30 March 2011

Moodies


We've just taken notice of the HDNet channel on our satellite tv menu.
Sunday night is concert night. Last Sunday they broadcast a "Moody Blues" concert
and I Tivo'd it. We just watched that recording last night.


We've been Moody Blues fans for years...
Went to a Moody's concert some years ago and enjoyed it thoroughly.
It took just a few seconds viewing last night to notice a BIG change...
Flutist/vocalist Ray Thomas wasn't on stage. I was concerned about him and immediately got on the internet to find out why he was no longer part of the group. My fears were for nothing... Ray apparently got tired of touring and retired. Good for him.

Before starting the playback I had expressed doubts to Sara Jean-

"They'll still be able to make their guitars sing, but I wonder about their voices." Justin and John both have to be in their sixties, and we've all seen groups that try, and fail, to "hit the high stuff" and make us cringe. With a couple exceptions last night we needn't have worried. If anything, their guitar playing has improved with advancing years. The only time we noticed any problems with their singing was on a couple songs where the cadence was really fast and required a lot of "breath"...
They should have left those songs to the new, younger folks they've added as backup singers.

But 95% of the music was GREAT.
And when Graham Edge took center stage and introduced a song the M.B.'s put out on an album 41 years ago I asked Sara Jean-
"Most of this stuff is still wonderful and sends a chill down my spine. I wonder of any music produced today will still be played over 40 years from now?"

There's no answer to that question and I probably won't be alive myself to see.
But I do know this-
My son went to that M.B. concert with us willingly and still loves "classic rock". I think part of the reason music from that era was special is the result of events that were unfolding at that time... late '60's/early '70's.
With the world seemingly coming apart, will the music of today be similarly impacted and fondly remembered in forty years?

My big question?
Will children of today be listening to music done presently by folks like
Yusuf Islam, or music more akin to that done by Cat Stevens?

We live in interesting times.

"Your Tax Dollars At Work"

The title of this post is normally said in derision.
Not this time!
Go. Read.
Comment if you are so moved.

29 March 2011

Bike Riding EMS Personnel, Take Note-


9 April is the date.
Ten A.M. is the time.

We'll stage at the designated area in Richmond Indiana, (in central Indiana on the Ohio State line).
The mission?
To escort two beams from the World Trade Center Eastbound on Interstate 70 to Indianapolis so they can be made part of the memorial honoring fallen EMS, Law Enforcement, and other Public Service individuals.
This should be a MONSTER event. Weather dependent predictions are for as many as 10,000 riders to participate.
Complete details, including the rider's waiver, (which, to save time, needs to be copied and filled out for submission prior to the ride), are available HERE.
Sara Jean and I plan to be there. If you'd like to attend, and need logistical help, (to include a place to roll out your sleeping gear), let me know and we'll work it out.

This should turn out to be a huge event for a great cause.

See ya there?

28 March 2011

We Are Charlie Sheen

He's kinda off the radar screen now, temporarily I'm sure.
I'm hopeful we'll hear Charlie Sheen has come to his senses and entered a rehab program somewhere, (and stays until he is truly healed), but I seriously doubt that'll happen. Looking around at the way our world unfolds and applying those lessons to Charlie, what I suspect will happen is tragic...
An "Anna Nicole Smith" trainwreck.

But I was thinking this morning about how his disintegration is comparable to what we're seeing in the slow disintegration of our country. We're intoxicated to the point that our judgment is impaired and, depending on who you talk with, either CAN NOT or WILL NOT admit that we have a serious problem and we are slowly dying.
Charlie lies to himself and says "I'm different than everyone else. I'm completely in control. The rest of you are just stupid and beneath me. Leave me alone."
Isn't this analogous to what we see going on around us?

We're intoxicated in SO many ways...
We don't want to suffer the pain of cutting back on our "free government cheese", so we blithely deny we have a problem. We're now spending money our children's children's children will have to repay. Tomorrow we'll be spending the money our children's (4) will have to suffer to repay.
But we're different.
Don't bother me with your history lessons...
We have Tiger blood in our veins.

