Miscellaneous Post Index


The first elephant to arrive in the USA was in 1796, and was exhibited around the country, so it was a question people asked — “Have you seen the elephant?”

1797 Pamphlet

In the mid 1800’s it was an idea often expressed in the West of America when someone was dying —  “You’ve seen the elephant!”—  meaning they’ve seen and experienced everything worthwhile in this world and it was now OK to die. http://www.awb.com/dailydose/?p=1097

Cartoon by Navie

Continue reading ““I’VE SEEN THE ELEPHANT!””


One day a parishioner went into the church to see his priest for confession. The priest asked what he wished to confess, and he stated he had been gossiping about someone.

(Original drawing by my grand-daughter Navie)

The churchgoer was not thinking this to be a serious sin and expected to be asked to say a couple of “Hail Mary’s.”  However, the priest said to him, “Go onto the highest roof-top you can find in the community with a feather-down pillow, cut it open, and let all the feathers fly into the wind, then return to see me next week.”

Continue reading “GOSSIP & RUMORS”


Thank you to everyone, especially my subscribers, for hanging in there on this website.  It has been 5 years now since I started it and it’s a surprise to me I am still around.

I realize that with the variety of subjects with my posts that they are not all going to appeal to everyone, but what surprises me is the many emails and comments I get in support of what I am doing.  And although I have my email address charles@koolaru.com in many places throughout the site, in all those 5 years I have only received one negative comment.  And it was a pretty pathetic one at that!

So, a big thank you for the support of everyone who reads my posts, especially those who have subscribed to receive notification when new material is posted.

Continue reading “A BIG THANK YOU!”

TOOL CADDY* for my Grandson

(* One dictionary definition of ‘Caddy’: a container or device for storing or holding objects when they are not in use).

I have 4 grandsons and 6 granddaughters.  All are amazing! One of my grandsons is 14 and loves to build things and is what I call “an ideas person”.  Always thinking about how things work and thinking of different ways of doing things.

He lives in the USA and I live in Australia, so I do not get to see him nearly as much as I like.

I have a range of interests and vintage guitars is only a small part of my life, but I’ve always worked with my hands and I have a workbench that reflects this:

My grandson has only a few tools so I decided to give him some small hand tools as a birthday gift and  a ‘tool caddy’ to keep them in.  I made it ‘flat pack’ so he could put the caddy together himself, and it made it easier to send.

Continue reading “TOOL CADDY* for my Grandson”


It is a quality in developing love of God

In many cultures and religions washing someone’s else’s feet is a sign of humility.

Today our children are taught, directly and indirectly, that humility is something that does not get you far in this world. They are told they are “special” – better than others – and that the world owes them.

But for one who is trying to develop love for God, ideas of ‘specialness’ or self-importance go against all spiritual concepts:

FORGIVENESS – a true story

Artwork by my grand-daughter Narvie

Holding onto anger and bitterness towards someone who has caused us grief hurts me much more than the person my anger is aimed towards.

I want to tell a true story that is well known in New Zealand. It is about a lady who showed great love and forgiveness to those who caused massive upheaval and pain in her life:

In order to help get this story out to a wider audience, I tell it here in my own words. It is a powerful account that can change lives.  There are references at the end of the story if you wish to read more about it.

In 1996, a group of Black Power gang members attacked a rival gang member in Taranaki, New Zealand.  It was a brutal attack in which the victim’s face was slashed and several of his fingers were severed with a tomahawk.

The attack occurred outside the house of a family man, Christopher Crean, who’d witnessed the attack as he mowed his lawn. 

Continue reading “FORGIVENESS – a true story”

I cured my IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS) with an ANTIBIOTIC (Amoxicillin)

I’ve been meaning to post about this for some time now in the hope it is of use to someone suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Up to 12 months ago I had constant diarrhea for 2 years.  It started after a particularly hot chilli  Indian meal, that I knew at the time I shouldn’t have eaten, however I felt obliged as I was a guest at the meal.  The next day was excruciating and no mater what I did over the following weeks the diarrhea continued.  I had many tests including 3 different stool tests checking for bad bacteria, a colonoscopy and a gastroscopy (sometimes called an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy) and of course blood tests.  Apart from a slightly inflammation of the bowel nothing showed up as a cause.

