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The Matinee Lady

The HD antenna in the back beamin' toward San Antone

The HD antenna in the back beamin’ toward San Antone

It wasn’t too far back that I added an HD OTA antenna to the NO Princess Palace. Since my technological progress stalled out back around 2002 when my brain could no longer absorb new information ,  it took awhile for me to figure out all I knew about an HD antenna.  When I hook that antenna into the back of my DISH receiver and then scan the local channels through the receiver it conveniently places those locals on my DISH program guide.  Increase the cool factor by 25 when I discovered I could also record those OTA locals to my DVR.   Am I an awesome techno-geek or what??

This HD business added the capabilities to like piggyback more channels in underneath the main channel.  I can’t explain it but there is probably magic smoke involved.  Gotta be.  So I get the San Antone Channel 4 WOAI on channel 4.1.  And then underneath that they have channels 4.2, 4.3, 4.4 etc.  I get them too, automagically of course.  Channel 4.2 is something called AntennaTV which airs American Classic TV series from the 1950s – 1990s.  I have told y’all before that filling up the long hours while sittin’ on a gate is a challenge.  A good TV with a plethora of programming is one of the ways I get by. I send ol’ Charlie Ergen (ORHS ’72) at DISH my monthly tribute so’s I can feed that TV.

Now I ain’t makin’ this sh*t up you millenial Beleibers.  In the not too distant past, you were good if you got the 3 major network TV channels on your TV – and you had to get up off the couch to go change the channel.  On top of that,  your phone was connected by a wire to the wall and if you wanted cash out of your bank account you had to go stand in line at the bank and interact with a live person.  I can’t make this stuff up, OK?  You can check it out your ownself if you are a disbeliever.

Along with most folks watchin’ the Evening News, we also watched the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He was The Man long before Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel were even born.  I really lucked out when I found out AntennaTV was airing the entire Tonight Show library every evening.  The show is a perfect window to back in the day and I am enjoying it immensely. If you were any sort of star or news worthy person back then you went on The Tonight Show.  John Wayne, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Paul Lynde, George Carlin and too many more to count were on the show.

One of Johnny’s staples were his skits and my two favorites were Floyd Turbo and Art Fern.

Art Fern and Carol Wayne

Art Fern and Carol Wayne

“Art Fern”, the fast-talking host of a “Tea Time Movie” program, who advertised inane products, assisted by the attractive Matinee Lady, played by Paula Prentiss (late 1960s), Carol Wayne (the most familiar Matinee Lady, 1971–82), Danuta Wesley (1984), and Teresa Ganzel (1985–92). The fake movies Art would introduce usually had eclectic casts (“Ben Blue, Red Buttons, Jesse White, and Karen Black”) and nonsensical titles (“Rin-Tin-Tin Gets Fixed Fixed Fixed”). This would be followed by a four-second stock film clip before coming back for another commercial, usually catching Art and the Matinee Lady in a very compromising position.

On giving directions to a fake store he was touting, Fern would show a spaghetti-like road map, sometimes with a literal “fork in the road”, other times making the joke, “Go to the Slauson Cutoff…”, and the audience would recite with him, “…cut off your Slauson!”

The character was previously named “Honest Bernie Schlock” and then “Ralph Willie” when the Tea Time sketches first aired in the mid-to-late 1960s. At least one surviving pre-1972 Art Fern sketch that originated from New York had its movie show title as “The Big Flick”, an amalgam of two movie show titles in use at the time by New York station WOR-TV, The Big Preview and The Flick. On that sketch Lee Meredith was the Matinee Lady. Carson’s Comedy Classics features an episode where Juliet Prowse is in the role of Matinee Lady, from 20 August 1971.

Man oh Man, that Carol Wayne was a good lookin’ woman! In the interest of propriety befitting a 60 yo curmudgeon such as myself, let’s just call her “eye pleasin” and leave it be at that.

On one of the shows I watched last week, Ms. Wayne came back over to Johnny’s desk for a little chit chat after the sketch.  They were teasing back and forth and the subject of their age difference came up.  Johnny said “45 is not really that old!” and Ms. Wayne replied “Well, I hope I make it to 45”. She was 30 yo in 1972 when that show first aired.

I found that statement completely bittersweet knowing what I know now.
On Ms. Wayne:

Carol Wayne

Carol Wayne

The success of the Tonight Show, helped lead to her ultimate professional downfall. Johnny Carson began to push for a reduction in the shows run time from 90 minutes to 60, and while this was good news for the network, as it led to the creation of “Late Night With David Letterman” it led to her spot in the show being reduced drastically.She was married several times, first to Rock and Roll photographer Barry Feinstein then later to TV and film producer Burt Sugarman.

Following the cuts in the Tonight Show she was having severe financial problems, and reportedly had fallen into drug and alcohol abuse. Toward the end of her life she had resorted to being an escort for rich men.

