Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Don't even start on how YOUR day sucks.

I got to start mine out with a trip to the dentist due to a sudden and severe tooth pain caused by an old filling that decided to crack. So not only did I get that exercise in mouth pain this morning, but then I had to have it fixed by a dentist who introduced herself as "Doctor Smith". Of course I chuckled a bit, and she repied "Yes, I know...it's pretty generic." I told her that I wasn't laughing about that, I was thinking about Dr. Smith from the old TV show Lost in Space. She gets this puzzled look and says that she's never heard of it. The hygienist also shrugs and denies knowledge of the show.

"Really?" I exclaim, suddenly feeling very old. "You two need to leave and send the adult team in here."

The hygienist tries for a save and volunteers that she "sort of" remembers Mork and Mindy. "That was back then too, right?" The dentist says "Oh yeah. Robin Williams was in that, wasn't he?"


And to add insult to injury, my insurance doesn't cover repairs like this any more, so the replacement of two fillings was all out of pocket. Glad that I didn't fly this week-end.

I did at least get to the range, however.

This time out, it was the Belgian M1950 Mauser in .30 (.30-06).
I grabbed this old rife and a bag of dubious-looking old reloads on the way out the door. It's been a while since this one's been shot.
ABL = Armee Belge/Belgisch Leger, or "Belgian Army Rifle". This rifle was made in 1952, and the big B is for King Baudouin who was Boss of Belgium in that year. And this one's not blued or parkerized--it's painted gray.
It's interesting to note that Fabrique Nationale was stil making--and the Belgians were still buying--bolt-action Mausers in 1952 despite the numerous semi-automatic rifles available by that time, not the least of which was FN's FN-49.
I shot it at both 100 and 200 yards off of sandbag rests from the bench, and I'm happy to say that it kept all 30 rounds fired on paper plate targets save two dropped rounds at 200 yards that were still dead center, just low. So the keep or sell question is asked: Would I fight with this rifle if need be? The answer is that yes, I would. So it stays.

I also shot some steel with the Glock 21 that typically resides on my bedside table. Gotta stay in practice with all the defensive arms, even the ones that don't get carried.
It is big in the hand as compared to the smaller Glock 19 and 23, but it shoots to point of aim and the recoil is actually quite light, even when fired one-handed. (Because we all practice strong-hand only and support-hand only whenever we go out, right). Gotta admit--14 rounds of defensive .45ACP plus night sights and a light does the job right nicely when things go "bump" in the night.

Now I'm home and the novocaine has about worn off, and now I realize just how much trauma my mouth was subjected to so I'm back to being all unhappy. Phooey. I'm going to go drink beer and take a nap.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Once the backbone of the Air Force, the world will never see another one fly.

That'd be the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter, heavy lifter for decades, now all ingots save for a few museum pieces like 70013 here at the Pima Air Museum.
The C-141 was made from 1963 to 1968, and during that time, 285 were built. They could carry up to 92,000 lbs. of cargo, 154 troops or 123 paratroopers, which they could drop via the rear ramp and two side doors.
The original C-141As had so much lifting ability that they were often loaded to the capacity of their cargo holds without reaching gross weight, so between 1977 and 1982, almost all of them were cut and had 23 feet added to their fuselages, "stretching" them so that they could carry more. These stretched aircraft were redesignated as the C-141B.
63 of these were further upgraded in the 1990s with new avionics and nav gear, and these were redesignated as the C-141C.
During the life of the C-141, 19 of them were destroyed in crashes around the world. The rest soldiered on, moving troops and materiel around the world. They may have lacked the glamour of the fighters or the bombers, but they got the job done for over 40 years.
By 2004, they were all relegated to Air Guard units. The last ones flew in 2006, at which point they were all retired.

67-0013 is a C-141B that flew from 1967 until it was transferred to AMARC at Davis Monthan, better known as "The Boneyard". Almost every C-141 ever made wound up there and most left in very small pieces.
15 of the original 285 still exist, all as static display aircraft like 67-0013 here. None will ever fly again.

Sad. But at least I saw and touched this one.

A great resource fr C-141 fans can be found here: C-141 Heaven

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Cats and dogs, living together

Living together in a shelter because they have no homes of their own.

