30 April 2005

Lions and Tigers and Bears!

Oh my!


Double Take....

I started avidly reading blogs when I realized CBS and Dan Rather were lying to me. Polls are now showing journalists admit having a Liberal bias. Public perception of this left-leaning may be responsible for the dramatic decline in ratings for CBS/ABC/NBC, and a decline in subscriptions for the NY Times and the L.A. Times:

Imagine my surprise to read this column in the L.A. Times!:

Fox News (Fair and Balanced?), might argue with being labeled Conservative, but they generally present Conservative issues in a more favorable light. Latest polls show them leading other tv news outlets by more than 2/1:

Wednesday Ratings: Raw Numbers
For all the talk about CNN's ratings successes, Wednesday's numbers show FNC's clear dominance:
Total day, total viewers: FNC: 845,000 / CNN: 372,000 / MSNBC: 175,000
Total day, 25-54: FNC: 291,000 / CNN: 93,000 / MSNBC: 52,000
Primetime, total viewers: FNC: 1,851,000 / CNN: 780,000 / MSNBC: 307,000
Primetime, 25-54: FNC: 481,000 / CNN: 172,000 / MSNBC: 90,000

Newspapers are in trouble. The "Gray Lady" has made so many mistakes in their recent coverage, the only part of it I have faith in is the "Corrections" column!

Is this move toward showing a Conservative viewpoint too late?
How long before I can be comfortable with what CBS tells me?
When will the audience on CNN begin to applaud the Conservative as much as the Liberal contributor?

With newspapers, trust isn't the only issue. Reading a newspaper takes time that most folks no longer have.
It's just easier to read my email, then check on my favorite blogs, Conservative and Liberal, and followup on stories that interest me by checking online news outlets.
But it is reassuring that the L.A. Times now feels it's necessary to present the view from the conservative side! I hope this trend continues and grows!

29 April 2005

Betcha Can't!!

DO NOT think of the music when you read the next sentence!
We will, we will rock you!

That is all!

The Pit

Kids do strange things.
Sometimes kids do strange things just because they are strange.
When I was still trying to control pimples on my face, I went through a phase where I thought being an auto mechanic might just be the greatest job on earth! I loved cars, so what better way to be around automobiles and learn what makes them tick than take a job at the local garage/filling station?
The garage where I worked was old. It had been in existence so long, a layer of grease and dirt at least half an inch thick had built up on the concrete floor in the shop! This facility was built before the advent of hydraulic lifts. To facilitate oil changes, lubrication work, and other under car services, there was a "grease pit" dug in the floor just wide enough that a car could straddle it. It was about four feet in depth, and a ladder at one end allowed you to climb down for access to the underside of the car.
When we had a lot of rain, this pit would fill with about 4 inches of water.

I grew up in a pretty rural area........not a lot of things for teenagers to do. This garage became a meeting place for my friends. One night, after a really rainy stretch, I was standing with four of my friends, Willie, Bob, Kenny, and Tom, looking down into the standing water in the pit. Willie had hands in pockets, jingling his change. He drew his hand out, counted the change, and said "Greybeard, I'll give you 59 cents if you jump into the pit!"
I was wearing clothing my boss called a uniform.......oil stained, holed with battery acid and then patched. No skin off my nose! Into the pit I jumped!
As I climbed the stairs, Willie forked over the 59 cents with a grin.
I had change too, and pulled it out of my pocket.......37 cents. Adding my change to Willie's I turned to Bob and said, "Is it worth 96 cents to jump?" Bob wasn't in a ratty old uniform, so it surprised me when he took the plunge! He climbed the steps and I forked over the coins.
Bob shook his pocket, pulled out his change. He then turned to Tom and said, "Will ya do it for $1.26?" SPLASH! Tom was $1.26 richer. Tom to Ken......another 40 cents in the kitty. Now the only one without wet trousers is Willie, the instigator. But Ken added 80 whole cents (!) to the pot, and Willie couldn't resist!
Up to this point, it somehow seemed to make sense.
Willie counts the cash, removes his original investment, turns to me and says, "I'll give you $1.87 to do it again!" I'm already soaked, so what the heck? In I go!
I took out my 47 cents, counted the rest and said, "Bob......there's $1.40 in it for ya to jump!" Then Tom, then Kenny.......
At the end of this wonderful exercise, we were all grinning, soaked to the waist, and pleased with how silly we were. We all had the same riches we started with. And we all had a story to relate about what it was like to be an adolescent male in rural America in the mid 1960's.

28 April 2005

Evolution? Maybe, maybe NOT!