(excerpt from wiki: )
In January 1985, Wayne and her companion Edward Durston were vacationing at the Las Hadas Resort in Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico. After an argument with Durston, Wayne reportedly left to take a walk on the beach. Three days later a local fisherman found Wayne’s body in the shallow bay.

Authorities later discovered Durston had checked out of the resort the day the couple argued. He had left Wayne’s luggage at the airport. Later, an autopsy performed in Mexico revealed no signs of drugs or alcohol in Wayne’s body. Her death was eventually ruled as “accidental”.
(end excerpt)

Carol was deathly afraid of water, and would not have gone swimming. The water she was found in was only 4 feet deep.

Excerpt from Carol Wayne website )

According to published reports, Carol Wayne was on vacation in Santiago Bay, Mexico with Los Angeles car salesman Edward Durston on January 10, 1985 when (it has been reported) the couple had a argument about where they were going to stay that evening (they were scheduled to fly back to Los Angeles the next morning).

Durston checked into a hotel and Wayne reportedly left to walk down the beach (to cool off?). That was the last time anyone saw her alive. Local fisherman Abel de Dios found her limp body floating in the shallow bay waters three days later.

Mexican authorities wondered how Carol Wayne came to drown in waters four feet deep, fully clothed. There were no cuts or abrasions, so a fall from the nearby rocks was ruled out. The coroner stated that death occurred 3 – 4 days earlier and the body tested negative for drugs and alcohol.

Suspicions were raised: Carol Wayne had to be identified by workers at the Las Hadas resort where the couple had been staying earlier in the week. When locals went to look for Wayne’s traveling companion, they discovered that Edward Durston checked out three days earlier – leaving Wayne’s luggage at the airport with a message that she would pick up her bags in the morning.

As an aside, many readers may remember the (alleged) LSD related death of Art Linkletter’s daughter Diane. She jumped (or fell) from a sixth floor apartment building in 1969.

Art Linkletter basically ended his successful television career when he started crusading against drugs with a fervor that made it hard for middle America to find the afternoon talk show host funny anymore.

Not that it necessarily means anything, but Diane Linkletter’s companion the night she was killed was Edward Durston.

Carol Wayne was 42 yo at the time of her death. Yeah, bittersweet. I will continue to remember her as the ditzy, funny blond on Carson.

On the side……….  I am an Amazon affiliate and have been for years.  The few cents I make if you click through on one of my blog links to Amazon keeps the lights on around here.  Don’t cost you anything extra but it sure helps me pay the bills. Just sayin’………..



End Note: “Rust Belt Fields” by Slaid Cleaves from the Still Fighting the War cd. This guy deserves more air play.

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Little Bears

My Sis in Law getting some use out of the DTB.

My Sis in Law getting some use out of the DTB.

I wrote some months back about my frustration with Yamaha Motorsports and the fruitless attempt to get my ailing Yamaha EF2000iS properly lined out.  My solution to their desultory customer service was to plan on selling Little Blue and replacing it with a Honda EU2000I 2000 Watt Super Quiet Inverter Generator. For those late to the game, Little Blue started leaking prodigious amounts of oil around 1600 hours of use.   The game plan with My Bro at the Secret Hideout these last few years has been to mirror each other’s purchases when it comes to needful items like bowling balls and generators.  After all, two is one and one is none. On my recommendation he bought a twin to Little Blue.

Last week, he emailed me and asked

“What prices are you seeing on the Honda 2000 generator?”

I wrote back “Honda keeps a pretty tight rein on their dealers and the prices are about the same across the board.  Expect right around $1000.   Has the Yamaha gone to hell?”

He said “It is leaking oil in just about the same place as yours as far as I can tell.”

me: “How many hours?”

him: “Right around 1800.”

me: “That sucks!”

him: “Ah well, you learn to take the good with the bad. Sorta like watching your mother-in-law drive off a cliff in your brand new car.”

Hmmm, does that seem highly coincidental to any one besides me?  Not being one to procrastinate, he went to the local John Deere house and bought a Honda 2000 for $999.   Remains to be seen whether he will attempt to get Yamaha Motorsports to honor their warranty or just put Blue II on CraigsList with the problems noted and get shut of it.


This next little bit may  wad some panties but it is what it is.  I am not a conformist but I am not stupid either.  When we fell of south into the Puckerbrush several years back it was almost like moving to a different country.  Texas is just like that.  The Piney Woods to the east,  the Redneck Riviera to the south, the flat crazy-wind plains of the Panhandle, the High Desert of West Texas and then there is South Texas.  The Puckerbrush where everything sticks or bites, it is best to pick up a smatter of Border Spanglish to get by and the weather is a combo of everything bad you ever had night sweats about.  I got wise pretty quick that what I knew about boondocking up north was not quite good enough to get by down here.  Hell,  newb gate guards would roll in here from Ohio or Arkansas or wherever and blow out 2-3 tires on their first trip down a caliche lease road. They would open their RV door and see a buzztail catching sun on their outdoor carpet and  cower inside until their Supervisor showed up to kill it.  I wasn’t quite that naive or unprepared but I knew enough to observe and watch and learn.  I didn’t know it all, OK?

