31 December 2009

Movin' To L.A.

Yeah, it was quite a day.
Ya know, I thought I'd get a breather at some point while I was in L.A. helping with the move...
Didn't happen.
My initial plan was that when we had the stuff out of the truck into Big Bubba's apartment, I'd pop the top on a frosty, sit on the balcony, and flirt with females of all ages that passed my way.
The best of plans lasts only until the first shot is fired...
We were looking at 3 bedrooms of stuff jammed into a one bedroom apartment, and some of that stuff was much too heavy for one guy to move. Heck, much of it had to be moved so we could just get mattresses on the floor for our first night's sleep in the new digs.
I'm sure you've been there...
Boxes stacked three/four/five high everywhere. A lamp here, an end table there, the clothes hamper that should have been put in one of the bedroom closets in the way because both bedroom closets have piles of boxes in front of them.
"Let's put the sofa against that wall, Dad."
Okay. We have to move that end table out of the way over here, and we can put those boxes into the hallway for the time being. The coffee table can go... here, and we'll have to move it a little more to get the sofa past it once we get adjacent to it...
And so it went.
Sofa, Love Seat, two end tables, a coffee table, his BIG screen TV, and a computer desk all had to fit in the living room. We started off trying the way he really wanted it laid out, but there simply wasn't enough room to do it that way. We tried a different way, and failed again. He finally took my suggestion and put the BIG TV in the corner, and everything kinda fell into place. But each attempt at change required the shuffling of boxes and box fans and bookcases... it was WORK.

Stress! On top of being away from home and my bride during the holidays...
On top of working harder than a man with this much mileage should work...
On top of sleeping on a mattress flat on the floor in a strange place every night...
I left the door open and Desi the Doxie decided he'd disappear!
Big Bubba had taken off to return the moving van and go buy a refrigerator to fill that hole in the kitchen. I was puttering around, trying to at least get boxes in the room where they could be emptied. The front door had been open all morning and Desi had remained in the bedroom, burrowed into his bedding. I went to check on him and he wasn't there. I searched the entire apartment... not there.
I redoubled my search... gone. (All this is made desperate by the fact that Big Bubba unsnaps his collar when he returns from walks with Desi, so he was without collar!)

BB had said something about wanting his boss to meet Desi, so hoping he took him without telling me I tried his cell phone, which immediately went to voicemail. I waited until Big Bubba came home... he didn't take him.
There are 379 apartment in this complex. It's beautifully landscaped, and the apartments are divided in individual courtyards so you get a semi-isolated feeling. Still, it's adjacent to a 6-lane heavily trafficked street, and the wrought-iron fence separating the apartments from the street wouldn't contain a curious Dachshund. Panic time.
I went to the gate to see if there was a black/bloody spot on the street...
No, thank God.

I walked/ran to the North end of the complex calling his name all the way.
When I got to the (locked, but also surrounded by wrought-iron) pool, I took a deep breath and checked it out. At the very far corner there was a long, thin black spot on the bottom of the pool.
It was a stain. The search continued, unsuccessfully.
When I got back to the apartment Big Bubba nodded and smiled...
"Where was he?"
BB handed me a note that was hanging on one of the "Poopy Bag" stands stategically placed throughout the complex:
Small dog. Boy.
Bldg. XXXX
Apartment XXX"
When BB knocked on the door there were two different voices barking. When the door opened, Desi's distant cousin, another Dachshund, was standing next to him, tail wagging.
Catastrophe averted. The collar/tag is now permanently installed on curious canine.

Most of the day I had planned to rest was spent getting big furniture positioned in its proper place. We quit in the evening and drove to Newport Beach to meet one of BB's coworkers for a great Mexican dinner and got exposed to late rush-hour traffic on the 405 highway... welcome to the L.A. metropolitan area!

Back home, belly full and exhausted, we once again moved the coffee table out of the way so I could lay my mattress on the living room floor. I laid down while BB hooked up the TV and fired up the new "Star Trek" movie in blu-ray.

I turned over to go to sleep just after 11 P.M. local.
More to come...

Oops- RVN, July 1969

Although I was 40 miles South of Da Nang in Chu Lai, I don't remember hearing about this:

"...'cause nobody could use it except the helicopters."
Amazing machines, those helicopters.