RIIIIIGHHHT!!!
Let me whisper in your ear:

History is a bitch. Be prepared.

Chicks Rock II

A young gal and her ax:

27 March 2011

Ouch.

Yeah, this is funny.
But it also illustrates much of what is wrong with our EMS programs today, 'cause it's not far from the truth:



26 March 2011

Agreed, Mr. President(?) !

Hopefully, Donald Trump's comments have increased awareness of this issue.



And have you noticed...
Rather than present facts, Obama supporters resort to ridicule when the "Natural Born Citizen" issue comes up.
Smokescreen.
Very curious, wouldn't you agree?


Yes, I'm proud to be a "Birther"!
H/T- Curmudgeonly and Skeptical

25 March 2011

Aging. Resistance AIN'T Futile!

I got wrinkles.
I got sags.
My eyebrows are a rat's nest.
I got skin tags and "LRB's"... (little red bumps) poppin' up all over me.
My back frequently reminds me I'm no longer 23.
My ears and eyesight are headed to Cuba.
But the worst of it?
I'm finally resigned to regularly taking a medication...
If I don't, my heartburn makes all the above seem trivial.

Just shoot me.

24 March 2011

24 March Silver Update

As I type this, silver is trading above $38.00 per ounce.
There's a reason for that.

Open Note To "Anonymous"-

Dear Anon-
I'll be happy to publish your vulgar, idiotic, democrat talking-point regurgitating, Obama apologist comments if you'll just let us know who you are and where we need to go to comment on YOUR blog. Otherwise, I'll just grin and push the "delete" button so that your nasty attempts at communicating disappear into the great electronic black hole.
(And I'm also aware that I'm touching a nerve when I continue to get these sorts of heated responses from the dark side!)

UPDATED-
This is the sore spot driving most of these crude comments.
(Read the comments there!)

22 March 2011

Dodging The Question


Years ago...
They wanted to build a nuclear powerplant and the experts were making the talkradio rounds, trying to win friends and influence people. I called.
"How long will the waste from this plant be hazardous to human life?"
Jimmy Carter would have been proud. He totally avoided my question and answered one he imagined in his head.

When someone tries to tell you how wonderfully clean, cheap, and efficient nuke power is, try it yourself. Ask the "waste longevity" question.
The show they'll put on is better than anything Fred and Ginger ever did!

20 March 2011

Out To Pasture?



This article indicates that the last of the two-blade Hueys will soon be removed from military service. I was under the impression that a few would serve in the Guard and Reserve systems for the next several years. Maybe they are converting many of them with new engines and rotor systems. But these days you hear that old "wop-wop-wop" sound less and less, and that makes the Viet Nam Veterans among us very sad.

Hat tip to The Old Man.

TRUMPED !

Finally...
Someone has the nerve to state the obvious-


17 March 2011

BMW Road Trip

It was raining. No, actually, it was pouring when I left home to get the rental truck.
That meant a change of plans. The initial plan was to take my bicycle along, park my car outside Bigtown, take the bike with me on the train and ride it the seven or so blocks to the rental agency. No way was I gonna do that in a "frog-strangler". Halfway along the way that decision looked even better...
The rain turned to snow.

At the desk I presented my paperwork with my confirmation number to the agent. He recorded my driver's license number and after asking the mandatory "Do you want this extra insurance? How about a few pads?" questions he said, "I'll be right back with your truck". I was shocked when he drove up with a 26-foot long diesel powered monster.
"I rented a 16-footer."
He looked at the order form and showed it to me...
Wrong-O old Greybeard breath...
I had rented a 26-foot long truck. Oh well... it was too late to change that now.
"Is there any problem leaving my car there until Wednesday?"
"No, no sweat."
Leaving the bicycle at home turned out to be a great idea.
I moved my bag into the truck, plugged in my GPS and programmed it for my destination...
Carmen said I'd be there in 9 hours. And that's another mistake I made...
When I looked at the map to see how far I'd have to drive, I mis-estimated my drive time by four hours. Too late now, I'm on my way.
In the rain.
In a 26-foot long truck that REALLY rides like a truck.
ADVENTURE!

