Category Archives: Administrivia

Space Shot Sunday

Here’s the entire webcast of Space X’s launch of a Falcon 9 / Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station at 0939 our time (EST) today. So far so good: good launch from Pad 39, good recovery of the first stage to Cape Canaveral’s LZ 1, good deployment of all systems on the Dragon capsule. Those systems include power (solar panels), navigation (automated celestial with inertial backup), and propulsion. (Several burns will take place over the next 2 days to move Dragon from its parking orbit to an orbit in which it can safely and precisely intercept the ISS). It’s bringing supplies and experiments up (and will bring other stuff back down).

The weather’s not optimal for video; fortunately rockets are always ready for instrument meteorological conditions!

This is a big deal for us. We grew up during the first space race, and had a distant cousin working at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, who would send us NASA press packets. Were you nerd enough to have a meter-wide photomap of the moon on your wall?

Other than that, it’s a slow Sunday. We were up last night reading a long, involved, and almost unbelievable story of a guy in Massachusetts that had a criminal — his own brother! — and the courts and bar gang up on him and, essentially, bankrupt him (although he’s too proud to bang out bankrupt). Here’s the high points:

  1. While MA Guy was in the service, his kid brother, who’d always been a little “off”, murdered their parents with the help of a buddy. For the insurance money. 
  2. Kid brother wound up pleading out to 2x Murder 2, and got 2 x 15 to life, plus “a year and a day on and after” for other related crimes.
  3. Kid brother hired a hitman to whack his accomplice as part of a scheme to lay the whole thing off on the accomplice and get out of jail.
  4. Because MA Law is strongly biased towards criminals, kid brother got about $50k of his victims’ insurance money, which he then used to engage in lawfare against his living family members.
  5. Since the 1980s, this lawfare has gone on, with every apparent end turning into another opportunity for the brothers, the lawyers, and the courts to loot the survivors.
  6. The victim brother’s lawyer has collaborated and colluded with the perp brothers’ lawyer — paid by the taxpayers, naturally — to keep the meter running, to the benefit of the lawyers.
  7. The bar association — generally a group of the most corrupt and unethical of the entire corrupt and unethical profession — support this.
  8. The judges — in MA, culled from the worst of the worst, as long as they’re in The Party — support this.

Lawyer. Tree. Rope. Assembles in minutes. And thank a merciful God that we’re out of that lawyer-rich but lawless Third World hellhole, and a have a kid brother who honors his (late) mother and his father.

Agenda for the rest of the day? Some writing, some PT, a walk for Small Dog — it’s lovely out! And some airplane work (we have promised to finish the landing light wiring, which Blogbrother defers to us, and there are parts to be primed when the weather’s halfway warm for February). And tomorrow it starts again!

Subboreal Sunday

Subboreal? What’s that?

Well, let’s break it down. Sub Boreal. Subarctic, roughly. But it’s usually used (to the extent it’s used, this moribund old word) to mean very cold. 

And it’s been very cold here for most of a week, and it’s going to remain very cold this week. Single digits, low double digits on the Fahrenheit scale; well below zero on Centigrade. (Celsius, yeah; what can we say, we’re so old, we still have radios calibrated in kilocycles and megacycles). The robust systems and upgraded windows and insulation of Hog Manor can barely keep up; instead of a shirtsleeve 70ºF, it’s a sweater 65 or so.

On the plus side, the snow which has fallen on most of these days and is supposed to keep falling in showers on all but one day of this week, remains a light and easily lifted powder because of the freeze. While at the same time the cold cuts through clothing and makes shoveling the stuff more unpleasant that nasty, wet, infarct-inducing slush would be.

Well, it’s been a very mild winter so far, and February is usually the worst of months here in coastal New England. If we get through these couple weeks, it should improve.

And it could be worse. We could be out in the weather. These are the times when stray dogs are not found until spring’s thaw reveals their wretched carcasses, mute evidence of their final suffering; Small Dog Mk II is only being rational when he refuses to chance the door and go outside (which means, naturally, that he picks a place to go inside, if you know what we mean, and we think you do).

A large flock of turkeys has cowered in our back garden for most of the last several days. It was over thirty birds, but we think it’s down to about 17 now. They are miserable; suffering; we’re also sighting them at night, which means they are not in their usual roosts. With the forecast for the coming week, it will only be the hardiest of the birds who survive to lay in the spring and hatch the next generation of poults.

Some small bird is nesting in the electrical box outside the office, which once hosted the power stuff for the original builder’s hot tub or spa. We hear the little scrabbles inside that cold steel box, we see the turkeys grimly making headway across a snowy lawn in blowing snow, and we marvel that this killing snow is the life-giving water of spring.

