Monday, September 29, 2014

Tanks for the walk!

I had to go into Maryland today, so I took the hounds along and we went for a stroll downtown Brunswick. Naturally, they found a new ride that they thought that I needed, one that may not be as fast as the cars loved by the likes of Keads and Tam, but one that could dish out and take a bit more of a beating.
This is an M5 Stuart. It can be found downtown Brunswick in the center of a nice veterans' memorial. The dogs apparently think that I need it as a daily driver for my commute down into DC.
"You need this, Boss!"

It's a beautiful tank, and it's been here since 1946. There was originally a howitzer here following World War One, but the city was asked to give it up for a scrap metal drive for World War Two. The Defense Department promised them a tank at the end of that war in return, and they came through with this one.
It looks good there, but I do feel somewhat sorry for it. If it could talk, I know that it'd want to run again and drive around. What a great shade-tree restoration this one could be...and it could still be a veterans' memorial in lots of local parades...and on my commute down into DC.
Ah well...at least it's taken care of there.

The dogs and I walked all around downtown, and I was a bit sad but not surprised to see one of my formerly-favorite restaurants has apparently gone bust.
El Sloppy Taco used to offer same fantastic South American BBQ dishes at decent prices, and it was good enough to motivate me to ride my bike down often from Harpers Ferry to get some, but unfortunately, the woman who ran it tended to look at customers as if we were some sort of an affliction, and I finally got tired of being treated like shit in return for walking in the door and spending money so I quit going there. Looks like a lot of other people made the same choice, because it's empty now. Tsk. The place could have been so much more.

I also found a dog-friendly antique store in Past and Present Antiques, and the owner graciously allowed Murphy and Belle in and even gave them biscuits. And Murphy and Belle were well-behaved enough not to knock any of the expensive breakables off of the shelves and tables as we waked the aisles, although I did keep a pretty tight rein on them. Here they are after enjoying their snacks.
Now we're home, and the dogs are napping. The peace and quiet..so nice. Time for a beer or three.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Aloft

Since it was a clear, virtually windless day, and since I have a flight to make next week-end, I went out to the airport yesterday to make a minor aircraft repair (unclog a plugged pitot tube) and take the bird up for a test flight.

Up and over the mountain ridge to the west, and down into valley on the other side.
Lots of small farms down in these valleys, just a couple hours out of Washington, DC.
At fist glance, some of them look pretty messy, but come the bad times, when things collapse, I'm thinking that these are the folks that'll make it just fine...if they can keep the roaming bands of looters from the DC area at bay.
Hey, there's the Peacemaker Training Center. And it looks like they've got something going on over there. Let's go see.
Oh yeah. They're doing another Tough Mudder race this week-end. I have SO got to get tuned up and do one of these.
Contestats run a 10.2 mile course, with lots of obstacles and cold water thrown in.
If I had a PA system, I'd encourage them by telling them to get off of my obstacle. (warning: video link NSFW.)
I played around for a bit, just seeing what there is to be seen, and cursing whoever designed the latest upgrade to my GPS because the dispay keeps flashing and saying "Caution: Terrain" because I'm within a couple of miles of some high ridges to the west...and the east. Good intent on the designers' part, but annoying on a clear day when I can see them just fine.
I flew back up along Virginia Highway 522 for a bit, and in no time at all, I was approaching the Potomac River. In the river valley was the Potomac Airpark. A steep ridge sit just south of the airport and now the GPS is going nuts with it's terrain warning.
Down with no trouble on their 5000' runway, and back off again, lifting up with Hancock, MD on the right, just across the river.
The Potomac River, with two guys in a fishing boat enjoying their day. Wish I could drop 'em a couple of beers. Heck, I wish I had a couple of beers...for after the flight, of course.
Up north, into Pennsylvania for a bit. It's really pretty up here.
Banking for home. Dashboard dinosaur approves.
More farms.
A train bridge. That water below looks perfect for a float.
Fort Frederick!
Back down over Martinsburg. There's the old railroad roundhouse under restoration.
Some brick kilns at the brickyard just below the right base approach to Runway 26.
80 knots over the fence. Got this one nailed.
Four states visited in 1.6 hours of fun, and the airspeed indicator works perfectly now.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday Content

Sorry--was busy yesterday and I'm still busy and tired today. So in lieu of original content:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Just got an angry phone call.

Dear, sweet Belle wiggled her way under the fence again and went next door to visit the cats.

The crazy cat neighbors were home and let's just say that they're not amused.

To her credit, I yelled for her one time and she raced back home and wiggled right back under the fence again.

Oh, and did I mention that it's been raining all day? Now she's a mud-covered mess, AND she shook herself free of excess water and dirt right in front of the shirt that I was going to wear to work again tomorrow.

Hamsters don't cause this sort of aggravation.

"U mad?"

I'd tell him not to let the door hit him on the way out...

but I'd really like to see Eric Holder get hit by a door. Hard and repeatedly.

