Category Archives: Administrivia

Sunday Suffering

This is where one is expected to write something clever, but it’s not happening. We still owe you Saturday’s TW3 and we’ll get to it when we get to it, as well as something new for this week… maybe more wisdom from Rheinmetall.

Plaintiff II is blasting loud radio, which is irritating. Weird as it came on with music we normally find enjoyable (Five for Fighting, dunno the song but recognize the voice) but it’s making the office untenable. It’s probably the fear of what comes next — distilled, homogenized corporate pop music.


Still in the office (searching online for a replacement slow cooker part). The station is playing Hendrix back-to-back. Apart from the fact he always made us want to use guitars as kindling due to relative lack of talent, we have always enjoyed this fellow paratrooper’s stuff.

Wow. 1 Million Uniques, 4.8 Million Hits, 1st Half 2015

Thank you, thank you, and dare we say, thank you? In 2015 our readership here has exploded and at the end of June we are over 1 million unique users and 4.8 million hits, year to date. If you want to be pedantic about it, our numbers end of 30 June were 1,019,313 uniques and 4,825,377 hits.

We had been hoping to make 2 million hits this year, so we’re kind of humbled. We crossed the 1,000,000 unique user threshold for 2015 on 27 Jun 2015.

What do those terms mean? In the statistics package we use, this:

  • If you come to this blog, that’s a hit and a unique user.
  • If you visit five or ten different posts or pages, that’s 5 or 10 more hits, but still only one unique user.
  • If you come back later that same day, you’re still the same unique user (based on your IP address), and only the hits increment.
  • Now, if you come back over 24 hours later, even from the same IP address that’s counted as a new unique user and, of course, more hits.

So “unique user” means “unique user in a 24-hour-period” and “hit” means “accessed a page or something like that”. We think that those are industry standard terminology, but we don’t know; we’re not web geeks, we just fake it.

But it sounds like success to us. Even though we know a lot of you visit daily (thank you!), and so some of you personally are 180 of that million “unique users” over the last 180 days. To you, of course, we’re doubly grateful.

This blog has a large and growing reach. We like that. And we know who’s responsible: our fractious, fun-loving, and friendly community of readers and commenters.

Sunday Soaking

Rainsplash Drop from

Rainsplash Drop from Seems appropriate. 

The rain started at about eleven last night as we checked the perimeter and closed a forgotten garage door (to the stall full of airplane parts). Since then, it’s fallen steadily for most of that time, although there have been a couple of embedded downpours. It’s in the fifties (F, of course)  although the forecast hints that we might see 61ºF around noon for a bit.

Yesterday the plan was to spend it at EAA 106’s annual Experimental Fly-In. It used to be the Canard and RV fly in, but now they’ve changed the name, because people thought they were only welcome to fly in and show off canard and RV’s. There were some of each of those present, still (lots of RVs, actually), but there were also others: a Corvair-powered Zenith 601, a Lancair 4P, a GlaStar. A lot of the attendees were building and/or flying something.

We had to leave early, but did get a fascinating rundown on the Lancair 4P, an example of the way that the experimental world builds niche aircraft that the FAA would not allow a manufacturer to sell. The Lancair’s niche is speed. It goes 270 knots in 75% cruise in the lower flight levels; door to door, this ship (based in Lawrence) can beat the misery of an airline cattle call to Florida by hours, by starting from closer to home, landing closer to home, routing around the damage to the body politic that is the TSA’s corps of perverted payroll patriots, and never losing your bag. For the airline to beat you, door-to-door, you’d have to be taking a transcontinental flight where the airline’s faster speed aloft can overcome its slow and inconvenient ground phases (and where the range forces the Lancair to come down to Earth for fuel). Still, it is a time machine, personal teleportation. The price of mastery of that domain? The challenge of operating what an Italian might call a macchina nervosa. The Lancair is slick and sensitive in pitch. Its controls are badly harmonized; twitchy in pitch, it’s trucklike in roll. Its low-speed handling is weak and treacherous; speed is life, and you need to keep the angle of attack indicator in the yellow, or preferably green. Red is literally death. It is safe to fly if you are aware of were the monsters lurk and if you don’t go there. Modern electronics, which include features that are also more advanced that the FAA lets manufactures install in type-certified aircraft, make it possible to fly such a machine as quasi-practical personal transportation. But it’s not a machine you fly for fun; you fly it to go places where fun is waiting for you.

The Blognephew, a unique spirit whose pursuits of enlightenment are often foot wide and ocean deep, has previously been entirely indifferent to aviation. He sat for much of the show, a study in grumpy vexation, absorbed in a Rick Riordan book. Until, that is, he learned he might get a flight in a Real Airplane. In the end, he did. Whether this means he will find something in the physical world as attractive to him as young-adult fantasy novels and the various entertainment offerings of various glowing rectangles remains to be seen, but the horse has been led to the water. (Thanks, Bob Di Meo, you’re a star, and so is your RV-8).