Take a minute to help a good cause.

Charitable Cash Bleg for the Critters

Because homeless critters need help too, and "no-kill" shelters are rare specifically because they are so expensive to operate. Check out the post here and if you feel motivated to help with even a few dollars, please do.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Another display of illegal alien "gratitude".

So Colorado, in an attempt to appease and curry favor with a large group of people who aren't supposed to even be here, decided to start giving illegal aliens drivers' licenses last year.

Tho comply with federal ID requirements, the "illegal licenses" were supposed to have a black band across the top and wording to the effect that they were not for voting, boarding airplanes or "public benefit purposes". Typically, the bState of Colorado and it's contractor that produced the licenses screwed up and sent out 524 regular driver's licenses to illegals, meaning that each of them now has a valid state ID card that grants them access to airlines, entry into federal buildings, and presumably shields them against charges of voter fraud when they start casting ballots.

Well Colorado contacted the 524 recipients of these ID cards to get them to bring them back and exchange them for the correct ones, and even offered them gift cards to make up for the inconvenience. And apparently these illegals were all so grateful to America and to Colorado for this great opportunity that only thirty percent of them returned the cards.

About 30 percent of misprinted noncitizen IDs returned so far

Putting that another way, seventy percent of the illegals laughed and flipped Colorado and America the "el Birdo". They apparently intend to keep those ID cards regardless of the fact that it's in violation of yet another American law.

That's how much respect that they have for our country and our laws, folks. And that's why every single one of them should be deported in accordance with current US law.

Dare to dream? Apparently not around here.

So yesterday in the office, a few of us, including the big boss, got to be talking about how Steve Jobs' widow is now worth like eleven BILLION dollars. With a "B". (And she's not bad looking, either.)

Well eventually we started talking about what we'd do with $11,000,000,000.

One guy says that he'd retire and move to Vegas...and buy a casino.
The boss says that he and the wife would be living in the Bahamas on their own private island.

Then they looked at me, because I was already smiling.

"With eleven billion dollars, I could hire a mercenary army and take over half of Europe," I said. "And then after I consolidated my empire, I'd take over the other half!"

The boss shook his head. "Why you always gotta be extreme like that?"

Sheesh. Since when is having a little ambition so wrong?

Anyway, I've got to finish my letter to ex-Mrs. Jobs now before the boss comes back from lunch. (Hey, it could happen, right?)

Saturday Man Movie

In 1950, Gregory Peck was The Gunfighter, playing Jimmy Ringo, a fast gun who couldn't go anywhere without someone trying him on.

Left-handed and without even spilling his drink. That was cool.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Day Well Spent.

It was a nice day on Wednesday, and business brought me downtown Washington DC and left me with time to kill--paid time--so I went across the river to pay a visit to a man who was a friend, real or on-line, to many of us.
I haven't been over since they placed the marker, but it looks ok. For anyone else planning to visit Arlington National Cemetery, Ed Rasimus can be found in Section 55, plot 3809.

And yeah, that's a nickel on the grass that *someone* threw there.

Ed's got a few good neighbors, too.

On January 9, 1945, Then-Major Curtin Reinhardt flew the first prototype of the Boeing C-97 Stratofrighter from Seattle, WA to Washington, DC is just 6 hours, 4 minutes with 20,000lbs of cargo aboard. At the time, this was a most impressive aviation accomplishment.

Robert Bullin. He was UDT (Underwater Demolitions Team), a precursor of the Navy SEALS. This guy clearly had a set of brass ones because theses guys were bad-ass. And after leaving the Navy, he spent the next 20 years as a Deputy with the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Department in Virginia.

Rangers lead the way indeed.

And not too far away, in section 60, there's another name known to many in military and flying circles.
John "Forty Second" Boyd, a fighter pilot/engineer turned strategist who revolutionized the way that both aerial combat and ground war are fought.

And yeah, that's another nickel on the grass.

Leaving that area, enroute to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I ran into a traffic jam of sorts.
I didn't mind waiting for this one. Whoever he was, he earned it.

Then I took my place on the marble steps across from The Tomb, and watched the Changing of the Guard ceremony.

