28 August 2008

Shut Up! Shut up, Shut up, SHUT UP!

Our freedom is dependent upon our legislators and law enforcement personnel abiding by what is written in our constitution. I think it is not a coincidence that the first of those listed rights is freedom of speech, religion, the right to assemble, and the right to petition.

What would you think of a Presidential candidate who was trying to coerce the media to withhold information from you?
One of them is doing just that.
Friend John at Marathon Pundit has a detailed accounting.
It's worth your time.

Another "Please Stop Time" Moment

Sorry for the foreground...
I had just stopped off for a few "necessities", and when I left the store my breath was taken away... nearly all the colors of the rainbow in that photo.
I know there are things that are more beautiful than a gorgeous sunset or sunrise, aren't there?
I just can't think of any right now.

27 August 2008

Right Wing Nut Cases

We see that phrase a lot, don't we? We folks on the political right are wackos, crazos, and Nazis.
Yeah, sure.

One of my blog acquaintances, a political conservative, has, for two nights in a row received "wee hours" threatening telephone calls. For obvious reasons I cannot share his name or his Website. He hopes one day to publish his work, and for that reason has been blogging under his real name and has made no attempt to conceal where he lives. It was an easy matter to find his phone number.
He is concerned enough that he is talking with the local police.

In the last election, tires were slashed, automobiles were vandalized, and bullets were fired through campaign headquarters at republican/conservative facilities.
Right Wing nut cases?

Don't Tell Mom...

I'm continually searching the blogosphere for other "helicopter" blogs. Weblogs come and go, and the only other thriving helo blog I have found is Maria's Blog. Maria's helicopter related posts are wonderful, but she, like me, blogs on whatever interests her at a given time, so many posts aren't helicopter related. We don't see eye to eye politically, so with Maria I have learned to bite my tongue and ignore those posts.

So imagine my surprise when I happened upon a blog with "Autorotate" in the title! There are even Sikorsky Blackhawks in a beautiful photo in the blog header, (along with the completion of the phrase that is the title of this post)!

And politics? Well, let's say the site seems to be short of "lower the collective while simultaneously applying anti-torque to reduce yaw" information there. So far, "Lucky 13" seems to be in the conservative corner, writing stuff that is delightfully politically incorrect. If you are in the "Hopey-Changey" cult, don't bother checking this blog.

I'm hopeful we'll see rotary-wing stuff in the future. In the meantime, I've chuckled at a few of the political posts there.
Check it out.

24 August 2008

Osama and Obama

ThirdWaveDave asks,
In what way are Osama and Obama alike?
They both have close acquaintances that tried to kill people in Washington, D.C.!

R, H, AT, PS, PB, PW

If you immediately understood my title, you're probably from my generation.

I've always been crazy about cars. As a 16 year old looking through the classified ads for a used automobile, those letters would indicate a pretty well-equipped luxury car in 1963:
Radio, heater, automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, and power windows.
It's odd now to think of a heater being an option. In the Midwest until the early 70's, many would forego buying air conditioning because you really only needed it for three or so months during the year.

As I drove to work this morning I was thinking about cars and how drastically they have changed in my lifetime. Even the cheapest of automobiles now come with automatic transmissions and air conditioners. Isn't an AM/FM radio also standard equipment now?
My old "work car" has 6-way electric (and heated) seats, an AM/FM/CD player with 11 speakers, intermittent windshield wipers, remote control mirrors, cruise control, tinted windows all around, and a fuel computer that provides instant miles per gallon, average mileage, and how many more miles I can drive before running out of fuel.

We've come a long way from the days when a heater was an option, haven't we?

21 August 2008


That's about the only way you'd get me to pull the lever for McCain!

20 August 2008

Fear of Flying

"Man, you'd never get me in one of those things!"

It's another of those utterances I hear more frequently than you might imagine.
Lots of folks are afraid of small aircraft in general and helicopters in particular. (And looking at the recent EMS helicopter accident record, maybe their fear isn't too illogical.)

But it's funny, when I ask why they'd be frightened of flying with me, more than half say, "I'm afraid of heights".
So am I...
Put me on a ladder and force me to climb above the 4th step, then stand back and listen to my knees sounding like castenets! I cannot walk to the edge of a tall building and peer over the edge without feeling anxious and grabbing hold of something solid to steady me.
But is that a fear of heights?
I'd argue it's a fear of falling, and the fear of falling isn't illogical.
Strap me into any aircraft and that fear just isn't there... I'm not gonna fall out.

Still, in most cases I'm pretty sure those with whom I have this discussion are not convinced. And that's okay... they're better off not needing a ride in the back of my helicopter anyway.

14 August 2008

What Is "Flying"?

First things first... the guy flying that JetRanger is a fool.
He has left himself with no "plan B". If the engine quits... game over.

