29 April 2010

I Left... Nothing... In San Francisco

And therefore never have to go back.

I'm taking a pledge right now...
My shadow will not fall in that city until there is regime change there.
Arizona, the majority is with you!

Failure To Communicate

We've been planning and looking forward to this Destin break for months, setting out stuff we know we'll need to take...
Tinkering with the car to insure it's ready for an all-day drive.
Sara Jean intermittently likes to walk away from the car with the ignition switch in the "on" position. If you do that and it goes undiscovered overnight, you'll hear this wonderful "clickety-clickety-clickety-click" sound when you try to start the engine, and it always seems to happen when I need the car. (She's done it at least three times lately.) You can only do that to a battery a few times before it simply refuses to take a charge.

Long-time sufferers of my rants will remember this post, which actually was written as the result of Sara Jean's forgetfulness all those months ago. In that post I questioned what it would be like, trying to get WalMart to replace the battery when the process is that complicated. I've since found out... twice. They don't like it, but they do it. It was on my list of "things we had to do", and with that knowledge I've been jump starting the car with our portable power pack.

Last week the air conditioner did the "dying cockroach" thing on us. Knowing the temps in Destin will require the use of air conditioning
I took the car to our local mechanic for A/C repair immediately and explained to him, "The battery is dead and you'll have to jump it to get it started."

The "evaporator" was leaking. This is one of those
"I know it's gonna be expensive things" about air conditioning...
When they quit it is frequently because there is a leak in either the compressor or the evaporator. Neither is cheap to repair.
Replacing the evaporator on most cars these days requires the complete removal of the dash/instrument panel. It's labor intensive.

The mechanic called... "Your car is ready".
Looking over the bill I noticed, "Battery.... $95.75".
"You replaced the battery?!!"
"Yes, you said it was dead."
"Yes, but that's a WalMart battery and I could have had it replaced under warranty for nothing."
And to his credit he took the bill back and removed the charge for the battery.
Now I feel odd...
It's not fair that he has to eat the cost of the battery and the labor it took to replace it. But I DID NOT ask him to replace it, and if and when Sara Jean does "her thing" again, (and she WILL!), I'll not have a free replacement warranty.

I'll wrap this post up by asking... What's wrong with this quote?
"What we have here is, A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE!"
First person to identify the problem gets an "OOOOH, you're so wonderful!" from me.

April 30- Tomorrow!

Gumbo. Red Beans and Rice. Blackened Mahi-Mahi.
BEER! (Or for Sara Jean, MARGARITAS!)
All are welcome. Come to Destin.
Now they're saying the oil will start coming ashore in 72 hours or so.
We'll be there to watch it and will report the situation as we see it.

How it COULD Begin-

The image you see above was taken at a rally for illegal immigrants a few months back. Over the next weeks watch to see how many Mexican flags you see and ask yourself, "What country is this? If they want Mexico so badly, why did they come here?"

Some polls show 60% of the population approves of Arizona's new legislation. The approval rating in Arizona, (remember that Phoenix is the #2 kidnap city in the world and now has a violent crime record comparable to New York City, 10 times its size), is a whopping 70%!

Much of the flow of human traffic across the border is drug driven...
If they cannot pay in cash, some of these poor border crossers pay the fee Coyotes demand by smuggling drugs to a designated location. If that traffic begins to be seriously constrained in Arizona, violence could quickly rear its head. (One Arizona rancher has already been killed.)

Seems to me it's just a question of time until someone gets tired of the Federal Government not providing the security it is Constitutionally required to provide its citizens and starts taking things into their own hands.
How long will it be before a real border war starts?
If/when it starts, which side will the Bozama administration support?

As is so often the case, BZ covers the issue better and in more detail.
Worth your time.

28 April 2010

April 30 Countdown Again

Two days!

What A Few Can Do:

Pre-flight planning accomplished.
Pre-flight done.
Pre-start procedure, done.

Open the door... CLEAR! Secure the door.
Turn the key to start. Three hundred sixty cubic inches of engine rumbles to life.
Immediately engage the clutch. Alternator on and warning light out. Check the engine oil pressure... rising.
Maintain RPM below 60% until the clutch light goes out.
Headsets on. Radios on.

