This is this


FULL HOUSE HERE at the humble manse last weekend, with family in town from New Jersey, Maine, California. The gals had a baby shower for Daughter #1 at a Providence restaurant called The Duck & Bunny. I don’t know if that’s just cute or they’ll actually roast you some wildlife.

The girls Oct 18 2014

Here’s the gals at the restaurant, which is in an old house by the looks of it. I’ve never been invited to a baby shower, not even this one, so I can’t say. From left, that’s D3, D1, D2.

D2 & D3 asked me to build a dollhouse bookcase in time for the event, but circumstances thwarted my best efforts. You name the circumstance I’ll tell you exactly when it thwarted: materials problems, stuff falling off the truck, too rainy to paint, meteor strike. I chose to stand down just before the meteor got here and the universe kindly agreed to call it off. Next working deadline is Thanksgiving Day.

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I’m supposed to build something like this. This is off the internet, probably cheaply made out of MDF. The one I’m building is of poplar; strong, takes paint well, no knots to bleed through the finish.

John Ross gave me the use of his woodworking shop in North Kingstown. I dropped off my materials a few days early, all set to go. Cut a piece of birch plywood for the back of the case and it instantly delaminates right through the middle. Three plies curl this way, three that way, it’s that new glueless plywood everybody’s talking about.

Now I’ve got a transportation problem: I drove the spare car to the shop, can’t haul a sheet of plywood in a car, so I head home after the truck. It’s 35 miles up & back. Buy another sheet, drive back to the shop, get back to work, then on the way home I lose one of the sides of the bookcase.

Flatbeds have certain advantages but arriving with everything still on the truck isn’t one of them. I usually stop along the way to check all the straps. Not this time. So I’m taking a turn off Route 2 in Garden City, about a mile from the humble manse, and I hear lumber hit the street. Pull over and hop out just in time to see it get run over with a KA-THUNK KA-THUNK!

While jogging back after it, I’m thinking, I can fix that.


I can still fix it.


Eh, okay…

So, turn the truck around, drive back down to North Kingstown, make another one.

Too bad it wasn’t a shelf that had fallen off. No, it’s one of the uprights that has 28 cuts in it: 90 degrees across the bottom, 30 degrees across the top, rabbet down the back, eight futzy little saw cuts for the door and window openings, 15 domino bores precisely located, three of them this wide, 12 of them that wide…

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Here’s the real solution. One of these winters soon I want to build a woodie body for the ’49 truck.

The original steel box can be restored but with more welding than it’s worth to me. I could fix the steel fenders, use the original tailgate, build just the box out of wood; a custom take on the classic woodie style of the pre-war era. I say “pre,” this happens to be a ’47 Ford above, so it wasn’t all completely over at that point. But definitely on the way out.


I’m behind on motorcycle matters, might as well disclose that. The plan was to clean & reseal the entire fuel-injection module: new MAP sensor, new intake gaskets, clean all the electrical connections. The shotgun approach to diagnosis: fix everything whether it needs it or not.

Except… when I sit down to do this little job on the front porch yesterday, the actual problem leaps out at me. It jumps right up out of the parts bucket. I’d been looking for something subtle and the actual failure was obvious. Finally, I just see it.

It was as if Yogi Berra rode up on an iron piggy and said, “You can see a lot by looking,” and “You can observe a lot just by watching,” etc.





I see that this is this and jettison all notions of this possibly being that. The secret of life in a nutshell, follow it all the way back from Berra to DeNiro’s Deerhunter to Blake to Socrates: See what is.



Right down there in the bore, broken shaft on the butterfly. No wonder the piggy couldn’t compute how to match fuel to throttle position & incoming air. Naturally, she’s revving high at idle, bogging on the highway…

If that loose screw had fallen out of the broken shaft it would have been sucked into one of the cylinders, and then a lot of other parts would have suddenly been broken. Who has time for an engine overhaul right now?



I’ll run after a throttle body at Ocean State Harley this week. Or maybe treat the broken shaft as an excuse to have the old unit bored & ported & re-butterflied at J.E.T. in Westerly. It would flow more air but I don’t know if that would be of any performance benefit, given that piggy runs stock cams and a vintage displacement of a mere 88 c.i. Will give a call and see what Robert and/or Bob thinks.


That’s about it, except to note, in closing, that I had promised to watch Memoirs of a Geisha with the bride, since she read the book and liked it so much. On Friday I followed through. Somewhat.

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The story appears to be about Japanese gals walking, talking, wearing makeup and parachutes. I remained awake long enough to feel certain I wasn’t going to miss a good rickshaw chase or an exploding pagoda.

Tony DePaul, October 26, 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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13 Responses to This is this

  1. Bill Boogaart says:

    Lumber hitting the street. Been there, done that didn’t bother with the tshirt.

  2. Chris Whitney says:

    Better a mechanical failure in black and white than some electrical/electronic gremlin you can never pin down. Maybe your Westerly guys can just re-butterfly it with the stock bore? Is that a verb?

  3. Jan says:

    Why did I read that last sentence as being about watching for exploding pandas?

    • Tony says:

      Funny, I just read your comment as being about exploding panderers, must be all those election commercials I’ve been fast-forwarding through.

  4. Kerry Kohring says:

    Yeah, broken shaft on the butterfly – so obvious I saw it right away.


  5. John Lassiter says:

    So the butterfly shaft isn’t available separately? And you DID miss the exploding rickshaw.

    • Tony says:

      Nope, no such parts in the parts book, throttle body is considered non-serviceable, I guess. Not crazy-costly at $175, though, so that’s good.

  6. Ralph says:

    Girls look great Grandpa!

  7. Vincent Ogutu says:

    Had me there. For a moment I thought you’d sneaked into a baby shower!

  8. Jon Brush says:

    Good one, Moe. I like the subtle interweaving of the Harley butterfly problem and the geisha story (remember Madame Butterfly?). Bet you thought we would miss that…


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