Tip o' the hat to Slick!

30 December 2009

Some Thoughts on Flying Airlines

I'm in Las Vegas on my way home. My flight home leaves in an hour, but is "possibly overbooked". Southwest is offering a $100 travel voucher and a free one-way ticket to paradise if I volunteer to be bumped. TAKE ME! TAKE ME! I'm kinda enjoying watching folks poke coins into the slot machines adjacent to the gate, and I am no longer on a deadline to be anywhere. For the first time on this journey I can take a deep breath and relax.

The "Skivvies bomber" incident happened the day before I flew to Phoenix and details were still sketchy, so there was no reaction from the TSA that I could discern. Leaving L.A. this morning I set off the metal detector when I didn't take off my watch... they must have the machines cranked up to a higher sensitivity, 'cause that's a first for me. Good for them.
Big Bubba's new apartment is less than ten minutes from John Wayne/Orange County airport. It was a joy this morning, not having to worry about a race to the airport. As always, Southwest seems to have their ducks in a row with this security thing too... I was at my gate waiting to board 45 minutes before the flight.

If you are watching the news or scanning the blogs you know they are considering a further tightening of security procedures. I've heard discussions, and would like to chat here a little about it...
Once upon a time you could show up at the airport 30 minutes before your flight, go through check-in where you got tickets and checked your baggage, walk to your gate and board your airplane. Obviously, those days are LONG GONE. We now have to allow an hour or so to do the adminstrative stuff and go through security, which in my way of thinking eliminates consideration of a lot of shorter flights. By the time you drive to the airport and go through all the hassle, you could be well on your way on a drive of five hours or less. If security procedures start using up more time, we'll be considering a drive of longer distances rather than flying. (Bringing the dog along this trip made me feel guilty and I'll consider driving a long, long way before I subject him to that experience again!) Homeland Security/TSA will have to carefully weigh whatever procedures they put in place, lest they kill the airline industry altogether.

My connection on the flight to Phoenix was in Chicago. It was snowing when I landed there, and the snow increased in intensity after I arrived. From the terminal we could see six or so snowplows lining up in echelon to make a trip down the runway to clear it. The anti-icing station was just outside my gate, so we watched as airplanes came to a stop to allow crews to hose the aircraft clear of ice and snow. It was fascinating to watch the efficiency of that operation. But I watched as visibility went to virtually zero, and it was obvious they were having to stack aircraft up in a holding pattern because landing frequency decreased dramatically. Sure enough, the announcement came that our airplane would be delayed a half hour... then another announcement that it would be an hour late. Southwest was very nice about trying to insure all our needs were met... the L.A. crew gave out lots of goodies and refilled our beverages two or three times. But if you are traveling in the future, if you have to make a connecting flight, consider where that connection will happen. I don't recommend Chicago Midway.

They have free Wifi at John Wayne/Orange County.
They have free Wifi at McCarren/Las Vegas.
All airports should have free Wifi.

I'll update ya as things progress here.

29 December 2009

Baling Hay And Moving Day

Baling hay is one of the hardest jobs in the world. If it's not THE hardest, it's gotta be number two or three on the list.
I'm a pretty tough guy... mentally, and, I USED to think, physically. As an example, one of my closest friends owns a big farm on which he has quite a few Bison. He grows much of his own hay to feed these animals. Some years ago he had a hay crop in the ground that was maturing day after day, losing food value. He had volunteers to cut, rake, and bale the hay, but needed help to get the square bales off the ground, onto the wagon, then off the wagon and into the barn. I hadn't baled hay since I was a teenager, but I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. He needed help... I volunteered, with the agreement that I would work at my own pace.

It's always the hottest day of the year when hay baling time comes and this day was no exception... 90+ degrees and about 80% humidity... the kind of day where just standing in the sun makes you break out in a sweat. Uniform of the day was boots, blue jeans, a worn out T-shirt, leather gloves, and sunglasses. My friend's brother-in-law, nearly my age was there. My friend's son had asked a few twenty-something friends to help, but they would be paid for their labor. So there were six of us total... two old farts and four strapping young studs. We could see the youngsters looking at us through the corners of their eyes, snickering.
B.I.L. and I just smiled at one another in expectancy.