Clutch light out...
RPM to 75% until engine oil temp., cylinder head temp. in normal operating range.

All engine instruments "In the green"...
Magnetos check.
Carburetor heat, check.

Governor On.
Throttle increase... Governor takes control of engine at 80% and increases RPM to mid-green range.
Low RPM warning system, check.
Throttle sharply to "flight idle"... check freewheeling clutch by insuring engine and rotor tach. needles "split".
Avionics set as desired.
Cyclic and collective frictions, off.
Throttle increase, RPM in normal operating range.
All caution/warning lights out.

Area clear.

Lift collective. Cyclic and anti-torque pedals... as necessary.
Magic time!

27 April 2010

April 30 Countdown

Three days.

American Pie

I'm sure you've seen it too 'cause I've already received it from five people this week...
A video of Uncle Sam parodying our democrat leadership, sung to the tune of Don McClean's "American Pie". It's pretty well done, but as a music lover that can remember "The day the music died", I'm once again distracted by the tune itself.
The connection to the death of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and "Big Bopper" J.P. Richardson is obvious. But Man! There are a lot of words in that song and the connection some of them have to the main theme has always made me curious.
You too?
Well I went surfing and found this explanation that seems to make about as much sense as anything else I've read.

The day the music died.
Music was such an important cultural factor from '63 to the mid 70's. How different could it/would it have been if Buddy had survived?
"If you knew... Peggy Sue"...
It's an interesting question.

26 April 2010

Racial Profiling?

In Arizona and elsewhere, lefties are exhibiting their normal concern for the rights of lawbreakers, worrying that law enforcement personnel will use "racial profiling" to harass citizens with the new law.
Let's see now:
1. Caucasians
2. Asians
3. Blacks

I once again find myself confuzzled.
If a Caucasian cop stops a Caucasian citizen to insure he's not breaking the law, how is that "racial profiling"?

Five Years

I got tired of sitting on the sidelines leaving fabulous, interesting, educational comments on the blogs of others.
Five years ago this date in Destin, Florida I poked around "Blogger" and figured out how to insure everyone who stopped by "Pitchpull" got the benefit of my opinion.
Five years and still pluggin'.
I've made some amazing friends along the way... and have actually met a few of 'em.

Neat stuff.

25 April 2010

The Licking Monster!

As frequently happens I open my eyes and the bedroom is still dark. The alarm clock at my bedside reads 5 A.M..
I have to be careful and very quiet...


The Monster?
It's a shocking thing to consider:
Eight legs.
Two tails, one long and one stubby.
Half of it is black, half is cream-colored.
The black part is kinda wiry. The cream colored half is like cotton candy.

The Monster remains quiescent if you don't stir dramatically... don't make a sound.
An hour later I turn and stretch, then yawn... The Monster SPRINGS to life and attacks!
Two heads!
Two flicking tongues!
One head on to the left side of my face, the other on the right, the apparent mission is to dampen my entire face... lick the sleep from my eyes.
The licking tickles and I laugh... BIG MISTAKE!
The Monster gets more excited and the frequency of the licking increases dramatically!

"Puppies want to GO outside... Go potty?"
In front of my eyes The Monster splits in two and eight legs hit the floor, four then four.

What a great way to start the day.

24 April 2010

"It Sounded Like A Freight Train"

Tornadoes all around us. More South and West headed our way.
Tornado victims always say "It sounded like a freight train approaching."
We're half a mile from the (very busy) railroad tracks, so it's hard not to be a little spooked.

23 April 2010

Sara Jean's "Training Wheels"

She's from Chicago, yet she's never fired a firearm. (I guess there are no guns in the Second City!)
Regular readers know I have finally covered my bases so far as my firearms are concerned... my purchase of the M-1 Carbine, the .308 Remington, and the 870 Express shotgun filled the gaps I felt needed filling. I'm now working to get a comfortable amount of ammunition set aside for each piece.