The ceremony never gets old, no matter how many times that you see it. The precision of their movements, the impeccable uniforms and the solemnity all come together perfectly to create a moment that never ends.

After watching the Changing of the Guard, I walked over to visit America's most-decorated World War Two.

Audie Murphy was awarded every medal for valor that our country gave out, plus several from other countries. He also starred in 44 movies post-war and bred and raised quarter horses, all while suffering from what is known today as PTSD, but back then,few knew what it was. He fought on behalf of returning Korean Warand Vietnam vets to get the government to fund studies into this syndrome and to get health care benefits for vets to treat it. He died in a plane crash in Virginia in 1971 when the non-instrument-rated pilot flew into fog and crashed into the mountains just west of Roanoke, Virginia. He was 45.

Leaving there, I saw two other markers side-by-side. One has to wonder if these two Marines knew each other. I'd personally think so, as the Corps. is a relatively small community, and it's career officer cadre even more so.
Three wars together? They had to have known each other. You can't help but ponder such things as you walk through this place.

Sergeant First Class Lawrence Joel, a 27-year vet who served in both Korea and Vietnam. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for selfless gallantry as a medic in Vietnam, treating his comrades during a 20-hour firefight despite being shot twice himself.
Willard D. Miller. Then a Seaman in the US Navy, assigned to the Gunboat Nashville, he was awarded this medal for his role in cutting an underwater telegraph cable under heavy fire off Cuba. His brother, Herbert Miller, was also awarded the Medal of Honor for the same operation.

Also noteworthy is that we still had veterans of the war with Spain still living in 1959.

Or 1960.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Another Birthday, Mom? Really?

I never realized just how old my mom is until she came to visit last month. I took to an antique auction and three people bid on her.

This got me to thinking. I tried to figure out how old she was by looking at her driver's license, but it was in roman numerals. Her Social Security number was no help, either. It's "1".

But I did discover that my Mom is so old that:

--She has an autographed copy of the Bible.
--She has a book with pictures of the Founding Fathers in it...and it's her High School yearbook.
--Her first job was as a waitress at the Last Supper.
--Her first pet was a T-Rex.
--She still owes Michelangelo five dollars.
--Her initials are on three trees in the Petrified Forest.
--She was a hostess at the Boston Tea Party.

The other day, my mom was discussing the travails of getting older with two of her friends.
One said, "Sometimes I catch myself with a jar of mayonnaise in my hand, while standing in front of the refrigerator, and I can't remember whether I need to put it away, or start making a sandwich."

The second lady chimed in with, "Yes, sometimes I find myself on the landing of the stairs and can't remember whether I was on my way up or on my way down."

My Mom responded, "Well, ladies, I'm glad I don't have that problem. Knock on wood." She rapped her knuckles on the table and thddden said "Someone's at the door. I'll get it!"

Happy Birthday, Ma!

Aren't you glad now that you pointed out that I forgot to post about your birthday last year?

PS--There's a delivery going to be showing up at your place today, so don't wander off until it gets there, ok?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Some days it's not even worth it to try to go upstairs.

Especially not when the clowns are up there already.
And yeah, I need to vacuum the stairs...again. How is it that a one-dog increase equals a five-fold increase in dog hair on everything?

Gaffin' Joe Biden says more dumb stuff.

And as usual, the Democrat-biased US Media gives him a pass as he uses an anti-semetic slur to describe unscrupulous lenders.

Joe Biden under fire from Jewish groups for using word 'Shylocks' during speech about money lending

No biggie, right? I mean, it's just Job Biden. Heck, he embarrasses himself and the Obama Administration every time he opens his mouth to so much as ask for a glass of water in a restaurant...or at least he would if the media reported on it. Now just imagine for one moment that is was not Biden who said thoughtless stuff like this, but, oh...Dan Quayle, George W. Bush or Sarah Palin. Does anyone think that the media reaction would be just a little bit different?

And do you ever wonder what else that the media heads have all agreed not to publicize on behalf of Team Obama and the Democrats? That's only a galling and scary thought to those who remember when they used to be our watchdogs over the government and not an arm of one political party exclusively.

