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

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Batshit Outrage on the Right; Incoming!

On CBS Sunday Morning, in their year-end "Hail and Farewell" segment, Charles Manson was followed by Roger Ailes.

Heh.

SWATting and the Nigerian Prince

First off, the "SWATting" death in Kansas: There's a lot that we don't know. But it sure looks as though the cops fired from across the street, behind some cover, and killed an innocent man over "furtive movement." The cops are going to say, of course, that it was a treasonable mistake.

I disagree. The cops summon a guy to the door, shine bright lights at him in the middle of the night and yell orders at him: What's reasonable is to expect the guy so summoned to be confused. If he's wearing sweatpants, he may need to pull them up and then it looks to the cops as he's reaching for a gun. It also appears that the cops were across the street, with rifles, crouched behind their cars, and to seriously believe that a guy is going to yank out a handgun and hit anything at that range in the dark is beyond credulity.

But hey: Officer Safety.

It'll get hashed out in civil court in a damages suit. And some appellate judges, who went to Tier One law schools and who have never been exposed to any serious danger in their lives, will throw the case out.
-------------------------------------------------------
It seems that one of the people posing as a Nigerian prince is a 67-year old white guy in Louisiana, who is now facing a couple hundred charges of wire fraud. As the WaPo noted, some of the victims of the con are lured to Nigeria and then bad shit happens.

Some consecutive sentences are in order.

Your New Year's Eve Big Prop Noise

Spraying forests with DC-3s:

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Caturday

Can I haz Forever Home, pleeze?

Friday, December 29, 2017

Z is for Zero (R.I.P.)

Sue Grfton, author of the Kinsey Millhone alphabet series of mysteries, died of cancer yesterday.

By sheer coincidence, I just picked up Y is for Yesterday.

I hope her heirs are not the sort of greedy chuckleheads who commission another writer to do the Z book. They say that'snot going to happen:
Hello Dear Readers. This is Sue's daughter, Jamie. I am sorry to tell you all that Sue passed away last night after a two year battle with cancer. She was surrounded by family, including her devoted and adoring husband Steve. Although we knew this was coming, it was unexpected and fast. She had been fine up until just a few days ago, and then things moved quickly. Sue always said that she would continue writing as long as she had the juice. Many of you also know that she was adamant that her books would never be turned into movies or TV shows, and in that same vein, she would never allow a ghost writer to write in her name. Because of all of those things, and out of the deep abiding love and respect for our dear sweet Sue, as far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y.
I hope they stick to it. Successor writers may try hard to stay with the spirit of the dead author, but like even the best art forgers, some of their own personality always leaks through. The finished product is almost always off in an intangible sense that a faithful reader will sense.

I was looking forward to the Z book, to see how Grafton closed out the tales of Kinsey Millhone. I can't imagine that I was the only one by a long shot.

Thirty years ago, also on December 28th, John D. MacDonald died. He had published what turned out to be the last book in the Travis McGee series, The Lonely Silver Rain. That book signaled that McGee, upon finding out that he had a teen-aged daughter, was going to jump headlong into not only being a father, but being responsible for another person. MacDonald's heirs have not let anyone else roll a sheet of Travis McGee into a typewriter.

I hope Grafton's survivors are cut from the same steel.

If you're a mystery reader, lift a glass in the memory of Sue Grafton, and to her characters that we've all come to know.

What Did Trump Say?

"I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest C.P.A. I know the details of health care better than most, better than most. And if I didn’t, I couldn’t have talked all these people into doing ultimately only to be rejected."
How much skill does it take to not make a sale?

Besides that, all reports are that Trump has a shorter attention span than the average six-year old. That he would know the ins and outs of a 400+ page tax bill defies credulity.

(Paging Mr. Dunning. Paging Mr. Kruger.)

Because It's Friday

The Pike's Peak cog railway.