If you, like me, read survival blogs, you know the long guns will be of little use when the "SHTF". The guys I read, one of whom, (an Argentinian), has actually been through that country's economic collapse, stress the piece you'll need most is a large-caliber (preferably automatic) pistol, and you need to have it ON YOU...
Come home, pull out your pistol, take out your keys, unlock the door and enter your home.

It's one of those things we "intend to do"...
There is a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum on the floor on Sara Jean's side of the bed. It's loaded with slightly less powerful .38SP cartridges just in case she actually ever has to use it... in hopes she'll not be so stunned by the first shot that she can pull the trigger a second time. But there are seven handguns in this house, four of them always loaded, and my wife has never shot a handgun. Shame on me. My excuse? I want her first shooting experience to be pleasant. I'm pretty sure the .357, the .45, or the .44 Magnum would not provide a "pleasant" first experience.

So on a whim I stopped by my local gun store on the chance they might have an answer to my problem. On the top left shelf, sitting there crying "Look at me! Look at me!" was the piece you see above.
Thirty-plus years ago a friend brought one to a shooting outing and we fired 300 rounds through the thing without a misfire. It was accurate, comfortable in my hand, and had virtually no recoil. (My friend the gunsmith says it's one of the finest guns made.)
A perfect gun for Sara Jean to learn the fundamentals.
We pick it up today. Practice begins tomorrow.
I'll let ya know how it turns out.

22 April 2010

Dog's Best Friend?

Dog tired.
It's been a tough week at work. Eight nights in a row, 'cause Dan is out in Burbank California getting his daughter settled into her new job there. Three nights in a row I had three flights, and one night
I had four. Work like this means I normally come home, check my email, then quickly roll over to get my mandatory 10 hours of rest. But Monday was special...

Yogi was still "whole". A little internet study suggested the best time to get him "snipped" might be before he reached puberty... around 5 months of age, and that meant getting it done like... NOW.
We scheduled his procedure on Monday. I was to drop him off at the Vet at 0830 hours.

Our neighbor two doors down had taken his Newfoundland/Labrador mix to this same Vet for this same procedure six months ago.
Later in the day he got the "I'm sorry, something terrible has happened" phone call. I'm sure that with dogs, like people, administering general anesthetic is serious business. When I handed Yogi over to the Vet's assistant my neighbor's experience weighed heavily on my mind, and I was a little misty-eyed watching him disappear through the door, head craned around to watch me 'til he disappeared.

I went home and slept fitfully.
Thankfully, all went well and by the time I was ready for work that evening Yogi was home, already irritating Lucy.

Two days later I'm home from work and ready to hit the hay with no worries of having to get up for work later. Yogi is back to normal. Both dogs watch and follow as I head upstairs to bed.
I wake an hour later to-
Yeeup... YeeeUP... YEEEEUPPP!
Lucy is retching.
I grab her, sleepily leap from the bed, and deposit her in the bathtub where she vomits a four inch circle of coral colored liquid. She has a weak stomach and this is not out of the ordinary for her. I pick her up to keep her from re-ingesting the mess... (WHY DO DOGS DO THAT?!), rinse it down the drain and return to bed.
I'm no sooner back to sleep than I get a rerun...
Yeeup... YeeeUP! Feet hit the floor, grab her, race to the tub.
Once again she vomits. This time it is BLOOD RED.

DAMN! Now what?
My mind races... what could cause this?
Something else she ate?
A medical problem?
I call Sara Jean and inquire... "Do you have any idea why?"
"No. But you get to sleep and if she does it again call me and I'll come home and take her to the Vet."
Thankfully Lucy settles in. She's acting normal now... no more vomiting.

I think I have it figured out...
Two weeks ago I bought some special treats...
Rawhide chews with a marrow-like filling that is bright red. Lucy loves the things and attacks them with vigor. But apparently they don't sit well with her. We'll have to watch her more closely with them.

I woke yesterday afternoon to find I had left the bathroom door open and Yogi had entertained himself with the toilet paper roll.
Do you have any idea how much floor space a full roll of "Charmin Ultra" can cover if it's shredded into bite-sized pieces?
It was like it had snowed in the bedroom.

