27 February 2012

Back On Base

For 21 years I walked with nothing in my right hand, knowing I might have to use it.
Then in 1988 that concern pretty much went away.
Lately I've been using that right hand again... not a lot... but enough to remind me of the days when I kept it unburdened, all the time.

As we approached the gate at the Pensacola Naval Air Station I insured my headlights were dimmed, leaned forward, removed my wallet from my back pocket, and pulled out my ID card.
The guard at the gate looked at the card, handed it back, then saluted and said, "Have a good evening Major."

What a comfortable feeling.
Like being back with family.

25 February 2012

The Isle of Man TT

One hundred fifty miles per hour equals 220 feet per second.
The guys in the video are hitting 170 mph at times. To call the race-course unforgiving would be understatement...
Measured in fractions of an inch OR seconds, death is near.

Beautiful slow motion shots in the first half, the second half of the video is in real time and gives you an idea what unbelievable skills these riders possess:

23 February 2012

Amazing Facts You Need To Know !

From the "I'm sure I would have remembered that if someone told me" department:
What did Senator Ted Kennedy name his dog?
The answer is here.
What an wonderful sense of humor that man had! (Vomit.)

22 February 2012

Power Off Landing In The Huey-

No, it doesn't "drop like a rock".
Compare this to an airplane landing at 60 m.p.h. (or more)!

21 February 2012

Givin' Up The Favorite

First, if you haven't read the post immediately below this one, do so now.

This internet thing continues to amaze. A commenter in response to my son's problem finding a "reasonably priced shipper" left a link to contact "U-Ship".
My son did, then called me.
"Dad, I found a shipper that will move the bike for $425, and he has nothing but favorable reviews."
"That's GREAT son! I can't imagine you'll do any better than that. Hire him."
"There's one problem Dad... To get that rate the bike has to be ready to go TOMORROW."
(Here he pauses to gauge my reaction.)
"Sigh. Well I suppose we could make it work. What time will he be there to pick up the bike?"
"I'll have him call you."

And so it unfolded that my favorite ride, that old 800cc BMW, is now on its first leg to Arizona.
The guy called and we agreed he would meet me at 0830 hours. The gas tank had to be empty, but there were no other restrictions. I got home to find a big Dually GMC truck with an absolutely HUMUNGOUS trailer behind it parked in front of our house with two guys sleeping in the cab.
I drained the tank on the BMW, opened the garage door, and the guy called...

"Is that you I see milling around in there?"

Nice guy. He took great care to load the bike securely to avoid damage, then waved goodbye and drove off. He will unload the bike, fill the trailer with furniture from a 3-bedroom home, then reload the bike at the end of the trailer...
Big Bubba should be lookin' at the old airhead this weekend.
Strange... I'm happy and sad at the same time. I'll miss the bike, but know he's gonna love it as much as I did.

I'm already looking for another old Beemer.

18 February 2012

Zen, And Motorcycle Repair

It was pretty exciting at first...
My son was chatting with friends about his Dad getting back into motorcycling.
That conversation evolved into how much money he might save if he learned to ride, then bought a bike to use on his commute to work rather than drive his truck.

His friend said, "I have a bike I'll give you... it's a 400cc Yamaha."
Not much skin off his nose really... the bike hadn't run in years and was covered with "stuff" in the back of his garage. They uncovered the bike, pushed it out into the sunlight, and sent me a photo of my son sitting on it. Like the bike in the above picture, it didn't LOOK bad.

The gas tank needed to be flushed. The carburetors would obviously need a cleaning.
But having done that, it was our hope the bike, with a fresh oil change, would spring to life and my son could cut his fuel bill in half (or more).

Problems started when they tried to flush the gas tank...
The fuel shutoff (petcock) leaked. Badly. Knowing the carburetors would also need a chemical bath, they took the bike to the local shop and asked them to do both jobs. In the meantime, my son took and passed the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Basic Rider Course. He was READY TO RIDE!

A week passed and the shop hadn't turned a wrench on the bike.
Another week passed... still nothing. The weather was perfect and my son was champing at the bit.
I told him, "Ask your friends at the MSF course to recommend a repair shop and take the bike there. These folks are jerking you around."
He loaded the bike up and took it to the shop they recommended.
And again it sat, and sat.

Then it hit me like a bolt from the blue-
My friend Stuart lived close and his vocation for decades has been... MOTORCYCLE MECHANIC!
"Go get the bike. Take it to Stu. I trust him."

But Stu's advice was disappointing. Over the phone to me he said, "GB, it may take $1500 or more to make this bike safe and dependable. It's been sitting a LONG time. The fuel system... fork seals, tires, chain, all need work, and that's just the start. What about the transmission and the electrics? It would be better to spend that money on a bike that's running."
So the bike is once again in the back of my son's friend's garage. And my son has no two-wheeled mount to use to cut his fuel bill in half.

So I volunteered the services of my old BMW. It's an easy bike to ride... comfortable as an old shoe and not much more difficult than the 400cc Yamaha would have been.
My son is ecstatic and is now trying to find a shipper that can move the bike to the Phoenix area at a reasonable cost.

The biggest downside? I LOVE riding that bike, so now I have to start looking for another!
eBay/craigslist, here we go again.

16 February 2012

Let Your Voice Be Heard

I asked, "We used to be told a telephone call was ignored. In order to get someone's attention you had to actually write a letter. What about email? Do our elected officials pay any attention to those?"

Elizabeth Letchworth responded, "You have to be careful to email via a site they'll pay attention to, like mine."