We started work when the dew was off the hay... about 9 A.M..
Of course it played out just the way we expected... the younger guys, who had never done anything this physically demanding, started off setting the world on fire. The two old farts walked ahead of the wagon, rested while the wagon came abreast, picked up the 75 pound bale, walked it over to and hoisted it onto the wagon, then walked ahead to the next waiting bale.

The kids were literally racing to and fro, trying to show us up. After an hour, one of them vomited. Wagon piled high, we all jumped aboard for the trip to the barn. When we got to the barn, the young vomiter headed home with his tail between his legs. The rest of the studs had lost their bravado... there was no more snickering at the old farts.

Five of us now set out to do the work of six. We worked until 5 P.M., baling and storing almost 700 bales. I should have weighed before and after... I suspect I lost 10 pounds that day.

I tell that story to compare that kind of work to moving a household. Moving is not quite so intense as baling hay, but depending on weather and time constraints, it's close.
I arrived Phoenix late Saturday night. I was surprised and pleased to see that Big Bubba already had most of his household goods boxed up, ready to go. He also had rented a 28-foot Diesel powered moving van. Tired from having just gotten off work, then suffering through a 9 hour ordeal to get to Phoenix, we both retired to try to get a solid night's sleep.

Sunday morning, Big Bubba's friend Karl showed up to help. We started packing the van at 10 A.M. and with the exception of a break to re-hydrate every hour or so, worked solidly loading all but two mattresses and a few incidentals for 7 hours.
I did more than my fair share. My lower back hurt. My legs hurt. My feet hurt. I haven't worked that hard in YEARS.
We took Karl and his family out to eat, then came back to the empty apartment to sleep on mattresses on the floor. We woke Monday morn, loaded the remaining stuff, and checked the apartment one last time. If the dog in the photo was a miniature Dachshund, the scene looked almost exactly like this:

The van is a BIG truck, bigger than the five ton trucks I drove as an enlisted man in the ARMY. Big Bubba wasn't comfortable with the idea of driving it. I, on the other hand, was fascinated with the challenge of driving a big diesel truck I had never driven, for six hours in heavy traffic to Los Angeles, California. He still had a few loose ends to tie up... turning apartment keys in... saying goodbye to one last friend... so I climbed up into the cab, turned on the key, waited until the "Wait to start" warning light went out, fired that puppy up, and pointed it Westbound.

I got the hang of it pretty quickly. It was so long, you had to wait until you were halfway through a city intersection to start your turn or you'd overrun the curb (or take out a street sign) as the rear wheels shortened the distance catching up with the front wheels. But once on the Interstate highway the only thing I really had to concentrate on was making sure I put my (small and muscular) butt halfway between the center of the lane and the white line on my left so I could be sure the big van was in my designated lane. Use of mirrors, (a big straight one and a smaller concave one on each side), helped me avoid flattening the odd Yugo along the way.

We were on a time limitation.
The office at Big Bubba's new apartment complex closed at 5 P.M., so we had to get there before then to get the keys to his new place. We prayed we wouldn't get stuck in one of L.A.'s notorious traffic jams. My only complaint with driving the big oil-burner was the seat...
Tired as Hell from the previous day, that butt I was trying so carefully to keep lined up with a portion of the road began to ache about 4 hours into the six hour drive.

Big Bubba let Carmen the Garmin guide him in, and we arrived safely at 4:30. Big Bubba's new friend from work Chris met us, and we offloaded the truck until 8 P.M.. (Exhausted, I let the younger guys handle the heaviest stuff.)
There was three bedrooms and two baths worth of stuff on the truck. The new apartment is one bedroom-one bath. When we were done it looked worse than this:

We went out to eat, came back to the apartment, stacked stuff on top of stuff to make room for two queen-sized mattresses on the floor, and zonked.
Desi the Dachshund zonked on the floor with me and didn't stir the entire night.

"Larry the Cable Guy's" cousin showed up at 9 A.M. to hook up Big Bubba's internet connection. We had to unstack/restack stuff to allow him access to the wall he needed to finish the job. But now we are online and I'm glad to be able to relate what's been going on to ya.