20 April 2010

NASA And The Health Care System

I'm puzzled. Help me.

NASA is too expensive. It's inefficient. It's headed in the wrong direction.
The solution?
Our space program needs to be set free from the bureaucratic restrictions weighing it down. Free market/Private enterprise is the answer! Only with fresh new thinking can our space program be saved!

Health care is too expensive. The system is inefficient. It's headed in the wrong direction.
The solution?
More government regulation needs to be applied! The free market system has failed us. We need more rules to insure everyone gets equal access to health care. Bureaucrats are better able to make decisions to improve our health care system!

I think the Bozama administration may be Bipolar.

16 April 2010

History Lessons

It's 2330 hours. No moon. Overcast. Darker than the inside of a cow.

"Your patient is a 32 year old male victim of a helicopter accident. He has severe trauma to the head and body. Meet the ambulance at **LZ4-3."
Before we launched our dispatcher told us he's a cop. What/why/how? We don't know.

We see the flashing lights from 20 miles away...
"Holy smokes! Look at that!"
In addition to the ambulance, there must be 20 Police cars from various agencies in and around the LZ... most of 'em with their emergency lights on.

My crew brings him out of the ambulance on their stretcher and load him onto ours. His head is covered with dressings, but blood is everywhere. This is a SERIOUS head injury.

We load him and I point the helicopter toward the Trauma Center. My crew fills in some of the blanks-
He's the observer from the helicopter. The pilot is dead on the scene. They were doing a surveillance on a drug bust, and apparently lost situational awareness while paying more attention to the scene on an infra-red CRT screen than to the heading, altitude, and airspeed of the helicopter. Out of control and heading to the ground, the aircraft ran into an electrical high-tension line and is totally destroyed.
The left side of his skull and much of his brain... gone.
We arrive at the Trauma Center and get him on the way to the Operating Room. I take off to refuel the helicopter and when I return, my crew informs me he's dead.
Another casualty in the war on drugs.
Two more heroes lost in that war.

Do we ever learn anything from history?
Didn't we declare war on another drug years ago... from 1920 to 1933?
How'd that war turn out?
How many died?
Think this one will turn out differently?

15 April 2010

'Tater Salad

It's 0730 hours and I'm drowsily making my way home from work, listening to my local news/talk radio station-
"Ron White will be appearing at ******* Auditorium tomorrow night and we have two tickets to his show to give away. Be the fifth caller at *** **** and the tickets are yours!"

Oh what the heck... why not try?
I punch in the numbers and push "Send". Busy signal.
Punch "Send" again. Busy signal.
Third time... "You're the fifth caller!" I'm floored. "What did you say?"
"You're the fifth caller! What's your name?!!"

I LOVE Ron White.
I'm working tomorrow night.
The little devil on my shoulder is whispering in my ear, "You can call in sick!"
But one of our pilots is on vacation and that could leave our patients without the lifesaving helicopter they might need.
Sara Jean can find someone to go with her.

Ron, I'll catch ya later man.


It was a couple weeks back-
I was in one of those stupid "cat versus dog" conversations with a cat lover. Let me be clear...
I find cats interesting, and if my son wasn't seriously allergic to them I'd have one in my house tomorrow. (One of the best pets that ever owned me was a
Manx. She thought she was a dog!)
That very day I'd heard someone on talkradio make the comment, "We only tolerate house cats because of their size. If they were bigger, they'd try to eat us".
I thought the insight was funny, and it was funny partly because in the far reaches of my mind I could sense it was true. House cats don't try to eat us because when they do, we kick them against the wall.
(I joke!)

So I wasn't at all surprised to read this post.
If they can't eat us whole, cats apparently are perfectly happy to do it in small servings!

12 April 2010

Cabela's- (ARRGH!)

"Thank you for your recent order. We appreciate your shopping at Cabela's and hope that you had an enjoyable shopping experience."