You may remember, in November we boarded an ATA Airlines 757 and flew to Honolulu.
Obviously, the ONLY way for most of us to make that trip these days is in a big airplane. I'm sure all of us passenger/pilots South of the cockpit door were imagining what was going on up front, and I was no exception. The flying I do is a world apart from what was going on up there... those guys were dealing with flight plans, clearances, and weather planning along that long route of flight. Was someone watching us on a radar scope the entire flight? I have no idea. But I do know this... we took off from Phoenix Arizona and flew almost 7 hours to Honolulu, and landed safely.
Seven hours of flight time. One takeoff from a long, clear strip of real estate. One landing on a similar arrow-straight ribbon of pavement.

The guys up front are, as they should be considering their responsibility, well paid.
But can you imagine anything MORE BORING than that flight?!
Fixed wingers, I'm sorry, but that job reminds me a lot of Ralph Cramden...
A scheduled route, a scheduled time, and lots of seats filled with people.
The biggest difference between those pilots and Ralph?
Our "bus" had wings!

When man first dreamed of flying he watched birds. They takeoff from a tree, fly a while, then land on a fence post somewhere.
Neat. Convenient. Efficient.
Our first attempts to imitate them included machines that flapped their wings. Video of those machines makes us laugh today. But the failure of those machines taught us the lessons we needed to be borne by air, even though what we were doing only remotely resembled what birds could do.

I was motivated to write this post by a blog post over at "Helicopters And Jet Pilots". Darren flies what I consider to be the most beautiful flying thing in the world, a Gulfstream GV. He's also a Marine, flying F-18 fighters. I bet he's VERY good at what he does! BUT...
His machine needs a long, flat, unobstructed piece of real estate to takeoff. Once airborne, he starts looking for a similar location to land that slick beast 'cause it probably stalls at something like 200 miles per hour!
(Exaggeration, but maybe not by much. At what speed does the GV quit flying Darren?)

Read his post. Once airborne, Darren climbs to something near 47,000 feet, where he can't quite make out the face of God, but he can vaguely see God fiddling with the controls. It's almost impossible for me to imagine that height. Lose pressurization in the airplane there, and if you are not being force-fed oxygen you pass out in less than 10 seconds! But at that altitude you are above all but the most severe of thunderstorms, and those severe storms are probably readily apparent popping up through the visible clouds below, so you can just drive your hot airplane around them.

To change altitude, Darren twists a knob between his thumb and forefinger and the autopilot commands the airplane climb/descend.
Heading change? Same thing... a twist of a knob. What powerful technology!

But is it flying?
Sure it is.
But it certainly is far removed from what we dreamed of while watching birds, and it in NO WAY resembles what I do on a daily basis.

If I fly 7 hours, (and I sometimes come close during a 12 hours shift), I'll do 20 or so landings in that time. Some of those landings will be to a highway intersection, at night, surrounded by wires and road and advertising signs, blowing up a dust storm beneath me. Birds sitting on fenceposts get blown away by my rotorwash, (and maybe dream of being able to fly as fast and as far as I can.)

Two different worlds.
Both amazing in their way. Both necessary. And yes, both ARE flying.
But I gotta tell ya...
In my nearly 40 years of teaching people to fly helicopters I've noticed one thing...
To a man/woman, my fixed wing qualified students who learn to fly helicopters lose their desire to fly airplanes.
And that fact makes me smile about my chosen profession.
My machine is ugly. But it truly FLIES LIKE A BIRD!

11 August 2008

The Bear

Prompted by VariFrank

Cindy McCain Topless!

Sen. McCain wants to enter her in the "Ms. Buffalo Chip" contest, and I can see why!
Ferdinand T. Cat actually has a photo of Cindy topless,
(and a link with a photo of Laura Ingraham topless too!)

10 August 2008

Life Can Be Hard

The temperature-dew points are close, and the wind is dead still.
The sky is clear, so I know fog is coming. The AWOS transcribed weather at our home airport is still reporting 10 miles visibility as we take off.

She buried her Mother, then came home to her familiar surroundings.
She was at the sink washing dishes, and we'll never know exactly what happened except that when she woke up she was lying on the floor with terrible head pain.
All we know is that this 63 year old woman now has a head injury and a serious bleed inside her skull, and she needs help the local hospital cannot provide.

I warn my crew about the pending fog. They make no promises, but they get the job done quickly.
When we get back home, the AWOS says "Winds calm, visibility
5 miles, sky clear below 12 thousand. Temperature 18, Dew Point 18. Altimeter 29.93.

Thirty minutes later the visibility drops to 1-1/2 mile.
I smile inside...
Fortune smiled at us, and at her.
It's been a rough day for her family.
I hope she makes it.

