29 June 2010

When Guns Are Outlawed...

In California, who Represents my son?

Bring yourself up to speed on the new piece I bought for Big Bubba when he passed his CCW course last year. We're still trying to find a legal way to put the gun in his hand in CA. Chatting with a Federal Firearms licensee there, BB was directed to this site.
(His new handgun IS NOT listed there, and therefore the "Powers that be" would like it to be illegal in the State.)

Seems to me the operative statement there is in the first paragraph:
"Effective January 1, 2001, no handgun may be manufactured within California, imported into California for sale, lent, given, kept for sale, or offered/exposed for sale unless that handgun model has passed firing, safety, and drop tests and is certified for sale in California by the Department of Justice. Private party transfers, curio/relic handguns, certain single-action revolvers, and pawn/consignment returns are exempt from this requirement."

Look at that last sentence...
"Private party transfers.... are exempt"!
If the gun is a bona-fide gift from me, that's certainly a "Private party transfer", isn't it?
(And of course, all this is changed by the latest Supreme Court ruling isn't it?)

28 June 2010


"I always thought 'Rolls Royce' was the 'Cadillac' of automobiles."
I cannot remember when/where I was when I first heard that quote but as a gearhead, it amused me.

My generation is old enough to remember when Japanese stuff was junk...
Buy a "Made in Japan" toy and with many of them you could literally look inside and see the labels of the recycled beer cans they were made from.
Buy a car or motorcycle made there?
Not on your (or especially my) life.

In the 1950's, Japanese industrial leaders, wanting a chunk of the post-WWII economic expansion, recognized they had a problem. They listened to and acted on the thoughts of Professor W. Edwards Deming, a man whose ideas improved the quality and efficiency of American industry during, and immediately after the war.
By the late 1960's the Japanese were beating us at our own game. Two years ago, Toyota sold more cars worldwide than GM, Ford, or Chrysler.

A similar thing was happening in the motorcycle world-
I bought my first Japanese motorcycle in 1970. It was cheaper, faster, and more reliable than the only American choice I had at that time... the Harley Davidson. At the time, Harley was hanging on for dear life... it had gone through a couple ownership changes, (one of which was AMF, the bowling and recreational equipment manufacturer), and was making what almost everyone considered to be HORRIBLE motorcycles. There was a joke at the time that the only time a Harley would stop dripping oil was when the crankcase was dry and the engine seized.

Arguably, Harley has turned around. The bikes no longer leave an oil spot beneath them when they're parked. The engines have been improved so they no longer vibrate badly enough to completely fracture the license plate mounting, (actually happened to me)! The paint and overall fit and finish of Harley motorcycles has improved dramatically. I would argue that's because Harleys, (and for that matter the German, Italian, and English bikes too), had a choice to make...
Go head-to-head with the Japanese or go bankrupt. Many didn't make the cut, but those that are still in business are making a higher quality product thanks to that competition.

Have you looked at a new American car lately? A close friend just bought a new Chevy Malibu, and I'm impressed...
It looks great, runs quietly, and is rated highly in expert reviews. If the Malibu is any indication, we've finally made the decision to go "head-to-head" in the car industry too.

Interestingly, while American cars seem to finally be competing in the world market, the Japanese seem to have stumbled a little.
Toyota has suffered a black eye of late with their "unintended acceleration" problems.
Honda has just had to recall several million of their cars and trucks for mechanical difficulties.

Now come the Koreans with their Hyundais and Kias.
Soon we'll probably see Chinese cars being sold here.
What about India... how long before they put their huge labor force to work building things with wheels to sell around the world?

Compete or die.
It's gonna be interesting to watch.

26 June 2010

Takin' Care of Business

My Flight Nurse smiled at me huge and said, "You're not gonna believe this!"
(I love this gal... not too far from my age and always a delight to work with.)

"Okay, WHAT?"

"(Her teenage daughter) came to me all excited last night and said, MOM!...
Bachman Turner Overdrive! Ever hear of 'em?!!"

And we both laughed.
The music of the late 60's and early 70's keeps popping up in its original form or in "cover" versions, doesn't it?

We boomers grew up at a great time.

23 June 2010

Rumble, Grumble, Flash and Trouble

We awoke yesterday morning to the sound of thunder.
The sky North of us was black. There was lightning in cloud, cloud to cloud, and cloud to ground.
Computers are wonderful things... we dragged this thing out and took a look at several sites to get a feel for what was going on.
North was impossible and gonna stay that way for a while.
There were other storms popping up all around us.
We took off and headed South, hoping to be able to dodge the "popping up" stuff.
We moved one bunch of about 75 birds and were enroute to our next location when God said "NO!"
Viz went to less than two miles and we landed. The convoy chase crowd caught up with us and we sat waiting in the rain.
And sat.
And sat.
For almost two hours.
One helicopter, one pilot, one observer, thirty biologists and bird handlers, sitting, waiting for the rain to end and the lightning to go away.
And when it finally did we found a flock of 200 birds, rounded them up and banded those that weren't already wearing a band.

