Continued cold means heating complaints but ice-fishing fun

To this scribe, the time to report on the doings of the Old Men of the Mountain seems to come closer and closer. This scribe feels like he just finished typing the previous one and now it is time to type another and this one is for Tuesday, Feb. 11.

On Tuesday, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh and it was cold again, but by now most of the OFs are used to it, except those with stents; that cold air gets to them. 

To continue with the complaint that has been growing with the OFs, and that is keeping the home warm and how much it is beginning to cost, one OF mentioned that he does a lot with solar energy.  His panel system puts out 6,000 watts (if this scribe understood him correctly).

So this OF could make coffee, 200 watts; make toast, 800 to 1,500 watts; have the refrigerator running, 600 watts; have the furnace running, 800 to 1200 watts; fry eggs and bacon in an electric frying pan, 1,200 watts; and do a load of laundry 500 watts; watch TV, etc. and have wattage left over. Not bad and all free energy.

The energy is free, but the solar system is definitely not. Eventually though, there will be a payback and, if it were started when the OF was a YF, he may make it. Then again, at what age does it mean you are an YF? As the OF’s age, the YF age seem to become older.

The discussion on energy suggested that somehow we (meaning the country) have to wean ourselves from fossil fuels, or natural gas and propane, just for heating homes, businesses, and domestic use. The OFs think this would free up oil and propane for running equipment such as trucks, ships, trains, and planes and subsequently lower costs.

The OFs started talking about co-gen plants that burn everything from tires to rice hulls to generate electricity, and, if we can get electric power down to something reasonable in price, we could return to using that.

One OF complained that he signed up for 100-percent wind power and pays a premium per kilowatt on his power bill and yet his bill jumped by 80 bucks. This OF is wondering why is he paying for the propane-usage fee if, in essence, he doesn’t use it.

“Something is wrong here,” this OF said.

This energy movement isn’t going to die; it is becoming a real problem, according to the OFs, and, as mentioned last week, they fervently believe it is all a scam.

 Star struck

The OFs talked about the movie, Grumpy Old Men, with Jack Lemon, and Walter Matthau. What brought this discussion up was that one OF visited friends in that part of the country and this OF visited the motel that these two stars stayed at while they were filming in Minnesota.

The motel has pictures of Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau with some of the staff at the motel. The OFs talked about how funny a movie Grumpy Old Men is and some of the OFs fit right in with these two.

If you haven’t seen the movie, you might want to know much of it is about ice fishing, and the movie is something like Lawrence of Arabia. In the Lawrence of Arabia movie (about half-way through), the people in the audience felt like taking their shirts off. In Grumpy Old Men, the same audience wanted to put on another coat.

One OF said that, if you ask an OF to bundle up and go out and get the mail on a cold, blustery winter day, there may be an argument. Ask the same OF if he wants to go ice fishing, the OF has his gear on before the suggestion is over. Go figure.

One OF said that Minnesota has more lakes in it than the rest of the country combined. This scribe thinks this OF might mean “more than any other state.”   The word “combined” would mean an awful lot of water. (Google it coming on).

Tough to top

Those OFs who watched the opening ceremonies to the Winter Olympics were duly impressed. The ceremonies were spectacular, especially the ending with the twirling dancers that looked like fireflies.

The OFs were wondering how they could do that and not fall over. One OF said he got dizzy just watching them.

The OFs mentioned the little 11-year-old girl who was dreaming the dream that the whole show was based on. She was flying through the air during the opening show (after breaking her arm in rehearsal) and she still went on with her performance at the opening ceremonies. A real trouper.

One OF mentioned this is like the game “Can You Top This.” The next opening of the Olympic Games is going to try and be better or more outlandish; however, this one is going to be tough to top.

Finally, the OFs talked about this good, old-fashioned winter with all the snow on the ground and buildings. (At our ages what’s so good about it?  Let’s just call it an old-fashioned winter.) This winter is not going away because of the cold.

As one OG said, “The snow does not melt and make room for more; it just keeps piling up.”

This OG said he still has snow from the first snowfall. The guys who plow driveways with their pickup trucks are having a heyday this winter.

“Yeah,” an additional OF said. “If they don’t wear their trucks out before the winter is over.” 

Those OFs who were at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh, and a few who still do their own plowing were: Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Otis Lawyer, Andy Tinning, Steve Kelly, Miner Stevens, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Roger Shafer, Chuck Aleseio, Bill Rice, Bill Krause, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Ken Hughes, Henry Whipple, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Guest, and me.