Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot,
by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse.
" -- Me

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Friday, May 29, 2015

"Good Morning. I'm Running for the Republican Presidential Nomination."

George Pataki. Frothy. Miss Lindsey. The Donald. So many are running, now, that future announcements are going to covered in the "news in brief" column of the papers.

They're going to have to trade the GOP Klown Kar in for a short bus.

The funny thing is that Frothy thinks that his campaign was a success in 2012. Which is bullshit, of course. There aren't second-place winners in elections*. What "success" Frothy had in 2012 was because Willard Romney was such a tool that even a few million GOP voters couldn't stomach him. Rmoney still won the nomination, which meant, of course, that Frothy lost.
* Or gunfights.

Because It's Friday

A steam-powered pump.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

People Were Crazy During the Cold War

"I need five volunteers to go stand at Ground Zero while we detonate a nuke overhead: You, you, you, you and you. And you, go film it."

Probably just like this:

Kindle SF Deal Today Only on the "Frontlines" Books

The first two books by Marko Kloos are on sale today for a skosh under two bucks.

That's cheaper than a cup of the overpriced burnt swill from a certain Seattle coffee shop named after a fictional whaler.

If you like good old hard SF "space kablooie" novels, these are well worth full price.

DirectTV Has a Higher Rating than Cable....Big Whoop

DirectTV has been running ads which claim that they have a higher customer satisfaction rating than the cable companies.

Big Fucking Deal. If you're searching for things that have a lower approval rating than the cable companies, you're looking at Ebola, the Black Death, HIV and Congress.

Update: DirectTV's ads promise 99% signal reliability. So you'd better hope that the hour and 40 minutes that the thing is not working each week isn't during one of your shows.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Shorter Texas: "We'll Secede Next Year, Lord Willing and If the Creeck Don't Rise."

Because the creek done riz this month!

President Obama:
I assured Governor Abbott that he could count on the help of the federal government. We have FEMA personnel already on the ground. They are coordinating with Texas Emergency Management authorities, and I will anticipate that there will be some significant requests made to Washington. My pledge to him is that we will expedite those requests to make sure that both search-and-rescue operations where necessary, but also recovery operations occur as efficiently and as quickly as possible.
The Teabagger states have no trouble with tin-cupping the Feds whenever they can. They hate themselves DasGov, until they have a need for those Federal greenbacks.

If your party's and your state's basic policy is "we hate Washington", then stop taking money from them.

Just Fucking Drive

It seems that if you make a long-distance trip on Amtrak and you book a sleeper car room, the DEA will illegally search your shit and steal your money, even if it's only $60.

A "red flag" is having a sleeper compartment and not checking any luggage. Why the fuck you'd want to check your bag when you're renting a room on the train where you can keep your shit is apparently unfathomable to the DEA.

Just get in your car and drive. If Amtrak is happy to let the American Stasi board the train and hassle its paying customers, then long-distance rail travel deserves to die.

That About Sums Up Life

So I'm reading a stack of medical reports on an infant. (Never mind why.)

In a physical examination done a few days after birth, this is noted: "Positive suck, positive gag."

Ayup. You're going to find out that's the way life is, kid: Positive suck, positive gag.

Welcome to the real world.

Dare to Scrap DARE

DARE, which is an acronym for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, is a Reagan-era "just say no to drugs" education program. Your local paper, especially in smaller towns, may run stories about kids completing DARE training and getting some certificate.

The problem is that the program doesn't work. It's a government boondoggle for the DARE presenters (mostly cops, it would seem) and for the companies that produce DARE educational materials. Just like "abstinence-only" sex education, DARE is both a darling of the Right (because it was dreamed up by Saint Ronnie) and is wholly ineffective.

DARE is a big government program promoted by people who hate big government.

Monday, May 25, 2015

This Isn't Memorial Day

A continuing objection.

