Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

"
If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"
Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot,
by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse.
" -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Monday, May 30, 2016

Maybe It Will All Come to an End this Year, After All.

Today, Memorial Day 2016, the Chicago Cubs are the best team in baseball: 34 wins, 14 losses, for a W/L percentage of 70.8%.

Still plenty of time for them to choke, I guess.

Memorial Day

The late Andy Rooney (Sgt, US Army: Bronze Star, Air medal):


I've written a fair number of pieces on Memorial Day, some rants, some not.

War is a bloody, messy business. The powers that be, in every nation, do their best to hide that fact.

Today, we honor the memory of the men and, increasingly, women, who died in the service of our country. Amidst the various profanities of the day, three-day sales and the like, take a moment to remember them.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Tu-144:


Back in the days of SSTs.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

One Greedy Psychopath Endorses Another

A member of the Future Felons of America, Martin "Pharma Bro" Shkreki, has endorsed Donald Trump.
Martin Shkreli, the 33-year-old former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, said on Twitter Thursday that he would vote for the presumptive Republican nominee in his likely general election matchup. ... Shkreli, who is currently awaiting trial for securities fraud, said later that “all you people who don't like trump are jealous, stupid and poor! don't make me laugh!”
The funny thing is that, after somebody punked the little asswipe on Twitter, he then pulled a Very Donald Move: Threatened to sue.

I am so looking forward to reading the account of his eventual sentencing hearing.

Tool Selection; Election Edition

The Donald and Hillary are absolute tools. As opposed to either one of them, it would seem that in the general election, if the other party had nominated a reasonable candidate that would appeal to independents and disaffected voters fo the other party, that they would win in a walk.[1]

Of course, enough of the base voters of each party being morons, that's not what happened.

"Vote for Me, Because You Hate My Opponent More."

Clinton is amoral and somewhat venal, Trump is amoral, venal to his core and a conspiracy-freak lunatic.

Where can I enter the lottery for a chance at the ticket on one of the off-world colony ships?
______________________________
[1] Not Ted Cruz.

Friday, May 27, 2016

What Passes for a "Weapons Cache" in the UK These Days


A sharpening steel, a pair of scissors, a table knife and tweezers? That's a fearsome cache of weapons, all right.

This comment is accurate, but wrong. Load up a couple of Chunnel trains with soldiers armed with Kar98s and they'll take the place in a week. Which will put an end to the Brexit noise.

Patent Trolls, Gunnie Edition

In a move that’s caught a lot of people by surprise, Mossberg is filing suit against a series of drop-in trigger manufacturers. Mossberg holds the patent to the concept of the trigger pack, which they acquired from CMC triggers.
At first blush, this sounds an awful lot like patent trolling, which, if it wasn't legal, would be called extortion.

I say that because of this statement from CMC:
“CMC Triggers is a Christian company..."
When a company, or anyone or any other entity begins defending itself by referring to its religious faith, it's a pretty good bet that they have been engaging in evil fuckery of some kind.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Arabian Horses

So I was recently at a lunchtime presentation for a civic-service club to which I am a member. The presentation was about a youth program wherein the yoots ride Arabian horses in competition.

There were about six people at my table. I muttered: "Only an Arab would bring..." and two people finished it up: "... a dog to war."



I was surprised that anyone else remembered that movie. After all, it was a massive bomb.

One Oddity About the Transgender Bathroom Kerfuffle

The people who are arguing that bathroom laws are necessary to keep criminals from sexually assaulting people in bathrooms are the same people who one would expect to argue that gun control laws don't work because criminals don't obey the law.

Beyond that, I suspect that the current brouhaha has been ginned up to turn out the mouth-breather vote, in the same way that the Republicans were pushing state constitutional amendments banning gay marriage in 2004. It's the old trick of "The (Insert Name of Despised Group Here) Are Coming For Your Children, Get Out and Vote to Stop Them!"

Don't forget, as Mike pointed out, the NC bill also incorporated provisions banning local governments from passing ordinances on child labor and similar topics. It was a veritable Trojan Horse of Hatred towards working people. But that's what the GOP does: Gin up the low-information voters with some bullshit controversy and then shiv them all in the back.

Windows 10 Blocking

A utility to do that for you.

Windows 10 is both spyware and adware and Microsoft is doing its utmost to ram it down the throats of the users of Win 7/8. Although it's going to nearly kill me to say goodbye to WordPerfect, my next computer will run some other OS.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Germans Could Invade, Now.

