Grasshopper… A “Twistlock” isn’t a Kung Fu Move…

6 May

As we prep for whatever floats up onto our beaches, I’m processing blog email as fast as possible.

I get a LOT of email, in fact over 200 a day now, from the “blog and beyond”.

I literally live a thousand feet from miles and miles of Mississippi Coastline. And lately, I’ve been standing vigil, watching for anything that looks like oil spill debris…

For those of you who are unfamiliar with “what went wrong” in the Gulf of Mexico…

An Oil Well on an offshore rig has two sets of “pipes”. A large string of casing is pounded into the soil, and then pipe is fed down thru this outer casing, to form the “pipeline” for the oil to come out of.

Once this happens, the oil workers pump concrete into the gap between the two pipes, to create a hardened shaft, an then they put a cap on top of the whole enchilada.

And that’s where is all turned to a firey sludge that killed the workers, and sank the rig. The most logical explanation of the accident is that when Haliburton was trying to cap the well… (I know, I know… here we go again… Cheney is gonna eat us all alive!)  unbeknownst to the crew – a hole blew out thru the exterior pipe casing wall and the cement flowed right out of it and into the sea, to settle on the sea floor.  According to onlookers, the pressure readings up top were not of the cement, but of the pressure from the well itself. There WERE safety precautions that were supposed to be employed to prevent this, but they are expensive, and labor intensive. So…

How could this happen?

Once again, greed overcomes common sense, and safety steps that should have been taken, weren’t. And the money flows… to multi-national corporations, as American citizens, once again, are going to be tasked with dealing with the mess. BP (British Petroleum) must be laughing their way to the bank, right about now…

The BP/Transocean/Deepwater Horizon oil rig sinking and subsequent spill drove up the price of crude. That means that for every dollar BP spends on “clean-up”, they’ll make three dollars in profits. And, because they don’t have to pay more than $25 million dollars of the clean-up costs (there is a clearly defined federal cap on how much of the damages they will legally have to pay), WE will pay, and they will continue to get rich. In England.

This is the same company behind the Exxon Valdez oil spill, folks. This is the same company that processes most of the oil in the Alaskan Oil Fields, that sells 80% of  THAT oil to JAPAN.

American Oil, sold by the British, to the Japanese… while we get stuck holding the bag when things get oily… um… ugly.

By the way, that oil that flows through the Alaskan Oil Pipeline was supposed to go to the United States, but Clinton killed that part of the legislation and law. So now, we fuel Asia, as laborers for the British…

Wasn’t the American Revolution supposed to get these parasites off our backs? Maybe it’s time for another one…

According to the Los Angeles Times;

“BP officials Tuesday told congressional representatives that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill could grow at a rate more than 10 times current estimates in a worst-case scenario — greatly enlarging the potential scope of the disaster.”

10 Times!

And, the really, really terrible part of this is that you can’t put a price on the environmental disaster and ecological damages that will occur, as a result of this spill. Hundreds of thousands of animals will die. Fisheries will be wiped out. Wetlands will be damaged  beyond repair. Oy.

People (who are paid to know) are already saying that this could very well be the worst spill in Oil Production History.

Say goodbye to Gulf Shrimp for a decade. Say goodbye to Oysters, too. Seafood fresh from the Gulf? Bye-bye.

And, thousand of families will lose their businesses, as the marine, fishing and tourist industries in the United State’s South Coast… grind to a halt for years.

(Wow… a Jew mourning the death of Shrimp and Oysters. Never thought I’d see that coming…)  😦

As tides move the spill toward us, we wait to see just how much of the oil we’ll get, as we try to prepare ourselves for what may be a fight to save this coast of the United States, for our children.

I wonder what the petrochemical fumes are going to do to my young son Joshua’s little lungs. (He’s 2 and a half.) I wonder how the petrochemical fumes will affect my wife’s already failing health. Being terminally ill with Cervical Cancer is bad enough, and now this. We’re being told that the clean-up could take a year, once it starts washing up on our shores.

Some of us are old enough now that we may never fish these waters again. Some of us are old enough that we’ll never see an edible shrimp or oyster pulled from these waters again.  And, some of us are old enough that we wish we were young enough, to work the hundreds of hours each of use needs to invest, to help manage and restore these beaches, estuaries and wetlands, after the oil arrives.