The old hands were a wealth of knowledge and I quizzed them about tires, snake habits and just general gettin’ by affairs at every opportunity.  These old dogs down here are as tough as woodpecker lips for a reason.

So it come to pass one of my regular guys here on the lease is a gauger named Jody  that had worked the Marcellus Shale up in Pennsylvania ie. he was a Yankee.  Young fella, early 30’s maybe, and from the get go he displayed some stereotypic Yankee traits meaning he knew it all and he was a complainer. His favorite way of adding to any conversation started with “Well, up north we did it this way…….”  implying us itinerant Texans needed to clue up and understand we were mostly ignorant humans.  Flew all over me  every time.   Even so, I went out of my way to try and help the bull headed man.

Snakes have been particularly bad this Spring and I warned Jody about that.   These generators and massive hunks of steel pumpjacks attract snakes like a magnet on a cool night. His reply?  “We have snakes in Pennsylvania.”  Alrighty then.  A few nights later he rolled up and cranked down the window to chat.

him: “You see the snake Tim killed over here earlier tonight?”

me: “Yes sir”   Mr. Tim had stopped by on his way out to show me the Diamondback.   It was a noteworthy snake, all of 6′ long and its’ body as thick as my lower leg.  It filled a 5 gallon bucket and then some; 12 rattles on that big boy.

him:  “You see the head on that thing?” and he shuddered involuntarily.  A Western Diamondback has a particularly sinister looking head even for a pit viper.  They are a broad, triangular shape  and just look scary bad.  This one had the biggest head I had ever seen.

me: (knowing full well they don’t have diamondbacks in PA.)  “That rascal wasn’t no Pennsylvania snake was it?”

him: “Oh HELL no.”

me: “I hope you got a good light.   Don’t walk nowhere you can’t see bare ground.”

I could tell he was thinking on that when he drove off.

Sunday two weeks ago he pulled up and I said we had a tornado warning out and he looked at me with pure disdain and said “Should I be worried?”  Smug Bastard.

me: “This is spring time and we are in Tornado Alley. So yeah, I would be paying extry attention.”

him: “Nuh uh. Tornado Alley is Oklahoma.”

me:  “Your geography sucks Skippy.  Texas is Tornado Alley too and even though DFW and north see more tornadoes than down here we have our share. The #2 and #3 worst tornadoes of all time in Texas were at Goliad and Rocksprings.”   Christ on a cracker, this man is eat up with dumb ass. I don’t know if there is any salvage possible or not.

Finally, Tuesday night he came rolling out  after midnight and instead of a wave and gettin’ on out the gate, the window went down.  I walked up to the truck and his eyes were as big as saucers.

This is NOT a little bear, OK?

This is NOT a little bear, OK?

him: “I just saw a bear!”  Now we have lots of critters here -lots- but bears ain’t part of the mix. Color me skeptical.

me: “Where?”

him: “Just right back there by that second speed limit sign. It crossed the road right in front of me.” That made sense.  There is a major game trail through the Puckerbrush that crosses the road right at that spot. I have seen all manner of critters crossing there.

me:  “What did it look like Jody?”

him: “It was a little bear and it walked sorta slow and all humped up right in front of me.”

I processed what he said and it hit me and I laughed out loud.

me:  “You are such a Yankee ‘tard.  That was a javelina dude. A collared peccary, a stink pig. They cross down there all the time.”

He looked at me with disbelieving eyes and I said “Google up javelina on that smart phone of yours. You will see I am right.”  I waved a hand and went back in The Princess Palace to try and get some rest.

A little bear—  LOL.  I heard it all now.


End Note: Snake Bit by Slim Bawb from the Pardon Me cd


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Another Day / Another Dollar

5 years ago today in the Barnett Shale.  The woman is gone, the RV is gone, that dog is gone.

The days tend to run together after so many weeks immersed in the grind. I have been known to preachify in the past and admonish other blog folks to just not write if they got nothing to say. Seems to be the case today and I am going to follow my own advice.

It is spring time in South Texas and I am spending some time outside with Vela Von under threatening skies. Weatherman says we got a major rain event on the way which will mean a day or more cooped up — dog and man.

Later y’all.


Continue reading Another Day / Another Dollar

Snake School

New Dometic Brisk Air II 15k btu unit

I have been at this location north of Fowlerton, TX for 168 days.  A fair amount of time but not a record…  That would be 236 days spent just a few miles from here.

You can’t live in a tin box in South Texas when the weather starts to warm up unless you have air conditioning. As a matter of fact I always recommend 2 rooftop AC units in your recreational vehicle if you want to live with some comfort during July and August down here.  So when the rooftop AC went out

Continue reading Snake School

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