Category Archives: Administrivia

Sunday Sleepwalking

Ever have one of those days without energy?

Got up, came downstairs, sat down, woke up three hours later. We’re not the Lone Ranger in this. Plaintiff II meant to attend a newly ordained priest’s first sermon, and arrived in time for the applause. He who slept through services in a plush recliner will not be the first to cast a stone, and the padre apparently thought it was funny.

In our defense that is a very comfortable chair. In fact, we hear it calling, and the calls will probably overwhelm us after lunch.

Yesterday was 86 degrees out, and we did some yard and lawn and airplane work, and bought a tool box at a neighbor’s yard sale, and got somewhat cooked with all of it. Today it’s in the low fifties, cloudy, with a fresh breeze. Bicycle wasn’t fun.

The tool box was a large double-stack Craftsman Pro box with a lot of Snap-On and Mac tools, and a story. Our neighbors are retiring to Florida. He is not a mechanic; his son was, a motorcycle mechanic. (There are some oddball Harley tools in the box, we think). After the son perished in a bike accident, the box of tools sat, until it was time to move. He put a reasonable price on the toolbox. We didn’t bargain (unusual for us, cheapskate New Englanders).

There is nothing of interest in the lawn work, except that we’re playing with a manual reel mower. It can’t cut any high grass, but seems like a great workout once the power mower gets us ahead of things. It’s silent and very neighborly.

Finally, the airplane. What we thought was a couple of nights’ work assembling the flaperons turned out to be more work than we expected (or that the plans let on). Flaperons are control surfaces on the trailing edge of a wing that serve as both ailerons (lateral control surfaces that roll the aircraft around its longitudinal axis) and as flaps (surfaces that change the effective camber of the wing, providing increased lift, and a steeper ascent and descent, at low airspeeds). All airplanes since about 1914 have ailerons, which were Glen Curtiss’s clever end run around the Wright Brothers’ patent on wing-warping; all airplanes that cruise at 100 knots or more have flaps (and many slower ones do, also). Combining the flap and the aileron lowers part count and empty weight (these are good things), and trades off a little control-system complexity for increased structural simplicity.

By and large, the parts fit extremely well. We are impressed and more with the quality of the Van’s RV-12 kit. We have encountered exactly one place where we believe the kit could be improved, one place (well, several places relating to the same thing) where the plans are a little off, and, we think, about four places where we had to refer to the builder forum at Van’s Air Force. (In addition to that, some bracket machining that would have been trivial for us but has caused other builders of earlier kits great stress is now done for you at the factory. Gotta love Van’s). For us, the journey is the reward, but you can also buy one already built at a factory.

Sunday Scheduippage

What, you may ask, is “Scheduippage”? Well, it’s schedule slippage, and we’ve had it pretty badly this past week. Indeed this post is hours late and the two last Saturday posts are not done.

Thanks to a cheap-n-easy video post, at least tomorrow will start on schedule.

Sunday Silencio


Small Dog is off with his Kid on a new adventure. Here he is at the vet a few weeks ago.

It’s quiet. Too quiet.

Small Dog doesn’t bark when someone comes to the door, and Kid isn’t running downstairs to go out and put another dent in the truck. (Yeah, who hasn’t been 16 once?). It really sinks in when you can open the refrigerator without hearing the pitter-patter of poodle paws behind you. “Hey, don’t forget me.”

They flew to St Louis yesterday, in the hopes that a return to the city where he grew up will ease a (non-life-threatening) medical condition which has troubled him since coming here. Since the doctors, who are very nice, seem to have not a shred of a clue, well, it has as much chance of working as anything.

We had come to an agreement for his mom — who is one of Your Humble Blogger’s array of Plaintiffs — to move out, and were looking for a suitable place for her to set up housekeeping (she wants to stay in NH, at least most of the time), when we went off on that entrepreneurship promotion trip.

