Fri. Sept. 25, 2020 – month and week are almost gone by

Cool and overcast.

Thursday was both cooler and overcast.  I did some cleanup in the driveway, which mostly involved dumping out water from any place it accumulated.  I’m pretty confident that we got slightly more than 12 inches over the last few days.  Three different containers had that much water in them.

I managed to get a bunch of little things done.  Mostly cleaning and organizing, but also ordering some stuff.  I ordered the weird N size batteries for one of my night vision devices, and moved that case out of the house into the garage for storage.  I ordered the switch for the drain cleaner machine I bought.  I have to clear our main kitchen drain line twice a year.  The machine will pay for itself in one year or less.  I’m hoping the current snake is a good size to work with my pipes.  I’ll see when I use it I guess.  One less thing to call a specialist for, or make the trip to the rental yard.

I received the power switch for my new mower, just in time to cut the grass this weekend.  Hope that goes in without difficulty.

The national security situation continues to fluctuate locally.  The rioters in STL went right to shooting and firebombs this time.    That’s an escalation.  Riots in other uninvolved cities too.

I never did hear what our local disturbance was about.  The coppers did chase the guy around my neighborhood, and the FB group says “low speed chase”.     The disturbance at the neighbor’s house a couple of nights ago seems to have been a domestic.  His girlfriend was the one in the squad car, and she hasn’t been back around since.

I did a bit more research on the possible lake house, and surrounding area, looked at some historical topo maps and current maps.  There is a 2 acre lot for $24k with lake ‘view’ that also caught my eye.  There are smaller lots for $9-14K 1/4 and 1/2 acre, unimproved, in the same area.  If there are lots still around this lake, there are probably lots around others not too far away.  You might be surprised if you go looking.  Better to have somewhere definite to go, if you have to go…

Speaking of my lake house stay, I had a couple of lessons learned to share.

–the matches I’ve been carrying in a tube in my Dopp kit for the last few years didn’t light.  They weren’t damp exactly, but they weren’t dry either.  I didn’t have a lighter due to air travel restrictions.  I DID have a bunch of fire starting stuff in my wife’s car in the ‘bail out kit’.   The commercial fire lighter sticks that look like square slim jim sausages work very well, even if they are years old.  I will be adding some of the big brick of lighters to all sorts of places, including my carry on bag.

–I have been carrying one of those cheap hotel corkscrews for years.  Used it for the first time last weekend.  It was pretty flimsy, but got the job done.  Happy wife, happy life…

–I like to carry my little shortwave radio on trips to the country.  I forgot it.   I was a tiny bit disappointing.

–one of the neighbors was a ham with a big antenna setup.  They aren’t subtle, if it ever turns out to be a liability.  If I needed help, I would consider a fellow ham before random strangers.  Conversely, I’d be willing to help if approached by another ham.

–I know NOTHING useful about fishing in Texas.  I need someone to help me go through all the fishing gear I’ve accumulated and help set me up for salt and fresh water fishing.  Some lessons would be useful too.  The kids have expressed interest in fishing, and I’d like to be able to encourage that.

–Modern kayaks are inexpensive and fun.  I looked at a map once and discovered that I could get from my folk’s house south of Chicago, all the way to Peoria IL and beyond by water… probably all the way to New Orleans although I didn’t map that.

–there are pipelines everywhere.  If you know what to look for while driving you will see the markers, and the cuts through the forest.  Pipeline rights of way might be an easier and less traveled path if you ever had to walk out, or ride a dirt bike, or atv.  Look for them if you think things might get that bad.

–I had no cell service at all in the rental house, except one room upstairs.  My wife has a wifi calling app so she barely noticed.  I don’t.  It was radio silence for me.  I don’t think I’ll be ebaying the cell booster I have sitting here at the house.

–I’ve been stacking stuff for a second home for a long time.  It would be nice to actually use it.  This lockdown has proven the wisdom of having stuff, and backups to the stuff, to me and to my wife (not that I needed convincing, but she’s always been skeptical past a certain point.)

Well, that’s it for now, I’ve got auction pickups and gardening and repairs to do.  Maybe I’ll get some of it done…

Meanwhile, keep improving your position, and keep stacking.

 

nick

Mon. Aug. 3, 2020 – new month, new week, same stuff on my list

Warmer, wetter, swamp-ier.

Because yesterday wasn’t humid enough, it rained.  And got to over 100F in my yard, even without sun.

But I mostly didn’t do much anyway.  Sometimes I hurt, sometimes I didn’t.  Didn’t want to push it too much in any case.