Unlike Mt. Washington, which has always run steam, the Pike's Peak line began to dieselize almost eighty years ago. Steam returned to Pike's Peak solely to draw tourists and steam junkies.

Political Weasel in Operation

Singer and Trump supporter Joy Villa has filed a sexual assault charge against President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, the Associated Press reported.

Villa said she filed the complaint against Lewandowski for hitting her twice on the buttocks at a gathering at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. the day after Thanksgiving.
I just watched her interview on GMA. The interviewer asked Villa if she stood with the women who have accused Trump of assaulting them. The first time around, Villa answered by talking about herself. On a follow-up, Villa said that it was important for women to come forward and report sexual assaults.

Villa wants the cops to go after Lewandowski for slapping her on the ass, but she's still a loyal supporter pf the Ol' Pussy Grabber.

She'll be a good politician, for she can't answer a straight-forward question.

Weasel achievement: Unlocked.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Sore Loserman is Still Sore

Alabama officials on Thursday unhesitatingly pushed aside a legal challenge from Roy S. Moore and certified Doug Jones as the winner of this month’s Senate election.

The action, during a brief meeting at the State Capitol, was essentially the state’s final step before the seating of the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Alabama in a quarter century. It was also a swift rejection, by some of the state’s most powerful Republicans, of Mr. Moore’s complaint that he was the victim of “systematic voter fraud.”
...
In a lawsuit filed in a state court late Wednesday, Mr. Moore, who denied the allegations of sexual impropriety, complained that pervasive fraud had tainted the election, and that the Alabama authorities had inadequately investigated potential misconduct.

But Mr. Moore found himself aligned against Democrats and Republicans alike. Secretary of State John H. Merrill, a Republican who voted for Mr. Moore, said he had found no evidence of endemic fraud and refused to postpone the certification. Judge Johnny Hardwick of Montgomery County Circuit Court, citing a lack of jurisdiction, dismissed Mr. Moore’s complaint minutes before the vote was certified.
...
To support his arguments, Mr. Moore included affidavits from several people his campaign described as experts in elections; one has claimed to have “mathematically proved a conspiracy to assassinate” President John F. Kennedy. (Mr. Moore has himself indulged in conspiracy theories, including that former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.)

Experts unaffiliated with either the Jones or Moore campaigns quickly said the lawsuit’s arguments appeared meritless.
Moore isn't going to go away anytime soon. The GOP in Alabama is delusional if they think he will. For every race that Moore might enter, the Democrats should find the strongest possible candidates.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Derp is Strong With That One


I can't even begin to unpack the load of snark this generates.

Monday, December 25, 2017

I'll Feel Like This After Today's Feast



Merry Christmas, everyone.

Cleared for Approach at BINP

Santa One, cleared for GPS approach and to land."

"Cleared for GPS approach and landing, Santa One."


Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Shepherd

A Christmas tale:


Happy Christmas, one and all.

(A more recent adaptation.)

The Spirit of Steamboat is another good Christmas airplane yarn.

Your Sunday Morning Rotor Noise

Crop-dusting with a UH-1


Still seems wrong to hear one of those Bells without seeing a M-60 poking out of the side.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

More Xmas Music

I Got a Lot of Problems With You People, Now You're Going to Hear About It!!

Now 20 years.


No Doubt, the Next Step is to Detain Them in Special Camps

The Trump administration is reportedly considering a controversial plan to deter illegal immigration by separating immigrant parents from their children when they are caught crossing the border illegally.
"Cross the border without papers and we'll ensure that you never see your kids again! Muwhahaha!"

Do these clowns don top hats and twirl their mustaches when they come up with these ideas?

I'd call it "inhuman", but I have never seen anything resembling a spark of humanity or compassion from Trump. He has all of the empathy of a hickory nightstick.

When he does try to relate to people, it's like watching a badly-programmed AI do it.

Caturday

Chip demonstrates why I use a separate keyboard for my laptop.