But while we were out of town, she flipped the script. And sent Kid off to his dad. His dad will be happy to have him back; poor guy hasn’t seen his son in two years.

Moving out’s the best thing, for the kid and for his dog. And Plaintiff and I have demonstrated to our mutual satisfaction the same thing we already knew, to wit: we ought not to live together. One suspects she’ll be better off in St Louis, too, but she has to reach that decision on her own.

We are promised a visit for some range time and AK building when he gets a break from summer school. (Apparently his district in MO will not give credit for home schooling).

Meanwhile, it’s quiet, too quiet. We’d like to think that dawn’s when the French and Indians attack, but really, they’re not coming.

Sunday Sacralgia

It is Sunday. Having paid unto the Lord’s that what is the Lord’s, one sits at the desk in the office  preperatory to Render Unto Caesar, when the peaceful morning is split by noise, by definition, of course, unwanted sound.

Ah. It is Plaintiff II, beating down from her expropriated eyrie in the guest room to listen to the Sunday Talking Head Shows at high volume in the nearby den. First up, Trump and Stephanopolous conducting a dry run for the Trump/Clinton debates; Steffi’s loyalty to his real lords and masters has, not surprisingly, survived his surface transition to the Fourth Estate. He’s still a party horse-holder, but in the jargon of 2016, one who identifies as a newsman. His whole effort at questioning Trump was an attempted in-kind contribution to the Clinton campaign, but not much of a contribution as Trump simply steamrolled him.

One need not like Trump, it turns out, to take a perverse delight in watching him do verbal pivot turns on a TV talking head who is stepping off from a platform of utter innumeracy. The election of 2016 is shaping up to be one where when either of the candidates wins, the rest of the world also loses. But the temptation to burn it all down just to make sure we get the beltway/media complex is strong.

Well, it’s not going to be possible to work until the noise loving ex moves on; the sheer sound of these shows grates on one’s mind like the tintinnabulation of Poe’s bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells! It truly induces sacralgia — pain in, well, you can look it up.

That Was the Week that Was: 2016 Week 18

That was the week that was TW3It’s the day of the week and the time of the day, and therefore the day of the week, for That Was the Week that Was. Today it may actually be up on time (although the Matinee may not)..

After this weekend we’ll hew closer to schedule next week. Insha’allah as the enemy says.

We do these mostly for our own edification, to review the previous week and try to adjust our performance in the new week. Perhaps it’s a bit obsessive, although we let it go when we haven’t time to do it.

The Boring Statistics

This week’s statistics were a bit on the light side: 28 posts, which is our current standard,  but a below average word count of about 15,000 words. Mean and median were nothing special at 774 and 658; the posts tended to be short. one post was below 100 words in length, and only one over 2,000; twekve were below 500 and only four over 1000. Post length ranged from 11627 to 2526 words. “Normal” for

We did not note any significant milestones this week, although we broke 500 posts for the year. Thanks to all who read and commented on our work.

After three straight monthly year-over-year records in the First Quarter, for the first time in 2016 April not only didn’t exceed the traffic of the previous month, it also didn’t exceed the traffic of last April. It’s disappointing to have our growth trend interrupted, but we’re still up for the year 23.6% over last year. That’s not entirely bad.

Comments This Week

Comments on this week’s points were down considerably when this post was drafted (only 315, and we’ve been averaging over 500. As is often the case when comments fall short, no individual post caught comment fire this week. Most commented post was Thursday’s Collectors are Nuts. But You Knew That, Right? with 42.

The runner-up was Wednesday’s The Army Didn’t Celebrate Rape Month Alone with 32 comments. Apparently it resonates better with the audience when we catch the Air Force doing stupid stuff than the Army, or maybe it was just that the USAF had a goofier illustration for what amounts to the same goofy program.

Thank you all for reading and commenting.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week: (links will be fleshed out and live later).

Going Forward

Stuff we still, still, still owe you… photo essays by OTR.