Cleaned the pool, opened a power supply that let the smoke out to show the daughter what magic smoke smells like, piddled around.

I did get a crossbow pistol in an auction, and I got it together and shot it a few times.  It says it is a 25 pound pull, and it looks like a toy, but it was putting quarrels 4 inches deep into the same target our little bows were putting arrows 2  inches deep.   It is a toy, really, but I sure wouldn’t want to be in front of it.  I’ll probably add a fishing reel and set it up as a line thrower for getting temporary wire antennas up into trees.    It’s really unpleasant to shoot, not fun at all.  The frame is polymer, and the spring is a nasty piece of shaped spring steel.   Lots of sharp edges and it takes two fingers to pull the trigger.  Using it once or twice a year sounds about right.

Dinner was courtesy of oldest daughter.  She wanted to make spaghetti and meatballs.  Do we have any hamburger defrosted?  No, but we do have frozen meatballs…. and lots of pasta.  So she heated everything up and we had dinner from stores.

I’ve done a pretty good job of stocking the larder.  There are things that tripped me up, mainly when my wife wants to cook.  She uses stuff I don’t even think about.  Diced tomatoes for example.  I have diced tomatoes with chilis.  I have tomato paste.  No plain diced, because I don’t use them.  Same with Worcestershire sauce.  I ordered a couple of bottles on my last HEB order because I had none on the shelves and she used the last in the cupboard.  So if your spouse isn’t fully involved in your stacking, find some way to address the things s/he uses and buys, that you don’t even think about, or you’ll be the goat and not the hero when the item is needed.

If you think you’re all set, and just need to add more of what you’ve already got, you’re probably missing something.  So look for gaps, and keep stacking.

nick

 

Thur. July 9, 2020 – catching up with stuff

Hot.  Humid.  Hot.

Yesterday was hot, and I spent hours in the sun going through my auction purchases.  Won some, lost some.  Only one $30 item wasn’t what I thought and was a total loss.   It’s surprising how quickly $1, $6, and $12 items add up to real money.  I’ve got to get busy and list the stuff for resale so I can keep the stuff I want to keep.

And pay for a new freezer full of meat.  ‘Cuz freezers only stay cold when they’re plugged in.  I can go through the whole ‘for the want of a nail’ chain, but the upshot is I didn’t get my  new freezer into it’s safe and forever home, and it got unplugged.   I WAS checking it at least every day to be sure it was cold but I stopped.  And now I’ll be replacing all the meat, butter, lard, and bread that I put in there.  F me.  At least the stores are still open and we won’t go hungry.  Still a costly mistake.

Lowes updated me that my replacement door is available for pickup.   It showed ‘in stock’ at my local when I bought it, but I immediately got an email that it wouldn’t be available until the 12th.  Since it’s only the 9th, I guess I should be grateful…  hopefully they’ll have my food safe buckets too.  Curbside pickup, here I come.

Projects.  I’ve got em’.

Time and motivation are what’s missing.

So I better get moving.

Stack it high, but keep and eye on it…

 

nick

 

Tues. May 26, 2020 – running errands today

Hot and humid, possibly some more rain.

Yesterday was hot and humid until it was cooler and humid, then finally we got some more rain. Oddly it seemed warmer with the rain.

We did get some nice sun during the day.

I still wasn’t feeling 100%, between back pain and ‘weather knee’ so I didn’t do much. Did manage some more work in the garage, and I can see progress, just less and more slowly than I’d like.

Pulled some bike parts out of thin air to keep my wife’s project moving along, and yet no connection between doing that and having all the stuff hanging around. Hmmm.

Had some fun with the archery stuff in the evening. Youth bows and practice arrows mean you can have fun in a much smaller space. And given the number of arrows in the returned merch for sale in our local amazon returns auction, I’m not the only one who thought archery would be a good way to pass the time during the isolation.

Did a quick check of the gardens and fruit trees. Picked and ate a small handful of blueberries with Kid2. Some of the small ones were really sweet and delicious.

Dinner was a prepper fail. It was supposed to be pork ribs on the grill. But, time got away from me and the ribs were in the fridge too long. Vac seal was good, but they smelled bad. I hated throwing them away, but there was no way I could justify the risk of eating them. I kept meaning to seal and freeze them, but didn’t and suddenly it was 3 weeks later. So we ate sausage and red beans and rice. Frozen kielbasa, Knorr side dish rb&r… It was good. Meat was a bit spicy, and the rb&r were not. Kids prefer less spicy.

