30 September 2009
Since the force consists of three Officers, "Chief" is a patrol officer who happens to get the privilege of doing all the admin work for the department. He's a great guy (and a Commercial helicopter pilot because yours truly was very patient with him.)
A few nights ago he responded to a disturbance call. Far enough removed from town it was dark, dark, dark, so when he found the correct address for the complaint he waited for two Sheriff's Deputies to respond and all walked up to the residence simultaneously.
Their presence seemed to quiet the savage beasts...
"No, no problem here Officers. Yes, we'll be careful not to shout and disturb our neighbors."
Satisfied things are under control, our three heroes start back to their respective squad cars when "BAM!!", my friend finds himself on the ground with stars in his eyes, and these aren't celestial stars!
The area was so dark he failed to see the remnants of a kitchen chair in his path and fell over it, breaking his right wrist.
Now, the only flying he'll be doing for a while is as my co-pilot, and his police work will be accomplished while protecting the cast on that wrist.
Enforcing the law is dangerous work...
And not just because the bad guys want to hurt you!
29 September 2009
This amateur investor still believes we are in for a serious economic correction.
More and more, I'm finding professionals that agree with me. (You'll have to close a couple ads when you click that link.)
Notice however that most of the "insurance" moves they recommend require you to deal through a broker, which means that broker will get a commission on every trade you make. If I have to choose securities, I still prefer no load mutual funds. But in the last week I've taken a considerable (in hand) position in precious metals, and I'm still buying and storing ammunition as I can find and afford it...
Bought a couple boxes of shells... 00 buck and #2 shot for the new Remington 870 shotgun!
I still hope this is just near-paranoia on my part.
25 September 2009
23 September 2009
One group gets immediate, premium care, while the other...
eh, not so much.
What can you do to get the premium health care?
Grow another pair of legs!
I don't know the answer to this question...
Is Veterinary care also free in Canada?
22 September 2009
Thirty-five miles per hour doesn't seem all that fast when you're cruising along, does it? And I have no doubt your husband was being an awful schmuck. But wouldn't it have been far better to wait for him to stop somewhere before you decided to disembark?
The ambulance folks say you probably tumbled for about 50 feet or so. They know this because you apparently ran outta your shoes trying not to fall. That was the distance from shoes to your road-rash covered body. Somewhere during your body's deceleration your head made solid contact with the concrete pavement, crushing your skull, rendering you unconscious. When you came to, you displayed the typical "fight or flight" symptoms we see so frequently in someone who has had their "bell rung" real good.
They'll take pictures of your noggin. They'll watch for your brain to swell and may drill holes in your skull so it has room to expand by squishing a little grey matter through the hole(s).
(Wouldn't it be nice if the material that squishes out could contain the memories of the argument and your subsequent stepping out of the moving vehicle?)
They'll look you over really good to see if you need skin grafting where the skin was sandpapered completely off... Shoulders, elbows, knees.
Hangover from way too much to drink...
Depressed skull fracture...
Unless they dope you up real good, that pretty head is gonna ache like never before when you wake in the morning.
21 September 2009
Yours too? Yeah, most of us find ourselves similarly distressed.
We're continually being educated by Obama's media that the rate of job loss is slowing down and the recession is over. "We're dying more slowly now!" Big whup.
Believe what you want... I think we're still facing a helluva roller-coaster ride.
An acquaintance just wrote that a financial institution she worked for shuttered its doors last week, surprising everyone... present and former employees. I replied I'm reading that we can expect more closures... the near future may be a scary few months.
From the linked article:
"The FDIC estimates bank failures will cost the fund around $70 billion through 2013. Ninety-two banks have failed so far this year. Hundreds more are expected to fall in coming years largely because of souring loans for commercial real estate."
(Bold mine- GB)... Defaults on commercial real estate are gonna be a big deal.
Are ya doing anything to protect your assets? Regular readers know I'm buying precious metals and ammo, and storing food.