So, today, and this week, while rain slows progress of some home repairs and upgrades, we’ll be messing about with machinery (3D printing, if we’re successful) and catching up on the two posts still owed from yesterday — a movie review (in keeping with the aviation spirit, 2012’s Red Tails) and a TW3.

We also may be undertaking a road trip to the Mothership in Fayetteville this week. That’s still up in the air. It should not impinge overly on blog action.

That Was the Week that Was: 2015 Week 26

That was the week that was TW3Another week is at an end, actually a little past its end as we’re posting this about 24 hours late and backdating it.

Hey, we can do that. We have the magical powers of the admin login.

It’s been an interesting week around here, as usual, and we hope to keep it interesting as we go forward.

We’re still not certain on a road trip this week. If so, we’ll see our Fayetteville crowd, eh?

The Boring Statistics

This week was an average week. We posted 27 posts with some 302 comments by press time for this post, and a total of about 15,000 words. Our greatest milestone this week has to be statistically based: we passed one million unique users on the blog. We expect to pass 2,000,000 before year’s end, which is just amazing and humbling. We had expected to be at two million hits by this point, but our hits are over 4.6 million for 2015 — so far. Thank you all for reading!

Comment of the Week

We’re going to recommend the comment thread to one of our training posts (of which we have promised more). In Mind Over Matter, we suggested that if you had to choose one or the other, mindset, Napoleon’s “the moral,” is so vital that we’d choose training over hardware. This was a controversial idea! And both sides were aired in the comments.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week:

Going Forward

Tomorrow morning, a top tactical trainer tries training a conventional Army unit, and guns are going tango uniform left and right. The reason just might surprise you. (It sure surprised him).

Sunday, Softly

Sunday here is characterized by softly falling rain, which announced itself at 0100 as crashing, pouring rain. Snug in our home, we can consider the benefits to the grounds, but the incoming rainstorm seriously disrupted our weekend plans for etching and priming the next batch of airplane parts. Due to the mild toxicity of the etchant and primer, we do that outdoors, under one of those 10′ x 10′ canopies you can buy at garden stores. We hang the parts from hooks created from sacrificed coat hangers, and have at them with a Graco-Croix CX9 turbine sprayer.

This batch of parts comprised the remaining horizontal stabilizer parts (including the skins) and the internal formers and other small parts for the fuselage tail cone, basically the body of the plane from behind the seats to the tail. We were up against a hard deadline: a storm arriving at midnight, and wet weather for the rest of the week. If we wanted to have parts to rivet, we were going to have to get a-priming. But the prep was extensive and onerous: there were thousands of holes to deburr, for instance. And we didn’t get started until after noontime. The Blogbrother flitted in from time to time and pitched in as your humble servant prepped the parts, including parts separation, deburring and some parts prep.

The project seemed to stretch off to a vanishing point in the far distance, while the storm system loomed ever closer. At about 2000 we still had some hope of spraying by the remaining natural light.

And then, the last inch of masking tape rolled off the center of the roll. We’d learned the lesson — mask the outside rivet holes — on the vertical stabilizer and rudder skins, where we had bad runs of paint through the holes. (We’re only priming the internals at this point. External priming will be done by the paint shop that paints the finished plane). At this hour, it was Walmart or nothing, so off to Walmart — where we ran into several delays, including Plaintiff II and a chatterbox of a lady from Russia who was very hard to end a conversation with, at least, politely. She and her family come from an hour away in Massachusetts to shop (6.25% sales tax difference, you would too). Her son was, in the way of youth everywhere, mortified by his mom’s gabbiness.

Hey, enjoy her while you’ve got her, malchik.  

So it was 2130 and darker than your typical NAACP leader (heh) when we got back to the work in progress, to find the Blogbrother patiently working — he’d showed up with the exact two things we needed, a work light and another roll of blue painters’ tape.

With the tape we’d brought as well, both of us were able to work, as the saying goes, si-mon-taneously, and we were soon ready to spray, which we did. Then he wanted to hang around and wait for the parts to dry… we had stuff to so, so sent him away, and later, pulled the parts into the garage. Sometime today they’ll migrate to the workshop. It looks like they’ll be going through the house, if the rain doesn’t let up. Inspecting the parts today, they’re pretty good. There are a few places where we missed a flange or a hook masked a piece of structure from receiving an even coat — we’ll fix those with a rattle can later (there is no consequence to mixing colors or formulas of aircraft primer, the book says, and since this is internal structure mismatched colors are of no consequence).

We still owe you the TW3 from yesterday, which is waiting on us to finish the Saturday Matinee, which we also owe you. Maybe after we do a bike ride (on the Expresso, not in the steady rain). They’ll be backdated and appear above this post.