We finally broke for lunch 90 minutes late, and after lunch things didn't go much better...
We found one group of about 200 birds that was on property owned by someone worried about the liability of allowing our group to come do the job we wanted to do. They have that right, and we drove away thinking "maybe next year".
We closed up shop at 4 P.M. and headed for home. It was then I found that somewhere along the line I had lost my cell phone.
I had to laugh.
If you don't have a sense of humor about such things you go crazy.
Come to think of it, maybe that's my problem!

More gooses tomorrow.

22 June 2010

Annoying The Geese Again

I'm in the middle of our annual "Goose Chase".
We had a hot and sticky, Thunderstorm-dodging day yesterday.
The question "What's the likelihood of the helicopter being hit by lightning" was asked more than once.
I don't even want to consider it. We came "this close" to shutting down the operation twice in an hour.

But things cleared up and we had a good day. We corraled about 600 birds in five different pushes, and by the end of the day everyone was sweaty, dirty, happy, and thirsty.
The first beer always tastes spectacular in those instances!
More later.

20 June 2010


It's a hot June Saturday afternoon. We're scheduled to land at a festival in a small town, show off the machine, answer questions, and glad-hand with the locals. I love doing these things...
A chance to relax and meet some real people.
My contact information indicates I'm supposed to land on a baseball diamond and gives me a call-sign and frequency for my ground contact.

Five minutes from landing I make the radio call:
"Unit 5410, this is ****3, over."
We get a crisp, clear response, and I tell 5410 we'll be there in five.

Circling overhead we see the Ferris Wheel and a few other rides, lots of booths to sell fast food and crafts, and the beer tent.
The beer tent!
It's right next to where they want us to land.

"Hey 5410, I'm really concerned about landing next to that tent."

"We asked about that and they assured us the wind will NOT be a problem."

I pause, bite my tongue, and think of Murphy's Law.
"Okay. We're turning final now. I'll keep an eye on it. Yell if you see anything."
I brief my crew on the landing and ask them to watch the tent closely.

As we land, the helicopter probably weighs about 6,600 pounds. At the bottom of the approach the rotor has to move enough air to stop both the forward and vertical speed of this heavy machine. We're 10 feet above the ground and our forward motion is almost completely stopped when I see the near corner of the tent become airborne. I grab a huge handful of collective to abort the landing, and of course that moves a bunch more air... and the second pole and tie-down on that side of the tent collapses.
Back in the air orbiting the scene...

"Hey 5410, is everyone okay down there?"

A pause...
"Yeah, no damage here other than to the tent. There are a few red faces though!"

"Got a better idea on a place to land?"

"Why don't YOU pick a spot?"

And I did...
As far away from the tent as I could get.

19 June 2010


The thugs are in charge of everything.
The country as we have known it is lost unless this decision is overturned.
God, please help us.

18 June 2010


Silver- $19.00 an ounce!
Gold at record highs.
The Euro is under great pressure.
Be alert folks.

What Would You Do?

I made the statement at a comment at CJ's Blog today-
"We are becoming a country of wimps."
Bye-Bye John Wayne.
Hello Dustin Hoffman.

Let me propose a scenario and get your reaction to it. And I realize and accept that everyone will react differently. I know my military and (limited) law enforcement experience will definitely affect my response...

You're driving down the Interstate and up ahead you see the flashing lights of a patrol car off the right side of the road... a traffic stop.
As you get closer you can see something odd is going on...
Is that a scuffle?

Closer yet, and things become more clear...
Two people are fighting. The law enforcement officer is trying to subdue a person much larger than himself/herself, and things are NOT GOING WELL.
Obviously, considering the officer has a sidearm, this is a VERY dangerous situation.
(Law enforcement officers are all too frequently killed with their personal sidearm.)
Okay reader... what's your reaction?

Do you stop and assist the officer?
Do you get on the phone and call for help?
Do you stop and then try to flag others to stop and help?
Do you drive on, not wanting to "get involved"?

That's apparently what happened to the cop at CJ's link...
Bystanders stood and watched, offering no assistance to the cop as he tried to subdue two women (both nearly his size) who were getting physical with him. (You NEVER, EVER touch a police officer!)