  1. A bit more on Castillo San Marco.
  2. A report on the Spanish Military Hospital in Florida
  3. A report on Fort Pulaski of Civil War Fame
  4. And some new museum stuff he sent us.

Some Days, You Eat the Bear

Some Days, The Bear Eats You. It was a good weekend for Mr. Bruin around here:


Shorter RIA: So long, and thanks for playing!

Well, we can still read the catalog pages through our tears. So there is that. Don’t win your bids, you still wind up with a beautiful catalog full of stunning firearms, and some usually accurate historical information.

We bid on several Czech or Czechoslovak firearms that would be worth photographing and writing up for the book, and thought we bid well but wisely. It will be interesting to see just how spectacularly others outbid us on these.

The good news is, we now no longer need to hold the money we were keeping in reserve in case we won our stretch goals, and that may be good news for a local guy and a gunbroker seller or two.

This week is a week of heavy analog activity. Expect the digital domain, including this blog, to suffer a bit, accordingly.

Soviet Sunday

Today is Glorious May Day! The socialist vanguard of the workers’ and peasants’ state moves forward in Stakhanovite overfulfillment of the Five-Year Plan.

It’s a good day to line up all your tanks for a parade. Not to mention your Lennon, or Lenin, posters (politically, the same thing, but only one was a talented musician).

Participants hold flags and banners during a Communist May Day rally in St. Petersburg

This picture from 2014 shows a bunch of undead zombie Communists in St. Petersburg. The flag says:

Lenin — lived,
Lenin — lives,
Lenin — shall live!

Actually, Lenin was, is, and will be: dead, dead, dead.

So are over 100 million people, thanks to the joys of Marxism-Leninism, but that’s beside the point; unlike us, and Lenin (at least some facsimilie of Lenin, as we’ll see) they’re not around to enjoy the 2016 May Day Parade. (Once they’re dead, are Useful Idiots still useful?)

In fact, he’s so dead that he was in such severe danger of rotting in his mausoleum, the shrine to the failed religion of Godlessness that  his heirs erected, that they’ve gradually been swapping parts out for the last 90-some years. Scientific American:

The Russian methods focus on preserving the body’s physical form—its look, shape, weight, color, limb flexibility and suppleness—but not necessarily its original biological matter. In the process they have created a “quasibiological” science that differs from other embalming methods. “They have to substitute occasional parts of skin and flesh with plastics and other materials, so in terms of the original biological matter the body is less and less of what it used to be,” says Alexei Yurchak, professor of social anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. “That makes it dramatically different from everything in the past, such as mummification, where the focus was on preserving the original matter while the form of the body changes,” he adds.

We dunno. If he’s a 3D Printed simulation of Vladimir Ilych Ulianov aka Nikolai Lenin, at what point does he cease being Lenin and become one of those Audio-Animatronic® gadgets that stalk the rides and attractions at Disney World?

Either way, the critter described in the paragraph is many things, but “alive” ain’t one of ’em.

Lenin was, is, and will be dead. Those who still worship at the altar of the Church of Marx and Lenin need to face that fact.

And despite the fact they had a parade, it seems not to have had all the cool tanks and whatnot — those are standing by for the post-Soviet big parade, Victory Day, 9th May.

Number Five Freakin’ Thousand

This is the five thousandth post to go live on this blog since the first test posts, a few weeks before the go-live date of 1 January 2012.

During that time we’ve had some highs and lows, broken a couple of stories, a couple of guns, and a couple of computers.

Other things that there have been 5,000 of include Lamborghini Aventadors, a milestone passed last month…


… and McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantoms, a milestone passed many, many years ago.

5000th Phantom

Some curious facts about the number 5,000 are available at Number Empire.

And here’s another fact (albeit a disputed one) about the number 5,000: according to scientists at the University of Adelaide in Australia, it’s the number of living adults a species requires for long-term viability.

We guess that means the blog will be around a while.


