29 February 2008


Iowahawk has "teh funny."

Yes it's old, but it's still hilarious.

You have to follow the link because of this disclaimer:

"2. All written material on this blog is copyrighted. Linked excerpts are cheerfully welcomed. Those reprinting or reposting this (or any other Iowahawk piece) in full, without permission, will be hunted down and beaten within an inch of their life with a cold rusty tire iron."

And it's too good to be cut and pasted.

Note the new sidebar link as well.

Another New Link

I have long been a fan of Drew Carey, I think it's the portliness and glasses that attract me-in a purely platonic, non-creepy sort of way, of course.

I stumbled upon this by way of an ad on a blog that I was reading by way of another blog that I got to by way of, I think, AD's blog, so I can 't really tell you where I got it.

What exactly is "it" you ask? It is a series of videos that were filmed by Mr. Carey illustrating some of the results of government actions. Things like eminent domain, a personal favorite of mine, being used to seize land to turn over to private developers under the guise of improving the tax base - excuse me, "redevelopment."

Mr. Carey describes himself as a Libertarian leaning conservative, which should give you an idea of where his stand is regarding the issues he addresses. The shows are kind of like a visual John Stossel column.

The link is to Episode 1, which explores free-market alternatives to traffic woes in Los Angeles, with links to all the other videos so far filmed. I plan to check it regularly.

Photo from TV Guide's website.

24 February 2008

Well Done

A hearty congratulations and a job well done to the crew of the good ship USS Lake Erie.

23 February 2008

It - Is - ALIIIIIIIEEYVahh!!!!!!!!!!!

The Mighty Rampage rides again...again.

The problem has been tracked down to the 26 year old charcoal canister coming apart, the "rat turds" are actually bits of charcoal and foam from the canister. A rebuilt carb, an inline filter in the canister line, and all is well.

The tank has been dropped and looked clean as a whistle, the lines have all been replaced, and I even rewired the radio connection to use a factory radio. I need to do a bit of tuning to the idle, but otherwise it runs as good as it ever has.

This car/truck gets 28 MPG during my commute, even better than the fuel injected Aries, and I have really missed driving it because it's a fun little car/truck. I'm glad to have it back on the road.

I may need a battery, but that's easy.

The motor rattle in the Aries turned out to be an auxiliary shaft. With the shaft changed out the rattle went away.

My eldest son hit a deer with his mom's Pontiac a couple of nights ago, so we had to go junkyard diving for a headlight and marker light. We were hoping for a fender and hood as well, but this color is kind of difficult to find. I'm just glad he didn't scoop the deer up and put it in his lap.

And he didn't even bring the deer home.

This Post Almost Writes Itself

Montana has decided that the flap over the Heller case is already decided, in the Second Amendment's favor, according to an article in World Net Daily.

It seems that when Montana joined the Union there was an agreement that "all persons" would be allowed to bear arms, which makes the right an individual one, rather than a collective one.

They further say that if the case is decided wrongly the agreement for Montana to join the Union will have been contractually violated.

This will be interesting to see.

In other and more amusing news, it seems that John McCain is being bitch-slapped by the McCain Feingold Incumbent Protection Act.

I can't express how insanely funny I find that.

Wasting Time

There's a stomach virus going around, and of course my wife caught it. She's been so sick she can't hold water down for about 5 days now.

I took her to the ER so she could at least get fluids with absolutely no hope that they could fix what was wrong. I was correct, we were told "it's a virus", which is medical speak for "we don't know what the hell causes it" as far as I can tell.

We ended up spending about five hours in the waiting room while the ER staff struggled through a busy night. It's kind of amazing they were that busy that late at night, even the receptionist was a bit stunned. By 5 AM (lots of fives here) when we were walking out everything was quiet.

She's doing a bit better now, but she won't feel all the way better until this crap works it's way through. At least she's been able to keep a little bit down here and then, so that's a good sign. For now it's lots of vitamin water and chicken broth with the occasional piece of toast.

The doc says it's OK she's missing her treatments, it won't affect the expected final outcome. He's still optimistic that it will be another 6 weeks or so, maybe finished up with 2 or 3 weeks of chemo. The chemo is the rough part.

Now we're just waiting for her to feel better so she can continue her treatments.

13 February 2008

More Good News

The docs say that the tumor has shrunk by more than half. The treatments are expected to go on for another month and a half to two months, at which time they expect a full remission.

On another note, the questions are already going around; "What are you going to spend your tax rebate on?"

Meh. I'm paying my taxes with it.

Yes, I'm painfully aware that any checks will be mailed out this summer and taxes are due in April.

10 February 2008

Military Aircraft

Some of the names that are applied to military aircraft are pretty amusing.

I don't mean the given name. I mean the names that the aircrew and maintainers call them.

Take the B-52 in the post a bit farther down, for example. Officially it's called the Stratofortress, the last in the line of mighty Fortresses begat by the B-17 Flying Fortress, but it's affectionately known as the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat F**ker).

The F-14 Tomcat was called the Turkey, and if you have ever seen one land on an aircraft carrier you know why. The tail is way down, the nose is way up, and the whole aircraft waddles in the air as the pilot corrects it's glideslope.