In 20 miles I was perfectly comfortable with the monster. The wipers and radio worked as advertised. All I needed was cruise control.
Diesel fuel is about 20 cents per gallon more expensive than gasoline around here. This truck used a LOT of it... I was getting about 10 mpg.
My computer-click mistake was gonna cost me several extra bucks.

It rained.
And it rained.
And when I crossed the State line the Interstate got REALLY bad.
Big trucks are hard on concrete highways...

Kathunk, kathunk, kathunk, kathunk...
And the truck rocks back and forth like a mildly bucking bronco.
Oh well, I only have another six hours of this misery before I turn around and backtrack.

Drive. Fuel. Drive. Sandwich and Diet Coke and fries. Drive. Rest stop. Drive.
BO-Ring!
I arrive at 10 P.M., load the bike, and do a 180 degree turn.
Kathunk, kathunk, kathunk, kathunk...
At 3 A.M. I've had all I can take. My eyes are getting heavy and my butt and back are sending me painful messages. I pull into a rest area, throw my bag against the passenger door for a pillow and lie down across the seat. Sleep comes instantly.
Three hours later I wake feeling better than I could imagine. I drink the remains of my Diet Coke, turn the ignition key on, wait for the glow plugs to do their thing, and fire the beast up.
Carmen says I'll be home in five hours.

Three days have passed since I started out in the rain. My back is still sending me messages, but the bike is unloaded and I've returned the truck. I've had a chance take a good look at the bike. This machine cost me very little, but it's now obvious why...
It's gonna need a LOT of TLC. I can't even test drive it... the front brake is sticking badly.
But it starts easily and sounds good, and all the parts are there. With a little soap and water, wax, polish, and some tinkering here and there, I'm hopeful it'll be a pleasure to ride.
You'll read about it here.

13 March 2011

Get Outta My Nest!

Yesterday was a Red Letter day for Tim.
You remember Tim... my UPS delivery driver?
I don't remember what gave Tim the first clue that I was a pilot...
Perhaps it was something I had ordered from Sporty's Pilot Shop?
But he asked about my flying and was surprised and pleased to learn I was a helicopter CFI.
Nice guy Tim...
A commercial-instrument rated airplane pilot.
I always looked forward to the brown truck stopping out front for two reasons...
The arrival of a treat, and a chance to visit with Tim.

Soon Tim had the money, time, and inclination to take helicopter instruction, and we flew for the first time in "the real thing"...
(Tim was also an RC helicopter pilot. That gave him an unfair advantage!)
He took to the R22 like a chimp in a banana tree.

He knew he'd likely solo yesterday.
But the forecast yesterday was wonderful, so to Tim I suggested, "Bring your helmet and come by the house". He showed up smiling, bright red helmet in hand. I pushed Pizza Bike and the '85 'Wing out of the garage and started both. I mounted the 'Wing, Tim swung his leg over the Guzzi, and we were off for a short adventure. We rode twenty miles, stopped and got refreshments, then rode a different route home.

Only afterward did I ask the question...
"How much experience do you have on bikes, Tim?"
"Well, I've ridden about 35 miles on my Honda 750, and before that I had ridden about 100 miles on my Honda 175."
I was flabbergasted.
"You mean this is the biggest bike you've ever ridden, and with that little experience?!!"
He grinned.
"Yep."
But he did fine.

And he did just as well on his solo flight too.
The sun was getting low when he first took off without me. We were both comfortable enough with his performance that he continued making circuits until he had 5 takeoffs and landings...
Two each I was able to log as night/solo/PIC for him.