Well Cabela's, let's read a little further into your note and see how my "shopping experience" could POSSIBLY be enjoyable:


1 of 21-6955 Winchester 45 ACP 230GR FMJ AMMO W/DRY BOX 45 ACP 230 GR FMJ600BX

Thank you so much for serving my needs!
I ordered the ammunition in January and when you (twice!) notified me it was still on back-order you informed me I had to call you and reaffirm that I wanted the order or you would cancel it.

Now, (maybe through no fault on your part) you tell me you're no longer receiving 45 ACP from Winchester and after waiting three months I won't be receiving my order?
What a wonderful shopping experience!

Can I PLEASE place another order right away?!!

Something was fishy. The first customer rep. I spoke with sounded young and seemed only to want to be rid of me, so I went back to the website and found the ammunition still being offered there. I called Cabela's to ask why my order was canceled. Turns out EVERYONE'S order of .45 ACP was canceled... a "system failure"! The ammunition was/is still available, although still on back-order... delivery date now expected in May. (Remember, I initially ordered the stuff in January.)
I reinstated the order.

I believe it's an indication of the times we live in. I'm told popular ammunition at our local Wally World is snapped up within hours of arrival. I think that's a great hint of the mood in the country. The prospective May delivery date is by no means firm, and illustrates how "nervous" the country is, doesn't it?!

Are you paying attention? Are you covering all your bases?
My advice?
Be a good Boy Scout. Be prepared.

09 April 2010

Sweet Home, Eufaula Alabama

The sky is cloudless. The sign across the road says 70 degrees. There's a minimal breeze blowing from the Northwest. We're sitting at a table in the playground at the McDonald's 'cause McD's has free Wifi here. Life truly is good.

Schoolmates and spouses are here enjoying the "Eufaula Pilgrimage" festival...
Twelve of us total, sharing two 3-bedroom houses on Lake Eufaula. Some are fishing. Some are touring Eufaula's Mansions. Some are plunked on the sofa watching sports on TV. All are doing EXACTLY what they want to do.

Life is good.

Hope yours is going well too. (But I bet it ain't as good as mine.)

07 April 2010

Eufaula, Alabama

It is 2:30 A.M. as I type this and I'm at work. Thunderstorms are lurking just over the horizon and I'm beginning to feel comfortable with the idea that I may be done flying for this shift. Good.
'Cause this morning when I leave work I'll rush home, pack a bag, load my Bride and two pups in the car, and head South to Eufaula, Alabama to attend a festival there...
"The Eufaula Pilgrimage".

There are several antebellum homes there overlooking Lake Eufaula that will be open for tours this week during the festival. I'm once again meeting several High School classmates for a mini-reunion there. Some of us will fish the Lake. Some of us will tour the old mansions. Some of us will partake of an adult beverage or two, or three. All will visit, share, and smile.

Work has been hard on my bones lately. I need a little break. I may or may not be able to find an internet connection in Eufaula. If you don't hear from me for a few days it means I'm sleeping, smiling, and recharging.
Until you hear from me next, I wish you well.

05 April 2010


When even the boneheads in San Francisco see the crisis looming,
I know I'm not bein' paranoid.

Thanks to Instapundit.

A Tough Business

He sought me out. Why?
Because I was the most experienced pilot there? Because I looked approachable? I never asked him. Now I'll never know why.

Every two years I find myself in Torrance California at the Robinson Helicopter Company's "Safety Course". It's a chance for me to kill several birds with one stone-
-I renew my Flight Instructor Certificate.
-I get to take the factory tour and see how they are building the helicopter and if anything has changed.
-I meet with old friends at the factory.
-I make new friends at the course and learn what's going on in the industry.
It's always interesting, educational, and fun.

It was my second time to attend the course... 1985.
He walked up during the first coffee break and introduced himself, then stuck pretty close to me at every break for the rest of the class. He had just added his commercial pilot rating to the Airframe and Powerplant license already in his pocket. When he finished the course he was going to Peru to join a crew on a "Tuna Boat" where he would fly an R22 helicopter searching for the fish, then twist wrenches on it when the day's flying was done...