The A-7 Corsair II was known alternately as the Sewer Pipe or the SLUF (Slow Low Ugly F**ker). The S-3 Viking was called the Hoover because of the sound of it's engines. The A-6 Intruder was called the Dump Truck because it could haul more payload than the B-17. Anything with a pointed nose has been called a lawn dart at least once.

The A-10 Thunderbolt is called a Warthog, the A-3 was called the Whale, and I don't really know what it's official name was. All of these aircraft have served, or are serving, their country faithfully and well. Their aircrew and maintainers will staunchly defend them, no one is allowed to talk trash about them except for those who are associated with them.

I'm sure that if you talk to a military aircraft aircrew or maintainer they will have a name that isn't very politic or polite about the aircraft they were associated with.

And that's where this ends. If you were looking for a point here, there isn't one. I just thought it was funny.

Picture by Rex Nelson, USN

08 February 2008

And Then...

Mitt Romney has quit the Presidential contest, thereby conceding the nomination to John McCain. Mike Huckabee, as I predicted when he won the Iowa caucus, won't be the party's nominee.

Ron Paul doesn't have a chance. If he wasn't in league with the Truthers and other assorted idiots he might have done better. (Note to the Paul campaign, you have to act like you have a brain in your head and associating with fruit-bats isn't the way to do that.) I could have supported Ron Paul for president if it wasn't for his absolute pie-in-the-sky-be-nice-to-everyone-and-it-will-be-all-roses view on the War on Terror, his insistence on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq, and his association with the nut-house inmates. Where has he been for the past 10 years?

And once again the GOP has told it's conservative base to eat the sandwich and shut up about it, people in China would be glad to have it, if you don't smile and chew we will have disasters of Biblical proportions, check's in the mail, I promise I won't c...er...you get the point.

What we will have is John McCain as the nominee, getting soundly trounced by the Democrat (whoever she ends up being), four years of absolute Carterish hell, followed (hopefully) by a re-awakening and a realization that Conservatism makes the party, not the other way around, then maybe we can get a Duncan Hunter or Fred Thompson nominated.

The message was sent last election cycle that given the choice between a Democrat and a Republican that acts like a Democrat people will go to the Democrat every time, that way there is no surprise. The GOP, predictably, misread the message. Maybe, just maybe, they will get it this time.

This year we will have disgruntled Conservatives go to the polls to elect Congress critters or Senators and either write in a candidate (I have heard everything from Fred Thompson to Mickey Mouse) or completely ignore the Presidential race altogether.

With luck we will have a crop of Conservative candidates to show for the Congressional and Senate races, and we will be able to put a block on the ambitions of the President. This should minimize the damage that can be caused in Supreme Court nominations, which is the club that the Party 'bots are trying to use to beat us up with. It isn't going to work, but it may leave some bruises.

If not, we will survive. We lived through the Socialization of the government in the Roosevelt years, we lived through stagflation and the misery index of the Carter years, and we will live through this as well.

But nothing will get that taste out of your mouth.

02 February 2008

Another Quiz

Friend James should like this one. He was a BUFF tech, after all.

What military aircraft are you?

B-52 Stratofortress

You're a B-52. You are old and wise, and you absolutely love destruction. You believe in the principle of "peace through deterrence" and aren`t afraid to throw your weight around.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.

01 February 2008

Latest Report

The doctors say that the tumor is shrinking, which is exactly what we want. I was under the impression that there was more than one, but apparently not. She has some other spots that the doc thinks is just fluid, so she's going in for another MRI to make sure.

She went out with a friend who is also a cancer survivor to buy wigs yesterday, today there are large areas of no hair on her head. She is no longer tearful about it, but I wouldn't say she's OK with it.

The docs say it won't take much longer, and they are no longer talking about surgery, so I'm thinking that is a good thing.

On a related note, my daughter who lives in Florida has been getting flowers and consolation notes at the reported death of her mother. Her boss even called her to verify she was taking the day off because of it.

To which her mother responds "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."

Or something like that.

New Motive Power

The Model Power Pacific and the Bachmann Spectrum Consolidation arrived yesterday, and they are beautiful.

I had to rewire the Pacific because the person that put the rubber tired drivers in left some of the wiring out. It runs good, but is picky about it's power pickup. I'm guessing that has a lot to do with the heavier wire I had to use because I didn't have the fine wire used originally. The tender doesn't move as well as it should. The Bachmann ran like a jewel straight from the case, it's not as picky about it's power as the Pacific.

The only problem is that neither of the new locos will negotiate the tight radius curves on my present layout.

I made the beginners mistake of putting the toy train 9 3/4 inch curves on the layout, and they are too tight for all but diesels.

My standard Connies and my Northerns negotiate these curves only because I ground off the flanges on their center drivers (called blinded drivers), but they don't do so happily.

I have no problem blinding the drivers on cheap $50.00 train set locos, but I won't even attempt it with the $150.00 ones.

So for now my best locomotives are on the shelf until the layout can be rebuilt with broader curves.

But they sure do look good!