A bit of a surprise and a quick question for you-
This is a nice (gated) apartment complex in Santa Ana, California. It comes with a nice dishwasher and gas range, but NO REFRIGERATOR. All of the apartments Big Bubba checked on were the same.
Whassup with that?

27 December 2009

Out of The Mouths of Babes

You'll recall we lost a young niece to cancer last month. She had two young sons, 9 and 7.
While in college, Jen worked summers with the Disney organization and had great benefits there, including great deals when she took the family to Disney World. She loved going there and continued that tradition even after she no longer worked for Disney.

Jen was cremated. Jen's husband Darren decided since Jen loved Disney World so much, it would be a great place to spread her ashes. He got the boys together and wanted to allow them to share in the decision...
"Boys, we want to spread Mommies ashes at the place she loved most."

"Target?", asked Kyle, the youngest son.

I'm sure Jen is watching, laughing.

25 December 2009

S, I B Sad

This is a time to be shared with family and loved ones.
There should be turkey and fixin's on the table and laughter in the air.
The fire should be crackling in the fireplace.
Lemme look around again...

I worked the night of Christmas Eve. I'm working tonight. Big Bubba couldn't come home this year 'cause funds are tight and he needs to conserve them for his move to L.A...
I'll be headed to Phoenix tomorrow to help him load the moving van and move his stuff.
Knowing this Christmas was going to be... odd, Sara Jean bugged out two days ago to spend these days with her extended family.
I called my wife, and she's having a great time.
I called my son. He's with friends in Phoenix, watching their 2 year old grandchild excitedly open gifts. It was hard to understand him because of the noise and laughter in the background.

My Christmas will be late this year. It starts tomorrow in Phoenix.
Be safe and well everyone.

24 December 2009

Soc. 101, Psy. 101, Econ. 101

I shake my head in disbelief.
It's so elementary, yet the "intellectuals" among us ignore it, maybe because it IS so simple.
If you reward something you get more of it.
If you negatively reinforce something, you get less.
In this political environment, what are we rewarding?
Who/what are we punishing?
Bizarro world!
God help us.

23 December 2009

The (Ugly) Forecast

Seven nights last shift without a flight, mostly due to weather...
Four flightless nights so far this shift, with lower-than-guidelines weather being the culprit.
This is the forecast for tonight:
KXXX 231722Z 2318/2418 15012KT P6SM OVC017
TEMPO 2318/2321 5SM -SHRA BR BKN009
FM232100 14014G22KT 5SM -SHRA BR OVC015
FM240300 12015G25KT 2SM SHRA BR OVC008
FM241200 13022G32KT 2SM SHRA BR OVC010

The important bits? The first line indicates the day guy will have
marginally flyable weather, but there is a temporary chance for a
visibility of 5 statute miles under a fairly solid (Broken) cloud deck
at 900 feet AGL. As I start my shift the weather will once again be
right at our (flyable) limits with 5 miles visibility and an overcast
ceiling at 1500 feet AGL, but in two hours that changes to 2 miles
visibility with overcast clouds at 800 feet AGL...
(And the wind... 14 gusting to 22 knots,
15 gusting to 23, 22 knots gusting to 32? Wow.)

Once again I'll be saying NO! every time the telephone rings.

Brake Vs. SAE Horsepower

I promised myself when/if I successfully finished Officer Candidate School, one of the first things I was gonna do was buy myself a new car. I graduated OCS in October of 1967, and two days later ordered a car similar to the one pictured above, a 1968 Olds 442...
Oldsmobile's answer to the Pontiac GTO.

When I went to take delivery on the car the salesman felt it necessary to come and warn me:
"Be careful with this car... you ARE aware how powerful it is, aren't you?"
(Yes, you schmuck! That's the reason I want it!)

And it WAS powerful. It had a 400 cubic inch (6.6 liter) V-8 engine that produced 350 "Brake horsepower". My understanding is that brake horsepower was measured at the crankshaft with the engine removed from the car.
The car went faster than any 20 year old newly-commissioned Second Lieutenant needed to go. I loved the thing. I drove it 96,000 miles in six years and the ONLY thing I replaced on it in that time was the water pump. In 1973 I sold it when I bought a new Corvette. I've regretted selling that car ever since...

the Corvette was crap.
(And the kid that bought the Olds immediately took it Drag Racing at Indianapolis Raceway Park and won his class with it.)