So I will.
Emailing your elected representatives via Elizabeth's site requires you to register, taking only a few seconds.
I'm certain that leaving a message for your Senator or Congressman there HAS to be more effective than screaming deleted expletives at your TV screen as I have done repeatedly, lately.

Let 'em know you're mad as hell and you're not gonna take it anymore.

15 February 2012

Sign of Intelligence?

In my experience, dogs that exhibit this "head twisting" while listening to their human are easy to train. I bet this shepherd could make breakfast if he/she had thumbs:

11 February 2012

Why We're Probably Screwed, No Matter What.


The last couple days have been mighty amusing for conservatives, watching the tone deaf Bozama administration trying to retrace and cover their tracks after fumbling this "Freedom of religion" issue so badly. Of course it would be even funnier if it wasn't another indication that the country is being lead by total idiots. This is not "Freedonia", so we can't just wait for the movie to end, the credits to roll and relax, knowing the adults really are in charge.


The administration and our lefty media are shouting it from the rooftops. It's my belief we'll soon see these already tepid January jobs numbers revised downward, and when those corrected numbers are made public the news will be whispered, or printed on page 42 in small print.
As I write this, major media is trumpeting the polls, many of which show the President(?) ahead of all Republican contenders. Isn't he wonderful?

But know this. He isn't wonderful. Soon that will be apparent, and we are all gonna suffer for it.


Congress is still fighting over details as to the handling of the extension of the Payroll tax holiday.
Included in those negotiations are the extension of unemployment benefits, and the patch for Doctors who were being shortchanged if they treated medicare patients.
The same old question comes to the fore-
Will we increase taxes at a time when the economy is already weakened, or will we have the political strength to start cutting government spending? Either way, it's gonna be painful.

Then also consider-
Over the next few months, (during an election year!), Congress will also have to debate:

-The extension of the Bush tax cuts.
-The fix for the "alternative minimum tax".
In the present political environment, these discussions will be NASTY. And honestly, I don't think there's an adult in the room. So I don't hold a lot of hope for much to be done.

What's all this mean?

I think it means we are Greece.
Or 1970's Brazil or Argentina.

Which means we will default on our debt.
And then life will get VERY interesting!

Buy ammunition.
Start talking with your neighbors about how you'll defend one another when the "Occupy" folks come to take what is "rightfully theirs".

05 February 2012

02 February 2012


Constitutional eligibility for the House of Representatives:
"No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen. "

Constitutional eligibility for the Senate:
"No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen."

Constitutional eligibility for President of the United States:
"No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."

You know how slow I am mentally, so I once again need your help!
Why does it say "Citizen" when it defines the eligibility requirements for Representative and Senator, but "natural born Citizen" for President?

Nothing to see here folks... we have things under control.
Move along!

01 February 2012

Breaking Perfectly Good Rules

Pavement Pizza.
That's what one of my peers called some of the folks we pick up at scenes.
He made the mistake of using the term over the radio on the way to the hospital. Folks in EMS sometimes use VERY dark humor to keep some of our transports from driving us insane, but it's best to keep those jokes within the EMS family...
His company promptly fired him.

Scene flights are exciting. As I've said before, I think they are the closest thing to combat flying you can do as a civilian pilot. Time is critical. Landing at night in an unfamiliar, virtually unprepared LZ can get your juices flowing. Sometimes we arrive before our patient has been extracted from the wreckage and steam, smoke, and broken glass are everywhere. And obviously, if you cannot stand the sight of blood, this is not the job for you.

Motorcycle accidents can be ugly. One of the States we cover is a "No helmet required" State, and many of our clients think their head covered by a "Doo-rag" is perfectly satisfactory as protective gear.
Which brings to mind another of those phrases I frequently use:
"In EMS we know why they call it 'Gray Matter'. We see it up-close and personal. It's called that because it is gray!"

Now that I'm back on two wheels, knowing I'm older (but wiser) and my reflexes ain't what they once was, I've set rules for myself to try to avoid exposing my gray matter. One of the rules I set for myself was because of the literal explosion of White-tail deer in our area-
I promised myself I wouldn't ride after dark in rural areas.
It's a fine rule.

But Global warming has descended on our area with a vengeance. The last three days have been as nearly perfect as our Good Lord can make 'em. I had to fly with a student in BigTown a couple days ago and when I checked my thermometer it registered 63 degrees. I looked up-
Not a cloud in the sky. Checking the radar and satellite showed there wasn't a cloud within 500 miles. But riding in to fly with this student meant I'd be riding home in the dark...
Through some areas with LOTS of deer.

Rules were meant to be broken.
Actually, I just bent this one. I rode, and had an ear-to-ear smile on my face the entire trip.
(On my way in I noticed several OLD cemeteries along the road that I want to investigate later. I LOVE old cemeteries. I've passed these by for 30 years in a car and had never noticed them. Think your "seeing" is better when you're on a bike?!!)
But to the degree I could I stayed on 4-lane roads where heavy traffic was more likely to spook deer to stay away. When I was finally forced to take two-laners, I slowed in those areas where woods came close to both sides of the road and deer might cross from one side to another. And you know what? Forty miles per hour on a bike is still more pleasant than driving the speed limit in a steel box!
Temps were above 60 again today. I rode the older 'Wing to work tonight and used the same technique. The ride was GRAND.

The oil is draining out of the bike as I type this. New oil and filter will be in place before I head for home in the morning. Forecast temps for tomorrow?
Can you read my mind?