(None of this will go to waste if I'm dead wrong, which I hope to Dickens I am.)
Day before yesterday I checked and found there are no precious metals stocks for me to move my 401K funds into. What's the next best move to insure preservation of my principle?
I moved 50% of my 401K funds into an International Growth fund and 50% into an International Value fund, and will intermittently rebalance those as necessary in the future. Watching our leadership make financial mistake after mistake, my thinking is that other countries- particularly the Pacific Rim countries that are now more capitalistic than we, will fare far better over the next months and that should be reflected in the value of International stocks.
I'd like to hear your thoughts on the subject.
19 September 2009
Last night was one of those nearly perfect nights...
What we used to call "Field Grade" weather in the ARMY, 'cause the higher ranking pilots could wait until the weather was perfect to go meet their required flying minimums...
Clear sky, unlimited visibility, and temps conducive to great aircraft performance.
So it's Friday night...
High School sports. Date night. Folks moving around realizing bad weather is just around the corner. I was sure we'd be flying most of the evening, and since the aircraft sat idle my two previous nights
I was looking forward to lighting the fire in two Lycomings and contributing to global warming.
The phone rang twice to put us on standby for motor vehicle accidents, and we "stood by" for a few minutes on each before being called and told "NEVERMIND!".
(We never really know why we are not needed, but we know it's either because the patients are not seriously hurt, or they are "DRT"... Dead Right There.)
So for the third night in a row I checked weather and NOTAMS, preflighted the aircraft, briefed the crew and dispatch, then watched TV, surfed the net, told lies to my co-workers, and went to bed for a few hours shuteye while being paid well for wishing I was flying.
It's important to remember-
We're not paid for doing the job. We're paid for knowing how to do the job and being ready to do it when called.
Being idle causes mixed emotions...
When the phone doesn't ring it's a good thing 'cause folks aren't hurting. But it also means you're not feeding all those horses sitting out there on the pad beneath that rotor.
Too many nights like the last few cause bean-counters to begin to question whether you're needed at all.
Back to work tonight... Saturday night. The forecast is for rain and fog.
What a business.
18 September 2009
17 September 2009
(Pay attention to the laundry list of folks she thanks... they're likely all complicit in fraudulent activity.)
Back in October my friend Rodolfo said this:
"This whole ACORN stunt has been widely overblown. The fact is there is no evidence to suggest there is a *systematic* attempt by ACORN to steal the election. It was ACORN themselves who turned in the fake registration to authorities and fired those canvassers who tried to take advantage of the system."
Well, the firings were ACORN's attempt to put out the fire.
I think Rodolfo may have been trying to cover for them because Bozama was affiliated with ACORN in Chicago and he didn't want any of that mud splattering on "Teh One". Now ACORN has been indicted in several States for "systematic" voter fraud. Their contract with the U.S. Census bureau to help collect data in 2010 has been canceled. Employees are being fired right and left because of unscrupulous practices. ACORN leadership has literally been reduced to trying to distact us with the "OLABSO!" strategy.
(Oh look... A bright shiny object!)
Rodolfo, I desperately need you and FlightFire to come back and help me understand what I'm missing here...
How were my fears "overblown"?
(I know, I know... it's not good form to gloat, especially when the Nation is gonna be in such pain.)
16 September 2009
It might not be perfect, but it ain't broke to the point of needing a "frame-off overhaul"...
Most Americans don't want Big Government involved in their health care. If Obama's ideas take hold, health care in the U.S. may be catastrophically broken, and it is apparent the no longer "silent majority" has begun to realize it.
Is journalism dead? Chris Matthews "tingle down his leg" apparently also killed his desire to report the news. Our media is failing us. Asked about ACORN, and how that fiasco has unfolded, recently retired ABC anchor Charles Gibson was clueless...
ACORN is in charge of doling out BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars, yet a guy who is supposed to be immersed in the news is ignorant of their exposure by two young independent investigators? Newspapers are failing and ratings for broadcast media are suffering. Here's why.