Spring is wonderful! Everything coming back to life.....turning green. Lotsa great smells from blossoms trying to attract attention from my fellow flying thingys.
We have lots of trees on our property.....several of them are Maples.
Positives: Good shade, beautiful leaves.
Negatives: Exposed roots that wreak havoc on mowers, the wood is a little soft and breaks in strong wind or when weighted with a load of ice, and in the Spring....."helicopter" seeds.
Every year, the seeds get me to thinkin'......how can anyone deny the existence of a higher power?

The evolution argument goes something like this, right?........Maple tree says to itself, "Self!, in order to survive in the long term, I gotta find a way to cast my seeds to the wind!" So one Spring it produces seeds the size and weight of bowling balls, complete with three finger holes. They fall and cover the ground right beneath the tree and don't get enough sun to sprout. So our Maple thinks to itself, "Darn! Maybe if they had four holes?"
What now? Does our tree, (and all Maples), die because of this initial failure? Evolution supposedly takes (in your best Carl Sagan voice now) BILLIONS and BILLIONS of years! How does our line of Maple trees survive during this evolving?
For readers that don't live where Maples grow, you may have another example of God's brilliance........the Cottonwood, for instance. Ever see it snow in late Spring when the temperature outside is 85 degrees? I have!
Maple seeds are autogyros. They are perfect little airfoils! When they drop from their parent tree, they do the "Leonardo DaVinci" thing.......airscrew themselves slowly to the ground. The wind can carry them for unbelievable distances if it is strong and gusty. This "flying seed" has a wonderful chance of finding itself with its' little head stuck in soil that will be conducive to strong growth.....away from the parent!
Did this perfect example of engineering happen in stages.....one failure after another until, EUREKA!? The survival of the Maple tree line was depending on the success of getting seeds to grow and trees to multiply.
I admit we see living things change and improve, so I think evolution plays an important part in life. (I think this was also God's plan!) But some things, like the Maple seed, are so perfect, it's easier for me to believe Mother Nature had timely help!

27 April 2005

When Chihuahuas attack!

Little Bubba is almost three years old. He weighs 8 pounds, has four legs, and no longer barks in baritone, poor boy.
I was surprised when my significant other brought him into our home, because she grew up in apartments and never owned a pet. She has never been comfortable sharing her space with a being that thinks covering yourself with the smell of roadkill is a wonderful thing! And he's so clueless, he still hasn't learned that rolling in poopoo gets you an immediate bath!

If you look up in the far right corner of this page you will see a tab marked "next blog>>". Now, you need to know that it is an inside joke in our industry that EMS means "Earn Money Sleeping"! Sometimes, instead of "Earning Money Sleeping", ol' Greybeard will click that tab and "Earn Money Surfing"... surfing blogs. Now, if you're gonna do this, be aware that this sometimes takes you to some pretty exotic places, so if one makes you uncomfortable, just move your cursor up there and punch the tab again!
A couple nights ago I was pokin' that tab and came across the blog of a 21 year old motorcycle rider from Southern California. The blog was attractive and well written. The title of the top post was "F*****D UP!" Got my attention immediately! He wrote that he came home on his bike to find his Mother and Father in tears. They owned two Dachshunds... one of them was dead, the other would die in minutes. They were playing in their fenced in back yard when a pit bull happened by, and they did what Dachshunds do naturally... they let the bigger dog know they didn't appreciate him being in the same county with them, much less right outside their fence! The two dogs somehow found a small hole in the fence and escaped... then unfortunately, the pit bull did what pit bulls do naturally!
What is it in the nature of small dogs that makes them think they are "Stone Cold" Steve Austin? Have you ever been attacked by a Chihuahua? There is one down the street from us that comes out to threaten us when we walk by. Sara Jean is terrified of him, but he irritates me enough to make me wonder how satisfying it would be to lever my size 10 boot amidships and see how far the furry little critter would sail! (And have you noticed this is the only time the little yipers don't shiver like Don Knotts on the old Steve Allen show?)
Anyway, Little Bubba has this same spirit. He thinks he is the meanest Mutha around, and a great hunter to boot! Rabbits easily outdistance him. Squirrels enjoy it when he gives chase, and then they turn and taunt him from halfway up the tree! When he is on one of these "quests" he is a blockhead with selective hearing... he may as well be deaf! Forget thinking you have any control over him!
Of course, I've grown quite fond of having "blockhead" around... can't imagine coming home and not having him meet us ecstatically! Reading the Californians' blog reminded me we have to keep good barricades between Little Bubba and the Rottweilers and Pit Bulls of the world!

11Sep01......Lessons learned?