Today I’ll be headed over to my client’s house again. We had a big storm and he’s got gear that isn’t working. I think we lost his DSL modem, and possibly the network switch, and at least one of the patio TVs. I’ll know better later.

And I’ll keep chipping away at the projects.

Keep stacking.

nick

Fri. Sept. 20, 2019 – so I learned some things…

77F and wet.  Probably.

Boy did we get some rain yesterday.  And I got stuck at the kids’ school, where I was able to help out, and everything worked out ok, but…

Turns out there are some holes in my vehicular preps, and in aspects of my current habits and lifestyle.  NB-I don’t typically carry a BOB or GHB or any other specific bag in my truck.  I’ve got a couple of totes in the back with extra stuff, and my EDC.  I thought that was pretty good, and it is.

I usually have some additional supplements like energy bars tucked away, but I ate them.  Day before yesterday and I didn’t replace them.  I usually refill my gas tank whenever there is a storm coming, and whenever it gets low.  I didn’t notice the level on Wednesday, and it beeped at me on the way to school- 50 miles to empty.  No problem, I’ll fill up on the way home.  Except what if I get stuck in the water on the way and need to wait out the flooding?  Not enough gas to do that.  My friend took 3 hours to get home with his kids.   I certainly didn’t have 3 hours worth of gas, to go less than 5 miles.

I have shirts, sweatshirts, pullover windbreakers, and long pants in the truck.  I’ve got hat and mittens when it’s cold.  I’ve got yellow plastic rain gear, ponchos, and even a set of FroggToggs.  No socks.  No dry shoes.  That’s a big oversight.

I don’t carry my ‘daddy bag’ anymore, so I don’t have a change of clothes for the kids.  It’s been a long time since one had an ‘accident’.

A couple of days ago, I had a case of Mountain House in the truck.  Yesterday I had only two expired MREs (the date doesn’t bother me) and USCG approved lifeboat survival bars.  Plenty of water, soda, and cans of flavored water… and I’d even added instant iced tea to put in the plain water.  I did so and drank that during the afternoon.  Had we been stranded at school overnight (and we have school friends in walking distance, so that was EXTREMELY unlikely) the kids and I would have eaten MREs in the truck while everyone else dined on microwave popcorn.  I did share a big Costco bag of candy that I was taking to my gunstore buddy.  Daughter used it to earn points with her friends.

The biggest problem is that there are only two real driveable ways into the school’s neighborhood, and BOTH are subject to flooding.  If we were desperate, I would have taken the chance on the deeper intersection.   I could see vehicles making it through and had a good idea of depth, but I also couldn’t get good info about the next step in my route.  I retreated to safety and comfort, deciding that the unknown and risk was not worth it to sit at home for the afternoon.

The situation might have been different if I was trying to GET to school and pick them up in an emergency.  This was not an emergency.  No one should have wrecked a car in an attempt to pick up the kids from a fully functional school, in the middle of the day.

It’s amazing the speed and reckless regard with which some people entered the high water.  They didn’t even wait to see how the guy in front of them made out.  Some pulled out around me, while I was watching the other guy go, and sped on ahead.  No way could they have seen the other guys success or failure before entering.  Dumb doesn’t even begin to cover it.

This being Houston, one of the items in my tote is a professional personal flotation device, designed for people who work on the water.  It will auto inflate, but most of the time stays out of your way.  It’s the first item in the tote.  If there ever came a day when I felt compelled to enter high water, I can at least gear up first.  I have a short rescue rope on top too.

My Expy is currently full of cr@p to the point I couldn’t have taken 2 extra kids with me, only one.  I’ve got a lot of auction stuff piled in the back and on the back seat.  That stuff needs to get out of my truck.

I need to add some Mountain House, durable snacks, and kid clothes to the tote.  I need to move a pair of sturdy shoes and a good pair of socks to the tote.   I may even set up a 3 gallon bucket as a toilet for the truck, and leave it in there.   (the 5 gallon with the seat only goes with us when I think or know we’ll want it.  Like 4 hours in a parking lot, watching fireworks,  It’s too big to live in my truck 24/7.)

The kids have grown, and I haven’t changed my truck pack much.

Meanwhile, my wife was stuck at her work.  I reminded her that there were at least a couple of powerbars in the ‘resource kit’ in her minivan.  She decided to stay at work, where they had food, light, AC, and work to do, rather than move through flooded streets.  Maybe I’ll be able to stash a bit more in her vehicle, ‘for the children’ now.  (FWIW, the thing we’ve used most often from her kit is fire starter and matches.)  She waited for clear streets and drove home without incident.