Sorry for the Day Off

Due to an error by our hosting provider, and their very friendly but almost powerless tech support people, we (and you, if you were inclined to comment) were locked out of the site for 26¼ hours or so.

Please bear with us as we slooowly get back to normal after a day spent on the phone, mostly on hold.

One post that was in the queue for 1100 yesterday finally went up just before 0200 today. It was that kind of day

Super Bowl Sunday

Alas, poor Small Dog. He will be home alone, watching the Puppy Bowl, while his owner tortures himself with a social setting. But it Must Be Done.

Some of the family (you know who you are) are the sort of rabid fans who will be on suicide watch if the Patriots, who are narrow favorites (say the oddsmakers), fall behind. Your Humble Blogger has learned over many years of attending football in this setting that suggesting that, “It’s only a game,” is not appreciated, and that, “No one will care three years from now,” while factual, is not a suitable consolation for a fan in distress.

Normally, the Super Bowl’s high point for a non-fan is the clever and imaginative ads that have become a tradition since Apple’s 1984 ad ran during the event in, when else? 1984. However, we’ve seen several of the ads already and they’re either humorless pitches or new fronts in the Social Justice War. (You may not be interested in the SJWs, but they are interested in dictating to you).

For instance, Audi has some insecure manikin sniveling because his daughter is only worth 79% of a man, to which we say, doesn’t that really depend on who her father really is? Kia is promoting a new ho-hum crossover, otherwise like every other boring crossover, with an ad featuring fat, grating alleged comic Melissa McCarthy. Who wants to watch her do anything? If talent were plutonium, she’d be hard pressed to blow her nose.

Not that any veterans are going to be caught dead driving a KIA, anyway.

Not all the car ads are as unpleasant as getting a seat in coach between Melissa McCarthy and Amy Schumer (the other fat, grating alleged comic). Mercedes has a good one, even if its targeted at septuagenarian Boomers. Well, really, who else buys Benzes, besides gangsta rappers?

Budweiser last year made a series of unfunny political ads for Bud Lite with burnout comic Seth Rogen and the aforementioned Amy Schumer (who owes her career to her politically powerful uncle, and Hollywood’s desire to suck up to same). The ads were effective, but not the way the admen hoped: sales of Bud Light tanked, and only made a partial recovery after the ads were spiked. This year, the fool’s burnt finger goes wabbling back to the fire: Bud has an ad implying that, because Adolphus Busch was an immigrant, we’re wrong to stop the current migrant invasion. Of course, Busch arrived well-off, compatible with the existing population, and with a very useful, wanted, even celebrated skill. Today’s invaders are incompatible with our ways, bearing nothing but demands and a spoken or unspoken determination to bury us in the living hell of sharia law, or the racial class stratification of Latin American caudillismo — not to mention, extending a grasping hand for what is ours.

Apparently the message of the admen of America is: you suck and we hate you.

Judging from the messaging, you’d think the 49ers were the favored team, going into this game. How’d Colin Krappernick and the boys genderfluid humanoids do, again?

If they weren’t counting on us for our share of the finger food (egg and spring rolls, Chinese sausage chunks, and brownies… no, not Boulder brownies), we’d be watching the Puppy Bowl with Small Dog MkII.

Subtropical Sunday

Just enjoying life in South Florida today, even though it’s raining.

Small Dog MkII travels well, but he’s been hard to talk into going out in the rain to do his business.

Learned a few things about flying with guns and dogs.

Can’t write more, time.

That Was the Week that Was: 2017 Week 04

That was the week that was TW3Well, with the first of these we made a lot of promises. The second and third were missed (we still hope to catch up on them, sometime) and this one, the fourth, goes up days late.

But hey, it does go up.

The Boring Statistics

This week’s statistics were:

  • Posts: 29 posts — one extra (Saturday’s Breaking: Today’s “Refugees” Being Detained)
  • Word count:  20,231.
  • Central Tendency Measures: Mean and median were low end of normal range at 698 and 520.
  • Posts below 100 words in length: 1
  • Posts over 2,000: 2
  • Posts below 500: 14
  • Posts over 1000: 4

Significant milestones: None observed.

Traffic continues to be satisfactory.

Comments This Week

Comments: 658 as of 2200 Saturday. (At the same time, we show 752 for Week 3, 852 for Week 2, and 659 for Week 1. Too early to establish a trend).

Most commented post: Tuesday’s A Master Class on Influence Operations at CIA, with 82.

Second most commented (i.e. runner-up) was Wednesday’s Careerism and the Military, with 69 comments.

Thank you all for reading and commenting.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week: (If the links are not live, they will be fleshed out later).

