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February 15, 2013

Friday Fun: Wheelbarrow Pitstop
Filed under: Ned Weirdness — Tags: — nedpelger

These guys look like they’re having some fun. Oh to be young.


Hope you have yourself a fun weekend. It will be what you make it.


February 7, 2013

Beware Revision Clouds
Filed under: Ned Weirdness — Tags: — nedpelger

My buddy Kneal sent me this photo that made me laugh out loud.

Before you decide I just fell off the turnip truck, I know that no one really saw this revision cloud and hole sawed that opening. I’m sure some wise guy looked up and saw the cloud-like shape and had a great idea for PhotoShop.

The photo reminds me of a story from my friend Bob Navitiski. He was working as an inspecting engineer down at the Philadelphia Ship Yards in the 1970s. He warned the contractor that their was a buried water line in the vicinity of their digging. They spent a day or so carefully digging pits and trying to find this rogue line.

After he went back to the drawings, he realized that what looked like a line on the old prints was actually a fold in the paper. They had been searching for a fold.

Construction isn’t for the perfectionist or the faint of heart. We do our best and keep moving forward, otherwise this crazy business would drive us to drink.


January 25, 2013

Wise Guy Friday
Filed under: Ned Weirdness — Tags: — nedpelger

One of the great joys of working in construction is the jobsite humor. Most of us that chose this industry are a little off and our sense of humor tends that way as well. Lots of quick witted guys and a high threshold for what’s considered offensive combines for lots of laughs on the jobsite.

So on the occasional Friday, I will post some Wise Guy thoughts that I’ve encountered that amuse me. John Wilkes, who lived in England in the 1700s, was one of the great smartassess of all time.

For instance, when told by a constituent that he would rather vote for the devil, Wilkes responded: “Naturally.” He then added: “And if your friend decides against standing, can I count on your vote?”

John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, supposedly said to Wilkes, “Sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox.”

To which Wilkes replied, “That depends, my lord, on whether I embrace your lordship’s principles or your mistress.”

I came across the chart below that also made me laugh, so thought I’d include it.

Hope you have a great weekend.


January 11, 2013

Butt Popping and Other Friday Fun
Filed under: Ned Weirdness — Tags: — nedpelger

Being able to help others with our building skills is one of the advantages of working in this wild construction business. Whether volunteering on a Habitat for Humanity house project or re-building from Sandy storm damage, we can jump in and offer expert help. Traveling to a Third World country to assist on a short term building project, as another option, can change your world.

Closer to home, we often help our families. I recall my old superintendent buddy Mike Safstrom talking about teaching his son-in-law about using tools and working together on projects. Teaching those skills challenges in the best circumstances, but the added stress of the father-in-law to son-in-law relationship (“You’re doing what to my daughter?”) ups the ante.

Nevertheless, I jump into projects with my son-in-law on their new old house in Bucks County. The joy far outweighs the aggravation.

Grandson Levin, full of two year oldness, first noticed his own flatulence the other day. He heard the sound, looked around behind him in surprise and exclaimed, “Hey, my butt just popped!”

Think about using your skills to help others (you don’t need to be that busy with work) and experience some butt popping joy of your own.


December 19, 2012

You’ve been Tagged in a Photo
Filed under: Ned Weirdness — Tags: — nedpelger

If you do Facebook, Google+ or other social media, you’ve probably gotten emails saying, “You’ve been tagged in a photo.” I think our natural response is “Let’s have a quick look.”

So I got one of those “You’ve been tagged in a photo” emails yesterday from my friend Kneal and immediately followed the link to check it out. Here’s what I saw.

I laughed hard because that photo describes the way I sometimes feel on the jobsite. At least when someone asks, “Who’s the jackass in charge here?” everyone knows the answer.


December 18, 2012

Man’s Man Stocking Stuffers
Filed under: Ned Weirdness — Tags: — nedpelger

I always try to watch Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life each Christmas. One of the many quotes I like is from the bartender, talking to the odd angel who orders an odd drink.

Nick: Hey look, mister – we serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast, and we don’t need any characters around to give the joint “atmosphere”. Is that clear, or do I have to slip you my left for a convincer?

Construction sites are full of real men, though hopefully not all of whom want to get drunk fast. But what does the real construction man want for Christmas? The fun site The Art of Manliness has a suggestion of 50 Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Men.

Some of my favorites, along with their descriptions, include:

Duncan Yo-Yo

Even as a grown man, I enjoy getting a kid’s toy in my stocking. It’s fun to have something to play with on Christmas morning and it just makes me feel like a boy again. You can’t go wrong with stuffing a stocking with an Imperial yo-yo from Duncan Yo-Yos. Besides giving a dad or uncle a chance to show off some cool tricks to the kiddos on Christmas morning, throwing the yo-yo is a surprisingly great activity for quieting the mind when you’re sorting through a problem. You can find yo-yo’s at most toy stores for about $4.

