and all forget one thing: the last election was filled with fraud. So, unless this changes, those that count the votes will decide; not the citizens. 

Saturday, June 19, 2021


 I've had some projects over the last few weeks. The weed trimmer was one. That, and building a small fence around the rose bed to keep the ducks from tearing up the roots to build a nest. The day before yesterday was one I'd never done, which proved to be enlightening. 

My wife, and I, decided our porch needed something more than a box fan for keeping a breeze. We decided on a ceiling fan, which required some research. The one important thing, which turned out to be the final determination, was having a junction box rated for a ceiling fan. After removing some items, I found a stamp on the box stating the box was indeed rated for a ceiling fan weight. So, the project was on.

The fan came with everything, except the two screw to hold the fan bracket on the junction box. The existing screws were too long, so I had to go to the hardware store for shorter screws, which were too short. My wife made a trip, while I sorted out the parts, and waited to install the hanger bracket.

The bracket was fairly easy, except on a ladder,  with a small workspace, made it tedious. Even more tedious was placing the fan motor, and connecting the wires. One good thing was the amount of wire included. Cutting it just long enough to place the motor on the top of the ladder, while I connected the wires allowed an easy connection, and the base allowed storage for all the excess wire. 

The fan brackets were only had two screws, and the snap on plastic fans allowed placing the brackets without the blades. Completing the entire project took about an hour, but my inexperience, and studying time, stretched it to two hours. That was plenty long enough, since it was 95 on the porch, and the heat was catching up with me. 

The difference is notable. A moving breeze allows any cooler exterior air to balance out the hot air on the porch. It's still hot, but when the sun is low, or set, the cool air allows time to sit on the porch. That's when relatives will come to visit, and we can enjoy the evening with something to drink.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Dice Have Been Thrown

 Lack of trust causes many things, but one of the worst is the final result of the original dishonesty. No matter if those dishonest turn away from their dishonesty, trust will never be returned. That's where we are. Enough fraud is presented about the last election to demand accountability, yet those content with the outcome are convinced there's no reason to not trust those involved; regardless of how absurd their argument has become. They don't realize they've chosen sides, and the outcome won't have any "oh gosh" moments. The trust is gone, dishonesty is rampant, and tens of millions are seething with anger that can't be removed with words. The die is cast. 

Monday, June 14, 2021

This Won't Go Well

 Biden is supposed to meet with Putin. So, what can happen, when a former ruthless KGB official, with military training, meets an elderly, demented, lifetime politician without any legislative history, except raising taxes on the elderly? I think anyone that has some ability for rational thinking knows this won't go well for Biden, or the United States. Maybe we can convince them to drop Biden off somewhere in Europe instead of bringing him back.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Today's Thoughts

Much of what is written below is easily found on the internet with search engines. I didn't post links because I'm lazy this morning.

 Biden is attending the G-7 summit, which is euphemistic for the big poker game. Cards are played, faces are examined, and the pot is basically all the money in the world, although the players want you to believe it's not. Backers will be watching; shady characters that don't want the public to know how much they're influencing the players. Fun will be had by all, and Biden will find showing his cards is not a good way to win. That, and if we're lucky, he doesn't go all in with a pair of deuces.

Crime is up in large cities. Regardless of how the problem is spun, the basic problem is people without, want what they didn't earn, and really don't feel bad about killing someone in the process. Of course, the police are part of this problem, since they don't want to work in these large cities. I wouldn't either. Crime pays, law enforcement becomes the plaything of politicians, and honest officers realize Mayberry is a much nicer place to work.

Someone will pay 28 million dollars to take a trip in space with Jeff Bezos. I think this person is flat out nuts. Jeff Bezos? Couldn't they pick someone else?

Lumber prices are out of sight. That, and home prices are grossly inflated. What can go wrong with this?

The audit continues in Arizona. The results will be interesting, if not outright entertaining. I have some popcorn, and recommend staying armed.

A lobster diver was swallowed by a humpback whale. Most find this hard believe. I feel the same. 