New cars sing a siren song, don't they? I'm looking at the economy and realize it may fall completely apart, but hope that it doesn't 'cause I WOULD ABSOLUTELY LOVE TO BUY ONE OF THESE! (The graphics on that page took a LONG time to load on my machine.)

It comes in two versions... Fast, and RIDICULOUS.
Fast... is a 300 horsepower V6 that would make a nice daily driver and would get decent fuel mileage.
Ridiculous... is a 426 horsepower V-8 powered monster (that would eat the Olds 442 the salesman cautioned me about for breakfast and still have an appetite for more, while still going 9 miles farther on a gallon of gas than the old Olds).

Please consider...
The 300 and 426 horsepower figures I mention above? They're SAE horsepower ratings... which I believe is horsepower measured at the rear wheels where it is applied to the ground.
The '68 442 had 350 "Brake" H.P., and by the time that power got to the rear wheels, might have measured 300... maybe even less.
So that wimpy V-6 equipped Camaro? I suspect even it would probably blow the doors off my old 442.
... And we called those cars "Muscle Cars"!

22 December 2009

Allen West- Are You A Fan?

He's scheduled to be on Andrea's radio program tonight.
Weather is likely to be bad, so I'm hopeful I'll get the chance to hear the entire kasmotch.
I'll watch for you in the chat room.

Just finished an interesting 90 minutes listening to and chatting with the good Colonel...
This is the REAL DEAL folks, and he can use our help. When asked if he was getting any help from the Republican party he said, "Well, I'm on their radar screen", meaning, I suppose, not much. If you are as excited as I am to finally see a real leader who is not afraid to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States", maybe you oughta drop by here and think about writing and sending a check.
That's what I'm doin'.

UPDATE to the update:
Here's another review of the interview.

Obama's Misery, December Update-

October's misery index: 10.02%
The index for November: 11.84%, up more than three percentage points since September.

I'm reconsidering the title of these posts. Our
President(?), unlike the rest of us, seems to be enjoying
himself completely, oblivious to the misery around him.
What d'ya think? Care to suggest a new title?

Yes, we live in interesting times.

21 December 2009

A Good Christmas For Man's Best Friend:

Read it ALL!

About Santa- News You Can Use!

I was listening to a 50,000 watt Midwestern AM radio "blowtorch" on my way to work the other night and heard a couple neat tidbits about our friend Saint Nick that need to be passed on to your kiddies-
Apparently a record number of children fall into the "Good" column this year. That means Santa will have a record load of toys on his sleigh. North Pole coordinators are asking parents to limit the amount of cookies and milk left for Santa in order to reduce the amount of weight the reindeer will have to tug airborne. (Notes to Santa are still encouraged and appreciated!)

Those of you with "Onstar" equipped vehicles that will be traveling with your kids Christmas Eve get a treat: Santa has apparently worked out a deal with Onstar...
On Christmas Eve you can press your "Onstar" button to inquire about Santa's progress around the world, thereby allaying kiddo's fears that Santa may be running late or miss them entirely. (Now I'm wishing I had an "Onstar" vehicle... I wish I wasn't working Christmas Eve... you can bet I'd find someone with kids and a GM car so we could all see how well this system works!)
The big day is less than a week away now. Be safe out there!

20 December 2009

Precious Metals@ 18 December

Gold was down this week closing at $1112.00, compared to $1119.60 last week.
Silver closed at $17.32, up from $17.09 a week ago.
Considering this week's news, I'm quite surprised both aren't considerably higher.
But then, I think I'm probably digging deeper into the news than your average citizen/consumer.

What I'm seeing:
China caught on to the problem long ago, but China has a problem if they squeal...
Their economy is so dependent on ours, and they have so much of our currency they don't want anyone else catching on until they can unload a bunch of our dollars. When they start that process... hang on, 'cause it'll be like that first steep downhill on the roller coaster!