Everyday Carry Items

According to the Every-Day Carry website, “Everyday Carry, or EDC, generally refers to small items or gadgets worn, carried, or made available in pockets, holsters, or bags on a daily basis to manage common tasks or for use in unexpected situations or emergencies. In a broader sense, it is a lifestyle, discipline, or philosophy of preparedness.” If you know a guy who ascribes to the EDC philosophy, nothing will delight him more than seeing some cool new pocket-sized things in his stocking. We’ve already covered pocket knives, flashlights, and handkerchiefs, but there are many more handy and neat things available. Creek Stewart, the Senior Instructor at the Willow Haven Outdoor School for Survival, Preparedness & Bushcraft, and pretty much my favorite AoM contributor of all time, carries a lot of great items in his store, like a manual military can opener, an EDC survival saw, and a mini Swedish firesteel. By the way,while it probably won’t fit in a stocking, Creek’s recently released book – Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit – should find a place under every man’s tree this year. I used its detailed, easy-to-follow instructions to finally put together my own BOB this year.

Balsa Wood Airplanes

Another fun toy to give a man in his stocking stuffer is a balsa wood airplane. They’re easy to put together and you’ll have a blast tossing them around the house. The Duluth Trading Co. is offering a squadron of 12 made by a company that’s been making the planes here in America for decades. $27

So there are a few ideas for a man’s man stocking stuffers.


November 16, 2012

I Threw a Bucket of Cold Water in my Face this Morning
Filed under: Ned Weirdness — nedpelger

Just in case you’re feeling sorry for yourself this morning, I’ll share how my day started. As usual, I filled a big bucket of water in the sink while finishing breakfast. I give the water to our donkey (Delilah) each morning as well as a bit of hay.

As I stepped onto the three stone steps at Delilah’s water bucket, I tripped and fell forward. My bucket, filled with water, hit the ground and a big splash of water came up and soaked my face, head and coat. I was dumbfounded…and just dumb.

With water dripping off me, I thought, “I just threw a cold bucket of water in my face. How does that even happen?” I’m still not really sure, but I think the bucket hit the ground so hard that the water bounced up into my face as I was falling up the steps.

I’m grateful I didn’t get hurt, as I was falling into a fence post, but caught myself before face planting into it. So I feel proud for having caught myself and not getting hurt, stupid for falling at all and mostly I just feel wet.

Here’s hoping your day started better and both our days get better from here.


November 1, 2012

The Bridge of Doom
Filed under: Ned Weirdness — Tags: — nedpelger

What makes you laugh? For most of us, seeing someone do something stupid and being glad it’s not us does the trick. One of my favorite quotes comes from a character in Dostoyevski’s The Idiot, “Above all, I don’t want to appear ridiculous”.

The video below lets us bask in the ridiculous behavior of truck and RV drivers not paying attention to a 11′-8″ bridge clearance sign. Just watch it and let yourself laugh. It’s great medicine. Because, “If you can’t laugh at other people, who can you laugh at?”


As I laughed at the stupid drivers, I thought back to last year when I rented a UHaul to move our youngest daughter into a new apartment. As I drove through a stone arch bridge I heard what sounded like a deer rifle fire next to me. Turns out I wasn’t quite near enough to the center of the arch and my truck’s radius intersected the bridge circumference. The damage was slight to the truck, but it scared the jeebers out of me. I added “Truck Driver” to that long list of occupations I’m probably not suited for.

Construction is a great fit for those of us who don’t really fit anywhere else.


October 19, 2012

Friday Fun (on a Road Bike): Bridges and Dams and Rails, Oh My
Filed under: Ned Weirdness — Tags: — nedpelger

If you have any interest in biking, and what the heck, even if you don’t, watch this cool video below. This guy rides through Great Britain showing the most amazing bike handling skills with charming background scenery. Watch till the end, as the tricks keep getting better.


Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Remember to laugh, be amazed and show appreciation.


October 4, 2012

Old Fashioned Customer Service
Filed under: Ned Weirdness — Tags: — nedpelger

I found the letters below at a young friend’s blog Perpenduum and they make me laugh out loud. Have a quick read:

I love unexpected and clever responses, especially to self-important jerks.

While humor can be risky, the management of a construction project provides too many opportunities to pass up. Don’t be too worried about offending someone, if they can’t take a joke…well, I guess they need to learn how.

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