Think they'll wake before it's too late?
Young folks who wanted change are getting it, despite our warnings that they knew NOTHING about the details of what that "change" would entail. Now they are shocked, SHOCKED!, to find they truly are "the ones we older folks have been waiting for".
Thank you, thank you, young people! Now give me all your change, please!
You know I didn't vote for this man. I was dismayed when he was elected because there were just too many loose ends indicating he might not be eligible to be President, and that he was not well-prepared for the job under any circumstance. When he was elected I tried to look on the bright side-
Maybe he CAN do what he claimed... be a uniter, by showing people of all colors that if you work hard you can climb to the highest post in the land.
Instead we are more divided than ever. If you disagree with this man, well, you are obviously a racist.
The Tea Party movement is opening eyes. I guess there are more and more racists coming out of the woodwork, (and more and more of 'em are folks of color!)
Can we survive this administration?
YES WE CAN!
Wake up America!
Althouse echoes my thoughts on the first "post-racial" President.
15 September 2009
'Cause generally it works.
Friday night before the gathering and I haven't even made our signs. I know there are "Tea Party" events scheduled for four hours, yet we have no lawn chairs.
That butt you saw hanging out of the dumpster at the "Dollar General Store at 11 P.M Friday evening? That was mine... grabbing a perfect "Absolut Vodka" box because the interior of the box was pure white... perfect for signage. (What was an Absolut Box doing in a Dollar General Store dumpster?)
Back to the condo with a smile on my face I search for the magic marker I KNOW is in the utility closet...
Nope. I can't find it.
Back in the car to Wally World for marker(s), and maybe they have comfortable lawn chairs at a reasonable price? I find a nice set of markers, black, green, red, and blue. No lawn chairs, but plenty of beach chairs. Their short legs won't do, so there's unfinished business to attend to on the way to the rally.
Home just before midnight, I cut the box into two large rectangles...
"Honey, what do you want to say on your sign?"
"I have no idea."
"Well, what issue troubles you most? That's what you want to say."
From the sofa my Mom shouts "You LIE!"...
The truth of Congressman Wilson's statement is still an open wound with my family.
Sara Jean agrees. So I cut her rectangle into a square and write "You LIE!" in bright green magic marker, and staple it to the wooden handle.
I turn my rectangle so it is taller than it is wide and write "$top $tupid $pending!!", dollar signs in red, the rest of the lettering in blue. It looks good. I am proud of my handiwork. I staple it to the handle. We head to bed, looking forward to our first political rally.
We wake to gray skies and a rainy forecast. We leave early so I can stop at "Bed, Bath, and Beyond" and buy some nice lawn chairs I saw marked "half off" earlier. Two chairs in the trunk we head out with only a Ft. Walton address for "Liza Jackson Park"...
I'm not really sure where the place is.
No worry... we arrive 20 minutes early and join a nice crowd in a covered pavilion that is steadily growing in spite of spitting rain...
Young folks with babies.
All smiling and hopeful.
It seems everyone is fortified to find so many with the same fear...
What's happening to our government?
A guitarist and singer played/sang The National Anthem.
We recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
I cannot estimate the size of this crowd. There were several vendors set up beneath the pavilion and people had to crowd in to get out of the sprinkles. There was an overflow of people with umbrellas outside the pavilion on all four sides. If you pressed me to guess, I'd guess there were between two and three hundred people when speakers started speaking.
And there's one of my two complaints-
Some of the speakers were politicians running for office. In order for these rallies to be objective and most effective, Democrats and Republicans alike must be blamed for the catastrophe we now find ourselves facing. It does no good to say one party was more at fault than the other...
It took both political parties to run this train off the tracks and that needs to be emphasized.
A Doctor spoke on how our health care could be reformed without destroying the system we have.
A gentleman advocating a swith to the "Fair Tax spoke and answered questions.
The EmCee pointed out the several vendor's areas and asked us to read and sign petitions there. When I checked them out they were all headed "We the residents of Florida", so, unlike Van Jones, I couldn't sign them because I actually read the petitions.