And that's what scares me most...
Cops do a job most of us don't want to do. We don't want to do it because we know they have to do uncomfortable, sometimes incredibly stressful things in their line of work...
The video shows a cop in just such a situation.
He could have used some help.
None was offered.

What would you do?

Guess Who-

If you watch commercial TV, you know her.

16 June 2010

Training Wheels, Part Two.

Pull the trigger!
I frequently use that saying to force myself to get off my butt and do what I should already have accomplished. In this case it is doubly suitable.
Frequent Pitchpullers will remember
this post from a little while back.
In it I promised I was gonna take my wife out in the boonies and teach her to shoot using that pretty new toy.
Yeah, life got in the way.
Doesn't it always?
It's just too easy to make excuses and do other things. I've even learned the easiest way to force yourself to take time off is to schedule it in the datebook.
No foolin'!

So today I "pulled the trigger"...
A friend wrote and said, "There's a 'Concealed Carry' class scheduled for the 17th. If you can make it you need to get on the list ASAP. "
No more procrastinating...
I picked up the phone and enrolled the two of us.

Sara Jean has never fired a round downrange.
I don't think I've fired a firearm since I was a Deputy Sheriff, and we sure don't want to go into how long ago that was!
She needs the training. I desperately need the refresher.
And guess which piece we'll be firing in the course!
(Take another look at the picture of the Ruger at the link.)

The instructor is a former Marine and Desert Storm Veteran.
I'll bet I like him a lot.
We're gonna soak this up like a sponge!

15 June 2010

Rolling Thunder Honors Our Fallen Troops

Three hours.
That's how long this Marine held his salute as bikers passed to honor our heroes.
I'm not gonna reduce the size of this video.
I want everyone to see it... loud and clear.

Thanks to flight school classmate, Viet Nam hoochmate, and friend forever Wes!

Pro Vs. Amateur:

Defending his/her territory...
Persistence pays off!

12 June 2010

Fifteen Minutes

The photo is of an entity known as Lady Gaga.
No, don't ask me, 'cause to my knowledge I've never heard anything she's done. But it's impossible to go through the checkout line at any market and not see the tabloid covers...
Right now she's working her gimmick as hard as she can.
She's following the path of Rip Taylor, Alice Cooper, Boy George, or a dozen others who used an outlandish appearance to draw attention to themselves.

In order for this "schtick" to work... to not get tiresome, the entertainer has to be entertaining.
Those mentioned above, arguably, were reasonably successful for more than 15 minutes.
I guess I'll have to catch "Gaga" doin' her thing and see for myself if her candle will still be burning 16 minutes from now.

11 June 2010

Bozama Analysis

Almost 18 months into "the most ethical, transparent administration in history"...
So how's he doin'?
I think it's becoming apparent he's taken on a job "Above his pay-grade".
Wonder if he's read "The Peter Principle"?

10 June 2010

I Have An Itch. Should I Scratch?

Frequent followers know at age 12 I bought my first motor vehicle, a Cushman Motor Scooter.
It had a top speed of 35 miles per hour. Thank goodness it wouldn't go any faster than that... it had NO front brake. I rode the wheels off that thing... delivering newspapers, riding it to work at the root beer stand... all before I turned 16.

I've always loved riding bikes. It's impossible not to be more aware of your surroundings on two wheels-
Go downhill in the summer and you'll frequently feel the temperature drop as you encounter the cooler air that has flowed downhill like water... it's heavier than warm air, so gravity pulls it down into the valleys. Pass near a dead animal or polecat that has "skunked" and you are immediately aware of it. You're more aware of outside sounds like cicadas or other critters on a bike. Outside "the box", without the aid of environmental controls and dynamic sound systems, life touches you more. But obviously that can be good... OR bad.

I took Sara Jean with me to Indianapolis for the Indy 500 time trials on the last bike I owned, a Yamaha XS1100SF. It was a VERY powerful, smooth, quiet and comfortable touring bike. We woke in Indiana on Saturday morning to the sound of rain...
Rain that canceled that day's activity on the track. Sunday morning was a twin to Saturday... rain, rain, rain. We both had to work on Monday so we waited as long as we could for the rain to stop before starting home... to no avail.
We donned our rain gear, plunked our butts on the seat, and set out for home in a steady rain with temps of about 60 degrees.

Three hours later we were stopped by a light in a small town. A family of four pulled up next to us in a Geo Metro... Dad driving with Mom seated next to him and two kids in the back seat. The two of us looked over at the kids, smiling and waving at us. Shivering, we waved back, and I thought to myself, "What's wrong with this picture? That car gets nearly the gas mileage this big bike gets. There are FOUR in that car and they are smiling, dry, and WARM."
Big Bubba was born shortly after that and I sold the bike.