07 August 2008

Star Trek, The Experience

One of the main things we wanted to do while in Las Vegas in November was go to the Hilton Hotel and experience "Star Trek, The Experience". Our son is a "Trekkie", and has made a living in the Sci-Fi industry since graduating college. So when I saw this post over at Daily Aviator, I forwarded it to him, knowing for him it was probably old news.
He replied that he knew about the convention, then mentioned something I hadn't heard:
"Star Trek, The Experience" will be closing September 1st.
I'm sorry to hear that. We enjoyed it, and I'll agree with what I heard before going... you'll enjoy it even if you aren't a "Trekkie". If you have any thoughts about going to Las Vegas before 1Sep, be sure and go to the Hilton. Then come here and tell us about it.

Dateline Denver, 2008

Zowie, am I glad I found this guy! It's always interesting to look at something through someone elses eyes, isn't it?

I'm not sure I agree with his forecast scenario, but he may be thinking more like a democrat than I am.
My hope?
Those Superdelegates are NOT locked into their stated positions!
I'm hopeful for HIGH DRAMA...
She could still pull it off ya know!?

06 August 2008


A little over a year ago, I lost 17 pounds in just under 4 months, through calorie counting and exercise. At that time I blogged that the only way I would keep that weight off was to have a weekly weigh-in and, if I found I'd gained a pound, lose it right away.
There is no worse fool than those that fool themselves... I didn't follow my own advice, and I've gained EVERY SINGLE POUND back! I'm ashamed of myself.

Sara Jean has been suffering hot flashes. They are so bad, I'm not too worried about our heating bills this Winter. (And that's not much of an exaggeration... she has been known to suddenly shed most of her clothing in an instant... it would be entertaining, if she wasn't in such discomfort.)
She's taking three different medicines to counter the effects of all she's experiencing, and for whatever reason... change of life, medicine, or some other problem, she now has also added a few pounds to her tall frame.
So together we've declared war.

She has had some luck with Nutrisystem in the past, and I like that plan because it provides the necessary nutrition with meals that aren't skimpy and have enough variety to keep her from getting bored. She ordered the plan, and I'm expecting it to arrive later today.
Me? I'll just do what I did before- exercise more and eat less.

But on the exercise side, I've had the bicycle out for a month now, running errands into town on it rather than starting the car and wasting the biggest part of a gallon of fuel to drive 6 miles round-trip in a car with a cold engine. It's felt pretty good.
Today I decided I'd try to ride the 11 mile course I rode daily,
27 years ago. You may remember, I used to be able to ride that distance in 36 minutes on my old 10 speed. Today, on my mountain bike, which is a little heavier and probably not geared as high as the old bike, I did the 11 miles in 62 minutes. It's 85+ F. outside, so this old man ain't ashamed with that performance. I'll work on the time, but the main thing is to enjoy the ride so I don't quit... right?

One more thing...
I blogged some time ago about the "Peticure" thingy on TV and wondered if it worked.
Surfing the net led me to this video:

Today I got out my dremel and tried it on Lucy. She was terrified of the "Dentist's drill" sound, but otherwise didn't resist nearly as much as she used to when I got out the pet clippers.
I'm sold. If you've got a dog, the dremel is the way to go because it has so many other uses!

05 August 2008

Race and Politics

I've puzzled some of my friends by saying Barack Obama's candidacy is a good thing. I wish the republican party had been first to nominate a candidate of color... a Michael Steele for instance. But Michael hit a political speedbump in his attempt to become Governor of Maryland. We haven't heard the last of him. (Maybe he can be our second black President, after Bill Clinton?)

But consider what BHO's nomination has already done...
It has forced us to openly discuss Race...
What is and is not racist...
Where Black leadership has gotten us, (or NOT gotten us)...
How affirmative action has hurt Black folk. (Do you want to hire a man that has been able to drive from the Women's Tee?)
There's more I'm not thinking of, and there will be more open discussion in the future. How can that NOT be healthy?

Barack Obama is being vilified by some. Those who come here regularly know he scares the puddin' out of me because of his Marxist/Socialist leanings. This is not to say I think he's a bad guy... I just think his ideas will lead to more "hitting from the women's tee", at a time when America needs to push harder and be more competitive.

But have you noticed? Even though we have an attractive, intelligent, articulate man of color carrying the banner for the democrat party, this country of "freedom of speech" has folks of color speaking what they consider the truth, taking an opposing position to this democrat nominee.

I stopped by here for a few minutes and liked what I saw. Click the "About" link and see for yourself if "RattlerGator" doesn't give you a more positive outlook about our political future!

The New Seal:

Do you know Latin?
Thanks to Neal Boortz.

"I'm taking a special look at Barack Obama because he's a lot closer to a Jesus-type than the other candidates, by quite a bit. What if God decided to incarnate as men preaching 'hope and change.' And what if we didn't recognize them, because we are so dull, and let them slip away, not availing ourselves of the opportunity to be led by God!"
(From a letter to the editor of the "East Illinois Journal Gazette-Times Courier", written by one Steve Davis and quoted in the book by David Freddoso, "The Case Against Barack Obama".)