The British soldiers would be too busy reading all of the warning labels, such as "CAUTION, Bayonet May Have Sharp Edges and Be Pointy."
Tinned herring has been recalled from Lidl branches because its label does not warn consumers the cans contain ingredients including fish.
Canned fish is being recalled because the cans lacked a warning label that the cans contain fish. Oh, the humanity!

Is it heartless to suggest that any person who has a seafood allergy and who consumes canned fish because there isn't a warning label on the can which explains that a can of canned fish contains fish probably needs to be skimmed out of the gene pool?

(Not the first time that I've made this helpful suggestion to the Wehrmacht Bundeswehr.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

His Next Project Would Have Been to Find Out Where the Jews Live

A few weeks after his hiring in January, SeaTac’s new interim City Manager James “Donny” Payne asked the staff geographic-information systems coordinator to undertake an unusual project.

“Mr. Payne stated an interest in knowing with a great deal of specificity (to the neighborhood, house, and even person) where Sunni and Shiite Muslim residents lived,” an investigator later wrote in a report issued to the city.

Historical Blindness, Anyone... NYT Edition

Mr. Trump may seem unusual to Americans because the United States did not produce the kind of autocratic populist leaders Europe offered the 20th century, men who built power bases blaming others for their ills: immigrants, Jews, foreigners in general.
Really. Huey Long, anyone? Long was a populist who intended to run for president, with the backing of a crypto-Nazi radio priest.

Or how about George Wallace?

"We're Making a List, We're Using Our Head. Gonna Find Out Whose Shootie or Dead;" Chicago Police Edition

CHICAGO — In this city’s urgent push to rein in gun and gang violence, the Police Department is keeping a list. Derived from a computer algorithm that assigns scores based on arrests, shootings, affiliations with gang members and other variables, the list aims to predict who is most likely to be shot soon or to shoot someone. ... The authorities hope that knowing who is most likely to be involved in violence can bring them a step closer to curtailing it. They are warning those highest on the list that they are under intense scrutiny, while offering social services to those who want a path away from the bloodshed.

About three years into the program and on a fourth revision of the computer algorithm that generates the list, critics are raising pointed questions about potential breaches to civil liberties in the creation of such a ranking. And the list’s efficacy remains in doubt as killings and shootings have continued to rise this year.
"Potential breaches to civil liberties"? That's a laugh. Trashing the Constitution is what the Chicago PD is most known for. That, and corruption.

Iraq Army Field Mod

Look at the wheels of this APC:


And at the wheels and radiator of this Humvee:


It would seem that their concern is adding enough protection so that an enemy gunman (I hesitate to call them "soldiers") isn't able to disable them with a burst from an AK. I doubt if that plate would stand up to rounds from a DShK or a PK.

Pity the Poor Little Republicans

Over seven years and they haven't laid a glove on President Obama. Not for lack of trying.

When the history of this time is written, the Republicans in the congresses from 2009 through 2016 are going to be viewed as a pack of racist-tinged inept clowns.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Adversary of My Adversary is My Acquaintance

Or "customer".
U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday lifted a half-century-old ban on selling arms to Vietnam, looking to bolster a government seen as a crucial, though flawed partner in a region that he has tried to place at the center of his foreign policy legacy.
That's probably long overdue, the move should have been done 25 years ago. And this didn't hurt things any, from an American perspective.

Dumb German Neo-Nazis are Still Dumb

A surging German nationalist party has sharpened its rhetoric against prominent Islamic groups and is suggesting limiting the religious freedom of more than 4 million Muslims in the country.

Senior members of Alternative for Germany cut short a meeting Monday with the Central Council of Muslims, accusing the group of failing to renounce religious beliefs that clash with the German constitution.

Party co-leader Frauke Petry told reporters that "Islam, the way it is mostly practiced, doesn't belong in a democratic Germany."
I find it almost laughable that the German Neo-Nazis are blathering about the rule of law. If they got power, it would be "one man, one last vote."

Beyond that, who is going to do the shit jobs in Germany if not for the Muslim immigrants? Germany has the lowest birthrate in the world, very far below the rate needed for a stable population (2.1 children per couple in the West). Without immigration, Germany will wither.

The problem for the Euros (and Japan) is that they do not have a culture which welcomes immigrants. Keeping immigrants isolated in segregated housing areas is a recipe for long-term disaster.

Monday Morning Classical Music



Peter Schickele, of course.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

An Open Letter to Whomsoever Changed the Design of Tin Cans

You suck. From hereon out, may your full name be regarded as an obscenity, not to be uttered in polite company.

This is a picture of the bottoms of two cans of pumpkin puree:


The can on the right has the old-style bottom, which is crimped/soldered onto the bottom of the can. The one on the left has an extruded bottom that is of one piece with the body of the can.