We’re supposed to get more rain.  I hope not, but I guess we’ll see.  This was a good opportunity to find holes in my preps without any resulting drama…and I’m going to use the gift to get better.

nick

Sun. Sept. 1, 2019 – yikes, we’re headed for fall

Cool and humid, I’m guessing.  [90F in the shade, 100F in the driveway at noon.]

It did get hot yesterday, but locally spotty rain and high winds kept temps down.  It was relatively cool at my secondary location, which gave me a chance to work on restacking stuff that needed restacking.

I found a package of Kirkland AAA batteries, labeled “good til 2023” that all burst and grew big mounds of gunk by their ends.  That will be going back to Costco.  I’m keeping rough track of my spoilage as I go through the stuff I put up in 2014 during Ebola 1.  So far, it’s the batteries and two cases of UHT milk.  The milk is a fairly short lived product, not suited to long term storage.  $36 gone so far.  I put it up for fairly immediate use, and because of the kids, but I haven’t put any milk in long or even medium term storage in a couple years.  I do still have some liter boxes, but they are really only backup for cereal if I miss a trip to the grocery store.  I’ve got Nido powder on the shelf for long term.

I’ve shifted away from the Nestle’ canned “medium table cream” too.  It will turn to a block of cheese-like substance in the can if it sits too long.  I have been stocking powdered cream instead.

I suppose I should count the case of instant mashed potatoes too, since they died in the garage storage.

Maybe I’ll try a carton of hash browns this morning… they are from the same period and are probably high in fat.  High fat items seem to fare the worst.

The prepper bible says ‘store what you eat, eat from your stores’ and that will help you rotate your food.  I’ve known from the beginning that there were items I stored that we do not normally eat, or that we eat in much too small a quantity to ever keep up with the rotation.  Most of those items are shelf stable meals (which are generally horrible tasting) in my ‘medium term’ stores, or bulk items like rice and flour, salt and sugar.  The shelf stable meals aren’t cheap, but they do go on sale.  The flour and rice are  so cheap I don’t mind replacing them (although the totals will add up.)  Salt and sugar don’t go bad if vermin are kept out.

My storage conditions are far from ideal, but having food and getting some spoilage is much preferred to not having food that doesn’t spoil.  So I deal with it and accept that there will be losses.

What isn’t good form is losing track of it.  I’ve got a lot of improperly stored panic buys at my secondary location.  Ebola spooked the heck out of me last time around so I was just throwing food into storage.  I’ll be going through it as I dig it out over the next few weeks.

I’ll be sharing the results so all y’all can benefit too.

And now, I better go cook some breakfast.

 

n

 

Fri. Aug. 10, 2018 – prepper fail!

Back in the swamp, I mean Tree City USA, I mean Bayou City, I mean… Houston. 80F at 8am.

So. Prepper fail.

Yep. I left my carry on bag at the house we were staying at. My airline ‘bug out bag’. My ‘get home bag’. I left it. Sitting on the bedroom floor. Didn’t realize until returning the rental car, and that was too late. I’ll get it UPS’d to me next week, but I was NAKED for my flight.

What didn’t I have?

No change of shirts and underwear
No ‘one day’ of meds
No reading glasses
No blow out kit
No boo boo kit
No first responder IDs (CERT, ham radio, Constable’s program)
No snacks or water bottle
No electronics- 2 kindles and a tablet
No chargers or batteries
No noise cancelling headphones
No shortwave radio or dual band ham radio
No backup money, $1000 in cash, 1 oz gold in coins, extra clean credit card
No loyalty cards
No toys for the kids (2x nintendo DS)
No rain jacket

Like I said, NAKED.

And I made it home fine. I was almost caught by irony as there was a hail storm in Houston that could have messed up my travel, exactly the sort of thing my bag is meant to make more tolerable. Imagine that I needed all that crap for once and didn’t have it because I’m an idiot. Fortunately it didn’t.

Home safe, but VERY weird to be on an airplane without the comfort and convenience stuff I’ve become accustom to.

Because I AM a prepper, I did have my ID, money, phone, and FLASHLIGHT. I always carry that on my person. Especially on a plane, you need that base level of stuff on you. DON’T put it in your bag. If you have to get off the plane in a hurry, you won’t be allowed to bring your bag. Then you’ll be sitting in a shelter area without your id, money, or phone.

LEARN from my stupidity! Double check. Even a seasoned traveler can have a lapse.

n

Fri. May 11, 2018 – again?