Remember this when the other party sweeps the House and the Senate in November and re-takes the White House in two years. When the media wakes up and starts criticizing the new guys, I hope that you'll join me in reminding them that they have no moral standing to say anything.

RIP, US media. You won't just get your credibility back after eight years of regurgitating Obama kool-aid at us and your rants about the other guys will be taken about as seriously as if they came from Nancy Pelosi's office. Or Joe Biden's.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ode to a red bowl

I should have seen the clue when first presented.

As I stepped out of the shower, a black German Shepherd stood anxiously by the back door, clearly wanting to be released out into the dog run. I let him out, and Belle followed on his heels, this despite both of them having already been out there before breakfast, half an hour ago. Murphy in particular does not like to be out in the run when I'm here in the house, so I should have figured something was up.

But clueless I was, and clueless I remained util I walked into the kitchen and saw the fragments of what had been my favorite red pyrex bowl shattered on the floor.

This bowl was probably my oldest piece of kitchenware. I can't even remember when I didn't have it. And I used it constantly for mixing, and for soups and rice dishes and for my breakfast specialty of potatoes, sausage and onions. It was the perfect size for a good meal or to mix stuff in, and if one could ever come to love kitchenware, I loved that red bowl.

But all things have their time, and the red bowl had it's time over the decades of use that I got from it. I dis not foresee that time ending today, sometime between 7:30 and 8:00am, but then again, I should have known better than to leave it on the counter to wait it's turn in the dishwasher, for there be dragons on the floor in the form of two counter-surfing, thieving German Shepherds, and one of them, Murphy being my chief suspect, pulled that bowl off the counter and onto the floor where it shattered in such a thorough manner that all the king's horses and all the king's men, had they been here, would have just said "screw that" and reached for the broom and dustpan as I did.

And those damned dogs can just stay out there all day.


Ima gonna miss that bowl.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Flying Circus

Yesterday was a beautiful flying day, so right after church, I grabbed Eric, a friend of mine from there, and we drove up to the airport for a flight. We took off and flew south for about an hour to the airport at Warrenton (HWY) because I'd heard of a small weekly "Flying Circus" type of airshow that operated just south of there. And Eric's a nice guy who, coincidentally, has never flown in a small plane before.

En route, he learned quickly not to point things out on the ground when I, without thinking about it, just threw the plane into a steep right bank so that I could look down out of his window, too. He seemed to find that a bit discomfiting. Heh.

We got to Warrenton in short order where Mark, the guy running the FBO, graciously hooked up up with a truck to drive over to the show and directions on how to get there.

The truck. One of the nice things about flying General Aviation is the number of complete strangers willing to just toss you the keys to vehicles like this when you land at their airport and need to go somewhere. It's a great community.

So we drove down a few country roads and suddenly, through the trees, we saw them--a row of vintage biplanes just getting ready to go.

Most were cherry Stearman trainers of WW2 vintage, but there were also a couple of Wacos thrown in.

The planes flew for an hour and a half, doing basic aerobatics and other ticks like trying to pop released helium balloons with their props and snagging dropped rolls of paper towel with their wingtips. They had a wing-walker, too.
Her name was Rachel Holmes, and she was mighty cute. Hafta go back and see if she's available.

And while the planes were busy in the air, there were a couple of clowns on the ground amusing the kiddies, like "The Baron" here.

Here, two of the planes are trying to hit The Baron with five-pound sacks of flour. (I'm thinking that's really gotta hurt if they actually manage to tag him.)
Nothing beats a sunny, no-wind day like sitting on bleachers and watching Stearmans fly and taxi around on a grass pasture airfield.

It was a class act all the way. Lots of great planes and flying fun, and literally something for everyone in the family...and all for $15.00 for adults, less for kids, every Sunday, May through October.

The Flying Circus Airshow

They also sell rides, and when I told one of the pilots that I was considering buying one, he said that when I come back, he'll let me try my hand at flying one of the Stearmans. Oh, YEAH!

Meantime, I'm still flying this one:
...and loving it.

The only downside to the whole day was that I mistakenly grabbed my old broken Nikon instead of the new one when I left the Lair and I didn't realize it until we got to the airport, which means that most al of my shots are camera-phone quality. Sorry about that, but then I will be back out there--count on it!