He'll walk across the laptop's keyboard, but not the desk-type keyboard.

Friday, December 22, 2017

When the Going Gets Weird, Ambassadorial Edition

Pete Hoekstra, Trump's ambassador to the Netherlands, was asked by a Dutch reporter why he said there were Muslim-only "no-go" zones in Holland where cars and politicians were being set on fire. He denied saying that and said that claims that he said that were fake news.

So the reporter showed Hoekstra a video clip of him saying exactly that and asked Hoekstra why he said that it was fake news.

Hoesktra then denied saying the words "fake news".

It was pretty weird.

The Seven Banned Words, Vermont Edition

In case you're curious.

Because It's Friday

The Mt. Washington Cog Railway:


Most of the trips nowadays are by their "biodiesel" locomotive. Steam runs in 2017 were in the morning only, except for one week in August, when they ran two trips.

It's the oldest operating cog railway in the world. It was the first mountain cog railway.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Military Procurement's Broken

The Air Farce wants to re-engine all of their B-52s (comprising less than 10% of original production). It will take seventeen years to do that.

UNSAT, people. It took the USAAF/USAF seventeen years to go from the initial design proposal for the B-52 to shutting down the production line after the final -H model was rolled out.

The Zoomies want to buy 660 engines. Right, and the original fleet took about 6,000 engines, plus spares. So back in the day, they made nearly ten times as many engines and the airplanes to go with them that it'll take just to make the engines.

Something is seriously broken, which can shown by the point that the only tin can that the Navy's shipbuilders and competently make is one they've been making for thirty years.

More Xmas Music

An oddball piano duet by the USN Band:

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Boatload of Xmas Lights

A little more creative than the usual music-driven Xmas light show:


Take a few minutes and enjoy.*

(H/T)
__________________________
*Three Ships is a pretty Christmas carol, but this verse is stupid:

O they sailed into Bethlehem,
On Christmas day, on Christmas day,
O they sailed into Bethlehem,
On Christmas day in the morning.

Bethlehem, at least the one that is said to be the birthplace of Jesus, is in the Judean Mountains and is about half-a-mile above sea level. Unless the ships were sailing up the Delaware River and into Bethlehem, PA. But the carol is English and is almost 400 years old, at least a century older than the Bethlehem with access to the sea.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

NORK ICBMs

The article argues that the ICBM threat from North Korea is very much overblown. Here's a small piece:
To create a fully functional HS-14 or HS-15 ICBM North Korea would need more than a dozen test launches to ensure the missing technologies were now present and working. The missing techs are the more difficult ones that require more engineering and scientific resources than the basic multi-stage rocket. Nothing as exciting as rockets blasting off when it comes to reentry vehicle and its contents. Until North Korea succeeds in that last endeavor and conducts multiple tests that obviously work will there be any hope of a serious threat. But then comes yet another challenge.

Even with a reliable Hwasong-14 or 15 ICBM North Korea would need more than a dozen of them, launched simultaneously, to have any chance of getting past the existing American GBI (Ground Based Interceptor) anti-missile missiles based in Alaska.
The article points out that the HS-14/15 are liquid-fueled missiles akin to the American Atlas, a weapon that went out of service fifty years ago.

In essence, NK is running a con on everyone in the region, as they have before. But this time, it shows signs of not working.

An Ultramodern Police State

If you want to see what an ultrmodern police state looks like, read this investigative article by the AP on the Chinese crackdown on the Uighurs.

"Crackdown" is an understatement. It's more like stamping on the faces of everyone, repeatedly. Digital tracking of everyone. Forced DNA collection. Collective punishment of family members. "Re-education" and secret executions. Requiring government bureaucrats to live in people's homes for a period of time to conduct at-home indoctrination.

Orwell didn't have the half of it. And somewhere, there are old Stasi members, shaking their heads over their glasses of brandy or beer and saying: "Man, that's some really intensive shit."