72F and humid, but clear skies. Should be another hot sweaty day here in Houston.

Friday again. More school activities. More stuff to do around the house. More, more, more…

This week I ordered (and received some) parts to rebuild the Portacool cooler I pulled from the trash. It should help me work outside in the heat, so I’m calling that a prep. It’s the reciprocal of making sure you have heat in the winter for those of us in a warm climate.

I think I won this round with the caterpillars that would eat my grape vines. I’ll keep an eye on them. Not sure what to do if you don’t have the right pest control. Soapy water and picking them off by hand seem to be the recommendation. Growing food takes a lot of time and effort if you don’t have access to modern tools. There’s a reason farm employment is down to like 1% of the population here.

The rats continue to make their presence known. I’m VERY reluctant to re-establish my shelves of food while I know there are some around. So the food sits in big black bins in stacks in the driveway. Even though it’s not as much food as I’d like, it still takes up more space than you’d think, stacked in the driveway. It’s also more difficult to USE the food when it’s in random stacked bins.

What have I learned from the rats? For canned food, a simple sheet of cardboard on top of the flat of cans would have kept the rat ‘debris’ off the can tops.

For boxed food, I’m not buying any more unless the contents are in plastic bags. The packaging can get ‘wet’ or otherwise damaged, and the food stays usable. Cheap pasta seems to be the biggest issue, with the pasta just in the treated cardboard.

For cases of plastic containers, like fruit cups, rotation is key. The damnable rats ate into the case from the rear, ate out the contents, and I never saw an indication… but when I went to pick up the case, it was nothing but an empty box, filled with empty cups and ‘debris’.

Rats are smart, adaptable, and seem to communicate. You probably won’t be able to get them with the same trick twice. This means lots of different control strategies.

Be aggressive in your response. I was tepid, let them get established, and they ate some very expensive food (and a ton of cheap food too). I’m still fighting them. They will eat your cooking oil, flavor packets, sauce mixes, shelf stable, pouch meals, boxed food, and anything else they can get their teeth through. They will ruin you cans if it goes on too long, even if they can’t eat them. Man up and KILL the little thieves.

So, what have you done or learned this week?

n

Monday, 17 July 2017

09:06 – It was 78.7F (26C) when I took Colin out at 0800, bright and partly cloudy. That’s the latest Colin has let me sleep in for at least several months.

Barbara spent all day yesterday doing a deep clean to get rid of the drywall dust, which was everywhere. I spent an hour or so wiping down the kitchen cabinets and counters. She’s satisfied now with the whole house, other than the LTS food room and unfinished basement area, which still need some work.

Speaking of LTS, Barbara made up a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese the other night. As she was making it, she commented that the best-by date was three years ago, in the summer of 2014, and asked if it would be okay. I told her it would be fine. As we were eating dinner, she commented that it tasted a bit “off” to her, and asked what I thought. I told her it tasted the same to me as it always had, which was to say not very good. I’ve never liked it. Their powdered cheese sauce sucks, especially compared with the similar Velveeta product, which is actual sauce in a foil packet.

She said she’d just pitch what we had left, which is probably a couple of dozen boxes. I told her the pasta was perfectly fine, but to go ahead and pitch the cheese sauce packets if she wanted to. So we’ll open the boxes, transfer the pasta to a #10 can or whatever, and discard the cheese packets.

Email overnight from Kathy. Still no Mylar bags or oxygen absorbers from LDS, so she decided to transfer as much of the cornmeal as they had 1-liter bottles for. It comes in paper sacks, so even without an oxygen absorber it’s better stored in PET bottles than paper. And they have a continuing supply of those 1-liter bottles and use cornmeal only a cup or two at a time, so one liter is a good size container for it.


10:06 – I just signed up for Netflix DVD’s, two-at-a-time plan. The last time we got DVD’s from Netflix was five years ago. Since then, we’ve used only Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming.

There’s not much left on Netflix streaming we want to watch, other than some of the series Barbara follows. Most of those are also available on DVD. There are some interesting exceptions. For example, she follows Blue Bloods, which is currently available through season 7 on streaming, but only season 6 on disc, presumably because S7 hasn’t yet been released on DVD. Also, Heartland (which I first discovered on Netflix DVD) now has zero seasons available on DVD. That doesn’t matter. I BT current episodes as they’re released, collect them to watch all at once when the season is complete, usually in April or May, and then buy the DVD set when it becomes available, usually in September.