But I'm tempted now and then to buy another. The pros and cons are still there...
Riding is dangerous, and many of those dangers are out of your control:
-The little blue-haired lady who doesn't see you when she's making a left turn in front of you.
-The explosion of deer mentioned in the post below that dart out into the road 3 feet in front in front of you at night, so for me, riding at night cross-country would be impossible.
-You can buy a good small car for what you'll have to pay for a good bike these days.
-Riding is exhilarating.
-Ridden at a reasonable speed, bikes CAN get marginally better gas mileage than cars.
-I'd once again be rubbing elbows with other people who ride... interesting, fun, risk-taking people.

So I'm looking strongly at the bike pictured above... a Harley Davidson 883cc Sportster. I rode Sportsters quite a bit years ago and loved them. It makes the "Harley sound"...
a sound like no other. The price is not out of reach, and I think I might be able to get 60-or so miles to the gallon if I ride it at a reasonable pace to and from work.
(But the cost of insuring the thing would eat up any savings on fuel, so that's a stupid issue.)

It really all boils down to this-
Would I enjoy riding the thing enough to make it a worthwhile buy? Sara Jean likes to ride too, so it'd be a great way to spend time together on nice days.
I just have to sit down and figure out if it's worth the trouble and expense to own a machine I'll only ride 7 months of the year during daylight hours.

Or maybe I should just buy a Kia Rio for about the same price?

08 June 2010

Don't Feed The Deer!

Under a crystal clear sky with temps hovering near 85 I cut down the old Apple tree. About half of it was alive last year, and even though it produced no fruit I prayed it would recover this year. When Sara Jean looks out her kitchen window it occupies a large fraction of her view, and she was tired of looking at a leafless, 30-foot tall tree blocking her view of the pond. She had been nagging me to cut it down since Spring. It had two trunks joined down close to the ground, so I cut each of them individually, holding the saw waist-high to do it, then cut most of the smaller branches to move them to the burn pile.
There was another smaller "weed" tree behind my shed that was also on Sara Jean's list...
It was down in less than a minute.
I called a friend who smokes meat as gifts at Christmas and he was delighted to hear I had Apple wood for him. He'll help me clean up the mess that is laying on the ground there.

I re-tilled the portion of my garden that I hadn't planted and sowed another row of beans and corn there. I then took the saw back into the tree line at the rear of our property and cut several (relatively) straight, tall, small scrub trees back there. I then cut them to a length of 6-8 feet. I grabbed the post-hole digger out of the shed and dug ten holes around the garden, placed my new "stakes" in the holes and packed dirt around them. I then strung 8-pound test fishing line at the top and middle of the stakes, then cut lots of strips of white cloth and tied them to the fishing line. To further stabilize the stakes I hauled ten loads of wet soil from the pond and piled that at the base of the stakes. That soil will harden as it dries and provide a pretty stable base for the stakes.
The fence is a "scarecrow". It will not stop a deer if it is intent on eating my crops, but it is imposing looking, and the strips are tied at a height that will keep them from jumping over it.
So far, it has worked.
I'll take pics of it and publish them later.

So the total was:
Two trees, down and cut into smaller pieces.
Two more rows of crops, tilled, planted, and fertilized.
Ten scrub trees cut to length and trimmed as stakes.
Ten holes dug with a post hole digger to a depth of about 14 inches.
Ten half-wheelbarrow loads of wet soil transported (uphill) about 100 feet and applied to the base of my stakes.
Fishing line strung on the stakes, and white strips of cloth tied to the line.

A good day's work.
I'm gonna be miffed if Bambi and friends get into my plot this year...
Keep your fingers crossed for me.

03 June 2010

One "Flame" Has Gone Out.

My Brother-In-Arms of 43 years lost the love of his life this morning.
I was Best Man at their wedding.
I wish I had a magic wand.

02 June 2010

Thirst Quenching!

Curiosity can complicate life.
I picked up the can and squinted to read the small print-

Citric Acid.
Natural Flavor.
So far, so good. Nothin' too far outta the ordinary here.
Sodium Citrate. (Okay, more salt. But salty "citrate"? Whazzat?)

But now, pay attention!
Monopotassium Phosphate.
Modified Food Starch. (Modified? Like Frankenstein's monster?)
Red 40. (Thank God. That's SO much better than Red 35!)
Glycerol Ester of Rosin. (Uhhhhhh.... HUH?)
Caramel Color.
(I LOVE caramels! I even love their color!)

Most all of us have ingested this product at one time or another, and the stuff is supposed to be good for you.
It's another label I wish I hadn't read.