After 2 years of this,  I was thinking it was something I was going to have to live with the rest of my (probably shortened) life.

About 12 months ago I got a throat infection and was prescribed a course of the antibiotic Amoxicillin.  My diarrhea immediately stopped. But when I finished the two-week course of the drug the diarrhea came back.

I googled antibiotics and IBS and sure enough there were a few references by sufferers who’d had the same experience, not with Amoxicillin but some other antibiotics, the main one being Rifaximin (Xifaxan).  Neomycin, Clarithromycin (Biaxin) and Metronodazole (Flagyl) were also mentioned.  As soon as the 2 week course of the antibiotic was stopped the diarrhea returned.  One did say that they were cured after two months on antibiotics.

Continue reading “I cured my IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS) with an ANTIBIOTIC (Amoxicillin)”


Ego and humility – when incompetent people think they are amazing!

Yes, I’m probably the best artist that I know of!” From the movie ‘Napoleon Dynamite’, Source: StiffOlive

I don’t think I ever thought I was amazing at anything.  I’ve always looked upon myself as a jack of many things but a master of none. Continue reading “The DUNNING-KRUGER effect”


Making bridges for vintage guitars using minimal tools
– a layman’s approach (Part 1).

I’ve approached this subject in 4 separate posts.  It’s necessary to read this Introduction post, Part 1, first or the other posts (Parts 2, 3 and 4) may not make much sense. 

Part 1. Introduction, tools and a jig.
Part 2. 20th Century pyramid style bridge.
Part 3. Truncated pyramid style (or Chicago) bridge.
Part 4. 19th Century pyramid style bridge.


Part 1.  Introduction.

While I am merely a hobbyist when it comes to working with wood, it is something I have done my whole life. I don’t have a lot of specialized tools, but I do like precision, so I try to work out methods of doing things that work for me.

Cutting the ‘valleys’ accurately into the guitar bridge blank goes a long way in determining how well a finished bridge will look.  I’ve made probably 30-40 guitar bridges, and when I first started I was not comfortable using a drill or a small sanding drum to make these valleys. I didn’t give me enough control.

So, I made a simple jig to sand the valleys by hand, as will be explained a bit further on in this Post. I’m sure there are many other ways to make these pyramid bridges, so take from these posts what you will.  I hope someone finds it useful.

There are many styles of pyramid bridges, and it makes sense to individually craft them for a particular guitar.

Top: 20th Century Pyramid bridge Middle: Truncated Pyramid (Chicago) bridge Bottom: 19th Century Pyramid bridge

In the next 3  Posts (Parts 2, 3 and 4) I’ll demonstrate how I make each of these different pyramid bridges.

But first, some general information about the tools needed and a simple homemade jig I made and use:
Continue reading “HOW TO MAKE PYRAMID GUITAR BRIDGES- Part 1.”


Making bridges for vintage guitars using minimal tools
– a layman’s approach (Part 2).

I’ve approached this subject in 4 separate posts.  It’s necessary to read the Introduction Post, Part 1, first or the other posts (Parts 2, 3 and 4) may not make much sense.

Part 1. Introduction, tools and a jig.
Part 2. 20th Century pyramid style bridge.
Part 3. Truncated pyramid style (or Chicago) bridge.
Part 4. 19th Century pyramid style bridge.


Part 2.  20th Century Pyramid Style Bridge.

20th Century pyramid bridge. Original pyramid bridge on a 1920’s Oscar Schmidt all Koa Guitar.

I believe this style came into use about 1910 but I am open for correction.  I really like this style of pyramid bridge. It was used by many manufacturers including Oscar Schmidt.  By the 1930’s most manufacturers had phased out using this style (most likely to save on costs) replacing it with a simpler made bridge.

I’m starting with this style pyramid bridge because it’s probably what most people think of as a pyramid bridge.
Continue reading “HOW TO MAKE PYRAMID GUITAR BRIDGES- Part 2.”