Your Sunday Morning Turboprop Noise

An Air Tractor at work:


Crop dusting Aerial application is a lot safer than it once was, back when the airplane of choice was a converted Stearman. Spray rows were marked by "flaggers", kids who stood at the edge of the field and held up a flag to mark the edge of the las sprayed row.

Now they do it with GPS.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Snow and War

Seventy-three years ago today, German Panzers tore through American lines in Belgium. The Battle of the Bulge was on.

In some ways, the German attack, which they called Operation Watch on the Rhine, was as foolhardy as Operation Market Garden. Both plans were overly ambitious and ended in failure. One difference was that the Western Allies had the resources to recover quickly from their combat losses. The Germans did not. American resistance was far stronger than the Germans anticipated. When the weather cleared on the 23rd, American defenders in Bastogne received resupply and medical aid by air, while the P-47s bombed and strafed every German tank and truck that they could see. The Luftwaffe tried a massive air-to-ground strike and ended up suffering so many losses, especially from the new VT-fuzed antiaircraft shells that they were effectively knocked out of the war.

But that's not what I want to write about.

My father was drafted into the Army when he turned 18. Things had cranked up to the point, by then, that when a young man registered for the draft, he could expect to receive orders to report in very short order. Dad was assigned to an infantry unit. That unit was training to fight in Europe and supposedly was to be into the war in the fall of 1944.

Sometime before then, Dad received orders to transfer to a tank-destroyer unit. It seemed that there was an entry in his personnel file that said that he had been trained in them. He hadn't. He'd never been near one. He told his sergeant that. The sergeant said not to worry, they'd teach him what he needed to know.

And so, Dad became a tank destroyer.


The tank destroyer battalion was slated to be in Operation Olympic. They were in Hawaii when the war ended. Dad's original infantry unit was in Belgium in December, 1944.

All this is family lore, of course. My father's records, along with millions of others, were lost in the National Archives Fire in St. Louis over 40 years ago. Dad passed in his early 70s from lung cancer.

But it gave me a lot of patience, when I was in the service, when I had to deal with the trials, tribulations and buraucracy of BuPers. For it was similar incompetents that may have saved my dad's life and, by extension, the lives of his children and grandchildren.

Caturday

The only possible use for a Croc-themed anything:


That shelter cat doesn't care.

Friday, December 15, 2017

So, Let's See If I Have This Correctly

A couple of FBI agents exchange text messages critical of Trump and the Right-wingers want the FBI purged or shut down.

But when cops beat a black guy to death or shoot one in the back or shoot some kid kneeling in a hallway, the same folks on the Right will jump to defend the cops. They'll scream their defense for the cops and loudly proclaim that OK, maybe there are a few bad cops, but the vast majority of them are doing a hard and difficult job.

Funny how that same standard doesn't apply to the FBI in an instance where zero blood was shed.

So why hasn't the Right demanded that the police departments in Ferguson, Baltimore, North Charleston or Mesa be disbanded?

That's a rhetorical question, of course. You know why.

Because It's Friday

Polish steam in "the high technology world of the 1980s":


Condensation isn't the only thing that's dripping in this documentary, but the locomotives are still worth seeing.

World's Oldest Toddler Pitches Another Hissy Fit

The Federal Communications Commission voted three to two to change the way "net neutrality" is governed.

Internet service providers (ISPs) will now be allowed to speed up or slow down different companies' data, and charge consumers according to the services they access.
The underlying reason for this fuckery is that whatever Obama was for, Trump is against. Trump hates Obama so much that if Obama had made it harder to obtain opioids, Trump would have ordered that vicodin be handed out in schools after each recess.

for that's all of the thought that goes through Trump's mind about regulations. If Obama had a position on something, Trump takes the opposite tack. It's the actions of a surly toddler.