Now imagine that you need to empty those cans. You take a can-opener and open the tops of both.

The one on the right, you invert in a bowl and then remove the bottom with a standard can-opener. You lift up the body of the can and push the contents out with the severed bottom. 99+% of what's in the can slides right out, easy-peasy. Maybe you take a table knife and scrape out the rest. Hell, half of the time, it all gooped out when you had a quarter of the bottom opened. You could still then push out the rest with the severed bottom.

The one on the left, you have to go into it with a long spoon and scoop out the contents. It takes a lot more time.

Sure, they're probably saving 0.1 cents on the cost of the can. And no doubt some asshole said "who gives a fuck if the consumers don't like it. We'll make more money and what are they going to do, make their own pureed shit?"

The asswipe who proposed that probably got a big bonus. I hope his partner leaves him, his dog bites him and he gets audited by the IRS. May he live a long, hemorrhoid-inflicted life.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

BUFFs:


Every one of those B-52s is more than fifty years old. Fifty years before the H model flew, "aerial bombardment" consisted of dropping grenades from airplanes about as sophisticated as a Wright Model B.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Facebook: a Veritable Festival of Morons

This was on my FB feed:


The possible reason that less than 2% of people will "like" that photo may be because 98% of them will either recognize the photo as being one of the cast of the movie Tropic Thunder or will at least recognize the man in the middle of the group-- Ben Stiller.

Caturday

A shelter-cat selfie:


This is officially Global Adopt-a-Cat Century, so get thee to a shelter and adopt a cat.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Hey, Mal, I've Got the Whistle-Stop Flag Out!

Mind stopping by for a passenger?


I'll happily clean parts in the engine room for Kaylee. I'll even bring her some fresh batteries.

And I can shoot better than about half of your loadout.

The Coal Companies Got the Mine, the Taxpayers Get the Shaft.

Coal companies were supposed to purchase bonds to pay for cleaning up their mines after they extracted the coal. But a shitload of them didn't. They were allowed to "self-bond"; they merely promised to do it and cited the fact that they were doing well financially.

But now, with coal companies going Tango Uniform, guess who's going to get stuck with the cost of the cleanup?

No prizes if you guessed "the government."

For all the blather on the Right of "socialism", they miss the fact that we have capitalistic socialism in this country, at least for the very big players: They get to reap the rewards, but the risks fall on the government, on you and me.

If you ran a small business and you left a mess behind that the government had to clean up, they'd figure out a way to toss your ass in jail. But if you run a big coal company or an oil company or a chemical company, you can trash the environment and the worst that'll happen is a pesky fine. And if you go out of business, you wan walk away and you won't even have to pay that.

The socialism in this country is a safety-net for the oligarchs, the very people who have been energetically destroying the safety-nets for everyone else.

Happy National Defense Transportation Day!


No shit, it's a real day. After his experiences in 1919, President Eisenhower was adamant about improving the nation's highways so they could be used in times of war. The Interstate Highway system was his cause.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Cautionary Tale for the Kids; Election Edition

For those too young to remember the 2000 election, Stephen Colbert reads aloud See Ralph Run:

Not Applicable in West Virginia


In West Virginia, it's "cousin".

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

God, Please Fuck Up the FBI's Shit

Because this:
Hidden microphones that are part of a clandestine government surveillance program that has been operating around the Bay Area has been exposed.

Imagine standing at a bus stop, talking to your friend and having your conversation recorded without you knowing. It happens all the time, and the FBI doesn’t even need a warrant to do it.

Federal agents are planting microphones to secretly record conversations.
The Feebies are arguing that if you have a conversation out in the open, that you have no expectation of privacy. Personally, I think that's bullshit. If there's nobody within audible range, I would argue that you do have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Which is probably one of the many reasons why I don't practice criminal law.

It used to be police states that recorded people's private conversations and kicked in their doors in the middle of the night.

Actually, that's sort of unfair to the old-style police states. For they knocked on the door in the middle of the night. American cops kick the door in, without knocking, and toss flash-bang grenades into children's rooms.

(H/T)

Little Crappy Ships Have Bad Weight Problems?

The Navy has selected the Norwegian Naval Strike Missile for the LCS.

I wonder why the Harpoon wasn't chosen. The Navy has used Harpoons for almost forty years. The goal of any logistician is to keep the number of different types of ammunition in an arsenal as low as possible. (Which is why the proponents of adopting a 6.5mm rifle are pissing in the wind.)