Hard work. Long hours. Extended periods away from home. But if he and the crew were successful he would reap great rewards... he'd be paid a percentage of the proceeds, and the proceeds would be substantial.

He picked my brain all through the course and when we parted he promised to stay in touch.
And he did. He'd be out on the boat three months or so, then he'd take a 30 day break. When he got home he'd call and tell me stories about the outings. He was making great money and when he had enough savings, intended to start his own business. Let's understate matters by saying he was "highly motivated".

On "The Boats" he graduated to a bigger helicopter... an MD 500, the same "Scout" helicopter I followed around in Viet Nam when we were doing reconnaissance missions.

In 1993 he called-
"I've bought a 500 I'm gonna rebuild and I'm passing through your area. Will you be home?"
I met him at our little airport and took him and his friend to our local motel to get a room, then Sara Jean and I took them out to eat. The next morning I took them back to the airport and saw them off. It seemed to me his dreams were all coming true.

Still, he called with updates now and then. He had started a business darting animals with tranquilizers, then transporting them to alternate locations with nets slung beneath the helicopter. He gave me the website address for the business where I saw he now owned at least two MD 500's. I was impressed.

A while later I was poking around on a helicopter forum and saw "Fatal helicopter crash in Utah... an MD 500".
My heart sank. I investigated. It was him.

The Olympics were to be held in Salt Lake City in 2002. There was a problem West of the city on a stretch of Interstate 80...
Moose were crossing the highway and cars were colliding with them. He was hired to move the moose to a safer location.

You can review the concluding accident report here.
(Note the date of the accident... sad.)
They had just finished lunch. He landed and disembarked his son to coordinate from the ground. Ceilings and visibility were low. With his "darter" and a representative from Wildlife Resources aboard he took off and ran into powerlines 108 feet above a frozen lake. The helicopter broke through the ice, then bobbed to the surface. The son ran to the crash site and tried in vain to rescue the occupants, then watched as the helicopter sank below the surface.

We all lose friends as time passes. I lose more than my fair share and it's painful as Hell sometimes. I'm sure he got comfortable flying in the area and just forgot the powerlines were there.
There's an old saying that's SO true...
"Aviation, like the sea, is unforgiving of mistakes."
I try ALWAYS to remember that.

02 April 2010

The Wisdom of Youth

Breathtaking huh?
This video illustrates what is wrong with the country in SO many ways.
Isolate many of the young people in the video; give them a Civics exam, and you'll find many of them are ignoramuses. (I once had one of them, an Obama supporter of course, leave a comment that Jimmy Carter had established the Federal Reserve Bank!)

To me, one of the most ironic things illuminated here is the wrong-thinking being done by this administration and its supplicants. Bozama campaigned that the country had been terribly damaged by George Bush's "Cowboy" diplomacy...
What we needed most was to work toward being more like Europe... their societies and culture are old and wise. Europe was shunning us because Bush was such an idiot. When elected, President(?) Obama would immediately start to heal all the wounds George Bush had left behind.

So how's that working out now?
-Sarkozy thinks Bozama is a naive buffoon.
-Great Britain (and most older Americans) was/were amazed when the bust of Winston Churchill was returned. Then the Tabloids buzzed with stories of the inappropriate gifts Prime Minister Brown and Queen Elizabeth received from our "Cool!" Chief Executive.
-Copenhagen? HA! (X2).
-Missile Defense in Poland? What we've done there to one of our staunchest allies is a total embarrassment.
We are now a joke in Europe.
My guess is that we certainly COULD HAVE worked to be more like Europe in some ways...
The people of Europe respect wisdom. Wisdom comes with age. Elders in Europe are sought for counsel... revered and respected.
Here in the U.S.?
"Talk with your parents! Tell them a vote for McCain will ruin the country!"

And of course the further irony that all us "older" folks realize?
The joke is on our young people. They will be forced to support the backbreaking economic collapse this "cool, youthful" administration is about to set into motion.

I love a joke that comes as a complete surprise, don't you?

Good grief. I wrote and published this post,
then read
Krauthammer's piece a few hours later. It's obvious why he's a professional writer and I'm a helicopter pilot!