Attorney General Eric Holder to Resign

I honestly cannot recall an official of that rank who was more corrupt and who displayed more bias and favoritism, usually against the majority of our country and our legal system. He was the first "Chief Law Enforcement Officer" to actually display open hatred and contempt for US Law Enforcement, and the blood of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry will forever be on his hands from "Fast and Furious" will never rinse off.

With a record of scandal and malfeasance that goes back to his days working for the Clintons, Eric Holder should never have been allowed back in government service, much less appointed Attorney General. But he was, and it's to the shame of the Obamaites, the media that refused to report on his past misconduct, and every Republican that failed to vigorously oppose him that he got a second chance to do so much wrong under color of law. He truly disgraced his office and the Justice Department and his departure comes six years too late to ever make that right.

Good riddance. Now let's hope that our new Congress and Senate investigate him properly and put him in federal prison where he belongs.

Dog Behavior.

So yesterday, I'm watching a movie and we're right at the climax at the end. Hero Joel McCrea is going to save soiled dove heroine Yvonne DeCarlo from the villain, and he strides up and forcefully knocks on the villain's door.

Belle and Murphy go positively bonkers, running in from where they'd been sleeping and throwing themselved against the patio door while barking their fool heads off. They'd convinced themselves that someone was outside knocking on our door and there was no telling them otherwise. I had to stop the movie and let them out so that they could see for themselves.

Idiots.

Then, come bed time, for the last two nights, when the dogs come in from outside and head into my room to sleep, Belle has deliberately walked over and flopped down on Murphy's bed, which is only a couple of feet from her own. This totally befuddles Murphy, who just stands there looking at her and then at me and then back to her again. Both times, I've had to get back up and physically move Belle, who resists by going limp on me, forcing me to scoop her up and toss her in the direction of her own bed. WTF? What's motivating this new behavior after ten months of them sleeping together nicely on their own beds without an issue?

It can't be because they're idiots, can it?

Dogs. Sheesh.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

So the Class 3 race is on.

So fellow blogger The Miller and I are in a race now, it seems. A suppressor race.

He writes about how he is now completing the application process for another suppressor, in this case, an Advanced Armaments Corp. Ti-RANT.

I am also finishing up an application packet for my own, in this case, a Gemtech MOSSAD-II that I nailed, very lightly used, from Gunbroker a few months back for less than half of what a new one would have cost. (The re-sale market for suppressors is pretty soft. If you're contemplating buying one, you should keep this in mind.)

MOSSAD-II and Uzi:

Since both of us are pretty much ready to submit our applications to the folks at the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and explosives, we'll both track the progress of our applications and see who gets theirs back first.

For those not familiar with how to purchase a suppressor (or short-barreled rifle or machine gun), the process is simple:

1. Buy the suppressor (or short-barreled rifle or machine gun) that you want from a dealer that has it. If out-of-state, that dealer must transfer it to a local dealer near you, one licensed to transfer such items.

2. Fill out a multi-page application, in duplicate, and a second form attesting to your US Citizenship.
3. Have your local sheriff sign the form. He's saying by doing so that he knows of no reason why you should not be allowed to has said item.
4. Get two fingerprint cards done.
5. get 2 passport photos taken.
6. Send signed forms, fingerprint cards and passport photos to BATFE along with a check for $200.00

Wait for what seems like forever, then get your new suppressor (or short-barreled rifle or machine gun.)

Now Miller got his going in short order. My process has been a bit more prolonged. I bought mine back in April and paid for it in full. Then I waited until August for it to be sent to my dealer and then found out that they'd had it for a while because the selling dealer didn't put my name on it so my local dealer had no idea who it was for. I got my package started, and got my application in to my sheriff, and he waited two weeks to sign it and then his secretary misplaced it for three more weeks. (I guess they aren't worried about little things like elections.) I finally got it back yesterday and will mail it all out tomorrow. So now we'll see who gets their suppressor first.

Special thanks to all involved on my side already who have wasted so much of my time.

Stupid Criminals...Gotta love 'em.

They say that life imitates art. While in Georgia, apparently life imitates Warner Brothers cartoons.

Georgia police find fugitive hiding in kitchen oven

Yeah, you read that right. The wanted criminal was found in the oven when police arrived and began searching the residence looking to arrest her.

I'm wondering if this is how she was found:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Obama disrespects our Marines again, "salutes" with coffee cup in his hand.

What a total ass-monkey. Seriously. Because nothing says "I respect you" like not even bothering to put your coffee cup in the other hand while returning an honor offered to you.

President Obama Gesture to Marines Dubbed ‘Latte Salute’

And typically, the media is already trying to defray outrage by downplaying it (see story above) or ignoring it. (But if Bush had done such a thing...)

No wonder the Secret Service leaves the White House doors unlocked when he's in there. Who really wants to take a bullet for this self-absorbed prat?

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?"

Groan.

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.