The NSM has a much smaller warhead, each round is 600lbs lighter. Either the LCS has a bad weight problem and the Navy is trying to keep that under control, or this is just another "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" in which the Norwegians will buy some ships they'd rather not, in exchange for the ability to mark the NSM's promotional materials with the logo "as sold to the United States Navy". Either argument will have to be rather strong to fend off the "but foreign = bad!!1!!" crowd in Congress (why FN and Beretta, for example, built plants in the U.S.).

Shorter D.C.: "Somebody Has to Try to Kill You Before You Can Have a CCW Permit."

That's what they argued in court and the judge wasn't having any of that bullshit.

Courts elsewhere have accepted that bullshit, so this'll eventually go to the Supremes.

OK, Amazon, What Have You Done, Now?

I downloaded Chains of Command and it won't open on my Kindle Paperwhite.

(I download everything via USB cable because I don't like Amazon's penchant for fucking with things.)

It's in the directory on the Kindle. But it won't even show up as a book.

Any idea WTF is the problem? What has Lord Bezos done now, the little ##@*&!!

UPDATE: The thing was far enough out of date in software updates that it wasn't compatible with the data downloads. Fixed that. But now the display interface is all changed because fucking coders can't leave shit well enough alone.

And now my computer is saying that "USB Device Not Recognized". Which is funny because I don't have any USB devices attached at the moment. Fucking computers....

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

An Ad That's Ripe for Re-Using in 2016


All they have to change is the card and the voiceover at the very end.

Well, I Can Understand the Sentiment; Election Edition

NOLAND, Mary Anne Alfriend. Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at the age of 68.
It's funny, but Mrs. Noland was indeed a real person.

Slow Moving Wheels; Murderous Cops Edition.

A former St. Louis police officer has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder for the on-duty shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith — an incident that led to one of the largest wrongful-death settlements stemming from a police shooting in the city’s history, the Post-Dispatch has learned.

Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office on Monday charged Jason Stockley, 35, of Houston. St. Louis police and U.S. marshals arrested Stockley on Monday at his home in the 6300 block of Chevy Chase Drive in Houston.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Mullen ordered Stockley held without bail. He is in custody in Harris County, Texas.
The killing took place in 2011. The shooter made statements (that were recorded) during the chase that he was going to kill the guy they were chasing. The cop then did indeed kill the guy, claiming that the vic had a gun.

A gun was found. But testing showed that the only DNA to be found on it was the cop's. It was a classic "throwdown" piece, but only this time they were able to prove it.

Still, it took 4-1/2 years to get to that point. My suspicion is that, without the continuing pressure of the family, activists and the fact that the city settled a wrongful death suit for 900 grand, that this would have been swept under the rug. Just like Chicago tried to do.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Why Not Let the Feebies Listen in on You?

You're doing just that if you have an "Amazon Echo".

Basically, any gizmo with the word "smart" in its description is a potential wiretapping device for the FBI and others to use.

(H/T)

History May Not Repeat Itself, But It Does Rhyme; Warfare Edition

“Today, a major in the Army knows nothing but fighting terrorists and guerrillas, because he came into the Army after 9/11,” [Army Chief of Staff] General Milley said in an interview during his flight to Arusha. “But as we get into the higher-end threats, our skills have atrophied over 15 years.”

A result, General Milley said, has been a loss of what he calls muscle memory: how to fight a large land war, including one where an established adversary is able to bring sophisticated air defenses, tanks, infantry, naval power and even cyberweapons into battle.
You need only look back to the First World War to see how such a situation played out.

The COS is sort of pissing in the wind. When the current employment of the Army is to engage in counter-terrorism operations, or to intervene in places where the enemy du jour has only small arms and IEDs, there isn't going to be any real money in the training budget for the sort of combined-arms training exercise that are necessary to prepare for a war against a roughly even-matched foe.

Time Passes

It's been a month and a half since Jake went over the Bridge.

Last week, I had left the bedclothes rumpled. When I returned after work, the rumple looked as things would have looked if Jake had wormed his way under them for a nap. That memory brought a smile, not tears.

Sure, the tears can come. The other day, I was going back through my FB posts; the one for Jake's passing got a lot of comments. Reading them made my throat clog up. But I almost have to go out of my way, now, to do that. And hell, I can do that with the other pets I've had if I dwell on their memories. Especially the dog that I had growing up and she's been gone for decades.

But I digress.

All this is a rather long preamble into saying that it'll soon be time to start looking for a cat.

I do have a bit of a trip planned. It probably would not be a wise thing to bring a cat home and then leave it to the pet-sitter to visit for that time.

After that, though......

Sunday, May 15, 2016

"It's Hard to 'Lean-In' as a Singe Mom;" Rich Whines Edition

Sheryl Sandberg acknowledged Friday that her best-seller Lean In did not take into account how tough it is for single mothers to get ahead – a hard reality she's had to face since the sudden death of her husband last year.
I am sorry for her loss, but Jesus! No fucking shit!

