30 September 2011

Today Is A BIG Day!

September 30th.
I'm not going out on a limb to make a prediction here, but it'll be fun to see if it DOES happen...
Do you know what's special about 30 September?
It's the end of the fiscal year for the U.S. Government. That means there are a ton of agencies and offices that, finding themselves in a "Use it or lose it" situation with their alloted budgets, will spend that money, even if they don't necessarily need to. ( I once watched as the U.S. Army spent a literal fortune sprucing up a military base that was scheduled for shutdown and return to the local economy, rather than lose that money and face the possibility of a lower allocated budget for the next year. Sadly, this is just the way our government works.)

So tomorrow is $$$$$$ day. I cringe when I think about how much taxpayer money will be wasted. But don't be dismayed Bunky... THERE IS a silver lining.
Smart democrats must be shaking in their boots right now, imagining the political ads they'll be facing in just a year. Solyndra has exploded in their face and will only get worse for dems as time passes. Now we find there are at least two more possible Solyndras out there, and this is "use it or lose it" money, so these two companies may have had the same amount of scrutiny as was given to Solyndra before that half-a-billion dollar subsidy was poured down the sewer. These two companies don't even have to go bust to hurt dems pretty dramatically...
They can hurt dems re-election prospects simply by not proving to be "The future of American industry", which I suspect is the way this will play out. Solar power is a VERY competitive global industry. What are the chances these two companies have a truly radical idea to reduce costs so "made in America" will once again be a big deal?

So this money will be spent tomorrow and dem pols cannot stop it...
it's "already allocated"... or in other words, in the pipeline.

But lots of eyes will be watching these, and other companies that got government handouts on 30 September. When the true reporting starts, I'll wager we'll all be stunned at how much this "spend our way out of debt" administration wasted on risky businesses they should never have had a hand in.

Anyone want to accept my wager?

26 September 2011


Maxine Waters, Andre Carson, and now Morgan Freeman have called me racist because I want government to stop spending money it doesn't have.
I guess I don't understand the full definition of the word.

I thought the oceans would stop rising. I thought we were the ones we have been waiting for. I thought electing a half-white man would cause us to look more closely at "the content of a man's character". Have you seen some of the things these liberal{!} idiots are saying about Herman Cain? (Who I am thoroughly impressed with at this point.)
Oddly, Martin Luther King's character seems to be under question these days!

I didn't vote for him, but I truly hoped BOzo's election would lead to a more unified nation.
Man, was I naive!

(Seen the latest catchy acronym? OMG!... Obama Must Go!)

19 September 2011

Hotel, Saloon, Brothel. Hotel, Saloon, Brothel...

We just returned from a weekend spent at The Riverboat Inn in Madison, Indiana, once again sharing time with my schoolmates from High School. The hotel is quaint, clean, has a great view of traffic moving up and down the Ohio River, and the help does a pretty decent job of making everyone feel like occupants are all part of one big family...
Fresh baked cookies coming out of the oven at almost all hours and the coffee pot is never empty.

Saturday morning, twenty or so of us boarded a trolley for a tour of the city. It's a neat town, obviously situated there because of the river and the trade coming from that line of communication. Something the tour-guide said set my "light bulb" off...
She commented how streets in Madison, in the old days, seemed to be lined with "A Hotel, a saloon, a brothel, a hotel, a saloon, a brothel..."
This statement, seemingly, was made with some pride. It made me think of the town I presently live in and how folks here speak with pride about the gritty things that happened long ago near our downtown hotel, adjacent to our railroad, our comparable line of communication.

What is it about the passage of time that makes a sordid past something to be proud of?
("Frankie and Johnny" and "Stagger Lee" are both songs/stories of passion and murder from St. Louis, and illustrate what I mean about pride in our "colorful" history.)

15 September 2011

On Two Wheels, Part 1

I drove to work tonight because it was raining, HARD. It's the first time I've had to drive a steel cage to work in over a month. My round-trip to/from work is +-70 miles, depending on the route I take, and I figure I save at least $4 per round trip by riding, depending on which bike I happen to ride on a given night. My seven-night work shift also means I can exercise each of the four bikes at least once in a shift, weather permitting. All four have full-fairings and provide pretty good protection from the wind. My head sticks up higher than the windscreen on the Moto Guzzi and BMW, so I have to put my faceshield down if I'm caught in a rainshower on those machines.

I started riding "bikes" with motors when I was twelve. At that time our community was pretty rural and the county was geographically fairly large, so I suspect our Sheriff's department was stretched thin... we didn't often see a brown and beige Sheriff's cruiser, and we saw even fewer State Troopers. Those I did see seemed to ignore me... I think stopping us might have required calling out someone to deal with Juvenile offenders, and already overworked Deputies probably said, "I don't need the hassle". For four years I rode a Cushman Scooter similar to, (but not as nice 'cause it was OLD and WELL-USED), the one pictured above. It would go 35 miles per hour at full-throttle with a good tailwind, so although I have no idea how far I drove that thing, with daytime-only riding, nine or so months per year, I MAY have put 1000 miles on it in four years.

It was dependable. In addition to flitting around the neighborhood I used it to deliver "The Indianapolis News" to my customers for a couple years. Powered by a five horsepower Cushman Husky engine, it would start on the first kick when it was warmed up. Cold starting took two or three kicks with the help of full-choke. It had a centrifugal clutch... it was like an automatic transmission... there was no manual clutch to deal with. It would sit motionless until you increased the throttle. If you added throttle, (and you added throttle in the opposite direction of today's motorcycles), two spring loaded "shoes" attached to the end of the engine's crankshaft would be pushed by centrifugal force against the inside of a drum similar to a brake drum and the scooter would accelerate slightly faster than a turtle.