Making Memorial Day into a three day weekend is akin to those pissant towns that declare that they're only running speed traps to enforce the law: You know they're lying about it. The only reason that they run speed traps is to collect revenue. If they weren't allowed to keep the money, they'd not run the speed traps (or disincorporate as a town).

The three-day-weekend Memorial Day is all about money. It's all about encouraging people to spend their money. It has fuck-all to do with honoring those deceased men and women who served their country.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Saturday, May 23, 2015

In Ohio, It is Legal to Jump on the Hood of a Car and Shoot the Car's Occupants Dead

But only if you're a cop.

The Chief of Executioners Police of Cleveland has announced that violent protests won't be tolerated.

But that's probably only because the protestors wouldn't be cops. Otherwise, it'd be peachy.

Ireland to Holy Mother Church: "Bugger Off!"

Ireland has voted by a huge majority to legalise same-sex marriage, becoming the first country in the world to do so by popular vote in a move hailed as a social revolution and welcomed around the world.

Some 62% of the Irish Republic’s electorate voted in favour of gay marriage. The result means that a republic once dominated by the Catholic church ignored the instructions of its cardinals and bishops.
That's close to a 2-1 majority vote.. not even close for the Church in a country that is about 85% Catholic.

It's becoming clear that fewer and fewer people are going to stand for being lectured on morality by the protectors of pedophiles. That sentiment is probably even stronger in Ireland after the horrors of the Magdalene "schools" became public knowledge.


"All layers of bed clothing must be coated with allergens."

A Word to Every Business Running a "Memorial Day Sale"

You pack of greedy, amoral, capitalist swine, trying to profit off the sacrifices of those who died for our country. There is probably a special circle in Hell for you, where you will spend eternity drowning in lakes of molten gold or silver.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Because It's Friday

Industrial narrow-gauge steam at a Bosnian coal mine:


Something you don't see every day:

A 1919 Curtiss Jenny.

I was told that his final destination was an airport that was 110nm away. There were two hours of daylight left, he had a 15kt headwind, so he was going to spend the night at an airport in between. Even in no-wind conditions, his destination was a two-hour flight, as Jennies cruise at about 55kts.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

83 Years Ago

Amelia Earhart landed in Ireland. She was the first woman to fly the Atlantic, solo.

"Your Call is Important to Us"

Dealing with customer service is like calling directly into a locked ward at the State Nut Barn. Only a lot less productive.

The Magic Elf Box that provides VoIP and Internet to my office is deader than Dick Cheney's conscience. The power light is off. I took it to a neighboring office, which has the same service, and plugged it into their power supply. The Elf Box was still in Dead Parrot mode.

I called tech support. After getting around the automated troubleshooter, I told the person on the other end of the line what the problem was. That worthy being still had to run through a series of checks... line was OK, I'd paid my bill, etc., etc. I gave up and just let the person run through the checklist, for I realized that screaming "the power light is not on, the Elf Box is dead, dead, dead" would probably not be productive.

They're sending a tech, which got me the obligatory lecture on "if the problem is the line in your building, there will be a charge". Big whoop, because the Elf Box couldn't be much deader if John Wilkes Booth had shot it.

I don't think it much matters who you call, dealing with "customer service" always seems to be an exercise in frustration. This modern age has its suck factors, and customer service is one of them.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Stopping Murderous Biker Gangs

Maybe we don't have to go so far as banning motorcycles. Engine capacity limits might work.

A maximum displacement of 125cc, perhaps?


In a little bit of link-surfing last night, I came across one writer who claimed that all of the bikers killed in Waco were shot by the cops. See, the bikers had a bit of a beef with each other, so they were allegedly utilizing alternative dispute resolution techniques and the cops took a dim view of them doing so.

88 Years Ago

Charles Lindbergh opened the throttle of The Spirit of St. Louis and took off from Roosevelt Field in New York. A little over 33 hours later, he landed at Le Bourget Field in Paris.