Speaking of a surly and narcissistic toddler, it is impossible for the intelligence briefers to say anything to Trump about Russian hacking. Trump takes that information not as information about Russia's nefarious actions, but as a personal attack on his own sense of self. For to Trump, everything is about him.

He either has the emotional maturity of a toddler, or he truly knows that he is guilty of collusion, if not outright treason, and he is willing to do anything to keep that from coming out. Even if it is acting like an uncontrollable three-year old and bringing down the country with him.

Either way, Trump, by his actions, has shown that he hates this country. That that's been a clear fact. For anyone who would back an accused child-molester for a senate seat in order to gain a short-term political advantage has no moral compass at all, nor love for democracy.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

48% of Alabamians were Fine With Having an Accused Child-Molester as Their Senator

But 50% were not.

In one of the reddest states in the nation, Steve Bannon managed to find a candidate so repugnant that Alabama's junior senator will now be a Democrat.

Bannon is starting to shape up like the latest iteration of the Tea Party. The GOP would have had a solid lock on the Senate a long time ago if not for Republican candidates supported by the Tea Party fringe.

The GOP itself lost a senate seat, but they dodged a bullet. Democrats would have hung Roy Moore around the necks of every Republican running in `18 to force them to justify being a candidate from the Party of Moore.

Monday, December 11, 2017

A Poll I Don't Believe

Democrat Doug Jones leads GOP candidate Roy Moore by 10 points in the Alabama Senate race, according to a Fox News poll released Monday.

Fifty percent of voters surveyed say they prefer Jones, compared to 40 percent for Moore, who has been plagued by accusations of sexual misconduct.
There has to be some number of people who are not going to tell a pollster that they are supported an alleged pedophile. But when they get into the voting booth, they can pull the lever for Moore and then decry to all of their friends that it's a durned shame that Alabamians elected a man whose apparent predilection was for underage girls and who believes that the time when he and his friends could have owned slaves was when America was at its greatest.

Then add to that the number of white Alabamians who are mad at Jones for prosecuting and convicting the two surviving Birmingham Church Bombers and you probably have enough voters to take Moore over the top.

Santa

Heh

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A Lockheed L-1011"TriStar":


My only two airborne ocean crossings were in TWA L1011s.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Caturday

Chip is chilling out.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Because It's Friday

Steam in Eritrea:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Professional Courtesy is Apparently a Thing of the Past

A Manhattan private equity director was killed by a shark while scuba diving off the coast of Costa Rica, authorities said.
I know, I'm a bad person.

Seems that the dive site was known for its abundance of shark species.

Trump to Form His Version of the SA?

Trump is considering forming his own private spy network, which would be run by Eric Price, the Henchman of Evil and the brother of Betsy DeVos.

I suppose that these folks will all be swearing allegiance to El Caudillo Trumpo.

So now we're going to have private spies to ferret out Trump's enemies. What's next, secret police?

Haven't we seen this movie before?

I got shit going on. Got a call from relatives; a wildfire is possibly going to burn their home down and they're bugging out. The fire was news to me, because everything on the media these days is about whatever stupid shit DFT did or said or tweeted.

And I've got no shortage of work to do right now. So look over the blogroll.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Heh. Heh. Heh.

This just came across my email from The Week:

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Brock Turner, the Dumpster Rapist, is Back!

From BadTux comes news that the Preppy Swimming Dumpster Rapist, Brock Turner, is appealing his conviction.

The thrust seems to be a combination of "it was her fault" and "the court was mean to me!" Yep, the same court that could have sent the Swimming Rapist to prison for years (instead of three months in the county jail).

If he gets a new trial, maybe he might get to do some hard time.

Still, the truth of the matter is that, thanks to the Internet, Brock the Convicted Rapist will never outrun what he did.

We Are So Screwed; Surgical Ed.

This article posits that the rise of "superbugs", which are microbes that are antibiotic-resistant, will push a lot of surgical procedures out of common use.