The Southern Baptists are disagreeing on their future. For that matter, most all denominations are doing the same. This makes me wonder, since the rule book is concise, and the rules are basic. Maybe they should read the rules. The penalties are harsh for not doing so.

The Covid fiasco continues, with a huge push to get everyone an injection of a serum made in a hurry, without long term testing, for an illness with results far below what any rational scientist would call a pandemic, and there is no legal recourse for anyone that is harmed. If this doesn't fit the description of insanity, then nothing does.

Congress is in full swing. As usual, there is enough posturing to cause nausea. The media drools over the progress, believes some great thing is happening, and ignores the fact the only arguments are about spending more money; not how to spend less. 

Texas is proposing to build it's own border wall. I think it's a good idea, but shouldn't stop at Mexico. Ignorant Yankees are sure screwing up the local economy, and I'm suspicious of the motives of some. I'd sleep better knowing they have to jump through hoops to come to Texas.

It's hot around here. Too hot for this early. Usually, that means an extra hot Gulf of Mexico, which means a larger chance of some kind of tropical system. What happens is to be seen, but I'm doing everything I can to avoid staying in it. 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Failure in the Making?

 It's obvious the current administration isn't qualified to run the United States. Biden has mental problems, and Harris is as the epitome of EEO madness over the last five decades. Neither is actually in charge, and those running the country are running it like having someone drive blindfolded, while a person gives instruction from the back seat. Something has to change, and what will it be?

Personally, I see Harris taken out of the picture first. She's a cackling imbecile, and continuing to let her stay in her position will lead to disaster for the puppeteers. How this happens remains to be seen, but she's too much of a liability. 

Biden can keep his low profile, and the media will continue to cover his constant inabilities. They'll push paper in front of him, he'll sign the papers without any real understanding of what he's signing, and the cringe worthy moments of public appearances will be avoided, or downplayed by the media. 

The ultimate goal, in my opinion, is to continue allowing the Chinese to run the show, and allow the deep state to manipulate the government; including the military. That's well in play, and over time, they will continue to allow us to "rent", while they continue to buoy their economy with our money. Over time, they'll destroy the Constitution, and eventually have unbridled control.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

All Of The Ingredients

 It's 80 degrees this morning, the humidity is 94%, and there is no dew. According to the weather folks, the chance of rain is 20%. Otherwise, it's going to be a brutal day; if I want to work in the yard. I might, but I'll work really slow, and drink plenty of liquids. 

If we get a shower, it will be one of those brief, heavy showers, with plenty of lightning, and gusty wind. 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

There You Are

 I wrote about my annual property tax assessment in this post. I received a letter, and some of the assessor's "evidence" a few weeks later. The letter - the reaction after I protested my assessment - had the date, and time, for my hearing. That happened last week.

The hearing was by telephone, so I was rewarded with the noises of shuffling, multiple voices, and the fading of voices, when the speaker turned away from the microphone. Of course I couldn't see them. That guarantees no recognition if we happen to bump into each other at the grocery store. 

It was a brief hearing, with explanations, and how the evidence they provided indicates that the property in the photos is their reason for the assessment value. I countered that the real estate market is inflated, and the prices are not an actual value, and even if I wanted to sell my home, I don't think I could receive the appraised value. Also, I stated it sure looks like the state, and the county, are giving themselves a 10% raise on my fixed income. They countered with they are mandated to appraise at a high percentage of the market value. They used the word "they", so I asked who "they" is. Who is they? The state of Texas. 

I told them I call such things extortion. I don't think they liked that, but there is no better description. The crime family needs more money, they demand you pay, or they break your leg, which with public entities, they do worse. They take your home, and if you don't leave, they throw your possessions to the curb, and threaten to send a bill, and a trash truck, if you don't move it.

So, there you are. If you don't quite understand how a civilized society can reach such levels of depravity, you now have an example. The overlords speak, the minions cower, and the citizens are tyrannized. 

The hearing ended with a motion to end the hearing, and the assurance I would have a written determination shortly. I have a feeling they didn't reduce the assessment. What's worse is that I have no hope there will be one. Public entities have no integrity, and those we elect are only bagmen for those with enough money to buy politicians. 