The Spirit is in the Smithsonian. Le Bourget Airport is still in operation. Roosevelt Field was plowed up sixty years ago by greedhead developers, who eventually built a shopping mall. There were still a number of airplanes from the First World War time period at Roosevelt Field when it was closed. They formed the nucleus of the collection now at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Stopping Murderous Biker Gangs

Here's an idea:
You never see Minivan gangs killing each other. If we just ban motorcycles, we'll prevent this kind of motorcycle-related killing.

Colt's Getting Closer to the Drain

No surprise. The hedge fund pirates and the vulture capitalists have about finished their work.
Colt Defense LLC’s debt rating has been cut to the lowest level possible after the hand-gun maker skipped an interest payment and extended its deadline for creditors to approve either a debt exchange or a prepackaged bankruptcy.

What's Up With Firefox?

Across two computers today using different ISPs, it seems that Firefox is going down about as often as a whore at a truck stop.

Eighty Years Ago

Thomas Edward Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia, died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash.

One of the lesser known facts is that the neurosurgeon who was on the medical team that treated Lawrence after the crash, Dr. Hugh Cairns, then began a study on head injuries suffered by motorcycle riders. His work led directly to the development of crash helmets.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Busy Reading

Angles of Attack

If you have any hankering for good old hard-shell science fiction, then if you haven't started on Marko's series, why the frell not?

Keep yerselves amused. I'm busy enjoying this one. Hell, yeah!

UPDATE: Finished it. Marko can write. Keeping a tale coherent through a thousand pages of print is no small feat. And he's not done, for he's writing #4, "Chains of Command".

I think that in all of that, I only noticed one little detail which had me scratching my head and going "huh?". Which is pretty damn amazing, considering that I've read some decent SF that couldn't get through a chapter without wondering "WTF".

Unhinge your wallets and buy the books. I'll give you my word-- if you don't like the books, then you'll have no trouble finding someone who will.

Not Caring Much

I really don't care that much that the sole survivor of the Brothers Kablamov was sentenced to die.

This cake was kind of baked. If the prosecutor was one of the few kids from the Massachusetts School of Law to pass the bar in 2014 and if the defense had dug up and reanimated Johnnie Cochran, I doubt if the outcome would have changed very much.

There will be appeals, of course, but probably they'll be dealt with swiftly and he'll be executed before the decade is out.

And Tomorrow, Putin Will Swim Across the Yangtse River

Russian President Vladimir Putin has played in an exhibition hockey game and scored one goal after another on assists from retired NHL players.

Putin's team won 18 to 6, with eight of those goals made by the 62-year-old president, most of them on assists from Pavel Bure, one of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history, and Colorado Avalanche star Valeri Kamensky.
I don't know shit about hockey, but I'll bet that the average high-school goalie could have stopped at least seven of those shots on goal.

But since people who incur Putin's ire tend to end up in prison or worse, it's probably no shock that the opposing goalie played about as well as Helen Keller would have.

How Can You Tell When a Military Public Affairs Officer is Lying?

His or her lips are moving.

An Osprey crashed and burned in Hawaii, killing one Marine and injuring everyone else on board. The PAO called it a "hard landing incident".


Just your typical hard landing... replace the tires, do some repairs to the landing gear and it'll be fine, suuurrre it will.

Who Was Behind "Ford to NYC: Drop Dead" in 1975?

The master of a lot of fuckery and evil for the last forty-plus years: Donald Rumsfeld. He had a delusion that if New York City went under, that the financial sector would move to Chicago, his home town.

It was not the first delusion that Rumsfeld had; it would by no means be his last.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Your Name Today (Link Repaired)

You can plug in your name and year of birth to find out what your name would be today.

Sorry about the earlier link....

Ditty Targets

Some dude came up with a way to make your own "shoot-and-see" targets on the cheap.

As for regular paper targets, some people I know use paper plates and a bingo marker (which are available at fine dollar stores) to make targets. I've found that copy paper works just as well.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Scaled Composites' Proteus:

The pod is some kind of synthetic-aperture radar. No doubt the Feebies are interested.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Dream On; New Army Handgun Edition

MILLSTADT, Mo. — At first glance, it seems absurd to suggest that a small company on the outskirts of St. Louis could be a serious player in the race to provide the U.S. Army with its next handgun.