At the time many of our roads were barely "improved", meaning they were gravel-covered and graded whenever the county could get to 'em. These roads were traveled infrequently, and automobile wheels would cause gravel to be pushed aside so that there were two "paths" with very little gravel and a lane of gravel in the center in addition to the the sides of the "paths". Tiny wheels on scooters didn't negotiate these gravel roads very well... crossing from one path to another or meeting a car and being forced to the side of the road was like balancing on marbles.

Take a close look at the picture and you can see a little pedal on the right side of the floorboard. That's the rear (drum, of course) brake pedal. No speedometer/odometer. No tachometer.
Look again at the handlebars... no levers. Not only was there NOT a manual clutch, there was also NOT a front brake. It's a very good thing these little scoots would only go 35 or so, 'cause with only one (rear) brake they took a long time to stop, even from that sedate speed. Trying to stop quickly on rain-soaked pavement was an invitation to possible disaster.

I paid $50 for it with money I had earned on my paper route. I sold it to a friend for 50 dollars just before I turned sixteen when I started contemplating buying my first REAL motorcycle.

Looking back now through the eyes of a Dad, I'm surprised parents allowed teen-age kids in our community, (and in my case a PRE-teen), to ride a motor vehicle on public roads.
Strange feelings...
I wouldn't have allowed my kid to do it, but my son was 12 in 1995, and 1995 sure as heck wasn't 1959! But I have fond memories of riding that old "putt-putt", and I'm sure glad my parents didn't stop me.

I'll write about that first (and other) real motorcycle(s) later.

09 September 2011

Man, Would I LOVE To See That!

After the big speech Thursday night, even libs are beginning to question BOzo's intelligence.
No surprise to me... he's done nothing in his life of note except fool the fools.
Palin is smarter than he is. She had her facts straight on Paul Revere and made idiots of those trying to ridicule her. Obama's "Lincoln founded the republican party" comment? Dead wrong. Call the "Corpseman"!

But I bet she's a better athlete too.
I would just LOVE to see her take him on one-on-one in a game of B-Ball.
Sarah Barracuda Vs. BOzo!
Who are you betting on?

Where's a promoter when you want one?!!

The only thing more stupid than the present occupant of our White House is our media, thinking we won't notice when they try to erase his gaffes.

06 September 2011

6 September 1986

I had been out of work 8 months. My unemployment checks had ceased and my "networking" to find another flying job in the area had apparently failed. What was I gonna do? How would I pay the bills?
In the distance, I could hear the proverbial howling of the wolves.

The phone rang. It was my friend J.M....
"You still looking for a job? I need you. How soon can you start?"

There have been mergers and acquisitions, so my paychecks have had three different signatures on them. But today I'm celebrating 25 years flying as an EMS helicopter pilot.
What a long, strange trip it's been!

05 September 2011

Will You Watch The "Jobs" Speech?

Fred Imus, (Don's younger brother), died a few days back. His appearances on the "Imus in the Morning" show always put a smile on my face. I TIVO the show and fast forward through most of it, slowing only for a few political interviews and Fred's now-and-then bits.
Just after BOzo's State of the Union address Don asked Fred if he had watched the speech. Fred replied he watched long enough to realize Obama didn't intend to resign, then switched the channel.
That's pretty much how I intend to handle Thursday's speech. I'll watch long enough to see which political factor will be furious by the end, then I'll start looking for a documentary somewhere on the WWII Lancaster bomber or an old "Honeymooner's" episode.
If there truly is a bombshell, (HA!), I'll catch it later on FOX News.

Are you gonna watch?

02 September 2011

Work. Off. Work. Off. Work

I'm at work. I work 12 hour shifts from 7 P.M. until 7 A.M., seven nights in a row. My shift starts Wednesday evening, so the following Tuesday night is the last night of my shift and I'm headed home for seven days in a row on Wednesday morning.
The four pilots at this base have a sort of love/hate sentiment about working this schedule...

We don't need to take much vacation because of the seven day break every other week. But stress factors involved with the job can make this schedule tough-
More flights than normal or other work stresses, and we can begin to feel a little draggy by the sixth or seventh night of our workweek.

Our company doesn't care about our schedule so long as the work gets done safe and efficiently. We've tried other schedules and the four pilots at this base have decided we like this one best.

Our schedule, no matter whether it is four-on, four-off or seven-on, seven-off means we all spend a quarter of our lives at work, not counting extra days covering for someone bein' sick, and vacations. So we all work a couple hours more than the normal wage-earner out there who works 40 hours per week:
There are 268 hours in a week (7X24). 268 divided by .25, (the 1/4 of our lives we spend in the air or waiting for the call to go fly, equals 42 hours (average, obviously).

Summer is harder than Winter. Our clientele are more active and are more likely to need our services. Weather is generally more conducive to aviating. Inclement Winter weather can sit on you for days at a time, and it's then that we frequently E.M.S.-
Earn Money Sleeping.

This summer has been stressful for another reason-
It has been hotter than normal and that puts added stress on people and machines. We had record high temps today (102 or so) and the forecast is for similar weather tomorrow. I had difficulty sleeping today because my upstairs bedroom was too warm. Still, I was glad I wasn't here at work waiting on a call to go take off in a "flying greenhouse" in above 100 degree temps.
(My counterpart didn't get a call today so the helicopter was still sitting where I left it last night when I parked it.)

It's an interesting job, different in almost all ways from the way most folks make a living...
And interesting almost every day because of the many ways people find to hurt themselves.
I love it. And I'll miss it like crazy when I can no longer do it.
And that day may be just around the corner.