Airplane on a Treadmill

Mythbusters did a little spot about an airplane on a treadmill the other night. The question that they were trying to answer was, if the treadmill were to move opposite the plane's direction at it's takeoff speed would it be able to take off?

The answer is yes, because the airplane cares not a bit about what speed it's wheels are moving.

Airplanes function by way of airspeed, not ground speed. The difference is the velocity of the air relative to the wings of the aircraft, not the velocity of the ground relative to the aircraft. To generate lift, air must be moving over the wing surfaces, the more the air moves the greater the lift is generated. You can take off in a small light plane in a strong headwind and not move an inch relative to the surface of the earth. Helicopters move their own wings in a rotary motion to achieve that velocity, which is how they can generate the "airspeed" needed to lift at zero ground speed. This is also why helicopters are called rotary wing aircraft, as opposed to fixed wing (regular) aircraft. This is also how kites work, by the way.

In fact, the US Navy takes full advantage of this fact when launching carrier aircraft, they juice up the speed of the ship and head it into the wind to create wind over the deck for both takeoff and landing. This makes the takeoff and landing distances far smaller, and with the aid of catapults and arresting gear heavily laden (swallows - NO) high performance aircraft can and do take off and land from teeny tiny airfields built on top of ship's hulls. Been doing it for a while now.

In fact, the DoD managed to launch and recover a Marine KC-130 from the deck of USS Forrestal in 1963 without the use of catapults or arresting gear, taking full advantage of the aircraft's phenomenal short-field capability and the speed of the carrier.

But I digress. The entire reason I'm bringing this up (or, as comedian Ron White says, I told you all that so I could tell you this) is that according to Neal Boortz, some people are claiming foul on the whole Mythbusters scenario.

As Boortz puts it, "They're saying that the Mythbusters guys cheated because they allowed the airplane to move relative to the earth. Yeah ... as hard as it is to accept, there are actually people out there who are so dismayingly stupid that they think that the rules of the game were that the airplane would not be allowed to roll forward when the propeller started turning."

For those of you not able to figure this out, there is absolutely no way on Earth anyone could have STOPPED the aircraft from moving, relative to the Earth, once the brakes were released and the throttle advanced. Yes, the aircraft would have been dragged backwards on the tarp and the motor would have had to throttle up slightly to maintain position relative to the earth (or zero ground speed) while the tarp was moving, but that's because the aircraft's propeller would have had to overcome the force of the friction from it's wheels and bearings. Once that friction was overcome, the wheels would have had absolutely no further effect on aircraft speed.

During the Mythbuster's testing, they ran a control test of the aircraft's normal airspeed and takeoff distance. The aircraft being used was a form of ultralight that only required an airspeed of 25 MPH to generate sufficient lift to take off. The testing was held in early morning when the relative winds were non-existent to keep the tarp from blowing all over the field, as had happened the evening previous. With no relative winds (that means the air moving relative to the earth's surface), the airspeed and ground speed of the aircraft would have been equal.

At the time of rotation (that's when the nose comes up, the tail goes down, and the wheels leave the ground) the aircraft was traveling 25 MPH relative to the ground (ground speed). Again, with no relative winds this means the aircraft's airspeed was also 25 MPH. This was done before the aircraft was put on the treadmill, by the way. The airspeed and takeoff distance was recorded, I don't remember the takeoff distance but I thought the 25 MPH airspeed was remarkable so I remember that. The aircraft landed and was then put on the tarp that would serve as a treadmill. The treadmill was accelerated (by way of a towing truck) to 25 MPH relative to the ground at the same instance the aircraft's pilot unlocked it's brakes and pushed the throttle forward.

The tarp was moving in an opposite direction to the aircraft. When the aircraft achieved sufficient airspeed, corresponding to 25 MPH ground speed, it rotated and lifted from the tarp. The ground speed and takeoff distance were COMPLETELY UNAFFECTED by the tarp's speed and direction. The aircraft's wheels at the time of takeoff were spinning at an estimated 50 MPH, and the aircraft was not bothered a bit by that fact. The aircraft was concentrating on gaining airspeed, not ground speed, driven by it's propeller, not it's wheels.

All of this, for what it's worth, was fully explained on the show.

If, for instance, there had been a headwind for the aircraft, it's ground speed and takeoff distances would have been lower and shorter respectively. The aircraft is not concerned by the speed of the ground under it's wheels, it is only concerned with the speed of the air over it's wings. As I said, you could have taken off in that aircraft with a 25 MPH headwind without moving relative to the surface of the Earth.

For what it's worth, the pilot of the aircraft bought into the farcical notion that ground speed has something to do with airspeed, and didn't believe the test would be successful. He was proven wrong, and admitted to his amazement. This tells me he needs to go back to Aviation 101 to learn how an aircraft actually works.

And for the record, I are not a pilot, I are just a knuckle-dragging ex-Navy aircraft electronics tech. Rudimentary flight physics was taught to me in a class called Enlisted Basic Aviation Training, which was over 25 years ago. We didn't put an aircraft on a treadmill, but we did discuss the effects of airspeed and groundspeed on fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

And now you know.