I just watched the video of the successful landing of the new Airbus A380. Beautiful! This aircraft approaches the size of "The Spruce Goose", meaning it is monstrous!
Will you be comfortable flying on this airplane? And by this, I don't mean comfortable as in going to the massage parlors that will be onboard, I mean will you have any fear that this flying village will just be too attractive to the next Mohammed Atta?
Terrorists chose the Boeing 757/767 series because the flight decks of those airplanes are nearly identical and they both carried enough fuel to cause unimaginable damage when they were crashed. I fear the new Airbus A380 will be of interest to terrorists simply because of its size and its passenger load.
As an aside......Airbus needs to sell 250 of them to recoup their multi-billion dollar gamble on this airplane. Stay tuned to see if they can sell that many. (Boeing is betting they can't!)

Food as drug

Last night Sara Jean and I went to an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. I love this place because I can eat until I'm ready to burst, but I'm able to fill up mostly on green beans, broccoli, cabbage.....you get the picture.

There were at least six people at this restaurant that would have been more comfortable distributing their backsides across two chairs....350 pounds would be a conservative guess. You know these folks have got to be miserable with their bodies, so why do they tempt themselves by coming to such a place?

Food as drug!

These folks are obviously prime candidates for heart attacks. When they have "the big one", someone will call for an ambulance, and the WONDERFUL FIRST RESPONDERS will have to figure out how to get this mass onto a stretcher and into the truck. When they get to the hospital, the Doc is gonna want a helicopter to take this patient to a tertiary care center. When he calls our dispatchers, one of the questions they will ask is "how much does the patient weigh?" If the answer is 350 pounds or more, the next question is, "what is the patients girth?" Our stretchers are limited to 400 pounds, and at this weight you begin to reach the limits of our ability to secure the patient to our stretcher. More and more, we are turning down flights because patients are too big/heavy.

So it's another thing to add to the vicious cycle.....upset with my condition?
More upset with my condition?
If I could just have a bowl of ice cream....
Worried about having a heart attack?
Let's see if I feel better when I eat something!

The genius that comes up with a way to short-circuit this cycle will be a millionaire in no time at all!

26 April 2005


One of the bloggers I enjoy reading had to abandon her blog because she made no attempt to conceal her identity and co-workers began to read her blog regularly. When she would make comments about her experiences at work, management and co-workers were sometimes offended. She feared for her livelihood. I hope to avoid that problem by maintaining anonymity. That will be difficult, considering the small world I live in.
I've been flying helicopters since the mid 1960's. The U.S. ARMY taught me to fly helicopters,and upon successful completion of the course I was one of the lucky folks that got an all-expense paid vacation in sunny Southeast Asia. There I flew helicopter gunships mostly, but I flew slicks, (troop carriers) also, when the gunship I flew was grounded for maintenance.
Returning stateside, I became an instructor. Teaching people to fly helicopters has been a joy! There is a nearly indescribable satisfaction in meeting someone with a desire to learn to fly helicopters, and taking them from the starting point to watching them take off on their first solo flight. Teaching students to fly makes you special to someone for the rest of their life. I am still in constant contact with students I taught to fly many, many years ago.
I have had non-flying jobs off and on during the time since I learned to fly, but I have never been away from the controls for very long. Flying has, for the most part, been what put bacon on the table for all these years.
I am also an airplane pilot, but I don't like them very much. They are a wonderful way to go from point "A" to point "B" quickly, but they are boring, (if you can drive a car, you can fly an airplane), and they are not as safe as a helicopter. (If this doesn't elicit comments, nothing will!)

If you have never flown one, you CANNOT fly a helicopter! I would wager that given someone with natural talent, a good instructor might be able to talk a student through the motions of flying an airplane... get in, start the machine, take off, land, and shut it down.
Believe me, no amount of verbal instruction will keep you from quickly turning a helicopter into a pile of expensive scrap... there is no substitute for hands-on training!


I have flown as a Corporate pilot, a "tour" pilot, and I presently fly a helicopter ambulance. Flying EMS is highly satisfying... earning a living while helping people that sometimes need your talents desperately.
That's a quick overview. At the start there are many questions: How often will I post? How much, if any attention will the site attract? I'm excited!

Initial pitchpull

I've been reading Blogs actively now for about a year. When I responded to some of them, a few suggested I should start my own blog. I've been hesitant to do that for several reasons, the biggest of which is that I don't consider myself a "deep thinker". I continually find myself in the position of having a "gut feeling" that I can't adequately put into words. I'm amazed and envious of the talent some have for being able to put thoughts on paper.
So here we are at the birth of something that may amount to little.
I have been looking for Weblogs devoted to aviation in general and helicopters more specifically, and they are few and far between.
I foresee that many of my thoughts will not be aviation related, but flying has been such a part of my life for so long... everything will be tempered to some degree by my flying experiences.
I look forward to comments from readers, if I attract any!