Almost all of my time is being spent lately getting ISBU galleys built to feed the workers that will flock here, in search of oil, and much needed jobs. This is a terrible way to supplement a failing economy, but it is the only bright side  I see so far. Many of us may be able to get back on our feet, fighting the sludge.

I’m building these galleys because it’s what I can do. I don’t have resources beyond a few tools, and a few 20′ Corten Steel boxes.  So, we’ll turn them into much needed comfort for workers who are going to be knee deep in the fight, every day and night, for months on end… desperately trying to save our shores.

And, I’m racing against the clock.

So, like I’ve done in the past, I’m going to answer some of  your ISBU email here, so you can ALL see the answers to the questions I get asked.

Here’s today’s question, from a friend and “Supporter of the Blog”… We’ll call him “D”:

Dear Ronin,

I recently saw this video on youtube of a home being constructed in Upland, CA. Tthey used some kind of locking pins to lock the second story containers to the base containers.

What are these connectors called? I Googled everything I can think and haven’t found them. Seems like a good idea to use them or I guess welding would do the trick cheaper.




Hi “D”!

Those mysterious levered connectors in between the containers are industrial shipping container “twistlocks”.

The come in all shapes and sizes, but as you can see, there are quite a few to choose from.

And just like you saw on the Youtube video, they go one in each corner, and they serve as the connection point between the end frames of the containers, to couple them together.

Remember that the end frame of an ISBU is where virtually ALL the strength comes from. So, those container connectors, called “twistlocks” are designed to be tough, tough, tough.

I ALWAYS use them to make the primary connection between containers. They’re strong, and add a huge amount of “peace of mind” to my connections.

Here’s a simplified view of how they actually work;

These get put into play, to lock the boxes together…

THEN… I weld that “ISBU assembly” together, using plate steel applied along the rails. This not only closes the gap between the containers (they don’t fit flush), it also increases the strength of the boxes, by creating “beams” (if you will) out of the existing rails. Ronin doesn’t like creating “point loading” problems…

(I also shoot SPF foam into that gap between those rails… Ronin hates cold spots… )  😉

As hardware goes, these are pretty standard stuff in the ISBU world, you can find them on the internet (or just ask… I have a crate full of them) and they’re relatively inexpensive.

Hope this helps.


Speaking of helping, if you’d like to help with the clean-up, or donate to an agency that is helping save animals, or you just want to know more about oil… I encourage you to hit this link:

The Hidden Oil In Our Lives

The author is a personal friend of mine (more than a friend, really… more like close family) and she’s always a great source for information on “Things Green”… and other really cool stuff.


Seriously, if this blog is helping you, entertaining you, or just giving you something (someone) to laugh at…

We could use your help to keep it running. We had our hands full as it was, and now, it looks like the oil spill is going to make matters even worse.

A donation of a few bucks will go a long way towards keeping this blog alive, as we try to deal with the day to day struggle to secure and reclaim our coastlines. There’s a Paypal button at the top of the page.  I hope and I pray that some of you will help us keep going.

2 Responses to “Grasshopper… A “Twistlock” isn’t a Kung Fu Move…”

  1. D May 6, 2010 at 5:08 pm #

    Wow Ronin I am flattered that my ignorance lead to a important ISBU lesson on the blog… I hope it helps other ISBU wanna be’s…. I know i learned something.

    As for the oil I can only hang my head. All to often the worst in humanity rears its ugly head. I long for the day when we will be free of depends on oil and the world will be a cleaner place. The gulf coast has suffered from the worst tragedies of the last decade. Its heart breaking. Too many good people who have already suffered so much will now suffer more. I pray that this doesn’t cause an economic effect of turning the coast into a southern version of Detroit.

    • renaissanceronin May 6, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

      Hi Dustin,

      This blog has grown from a handful of readers (mostly relatives that we shamed into it) to a blog read literally by thousands of families looking for an affordable, sustainable hosing solution. . The ranks swell every day.

      So, it NEVER hurts to go back every once in a while and recover old ground. That way, we move forward faster.

      And I’m old enough that I actually remember the South side of Detroit being a cool place. Maybe I’ll live long enough to see recovery here. Maybe not, But, I’ll do what I can, to help insure it. It’s what we do, when others won’t, or can’t, that defines us.

      By the way, Detroit has some of the coolest old architecture you could ever hope to find. I just hope that they get things turned around and manage to save some of it.

      Thanks for the email, and the reminder that I need to go back every once in while, to help new readers understand what we’re doing!


Comments are closed.