This is, after all, a major event in the realm of military weapons — having happened only twice in the past 100 or so years. And it’s expected to draw the attention of the industry’s most powerful names, including Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Ruger and Glock.

And then there’s tiny Detonics, a five-person operation in Millstadt that fashions itself more tech company than gunmaker.

Competing for a DoD weapons contract isn't for small-time operators. It's not just submitting guns and passing the field trials, boys. It's dealing with all of the paperwork and procedures for military procurement.

It's not a game for amateurs or small companies. Smith & Wesson, which isn't exactly small-time, has teamed up with General Dynamics to compete for the contract. S&W didn't partner with GD for GD's manufacturing knowledge, for S&W knows how to make pistols. No, S&W is tapping into GD's extensive experience with the military project and procurement bureaucracies. GD knows how to make a submission with all of the ducks properly lined up and quacking in tune.

Detonics, by itself, doesn't have a chance. Hell, they can't even make their guns in quantity (think of the Mars of 110 years ago). And with all respect to the sacred memory of John Moses Browning, the 1911 pattern is very long in the tooth. Given that even the Marines have evinced a lack of preference for the 1911, I don't see that Detonics has a chance in Hell of winning the contract.

If their plan is to submit it, market the gun as "As Submitted to the U.S. Army" and imply that the game was rigged, they may have something. Otherwise, the gun's little more than vaporware.


Solar-powered kitteh recharges.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Court to Illinois: "You Made Your Bed, Now Sleep In It."

The state of Illinois, like a lot of governments (and companies), deliberately underfunded its pension system for many, many years. The politicians diverted the money that should have gone into the pension system for other purposes.[1]

So the way that the state chose to deal with owing about a hundred billion dollars to the pension system was to "reform" the pension system because of a fiscal emergency brought on by their own deliberate failure to do what they promised to do. The courts said "not so fast, bucko".

Gov. Bruce Ratfuck, who is a mighty champion of tax breaks for the well-off, now wants to change the state constitution. So he can continue the state policy of fucking over people who worked for it.
[1] Presumably, to do things such as give tax breaks to the rich.

Shorter SWA: "Sorry Our FA Stopped You From Alerting the Cops About Your Husband's Suicide Note by Text. Here's Your Refund."

One of the worst things about life post-9/11 is how a bunch of pissant flying waiters and waitresses now feel that they are imbued with a quasi-police power.
A Wisconsin woman was on a Southwest Airlines flight about to take off from New Orleans on April 3 when she received a chilling text message from her husband back home.... even after showing the airline employee her husband's desperate text, the flight attendant "slapped the phone down and said you need to go into airplane mode now."
Nice going, SWA. "Luv Airlnes" my ass.

Because It's Friday

A French stationary steam engine and a portable sawmill.


And now he's gone.
Missouri House Speaker John Diehl said Thursday that he is resigning from the Legislature after acknowledging that he exchanged sexually charged text messages with a college student serving as a Capitol intern.
(Original post)

The Road to Success....

.....has some low bridges.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

"The R51 is the Product of Countless Design Hours and Thousands of Rounds of Ammunition."

And not to mention a complete recall of the first batch of guns, which Remington screwed up worse than the Hubble Telescope.

I hope that they did it right this time, I really do. For they really screwed the pooch the first time around.*

The PR piece does seem familiar, though....

* And to all of those who have been lambasting Colt's unionized workers for "destroying a great American arms maker", allow me to suggest that the now-closed manufacturing plant in North Carolina was likely not unionized.

QOTD; JEB Edition

From an email:
"JEB's listing Dubya as a 'top foreign policy adviser' is like listing Ted Bundy as a consultant on women's issues."
And yes, it's "JEB", not "Jeb". Those are his initials; his campaign wants people to call him "JEB" because "John Ellis Bush" sounds like the name of the loan officer at Bank of America who is cheerfully foreclosing on your home.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"Hockey Stick" Airlines

Back from the dead.