Quite a day for Tim...
And for me.
There still is nothing like teaching someone how to do something that COULD be so dangerous well enough that neither of us was worried about the outcome of the flight.
Later, I eavesdropped as Tim talked with a relative...
"I soloed the helicopter today, and rode a 1000cc Moto Guzzi!"
Neat.
Truly a Red-Letter Day!

10 March 2011

09 March 2011

The Terrifying Bible/Gun Clinging Vast Right-Wing Conspirators

We were supposed to be afraid of Right-Wing "Christianists", correct?
Do you remember when they rioted and tried to shut the government completely down?
No?
Me neither.
So tell me again... we're supposed to be frightened of WHAT bunch of crazy people?
(And as usual, the comments there are as educational as the post itself. Read 'em!)

GAS !! BRAKES !!

THIS could get VERY interesting.

The Three Percenters

Mad as HELL and not gonna take it anymore?
Go. Read. Enjoy.
But most of all, realize you're not alone.
Then start gathering with like-minded souls.
At some point we'll need to know who the other 3-percenters are.
(Added to my Blogroll.)

08 March 2011

Sanford N Son

Two years ago this summer I bought a pickup truck. My neighbor had two of 'em..
an old beater and a shiny new beauty. The shiny new beauty was a four-wheel drive extended cab Dodge Ram with a Hemi engine.
The beater was a rusty, pock-marked '88 Chevy Silverado. Its only redeeming value was its engine...
A 350 cu. in. small block that ran like a sewing machine. This tired old gal had no air-conditioning, inoperative cruise control, and an AM/FM radio that worked intermittently. But the truck ran well and shifted well, and any truck that does that has value.

This neighbor had lost his job. He'd been out of work long enough his benefits were running out.
I asked how he intended to make ends meet and he indicated one of the first things he'd have to do was sell the old beater. I asked how much he wanted for it and he replied, "$900. But be aware the rear main engine seal is leaking so you'll have to keep adding oil, and the transmission is weird... at 70 mph indicated the truck is actually only going about 50."

I went home, got my checkbook, wrote him a check and drove the thing two doors to the West.

He wasn't kidding.
The truck sat for a week and when I checked the oil there was none on the dipstick. I topped off the crankcase and drove it down the highway. It's like a dragster...
It shifts into fourth gear at about 40 miles per hour, and with its straight exhaust pipe, bellows like a bull at highway speed.
But that sound! There's just nothing sounds like a sweet running V-8 engine.

I didn't want to tackle changing a rear main seal so I took the truck to my favorite mechanic and asked him to do the job. He called back that afternoon and said, "GB, the rear main is fine. Whoever put this engine into this truck dragged the engine across a concrete floor on its oil pan and holed it. It's dripping oil from two holes in the pan."
The fix required jacking the engine up, removing the pan and soldering the holes, then re-installing the pan. Total damages: $300.

We've used the truck to haul stuff a few times. When you need a pickup truck, nothing else will do the job. But there has been a problem with it...
Long trips are impractical because of noise and high fuel usage with the low gearing.
I've purchased four motorcycles in less than a year and I've had to rent a truck to go retrieve each of them. Using my old beater would have been more expensive, (and less reliable).

Two days ago another neighbor came knocking...
"I've wrecked my truck. Is your old Chevy for sale?"
"Everything's for sale!"
"How much do you want for it?"
"I'll take $1500. The drivetrain is bulletproof."
"I'll take it."

So I'm gonna make a couple hundred bucks and I've had the use of the thing for two years. For the last couple nights I've driven it to work where I'm trying to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse for my friend and neighbor. I've washed it and cleaned up the interior a little. But still, the old gal is so ugly she's endearing.
Tonight I went out to lubricate the doors and spray a little contact cleaner on the radio buttons to see if I can make it work better. My (males) Flight Nurse and Paramedic had left me a surprise...
On four sheets of typing paper taped together in a big square on the door was printed in big letters:

"Sanford N Son"

Fred and Lamont would be perfectly comfortable in this beautiful, ugly old beast.
And now I'm back in the market for a truck I can actually use to transport motorcycles.