My second disappointment was that once again our media seems to have failed us...
I saw no indication that video was being shot for later use on the local news. (Watching the news that night confirmed this.)
However there were a couple folks with reporter's notebooks walking around interviewing people, and the "Destin Log" was there to take some photographs of the rally.
I'm glad we attended. I'm now hopeful this movement will grow and we can attend events like this locally so we can sign petitions to our legislators here at home.
If you are concerned about the direction our government is headed, you MUST get involved!
Remember the truth in the quote I frequently repeat:
"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
13 September 2009
12 September 2009
The crowd was bigger than expected considering the rain showers. Everyone was well behaved and provided intelligent comments and equally intelligent questions. Lots of fun signs. One participant walking around in an Obama mask with a sign I hope to link to later... everyone wanted a picture with him!
The movement seems to be gathering strength. If you are tired of the inexorable march toward socialism remember the truth of the saying-
"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
What are YOU doing?
11 September 2009
10 September 2009
I'm recovering from "Bucket Seat Butt". After more than twelve hours at the wheel and a stopover in Pensacola to pick up Mom, we are safely in Destin, lovin' it. Nothing out of the ordinary to report about the trip... weather not a factor, and we took the "new" route again which avoids major cities so we had no traffic at all on the way.
Sara Jean and Cindy are at the pool. Mom and Lucy are asleep in the recliner. TwoDogs will soon be joining the girls poolside, as will I when I push the "publish" button.
Politics be damned.
Life is good.
09 September 2009
I was not yet two years old.
My folks bought a little crackerbox house South of Indianapolis, Indiana...
Two bedrooms and one bath, they added another bedroom and extended the living room after my little sister was born. I slept in the bedroom of that little house for seventeen years until Uncle Sam requested my services in 1966. I was crushed when I came home to find my mother had turned my bedroom into a sewing room.
Anticipating Dad's retirement, in 1978 my folks bought another crackerbox, a 2BR/1 Bath house on lakefront property outside Bloomington, Indiana. For a while they lived in the house near "Naptown" during the week and spent weekends at the "Lake House". But soon they realized how much they loved drinking that first cup of coffee while watching eagles soar over the lake, and sold the only house I ever knew and moved to property I had no sentimental attachment to whatever.
Pretty quickly they again felt cramped by too little room and built an addition to this house, nearly doubling the size of the place while adding what it needed most... another bathroom. The addition included a huge second-floor kitchen overlooking the lake, which became the most comfortable room in the house...
the views of changing seasons on the lake were beautiful!
Dad retired in 1983 at the age of 62. He and Mother enjoyed that home together and we made memories with them there until his death in 2003. Mom stayed another year, but had a minor stroke in 2004 and was forced to leave.
From an uncomfortable distance, I became sales agent and caretaker of the property.
I had heard my Dad talk about properties around the lake selling for extraordinary sums. One little house, really no bigger than a small mobile home but on an absolutely beautiful finger jutting out into the lake, had sold for $160,000. Dad figured since his home was nearly four times the size of that home, his property might be worth something in the vicinity of $240,000... (amazing, for a house he and Mom had bought for a small fraction of that figure.)
I contacted a Real Estate agent expecting the property, because of its location, to sell quickly and for a princely sum. This guy toured the house and surprised me with his answer...
"I'm not interested in listing the property." It was the beginning of the bursting of "The Bubble" in real estate, and he had several upscale properties on the lake that weren't selling. My folks' property not only wasn't upscale, it needed lots of work to bring it up to sellable condition.
So for several weeks Sara Jean and I drove most of a day to this sad, empty house on a lake that brought back memories of the good times we had spent with my parents. Upon arrival we'd get to work. Weekend after weekend we mowed the lawn and did outside work-
Painting, replacing rotten fascia, spray cleaning concrete and stonework during daylight hours, then painting and doing minor carpentry work inside after darkness fell. We were exhausted and disheartened because we still had not found an agent to list the property for sale. Another surprise... when Mom's homeowner's insurance came up for renewal the insurance agent refused to cover the house because it was unoccupied. I had to scramble to find a specialized carrier, then purchased high-cost coverage for the empty house.