Story here.

Of course it's not the same. EAL has been dead for nearly a quarter-century. Maybe this time around, Frank Lorenzo won't gut it the way that he gutted the original.

I have some fond memories of the Eastern Shuttle. But that was back before you had to buy tickets in advance and show up at the airport two hours before a flight. I remember the flight attendants coming down the aisle of that 727 with a credit-card embosser to collect fares, in flight. And if there were 200 people going to DCA and the airplane held 180, they'd drag out another airplane. For a long while, the back up was an Electra, though I never got to ride in one.

Sexting: Will Those Assholes Ever Learn?

Dear politicians: Don't engage in "sexting" with your young interns. Especially if you're married.

Seriously, guys. Does the name Tony Weiner mean anything to you numbnuts?


Factory Life

I've worked in a factory that ran like that.

Heh. Heh. Heh.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Caturday, Jake Update

The vet wants me to collect a urine sample. His idea was to empty the litter box and then leave it empty, because some cats would use it anyway,

I vetoed that idea. Jake is likely to show his displeasure by peeing next to it. Or on my bed.

Second idea: Put him in the carrier for a few hours prior to the followup visit. That didn't sound like a good idea, for he'd just soak his fur in pee. What I needed was to have him above the floor of the carrier.

So I went to the hardware store and just wandered around. One of the kids there asked if he could help me find what I needed. I told him that I had no idea what I needed.

I found these:

They're sink liners. You use them to keep from scratching the porcelain. And so, with a little bit of scissors work:

I doubt if he'll pee in the carrier. But at least I'll have tried to collect a sample.

Big Shocker: DoJ Won't Prosecute CitiBank

Not for rigging the LIBOR rates. (WARNING: Another goddamned self-launching video is embedded in that story, so if you're at work, shut off your speakers.)

Hell, let's be honest, here: The DoJ won't prosecute CitiGroup for anything. The CEO of any of the big banks could have a 14-year-old virgin hung up by her heels and cut up for steaks to serve in the executive dining room and the DoJ would just say "tut-tut".

Shorter FBI: "Dissent = Terrorism"

That's the position that the FBI's office in Houston took: If you opposed the Keystone XL pipeline, you were an extremist, a terrorist, and they opened investigations on your ass.

There are a lot of different markers for fascism, but labeling dissent as treason and using the power of the police to protect the interests of corporations are two of them. But hey, the Feebies have been flirting with this game since before they created the Nightwatch InfraGard program. (Some other posts on it.) The FBI has a track record of confusing political dissent with treason that goes back longer than most of my readers have been alive.

Harvesting From the Poor, Muni Court Edition

In the St. Louis area, the municipal courts would order the suspension of drivers' licenses as a way to coerce people to pay fines. Even when the courts had no legal authority to do so. The courts would sent out letters to people, threatening them with license suspensions, even when the court clerks knew that the courts didn't have the power to order a suspension.

If there is one thing that the Ferguson riots have exposed, it is how rotten the municipal court system is in Missouri, especially in St. Louis County.* Pissant little municipalities abound in the county, surviving on ticket revenue. The state legislature is cracking down on it, finally.

The defenders of the system have been screeching that all they are doing is enforcing the law. Which is no defense, for if that's all they cared out, then it shouldn't matter to them who gets to keep the money from the fines. Their cops are free to write tickets, but the pisspot little cities shouldn't be reaping a harvest as a result.
* I have little doubt that the system is equally rotten, if not more so, in most other states.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Following is a Paid Announcement:
"The NFL Salutes Our Veterans!"

The NFL hasn't been saluting veterans at the games out of a sense of patriotism, nosirree! Those "salutes" are not based on gratitude to our men and women who defend our country, no, they're based on greed.

For the Department of Defense has paid the NFL to do the salutes. Millions of dollars, in point of fact.