Sandberg is both rich and makes a shitload of money as a FB muckety-muck. There is little doubt that Sandberg can afford to hire all of the help that she needs in order to be a widowed mother and have her career.

No, she's not faced with the need to leave work because the day care is closing for the day. She's not running the risk of prison because she had nobody to watch the kids when she went to work.

It's relatively easy to "lean in" when you can afford to hire a supporting staff to ensure that your family life doesn't pull the ground out from under you.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

The Mystere IV:

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Aviation Humor

This is sort of from memory:

---------------------------------------

Back in the day, nobody used headsets. You had to pick up a microphone, hold it to your lips and then push the button. So anyway, it was a gusty day at the airport, with a goodly crosswind component. A Cessna 150 was having problems with the wind, so at the last moment, the pilot began to go around. Almost by reflex, the pilot realigned the nose of the airplane with the runway's centerline.

While adding power and removing carb heat and retracting flaps, the little Cessna took on an alarming amount of wind drift. The tower controller noticed that the Cessna was on a track to collide with the tower. He keyed his mike and said: "Cessna 34 Bravo, what is your intention?"

The pilot replied: "If I don't have to keep talking on this here radio, I'd like to avoid hitting the tower. 34 Bravo."

----------------------------------------

Love May be What Makes a Subaru, a Subaru,
But Better Parts Might Make It a Usable Car.

Subaru of America said on Thursday it is recalling 48,500 new U.S. vehicles because of a serious potential steering issue and warned owners not to drive them until they are inspected and repaired if needed. ... Subaru said the steering column in the recalls may have been improperly built and turning the steering wheel may have no effect on the direction of the wheels.
If you have one, you may not want to drive the car, especially if it still has the Airbags of Death installed.

It was a Bad Idea for Me to Overestimate the Viewing Public, Overseas Edition

I was very dismissive at the idea of Tom Cruise playing the role of Jack Reacher; not the least because when compared to the description of Reacher in the novels, Cruise is a pretty-boy midget.

The movie didn't do that well in the U.S., but it played well to foreigners. Maybe they re-dubbed it.

A sequel will soon hit the theaters, which will be yet another movie I won't go see.

One Yuge "Boaty McBoatface"

Royal Caribbean Thursday celebrated the completion of the largest cruise ship ever built, Harmony of the Seas.

Top executives at the company including chairman and CEO Richard Fain joined the ship's incoming crew at the STX shipyard in St. Nazaire, France for a traditional flag changing ceremony atop the 227,000-ton vessel. ... It's total capacity will be well over 6,000 people, not including crew.
Crew size will probably be roughly 2,500. An oil tanker of that displacement would be a "very large crude carrier", which is probably an apt description of a Carnival cruise.

It'll be a lot of fun if that monster ever goes cold, dark and quiet at sea, something Carnival ships have had some experience at doing. And then there's norovirus, which can turn a cruise into a trip that's only a little more fun than cruising on a plague-ship. Or, the damn thing can run aground and sink.

But I've ridden that horse before.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Motion for the Internet:
I Move That People Who Use the Phrase "Disruptive Technology" Should Be Beaten With Shovels.
What Say Ye?

"Disruptive technology" is nothing more than a gussied-up way of saying "I have a new idea."

This rant is brought to you by some jerkoffs who are advertising that they have "Disruptive Ammunition Innovation"

Which is what, exactly, you might ask? It's boxer-primed cartridge cases made of something other than brass.

Color me skeptical.

I can buy 9mm brass-cased cartridges for twenty cents a round. Russian lacquered-steel-cased ammunition is in that range. Aluminum-cased ammunition is a tad bit more costly. This stuff is two-pieced. Which, to my untrained eye, would mean that there are going to be more manufacturing steps involved in making the cases. (Need I expound further along that line?)

Two pieces, steel and aluminum. Maybe you're not shooting in rough conditions, but if you might foresee getting drenched from time to time, steel and aluminum plus water can result in a little something known as "bimetallic corrosion".

Brass-cased ammunition is about as mature and proven a technology as there is. The number of centerfire brass cartridges produced and used in wars from the British Expedition to Abyssinia in 1868 to the current wars of today has to number into the many trillions, and that's not counting the trillions of steel cartridges made during World War 2 and thereafter.

The nearly breathless and uncritical regurgitation of SST's press release, as shown here, shows yet again that the dead-tree firearms press is to be regarded with a skeptical, nay, cynical eye.

Because It's Friday

A steam-powered Cat: