That ain’t right


NOPE, THE IRON PIGGY and I didn’t go rubber side up, though this is pretty much what an iron piggy looks like after you do. No, I just heaved her over on her side and started hunting down that mechanical issue I mentioned, piggy hiccuping on the highway. It wasn’t water in the tank, as I had hoped. Too easy.



Here she is at the start of the operation, giving up her fuel instead of burning it. That ain’t right.


Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 7.48.27 AM

Been catching up on Vikings lately, at the urging of my bud John Ross, who’s into it. So’s Johnny Danger on the Eastern Sierra. I hear he’s shaved the sides of his head and grown his mustache down to his nipples.

Actual conversation last evening, while I’m watching Vikings and the bride’s multitasking at Vikings and Facebook. I try to get a rise out of her. “I’m thinking of getting Viking tattoos on my head.” She brings me into the multitasking, doesn’t even look up from the Macbook. “Why don’t you just draw them on with a Sharpie?” That ain’t right.

Oh. Got off on a Viking tangent, didn’t finish what I was saying. Vikings were basically a motorcycle gang without motorcycles, maybe that’s why.



So the empty tank comes off, now I can get at the problem.



It’s in here somewhere. Narrowed it down to three possibilities and started removing parts and throwing them in a bucket. Broke a few, but if you’re not breaking anything you’re not attempting anything.

Actual train of thought later on, while working on the air cleaner back plate: The problem was a seized fastener. High-speed cutting tools whirr precariously close to machined sealing surfaces while I maintain a confident enthusiasm fated to be ultimately punctured & deflated by the slightest of errors in eye-hand coordination.

“No sweat! I can CUT this, DRILL this, GRIND this, WELD this, I can… I… can… uh… find a used one of these on eBay.” So now the whole works is on hold waiting for that to arrive in the mail. That ain’t right.

Oh, forgot to say the three most likely causes of piggy bucking on the highway:

1) Loss of signal somewhere in the fuel injection harness. Given that piggy lives out in the weather, corrosion at electrical contact points is always a potential issue.

2) MAP sensor has gone south, could be misinforming the system on Manifold Air Pressure. The engine computer stored a code on that.

3) Gasket failure at the intake manifold, aft jug. The engine wanted to rev too high at idle for the rattle-can test to be conclusive, but throw it in the mix.



There may be one or two or all three things going on, so I decided to fix the piggy just once. Shotgun approach. Remove and go through the fuel injection module top to bottom, as I did a few winters ago, reassemble, see what happens.


Daughter #2 is home from the Zurich Film Festival, and here’s a point of interest: The public bathroom stalls at this august event have TV monitors in the floor. This is so your life isn’t rendered meaningless by missing a few minutes of festival-type movie blab.


I’m sure this wasn’t part of the plan, but a movie that’s real dreck runs the risk of being commented upon with a certain meta irony, no? That ain’t right.

There’s news on the bride’s genealogical efforts. She’s a wizard at the detective work involved. Loves nothing better than solving puzzles with a high order of difficulty. On the front burner as we speak, there’s a likelihood under investigation that her line goes back to a rather perverse Puritan who got his kicks horsewhipping half-naked Quaker women to the county line because they weren’t, you know, as righteous as he was. That ain’t right. He was memorialized for his efforts in “How the Women Went from Dover,” a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier.

It seems the bride might also be descended from a 12th-century English sheriff who felt the call of holy war, died fighting on the sands of the Levant, in the Third Crusade. He was 79. At a mere 59 I already feel my prime holy war years are behind me. This alleged ancestor died in a battle on Haifa Bay, where Pope Clement III’s army, not to be outdone by Saladin’s army, lopped off the heads of prisoners by the thousands. That ain’t right. Men of their times? Yes, and of ours as well. Same old primate behavior, same old sandpile.

Finally, on the genealogy thing—and this seems the most verifiable on a short-term basis—the bride appears to be descended from Sarah Proctor, sister of John Proctor, who was accused of witchcraft and, in the year 1632, in Salem, Massachusetts, was hanged by the neck until dead. That ain’t right.

Arthur Miller did the memorializing in this case, in The Crucible.

Quite the weekly trifecta in the discovery business, three possible family ties to misadventures of magical thinking down through the ages. Three seems like a lot but if you go back just 11 generations we all have 2,048 sires & dams of the great-great-great orders of this, that & the other. Will keep you posted as the facts come to light.


John Ross, ex-Cold War submariner cited above in regard to Vikings, sent me this pic a few days ago. He snapped it at the North Pole, June 16, 1987.


It’s the boat John served on, USS Pintado (SSN 672), after it punched up through the ice for a little daylight and fresh air.

Also this week, a pic from our friend Ulf Granberg, in Stockholm.

Walker in Stockholm 1

Swedes have been into the Phantom since 1936, when Lee Falk first set pen to paper. This figure commemorates the Phantom in city duds, one of those times when the Ghost Who Walks gets out of costume and becomes “Mr. Walker.”

“There are times when the Phantom leaves the jungle and walks the streets of the town, like an ordinary man.” Old Jungle Saying.

That coat he’s wearing signifies a specific Mr. Walker, the one drawn by Wilson McCoy.

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 12.43.24 PM

“I like the docks on a foggy night?” That ain’t right.


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Wilson McCoy was the artist on the Phantom strip when I started reading it as a kid. He died in 1961. That ain’t right.

And then came the great Sy Barry. I never had an opportunity to write for him, given that he retired from the strip in 1994. I was writing Phantom yarns by then, but mostly for readers in Scandinavia and Australia. I didn’t inherit the syndicated writing duties from Lee Falk until 1999.

Though I had never met Sy, he very kindly hailed me with the drawing below, in 2003. I was sitting around mending bones after a careless driver ran a stop sign and totaled the Super Glide. That ain’t right.


Sy Barry sketch


Besides writing a ton this week, I also dug holes in the ground, in the rain. And have been working on a song about it:


I’m digging in the rain
That ain’t right
Just digging in the rain
That ain’t right
What a glorious feeling
I’m wet cold & achy again
I’m something something refrain
That ain’t right
Need an aspirin for the pain
That ain’t right
Just digging
Digging in the rain
Doo-dloo-doo-doo, etc…

Tony DePaul, October 8, 2014, Cranston Rhode Island


About Tony

The occasional scribblings of Tony DePaul, 62, father, grandfather, husband, freelance writer in many forms, ex-journalist, long-distance motorcycle rider, motorcycle wrecker, motorcycle rebuilder, collector of surgical hardware, blue routes wanderer, outdoorsman, topo map bushwhacker, handy with a wrench, hammer, chainsaw, rifle, former photographer, printer, logger, truck driver, truck mechanic, jet fueler… blah blah...
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6 Responses to That ain’t right

  1. brad says:

    For the first time after reading a blog post from you, I’m really at a loss for words.
    And as you would say, “That ain’t right.”

  2. Eric Benjamin says:

    Your brain goes faster than the redline on piggy.

  3. Nayan Medhi says:

    hey tony, always been a regular reader of your blog. and its always a pleasure how the nickels are faring. its aint right if it aint. 🙂

    • Tony says:

      Many thanks for reading, Nayan. You’re in India? High on my bucket list is a riding adventure across India, and in the spirit of the locale, meaning preferably on a Royal Enfield. Here’s hoping my bucket doesn’t catch up with me first!

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