Sunday Socializing

People's Republic of MassachusettsSo today, as you read this, Kid and Nose are bound for the People’s Republic of Massachusetts to hang out with a couple of Nose’s old (civilian) friends.

They are both interesting characters. Don (not his real name) is a former high-powered salesman who nearly lost everything to Old Demon Alcohol. He has a new life as a part-time chef in a rehab joint — the very one that saved him — where he’s also a role model to the attendees. The sad fact is that most of them do not succeed. The ones that do succeed don’t often do it on their first attempt.

It’s funny that a frendship still endures, when it was originally built, largely, on booze, chasing women, and sports cars. These days we’re not boozing, for different reasons; we’re both cynical about women; and we haven’t got a single “interesting” car between us.

Eric (not his real name), the other fellow was, and is, a brilliant software engineer who works on projects you haven’t heard of for a company whose technology you have probably used within the last couple of hours. He’s also a bon vivant and sportsman, although his life too has seen abrupt changes. An immigrant with no trace of an accent, he still loves Old Country comfort food recipes and is our reliable guide to the best in that nation’s cuisine.

Eric was a sports car and motorcycle guy, until an inattentive woman t-boned his motorcycle and left him paralyzed at about the nipple line of his chest. Sure, he got a decent settlement, but it’s not like anything can be done for him — yet.

Mostly, he gets around perfectly well and you forget he’s in the chair. It’s good to have a face to put with wheelchair ramps and curb cuts, sometimes. He drives a car with hand controls. Every time we see some able-bodied jerk in a hurry park in a handicap spot, we think of Eric and get angry. Eric sees it and he just laughs; that’s the kind of guy he is.

Neither of these guys is a gun guy, so we’re unlikely to talk about that. Our conversation will likely cover all the usual subjects but there will be a lot of science and technology and futurism, ’cause we all dig that stuff. And we’re hoping to see Kid square off against Eric in a video game, because they’re both enthusiastic gamers.

We do not like going to the PRM and avoid it when possible. We go for events at a college where the family name is on stuff, and we go to meet friends, and we pass through there on our way to the rest of  the United States much the way we used to travel the Autobahn Helmstedt-Berlin.

Update — Oops

About midnight this AM we noticed that the Friday Tour d’Horizon hadn’t gone live. It’s been put up now. Sheesh….

Sunday Soreness

Lots of grounds work yesterday, and the place still looks like the Beverly Hillbillies live here. In the same street, a neighbor’s showplace contemporary was listed at a price I thought high, and sold the same day, for asking price.

Smells like a bubble, and we’re not going anywhere, so it’s just a data point.

The soreness comes from the work, of course, and a general lack of fitness; the beloved shade of August becomes the mountains of oak leaves of late November, and we’re still dealing with tons (literally) of leaves in mid-April.

Once those are gone, it’s time to clear some brush, including a stand of irrationally beloved raspberry bushes; irrational because they produce fruit for a couple of weeks a year, and look like a mess and assault man and animal with thorns for the other fifty. We envision grass growing there, but vision alone won’t do it. You have to actually winkle the thorny beggars out of their hold on the earth, dispose of them somewhere else in the brushy part of the grounds, and then turn over the earth and seed it, which, of course, all should have been done last fall.

After the leaf marathon, we spent some time last night on inventorying the next package of plane parts, which build up the fuselage center section. As we’re not doing anything with them until the wings are finished, another task for today is to store the fuselage parts back in the workshop, behind the wing parts, fasteners, etc. that we need to finish the wings. Now that the weather is nice, we should be able to prime the parts we need to complete the wings. They will be hung from the ceiling of the garage, we think, as they’ll be too long to fit in the storage unit.

It all comes down to logistics, so often, doesn’t it?

Yes, we didn’t get the Matinee and TW3 done yesterday, but on the bright side, we did see a movie to review, so we might even write it up today. But the yard calls, and the bicycle, and a few odds and ends… and absolutely nothing is written for this week. Yet. Yikes!