There’s a ton of stuff we’d like to watch that’s on DVD but not available on NF or Amazon streaming, including all seasons of the Australian series A Place to Call Home and the New Zealand series The Brokenwood Mysteries. I also added one to our DVD queue that Barbara has been waiting to watch since the last time we were getting DVDs. It’s about Mist, a BC puppy. It’s currently listed as “very long wait”, so I put it at the top of our queue, assuming that as new members we’ll get preference in getting it shipped to us.


The last time I made caramel sauce, it was good but never really set up. That was fine, because I was using it on ice cream. Last night, we made up another batch to a different recipe. A cup of brown sugar (we actually used a cup of white sugar and a tablespoon of molasses), half a cup of butter (one stick), a quarter cup of milk. Bring to a boil, simmer for three or four minutes, turn off the heat, and add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Boy, did that one ever set up. It was still warm and flowed easily when I tried it on ice cream last night. As soon as it hit the ice cream, it solidified into a chewy mass. It tasted fine, but I prefer my caramel sauce a bit less solid.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

08:58 – It was 68.0F (20C) when I took Colin out at 0710, partly cloudy. We had about 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) of rain overnight. Fortunately, the rain came in in the late evening, putting a stop to the fireworks that were terrifying Colin. More work on science kits today.

The caramel sauce turned out okay, although I had some problems with it. Firstly, I simmered the sugar/salt/water for about 15 or 20 minutes and very little color change occurred. So I added a blurp of molasses, not so much for flavor as to catalyze the caramelization reaction, and continued simmering for a few more minutes.

A few minutes of simmering, even at neutral pH, should be enough to hydrolyze the sucrose into its component simple sugars, fructose and glucose. Fructose caramelizes at 110C, and with that much dissolved solids the boiling solution should have been at least 110C due to boiling point elevation. It didn’t get anywhere near the 150C required to caramelize glucose.

But after standing there for the better part of half an hour stirring and then swirling, I was tired of doing that. So I added the 12-ounce can of evaporated milk (best-by date August 2014) and continued the process. I then added the 1.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract, but the bottle blurped and I ended up adding probably twice that.

I then allowed it to cool to about 50C and transferred it to two pint canning jars, one full and the second about half full. At that point, the liquid was no longer thin and runny like water, but it hadn’t set up much. So I put the jars in the refrigerator to cool. Barbara tasted the result. Her only comment was “too much vanilla”. I tasted it, and indeed it was strongly vanilla flavored, but I thought it tasted pretty good. I had it on ice cream last night, and it was actually pretty good. Runny, but good. I’m going to call it a fail, because Barbara said she didn’t want to use it.


I’ve been following the McEnroe/Williams thing. As I told Barbara when the story broke, McEnroe was being extraordinarily generous when he said that Serena would be about #700 on the men’s tennis tour. In fact, as McEnroe is fully aware, there are many high-school boys who would beat Serena. She’d rank more like #70,000 on a unisex tennis tour, if that.

There was an article on Takimag that quoted Serena from a Letterman appearance four years ago when she said she wouldn’t play an exhibition against Andy Murray because he’s a boy and she’s a girl. FTA:

For me, men’s tennis and women’s tennis are completely, almost, two separate sports. If I were to play Andy Murray, I would lose 6-0, 6-0 in five to six minutes, maybe 10 minutes. No, it’s true. It’s a completely different sport. The men are a lot faster and they serve harder, they hit harder, it’s just a different game. I love to play women’s tennis. I only want to play girls, because I don’t want to be embarrassed.

She was speaking honestly and literally. It’s unlikely she’d have taken a point from Murray, let alone a game. I actually had almost the same conversation with Jim Elliott, one of our astronomy observing buddies, at a club observation up at the Wake Forest cabin probably a dozen years ago. The Williams sisters were at their peaks, and I told him that they were extremely good tennis players, for girls. Probably not as good as either Martina Navratilova or Steffi Graff, but good.

I went on to say that at my peak, in my late teens and early 20’s, I would have blown any of them off the court, as would any of the guys I played regularly with. He ridiculed me for that statement. I told him pretty much the same thing that Serena told Letterman, that there was just a world of difference between how strong, fast, and hard-hitting men were compared to women. I told him that my brother, at his peak, had played Chris Evert at her peak, and blew her off the court 6-0. I told him that when I was about 15, before my peak, I’d played a set against Peaches Bartkowitz, who was at the time ranked #9, and she didn’t take a point from me. But he just didn’t get it. Men and women are physically different, and there’s no way a woman can compete physically with a man. That should be obvious to anyone who’s not severely retarded.