06 March 2011

A Bright, Shiny Object-

Silver, which sold for $16.60 per ounce a year ago in October, just topped $36.00/oz. in the spot market tonight.
Are you on board? If not, why not?
I fear there's a lot of upside yet to come and if I'm right, it's not too late to get on the train.

UPDATED, Just under an hour later-
I just looked at the spot price again and it's up 35 cents in one hour to $36.36.
Remember the bank run depicted in one of our favorite movies, "It's a Wonderful Life"? When China and the rest of the world realize there is no "There" there, our economy will be in real trouble and the price of commodities won't be going up 35 cents in an hour...
They'll be going up $35 in an hour.
Don't believe it? Read up on the history of Germany's economy after World War I.
So, as I've warned so many times-
BE PREPARED. There's little to be lost and MUCH to be gained!

05 March 2011

The "Cool" Prez-

Headlines at "Drudgereport":

UK 'to send team of spies' to help oust Gadhafi...

British Army readies for mission at 24 hours' notice...

Obama goes golfing...


We live in interesting times.

03 March 2011

The "War On Terror"

Many don't like that term, and I can understand why...
We're not at war with an emotion. We're at war with a faction of Muslims.
And those Muslims not actively involved with the crazy faction of their faith are doing little to control those who have hijacked it.
But it's stupid to deny...
WE ARE at war.

Such sad news today...
Several are crying.
Their sons/daughters joined the Air Force.
Concerned parents probably took comfort in the fact their children had signed up to be taught a vocation that would not have them at "the tip of the spear". Those parents probably relaxed further when the orders to Germany came in...
Great.
Not Iraq.
Not Afghanistan.
Germany. Safe. Beer. Easy travel around Europe.

And then this.
Two are dead.
In "Safe" Germany.

Title it however you'd like, we ARE at war, and nowhere is safe these days.
And the sooner we realize we are all on the front lines and start acting like it, the better.

02 March 2011

Why Prepare?



(Part two of that video is a click away after watching Part one.)

A MEGA-Volcano eruption in Yellowstone National Park.
Two or three consecutive years of drought conditions shut down crop growing in the Nation's breadbasket...

I've been focusing on the possibility of an economic collapse, but there obviously are many nature-caused reasons to be prepared for "troubles".
I was reminded by a link on Instapundit of another good reason for me to store food and water that will dramatically impact folks in Memphis, St. Louis, Paducah, KY, Evansville, IN, and many small towns in the Midwest-
An earthquake centered around New Madrid, MO.
Imagine if you will-
It's December and you're a resident of Memphis, Tennessee. It's 3 A.M. and you are snug in your warm bed. The earth begins to move and you find yourself first on the floor next to your bed, then pounded by debris as your home falls apart around you. Sparks fly as wiring is torn apart. Small fires start. You survive and make your way out of what is left of your home to the outside and find all the homes around yours have been destroyed. Screaming and cries for help assault you from every direction.
It's 40 degrees outside and you are in your bedclothes.
You and your neighbors are in big trouble.

If my home is destroyed, how much of my preparation will be in vain? There's no way to know the answer to that question. Dried food will survive, provided it doesn't burn. Hardware? It's still better to have it and hope it also survives.

But I'm told a huge quake will turn the river-bottom soil around Memphis literally into a jello-like consistency, and the big buildings that aren't destroyed by shaking there will be at least partially submerged in that jello. Some will topple over.
Millions may die. Millions will be without shelter, food, and water.
Unimaginable, isn't it?

Except we ARE imagining it, right now.
It doesn't take a lot to start making plans.
As I write this post, Silver has traded above $35/oz.
There are lots and lots of reasons you need to be thinking about feeding and caring for those you love.
Why not start today?