Going Forward

Next week promises to be fraught with work and travel and stuff, so things might get slow on the posting front. How slow? Somewhere between a sleepy Small Dog Mk II and a FOIA request to NSA. But we will endeavor, as ever, to provide for your education and entertainment.

Sunday Slippage

This is the one Sunday post this week; call it the 9 AM post, or maybe the 10 AM post. That’s what it’s going to say; that’s our story and we’re sticking to it.

But it’s actually going live about ten hours later.

How come? Well, there’s a story in this Sunday slippage, but it’s not really interesting. It’s not like some calamity happened, like an avalanche (or very very fast glacier) sluicing Hog Manor into the breakers of the briny Atlantic, or Hognose selling all his guns for the cash to rise to Operating Thetan in the cult of Scientology.

(Aside: ever notice how Scientology’s phony-baloney ranks and grades, at least the ones that weren’t lifted from the Navy by failed Naval officer L. Ron Hubbard, have that same fictional creepiness as things Exalted Octopus and Grand Kleagle — which come from the Ku Klux Klan?)

It’s just the same sort of boring things that happen in your life and take up your time, too; basically all of the things that occupy normal people’s lives, that TV characters never have to deal with because it would turn the show even more soporific than most TV is.

House, lawn, dog, kitchen. Yawn. Why can’t life be a simple treadmill from gym to range to airplane building?

OK, with a little bit of blogging?

On the plus side: we did get one of the Saturday Matinees we were behind on done and posted (immediately below this post, unfortunately not a show we can really recommend); we did get a walk in with Small Dog Mark II, and he got some of his favorite Chair Time; and we advanced the ball with the airplane, a little.

Maybe if fortune smiles on us, we’ll catch up on the two missing TW3s and the other half-finished Matinee, as well as setting up some stuff for busy time during the week. Don’t freak out if comments wind up in moderation for a few hours over the next couple of weeks.

This is Number 6,000

This is our 6,000th live post since beginning to publish this blog on 1st January, 2012. Not many things exist in quantities of 6,000. For example, Czech Brno M95 straight-pull Stutzens.

That’s Serial Number 645 of about 5,000 that were ever made. There’s no Serial Number 6,000.

In World War II, Ford Motor Company made over 6,000 B-24 Liberators at the since-destroyed Willow Run facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Looks like a B-24J. One wonders what happened to it.

Lots of World War II airplanes were made in larger quantities: C-47s, Thunderbolts, B-17s, Il-2 Sturmoviks, Me109s. (The Me109 was probably the production champion with something like 35,000 produced). But Ford did okay, when you consider that they had to level the ground and build the whole factory first.

Since World War II, airplane production has slowed a lot. But Boeing has made so many 737s that two separate series have hit the golden 6,000. Here’s one of the two #6000s, which went to Norwegian Airlines.

The 6,000th 737NG went to Turkish Airlines. Amazing numbers for a civilian airliner.

But this little plane is the 6,000th Cirrus airplane ever produced. (True, there have been models and generations, but they’re basically all the same airframe). This is the airplane that’s famous for being the first certified aircraft with a whole-plane parachute, which has to date saved 146 lives.

Finally, it’s not just blog posts, guns and planes that can hit 6,000, so did this guy:

He’s logged 6,000 hours in the A-10 Warthog. That’s two or three times the hours of the typical USAF general. But as an A-10 guy, he’s not on the general track.

So, in the grand scheme of things, 6,000 blog posts is not a big deal.



Sunday Slumberthon

You ever have one of those weeks that sucked up so much sleep at both ends of the day that you basically spent the whole weekend sleeping, waking only to eat or attend to other physical requirements?

We aren’t quite having that weekend, this weekend. We did go over to the Blogbrother’s to watch the Patriots defeat the Texans in a game that was closer than the score looked, thanks largely to some incredible defensive play by two of the Texans’ guys with the incredible names of Clowney and Mercilus (sound it out). Those two guys did something nobody else has done, to wit, give Tom Brady the piñata treatment. What did they sack him, three or four times? Ugly play and lots of turnovers on all sides, and a job by the refs that was guaranteed to leave both sides’ fans unhappy. It wasn’t superior football but it was very compelling TV. Not even a football fan, but that was an interesting game.

We’re also planning on dinner at the Blogbro’s tonight (Sunday). If we wake up.

The winner on a sleeping-in kind of weekend of course, is Small Dog Mk II, whose favorite dog bed is either on top of or improbably wedged in next to his Trained Feeder Monkey in the recliner.

A new week starts tomorrow, Rodney King Day, and we have all kinds of stuff halfway written for you. If there’s something at 0600, we woke up and finished something. Heh.