Thanks, ever, for reading and for commenting.

That Was the Week That Was: 2015 Week 25

That was the week that was TW3As regular readers know, we have some regular (?) features that appear on a Did we get to it this week? basis. Those include the Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week, the Friday Tour d’Horizon, the Saturday Matinee movie review (which we frequently find ourselves doing on Sunday and backdating), and this weekly wrapup, which takes some work and therefore is the first thing ordered over the side of the lifeboat. We also do (or don’t) an SF or other military phony once a month, on the 15th, as the Assclown of the Ides.

Our regular schedule is four posts a day (except Sundays), but we often fall behind. The plan (normal warnings about plans apply) of an ordinary day is:

Weekday Schedule
0600 Weapons Technical or Cultural post
1100 SF-related or UW post
1400 When Guns are Outlawed (or other Lord Love a Duck) post
1800 Post about Whatever, maybe even off topic

We used to intend Saturdays to be a three-post day with a substantive post in the morning, a Saturday Matinee movie review, and a TW3 (this post). In practice, it’s been three rather typical 0600-1100-1400 posts, plus the review and TW3 — if we get to them. The Review and TW3 are often postponed, which can result in a post delayed a day or two (but backdated to its slot) or that never appears.

The Boring Statistics

We collect these statistics so that you don’t have to! (Well, seriously, we do it for blog maintenance and management anyway). This week saw heavier posting than usual. We posted 27 posts with some 250+ comments by press time for this post, and a total of almost 26,000 words; these numbers are much higher than usual. The mean and median were close to one another at 955 and 929 words, suggesting an unskewed distribution of post length. We are just short of 600 posts and 1,000,000 unique visitors for 2015; we had been hoping for two million hits for 2015, but our hit count is already at about 4.2 million. We’re pleased and humbled by this new level of interest in and support for this blog.

Comment of the Week

Actually, there were several comments in the thread for our report on the ill-documented Polish Campaign German SOF unit, Battailon Ebbinghaus, that advance this story and fill in some of the gaps — although, nothing about the unknown fate of von Hippel after he was captured by Americans in North Africa.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week:

Going Forward

We actually have nothing at all cued up for this week, yet. But we’re pretty sure there will be something in this space.

Sunday Synchronizing

We’re behind. Again. Still. Whatever. We have a couple of posts meant to be yesterday’s to backdate, a couple of posts intended to be tomorrow’s and this week’s to research, and, well, it’s a beautiful day and there’s analog stuff to do, including day-job stuff, family stuff and non-blog writing.

So we’ll see ya when we see ya. We’ll try to get yesterday’s Matinee and TW3 up by midnight tonight but no promises.

That Was the Week that Was: 2015 Week 23

That was the week that was TW3This is our first TW3 in a while. It’s not because you suck and we hate you, but because sometimes something gets squeezed out by events, and if something has to go, this is one of the best things to kick to the curb.

That said, we know some people get benefits out of it. Often, people find stories that they missed in our week-end wrap-up. That’s why we still keep trying, even when we’re under the gun.

This week was an interesting week, including one day (Tuesday) when we didn’t get to the blog and post anything at all. That happens very seldom, but it does happen.

The Boring Statistics

This week was a below-average week for all current standards. We posted 22 posts with some 225 comments by press time for this post, and a total of about 16,000 words. If we hit any major milestone, we don’t know what it is. Mean/median post length was 738/668 with a min/max of 242 and 1483.

Comment of the Week

We can’t really think of one and don’t want to hold this post while we reread all the comments.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week:

Going Forward

Nothing special, just the usual stuff. We’ve been wrangling some technology — the tech is winning — to extend what we do a little. We don’t want to spill any details, in case it goes all pear-shaped.

Why No Posts Yesterday?

Can you guess?

Maybe it should be a poll!

Why wasn’t there anything on Tuesday? free polls


The reason, or reasons, is really on that list. “More” will have some discussion.

Continue reading

Sunday Salvage

Many things get salvaged around here. Airplane parts we riveted wrong. (Oops. On the plus side, we’re getting real good at drilling out rivets). Various bits of metals or plastics that might get reused creatively. All kinds of things.

Heck, we’re humans, and so even as our organisms salvage their own timed-out or wrecked cells, we salvage ourselves when we’ve gotten messed up.

Well, we get help, sometimes.

Anyway, today is kind of a salvage day. We do (finally!) have a Saturday Matinee to put up; it’ll be backdated to yesterday. We have a couple of partly finished ones we might complete and slot into the weeks that are missing theirs, also.

Yes, this isn’t our most inspired Sunday post ever. What can we say? Written at 0200, that’s why. It’ll get posted around dawn. Dawn’s when the French and Indians attack.