Saturday, June 5, 2021

The Old Line Trimmer.

 I have a Stihl FS74 line trimmer. Made in the early 90's, it was a commercial grade trimmer, and much better than the "throwaway" trimmers I bought before. It's been a good machine, and basically trouble free, until late last summer.

After a few minutes of running, it would die. If I let it sit for a short period of time, it would start again, run for a few minutes and die again. It sufficed for being late in the season, and I knew I would need to find the problem.

Three weeks ago, I removed the tank, changed the fuel lines, and the filter. It started right up, ran for a few minutes and died. To make things worse, gas was dripping from the carburetor. Knowing I either had to rebuild the carburetor, or replace it, I did some web searching for what I needed. 

I found a new carburetor, with gaskets, filter, fuel line, primer bulb, and a spark plug for about 20 dollars. I was hesitant to buy online, but thought if it wasn't right, the twenty wouldn't be a big loss. I spent the same amount on the new filter, and fuel line from the Stihl dealer. 

The kit came in, I installed the carburetor, primed it, and held my breath. A few pulls and it started, but died, when I tried to speed up the engine. A little adjustment of the jets, and a long afternoon of trimming showed the problems were fixed, and maybe...I can get another thirty years out of the machine. I'll have to cross my finger, because they quit manufacturing it a long, long time ago, and some parts might not be available in the future.  

Friday, June 4, 2021

Never Ending War

 I don't like fire ants. They have a purpose, but not in my yard. They build mounds, and give me a target.

There are two basic types of insecticides for fire ants. One type is placed on the mound, some require watering after application, and the mound is supposed to die within a short period of time. I found it works, but only for a short period of time, unless rain is immanent. The poison is extremely toxic to the ants, and sometimes doesn't kill the queen. The ants will migrate, and a new mound will be formed. 

The other is a bait. Instead of placing it on the mound, it's scattered around the mound, and best if the mound is not disturbed. The ants will forage in the morning, and evening, bring the bait into the mound, and eventually all are killed; including the queen. This one I like, since the final result is complete eradication of the colony. It takes day, but the ants are eventually terminated.

At the start of this season, I had around a dozen fairly large mounds in the yard. With a little effort, I only will find an occasional small mound. Usually this happens after a rain event, and I think the ants are from somewhere else. Large mounds can have swarms of ants leaving, and they can fly a substantial distance. 

For those that don't know fire ants, they have a stinger like a wasp, which they use to kill anything they perceive as an attacker. Stand on a mound, and within seconds, hundreds of stinging ants will swarm up your leg, and start stinging. The stings leave painful pustules that can become infected. That, and some are allergic to the venom, which can lead to anaphylactic shock. Enough of the venom, and even the strongest can succumb. We had a local motel find a guest swarming with ants, and the report said they are what killed the man.

After years of watching fire ants, I realized our highway system was instrumental in their spread. The highway is full of dead insects, trash with food,  and road kill. The mowed edges, abundance of food, and unimpeded spread are a perfect environment for the ants. Over time, they've now reached any parts of the U.S. where the ground doesn't freeze to a depth that kills the ants. 

Thursday, June 3, 2021

The Narrative Goat

 In order to continue the narrative that the Wuhan Virus is really, really dangerous, Fauci will be sacrificed to continue the effort to remove liberty from citizens. It's a standard ploy, and what's sad is how many people will follow the narrative, be stupid with their programmed reaction, and thousands of petty tyrants won't be tarred and feathered for their collusion in the madness. A less polite society would have ended this crap months ago, and some people would be wondering why their punishment is so harsh, and praying we don't vote keel-hauling back in as the accepted form of punishment for such things.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Dynasties of Deceit

 Politics suck. So do the "dynasties" that have corrupted the United States for a long, long time. We've had Roosevelts, Kennedys, Bushes, and their chosen few to allow liberty to be slowly shuffled out the door. Regardless of how the Presidency is supposed to be a separate power, history shows the rest of the powers in government are either minions, or integral parts of the effort to make the nation one that answers to the whims of a ruling class.