We finally found an agent who listed the property. Shortly after we finished "shining the place up", we got an offer on the house. It had been on the market for quite a while with no one showing any interest whatsoever, so we reluctantly accepted an offer that would certainly have dismayed my father.
That was four years ago. Now my neighbor across the street finds himself in a similar situation. He just lost his mother and inherited her home. Although it is just down the street from where he lives, making it much easier to do the necessary tasks to be able to sell, he faces a more depressed market with a house that has nothing much to offer in the way of "location".
His situation has sparked some sad memories.
I'll watch with interest and empathy to see how long he has to worry about taking care of two homes.
08 September 2009
Sarah Palin used the term to describe the "End of life" counselors called for in the House version of the Health Care Reform Bill. It's a phrase that has caused Liberals to pull out their hair, because although it IS a bit misleading, two-or-three word phrases are easy to remember and when they catch on, they stick like glue.
"Death Panels" certainly has.
Does the term bother you?
If it does, how do you feel about the phrase "Fairness Doctrine"?
What about "Employee Free Choice Act"?
Both are almost exactly the opposite of what their title seems to indicate.
"Death Panels" comes much closer to describing what those counselors might have to recommend in our near-bankrupt health care system.
"Give 'em a pain killer and send 'em home!"
07 September 2009
We've discussed before how the forward speed of helicopters is limited by the speed of sound and by a phenomenon called "retreating blade stall".
As the rotor approaches Mach I a shock wave begins to build in front of it and drag increases exponentially.
The relative wind flowing across the advancing rotor blade is the sum of the forward blade speed and the speed of the aircraft, while the speed of the relative wind on the retreating blade is reduced because it is running away from the forward speed of the aircraft. Therefore, the retreating rotor blade has to have a higher angle of attack in order to produce the same lift as the advancing blade. I'm still amazed helicopters even fly.
So the speed of sound is a physical limitation for true helicopters and in order for rotary wing aircraft to go faster, we'll have to explore technologies that make the aircraft something other than a true helicopter.
The V-22 Osprey is an expensive, complicated (and controversial) way to attack the problem.
Compound helicopters are another, less complex way to increase forward speed...
By adding a wing, the angle of attack on the rotor can be reduced because the wing is assisting in production of lift. The speed where "retreating blade stall" is encountered is thereby increased, which allows the aircraft to fly faster before encountering that problem.
This video shows flight testing on such a machine...
You can see the stub wings on the fuselage, and the ducted fan and rudder-like device that replaces the tail rotor. It's an exciting concept, and may help bump up the speed at which rotorcraft can fly before encountering aerodynamic limits.
(Hat tip to friend Terry for the link!)
04 September 2009
Think of it...
Senator Chris Dodd,
Gov. Bill Richardson,
Rep. Charlie Rangel...
All tainted by corruption, all cleared by this democrat controlled Congress.
"Nothing to see here folks, move along!"
But when republicans are once again in control of things, there is now precedent to take another look, isn't there?
Yes, there is!
02 September 2009
Still, if The Bob would like more flying posts, maybe others feel the same way.
So I drove 90 minutes to the airport yesterday knowing I had nothing scheduled, but hoping once I got there someone would say "Hey GB, c'mon, let's go fly", and I'd have blogging material to satisfy The Bob and others.
I love bein' an airport bum. I wish there was a way to make an income being an airport bum... (Maybe Bozama needs another Czar?)
Even if it only paid minimum wage I'd sign up tomorrow!
Pilots are all interesting folks. All have a zest for life... all spent some discretionary income to learn to fly. All are willing to take the additional risk required by strapping yourself into a small machine and pushing away from Mother Earth.