So, Ladies and Gentlemen, Please Stand While the NFL Gets Paid to Salute Our Men and Women in Uniform!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Bake Sales for Bombers, Cookies for Veterans

Rafael T. Cruz has a new way to fund veterans' benefits: Sell cookies.

I wish this was a joke,but...
During a campaign stop in Iowa on Wednesday, Texas Senator and 2016 GOP Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz made a suggestion that some military veterans may find controversial, if not outright offensive: he believes that the office of Veterans Affairs and the Pentagon should sell cookies to raise funds, a concept he admittedly borrowed from the Girl Scouts of America. ... “We need to make spending cuts that not everyone will be happy with, but we need to come up with solutions that make up for those cuts, too. For instance — and I’m just thinking out loud here — but the Girl Scouts make a lot of money selling cookies each year, and it brings attention to their cause. We’re talking billions and billions of dollars here. That’s an innovative idea right there, and I just came up with it on the spot. That’s what I want to bring to the White House.”

“Something like that, selling cookies, would generate billions of dollars for veterans while also connecting them with their friends and neighbors in a new and innovative way,” Cruz later continued, responding to yet another question from an attendee. “Think about the opportunities these veterans would be exposed to. Think about the potential of meeting a new employer, for instance. This idea would raise billions of dollars for vets each year, gives veterans the sort of public attention they deserve, and could open new doors for our nation’s bravest fighting men and women. This would be a golden opportunity for veterans, and for America.”
Right. So we'll have a bunch of legless/armless veterans sitting outside of grocery stores and Wal-marts with tables of Crippled Vet Thin Mints™?

UPDATE: I've been had.

Meanwhile, the NY Times has a piece on the billionaire that pretty much owns Marco Rubio.

Jake had two spells of barfing today. The first was under the kitchen table, the second on my bed. I gave him the same antacid med that I used to give George. He's now sleeping in one of the places that he goes to when he wants to be out of sight. My vet said to give him Science Diet canned food for urinary health, but you'd think that I had offered him arsenic laced with Ebola.

I'll give him some Kitty-Crack tonight as an apology.

Your Sunday (Very Late) Morning Jet Noise

The F-107

Not much in the way of jet noise videos for this airplane. The airplanes first flew in 1957 and they flew for about a year before they were retired.

When I go searching for videos for this series, I often find what would be nice ones. Except that some anacephalic producer has laid on a music track. Why those clowns can't let the airplanes' engine noises speak for themselves is beyond my understanding.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Another Grifter at Work?

A Colorado barbecue joint is taking heat after announcing a plan to hold a day honoring white people.

"On June 11th, what we plan on doing is 'White Appreciation Day.' And basically on that day, all white people would get 10 percent off," Edgar Antillon, owner of Rubbin' Buttz BBQ and Country Cafe in Milliken, Colorado, told NBC affiliate KUSA.
Maybe it's satire. But I suspect it's a con job.

What'll happen is that there will be talk of lawsuits. Then the Right Wing Noise Machine will get its outrage on. A GoFundMe Hater-Aid account will be started to help pay for the restaurant owner's legal fees. He'll get a whomping amount of money from that, just like the Pizza Joint of Hate did in Indiana.

And, just like Renee, he'll walk away.

A couple songs about leaving:

Caturday; Angry Cat Edition

Jake is sulking.

He wasn't peeing right. Instead of good lumps of pee in the litterbox (clumping litter), he was either putting out lumps the size of a marble or a pea. And he was complaining about it.

So yesterday morning, it was off to the vet. Blood tests, x-rays, hydration and a shot of penicillin. The suspicion is he has a bladder infection. And he got urinary tract canned food.

Jake's reaction has been as though he was channeling George: He dropped a turd right in the middle of my bed. Hell, even George, the Master of Fecal Communication, never did that.

Jake has been to the vet's for extractions (three sessions), shots, blood work, enemas and a couple of x-rays. He's never acted like this before.

It's now Saturday morning and all is forgiven. But I haven't yet given him his morning meds....