I've seen pictures of BHO with a halo emanating from his head, but thought that was only backlighting!

Again, thanks to Boortz.

04 August 2008

Look Out Canada!

In the middle of all that shouting, hate, filth and stupidity...
"I'm Moving to Canada!"

...Not nearly fast enough for a bunch of us, bunky!
Thanks for bein' there for us Canada!

Even A Blind Pig...

... finds an acorn now and then.
TV sitcoms seemingly must follow a formula in order to be successful these days. Consider:
"Home Improvement", "The King of Queens", "The Simpsons", "The Honeymooners", and the list could go on and on.
The common thread? The husband is sloppy, boorish, and stupid, but he was smart enough to marry a woman smarter than he, who is continually stressed while running around resolving problems he has caused in their lives.
(There is one VERY successful exception to this formula. Have you thought of it?
It's a sign of how society has changed that it's not been tried since TV's infancy.)

So there was something that surprised me about the following clip. See if you agree:

I have never seen "American Dad" so I'm only able to assume from this clip (and others I reviewed on YouTube) that the show follows the successful formula, with the addition that "Stan" is even stupider than usual because he's a gun-owning, homophobic, conservative. I'll freely admit to being dense now and then, but I'm not so stupid that I don't realize the show's producers are using their superior intellect to make fun of guys like me with the overall theme of the show, week after week. That's okay, we've been putting up with that attitude from TV shows for more than fifty years.
But admit it...
When Stan places that Glock on the table and commands it to "KILL!", didn't you nod your head and laugh? I did.

I've owned guns most of my life.
As a Deputy Sheriff I normally carried a .357 magnum in a visible holster, plus a .380 calibre automatic concealed in an ankle holster. In all my 61 years, with the exception of my time in Viet Nam, I have never even had to point a loaded weapon at another human being. So you can understand my bewilderment at Hollywoods attitude toward guns, playing forboding music every time a gun is even shown on the screen.
Have you seen this movie? I watched for almost two hours as an innocent, terrified family feared for their lives, shouting "Where's your gun?"
A gun is a tool. Any tool... a chainsaw for instance, can be used as it was intended, or it can be misused.

What I have never been able to understand though, is why many women, with their ability to resolve the problems we men continually cause, fear guns. A gun can be a woman's best friend:

...OJ shows up at the front door dressed in black, wearing his Bruno Maglis, and pulls his knife. Nicole, having learned from so many previous incidents, smiles, draws her Ladysmith, and makes the world a better place for all.

Still don't like guns? No problem. You know what you can and cannot do better than anyone.
Got kids in the household? You'll have to take special precautions to protect the kids.
But with proper considerations, a gun in the house can make you AND the kids safer.

Call the police.
How long will it take them to arrive? Got a way to protect yourself from someone two or three times your size?
Sara Jean does.

I'm a stupid, gun owning conservative. But I'm also a survivor.
And as a former Boy Scout I've known a couple things most of my life-
I need to "Be Prepared", and...
Common sense ain't so common as it once was.

01 August 2008

"The World Is Ready For Change, 'Cause Obama Is Here!"

Yeah, okay, okay, LUDACRIS! ... Hey!
I'm back on it like I just signed my record deal
yeah the best is here, the Bentley Coupe paint is dripping wet, it got sex appeal
never shoulda hated
you never shoulda doubted him
with a slot in the president's iPod Obama shouted 'em
Said I handled my biz and I'm one of his favorite rappers
Well give Luda a special pardon if I'm ever in the slammer
Better yet put me office, make me your vice president
Hillary hated on you, so that b^$&%* is irrelevant
now Jesse talking slick and apologizing for what?
if you said it then you meant it how you want it have a gut!
and all you other politicians trying to hate on my man,
watch us win majority vote in every state on my man
you can't stop what's bout to happen, we bout to make history
the first black president is destined and it's meant to be
the threats ain't fazing us, the nooses or the jokes
get off your ass, black people, it's time to get out and vote!
paint the White House black and I'm sure that's got 'em terrified
McCain don't belong in ANY chair unless he's paralyzed
Yeah I said it cause Bush is mentally handicapped
Ball up all of his speeches and just throw em like candy wrap
cause what you talking I hear nothing even relevant
and you da worst of all 43 presidents
get out and vote or the end'll be near
the world is ready for change because Obama is here!
yeah... cause Obama is here
The world is ready for change because Obama is here!

Catchy, huh?

I Don't Wanta Go There!

"In a free country you could have sued the hospital. As it is, those who murdered your daughter will suffer no penalty."

How sad.
You can read about more about how Universal Health Care is failing here.
(The quote is from comments to the article.)