Some pilots are big risk takers, some are not. Pilots can spot the risk takers amongst our ranks in pretty short order. The old saw "There are OLD pilots and BOLD pilots, but no OLD, BOLD pilots" holds true, so those of us who are not "bold" pilots enjoy being around the bold guys while we can, hoping when they kill themselves they don't carry others with them into the "smoking hole". But all pilots have colorful stories...
Get a pilot started talking and you'll be entertained and educated at the same time.
I'm never bored at the airport. I arrived at the hangar to find Frank and Dr. H. chatting. Both Frank and Dr. H. are former helicopter students of mine. Frank is now a commercial pilot/CFI and owns his own R44, which I am blessed to have easy access to.
Dr. H. is a plastic surgeon. In addition to flying helicopters, he's also a fixed-winger and a glider pilot/instructor. He's also an amateur magician.
We chat about health care reform. We chat about Frank's recent trip to Costa Rica. Interesting stuff.
Dr. H. leaves... he has to go give someone a flight physical.
I walk across the taxiway to Mark's hangar. Mark also owns an R44 and my former student Frank was his primary helicopter instructor. I've also given Mark a little dual instruction and consider him a close friend. Mark owns a construction business and one of his focuses is building hangars. His main supervisor building hangars is Marcia, and she is with him in his hangar. Alongside the two of them is Keith, who has a hangar down the taxiway. Keith is also a former student of mine and also owns an R44, a T28 Trojan, and a
Piper Navajo Chieftain. Keith owns a security company.
Here again, talk turns to politics...
Energy prices going up. Taxes going up. Insurance costs going up.
Where does it end? Who can afford to own an aircraft? How do we continue to fly? And ultimately, what can we do about these questions?
Keith leaves and almost immediately Dr. R. walks in, accompanied by his grown son. Dr. R., a Dentist, owns a large Dental facility across town. Also a former student of mine, he's lost so much weight since I last saw him I don't recognize him right away. "Diet and exercise" he says, and I'm glad to hear that the loss is not because he's deathly ill.
Again, talk turns to politics. Dr. R. is buying gold.
Dr. R. is buying ammunition. Dr. R. says having stores of ammunition will soon be more important than owning gold...
With ammunition you'll be able to buy gold.
We sit at the big table and beers are opened...
Now, for me there'll be no flying tonight, but conversation will become more relaxed, (and may be more interesting).
Jodie drives up in her jeep. In the passenger seat is Sophie, her Golden Lab/Pit Bull mix. Sophie is one solid canine... easily weighs 80 pounds, so it's a good thing she's a sweetie. Jodie is a student pilot, working toward her fixed-wing Private Pilot rating. She grabs a beer, sits, and joins the conversation. Sophie saunters over and plunks against my leg, wanting her ears scratched.
After drinking a beer with us, Dr. R. leaves.
Dr. S., an ER Doc and fixed-wing pilot walks through the door, smiling. He goes immediately to the fridge, grabs a beer, sits and joins the conversation. The five of us talk for over an hour before we finally say our "see ya next times" and head for home.
Dr. H., Frank, Keith, Mark, Marcia, Dr. R. and his son, Jodie, Dr. S., and me...
And the only thing we disagree on about the coming "troubles" is how long it will take to start, and how chaotic it will be when it starts. (Sophie didn't offer an opinion, other than to indicate "ear scratching" was wonderful.)
No one disagrees that it WILL start.
All are working as quickly as possible to prepare.
So Bob, I tried for ya man!
I had high hopes I'd be able to go fling-winging and write here about the joys of watching the shadow of the helicopter recede as we climb out on takeoff.
Didn't happen, Dude.
But I want ya to know, this session was good for me...
Lots of intelligent, interesting people from different walks of life agree with me that we're sitting on a powder keg.
After the Town Hall meetings, do you think our elected representatives have a clue about how working folks in the heartland of the country feel?
I hope so. Last night convinced me more than ever...
Getting their attention is the only way to avoid the explosion.
2010 is right around the corner. Maybe this will get their attention?