The media is still in the tank for democrats, trying to convince us that unemployment figures are improving. Unemployment is actually MUCH WORSE than reported, and the good news they're bringing is that the rising unemployment figures are not RISING SO QUICKLY as they were. (Isn't that GREAT?!).
Supposedly, the housing market is also improving. Do you see indications of that in your neighborhood? Houses on both sides of us are vacant, with no buyers anywhere in sight.

I keep trying to update my "Misery Index" posts, but for some odd reason that site is no longer providing the regular monthly updates it posted like clockwork until recently. (Why?)
The situation has reached a point where even left-leaners have to report
the box Bernanke/Paulson now find themselves in.
(Peekaboo! Inflation... I SEE YOU OUT THERE!)

And the one other thing I've noticed that is under-reported...
Bank failures continue, and the FDIC has apparently increased its budget dramatically and has hired a bunch of personnel to help out next year.
Now why would they do that, hmmmmm?
"The spike in failures has raised concerns about the FDIC's deposit insurance fund, which has slipped into the red for the first time since 1991."
(Remember, the economy in 1991 was considerably different than the economy today.)

A bunch of the TV commercials these days are trying to get you to bring in and sell your gold jewelry, or convince you to buy the gold resulting from all that jewelry being melted into ingots.
Are you buying, selling, (or denying)?
You know where I stand on that question.

I complain that "The Misery Index" site isn't updating, and they update it between the time I complain and the time the post publishes... Check it out! (I'll update the blog later.)

19 December 2009

Without Comment.

Thanks CJ

The Angle

Al Gore has figured out how to do it.
So has the leader of the U.N. group on "climate change", (formerly known as Global Warming).
By default, I suspect President Obama will benefit somewhere down the road, if only in campaign donations.
What's the angle?
How do the rest of us become millionaires... (In Gore's case, BILLIONAIRE?), using this fraudulent scheme as a vehicle?
My initial effort was apparently too open and honest!
(I need to go to "Snake Oil Salesman" school!)

18 December 2009

Life Throws A Curve Ball

I was listening to Dennis Miller streaming the other day and as is so often the case he came up with another golden nugget-
"You're only as happy as your most miserable child."
We have just one child, but from watching others with a "Black Sheep" I can see that it's true...
You cannot avoid trying to herd that wayward sheep back into the fold. And unfortunately for some, the lost member of the flock sometimes doesn't take well to herding.

That's not the case with our young lamb... he doesn't enjoy the feeling of being lost.
He's been away from home three years now and has had an interesting time so far... at one point he had his full-time job and three part-time jobs. His full-timer was a 9 to fiver, and the part-timers were accomplished from his home office in front of his computer. For a while the money was flowing freely and he didn't have a care in the world. Then the 9 to 5 company pretty much went bankrupt and he started having to watch his pennies and dimes...
Still, there was enough to pay the bills and have discretionary money left over.
Then one of the part-time jobs folded.
Ouch. Now the outgo exceeds the income, and it's time to get serious about remedying that.

From a distance of 1700 miles we provided what support we could, which obviously wasn't much more than now-and-then advice. Staying in contact via cell phones and the occasional Skype video call is a comfort, but it's not the same as bein' able to reach out and hug your kid. He's not picky... would have taken a job as a greeter at a big-box store if it were offered. But of course, those hiring for those jobs look at his resume and fear if they hire him he'd soon find work more compatible with his abilities... they won't hire him.
So under these circumstances he went 8 months... I'm pretty proud of him actually... he had enough savings to pay his bills for 8 months before things got desperate. (He's still making enough money at the two remaining part-time jobs that he's not eligible for unemployment compensation.) His calls got more and more desperate and I finally said, "It's time for you to come back home so we can lend a hand."

Now, by "coming home" I don't mean "Move back under our roof", although that remains a last-choice option. Our thoughts were that he could move back to BigTown, two hours away, where I could use my network of friends and get him a "foot in the door" job where he could start over. Home for Thanksgiving, we imposed on several friends to try to find employment for him and they came through with flying colors. He was pretty much offered a job as a waiter at a restaurant that was being built and would open about the time he could get back in the area. He felt comfortable enough to sign a lease on a nice, nearby apartment. He went back home and we started making plans to pack a moving van and drive the two day drive back to the Midwest.

