25 May 2016

Our Robot Masters-

We already have self-driving cars.
But motorcycles?
And to what purpose?

At what point do we start hearing complaints about how dangerous it is for humans to be in control?

10 May 2016

Waiting For The Inevitable

Some time ago, before I realized how much FaceBook discussions were raising my blood pressure I wrote there:
"What has happened to my country?"
An old High School chum responded,

"It's gone. Get used to that fact."
I can't tell you how disappointed I was in him for that response...
He too is a Viet Nam Combat Veteran, and I expected "better" from him.
So I continued my quest to stop this runaway train and turn it around.
But, now that the two major parties have selected their nominees for the upcoming election it is obvious:
He was right.
I was deluding myself.

It's now being suggested I once again "Hold my nose and vote".
Hold my nose?
Since the Reagan administration, the political stench has gotten worse, and worse, and worse.
We've "Destroyed the free market system in order to save it".
We've totally forgotten the rudimentary lessons we learned in Psy 101, Soc 101, and Econ 101; that if you reward a behavior you get MORE of it.

I'm boggled by where we now find ourselves:
Babies born today find themselves already saddled with $40,000 of debt each.
"Illegal" is an ugly word, so we must now use the word "undocumented" instead.
We no longer have to pay attention to the sign on the bathroom door.
"Constitution? We don't need no stinking Constitution."

It's now a living document that means whatever makes us feel good.

Our country is now deluged with debt.
If he is able to get elected and pass out all the freebies he desires, Bernie Sanders will add another $17,000,000,000,000.00 (is that enough zeroes?) to our already IMPOSSIBLE national debt.
I don't know who said it... some smart person... but there's a saying... "What CANNOT continue, won't".
Students of history are quite aware, this CANNOT continue.

My family is preparing for the worst.
Some of our Christian friends are simply watching the horizon, expecting Christ to return.
Others are keeping a firearm close at hand with ONE bullet in the chamber... (two if they're married.)

But it's now more than obvious my old H.S. mate was right... the chanting of Socialists, Black Lives Matter, and even old Viet Nam Veteran friends who are willing to sacrifice all principles in order to keep Hillary from being elected have finally opened my eyes.
The group inside my circle of wagons just got noticeably smaller.

But I continue to tell those I love and respect-
Be prepared.
Or be a victim.

07 May 2016

Life Ain't Safe.

Yesterday, weather was gorgeous. We woke and, after checking the weather, had smiles on our faces because we had planned a "Christian Bike Ride"...
Four bikes would depart from our Church at 0930 with the planned destination of Patti's 1880 Settlement at Grand Rivers, KY, in the beautiful Land Between the Lakes area.
At the appointed hour the contingent was "all present and accounted for"...
Sara Jean and me on our '03 GoldWing, the other three bikes were H-D "Ultra Classics" with husband and wife teams on each. We chatted a bit in the Church parking lot, then, after a prayer for safe riding, at about 0950 we set off.

We made it all of about 8 miles before coming to a stop...
Third in an "echelon right" formation, we watched as Harley #1 first put on his flashing warning lights, then slowed to a stop at a safe spot alongside the road.
"My cruise control is stuck ON" said the Harley pilot.
He pulled his front brake lever full on, (which normally would automatically disable the cruise control), released it, then started the bike. The engine would have screamed to full throttle had he not immediately turned the ignition key to "off".
He pressed on the rear brake lever then started the engine again... same result.
He scratched his head, then pulled the side cover on the left side of the bike that granted access to the fuse panel and searched for a placard indicating which of the fuses might disable the errant accessory... to no avail.
One of the other Ultra riders walked over and closed his throttle...
"Try it now *****", he said.
Success! Turns out most bikes today with throttles controlled by cable actually have TWO cables...
One to open the throttle, and another, for safety purposes, to close the throttle should it stick open.
Problem resolved, we set off again for our destination.

We rode the Interstate, mostly.
Yeah, I know... boring as watching paint dry.
But still, this was beautiful country, beautiful weather, and Sara Jean and I were surrounded by the staccato sound of three H-D's with moderately loud exhaust pipes.

We ate a great meal and had great fellowship, catching up on one another's lives, then, surprised to see we'd been chatting for two hours, realized we had to start home to let Lucy out to do her business.
We mounted up, rode to the first gas station we could find, topped off our bikes, and set off.
We had agreed our trip home would be off the concrete slab as much as possible, and jumped off the Interstate onto a nice two-lane highway at our earliest chance.
This is more to my liking...
Up and down rolling hills, sweeping left and right turns following the paths laid down by our forebears years ago. Breathtaking.

But riding the two-lanes DOES mean extra risk-
Stopped behind a car with its left turn signal on waiting for oncoming traffic, we watched terrified as the oncoming car crossed into our lane in front of the car in front of us, departed the road to our right, then, still going about 30 mph, crossed between the stopped car and the first two bikes in our formation, only to run up into an available driveway there and crash to a stop after colliding with a car in that drive.
The event stunned my wife to the point she wanted to flee the scene...
"Go, Go, Go!" she urgently shouted.
And we all dropped our bikes into gear and did just that.

What could cause an incident like this?
Driving under the influence?
Brake, or other mechanical failure?
Inattention to the task?
Since we didn't stop to investigate, there's just no way to know.

But it once again points out the obvious...
If the gal driving that out-of-control car had not expertly divided the gap between the car we were stopped for and our formation of bikes, several people COULD have been seriously hurt, not to mention the damage to a bunch of fine machines.
The pilot and wife on one of the lead machines were helmetless.

Life is a risk.
We choose to ride because we enjoy riding immensely, and realize the risk we take doing it.
No matter how safe you are, personally, there's always the chance someone else is gonna come along and mess up your day.
Be prepared for that. Try to protect yourself from the mistakes of others as much as possible.

Yesterday was beautiful.
And now we have a couple more "ADVENTURE!" stories to share with friends.

02 May 2016

The Bathroom Discussion-

"I've got to go see a man about a horse" I said.
From where we were located in the O Club the downstairs facilities were closest. Normally used by informal bar patrons, they'd be nearly empty because this was Sunday Brunch time and the downstairs was closed Sunday.  My need to go was great, so I dashed into the first available door without paying attention to the marking on the door.
I found myself in heaven, in a small anteroom. Two love seats with tufted upholstery were placed at 90-degree angles from one another, with a standing ashtray at either end and in between the seats.
In order to go into the actual "relief" room, you had to go through another door. Good thing too, because back then I could have been in an embarrassing situation at least for entering the "Ladies Room". I quickly exited these plush surroundings and entered the proper facility...
Bare walls, urinals, and a few equally bare stalls to conduct my business.

Back in 1974 I attended the 100th running of the Kentucky Derby. The Centennial of this race attracted a MUCH larger crowd than planners had imagined, and lines to get into the ladies' facilities meant females were standing in queue 15-20 minutes just to find themselves at a stall.
Women started entering the men's facilities, using the stalls while we men used the urinals on the opposite wall. We men understood, and didn't care... no one was put into a compromising position.

So how is this present gender-bathroom controversy gonna turn out?
I think eventually we'll see an arrangement where there will be one restroom, with individual stalls for all... no urinals... and the stalls will be MUCH more private than those in restrooms presently. Women will be forced, frequently, to wipe urine off toilet seats, because men are pigs.
It will be expensive for facility owners and taxpayers and these costs will, as always, be passed on to you and me.
Expensive foolishness.

And the biggest loser of all?
There will be NO anteroom with ashtrays and lovely crushed velour upholstery.
What a pity.