What could slow things down would be regulations on the overuse of antibiotics and increased resources to R&D into new antibiotics.

Neither of which will happen these days.

Regular readers of this blog know who I'd blame for that.

Which brings to mind this joke.

On another note, Trump might have tweeted himself into a criminal charge. Or impeachment. Or not. So now, when did Trump know that Flynn was lying to the FBI? No doubt, the chorus of Trumpanzees will trip over their over-long ties, rushing to explain why obstructing justice is less of a heinous crime than is lying in a deposition on a civil matter.

Your Sunday Morning Historical Prop Noise

A Douglas SBD:


I recently took a trip to visit my mother on her birthday. The return trip had me changing planes at Midway Airport. When I change flights there, if I don't have to rush to my next one, I like to go to the Battle of Midway exhibit and look at the SBD on display.


Those guys were all peacetime volunteers. It's probably a good bet that a fair number of the Americans at the battle, both junior officers and enlisted, had joined the Navy for a steady job and "three hots and a cot" during the Great Depression. War came calling, they stepped up and did their jobs.

The Battle of Midway was a turning point in the war, the high-water mark of Japanese expansion. Thing is about turning points, they're just of interest to historians. Most of the time, they're not apparent to those doing the fighting. It's just another day in the trenches/cockpit/engineering plant.

While I was sitting there for a bit, some dude told his girlfriend that the metal pipes under the airplane were used for launching it from a carrier:


They weren't. That's a bomb-trapeze. Its function is to swing the bomb out clear of the propeller's arc before releasing the bomb. SBDs dove at an angle of up to 80 degrees, their speed limited by perforated dive brakes. The bomb, of course, would free-fall upon release and, if not swung out clear of the propellor, would smash it.

And no, I didn't correct the dude at the airport. Though every fiber of me wanted to.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Off the Reservation; K-Frame Edition

I have a love of S&W K-frames. They are great guns. But this week, I jumped ship, a little:


That's a Ruger Security Six. If you look closely at the barrel, you'll see that the "RFTM Before Using This Gun, Moron" rollmark is not there. This is a late-`70s gun, produced before Ruger began so marking their guns.

All of the Security Sixes that I've seen recently all had the legalese rollmark and, on a 4" barrel, it is fucking hideous. This one didn't, and so.....

It shoots OK. This is at ten yards:


Caturday

A "found" cat at a shelter.


I'm preloading this post, so here's hoping that this boy has been returned to his home.

(Microchip your pets, people!!)

Friday, December 1, 2017

Gunnie Stuff

Ken Hackathorn and Bill Wilson reminisce about the beginning of modern combat pistol shooting:


They also mention some of the things that shooters did that would now be regarded as "gamer-tricks".

Because It's Friday

Steam locomotives working copper mines in Botswana:

Flynn Seems to Have Flipped

President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, is expected to plead guilty on Friday to lying to the F.B.I. about two conversations with the Russian ambassador last December during the presidential transition. ... A plea agreement suggests that Mr. Flynn provided information to prosecutors, which may help advance the inquiry.
Yep, pass the popcorn.

In these kind of investigations, they don't let the lower-ranking guys plead out unless they bring something of value to the table. So now there's going to be a lot of speculation as to whom Flynn is giving to the prosecutors.

Still, there is something gleefully ironic in the fact that the clown who led chants of "lock her up" is pleading out to a couple of felonies.

It's also becoming apparent that Trump might be in jeopardy under the Watergate Rule*:
President Trump over the summer repeatedly urged senior Senate Republicans, including the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to end the panel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, according to a half dozen lawmakers and aides.
If there is any indication that Trump also was trying to pressure the Republicans in Congress to force an early end to the Mueller investigation, then that's possibly going to fall under the heading of "obstruction of justice".

But don't worry, sports fans. The Right will somehow start screaming that "this is all Obama's fault."
_______________________________________
* "It's not the crime, it's the cover-up."