Then, guess what?
He got a job offer in L.A..
It's a dream job...
Well, almost. He doesn't want to live in the L.A. area... the traffic drives him crazy and he can't afford more than a one bedroom apartment there right now. But the job keeps him involved in the Science Fiction industry and will expose him to new faces and places there. The starting money is good and will get much better within the year.

Now it gets expensive, and he doesn't have much $$$ in reserve to play this game...
He has to break the lease he just signed in BigTown.
He has to cancel a contract he just signed with Dish Network.
He has to write a check for the lease on the new apartment in L.A., (a minimum 15-month lease, by the way.)

His old man is working Christmas night and will get off work the following morning. That day I'll fly to PHX and begin loading a moving van that will be headed West, rather than East. I have three days to get him moved and unpacked, then I'll be flying back home to spend my 29th Anniversary with my lovely bride. It's my hope I'll have enough energy remaining to stay awake and enjoy a little champagne.

Looking ahead at the next two weeks is no fun.
I hope, on 31 December when I'm watching the bubbles rise in that glass of champagne, we can finally relax and smile.
I'd appreciate your good vibrations, please.


17 December 2009

Big Brother Loves You, Part II !

Is our Socialist President planning a "surprise" for us?
Define "... other domestic catastrophe" for me, please!
Truth squads.
SEIU thugs.
Black Panthers threatening folks, then getting a free pass.
I DO NOT like the sound of this!

16 December 2009

Boat Anchors

I bought 'em in 1967 from a friend that took a part-time job selling 'em... Collier's Encyclopedias. They're taking up space I could be using for other things. Problem is, I'm not sure anyone wants them. I hate to just throw them away, but I don't think they'd produce a lot of BTU's in the fireplace!

15 December 2009

Col. Allen West

He'll be on Hannity tonight- Monday, 15 December.
Check him out.

We Want Dudley!

Is it possible?
We've looked at the schedules at TCM, AMC, and the Fox Movie Channel, and find that The Bishop's Wife apparently will not be shown during this holiday season.
It's an annual favorite of ours...
Christmas won't be the same without it!

Oshkosh 2009


Thanks OPD!

14 December 2009

You're Greatful Tuscon Neice

I screw 'em up.
A lot.

From The Patient's Viewpoint-

"Then a band of EMTs pulled me out of the ambulance, still naked except for underwear, boots, and helmet, and shoved me on my plywood spatula into the helicopter like some giant pizza going into a wood oven."

Good stuff. Read it

13 December 2009

Crowded Skies?

He was just a small dot in the center of the windshield when we first saw him. But he was comin' at us at about 200 mph and we were doin' about 120, so our two aircraft were closing on one another at a little more than five miles per minute.

Mechanic in the left seat and me in the right, I was ferrying this LongRanger to Kansas City, MO. where I would leave it then ferry the LongRanger waiting there to another location to have major maintenance performed on it. We both saw the Bonanza at about the same time. It was soon obvious we'd miss one another, but it was gonna be closer than I would like if he suddenly appeared out my left door.

"You think he sees us?"
"I dunno."
"Keep an eye on him."

We watched as the Bonanza got bigger and bigger in the windscreen, then noticed the pilot had his nose buried in something...
He passed at our altitude, going exactly the opposite direction, 100 or so feet off our left side.
I'm not sure he ever saw us.

Not everyone out there has good sense.
Keep your eyes open and your head on a swivel, folks.

12 December 2009

Precious Metals @ 11 December

Gold closed at $1119.60, down from $1169.00 last week.
Silver also closed lower at $17.09, after closing at $18.52 a week ago.
These figures are due to the wonderful(?) financial news...
Job figures are improving. Retail sales are better than expected. Life is GREAT!
(And if you, like me, think this is smoke and mirrors, this is a good buying opportunity.)

11 December 2009

Big Brother Loves You!

This year... you MUST buy health insurance.
Next year... you MUST buy a Chevy Impala so GM can pay back the bailout money.
Where does it stop?

10 December 2009

New Oscar Category?

The "Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences" apparently has a new category:
"He/She's NOT George Bush."

I guess that's a new category for a Nobel prize too, huh?

09 December 2009

Self Destruction

Jobs, he says!
"We need more jobs. I've gathered you all here to tell me how we can put more people to work. If we need to get out of your way so you can start hiring, tell us that! "

Mr. President, only Yassir Arafat was better at obfuscating by talking out of both sides of his mouth!

More here.

07 December 2009

06 December 2009

Minimum Crew- One

When I review the Operator's Manual of the R22 with my students
I like to point out the fact it specifies "Minimum Crew- One". (And many helicopters will then also state a minimum weight due to center of gravity considerations.)
Mimimum crew of one?!!
We chuckle...
Why would they waste the space/paper/ink to state what is obvious? Well, every now and then
someone comes along and illustrates why it's necessary to insist at least one pilot MUST be aboard the helicopter at all times.

04 December 2009

Precious Metals, @ 4 December Close

An interesting week...
Gold closed at $1169.00, down from $1175.50 last week, after briefly selling at a record $1219.00 this week.

Silver closed at $18.52, up from $18.49 last week.

Ski Dubai!

You may already have seen this.
Outside, it's 120 degrees in the desert.

The caption at Snopes says, "Which brings to mind... if you have the money, you can have ANYTHING!"
There's another quote I like better...
"A fool and his money are soon parted."
(Dubai, like the United States, is bankrupt.)

03 December 2009

Dissecting Aortic Aneurysm

Okay, I gotta talk a little crap...
Medic types that stop here to read, feel free to correct me where I'm wrong.

The aorta is the largest artery in the human body. It's also series of intersections... most of the major arteries branch off the aorta. Sometimes, in some people, the tissue gets brittle... "frangible",
and tears. This is a serious problem because the aorta is such a large vessel, even a small tear can allow large quantities of blood to leak into the abdomen. These tears present a problem for healing hands because fixing them is like trying to sew old cloth with new thread...
The tissue tore because it was old and worn out. The tears frequently happen where the vessels branch off, leaving specialists with an almost impossible problem to fix.

Our patient was a 69 year old man. A nice guy, he had never flown and was frightened of the idea of spending 30 minutes in the helicopter. To the degree they could, my crew, a Flight Nurse and Paramedic... (both attractive females), tried to reassure him. He obviously enjoyed their attention, but his fear was still up-front evident.

Up the elevator to the helipad...
"A little bump here sir." We're trying not to jostle him any more than necessary to avoid tearing that aorta further. I open the clamshell doors and as we're about to slide him into the cabin of the BK117 he says, "I don't think I'm gonna make it."
My crew responds, "Sure you will!" as positively as they can.

I start both engines, do my before takeoff checks and ask, "All secure back there?"
"Yes we are."

I'm ten seconds into my takeoff when over the intercom I hear, "Sir? SIR?!!"
In the next few seconds I hear voices increase in pitch as Flight Nurse and Paramedic commence CPR. I've already started my 180 degree turn to return to the hospital and I've dialed in 155.340 on the Wulfsberg to let the hospital we just departed from know what's going on.

I make the radio call...
"********* Memorial, ******3 is returning to the helipad. CPR is in progress on our patient."

I land, secure the cyclic and collective, then open the clamshell doors. As my crew offloads the patient I open the starboard sliding door and grab the small oxygen bottle, the "E" tank. I turn to hand it to my crew and crush my forefinger between the E tank and the stretcher as they race by. The pain is excrutiating and I drop to my knees, but succeed in passing the O2 bottle to the Paramedic without dropping it. They race to, then down the elevator, hoping for a miracle.
My finger is already turning deep blue as I shut the aircraft down. MAN! That hurts.

Our patient died.
So did my fingernail.

02 December 2009

Choosing Sides

For the left, the "Corps of Cadets" is "enemy territory":

Here's a guy that would be perfectly comfortable "behind enemy lines":

The revolution is coming. The question is, how will it unfold?
Who is "The Enemy"?
Which camp are you in?

Elin Woods

Now, imagine her wielding a nine-iron.

A $20K Vest for a $50K Dog-

Money well spent.

01 December 2009


That's YOUR part of it Bunky...
The per-person liability for
U.S. unfunded liabilities, as of this morning.
How much more Hope and Change can you take?